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Tanner May 14
Trees in the yard grow alongside me.
I’ve scaled their trunks
And swung from their branches.
Fallen through their leaves,
Scraping my arms and knees on the way down.

I grow a little older,
The trees a little taller.
One oak is getting too big,
It grows in the driveway
And needs to be cut down.
One less tree.

Another gets removed to make way for a pool.
The tree lasted for decades before my parents moved there,
The pool lasted a summer.
A summer of splashing in constantly cold water.
A circular pool acting as police tape for this ****** scene.
One less tree.

One in the front yard
Poses a threat to the house’s foundation.
Its trunk is cut down,
And it’s stump ripped out of the ground.
I grew up when I ran out of branches to climb.
One less tree.

The last tree gets struck by lightning.
It falls over and hits the garage.
It’s body seared, and it’s sap oozes like blood
A wood chipper comes and disposes of it’s remains.
A dead patch of grass, like a chalk outline of its corpse.
One less tree.

Two trees remain.
One is used to hold the dog’s leash while she roams outside.
The other provides shelter
For the squirrels and birds who were evicted.
I wonder,
Which one will go next?
Tanner Apr 16
I wake up whenever the big bright thing comes back, you call it a sun but I don’t know that fact.  I don’t have a specific schedule, my mud hut is pretty basic but arguably influential.  I don’t start my mornings with green eggs and ham, a freshly caught rabbit shall be breakfast for the fam.  

Most of my day consists of finding food, whatever’s around, no particular mood.  Everything I’ve learned I teach to my child, this uncivilized world can get pretty wild.  After playing with junior I look for more food, I see a fellow ‘magnon “What’s up, my dude?”  We forage for nuts and we forage for berries, leaves will do, but, you know, it varies.  

When the cold goes away we’ll begin to farm, we’ll change the land what’s the harm?  It’s almost dinner what could I make?  There’s a lot of fish down in that lake.  I crouch near the water and aim my harpoon, I sense a tasty supper sometime soon.  Compared to the average human my senses are keen, lucky for you It’s 2016.  

I’m stuck in the food chain, you shouldn’t complain.  I had to outrun a bear today, I ran uphill and shouted, “HOORAY!”  The hill had a spider, it couldn’t be wider.  It bites my ankle, making me rankled.  I’m growing pretty tired, possibly due to the bite I acquired.  

My head gets heavy and my thoughts start to fade, I try to focus on the idea I last made.  I look at the tiny dots in the night, contemplating my place and where I fit right.  My species so young, our world so mysterious, what you have yet to learn should make you delirious.  

I curl up on the floor and close my eyes, the story of my life forever fossilized.  My tribe members bury me but I’m not the first, an underground sea of dead bodies is all that remains in the land we traversed.
I wrote this for my anthropology class back in 2016.
Tanner Apr 16
Martial arts have been part of my life for a decade and a half.
I became fluent in hand to hand combat and weapons like the staff.

I took punches and kicks to my throat and groin,
Bled and cried while paying them coin.

Became an assistant and eventually a teacher,
To children and adults, passing down wisdom like a preacher.

I got my blackbelt and could win at sparring.
But despite all the injuries and countless scarring,

Conditioning my hands to break boards and bricks,
I could never catch a fly with a pair of ******* chopsticks.
Tanner Apr 6
“The problem with sanity is that I CAN’T lose my mind, it’s inescapable.”  
Sanity is a spiral.  An ever-tightening coil, that goes around and around.  

One may find themselves at the beginning, their head perfectly clear.  
But as time goes by, moments of absurdity start to appear, like mosquitos at the start of Spring.  It feeds off you.  Picks at you, like a scab ready to burst.  

Until you finally reach the center and the spiral is so tight it crushes your psyche.  
But the thing about spirals is that they never end, there’s always more.  

You may never fully break,
But you can always turn around and find the beginning once more.  
And just remember,
“Your now is not your forever”
Even if the spiral may feel that way.
Tanner Apr 6
Emptiness is not depressing.
In fact, It is the complete loss of everything.
Emptiness doesn’t even feel numb,

You sit in the same clothes you had on three days ago,
Underwear and all
And watch reruns of That 70s Show.
Hoping it may bring forth some slight semblance of nostalgic joy.
A youthful remembrance of what feelings were,
When you still had them.

But you pour another white russian
And stare at the screen until the only thing left that isn’t empty

Is your eyes from the light.
Tanner Apr 6
Silence follows,
But silence also speeds ahead.
Always waiting for you to meet again.

Silence is not quiet though.
It makes your thoughts louder,
More noticeable.
So you block it out.

Radio,
Television,
Video games,
Friends,
Work,
School.

Silence brings loneliness,
But it can bring calmness.
A stillness of continuity.
Nothing changes when engulfed by silence.

The only thing that comes before it,
Is death.
Tanner Mar 12
during my fifteen-minute break at work,
I saw a sleeping bag in the dugout of a baseball field.
it’s almost autumn now.
too cold for whomever this belongs to.

I leave a post-it note
asking what his name is.
my break is over so I go back to work.

the next day, I check for a response
and it’s in the garbage.
I take it out and put it back with the sleeping bag
I can wait.

the day after that I check,
it says “Doug”.
I grab a notebook and introduce myself,
“hi Doug, I’m Tanner. can I get you anything?”

the next day, “anything would help.”
“I’ll bring some back warmers you can use at night
in your sleeping bag.  they’re like regular hand warmers but bigger.”
later that night, after my shift,
i do

this goes on for a while.
I’ll ask him if he needs food,
I’ll bring granola bars.
I’ll ask if he needs light,
I’ll bring a battery-powered lantern.

I ask him what he’ll do when the snow comes
I get a simple response, “I have somwhere to go.”
his spelling isn’t that great.
I ask, “where?”
no response the next day.

I think about him now.
figured I’d ask him how he got to be homeless.
he said he came to town when his father got sick,
said he lost his job for leaving.
eventually, he ran out of money.

I leave a twenty in the notebook.
the next day it reads, “thank you.”
a little bit into winter I still saw his bag
and we still exchanged notes, never once seeing each other.

one day in the middle of winter, I notice his bag is gone.
the notebook isn’t so I hide it under the dugout bench.
winter passes, I still haven’t seen him.

it’s finally spring, still no sign of him.
summer comes along, nothing
little league baseball is starting
the kids found the notebook
and ripped out every single page we ever shared,
shredding each one into tiny illegible pieces
thrown away in the trash can.

I’ll never see Doug again.
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