Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
 
Nov 20 · 38
The rhyme of a memory
What4221 Nov 20
Old sailors’ songs trawling up meaning from the depths
In the salt of an old voice
And three women in the belly of a whale
Biblical, human, ambergris trapped
Like mosquitoes until our DNA seeps back into the right bloodstreams
Until we have begun talking the words that make sense again
Until we have begun
again

I’m lighting matchsticks in a dark alley, trying to stay warm-
What way crawls this, what way crawls this?

And there are three men at the bar and the women by the tap and the dogs howling in the streets and the red dawn

Red sky in morning
The salt and the amber of the moment,
Flies bumbling around an open window, hitting a wall
Can you still see them?

We clasp our hands like lovers but when our knees hit the floor
There isn’t salvation

There are three men, two women,
And the hounds baying.

I wanted to poke the eye of the moon, I wanted to grab your hand, I wanted you to listen,
But here we are- amber of the moment

Golden light, cloth over my eyes

Dear darling, Dear dearest,
Are there not worlds in which we could belong?
Dear, dear, dead--

May we not die
May we live forever trapped in the red sunset and the red morning
And the alarms blaring as the sailors take warning and the storms that tread cautious steps on cautious horizons-
And three men and two women and the hounds screaming and the street lights-
And my hand trapped in yours-

forever is terrifying.

May we live today
And face what comes after

Trawling up meaning from salt rind depths
And barnacle encrusted ships keeping us afloat
And a cool, soothing sea breeze,
And our hands clasped together like lovers.

May we not die
11/20/2020
Nov 2 · 27
still good
What4221 Nov 2
your white shirt is a banner of surrender
crumpled on the floor in the corner next to the half-empty Monster
and empty cardboard pack of cigarettes
I can’t believe that this is what life has become
there’s a hole at chest-height in the drywall
from last month when you were late on rent
the only book in the place is the Bible you got from your grandma at confirmation
and it’s propping up one of the slanting table’s legs

I walk to the kitchen and I start on the dishes as you groan awake on the couch
brushing the remnants of take-out and microwave burrito off your lap
stretching and yawning as your high school sweater
with your number and name on the back
pulls up to show it clearly doesn’t fit anymore

greasy eggs and bacon and a sniff at the milk- still good-
we settle with two plates, two forks, two glasses,
the pan added back to the tower in the sink.

I think we’ll make it.
11/2/2020
What4221 Oct 15
_

At the altar of surrender,
I met you


A church bathed in glory sunlight
An altar streamed in colored glass windows
Light sharp enough to cut
Your hand leaning against the stone
The bricks
The gold edging where blood once pooled

I fell to my knees at the altar.
10/14/2020
What4221 Sep 14
A child's sock, torn, in the dirt
Three photographs behind broken glass
And a table, tipped on its side

An empty schoolroom
Today’s lesson scrawled across the chalkboard
Pages torn to drift in the wind

Cracked cement
Fresh painted tarmac, stained
A tree on fire

Black smoke choking the sky
A hushed red glare
And the burn of an invisible sun

The peace of a quiet summer day
No birds, no insects, no animals,
No people

All of these empty containers
Smashed against the hard ground
Indistinct shadows on the wall

Like breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs left behind
To be eaten by the birds.
9/10/2020
Sep 13 · 33
growing closer
What4221 Sep 13
(Only as long as you-)

I can't believe how wonderful it all is

(Answer their questions-)

A new year, different
But communicable

(They only want-)

New people and faces
And the same old town
Glowing reassuringly at night

(Don't **** this up-)

People are smiling with their eyes now
Talking louder to be heard through their masks
Growing closer
Even as they must stay apart

(They only like you because-)

The readings go well
The papers are written
The professors are happy
And the day keeps turning
And the sting of regret has vanished

(If you stop being useful-)

Happiness comes more genuinely now
The bright sunlight
The green grass
And invitations to take part
The people I have come to know
The comforting thunder at night

(One day, they're going to realize-)








I still feel haunted.
9/13/2020
Aug 25 · 23
Breakfast
What4221 Aug 25
I open my box of cereal this morning
A toy, trapped in slight crumbs at the bottom
Like the ******* Jacks and elementary drawing winnings of my childhood
Cheap and plastic inside Kinder eggs
Gold foil wrapped around chocolate to become pirate's treasure
Clacking Mardi Gras beads and fabric flowered leis
And the small plastic bags of Nerds and cheap sunglasses
Tiny parachute men to drop once and throw away the tangled remains
A small breeze
A smell
Summer, hot and sunny,
Singing to me
As I open my box of cereal this morning
And become trapped in the deja vu of a childhood
Memories of birthday parties and cheap toys
And sunny afternoons
And pools and trampolines
And a toy among the crumbs at the bottom of the box
Plastic and cheap and sunny.
August 25, 2020
Aug 23 · 32
Bonfire
What4221 Aug 23
A circle means forever

   (Ouroboros- devouring

                                            Eternally)
                                            
There's a fire in the middle,
And we're gathered

    (Bonfire for the holy pray, you can't buy
      your way into heaven anymore
)

God's palm pressed against the sky
In lingering clouds that blot out the light

Keep in the heat

It's far too hot for a fire

     (They said there'd be more brimstone)


I want to go home

But a circle (ouroboros devour) means forever

We gather around the heat

                                        And we burn.
August 22, 2020
Aug 18 · 24
Growing Older
What4221 Aug 18
When I was younger I'd wake up from nightmares and silent screams to darkness
And stumble my way out of a crooked bed
And trace my hand along the wall
Until I found my parents room down the hall
And I'd stand silent in the doorway
Trying to judge if they were still awake
Or if I was bothering them
And my mom was always so tired
So I'd walk over to my dad's side,
Tiptoeing on the carpet
And gently shake and whisper his name
Until he woke up and asked what was wrong
And sometimes I had puked in the bathroom
And sometimes I couldn't sleep
And sometimes my own mortality had shaken me
But nights like this I was afraid of the shadows
And the things that reached out of them
So he'd turn on the lamp
And I'd be pulled up to sleep between them
Safe and sound

Now I'm older
And those nightmares have followed me
And I wake up, silently screaming, and get a glass of water
And turn on the CD player
And all of the lights
And cry myself to sleep

But in the morning,
When the sun is back,
I can call my dad
And for a moment
I'm safe and sound again.
August 17, 2020
Aug 16 · 148
Untitled
What4221 Aug 16
Blue, purple, pink.

She sits there and scoffs at the colors-ridiculous

And I bite my tongue, I’m ridiculo-

Shake my head, leave the room.

(Love you no matter what)

Ridiculous.

I won’t tell them.

But God, I wish I could.
August 15, 2020
Jul 24 · 174
Ivy Vines
What4221 Jul 24
She calls her up by the ivy vines
The ones that creep and crawl
Until her shadow stretches
Until her image sprawls

And she climbs up by the ivy vines
The ones that creep and crawl
And leaves her shadow in the moonlight
And lets herself sprawl

The garden stands empty at the foot of brick and ivy
And a room where the shadows left
A moon-bathed calling in a sun-bathed world
Two girls and the ivy

The ground is soft
Her step is sure
The dew is cold
By the morning

She climbs down the ivy vines
When the moon is gone
She climbs down the ivy vines
And faces another morn.
Jun 10 · 148
Bird's-eye View
What4221 Jun 10
Back and forward
Push and pull
They pick up a piece of straw
Wherever they go.

The birds they caw
Because the birds, they came
Arrived in swarms
And circled our pain.

They plucked straw
From the thatched roof
And built their nests
And glittering eyes looked for proof.

And the birds, they flew
And picked at the scarecrow
And stole his stuffing
And watched from spaces narrow.

And the feathers drifted about
The effigy of straw they made
A man in birds' eyes
Dim-witted, afraid.

The sun beat down
On this straw man
And the birds watched it burn
As only birds can.
Feb 22 2020
May 25 · 38
Chronic
What4221 May 25
I read a story written by someone who experienced chronic pain.

It was a fictional story, not about their pain,
But in the lines between their character’s suffering you could feel it,
Pressing sharp and cutting and pulsing down your spine,
In your hips,

Chronic
Lasting

They wrote about a man that walked through the rain and never wanted it to stop
Because the fire he walked next to kept away the rain
And it kept away the hurt that plagued his steps
Shadowing like a hunting dog under the birds that fell
Featherless, boneless,
From the sky.

Featherless, cage-free,
Eggs and chickens,
Turkeys, geese, swans,
How do they land on these shelves
(Featherless, boneless)

They land on the supermarket shelves as I walk by clutching my daughter’s hand,
Masks making our faces invisible
(No mouths, no noses)
Just a bunch of eyes drifting from fallen bird to fallen bird

I read her to sleep that night
And she crawls into my bed in the early morning
(When it is still dark and your mouth is still dry so you wander to the sink to get water)
Saying that nightmares of eyes on mouthless faces had followed her through a dark forest of dead birds

Sometimes I wonder about the things that change us

We wear masks and hide away, ducking from human contact
Crying for another voice
Trying to stay safe, stay alive,
But my daughter sees human eyes on dead birds falling on supermarket shelves
And there is another side to every coin.

Chronic
There is pain that stretches across your bones
That settles down like a cat exhausted from a mouse chase
Stretching and settling across your back, your shoulders, the curve of your spine and the ache in your hips

It’s hard to walk
(And when you close your eyes, the dead birds)

My daughter threw away her faux feather stuffed pillow
She said it came alive and cried at night
(It is not alone)

She pulls a mask down over her face
Pulls gloves up over her hands
Mirroring me by my side
No school, no daycare-
I no longer have the money for a sitter
Whether or not they’re essential.

We sit at home after shopping
Staying away from birds
Reading in the calm of a storm
As the rain lashes outside.

(And a man written by an author with chronic pain walks by under the raindrops)
He walks by his fire
As I walk by my daughter
And the world is empty outside

Empty and mouth-less,
Invisible faces with crying eyes
And birds falling (featherless, boneless) from a thunder-filled sky.
May 25, 2020
May 12 · 39
Starving Days
What4221 May 12
You're sitting alone in your room and you haven't eaten anything since yesterday's lunch because you can't force yourself to go to the cafeteria
Or store
Because no one ever taught us how to look at someone else and see a human
Because no one ever taught us that it's okay if you're alone
Because no one ever taught us that just because they can see you, doesn't mean they're judging you

Unless I missed that class

And you didn't eat anything all weekend and when Monday comes you eat breakfast alone and stare at your phone and pretend you don't notice the friend groups not noticing you
Or, at least, not seeing you
Because no one ever taught us how to put a band-aid on that emptiness
Because no one ever taught us how to smile back at a stranger
Because no one ever taught us how to speak when you can't breathe and the air itself is heavy

Those starving days, when you walk to class hungry because you can't afford the store and you can't afford the stares of the cafeteria
And it's cold and you can't breathe
The starving days of winter.
5/12/2020
May 6 · 58
Catholic Guilt
What4221 May 6
In Sunday school
They gave us stones
Smooth enough to skip
And told us to color one side
And write I'm sorry
On the other.

They have made us feel our guilt
Before we knew what we had done.

I have always carried the weight of my future
And you ask why my back is bent and aching.
5/5/2020
Apr 11 · 53
Moments
What4221 Apr 11
There are moments
When the sun shines
And the apathy clears out of my brain
Like the morning's fog
That I think
I can go back to me again
Apr 2 · 48
grief
What4221 Apr 2
How do you draw a man in mourning?

Simple.
You draw him,
Standing there,
Looking out the hospital window at nothing
Because he can no longer look at his Love.
What4221 Apr 1
I believe man's own making is on earth
Before they put us in the dirt
How can you send the suffering to hell because they couldn't stand being an empty shell?

And God watches from the sky
I've still got faith to stand by
But the devil in hell dances on earth
So why do they send lovers to burn?

I don't think there's caps on our approximations
No, suffering drowns all the nations
We make our own heaven and we make our own hell
When I die I'll blame myself.

Nobody's gonna pray if they think they're too late
And you know it's past your due date
And is this hell
Or are we kidding ourselves?

He's still watching and we're still living
But I don't think we'll find heaven or hell in our dying
We'll move on somewhere new, that's for sure
But the future is still a blur.

I'll follow you brother
I'll follow you friend
I'll follow you both
To the bitter end.

But I won't fear death
And I won't fear hell
I know I don't have the strength
To end myself.

And in the great after
There will be laughter
And no more division
No more indecision.

After the pain
We'll find no more restraint
People will be people like they couldn't on earth
People will be people when they're buried in the dirt.
Mar 29 · 45
This City
What4221 Mar 29
Cardboard cut out in the rain
Spits gum on gray sidewalk
Slick back hair and ripped jeans
Every step
Cracked leather boots
Hot ash tipped onto pavement
Glaring high beams in a rude city
Smoke curling and drifting
Lungs cramped and burning
Clouds full bellied

Sharp red claws pull at thin air
Silver whistle sounds and yellow cabs
Sunglasses glint
Neon signs burn in the puddles
Their skin touches in the alley

Brick walls
Ivy greens
Strumming strings on a corner
Beat up money case
Licked blood dripping
Split lip

Sharp ice wind
Dandelion blooms in cracks
Rainspotted gray sky earth

Metallic tongue blood and ink
Eyes darting across streets
Cloisters of atoms in thick air
Quick thunder boom crackle yellow glow

Leather coat
Faux fur around knockoff boots
Pink feather boa
Two lives spin and twirl

Black sky rumbles
Stomachs rumble

Hunger reaches up
Aching
From the street.
Mar 27 · 34
Tyler Rager
What4221 Mar 27
"Two dead boys got up to fight"

I always liked that line
It implies that they stood up
Bullet wounds still bleeding
Or they clawed out of fresh graves
To stand firm
Eyes hard and jaw clenched
Their family behind them

They stood in front of another certain death
Willing to risk it all again
Blood soaked in their fancy burial suits
And horrified gasps from everywhere

Like an outsider to a massacre
A crowd gathers to judge the dead ones
And the families cry over their dead, breathing sons

And they got up just to fight

And no matter what
You can't stop being your brother's keeper

So you know there's a sister or brother in the crowd
Begging their brother to stand down

(I apologize if this has gotten dark)

And there's tears and blood
And two dead boys standing up to fight
Because that's how we're raised here,
Isn't it?

Give your all
Give your life

Then walk it off.
I know it's not supposed to be serious and grim, but this line always struck me in a different way until I saw two boys who wouldn't let death stop them.
Mar 21 · 34
Therapy
What4221 Mar 21
I don't know how to communicate the vast emotions that have swamped through my life
I know people that can spin meaning out of air like sugar into cotton candy
Making everything pretty and pink and easy to swallow

I have never been one of those people.

Words are fighting battles in my stomach until they are released, broken, from my bloodied teeth and cut lips
They have to fight through the hollow bones of my rib cage
And my heart struggles with the meaning and the message

And I can't even tell my mother I love her without it sounding fake.

Why are emotions so distant for me?

Apathy settles in the chilled fog that creeps behind my clenched teeth
I want to get high, I want to get drunk, I want to forget me
I want to stop hearing the claws scraping the ground outside

I want this pain to stop.

I want to be able to show me, completely,
But I haven't the words or the ability
To pull meaning from this existence

I wish I could describe myself without this scraping and cutting and digging my grave
I wish I could be a poet instead of a patient.
March 21, 2020
Mar 18 · 321
Last Dance
What4221 Mar 18
She pulls up her hand
Turns
Stands on the toes of one foot
Spins

Drops appear on the ground
She falls with grace
Hands extended
Bowed forward to the audience

Tears stream down her face
The empty seats stare back
The room is bared to the sky
The roof is gone

The rain starts slow then fast
Her tears
The raindrops
The empty audience

She pulls herself up
Smiles
Stands on both feet
Turns

The tears and the rain
She drowns under the gray sky
She picks her way through ruins
She walks along battered streets

At the end
She lifts her hand
She waves
She spins

She leaves.
Mar 17 · 33
Alone
What4221 Mar 17
Gray hands lifted,
Quivering and shaking
A heart in his chest
Bleeding and breaking

I watched this man
As he passed by alone
His selfish family
Didn't bother to leave home

How can a person
Give someone their all
Just to be alone
Like their contribution was too small

I watched this man
As he died before his breath
I watched this man
As he sank alone into death

I hate feeling pity
Because I know he was strong
But for this selfless man to be alone
Is so awfully wrong

Don't forget about your family
The ones that have been true
Don't abandon your family
And they shouldn't abandon you

Whether it's by choice or by blood
Their hearts should seek yours
Don't let them be alone
At the end of their hours.
What4221 Feb 28
A woman screams at the sky.

She is cradling a baby in her arms and from her eyes flow what life should've been and she
Screams at the sky.

A man walks up behind her
A man puts his hand on her shoulder
A man crumbles like a drying sandcastle and the still child sleeps in his mother's arms.

Water flows fast in the river by their house and the blood flows fast through their veins and their hearts beat too fast
And the coffin is lowered in the loamy ground.

They walk through town.
With sharp eyes they see the people and the people
With sharp eyes
See them.

It's this terrible, silent, seeing.
Eyes reflecting and the sky is clear and her child is gone.

The air stands rigid, hovering over their shoulders like the swallows that gaze darkly from the trees
A ****** of crows has gathered at the East end of town
The streets are empty
It's quiet.

A woman screams at the sky.
A man is cradled in her lap
She cries out what life should've continued on
Tears pull red from his brow.

A man stands behind the woman
A man stretches out his hand
In his other is cradled a child

A man stretches out a hand and rests it on her shoulder
A man breaks in the silence of a knowing town

A man drowns in the red and a woman drowns in the red and an infant cries to his father

And a red banner flutters in the wind.

And a woman screams at a silent town
And a mourner screams at a silent world
And a man cradles his son
And a woman sleeps in an empty home.

And a red banner flutters in the silent wind.
Feb 20 · 58
Beyond
What4221 Feb 20
This physical world
It's an overlay
The sheen to glass
So you can see the invisible reality.

We lose the physical
Then we lose sight
Then we become ghosts
Ghosts in the night.

Birds can't see glass
Maybe all animals see beyond
And that's why the dogs bark
At the strange man by the pond.

They talk about a veil
And how to break it
And how fabric is ripped
And how space is vacant.

Heart beats are the ticking
Of the one clock nature made
And the pulse of the music
Flows by where we stayed.

A cover of a book
A written song
We couldn't find the meaning
All along.

But we know the colors
We know the words
We know the emotions
And we know the hurt.

We know the formulas
The swirls of math
And how to find our way
When we lose track.

We plot the physical
And dream of stars
And the unimaginable
Knows who we are.

We've reached the veil
Stretched thin over history
Only to find
Another mystery.

We will be what we can
We will find our way home
We will open the world
And let our souls roam.

We cannot see
The unseeable
We cannot reach
The unreachable.

But we have found a way
To touch the intangible
And one day
We will live in the unimaginable.
Feb 19 2020
Feb 19 · 59
Astronaut
What4221 Feb 19
Maybe there's a reason
We flock to space

There's no being alone
If you're who went away.
Feb 19 2020
Feb 9 · 65
_
What4221 Feb 9
_
It’s like Poe said,
I was sick
Sick unto death…


I am so very sick,
Dostoevsky’s character from underground said he was sick and wicked.

Maybe that’s me,
Forty years underground,
Sick and wicked.  Am I a wicked man?

I don’t feel as though I am wicked.  Not in the ways
Of the gnashing teeth

But, yes, in the way of fire.  In the way of brimstone hail,
Maybe I deserve this.

I want to write a book.
I want to bring to life something that matters.

I want to belong.

But I don’t want a golden calf,
I don’t want a pillar of salt,
And I don’t want to-
         What don’t I want to do?

Part of me says live,
Another says die.

I wish symbols didn’t rule our lives.

They turn us rotten and evil inside
Because good turns to bad
When we let each other die.

They wished death on those who disagreed
They wished death and died in their greed.

Please, stop this war,
We are human too.

People don’t hide behind masks unless they have to.
But nothing disguises their eyes
Because dry eyes are conspicuous among the tears
They hate and hate because they fear.

We’re taught from a young age
That nothing is clear cut
Nothing is black and white
And that actions speak louder than words.

We live in a written world
Where people put value on black and white pages
And shout into echo chambers and voids-
                                                      Cany­ons, really.

There are so many eyes in this world
Like a fly
Like mirrors reflecting into infinity
There are so many ways to see
And people see only one.
              And then they take it on the run
              And they pretend it’s the only one
              And they say their word is final
              And they say the matter’s done.


The extremists scream.
On all sides, they let hysteria rule their lives
And make a mockery of their once-noble causes.

This world
Is nothing.

This life
Is nothing.

We were born from the dirt
We lived on the dirt
And we will return to the dirt.

And people rebel against this meaningless with hatred
Screaming into the void
Because they don’t matter,
We don’t matter,

And maybe I am, in fact,
A wicked man.
Feb 5 · 34
Intangible
What4221 Feb 5
Let me write about you.
You, the one who went so far away

-don't go where I can't reach you-

You asked me to...
It hurts too much to say.
White dress
Black suit.

I wish it was me and you.

I know what I'm not supposed to know
Or maybe at least half
I just know that you're the only one who's looked at me like that.

I don't understand how I'm so perfect in your eyes
I don't understand why
I don't understand anything right now.

I wish you weren't so far away
I wish I could've made you stay.

I wish- I want- I need
You here
I think.

Is this what love feels like when it's new?
I think I just want to be with you.

I want to look in the future and see you there
I don't want to always be asking where?

-you've gone where I can't reach-

If you came back
It would be yes.  Again, and again.
Yes.
Jan 29 · 131
Daedal
What4221 Jan 29
The monster walks through twisting ways
Head upheld and unafraid
And the people scream and run away
But they can't get through
The unsolvable maze.
It's daybreak.  They've let the monster out.

There's a lot of people
Trailing string through a maze
Standing in shadows
So very afraid.

The man with the crown
Watches through the eyes of the town

And the monster shakes the walls with its roars.

The twin suns watch the people scream
It's unholy
Demonic
Unclean.

I've trapped them here
Inside my maze
I didn't want to
But they claimed they wouldn't be afraid.

The walls all shake
Their knees quake
My heart breaks.

(The walls don't fall.
But we do.)
Jan 27 · 199
Miscue
What4221 Jan 27
Miscue
You're a missed cue
I think I miss you

Small mistake
We took a small break
You made my heart ache

We're so lost
No more star-crossed
Love is tossed

Different man
Found a different plan

I'm sorry it didn't work out.
Miscue

Definition: (noun) A minor inadvertent
mistake usually observed in speech or writing
or in small accidents or memory lapses etc.
Jan 13 · 25
Biomorph
What4221 Jan 13
I claw up earth and statues and ancient gold

Rip across centuries, watch the stories unfold
The earth is burning-

All of it, fire and sin
Brimstone hail,

We let the devil in.

I've become an approximation
My shadow stretches and haunts me
Creeping and shaking like the branches of a tree

My eyes are ornaments
Decorative and fake-

Something bumps into me, screaming,
And they fall and break.

We're fake
The fire grabs my skin
A finger against the pulse on my wrist

It's too close
But unreal, we don't burn.

We live and watch,
And as we watch the earth becomes our urn.

And the tables turn, and turn



The stone cracks.

Ancient magic, calling us back
We're all shambling,
All abstract forms

Find meaning within my un-meaning
And depths without depth.

I'm a fake thing
Art made to look real
Based on life.

Maybe that's why I burn
And the earth burns
And the tables turn, and turn,
And turn.

(Spread the ashes from the urn-
If I die,
That means I was alive.)
Biomorph

'barəmɔr

noun

A decorative form or object
based on or resembling a living
organism.


January 12, 2020
Jan 11 · 31
History
What4221 Jan 11
.
What have you done?
Is one of the worst things you can hear
It's telling
A whole story in a sentence
It is irreversible.

With four words all can hear
The delineation of fact
The snap of bone and the smell of gunpowder

My God,
What have you done?

It haunts me

The past surges up to the present
The blank horror
Forming on matte memories
Refusing to shine with truth
I hate the unshakeable victor

They write my story
They read my name and they know

They know what I've done.
.
Jan 6 · 41
an eternity of stars
What4221 Jan 6
I keep a picture of a far away star plastered on my wall
In the hopes that someday my children's children and so on
May see it in person

My heart aches in a hollow way when I see the old poster on the wall
Knowing that I will never reach that far
Never touch that burning glow

But my hope that others' hands may one day stretch far enough
That one day we will sail new seas toward a new horizon
And see new dawns
And new life
Keeps the emptiness from engulfing me

We live forever by making the world live forever
We reach eternity through the outstretched arms of our legacies

We continue
Onward, onward
We sail on new ships on seas of stars

This is our heaven,
This is our eternity,
This is infinity.

Survive, survive,
And sail toward the brightest star.
Jan 3 · 50
The endurance
What4221 Jan 3
I like art because it shows your mind when you made it
And lately, for me,
It's been skeletons and flowers,
Dead birds dripping from trees like ornaments
Hollow buildings reflecting the sun in their windows
And lonely, lonely, lost souls.

I like painting and drawing and writing
The way everything can swirl together and make meaning
The way none of it makes sense

I like how people interpret it.

They see histories in a single drop of paint on an otherwise blank canvas
I don't have that ability,
All I see is the color of the paint,
And sometimes not even that
The artist and the emotion elude me.

So I like hearing
What they think song lyrics mean
What depths they pull from faded photographs
What monsters they create from shadows.

We always gravitate towards two meanings:
Admiration and fear
(Beauty and the beast)

But I like these opposites
These poles
These dramatizations
The effigies of straw we burn.

It's much easier when the evil is clear cut and you know who to root for and against
Easy in a way that this Earth never is.

It's far easier to know that Voldemort and Sauron and the Sith are evil
Than it is to realize how twisted are the words of those you thought you could trust
It's easier to watch Robin Hood and WonderWoman and Paul Blart: Mall Cop
As they save the people, the city, and the kiosks.

I like how people can look into something created by somebody else
For some random reason
And find themselves in it.

I like the infinity of emotion that interpretation offers us
I like how it means something of us may last even when we're gone.

Time drags on and we endure.
12/30/19
What4221 Jan 3
I wheedled out a Ouija board from a dead woman's grave
Carved in my initials and thought I was brave
If a specter dare haunt me
Then I want to know what they have to say.

So I switched out the work clothes and got to work
And watched as my immobile hands became mobile yet
Asking empty air around me for a conversation I shouldn't get

So when the room grows cold
And dark
And I grow bold,
I ask for a name

Then I ask who's to blame
For the person I became
And the ghost didn't bother with ouija boards
It spoke right in my ear in a bit of a roar

Technically,
I could be anybody
I'm coalescing
Pulling my voice from your repertoire
Trying on dead men's clothing
And laughing at how alone you are at night.


Now, that wasn't very nice
And I know I'm made of ice
And my heart has stopped beating
But I think that's all because of the beatings
And the way my skin is pulled tight around scars

The ghost has a crooked laugh
And it just says
That's the way life is
And flicks the back of my head

I think it's the most sincere conversation I've ever had
Sitting in the dark
All alone
Talking to a ghost in my empty home

That's not fair,
It's just not.
I want life to give me a shot
I want Lady Luck to give me a break
I want to put something other than my heart at stake.

I want more money and more friends and a good job and good times
Just some happiness that I can use to survive
Because isolation has wrapped its hands around my neck
And lately, because of it, I'm always short on breath.

You want luck?
You want happiness?
You want life to be kind and fair?
Then get in line.

But why, why
Can't the good life be mine?

I can feel the spirit's hesitation
The way the very air seems to glare
I'm pretty sure they hate me.

There is no good life
Stop dreaming about a fantasy

The ghost is leaving and I'm still trapped inside this reality

But wait, please,
I'm crying out
Desperate for an answering shout
Tell me why
Tell me why
Or else I may die
Why does the universe not give a ****?

Because
The apparition answers as it starts to fade
We make our own luck.

And then it returns to the grave.
12/27/19
Dec 2019 · 50
Leaving
What4221 Dec 2019
The car window rolls up
Her breath ghosts across it
And the condensation blocks her from my view.

The snow flurries and falls
And covers the ground and sky
And she remains unmoving.

The engine complains and groans,
And starts with a gutteral roar
Her blurred figure steps back.

The tires ache as they roll over potholes
The slow movement and the dim glow of headlights
Leaving her figure behind.

The light on her porch is golden
And filters around her silhouette
Her eyes reflect the taillights.

The storm picks up
And yet she stands in the violent swirls of snow
Unshaken as she watches.

It's so cold,
So very cold
And my fingers burn where they are wrapped around the wheel.

Can't see the road,
Can't see the stars,
And her figure flickers and vanishes as the porch light goes out.

Her eyes haunt me
Golden light haunts me
And the cold traces it's fingers down my spine even in summer.

I never wanted to
But I left her behind.
Dec 2019 · 47
=
What4221 Dec 2019
=
Half-emotions
Caught in the spaces between
Something like falling into a deep
Dark
Alleyway
Between two skyscrapers
In the middle of the night
What4221 Dec 2019
(Fulfilling desires on the basis of morality)

Humanity is a speck, you say,
A speck in the existence of time

Temporary?

We are all time-bound.
I sit, I shrug,
I put my head down.

You're buzzing, hacking, sawing away
Everything about you is destructive
Everything you want, you take

(Jellyfish and butterflies and something ethereal flying out of the corner of my eyes
Is that you mom?
Can you hear me?
(Is this microphone live?))

They light up bastardizations and stigma
And say my name is blasphemy
And maybe it's all me,
All me,
(Devil child,
Troubled teen,
(At least I've only got one parent left to grieve))

I'm frickin shaking.
I'm so unaware and the universe is catching me
Catching up to me
Ripping my body apart
Because it's time

And the dues are past.

(Keep the change ya filthy animal)

I sink and swim and I'm still dead last.

Dead.
Last.

(I'm dead and I was the last and God why didn't you give me time to grieve?)

Church choirs are singing my soundtrack
The devil laughs and says
It's alright kid, I've got your back

I panic and don't breathe and miss the way you look at me
(Fear and then only apathy)

I think something big forgot about me.

The trees are huge in this forest
And it's ******* cold and it's ******* dark
(It was a dark and stormy night...)

I trip over roots and stumble over rocks
And run from bees
They sting my arms
They sting my veins
(They pull me down,
Down,
(Down))

I wake up in a quagmire
Except that's fake too
And I cry and I realize
God, I really do miss you

I stumble in the middle of a traffic clogged street
I stumble home
I'm dead on my feet
(I wish I was dead
Dead
(Dead))

They throw me out
They drag me in
They tell me I can begin again and then they **** me

They call it mercy

(Except I didn't really die,
Did I?(not so merciful after all))

Because I fell,
Fell,
And crash landed in hell

(It keeps autocorrecting
Suggesting cities-
The places you and I visited.
Chicago, New York, Dallas, Detroit, and the river that smells of death and is rotting its town.)

I drag myself up and awake and away and aware
And wary
And weary
And so many other words that fit
(Tired, tired, tired, (scared))

I pull myself up
(Nothing is fair about life)
I drag myself home
(Nothing is given in life)
I write my name in blood on broken concrete walls
(Life only takes and takes and takes)

I wake up from this nightmare screaming your name
And you sit and ask me
Temporary?
.
Dec 2019 · 63
Perfectionist
What4221 Dec 2019
Another wandering platitude
Like words can grasp the storm
Ride the lightning
Describe the thunderous boom

Blinds are dragged across windows
Air is dragged out of lungs
And the mist hazes vision
As a heart beat runs

Can't talk
Can't sing
Can't breathe
So sit and grieve

They'll say it's an illness
Something wrong in the mind
No time, no time
They're stealing all of the time

Perfection rests somewhere in the grave
Or at least that's what they say
So every night a heart beats six feet under
Because practice makes perfect

And smoke drifts in lungs of hollow people
Carved from wood and dangling from the sky
Practicing how to breathe
Until they forget and die

(I don't know how perfect we stand when we are closed in misery, all I know is I can't forget the way you looked at me, and when I die I hope I find out why, because it was you and you and you and you until it wasn't anything.)

I guess we'll figure it out when we're perfect
I guess we'll figure it out when we die.

Six feet under,
Six feet under,
Perfect and pretty from six feet under

.
Dec 2019 · 72
Distant
What4221 Dec 2019
It's troubling, really
How distantly I see everything now
Separated by a pane of glass.

I rest my hand on the window and want to call you back.

It's a relief, almost,
That there's no time to rest.
Movement means my brain doesn't have energy to think.

I sleep less, eat less,
And that way everything is cloudy and gray
And it's comfortable here,
In a haze where I can't feel.

I turn my name over in my mind
I try to look at myself from every side
And see what others see-

Nothing much,
Just misshappen and scarred me.

It hurts to walk
So I run instead and the adrenaline helps to cloud my mind.

I almost feel like I'm ghosting behind a crowd
Unnoticeable,
And therefore not judged.

I cast off the weight of old grudges
And I walk in limping pain.

I press my hand to the rail or the wall or the window
Waiting for something to reach back and tap the glass
Like a fish in an aquarium.

Everything's distant
Cloudy, ghostly,
Like I'm walking through a dead world.

Maybe it's troubling,
But at least in this fog I feel nothing.
Nov 2019 · 62
...
What4221 Nov 2019
...
.
be happy
be happy
be happy


I tug my hair out of my head
Stare out the window and wish I was dead
Then see a picture of my parents and know there's no escape
I'll have to live til I die because I can't make them cry

They've lost too much already.

The sky is always the wrong colors
Gray
Gray
Gray and golden days
I think it's mocking me
From where I am hidden away

My room is quiet and cold
Just like my friends
I've never felt this way before

But I have, haven't I?

But now, there's nowhere else to hide.

All the emotions locked inside are crying to be released
But I can't feel,
What's the big deal?
My grades are okay
That's what's important at the end of the day
I'll keep the scholarship
And try not to fade away
And listen as my stomach growls because eating is too much now.

Everything is too much now.

So I'll just wait until it's time to exit the stage
Take a bow
Lower my body into the ground
I'll die of old age or an accident or something.

I used to be afraid of death
But now I feel nothing.
Nov 2019 · 63
cold
What4221 Nov 2019
The hounds howl in the streets
I know they’re tracking me
The night rests its hand on my shoulder
And the radio in my car crackles to life
And the Beatles sing

when i find myself in times of trouble…

My wrists are cold, so cold
Ice crawls and infects my lungs
I cough up blood
And pray to God.

The emptiness of the night stares through slitted eyes
And the stars shove moonshine down my throat
I don’t sleep at night anymore
Because I can hear the devils walking down below.

Turtle-necks cling too close to my throat
I can’t breathe and it takes me back to the way they looked at me
They were always looking down and it was so cold
That’s all I remember most days- the cold, the cold, the cold.

The snowflakes wake me up with their screaming when they fall
Everybody was always so cold
And so many people fell
Pushed, dropped, jumped
I watched them fall.

God, why didn’t i fall too?

I can’t hear radio static and I can’t listen to the Beatles
Every time music plays I feel that hand on my shoulder
And winter stares from the calendar like a threat
And I've come too close to lighting myself on fire to stay warm

or feel something.

I don’t go outside
It gets too cold this time of year
I hide inside
Hide the tears
And don’t let the door open.
Curtains closed, doors closed

maybe this way i’ll be safe.

.
Nov 2019 · 324
defined
What4221 Nov 2019
Evil is pain.

Evil is the fear that creeps under your skin
And you wear it everywhere you go.

Evil is the darkness that floods into your mother's eyes as she lets out her last breath and her hand falls from where it was rested against your cheek.

Evil is the certainty and the cold of night
The marching of time dragging us to oblivion.

Evil is the way you told me my brother was a druggie and a drunk and worth nothing, but that it's okay, because the rest of my family is the same.
And evil is the hatred that curls so tight around my heart and lungs that I think I'm dying.

Evil is a phone call after an accident with hope distant at the end of the line
And evil is the way that the snow falls cold before the leaves can drop from the trees.

Evil is the steady ticking of the clock and it's the way they say that nobody can change and it's the hunger that growls from my stomach on the bad days.

Evil is sitting alone in the dark and knowing that no one knows who you are
And they don't want to.

Evil is the haze and the cloud that drags itself across your face until you are blind and stumbling through what was supposed to be familiar.

Evil is the way that eyes judge before they see.

Don't ask me the definition of evil
It is dripping blood from its hands next to me.
Nov 2019 · 61
New place
What4221 Nov 2019
Everybody's a coward here.
They stare at the scars and none of them ask and **** I kinda want a chance to explain myself

But I don't owe these stuck up spoiled-
I don't owe them anything.

I'm sorry I walk around in hand-me-downs

We can't all afford new shoes and ****
...

I'm sorry I'm projecting.
I know all of them aren't awful but sometimes they look at me and it's like I'm e.t and I just wanna phone home, go home.

Home's less boring and the people there aren't cowards.
...
I'm sorry we can't understand each other
Sep 2019 · 100
One Month
What4221 Sep 2019
I've had these thoughts crashing around inside my head ever since the last shell fell to the ground

Pictures of the orange clay breaking in midair
Your finger still resting on the trigger

Did you know, when they said the cars crashed they all saw broken glass
But if they just collide,
All the harm is hidden inside

I stop raising my hand in class.

At night,
The nightmares walk over the broken glass in my mind
The cool metal of the barrel rests against my forehead

I picture my bones as orange clay.

The words creep into my mind when I don't want them to
Intrusive thoughts, extrinsic motivators staring at me from dull eyes

Lonely, lonely, how alone are you now?

My bones shatter on impact and the pieces rest in the field with the rest of the broken disks
You pick up shotgun shells and shards of glass

Motivation hides somewhere in the dark with my voice

I can't even cry anymore.

When the cars crashed there was broken glass,
But all I told anyone was collision
So they think the failure was my decision

God, I just want this to end.

But at night
Lying in my bed wide awake because I slept all day
It's your eyes staring at me in my mind
It's your voice guiding me this time
And the momentary pleasure comes as it always does
And I can imagine it's your touch,
Your love,

But my bones are scattered orange clay
And you are the one emptying the shells from the 12 gauge

And my hands shake when I clean my face in the bathroom
The mirror cracking with the absolute ******* weight of it all

I grip my hair and I want to tear it off.

I start to decompose
I don't know how to put it poetically
I just turn with the leaves
As September turns and the weather turns and the earth turns

I become the dirt and they walk all over me
And I watch you paint another person's bones orange
I watch you load another clip
I watch you trace them through the air

***** shooting hearts.

and im trembling in the dirt
my voice doesn't work
my eyes and ears are gone
im just orange clay,
decomposing
until im-
gone.
.
Sep 2019 · 59
I fell
What4221 Sep 2019
I stumbled into a well
And fell
Down, into the dark and the damp

And the circle of light above me
And the water rising around me
And the rats crawling behind the stone

I fell into a well
And I gazed up at the light
As the sun hid behind the horizon
And day gave way to night

I'm stuck at the bottom of a well
And the stars are glowing
And the moon is showing
And the people are wandering home from work

And I'm at the bottom of a well
And I'm crying
I'm not hiding
I'm stuck as the water rises

I'm at the bottom of a well
As rats dig behind the stone
And the people are talking and laughing

They're so loud, so loud,
They can't hear me crying

I fell into a well
And I can't claw my way out
And the water is rising
And the light is dying
And the people are walking away

I stumbled into a well
And I fell
And now all I am
Is loneliness and shadows
And the people walking home
Can't hear me scream

I fell into a dark well
And now I'm drowning
And trapped inside the darkness
Of a dream.
Sep 2019 · 620
Orchard
What4221 Sep 2019
Why did you pick the smallest tree?
Because that's the one that grows the most.
Aug 2019 · 69
Slow and Steady
What4221 Aug 2019
There are all different kinds of people.
Short, tall
Big, small
Slow, fast
First, last.

I just happen to be one of the turtles.
Slow, you know.

Quick enough with books
But not friends
Slowly and steadily trying to win the race.

I am a turtle of a person,
And I think this worries my parents.

Do you have new friends?
No
I'd like some though

But it's only been a day,
And I'm doing this my way,
So it'll be slow.

Being social,
Having fun?
I've done enough of both,
I think,
For anyone.

I'm a turtle of a person,
So though it might take a while,
I will climb every mountain,
I will pass the finish line with a smile.

It may take days,
Months,
Years,
But I will achieve and continue
Through hardships,
Pain,
And tears.

I'm a turtle of a person
I like to take it slow
But I'll get there eventually
I'm not afraid to go.
Jul 2019 · 77
Endless
What4221 Jul 2019
God drew my outline
And then he let me be
Told me to fill myself in
With all life’s mystery.

My parents pulled me to my feet
And taught me to not be mean
My parents gave me nightmares
And my parents gave me dreams.

My brothers taught me strength
And my brothers taught me patience
They taught me to be brave
And to never hold back my two cents.

My friends gave me words
And my friends taught me to live
They weren’t afraid of stormy days
And to them my love I give.

And I walk along an endless line
And in my heart is an endless rhyme
And in my soul an endless dance
And by my side are my endless friends.

Life’s mystery is starting to fill me in
And I think I’ve learned to forgive
My outline isn’t empty
And I’m not afraid to live.

And in our hearts an endless question
Follows us down the line
Singing a hollow tune
With a lonely rhyme.

How long have you been walking
Along this endless line
You say you want to walk
Until you reach the end of time

But the miles left are many
And your heartbeats left are few
How long have you been walking
How long have you been you?
Next page