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What4221 Dec 2019
Caught in the spaces between
Something like falling into a deep
Between two skyscrapers
In the middle of the night
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.
What4221 Jun 2018
Senseless drifting
Wastless abandon
Want not
Want none
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 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.
What4221 Oct 2018
You’re prettier than her, though
Laziest over achiever I’ve ever seen
You always seem so happy

I don’t think I’m ever going to figure you out
It hurts sometimes
When it’s the middle of the night
And I hear you all telling me these things again
She’s my best friend
I’m not beautiful like she is

I run myself to the ground
Anxiety and doubt
Push myself until morning
Then an hour of sleep and then work
And you still call me lazy.
I’ve worked hard for this
And I feel like I don’t deserve it

I’m happy because I am splitting apart
When I cry in the shower the sobs turn into laughter
Because maybe if I force myself to smile
The emptiness will leave.

I’m sorry I’m hard to figure out.
I just hold a lot of love for everyone
And I’m kind of different from who I think I am sometimes
I want to succeed in life
But I want everyone to succeed with me.

I’m sorry you can’t figure me out.
I can’t either.
What4221 Jul 2019
This whole past week
Of the Fourth of July
The sky’s been screaming
Day and night

Thunderstorms then fireworks
The only difference is the color of the light.
What4221 May 2018
We’ll meet again,

Fights and bruises,
Calloused hands
And sun kissed skin,
We were never gonna fit in.

We’ll be together again,

Dark nights watching the stars,
Sleeping under trees,
And catching fireflies,
The world won’t drown us with its lies.

We’ll believe again,

Hearts racing,
Cuts and scrapes,
And they thought they could keep us down,
For you, I would leave any town.

We’ll hold hands again,
We’ll run away again,
We’ll dream again,
And we’ll fight the world again,

                                                In the next life.
What4221 May 2018
I used to think
Were like








Or maybe
We are the
The graph

And I curve
I just
Wanted to

End behavior
When I stretch
To infinity
My function
Pulls to
And you
Up positively

Or maybe,
We're just people
In random
Running into each other
At all the wrong times.
What4221 Jun 2018
All I ever wanted to do
Was go to sea with you
Fall every time the waves get rough
And wobble on the land

We’d lean into each other
As we got our sea legs.

All I ever wanted to do
Was explore the world with you
Sail over forbidden waters
And swim with the sharks

We’d pull each other up
To escape their hungry maws.

All I ever wanted to do
Was escape into the sunset with you
Stare into the reflection of the sun
And get lost at the look in your eyes

We’d hold each other’s hands
And sail right into the sky.
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 May 2019
Brittle old bones
Walk in shakes
And the occasional drum roll
along the river bank

Young bright soul
Walks in breaks
And the occasional canned laughter
along the river bank

Brand new heart
Trips through dark and dank
Finding their way
along the river bank

Ancient mind
Trudges beside an army tank
Fighting their way
along the river bank

Crowd of strangers
Skip and walk
Find their way
To a place to talk

A family traveling
Through night and day
Using the river
To find their way.
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.
What4221 Feb 2019
There is safety in anonymity
The press of the crowd
A faceless voice yelling in a sea of noise.

It’s chaotic
Rushing, tearing, pulling
Red is the color of rioting.

Unidentified criminal
Slinking back in red shadows
Safety in hiding.

Reluctance against the pull and flow
But eventually
Everyone lets go.

We drift
On a sea of red.
What4221 Sep 2018
The Bible sat on both sides of the room
But sin still flowed by in the middle
And tonight’s another mistake
Who’s left to blame

I’m done with drama but it ain’t done with me

He’s got the most perfect teeth I think I’ve ever seen
Strange what you notice when you let another half decent guy drag off your shirt
I hid my tears in a bottle tonight
And with the beer went my pride

Bars ain’t for marriage
And we all wander in scared of commitment
At least I’m not back at the gas station in Vermont dreaming about my future while a trucker hands me twenty bucks

Dust in my lungs and ashes in the air
Drags from a cigarette
I wish I wasn’t here
Walk of shame
I’m to blame
Eternal question
Dead of night
Call the cab
Gone before light

To him I’ll be just another night.
What4221 Jul 2018
I’m standing on the edge of a blade
Careful balance is the only reason I am not
Cut to pieces
Heart red blood
On the ground

But all of this stress
This life
It is pulling me
And my feet
Are lanced
With scars

I am standing on the edge of a blade
And I
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
What4221 May 2018
Take it back to the old pine porch
Where the bench swing still creaks
                                                           And rots

I remember the sunsets we spent there
With our hair graying
And our hands rough
And the clouds across the horizon
Spelling love.

You’re all gray now-
But I am too,
Hold on love,
Soon I’ll join you.

The flowers I buy every eighth of the month
Are as colorful as you
As colorful as you were,
And I can’t stop hearing your voice in the wind

Those summer nights when you’d grab your guitar
And we’d sit alone together
By a gentle, warm fire.

Take it back, love

Take it back.
What4221 Aug 2018
I can't get over the way you look tonight
Red dress
Curled hair
Big blue eyes

I can't believe I get to see you like this
My shirt
Gray sweatpants
Tangled morning hair

You're beautiful
Bright smile
Tired eyes
Complaining about work

You are beautiful
And incredible
And I'm sorry that you ask me
If an outfit looks good on you
Because honey,

You could wear crocs and socks and a bright Hawaiian shirt
And still be the most gorgeous lady on earth.
What4221 Jun 2018
I want to run away to Never land
With Peter Pan
And fight pirates
With the Lost Boys

I want to paint a fence
With Tom Sawyer's duped friends
And laugh away my fear of
The dreaded Joe

I want to fake my death
With Huck Finn
Maybe float away from my problems
With him

I want to drift down a river
Fake my death
Fly in the sky
And never come back

Write me into those pages
And send me away to the print
I just want a forever
Where hate isn't

Spin me through Wonderland
And I'll eat with the March hare
I'll measure my hight with Alice
And paint the roses red

Send me a mystery
And I'll search with Nancy Drew
Find the clues to the answer
Solve a riddle or two

I want to look at the sky
And see the words
The book thief is raining

I want to fly and live and travel
And I want to believe
In childhood dreams.
What4221 Sep 2018
It feels like he's being torn apart
Smoking edges around his broken parts
And he never really knew who he could be
Outside of this it's all just a mystery

And if I'm not the best
Then I'm nothing at all
I'm pushing harder every day
But I wish my emotions would give logic a say

And the unbearable weight is crushing
Ice in his lungs
The cold and the fire and the pain
There isn't any hope in his brain

I wish they could see through
But I've built the walls too high
I'm scattered and fading
And I don't think I'm breathing

He's always had this drive
This emotion inside

But now the anger and the pressure
And the hurt he'll endure.

I only wanted to be better
But now I'm the worst.
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
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.)



A decorative form or object
based on or resembling a living

January 12, 2020
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
What4221 Jul 2018
Dear dear dear
Keep running away from the clearing
You know the one

                          Where the explosions tolled like drums and bells and the church spire      
            cracked and fell

I always thought it looked like a giant hand flashing the ******* at the sky

But now that fingers broken and they are calling this some sort of holy retribution but in the glow of the
        Spotlights, we are all made awake
That we were dreaming
And the nightmare fades into obscurity

And we pretend to get on our knees and pray

And you pick me up in your junker of a car
Spray painted black over the rust and dents
And you hold my hand
Until the reality rips away again and
We are
                Flung apart

Like always

Another day interrupted by reality
Where your hand never grips me and I stutter awake screaming

It’s hard to tell nightmares and memories apart
When bombs fall in both

So I fling the door open and pray for an empty sky
Where we can’t hear the planes passing by overhead with death in their bellies

          And in the yard in the silence and dark of an ash strewn night something stares at me and walks inside

And I find myself serving tea for a stranger that calls itself some sort of emotion that was locked away in anger

And love sips on cheap green tea and winces as another BOOM shakes the ground

And then. It asks why you’re not around

So I aim my own church steeple at the sky

And leave love outside to wonder why

And close myself back in my house

To dream about bombs.
What4221 Aug 23
A circle means forever

   (Ouroboros- devouring

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
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
What4221 Jun 2018
Take a breath.

Let it out.

Give up those things in life
You can only live

The strings pulling you
Are weighed
With bricks

And the chains
Keeping you
Are too tight.


Take a breath
Let it out
And learn to let go
Because trust me,
I know,
To live feels like the greatest burden of all
But all of our worries
Are actually quite small

Trust me,
Just for a second,
And take a breath.

Living is better than death.

You aren’t alone
We are all along side you
And we are breathing too.

Take a breath.

Let it out.
What4221 Jun 2018
Diamond smile
Fireworks glow
And the


Your heartbeat
And the gentle night
Soft hands
Firm grip
Steady stride


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.
What4221 May 2019
King Arthur sending his knights scouring the land
Looking for the Holy Grail the same way I’m looking for your hand
Hold mine on the darkest of nights and the worst of days
We can fight off the Questing Beast and still enjoy the suns rays.

Beware the Ides
Because they’re rolling in
Knife after knife
Like thunder and arguments
We can dodge the lightning but there’s no hiding from the rain
Collapse on the floor after the parties over
Soaked and in pain.

And they say the philosophers-
You know, the true greats-
They could read the stars and in the stars they saw your name.

And sprawled across the sky is an image of you and an image of me
Send me a picture of the stars across the sea
And I’ll wage war with a wooden horse
For your love.

See you in the history books where they say legends live.
(I’ve loved you more than the historians and the philosophers and the great renaissance artists
You gave me half your life
So I’ll give you all of mine)
What4221 Aug 2018
I hate it when people think I can't change because they think this is the way I'll always be
Scoff and look down their noses at me
I'm not perfect but I can feel their judgment perfectly
And they tell me I'll never get better
I'll chase my tail like my parents
And end up in jail
Just another mistake after a sub par date
A defective pill
That they thought would be born still

And they tell me maybe my parents would still be together
Maybe there wouldn't be this stormy weather
Maybe if I wasn't the way I am
But they don't let me change and then they take a pin
And stick me to the word blame

I just wanted to be better
But I guess that's not allowed
In a world where people take hope
And turn it to doubt

Can't pull a 180
Without them turning you back around
Tell me I'll be the same
'Til I'm dead in the ground.
What4221 Feb 2019
Half remembered toys
You don't know if it's reality or just a dream
That song that brings back the taste of summer barbeques

Every time you drink lemonade the day seems a little more like summer
And you feel a little younger

We close our eyes
And grab hands
And spin in a circle
Singing about ashes and posies and falling
Then butter cups and meadows and standing up

And running
And crying
And laughing

It was a good life.
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,


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.

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
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.

What4221 May 2018
God drew my outline
And then he let me be
Told me to fill myself in
With all life’s mystery.

I dropped all the crayons
And the paint is dry
The chalk is just dust
And I can’t draw the other eye.

I can’t seem to color inside of the lines
While everyone else is full of galaxies
Swirling rainbows showcasing their lives
Black and white is all mine.

All mine.

That feels kind of lonely to say, doesn’t it?

So I tried to write with black and white words
To fill in the blank spaces with song and story
But my pen is out of ink
And my pencil is dull
And my erasure smudges my intentions across the lines.

I can’t even bring the words to life with me
Because I say them as I wrote them
Warped and rambling and nonsensical
Stuttering, stopping, panicking.

Other people add colors to me
I didn’t ask for it
But sometimes it’s ok.

I talk like somebody else sometimes,
I borrow their story and song
I steal paint and I am covered in chalk dust.

God drew my outline
He gave me a key
Told me it was ok
To live with misery
Because paint dries
And chalk snaps
And crayons are colored to nothing
And the words are never there when I need them

But that’s ok, that’s alright,
I’ve found someone else
Who shares my plight.

You never were one
For staying within the lines
And your life
Brings color to mine.

I asked you to paint my portrait
And now I finally have a face
And you bring new crayons
And fresh paint
And sharpened pencils

And I let you borrow my erasure
For all the wrong colors others have given you
And we both write our own song
Right on each other’s heart.
What4221 May 2018
I always thought I never dreamt while I was asleep
And wondered at the fantastical lands of which you would regale me

And truth be told,
I felt envy
Because all of the adventure
Never found its way to me.

I lived my life wishing I could live another-
Now that’s no way to live.

I dream in vivid color now
On a 40 inch flat screen
In my brain
Because what I thought
Would end the blank space
Just made me sleep
In this
What4221 Aug 2018
I'm shucking corn on the front porch- 'make sure to get rid of all the silk'.  The sun makes the world golden as it slides behind the trees and I pull the wide brim of my hat lower.  Long leaves from the ears of corn flutter around after a heavy breeze.  I try not to look in the direction I know you are.  West.


As far away from this town in the middle of bumf*ck , Nowhere, USA as you can get.  That's what you said.  Sometimes I wish you'd just grow up, realize that if your family is your problem then you're never gonna have peace.

You talk about your brother getting high.  You get mad about your own mom asking if you're okay.  And you say your dad never cared.  You're only saying that because they always gave you what you wanted, and stopped too late.

My problems weren't solved just by knowing you.

Nobody's ever will be.  You ain't a miracle, sweetheart, even if I still love you like one.

Please, come home.

My heart keeps running in circles, and I'm afraid one day it's gonna run away.  But I can't survive like you can- I'm built for dirt roads and cornfields, for bales of hay and chicken coops.  I'm not built for running after you.

Even a phone call would be great.  Let me know you're still okay.  I know you haven't forgotten everyone's number.  This town used to be close as family, after all.

What changed?

Just know that behind all the drama, your family still loves you.  You ever feel lost out in Cali, come home.

I'll be waiting here,
Shocking corn
In the golden sunlight
If you ever decide to.
What4221 May 2018
Start an act.  Leave a line, steal the show, exit left. Enter right.  Dance in the center of the cobwebbed stage where only shadows dance with you.  I can still see the music, though.  It glows softly, crinkled at the edges, watching from the withered balcony.

Exit left, exit left, exit left.

When you first sang to me you were beautiful- you glowed and believed and I thought this could be your dream.  Fancy dress, fancy shoes, fancy car driving away.  I sat in the dust and the despair and thought maybe you won't forget me.

Come home, come home, come home.

I found you years later, on a stage of neon surrounded by green and greed and unfortunate souls.  Your fancy dress, gone.  Your fancy shoes, gone.  Your dream, gone.  Your smile was shattered glass and your lips were red as blood and you were dangerous, standing in the dark, cigarette in between your fingers, smoke trailing from your lips.  It floated into the sky and then was lost below the stars.  

Fly away, fly away, fly away.

You pressed a cigarette into my hand, watched me choke on the smoke, and then dragged me away.  You showed me the theatre, crumbled glory and faded beauty- I saw you in the cracked paint on the walls, in the shattered windows by the alley.  I see you more now than ever before, I think.  A shattered mirror that somehow I know will never reflect me.  You are beautiful.

You are always beautiful.

Dance with the dust motes in the trembling sunlight, leave your head spinning in the clouds.  Exit left, enter right, take center stage.  You wear a gown of crimson red, and your eyes glow in the light.  The music starts up again, the old ***** wheezing to life.  I would learn anything for you.  Graceful steps around rotted floorboards, too thin, too fragile, impossibly strong.

Enter right, enter right, enter right.
What4221 Jun 2018
Forgive me father,
For I got wasted before I came here,
Atheist alcoholic sitting in confessional.

Maybe I am more like my dad than I thought.
Drown my emotions in cheap whiskey
And watch people flinch away from my mint gum breath.

The priest is sitting on the other side
Waiting for me to speak
But this conversation doesn’t need a middle man
This is between ‘God’ and me.

So, here I am
Years after I cursed at the sky
And dared to leave
Trying to force my mind to wobble out of a drunken blur
And form some sort of apology.

But my fingers are pulling at my sleeves
And I keep burping out hysterical laughs
The tears and guilt
Pouring out of the cracks.

I yelled at Him
Blamed him for all my problems
But now I am an empty shell filled with alcohol
Sitting in a confessional
Crying to a silent priest
Who’s supposed to pass God’s forgiveness
Onto me.
What4221 Jun 2018
Why don't you tell me who you are?

Because I don't know know who I want to be.

Why, you could be anything!

Could I be me?

Are you anything existing on this earth?
Are you already made
Is your story already told, the book sent to print?

I don't know, every time I write something
The publisher sends it back
And says to fix it.
The book has my name as title
But slowly it's becoming
Not me.

If the story isn't written,
Then you've got the right
To hold the pen
Be the author of your own life.
Erase the other's words.
They aren't you.

Could I just stop writing in the book,
Throw in the towel,
Give it all up?

Don't stop
Trying to steer
Back to you
They gave you the wrong map
And the wrong set of keys
It's not your fault you're a little lost.

Can you guide me back
In the right direction?

I can tell you landmarks
But no road leads to perfection
Just follow the sun and the stars
And I think you'll be fine.

I'll take that to heart,
And take my time
To find my way.

Who are you?

I'm me.
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

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.)
What4221 May 2019
Dandelion seeds scatter to the wind in front of your eyes
Drifting like dust motes and glowing with the setting sun
Soft yellow light
Like they are thousands of candle flames
Set free on the air to carry wishes

Your hands are dyed yellow from pulling up at them
Cupping them
Taking the old ones in your hands and wishing
Wishing to fly away with them

And the air blows cold even now in May
It's flying into your eyes
And so the seeds blur in your vision and they become magic
They become fairies that flutter around
In your teary blurred eyes in the cold gray wind as the yellow fades to a backdrop
And the grass rolls out to catch the smears paint dripping from the clouds

Silver and gold
Silver clouds
Golden wishes
They drift on the breeze and drown with the rain

(Our faith fell with the rain)

And the wishes come back and glow
And the paint smears turn green from the sky
Gather up the blue as the gray fades
And golden light rushes down to set the drifting wishes on fire again.
What4221 Jul 2018
I walked over stars with you
And felt your breathe in the cold air between us
You grasped my hands
And faced me
Standing in the sky
The clouds dark below us
And the moon bright

I was balancing on a star
As you floated in front of me
Broken smile
Across your face

You pulled me close
And with the sun starting to send pink across a morning sky
And the stars starting to lazily drift away
You told me
You loved me
What4221 Jun 2018
Dear Maya,

Don't you think this life is lovely?
I skipped all the way to the river bank today
I whistled and the wind joined me
And from the river I can see the sea.


Dear Maya,

You never replied to my last letter
But I hope you're getting better
I want to visit soon
Life isn't the same without you.


Dear Maya,

It's been ages.
It's been so long.
Why don't you write back?
I miss your letters - pages and pages.


Dear Maya,

Your mother said to stop writing
Told me to start remembering
But I never forgot you
She says sometimes she thinks I'm gone, too.


Dear Maya,

Your mother showed me a grave today.
The stone shared your name.
But I know it's not you.
You're at the hospital in London, still.


Dear Maya,

My therapist tells me every time that you are gone
I guess I know that's true
I just couldn't bear life
Without you


Dear Maya,

I left the house to my brother
The money to my mother
And the rest to the world.


P.S.  I'll be there
        With you
What4221 Jun 2018
I met Death on the road one day
He wasn’t what I expected
No long black cloak
Or sharp scythe
Or empty eye sockets

He didn’t seem menacing
Just present
The hum of a refrigerator that fades as you get used to it

And what does it say about me
That I saw Death
And I was unafraid
In a way only the oblivious can be

He seemed drawn to my naivety
The acceptance of his physical appearance
The way I looked at him like I recognized him
Maybe that’s why he didn’t carry me down that road
With all the other lost souls
And instead let me awake
Gasping for breath
In a hospital bed

I met Death on the road one day
And I know
The only reason I wasn’t afraid
Was because I had met him before.
What4221 Mar 2019
Sometimes the earth breathes
It takes in air as tornadoes and hurricanes
Coughing up tsunamis and floods
In the electric static shock of the atmosphere
Lightning cuts through the clouds yelling

The earth holds its breath
It waits in calm stillness
Silent and waiting for something
As people breathe above it
Creating their own storms
Their own natural disasters

The earth gasps for air through smoke choked skies
And it drinks in green slime
And polluted water.

Moving through space
Gasping and sputtering
Pushing and pulling


Mars was supposed to be the red planet
But ours is covered in blood

It’s hard to breathe.

Gasping and shaking
We make storms and live through them
And walk and drag and pull
With broken bones
With blinded eyes
With scars and pain
Bruises and fear.



The earth sleeps sometimes
It snores in gentle rumbles of faraway thunder
As people live above it

As plants push through to sunlight
And food arrives at another starving place
The earth sleeps as it heals
Through natural disasters.

As the scars left by wars fade
And the people sing
And the sky clears
As we take our time
As we walk instead of drag
Instead of crawl

As our broken bones mend
And the blood is washed clean.

Green bursting from gray ash
Pink and white delicate flowers
Buds on trees.

Another hole dug in the ground
But this time it is roots being lowered into it
Not a coffin.

The earth sleeps
And the people heal
And fix
And build
And plant
And live.

We clean after the storms we have lived through
Strolling through space
Pulling up life from death.

What4221 Jun 2018
I laid out a deck of cards,
And tried to guess
If I was printed and laminated
Which one I would be.

I ruled out the Ace
And the king
And the queen
In fact, only two cards are left.
The two of hearts
And the joker.

We never play card games
With the joker
And we never win card games
With the two.

I’ve since taken my time up with chess,
But the end is much the same.

I ruled out the queen
And the king
And the bishop
In fact, only one piece is left.
The pawn that stands alone.

I don’t play chess that often
But even I know
One step forwards
Is never enough.

Maybe that’s why I prefer checkers
Where we are all circles
On the same color squares
And we all have a chance
At being royalty.

An evenness on cardboard
So easily achieved
Balanced scales
Not weighed down
By higher numbers
Or a crown.

(And maybe we
  Should treat life the same
  Because a knight doesn’t
  have a horse
And an ace
Can be the best
Or the worst.)
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.
What4221 May 2018
You dine with silk roses tonight
All dressed in their finery
While your dress rusts and tears and gathers dust in the cold

The digital file glared at me as I dragged it to the trash and left our memories to rot and in all the photos you are smiling, but I’m not

Decaying pile of hopelessness, you hope to start anew- build a house, make a friend, forget, forget, forget- and my alarm clock is ringing

No more Alice in wonderland

                                                   I wake up

And your rusty metal shovel
Scrapes against my laughter
And you tell me to follow the red man down

I’ve got fire burning in my lungs
And smoke escaping my mouth,
A house for a soul that is too cold
But you keep putting me out

You were the match and I was the flame
And a candle melted before we knew who to blame
Run away, Jack, run away

With this laughter, who knows who is next
Perhaps, for me, it would be best

I shudder in the cold but you are ice
And your heart beats in threes and your touch stings like bees

                                          and it hurts to see


It hurts the same way an eclipse can blind, powerful and awe inspiring and too bright for the eye

But your light was always the kind to melt a candle and freeze a flame

Can’t say you take all of the blame.

I dined with the flowers once, too
With their finery and light
Until I left,
Charred and ruined
And still
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
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.
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