Derek Yohn Sep 2015

The bus stops
on these roads,
plexi-glass shelters,
sit, collecting humans
and rain, wet wanderers
fleeing the sky.

He stares at his feet,
this moment's occupant,
huddled in his surplus camo-
jacket, safe and bearded.

This is my city
     (there are many like it but this one is mine).

They plant baby palms
along these streets; they
unfurl and catch these winds,
soak up the rains, hide

the treatment centers
and meeting rooms,
gutter syringes and
cheap hotels.

It's lovely here in the spring.

Derek Yohn Aug 2015

This virtual world still carries weight,
an invisible pond where words echo,
events spiral and ripple,
and we see the masks before the dark.

Evil hides beneath these still waters,
even in the light,
reflected on us all,
but never who we are.

Derek Yohn Jan 2015

I wasn't born to stand
on Mars, an alien
landscape of red
rocks and canyons
large enough to swallow
me up and wipe clean
this slate, still smudged
from detention.

It's quiet on the surface here,
an abstract of the greater
good that I have spread
to them when they
have all left me in
the doldrums, floating.

               (driving is a singular experience)

Derek Yohn Oct 2014

The women on campus walk by,
short and tall,
radiant youth in hipster dress,
chattering on their way to class.

What are their intentions?
Saving the world?
Healing the sick?

i am unconsciously judging
their sexual prowess...

Around a corner one's stare
catches my own briefly:

i look at her looking at me
looking at her looking...

it never ends, this watching,
beyond the eyes.

Derek Yohn Sep 2014

On the news I saw a Medal of Honor ceremony,
people I've never met getting awards for wars
that I never fought...

and yet I am still awed, tears in my eyes,
glad they carried themselves bravely forward.

I wonder about America's prisoners of war,
missing and forgotten in foreign lands.
When did they let go of their lives,
those people they loved dear?

Those they loved are prisoners too,
trapped in the cycle, waiting.

I've only ever been a prisoner of the wrong loves,
broken couplings of average Americans,
where I felt the stifling of raw tension,
the piling up of cigarette ashes , the blank
walls of shallow rhetoric which I reject.

I smear my warm semen on the walls
of that oppression, as any
self-respecting prisoner would,
at the end of the war,
wishing they were home.

Derek Yohn Sep 2014

I don't need you to read my words
any more than I want to re-live the past.

This world is burning,
fanaticism is rising,
interests are separating and
this American Dream is lost.

But please, do carry on...

tell me how hard math is,
or how love isn't what you thought it,
or how you cut yourself to feel alive,
or how life isn't fair.

Fill me up with shitty nature poems.

Convince me that sacrifice is what happens
when you give your iPod away
instead of what you read in
after-action reports from Afghanistan.

Tell me it will be okay.

Write me the perfect poem.

Derek Yohn Sep 2014

My birthday draws near,
my second without you,
and I'm doing fine.
I don't even think about it anymore,
these broken promises or
little mistakes that were big deals.

This symmetry hounds me,
the recycling of my timelines,
but we all know
it is better this way.

And so it is time to break the chains...
I called you up,
nervous but resolute,
and we made the arrangements.

"I'm sorry, I love you, but it's better this way."

And you agreed...no big deal.

Time doesn't heal anything,
but eventually we forget
just how very much things hurt,
and we embrace the amnesia,
carry our yesterdays hidden
on to tomorrow's second chances.

And now I'm seeing your face
in my red beans and rice.
I'm wondering if you will get by,
or if you regret the same things I do,
or if you are eating or can make rent,

but tomorrow comes quick,
and I try to let go of today.

Next page