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Devin Lawrence Aug 2020
The smell of something putrid
protrudes up through your nostrils
as you walk down these dimply lit streets.
You hear the fire crackling, you see the glow off the side of an abandoned building.

Is this one of those fires you see on the news -
set ablaze by anger and retaliation?

It's the burning wounds along Jacob Blake's back.
It's the marks of oppression -
the scars we "distract" ourselves from.

There's a fire burning in America
and the source is plain to see:
while bodies line up along the streets,
people following along on their TV screens
say a prayer for broken windows.
They mourn items that are looted
as if it wasn't a life that was looted first.

There's a fire burning
and it melts the black skin right off their bones.
A skeleton has no color
yet they blame corpses for their own murders.

There's a fire burning
from Sanford to Staten Island,
from Louisville to Kenosha.
But those very flames were ignited
by the people designated to put them out.

Who watches the watchmen?
Who stands with the people?

The hammer has dropped.
The bullets have left the chamber.
As long as our brothers and sisters
have to fight for their right to live,
Red, White and Blue lives don't matter.
Devin Lawrence Dec 2019
I write my words in cursive so they know how to.
The lines that bind us together can seem so thin,
like a dash of ink, it can be wiped away.

An island only knows water for the way it extends beyond the horizon.
The peaceful splashes of rippling waves can’t pacify the feeling of loneliness;
a passing bird squawks as it carries on its journey.
And the sun keeps rising day after day.

Have you ever felt the jolt of holding someone’s hand?
The spark of life that is embracing them in a hug?
We were made to connect,
yet so many of us sit aside

The singer on the stage begs us to sing along;
and for a moment, every stranger is bound by word and sound.
That post-concert depression hits hardest during that long drive home -
riding solo.

I write my words in cursive so that they know how to.
Because if they do, maybe you will too.
Devin Lawrence Nov 2019
The clown keeps a journal filled with his suicidal thoughts;
His face wet with paint and his hair soaked in dye,
he laughs to himself as he reads the words scribbled across the pages.
They crescendo like the build up of a joke -
splashes of ink blots suggest that his pen blew up before the punch-line.

He remembers a time when the earth was grey;
the morning dew seeped into everyone’s socks
and they walked around with heavy feet,
indifferent to the man beside him
walking on the bare flesh of his toes.
Then a stream of water dribbled out from the prank flower on his chest.

In a world so addicted to tragedy,
comedy is sublime,
like the nicotine rush from a cigarette.

Yet laughter is a bond so easily broken.
The white on his face can wipe away,
the lipstick can smear,
and the dye can fade.
But beneath all of that is a smile,
a smile that persists
because nothing is wrong
when the clowns come out.
Devin Lawrence Apr 2019
We pass over to see what's on the other side
- They say that the grass is always greener
and I haven't seen vibrant colors in so long.
This melancholy feeling of fate
and choice is paralyzing
and uplifting.  

Cross over
the same spot that many before
found a dead end carved out by a stream.
Instead, they sat by the tallest tree
and divulged their secrets -
oh if the leaves could talk!

The water under the bridge
lies beneath to be forgotten.
But it flows steady
so that deer and pheasants can sip;
the splashing, rippling tide
echoes like our footsteps
as we pass into oblivion.

Once our feet hit the ground,
we take note of those around:
those who stayed behind
are the dandelion seeds surrounding us, drifting in the wind.
those who joined us
are the trees lined along the path.

If you try to back-track,
you'll find that the bridge can only be crossed once.
Devin Lawrence Feb 2019
I am an empty seat waiting to be filled.
All I want is to be seen and claimed,
Only to be released
Once a better seat is open.
In another life,
You and I,
We sat here for forever.
I gave you support,
And you stayed on me for comfort –
And that was fine with me.

I am the empty seat at the table,
Glanced over, and never heard from.
Louder voices grasp your attention,
While I’m squeaking out for your affection.
The server reaches over me,
You place your bag on me,
Hang your coat on me,
Place your feet on me,
And never before have I felt so important
So please get comfortable
And stay here with me.

I am the empty seat,
Unclaimed and forgotten.
Maybe it was my position or over-eagerness
That repelled you on to the other chairs around.
But at least I can share in the moment –
Quiet beside the table –
And pretend like you wanted me there.

I am your favorite empty chair.
The building is being torn down;
The chairs are being pawned off.
I wait to hear if you want me,
But before long, I’m thrown among the pieces of my friends
And wait until that glorious moment
I’m no longer an empty chair.
Devin Lawrence Jan 2019
So alluring,
the way the dark spreads itself
across a sea of shining stars
and makes us forget the infinities we haven’t seen.
I question myself
and I think about how the starlight we see
is a gift from centuries ago.
I’m alive in the dark.
I’m lethargic in the light.
And yet the darkest corners of my imagination
are the places I dread the most.

I’m alone in the light.
I’m a force in the dark.
My wrists tremble at the thought of
another night of telling stories
with ambiguous intent
and metaphors that strike my knees -
bow to the dark -
and yet I’m the only fool who reads my words.

The gift of the dark
is the great balance of life;
when time is stuck in one end of the dichotomy,
these little spots of grey pour out over the blue in my eyes.

And as the colors are muffled
like the road workers
covering up an artist’s graffiti,
I begin to understand why there’s two sides to a coin.

I’m alive in the dark,
tired in the light,
and the shadows of the night have become my favorite audience.
Devin Lawrence Aug 2018
It’s nice to see you again.
You’re always a click away.
I did a thing today.
Will you like it for me right away?
I see you found a new hobby,
you post a link that I copy,
and I like it,
because I like you.

I share my new piece,
take a look at your niece,
you seem happy and it puts me at peace.
But I’m stuck...
I’ve signed a new lease.
Look at this photo, I’ve used new hair grease.
You like it,
and I think it means you like me.

You fall in love and I like
that picture of you and them on that hike;
it feels like I’m with you all the time,
but this bond is only as strong
as our connection to Wi-Fi.

I’ve lost some friends but I deflect
by sharing songs to connect,
but these prevailing thoughts interject:

I’m all alone.
It’s just the screen,
and me.

I look at likes like they’re currency
and I’m currently
using poetry -
a writer’s diplomacy -
to scream “woe is me!”
but I bet you can see
right through me,
can’t you?

My digital friend,
where did this begin,
and where does it end?
Are we bound to do this dance
‘till we’re echoes of dust,
or call it like it is:
you and me, we’re just...

I can’t.

You post a picture.
I like it,
because I like you.
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