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Nov 26 · 20
The Nature of Evil
Ellis Reyes Nov 26
Evil has brown eyes

And blue
and green

Evil’s skin is pale

And tan
And dark brown

Evil wears a police uniform

And a teacher’s lanyard
And an apron

Evil speaks calmly

And gently
And kindly

Evil speaks harshly

And angrily
And cruelly

Evil hides behind the Bible

And the Torah
And the Qu’ran

Evil is male

And female
And all of the genders in between

Evil, like good, isn’t in how a person looks
Evil, like good, isn’t in how a person sounds
Evil, like good, isn’t in how a person prays

Evil, like good, is in what a person does
Evil, like good, is in what a person does not do
Sep 11 · 121
Haiku - 090921
Ellis Reyes Sep 11
Vacant eyes betray
Cognition as absent as
His successor’s soul
Sep 7 · 204
Friend Zone 2
Ellis Reyes Sep 7
You're drunk dialing me again
And I listen to your story and then
I throw something on, walk over and knock on your door
I make us coffee and hang out till 4:00
Till you doze off asleep on the floor
I cover you up and head back home
And crawl back into bed all alone...

Cause I'm
Not thin enough
I don't show skin enough
I'm not cute enough to turn your friends' heads,
I'm the sweetest girl you've ever known
That's why I'm in the friend zone

You ask me
Can I borrow 50 till I get paid next week?
Is your Netflix password still Happy Feet?
Does your car have any gas?
Don't that blonde have a fine....

And you know I'm
Not ***** enough
I don't sleep round enough
I'm not tatted up
I don't have thigh gap enough
To impress all the boys...
But I'm the sweetest girl you've ever known
That's why I'm in the friend zone

You said your girl left you for good
Packed up her sh*t, blocked your number, and moved
You cried in my arms, didn't know what to do...
I held you tight, kissed your hair and whispered, "I love you."

But I'm
Not cute enough
I don't have ***** 'nough
Or Botox enough
To catch a boy like you;
But I'm the sweetest girl you've ever known
That's why I'm in the friend zone

I pressed the call button one last time
You voice said, "Leave a message or text me at 9:00"
My words were simple and clear,
Because I wanted you to hear...

I am the best friend that you've ever known
What are you gonna do now that I'm gone?
You have to solve your problems all alone

I am leaving the friend zone...
I wanted to write a similar one from the girl's perspective. I hope it's worthy.
Sep 7 · 795
Friend Zone
Ellis Reyes Sep 7
The phone rings and it's 2:00 AM
I hear your voice on the other end
You're cryin' and it sounds like he'***** you again
Sure, I'll come get you and I'll take you in -
while you try to work things out with him...

Because I'm not rich enough
I'm not tall enough
I'm not hot enough
But I'm the nicest guy you've ever known...
It's why I'm in the friend zone

A few weeks later I hear your ringtone
You're whispering, so I know you're not alone
He came home drunk and angry tonight
Now he's breaking up the house and he's looking for a fight
You ask if I could meet you at the end of the road
and if I'd mind bringing a change of clothes...
Of course not, I'll be there in 10,
just to get you away from him

But you know...
I'm not hip hop enough
I'm not redneck enough
I'm not bad boy enough
I'm not Tik Tok enough
But I'm the nicest guy you've ever known...
It's why I'm in the friend zone

I'm out with the boys on a Saturday night
County sheriff tears by screaming sirens and lights
The music's playing loud and I'm halfway gone
So I pay him no attention and never looked at my phone
5 missed calls and 3 texts unread
"Help me please," was what the last one said

But you said I'm
Not this enough
and I'm not that enough
And I live on the wrong side of town...
But I promise, I promise
I'll be there...
When they lay you down.
My first real attempt at writing a song rather than a poem. I have the melody in my head and it sounds OK.
Sep 4 · 278
Hey Doc...
Ellis Reyes Sep 4
Blinding flash
Eardrums burst
Blood, so much blood
Is it mine?
My eyes!

Snipping ripping
Scissors and hands tear away at my clothes
Water or something splashes
Burning everywhere
The smell...
**** and fire and burned meat
Is this what death smells like?

No carried
On a litter
Now flying
Something jabbed...

Far away

Wheels rolling
Machine sounds

Here, Now
Bright lights
Searing pain
Masked faces
Muffled voices
IV bags
Machine sounds
No answers

Where's my leg?
Sep 4 · 1.2k
Smiles and Waves
Ellis Reyes Sep 4
I see you there
In the rearview mirror of my life
As I move forward
we'll never ride
side by side
Ellis Reyes Aug 7
I'll share my thoughts
You'll hear my words
and see my deeds.

My love and pain
Are mine alone
Jul 19 · 309
No Words
Ellis Reyes Jul 19
His leg
She said so calmly
I thought
Yours first
The veterinary surgeon recommended amputating one of my dog's legs for a non-metastatic growth that is causing him no pain, discomfort, or disability. Uh, no.
Jun 28 · 82
Ellis Reyes Jun 28
Do you ever feel like your soul is locked up in a small box
Do you ever feel like that box is placed inside of a deep cave
Do you ever feel like that cave is sealed up with dirt and stone
Do you ever feel like that cave is filling up with frigid water
Do you ever feel like it’s getting hard to breathe
Do you ever feel like it’s time to stop breathing….
Jun 13 · 140
Three Lines - Tav
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
I mistook your kindness
for kindness.
I was wrong.
Jun 13 · 63
Three Lines - Shin
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
When I suffer
My thoughts are always
of you
Jun 13 · 124
Three Lines - Resh
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Because of you
I taught myself
Not to cry....
Jun 13 · 43
Three Lines - Qoph
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
I hope that I've done something
in my life
To make you proud....
Jun 13 · 194
Three Lines - Tzadik
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Music transcends time and distance
touching souls generations apart
and worlds away....
Jun 13 · 59
Three Lines - Peh
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Our home is just a house
Jun 13 · 63
Three Lines - Ayin
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
I'm A positive
You were AB negative
I'm so, so sorry...
Jun 13 · 59
Three Lines - Samech
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Can you see the poems
that I wrote for you
from Heaven?
Jun 13 · 54
Three Lines - Nun
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Their tombstones stand valorous guard
to an increasingly ungrateful
Jun 13 · 113
Three Lines - Mem
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
You're fortunate that I'm not
Who you say
That I am....
Jun 13 · 48
Three Lines - Lamed
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
It was never my place to judge you
Why is it yours
To judge me?
Jun 13 · 47
Three Lines - Kaf
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
If you care
As much as you say that you care
Why would you do that?
Jun 13 · 51
Three Lines - Yod
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Ancient words
Conceal my prayers
From hostile modern ears
Jun 13 · 40
Three Lines - Tet
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
When no one else is
You are
There for me
My Eshet Chayil, my "Woman of Valor", for 34 years.
Jun 13 · 49
Three Lines - Chet
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Betrayal is bitter herbs
Leaving a permanent
putrid aftertaste.
Jun 13 · 42
Three Lines - Zayin
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
You will never know
How much
I didn't trust you....
Jun 13 · 39
Three Lines - Vav
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
The bleeding has slowed
You can remove your knife
From my back
Jun 13 · 38
Three Lines - Heh
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
Their vile words
Their contemptible hypocrisies
Are acid on my soul
Jun 13 · 49
Three Lines - Dalet
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
I am a tumbleweed
Rootless, common;
Windblown to oblivion
Jun 13 · 47
Three Lines - Gimel
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
What would it take
For us to be friends
Once again?
Jun 13 · 41
Three Lines - Bet
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
A thief in the night,
Alzheimer's steals life
One moment at a time
Jun 13 · 27
Three Lines - Alef
Ellis Reyes Jun 13
I dream of sitting beside a massive crater
and trying to fill it
with a spoon
A tip of the hat to Ben Noah Suri for his brilliant modeling of this form. I will do my best to follow your amazing examples.
Jun 12 · 50
Ellis Reyes Jun 12
What's in the jars Granny?
Them's dills
Them's bread and butter
And the smaller jar's spicy pickles

What's in the jars Granny?
That one there's chow chow
Next to it's sweet relish
and the one in back is sauerkraut

What's in the jars Granny?
Well, the purple one's grape jelly
The one in the middle's orange marmalade
and the big brown one's apple butter

Why do you put up so much food, Granny?
Cause I lived through a season of lack called the Great Depression
and I never want y'all kids to be as hungry as my kids were.

Take what you want.
I'll make more.
I'm teaching myself to preserve food this summer. It's something my mom knew how to do, but never passed along to me. Her mom, my Granny, put up food all year long and shared it generously.
Jun 3 · 46
Ellis Reyes Jun 3
Does everyone feel the heaviness?
Does everyone see society coming apart at the seams?
Does everyone taste the bitterness that people have for one another?
Does everyone hear the rage being spat in the public square?
Does everyone smell the destruction of the institutions that once bound us together?

How can we experience all of this and still have hope?
I'm feeling beaten down today. No specific reason, just the accumulation of it all.
May 30 · 50
To A Fallen Brother
Ellis Reyes May 30
I remember lingering with the boys
long after the decent people had left
drinking to your memory
I remember your coffin being lowered into the ground;
slowly, reverently.
I remember the folded flag, given to your mom by the Colonel;
tears streaming down both of their faces.
I remember the rifle salute - with M60s
I remember escorting your coffin into the chapel;
the Battalion at attention to honor you.
I remember the adrenaline filled chaotic night, the sounds of battle, and the radio message that you were amongst the fallen.

But I don't want to remember you that way,
so I close my eyes and dream back...

To the moment that you arrived in Battalion - wide-eyed and scared to death.
To the announcement that you were joining weapons squad and how the senior squad members tested your mettle every moment of every day.
And how you met every challenge.
To the long days and nights that we trained and worked and soldiered and suffered together; and how you grew to become a Ranger and a Brother.
I will remember your raw strength and endurance and how you would smile the biggest when life ****** the most.
I will remember you this weekend and the boys will drink to your memory once again.

May 29 · 42
Ellis Reyes May 29
I write because my other attempts at artistic expression were mocked
I sacrifice subtlety for clarity because my wife is unambiguous
I work hard because my dad respects hard work
I have public feelings and private ones because life has taught me not to trust
I tell my secrets to dogs, because they keep them
I allow music to fill my soul, because my mom let me see how it filled hers
I see the potential in others because God sacrificed his Son to show the potential that he sees in me
This is a contribution to an ongoing trend on social media.
May 29 · 38
Ellis Reyes May 29
Caterpillars become butterflies
through metamorphosis
Plants grow and flowers bloom
through photosynthesis
But opinions,
No matter how popular,
do not become facts
by consensus
Ellis Reyes May 29
Do you ever get sick of your own voice?
Do your own thoughts ever bore you?
If so, what do you do?
When I feel mentally stale, I read.
I learn new things
I speak different languages
This forces me to think in words different than my own
May 29 · 49
Ellis Reyes May 29
I Am The Roach

You hate me
You want me and everyone like me dead
You crush us
You poison us
You revile our existence.

If asked, you couldn’t come up with one good thing to say about me

You see me as a
disease-carrying vermin

And maybe you’re right


After the floods
And the blizzards
And he droughts
AND the pandemics

I will still be here.

Will you?
May 25 · 61
Ellis Reyes May 25

I wonder
Will this disappoints them too?
May 25 · 47
Ellis Reyes May 25
How do you know that your life has been good enough?

That you've done enough
That you've been enough
That you've accomplished enough
That you've given enough
That you've strived enough
That you've endured enough
That you've toughed it out enough times
That you've ****** up enough hardship
That you've checked enough boxes and jumped through enough hoops

How do you know
that when all of the plusses are added
and all of the minuses are taken away
that your life doesn't equal
a big f-ing zero?
May 16 · 560
Ellis Reyes May 16
When He saw famine,
He fed them
When He saw plague
He healed them
When He was reviled, persecuted
betrayed, scourged, broken,
impaled and crucified.
He blessed them.
When He bled,
He sanctified them
When He embraced the sins of a wicked world,
He redeemed them
Not a conditional, but a declarative. What DID Jesus do?
Apr 12 · 75
Barlow: The Sin Eater
Ellis Reyes Apr 12
They say he could smell death coming
as it skulked the woods
They say he’d follow the scent through the mountains
to where a grieving family stood.

They say he’d keep his distance
until invited in
And with their grim permission
He’d eat the dead one’s sins

They’d give a crusty loaf
and a bowl of homebrewed ale
And Barlow commenced to pawn his soul
To save this one’s from Hell

Three times Barlow passed the loaf
o’er the dead one’s ashen face
And with each somber passing
He vowed to take their place

He uttered words of binding
He whispered vile oaths
He invoked angels and demons
He made offerings to both

He passed the bread and ale
‘round the body seven times
He consumed the tainted host
And muttered, “This one’s sins are now mine.”

“He shall not walk again.
He will sleep within his grave.
His soul is not tormented.
His spirit has been saved.”

Barlow then departed
Moving slowly into the gloom
Like a fading apparition
Returning to its tomb

Mountain custom says
that sin eaters must be paid
Or they will return the sins
To the souls that they have saved

So families leave a token
made of silver, copper, or gold
At a crossroads in the mountains
Near the place where sins are sold
I heard a story that originated in Appalachia about a sin eater. I thought that this was a grim and ghoulish custom and wanted to write about it.
Apr 12 · 31
Ellis Reyes Apr 12
I remember the day that you were born
I held you while the nurse bathed you in warm water
I held you when they stamped your tiny footprints on your birth certificate
I handed you to Mom for the first time

I remember when you learned to crawl,
Because you didn’t.
You sat up, dug your heels in, flexed your knees,
And scooted across the floor.

I remember the morning when you threw a fit because you didn’t like what I had picked
Out for you to wear – you were two.

I remember the many miles that you and your brother
Drove in circles around our backyard in his electric John Deere

I remember the magical fairy who left you notes and stories at night.
Her name was Donnabella.

I remember the astonished look on the reading specialist’s face
When you dropped ‘oviparous’ on her after she asked you to,
“Name a word that starts with ‘O’.
No kindergarten was necessary for you.

I remember thinking, “I can’t believe they’re both in school.”

I remember when you were in Prep Choir
Singing, dancing
Loving it,
Having no idea where it would lead

I remember your years in Girls’ Choir
The Winter and Spring performances
The hard work in between
And the frustration you felt
at the favoritism
and at people
who didn’t put in their all

I remember how proud you were to become a percussionist
To learn to play the bass
and the snare
and the tympani
and the marimba
and everything else that you could hit or shake

I remember when you began to dip your toes into theater
Ensemble parts first
And Crew
Then cast
With clever bios in the program
Then larger roles
And more clever bios
Then leading roles
And a growing desire to make theater
your life’s work

And here you are, today
Pursuing just that.

I remember how every teacher
who has ever known you
has loved you
and still asks about you
How none of them are at all surprised
That you are where you are
Doing what you are doing

Now it’s your turn to remember
How much we love you
How much we are behind you
And how very proud we are of you.

Happy Birthday.


To my daughter on her 18th birthday
Apr 12 · 290
Ellis Reyes Apr 12

Friendship is not a jewel or a coin or a gift
Jewels and coins and gifts don’t die
Friendship is not a flower or blown glass;
Friendship is not fragile
Friendship is not a poem or a melody
Because friendship cannot be forgotten

Friendship is a symphony
With grand overtures
Melodic harmonies
and unforgettable phrases
Attacking staccatos
                 Vibrant arpeggios
then peaceful interludes

And sometimes

Followed by thoughtful segues

All held together by a coherent structure
It's been some time since I've posted here. I'm happy to be back
Jan 3 · 119
Ellis Reyes Jan 3
I’ve tried fitting in to your world
and I’ve become old and sick and weak
I’ve respected your ways
and I’ve lost my own
Now, I’m watching myself die in this cage
No longer.
Barbarians create peace – through strength
Savages are fearless, relentless
Unrefined men speak truth
Coarse men value deeds above words
Unorthodox men are unrestrained by limited thinking
Warriors defend the innocent and uphold honor
These are my kin

And it is to them that I return
Nov 2020 · 113
Ellis Reyes Nov 2020
My teachers say I have privilege
Because my skin is white
Does this privilege protect my family from
the bullets that fly at night?

They say I’ve
Unearned advantages
not given to other races,
If there’s a Black kid somewhere who wants my life
I’d gladly trade them places

They can have the ****** homeless guy
Sleeping by the door
They’re free to take the rancid trash
that litters
Our hallway floor
They can have the drugs and needles
the diarrhea on the stairs
They can have the hopelessness and misery
that I see everywhere

My mom works at two jobs
In the day and late at night
My dad’s upstate in prison
Locked up since I was five
Our apartment’s filled with roaches
and mice that sneak around;
the rats that move inside the walls
make a scratching sound

I wash our clothes in the bathtub
Cause the laundry’s not too safe
Our neighbor was robbed by **** heads,
they slashed him in the face

The mold around the windows
makes my sister sick
Every day I hear her wheezing
struggling for each breath
I worry how Mom would handle
another child’s death

Some days there’s food for us to eat
Some days there is not
The school food wasn’t perfect,
but at least the stuff was hot
Now the small bus brings us sandwiches,
string cheese and a piece of fruit
I wish they delivered on weekends,
We get hungry on those days too

If this is the privilege my whiteness earns
You can have it back
I don’t think squalor plays favorites
White, Hispanic, or Black…
Sep 2020 · 111
Who Are You?
Ellis Reyes Sep 2020
Who Are You?

You are the illegal alien who burns my country’s flag
You are the teenager who breaks my shop’s windows
You are the one in the hoodie who spat on the Veteran in a wheelchair
You are the **** who hit my daughter, the cop, with a brick
You are the one who firebombed the courthouse
You are the rioter who put me out of a job
You are the ‘demonstrator’ who vandalized my apartment building
You are the activist who looted the stores
You are the gunman who kills dozens of people every week in Chicago
You are the ******* who hobnobs with the rich and famous –
Because you are too.

I don’t care who you vote for.
I despise you for what you do.
A companion to "Who Am I"
Sep 2020 · 104
Who Am I?
Ellis Reyes Sep 2020
Who Am I?

I’m the neighbor who helped your son when he fell off of his bike
I’m the guy in the grocery store who gave you a five when you were two dollars short
I’m the driver who let you go first at the four-way stop because I could see that you were in a hurry
I’m the passerby who helped you load your car at Costco
I’m the man who greeted you at church
I’m the fellow who held the elevator as you rushed to catch it
I’m the geek who helped you with your computer at Starbucks
I’m the one who mows your grandma’s lawn and weeds her garden – for free
I’m the citizen who picks up trash at the park
I’m the old guy from across the way who returned your lost dog
I’m the anonymous donor
I’m the coach who believes in every kid

And you hate me because of a hat?
My first poem in awhile.
May 2020 · 115
Ellis Reyes May 2020
Your eyes are weak
So you wander off
Your bones ache
So it hurts to move
You’ve lost your ripping teeth
So you chew in small bites
Your mighty voice
is now a feeble whimper

You are moments
Or days
from eternity


Until you cross that threshold

I will guide you
I will feed you
I will protect you

I am your tribesman
I can do no other
May 2020 · 105
Beast to Beast
Ellis Reyes May 2020
You don’t need my help
You don’t want my help
But I’ll lie down over here
To keep the predators at bay
While you heal
or die
A note to a friend
Who is suffering
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