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JR Rhine Jan 2019
My grandfather peels an
X-chromosome off his liquor bottle
skips it across the pool of my mother’s genes
until it reaches me
yellow cigarette stained walls
green ashtray carpet on his tongue
blue back room full of old guitars
black mechanic oil stained hands
sandpaper voice
watching Jaws 4
homeless woman on couch
feeds dog black coffee
brown belly dragging across tongue
Thanksgiving dinners
my brother plays “Purple Haze”
out of a reluctant amplifier
the old folks applaud
the colors are beginning to
battling cancer his way
watching Jaws 4
dog now dead
homeless woman now
no longer homeless
back skin where left ear
used to be
old guitars pawned for
Purple Haze fades to
black as colors do
and they say
it skips a generation
and now when shades
of pink appear white
my tongue grows thick
smoke burns my nostrils
I can only think of
how terrible of a film
Jaws 4 is.
For Tommy Robinson. Rest easy grandpa, hope you got that ear back.
JR Rhine Oct 2018
High above dear Maple Street
There looms a cold iron curtain of fear
That dares to drop and let all the monsters
Unleash their dreaded promise of chaos
As in Europe despots gift a new World War
Trembling parlors hug the radio

Hallows Eve: the radio
Begins to sing throughout dear Maple Street
The Seventh Trumpet declares all out war
And that heavy iron curtain of fear
Eclipses the sun and invites chaos
In vacant hearts of men into monsters

Halloween Night: the monsters
Now dance to the tune of the radio
Raiding the stores, jumping bridges, chaos
Entombing the stretch of this blood strewn street
Parlors gorging on endless waves of fear
Riding hysteria, imminent war

O great catalyst of war
Twisting the minds of men into monsters
Diving your hands in that great pit of fear
Now throbbing with screams from the radio
No fences nor faces can save Maple Street
Now plunged in the throes of sweet sultry Chaos

And we call it Chaos
This boiling of minds all stewing with war
Once masked with humanity on this street
Now reveals good neighbors make great monsters
Skies of martians (n)or men, the radio
Hissing, twists the knobs and tunes in to fear

And when that curtain of fear
Draws, and shadeless light casts on the chaos
And the broadcast fades on the radio
And mere fiction rescinds the throne of war
What will we make of all of these monsters
Scattered about in a daze through the street

Where there are minds of fear and war,
Chaos reigns and calls to the sleeping monsters;
Tune in to Welles’s radio on Sterling’s street.
All Hallow's Eve, 80 years ago today, Orson Welles gave his "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast to an America terrified of war, enveloped in fear. I tied it into one of my favorite episodes of the Twilight Zone by the same name, where a neighborhood becomes engrossed in fear, resorting to an animal-like defense that eventually tears apart their humanity.
JR Rhine May 2018
There is a bullet in a box of crayons with really strange names like Parkland Perrywinkle, Sandy Hook Sanguine, and Great Mills Green in a place where children play Russian Roulette with their school supplies when they reach in to grab one and they’ve been learning about probability this week Forrest Gump will tell them you never know if you’re going to finish the lesson or turn into a statistic my sister likes to create mosaics by putting a hairdryer to crayons melting cascades of wax down a blank page sometimes she reaches in and it’s the one lead crayon at the top of the page and it’s only one color that seeps down into the crevices of the cafeteria’s tile floor that proceeds to wash away the Proud Honor Roll Parent stickers washes away the Proud Honor Roll Parent stickers I see another child reach into the box and I write another word problem I write another word problem: “Zoey reaches into a box of crayons. What is the likelihood she will not get to hang her drawing up on her kitchen refrigerator? What is the likelihood her funeral photo will hang there instead?” Draw students’ attention to the key word “likelihood.” Tell students This word shows that the question is asking whether or not you will live to tell your parents how your day at school was. and I wonder when school desks will take the shape of caskets in a place where both screams of laughter and screams of terror
are permitted
TRIGGER WARNING: My Fiance and I were just talking last night about how this poem, written at the time of March for our Lives, seemed a little passe. And here we are, another school shooting in Texas. On average, there has been a school shooting every week in 2018. Most kids are worrying about whether shrimp poppers is on the menu this week, whether it's an A or B week. They shouldn't have to worry about getting shot at. Never again.
  Mar 2018 JR Rhine
Allen Ginsberg
I walked into the cocktail party
room and found three or four queers
talking together in queertalk.
I tried to be friendly but heard
myself talking to one in hiptalk.
"I'm glad to see you," he said, and
looked away. "Hmn," I mused. The room
was small and had a double-decker
bed in it, and cooking apparatus:
icebox, cabinet, toasters, stove;
the hosts seemed to live with room
enough only for cooking and sleeping.
My remark on this score was under-
stood but not appreciated. I was
offered refreshments, which I accepted.
I ate a sandwich of pure meat; an
enormous sandwich of human flesh,
I noticed, while I was chewing on it,
it also included a ***** *******.

More company came, including a
fluffy female who looked like
a princess. She glared at me and
said immediately: "I don't like you,"
turned her head away, and refused
to be introduced. I said, "What!"
in outrage. "Why you ****-faced fool!"
This got everybody's attention.
"Why you narcissistic *****! How
can you decide when you don't even
know me," I continued in a violent
and messianic voice, inspired at
last, dominating the whole room.
JR Rhine Jan 2018
I see the past bearing down on me like a valley

I do believe I have the courage to take a step back

I feel the weight of generations past and the whispers they carry

I don’t know if it all comes full circle, but

I love the smell of old books.

I hate how we ignore those who came before us, as if we don’t walk across their graves every day.

I’m most passionate about understanding where we come from, and how we got here.

I hope people see me as a flashlight beneath a bedsheet, illuminating the written page.
  Oct 2017 JR Rhine
B Chapman
In a general store,
the middle of nowhere.
I stared at toys,
oblivious to the stranger too close.
A hand on my backside,
a rub and squeeze.
The cops huffed,
'are you sure it wasn't an accident?'
'Is it really that important?'
Suddenly I knew shame.

Last day of school,
cornered in an empty classroom
by my lifelong bully.
He tore my pink shirt,
grabbed me where Trump would have.
My father helped.
Did what he could.
Told me it wasn't my fault.
But the teacher,
a male who never liked my voice,
groaned in private,
'this will ruin that poor boys life.'
But what about me?

A class full of people,
feeling pretty as a rare treat.
A boy with a knife
sitting too close,
hand inching up my thigh.
A malicious smile
with a dangerous whisper,
'spread your knees.'
I never told,
It had hardly mattered before.
But that's the last time
I wore a skirt to school.

The officer taking my prints
made me cringe as he lingered.
His compliments made me shudder
but I told myself I was paranoid.
Leading me to a cell
he offered me a private room
leering as he mentioned
I wouldn't feel alone.
I almost laugh now
at his offer to pay me with juice.
But a year later at the hearing
his lude claims were loud enough
for everyone to hear.
A court room full of people
heard him brag about things
he never did.
Only one person shut him down
without even a word.
Simply a glare of digust
that I was too scared to give.
JR Rhine Oct 2017
Sometimes, before bed,
I try on the outfit
I have laid out
for the next day
in front of the mirror.

It’s like
peeking through the
wrapping paper
before Christmas Day.

that outfit neatly tucked
in the corner of my room
by the closet
is the only thing
that will get me out of bed.

After already hitting snooze
for three hours,
first class skipped,
lunch date cancelled,
self-loathing amassing
at an alarming rate—

those neatly folded clothes
look like a savior atop a
carpeted Sea of Galilee.

To mistake it for vanity
is to be the one who
has never feared
once their feet left the bed
they would drown.
If you can tell me whether it's "have laid" or "have lain" I'll dedicate my life's work to you.
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