Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Jan 2019 · 901
Light Pinks and Dark Greens
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.
May 2018 · 1.4k
Bullet in a Box of Crayons
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.
Jan 2018 · 606
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.
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.
Oct 2017 · 759
Baby Teeth
JR Rhine Oct 2017
Baby Teeth

I pulled the prayers from my raw gums like baby teeth. With the
          blood spat into my palm, there lay the tools with which I
          chewed up everything I ever put into my mouth. And yet even
          then I had felt the hands working my jaw for me.

Every day I tongue the empty space before meals and again at
          bedtime. There’s this moment when I feel like I should be
          saying something, but the void leaves my tongue aimless in the
          newfound space. I’ve grown accustomed to it.

I wasn’t so fond of it when they wiggled in my mouth when I talked
          or ate, acting like a broken saloon door for my roving tongue. I
          didn’t like to brag about it with my friends. It didn’t quite feel
          like a rite of passage as it did a loose Band-Aid.

They dangled on those last few roots that desperately clung on to that
          childlike innocence, which looked like Awana badges, Sunday
          school, father reading to me bedtime stories of David, the
          girlfriends in church that were always repentant after we

I began to believe I could sew it back in if I only believed hard
          enough. It was in those last few efforts that I was at my lowest,
          when my gums started to become infected as bacteria got
          beneath the bone and festered in the flesh. I grew sorer and

At some point I ripped every last one of them out. The therapist had
          cancelled my last three appointments. The bible study couldn’t
          progress since it refused to answer my first three questions. I
          stopped believing an artist had to first and foremost be

I still keep them in a little plastic treasure chest in a cardboard box in
          the garage, along with my plastic baseball trophies and other
          sentiments unworthy of the bedroom shelves. I recycled all the
          extra bibles I previously felt guilty enough to never say no to.

Sometimes a meal looks so good I feel the need to thank someone for
          it. Sometimes I wake up so happy I need to give someone credit.
          Sometimes that’s not the case. I’m happy I don’t have the voices
          telling me through my own teeth how sinful I am.

I’m also happy they’re not telling you how sinful you are.

I tongue the space before meals and before I drift to sleep. I feel
          something growing there. My parents are looking into an
          operation that will put the teeth back in. I still fear one day I’ll
          be the one to grab the sewing kit.

I don’t fear cavities anymore. I think they took them all with them. I
          brush my teeth now and believe in modern medicine, and
          climate change. Needless to say, I didn’t put them under my
          pillow that night.
JR Rhine Sep 2017
Hey everyone!
I just wanted to let you all know about the release of my self-published book of poems, "Parking Lot Poems"! Thank you all for your support; this website has been instrumental in shaping me into the poet I am today. If you have ever read a single word or line from one of my works, thank you. If you are interested in purchasing a copy, you can do so here:

Thank you!
Jul 2017 · 601
Thumb Wars
JR Rhine Jul 2017
our president is
waging Thumb Wars

pressing the button
another pinball appears

he pulls back the spring
and hits send

watching the vociferous orb
encapsulated with incorrigibility
ricochet across the continents

the hemispheres
the stratospheres

across every neighborhood
and nation

bing bing boing

the barricades throb
and eyes light up
as the points
begin to rack up


he    got-ta    new-high    score


such big thumbs
for such tiny hands
Jul 2017 · 1.2k
Bob Dylan's Shades
JR Rhine Jul 2017
How long behind Bob Dylan’s Shades—
smoke furls and curls among the glass—
before a man belies his fame?

The corner of the room pervades—
imbued with smoke if so to pass—
How long behind Bob Dylan’s Shades?

Visage so cool but starts to jade;
will eyes see through and to surpass,
before a man belies his fame?

Caught in the great aesthetical wake,
the fans will bend and surge en masse—
How long behind Bob Dylan’s Shades?

His words, his voice, depict a sage—
I wonder if the lore will last
before a man belies his fame.

But once the petals cease to sway
and blades blow back a pompous ***—
How long behind Bob Dylan’s shades,
before a man belies his fame?
Jul 2017 · 865
Take Me to Your Breeder
JR Rhine Jul 2017
Take me to your *******
in salmon shorts sport polo
boat shoes and expensive cologne—

I, emissary of the InterPlanetary
Order of Eugenically-Minded Denizens (IPOEMD),
have come to rid the world
of this contagion—

who for too long has
beguiled us with their
wicked fashion sense
and appalling profile pictures

appearing on friends’ dad’s yachts
smiling behind a pair of Ray-Bans
with a glass of champagne
drunk underage.

Your valedictorian address
bored me,
your sexist racist homophobic xenophobic (etc. etc.)
inside jokes to your friends
on the lacrosse team
sickened me—

I’ve had to listen to you
brag about your ***** size
since puberty and your discovery
of Spike TV—

I watch you mock Black English
in tweets and hashtags
from locker rooms where
the talk can range from
racial slurs to ****-shaming spurs

(talk never to ****
upon its potential revelation
in a political campaign)—

I film your weddings
where you dance all night
in your Aryan enclave
to top 40 songs
screaming “This is my jam!!!”

I scroll through your #familyvaca2k17 posts,
the immaculate hotels and poolside views
concealing the succeeding flophouses crumbling adobes
and dog-ridden streets of dirt and infinite trash—

I see you engrave in bold
on every writable surface—

and as a meninist,
lament about the harrowing trials
as a victim of reverse racism.

[The white man’s burden
is to carry the weight
of their inability
to be anything
other than

I have come to rid the world of you
once and for all:

Taking the Gideon’s bible
from every hotel
and replacing it with
feminist literature,

burning down every
Banana Republic and
coinciding shopping mall,

cutting the brakes
to every Mercedes, Lexus,
and BMW with a
“Salt Life” sticker
on the back window—

You wear your ethnocentrism
like the sleeves of the cardigan
wrapped around your neck
swaying in the air conditioned wind
like a little cape—

[Behold, Cis-Man!

Whose superpowers include:

Getting away with ****
and perpetuating **** culture,

Minimal jail sentences (if at all),

Guaranteed college entry,

Speeding ticket immunity,

and impeccable draft dodgings.]—

I solemnly swear,
I make a pledge
to never procreate
if it will perpetuate
this vile sect of humankind—

I take a vow of celibacy,
I spill my ***** into the dirt—
not one egg will be fertilized,
not one will be conceived

to the soundtrack of Coldplay,
or Kid Rock, or whatever hair metal ballad
conceived you in the first place—

You are a logical phallicy.

You want to talk about eugenics,
you want to stop
breeding all the “retards
spittin’ on your kids”
at the amusement park—

Pledge chastity with me:
undilute the strain—

and together,
we can end
the White Man’s True Burden:

And it is with great irony
that I write this as one of you—
the Judas to your
Megachurch TV Caucasian Christ—

I write it because
if it were by one of
whom you’ve held
under your [jackboots to boat shoes]
since time immemorial—
they’d never stand
to read it—

for even mutiny
among these ranks
has its own
Jul 2017 · 876
he would have liked it
JR Rhine Jul 2017
so he had my number because we met for tutoring on Wednesdays after class but he would text me really late at night asking me the weirdest stuff i would politely say this is incredibly inappropriate and i would not like to talk like this with you but still around two am he would text me lewd stuff again and again then asking if i would go on a date i said dude i am old enough to be your mother imagine if
a guy
          received texts
          like that
                    from a girl
                                  insisting to do ****** stuff BUT
Jun 2017 · 386
My Christian Name
JR Rhine Jun 2017
I love the way you
say my Christian name
without the faith
Jun 2017 · 921
Lost in the Supermarket
JR Rhine Jun 2017
It’s strange to be
nostalgic about a
grocery store. But
there it is.

In the lobby were
quarter machines. In
exchange for coins I’d
dig from couch cushions
and mom from the bowels
of her purse,

I’d watch colorful gumballs
spiral down a slide and
tumble through the open hatch
into my awaiting palm,
and another with wax figures
which I collected.

Inside to the left
past the magic sliding
glass doors was a DVD
rental section. Rows and rows
of movies I’d peruse
looking for something to watch
on a school night.

Across from that were
the magazine and
candy aisles with
various furniture—tables and
couches and chairs and sofas—
spread out
in the middle. I would

read skateboard magazines
beating my short legs against
the static incline of a sofa
chair and
one time a lady watched me
placidly reading on a comfy chair
from the security cam
and thought I was reading
something pornographic
and told my mom at the

At the register,
mom would let me get
Archie comics and
bubble gum—

One time when I was five
I stole a pack of Fruit Stripe
gum. In the mini-van I
revealed my sin to mom
and she had me (alone)
walk back into the store
and hand it back to the cashier,
apologizing for my grand

When my dad would
take me to the grocery store
he would like to play

He once took an egg
out of the carton
and tossed it to me
down the aisle. Too
scared to catch, I let
it fall to my feet with
a wet crack spilling
egg all over the gleaming

He grabbed soda bottles
and junk food from the shelves
and consumed them
then and there, handing
the cashier the empty

There was a coffee shop
inside the grocery store
he would stop by every
morning. Some Saturdays
he would wrench me from my
cartoons and take me with him
and I would play the 25 cent
slot machines while he got his
venti mocha latte.

Once I had a
nightmare I walked
into the parking lot
and couldn’t find my
dad. I called and called
for him but couldn’t find
him anywhere. Suddenly
his voice boomed at me
from the clouds.

In a thunderous yet
soothing voice of one who
has passed on to nirvana,
he said I would be okay, and
to take care of my mother
and my little brother and
sister. I cried and cried
out to him, searching for
his earthly body in the
grocery store parking lot.

I woke up in my parents’ waterbed
choking on my tears;
dad ran out of the bathroom mid-
shave to his side of the bed where
I slept and I threw my arms around his

and a decade later,
I drove my fiancé through
the old town I was raised in
and told her stories of the
pawn shop,
gas station,
video rental,
Mexican restaurant,
and grocery store.

With the video rental
now a tire station,
and the mom and pops
in chains,
we drove by the old grocery store
standing tall and proud
still as colossal as I remembered.

As the memories flowed
from my heart to my lungs
babbling from the driver’s seat,
that old grocery store
I gave my time and quarters to
carried a greater weight
than I ever thought
grocery shopping on Saturday mornings
and Sunday afternoons
could ever have.
Jun 2017 · 862
The Ethereal Wonder
JR Rhine Jun 2017
She is
the Ethereal Wonder
and I am her trusty sidekick
Dream Boy.

Her obsequious protégé,
I chop at the shadows
of the baddies
and glass ceilings
to which she delivers
swift kicks and merciless punches.

In the Dream Mobile,
my eyes are at her hand
on the stick shift,
her thumb flipping the
oil slick switch and pressing it—

the sounds of cars screeching and
careening off cliffs
fail to deter me from imagining
the gloved hand in mine.

Off she darts into the fray,
and I hear
the shocked public
and the narrator expound,

“Faster than men less qualified but
more likely to get the job,

as powerful as histories
of suffragettes and debutantes,

able to leap over the confines
of impressed domesticity
in a single bound!”

Into her arms fall
the thankful victims
at the last second,

and the baleful embrace
of malevolence
gropes at thin air
where the Ethereal
Wonder once was.

She receives thanks
with a wave of a gloved
hand and bounties
of humility.

She is no damsel in distress,
she is no mere love interest,
and to be her partner
in this great dangerous adventure
will be the most heroic story
ever told—

And perhaps one day she will need saving,
and I will rise to the occasion—
owing my strength, wisdom, and ability
to all she has ever taught me
of being a hero.
Jun 2017 · 1.4k
JR Rhine Jun 2017
He said “Cult of Simultaneity”
in such a sultry way
it made we want to kiss him
in that “Gay guys are attracted to me”
sort of way.

An English major taking an
upper level history course
as an elective—

When he smiled at you
in one-on-one conversation
his Irish emerald eyes gleamed between
slits (as he squinted his eyes
in a merry, amiable way).

He wore silk dress shirts and vests
every day with pressed tapered
black dress pants and
gleaming black oxfords.

His well-trimmed red beard
enwreathing the doorway to his mouth
made his lips (full, lush;
I swear they were glossed)—
evermore tantalizing.

I gave him a cute nickname
that was just his name shortened
but with a y, like Jimmy
and Bobby and
I hope he liked it—

He spoke with such finesse
carefully enunciating every syllable
running his tongue smoothly
across his teeth lips and
the roof of his mouth
free of spit and stutter—

every phoneme imbued
with his placid charm,
I ate every crumb
with my eyes glued to him
across the classroom—

Vain and straight,
straight in vain.
May 2017 · 668
Decaf Coffee Breath
JR Rhine May 2017
Can you smell the decaf
in coffee breath

or palpate the aesthetic in
clothes bought

the former amidst
those groaning to work
praying to caffeine gods
to jolt nerves into existence

the latter walking through shopping malls
spying the guise on mannequins
without frays and tears
mocking the Dickensian reflection.

Is the placebo
the one without the caffeine rush
and the credit card debt

or is it the one
who believes it will all
make them happier in
the end.
Apr 2017 · 667
Spring Plunder
JR Rhine Apr 2017
What drives the poet's vernal ruminations?
To thaw and bud and shake their boughs
they shed the cold of Winter's coat
and free their Selves from such a state of numb.

What lies behind the waking light of day?
It greens the earth and blues the sky
it sweeps you up and smiles wide
its tears of glee are warm against your face.

I pry again of poetry's ceaseless plunder
of blues and greens and skies and clouds
of dirt and grass and life resound
they bask in light that fills the mind with wonder.
JR Rhine Apr 2017
I left
immaculately folded tan chino pants
cuffed and disheveled
atop the department store rack
in the Young Men’s section.

They were too big at the waist,
letting me swim laps in them,
stretching out the front with a thumb and forefinger
looking like a successful weight loss ad.

Atop the rack they sat,
cuffed and disheveled,
amongst immaculately folded
tan chino pants
its kin
and they looked human.

Something about them,
factory made, dime a dozen,
not on sale,
but with the spectral imprint
of spaces and wrinkles where legs had been
amongst all those patient, forlorn folds
gave humanity
to the anomaly.
JR Rhine Apr 2017
Woman at diner who knew Fugazi,
I wear all these pins
on my denim jacket
waiting for someone like you
because a t-shirt isn’t
loud enough.

Woman who knew Fugazi,
waitress at diner,
had “seen them twenty times,”
without exaggeration—

with cracking olive skin
and graying curly black
hair to her shoulders,

the light refracting off my pin
my friend bought at a record store
in Philly      reflecting her the image
of a slender, voluptuous youth
donned in fake leather
worn Levis and beat Vans

shaking her mop of jet-black curly hair
in a throng of like-minded dressed
individuals in a dingy club
          angsty Washingtonians
fleeing the Reagan Youth

mad at Capitalism
mad at Middle Class,
mad at Excess, Abuse, Malaise—
driven by the furious punk rhythms
of sweat-drenched Fugazi.

Woman who knew Fugazi,
friends with Ian MacKaye,
hadn’t seen him in years—

waitress at restaurant
where the scrambled eggs are dry
and the coffee is stale.

Waitress at diner,
Mother now,
wife, adult,

at heart.
Apr 2017 · 631
Verdant Grass
JR Rhine Apr 2017
She opted for verdant grass
scintillating and dewy
in the offset of an afternoon

as opposed to the tepid
red brick pathway
damp and sanguine

sauntering in her black flip flops
blades of grass reach over
her soles and glaze
her milky toes

the bell sounds the hour
six o’clock
i’m late for class
Feb 2017 · 819
Time and Chemicals
JR Rhine Feb 2017
Our love is
like a polaroid
picture. We let

Time and Chemicals
do their work. Yet

my love,
the picture was
taken long
Feb 2017 · 786
JR Rhine Feb 2017
…the dream sequence
plays like vaudeville
in the peephole
of a kinetoscope

my drunken subconscious thoughts
undulate in murky waters
and slurin the visions of specters past

infrastructures and pylons
formed from childhood homes schools
skate parks friend’s houssand churches

faces familiar unfamiliar
mold and mend in wicked contortions
and diaphanous ambiguity
what obfuscates me from the truths
of my mind

I stumble through the chambers
haunted by childhood nightmares
and tickled by ancient fantasies

my arms
               and legs
                             are like
           ­                              I

and the words
are like alphabet soup
in the director’s commentary
splashing around aimlessly mingling
in the waves of broth

what will be revealed
in this phantasmagoric phenomena
wax figures coming to life
and panoramas dancing on the walls

my body somewhere in time
waits with pen and paper in hand
eager to counter the façade
with the utmost coherence

just you wait til I wake up
and reveal all your secrets
oh wondrous mind…
Feb 2017 · 794
Lovers Synonymous
JR Rhine Feb 2017
I will spend
the rest of my days
leafing through pages
to find new words
to describe

And when the words
run out
and the pages fade
I will trust the silence
between us

to be imbued
with every desperate yearning feeling
of amorous love
I ache for you.
Feb 2017 · 1.2k
45 to Life
JR Rhine Feb 2017
You wouldn’t let my feet touch ground
until side A died out
and the pirouette ceased.

We laid there in our Analog Atlantis
staring beyond the ceiling
letting the soundscape crash over us
and cascade into auricular orifices.

Our bodies lifted from the mattress,
floating up and up—
past the ceiling, past the trees,
past the planes and clouds,
past the stars and planets—

into the ether we fantasize about
in our synchronized dreams.

Til the sound waves receded,
and our bodies washed up along the shore,
our contours molding into impressionable sand,
turning our gaze to one another—

the needle lifts from the wax
and returns to rest,
the platter ceases its cycle,
the speakers die—

and instead of feet touching ground,
I flipped over to side B.
JR Rhine Feb 2017
The Comeback snapped the ball
and looked desperately for somebody open--

I stood in the endzone
franticallywaving my


With an eye-roll hardly concealed
within a muddy helmet,
he begrudgingly tossed me the ball--

The buzzer sounded
and the fourth quarter ended
just as the ball was in my sweaty clutch--

But the visiting team had already clapped
each other on the backs and
my team waited for me in the
locker room
smelly and defeated.

Alas, I was the most distressed,
standing on the field alone
with the winning boon
a moment
                                 too late.
Jan 2017 · 24.1k
Breaking up with God
JR Rhine Jan 2017
I broke up with God
at our favorite eatery
in our favorite booth.

We settled into familiar creases
and asked for the usual.

My eyes lazily staring at fingers
stirring the straw around the ice cubes,
God cautiously spoke up:

“Is something wrong?”

“Nothing.” (Thinking about the dormant phone
concealing behind the lock screen
the open Facebook tab
lingering over the relationship status section.)

They silently mused over the laconic reply,
til the waitress showed up with the food.

“Thank you!” God blurted with agonizing alacrity.

I received the sustenance lifelessly
and aimlessly poked at the burgers and fries.

The waitress eyed me with vague inquisition,
popping a bubble in the gum between
big teeth, refilled my water
and pirouetted hastily.

We ate in ostensible harmony,
the silence gripping like a chokehold,
the visible anxiety and subdued resolve
settling like a stifling blanket
over the child waking
from a nightmare—

Til we couldn’t breathe,
and I ripped back the covers
and looked into the eyes
of my tormentor.

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

God, taken aback by the curt statement,
dropped their burger with shaking hands,
silently begging with wetting eyes
a greater explanation.

So I elaborated:

“It’s not you, it’s me.

For your immaculate conception
was created by human hands,

your adages rendered obsolete
by human words,

your purpose and plan for us
distorted by human nature—

I cannot hate myself any longer.

I cannot pretend to know you at all.

Who my mother and father say you are
is not who my friends think you are,
nor my teachers, my pastor,
the president, Stephen Hawking,
Muhammed, the KKK, Buddha,
the Westboro Baptist Church,
Walt Whitman, Derek Zanetti,
and Billy Graham.

I am told you care who I bring into bed (and when),
and what movies I watch,
and what music I listen to—

I have not heard what you say about
child soldiers, the use of mosquitos,
or the increased destruction of the earth
which you proudly proclaimed your creation,
or the poverty and disease and famine
which has ridden so many of your children—”

God interjected,
“But you’re chosen!”

I snorted,

“You say I’m chosen
to spend eternity with you—
why me?

Why’d you pick me among
thousands, millions, billions?

I’ve been told I’m ‘chosen’
since birth
by others like me—

those with fair complexion,
blue eyes,
blonde hair,
a firm overt ****** attraction towards women,
and a great big house
with immaculate white fences
delineating their Jericho.

I’ve already fabricated eternity
here among the other ‘chosen’
and there is a world of suffering
right outside the fence
and I see them
through the window of my bedroom
every day.

Am I chosen,
if I don’t vote Republican

Am I chosen
if I am Pro-Choice

Am I chosen
if I cohabitate with my girlfriend

Am I chosen
if I never have kids

Am I chosen
if I say ‘Happy Holidays’

Am I chosen
if I don’t want public prayer in schools

Am I chosen
if I don’t want a Christian nation

Am I chosen
if I don’t repost you on my wall
or retweet your adages?

I’m tired
being the ubermensch,
for it has not brought me
and I blame you.

I will not ignore
the cries of the suffering
believing it is I
who is destined to live
in bliss.

I will not buy
Joel Osteen’s autobiography(ies).

I will not tithe
you my money
for a megachurch
when another homeless shelter
closes down.

I will not tell a woman
what to do with her body,
or a man
that he is a man
if they say they are not.

I am neither Jew nor Gentile,
and I will stand with
my brothers and sisters
of Faith and Faithlessness,

Gay and Straight,
Black and White,

and apart from these extremes
free from absolutes
the ambiguous, amorphous
nature of Humankind
which I praise.

There is much pain and suffering
in this world,
potentially preventable,
but hardly can I believe
it’s part of your plan
to save

I will not be saved
if we are not
all saved—

not one will burn
for my divinity.

The gates will be open to all—
and perhaps you believe that too,
but I’ve gotten you all wrong
and that cannot change,
as long as there is
mortality, and
corruption, and
power, and
lust, and

God whined, growing bellicose,

“It is through me that you will find eternity,
I am the one true god!
I am the God of your fallen ancestors,
it is because you have fallen short
that you need me!”

I replied, growing in confidence,

“We have all fallen short,
but we are also magnificent.

We have evolved,
we have created,
we have adapted,
we have survived.

We have built empires,
and we have destroyed them.

We have cured diseases,
and we have created them.

We have done much in your name.
We’ve done good,
and we’ve done evil—

And unfortunately it’s all about
who you ask.

Your name is a burden on the oppressed
and a weapon of the oppressor.

You are abusive, God.

You tell me you are jealous.

You tell me apart from you I will suffer for an eternity.

I’m scared to die, yet want to die,
because of you.

You have made life a waiting room
that is now my purgatory. It is

Hell On Earth.

So you see,
it’s not you,
it’s me—
a mere mortal
who has tried to put a face
to eternity
and it has left me

And also,
it’s me,
for I have learned to love me,
as I have expelled your self-loathing imbibition,
and the deleterious zeal
I have proclaimed
through ceaseless
and self-flagellation—

I have learned to love me
by realizing I am not inherently evil,
that my body is not evil,
that my mind is not evil,
and, ultimately, that
there is no good
and there is no evil.

My body is beautiful,
my mind is beautiful,
this world is beautiful,
and we are destroying it
waiting for you to claim

I leave you
in hopes to see you
again one day,

and perhaps you will look
different than I have
perceived or imagined,

and in fact
I certainly hope so.”

Just then the waitress strolled back up
with a servile smile:

“No, thank you,”
I smiled politely.

And with that,
I paid the check,
and took a to-go box—

walked out into the evening rain
to my car,
put on a secular song
that meant something real to me
and drove off
into the night—

feeling for the first time
and alive.
JR Rhine Jan 2017
i dream of you i dream with you,
following the musings of the aching poet
blathering hyperbolic verbiage
into subconsciousness
where we leave entwined mortal bodies
for the impalpable enclave
we have created.

i dream of you i dream with you,
in sleep our minds meld
over aching bodies
and lift our spirits
to the ethereal nether-realm,
where we roam
for eons
sauntering through the fields
of ecstasy.  

i dream of you i dream with you,
where the groans of the spirit
and its insatiable yearnings
find solace in the vastness
of the tangent universe,
existing outside our mortal guise,
alluded in our mind’s eye—
it’s heaven
built by you and i.

i dream of you i dream with you,*
in lucid dreams
where we know we are asleep,
but we just laugh whilst
walking through the gates of eternity
flourishing in the eternal splendor
we have created.
Jan 2017 · 902
Native Tongue
JR Rhine Jan 2017
Art does its best
to translate
the groans of the soul.

Though well versed,
it is not art's native tongue,

and even vocables
are but a semblance
of profound yearning, ecstasy,
Jan 2017 · 1.0k
JR Rhine Jan 2017
I receive your native tongue
like a desperate missionary--

letting it run over my teeth,
stroking the roof of my mouth,
and dancing with my own foreign entity.

I come to you aching
to inhale your exhale,
place my lips to yours.

In the diaspora of spit
from your mouth to mine,
deliver unfathomed riches
of love and wisdom

into my trembling body.
Jan 2017 · 525
JR Rhine Jan 2017
Like the spectral sensation
                                of invisible waves
                                        swelling against the body in bed--

                                                          ­       so do your lips
                                                 still wash over mine.
Jan 2017 · 766
JR Rhine Jan 2017
you danced
in dark silent streets
letting icy snow
fall like tacks
on your tongue

caught in a dreamy pirouette
your arms out wide
in surrender to the heavens

beyond pale streelights
your eyes to the sky
reigning down upon you

snow falling like
a slurpee spilling onto the tile floor
of a 7-Eleven
our boots sloshing through it

your three-year absence
from it
ends with a nostalgia
and an innocence
you felt you lost

yet it descends upon you again
as you twirl
under snow like tacks
on your tongue
JR Rhine Jan 2017
**** Middle-Aged Dad at the Water Park,
this is an ode to you.

**** Middle-Aged Dad at the Water Park
ambles behind
the kids sprawling out of the entrance
like baby spiders spilling
out of the crushed mother’s abdomen.

**** Middle-Aged Dad at the Waterpark
flip-flops his way to the lazy river,
shies his black Harley Davidson tanktop
to reveal his sunburnt
abdomious belly
flopping over his camo swim trunks.

He shakes off his flip-flops
and awkwardly wades in,
his hulking mass shifting with
each foot and tree trunk
of a leg smashing into
the shallow water,
sending shockwaves towards
screaming toddlers
in his wake.

Finding a vacant tube,
he turns his body around
and heaves himself
into the neon green donut
with considerable
and farcical

Mother at the pavilion
opens an eye from the lawn chair
and chuckles to herself,
applying another layer of sunscreen
over ruddy cancer-sensitive skin.

Sporting oblong racecar sunglasses
atop flushed puffy cheeks,
**** Middle-Aged Dad at the Waterpark
basks in the baking mid-summer sun
and the cool ****-ridden waters
he sinks his hands and feet into.

What is on his mind?
I imagine it is as close
to nothing
as he aims to get,

free from responsibility
like a wiry youth
he knew
from long ago.

The piercing screams of laughter
from ambulant children
splashing about him
are fruitless
in penetrating
his enclave.

He coasts about this way
for an eternity,
his red leather hide
burning in the hot sun
enwreathing his glasses.

mother reads
under the cool shade
of the pavilion,

the kids tumble down
slides and splash gleefully,

and life lingers on a moment
for a necessary

**** Middle-Aged Dad
awakens from his sun-cooked daze,
approaches the exit
and prepares himself
for his departure.

Waddling left and right,
he flops starboard
splashing magnificently
like a cannonball rolling off the deck
into the ocean.

His sunglasses leave him in the ruckus,
he gropes blindly
with chlorine-infested eyes,
til he grasps the visage
and stands up in the water.

His great body surges
from the waters,
fading tattoos gleam
along with a bald spot
in the sunlight.

He ambles through the waters—
water spilling out of rolls of fat
undulating in the motion—
and sensuously runs a baseball glove of a hand
through thinning hair.

His trunks bunch up around
firm, beefy buttocks
and a tired old *****,
thick tree trunk thighs,
ending its constriction just above
the wrinkled knot
of kneecaps.

Mother snapshots a photo
of the visage,
his fruits spilling about him
in perpetual glee,
his stolid look of authority,
wisdom, drive,
and endearment.

Years later,
the ambulant youths
on the cusp of adulthood

leaf through old photo albums
suddenly eyeing the Father piously
in a newfound awe,

aware of his gargantuan countenance
that shielded their efflorescence.

He was their sun,
he was their shade,
and their sky—

for he knew
when to plant,
and when to water,
and when to wait.

Running a thumb over
the diaphanous visage
an analog adolescence,

they jeer each other
over the Father,
secretly harboring
an amassing reverence
for the great figure,

the **** Middle-Aged Dad at the Water Park.
Jan 2017 · 777
Sifting Light
JR Rhine Jan 2017
Dawn broke across her face
in bars of golden light
sifting through the blinds.
Jan 2017 · 690
Bed Side
JR Rhine Jan 2017
This is my side of
the bed. I have
lain here my whole
life. I daren’t
cross the threshold
to the other
side, which remains

spotless, impressionless,
free of wrinkles
and other signs
of life.

I lie like the lifeguard
tells you to lie in
the waterslide:

feet crossed at the ankles,
arms across
the chest.

I lie in perfect
coffin etiquette,
shaping myself within
intangible confines,
cozy and secure.

I have lain here my whole life,
and in my dreams
you are next to me—

I have prepared this space
for you
my whole

and I am waiting
for a sign

I am waiting
for the sheets
to wrinkle,
and a mass
to take shape,
and the mattress
to indent,
and the pillow
to sigh—

I am waiting
for cold feet
to shock mine,

I am waiting
for strong legs
to ensconce mine,

I am waiting
for a torso
to touch mine,

I am waiting
for an arm
beneath my neck,
a hand on my

I am waiting for warm breath
on my face,
and the silhouette of a face
to taunt me in
the shadows—

I am patiently waiting
for the day
I cross
the threshold

into occupied
Jan 2017 · 719
now is not enough
JR Rhine Jan 2017
now is not enough,

every syllable drops

                                    another weight on
my chest

every phoneme
another league
i continue to sink (faster)
Dec 2016 · 585
JR Rhine Dec 2016
I made myself porcelain
in your arms,
aware that
from this height
I would break
into a million
Dec 2016 · 1.5k
Parking Lot Lament
JR Rhine Dec 2016
Vast, empty, midnight hour,
hunchbacked lampposts glaring over parasitic black earth
choking its host.

A parking lot,
an ecosystem’s blemish—
hot tar seeping into the pores of the earth
like a stubborn blackhead in a lip line.

When no cars burrow into the blackened hide
like lice
the great absence of life
is an atrocity.

I imagine myself skateboarding across the tier
as the small town cops
watch languidly with vague interest—

A skateboarder’s paradise
where wheels and accomplice minds roll across celestial barriers
blasting infinite pulses
into the microcosm.

What greasy punks have their mother’s van parked here,
huddling by the heat vents
and jerking off into a Pringle’s can?

Empty parking lot
looks like a cemetery
filled to the brim
where headstones meld
over a mass grave—

delineated by white lines,
the apparitions of vehicles and their hosts
haunt the frozen space.

Another horrible excuse
to waste land,
a wasteland in and of itself
where Tom Eliot saunters aimlessly
and buries the dead.

The saddest sight to behold,
this vacuous parking lot
littered with stray shopping carts,
phantasmal plastic bags,
gum splotches,
***** stains,
candy wrappers,
cigarette butts,
used condoms,
lonely cops
and patient drug dealers,
ambulant skaters,
tired punks,
bored teenagers,
stumbling drunks,
hunchbacked ***** lights
prying for life beneath its sallow gaze—

The air encapsulated within the perdition
the pavement below stifling,
a constriction only visible
when emptied of its contents.

A cop wakes from their choking nightmare gasping
to find themselves trapped,
****** in this parking lot
where the walkie-talkie buzzes
with the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The warehouse store
looming above the waiting room
lifeless, silent, dark countenance—
Big Brother sees all in the gaping maw.

Cascading before me,
stretching towards the highway passing by,
waiting for the panorama to finish scrolling,
the treadmill to cease its cycle—
all the while lamenting life’s absence
and reveling in the potentiality it possesses.
JR Rhine Dec 2016
you make me want to listen to Alkaline Trio
for their morosity
is no longer my own. and maybe

they'd be happy for me. happily
singing their songs
with a different
JR Rhine Dec 2016
Kiss me to "Mr. Brightside"
with that same sense of yearning--

It came on in the gas station
at 1:00 AM
and I thought of us

locking moist lips
in a desperate embrace

slipping on the slick tile floor
and knocking over the candy boxes

smashing into the frozen glass
and spilling peach tea
all over us--

that guitar riff is weeping with lust
and I am
Dec 2016 · 1.1k
JR Rhine Dec 2016
A mannequin of flesh and bone
fallen from its pedestal
disappears among the turtlenecks.
Dec 2016 · 2.3k
All Hail the Lizard King
JR Rhine Dec 2016
All hail the Lizard King,
whose esoteric words crawl like sirens
over hungry rocks
baring teeth to the hypnotized sailor
steering his ship into the jagged maw.

All hail the Lizard King,
perched upon his Dionysian throne,
ambrosial ecstasies fill his cup
while jongleurs dance to psychedelic chansons.

At his feet
prey the nubile maidens of yore
flower-eyed and pearly-teethed.

His eyes, mighty azure pools of madness
within which Byzantine kings were murdered--
blood darts through the mysterious waters
into the hysterical white void.

Alexander the Great
sits poised like a statue
where his libido crouches like a panther
'til the aural adonis
leaps from his confines
an amorous figure of tantalizing flesh and blood
with supple lips pouting, naked muscles taut,
mad eyes gleaming.

All hail the Lizard King,
from lush lips poetic decrees
sing forth into the endless night
penetrating taverns and bedrooms and radios
and stadiums.

The electric shaman leaps from his throne
to cast his wicked incantation,
a spark from his eyes shoots to the pyre
where a lustful blue flame erupts from
the bones of the prophets.

HIs voice soothing, haunting,
the sonic alchemist
sings his siren song into the cataclysm
where we are cast in abeyance--

We follow him,
but is he only leading us deeper
into the darkness,
or does he truly see the light?

The endless night.

All hail the Lizard King.
Nov 2016 · 793
Punk Rock Pow Wow
JR Rhine Nov 2016
Smoke scintillated by ***** lights
Scent of cheap beer and cigarettes
Arms and legs and heads and butts

In a space ejecting bravado
responding to the auricular bludgeons
plucking veins and boiling blood
arms and legs flailing like spiders
hammered by raindrops

Calloused voices scream through feedback
eking out of anguished amplifiers
while jungle drums synchronize hearts
to their frantic pulse

New friends old friends celebration
in sweaty embraces chanting screaming
stumbling outside the gates of eternity
sidewalk where we gathered round the sordid soapbox
and cast beleaguering gargantuan buildings
and endless cataclysmal streets
into abeyance

to prance along these old sidewalk cracks
stumbling along cigarette butts and beer cans
efflorescing under amative neon lights whose bombinate glow
tingles our skin and dazzles our eyeballs
rolling back into our skulls in the wake of ecstasy
billowing over our ambulant bodies

Friday nights
     Saturday nights
              Sunday nights
skipping school on a week day
braving city night life to find us in the nooks
they forgot to sweep out
where trash collects and pretends
to be unwavering and implacable
for a moment

Til it's back on the streets we spill out upon like puke
like the beer sticking to checkerboard floors
and we float home on the feedback high singing in our ears to sleep
dreaming of these ecstasies as something perennial
in punk lover's dreams

Pure when we're filthy.
Listen to Beach Slang.
Nov 2016 · 593
JR Rhine Nov 2016
Splints are beginning to break,
wounds are seeping through the bandage,
sores have become infected,
scabs picked and pulsating--

Aspirin won't take away the throbbing pain,
nor will morphine numb the brain--
the leg below the ****** turniquet
grows gangrenous.

Maggots inching closer,
flies eagerly buzzing overhead,
divebombing into ruptured flesh
oozing blood and pus--

the body bag lingers menacingly
sporting its gaping maw,
hungry for mangled flesh
and broken bones.

Bloodshot eyes pleading,
crooked mouth on a broken jaw begging,
a sick contortion of a once beautiful body
****** forlornly on busy streets--
writhing in the weak mortal vessel that damns them.


How long?

How long has it been lying there?

Trying hopelessly to stand stumbling like an old dog
in its final moments of consciousness
before the impending ejection--
how many have passed it by
with a blind salute
and a knowing fake smile?

How long must this poor soul drudge through time
slowly draining its insides
and flesh feasted by the flies,
dragged along by marionette strings--

when will we see this creature,
in need of its good samaritan--
when will we stop the transient fix,
peel off the blood-soaked bandages,
and ultimately stare into the fissures
for a final, effective prognosis?

Look this ******* in the eye,
peruse its peeling sallow skin
hanging loose off cadaverous limbs--

gasping cries rendered soft moans,
lying in a cesspool of ****** fluids--
**** and **** and blood and pus
drowning within itself--

trace your fingers along the scars and wounds,
inhale the stink of death,
accept your incapacity to understand the weight of its history--
a great anguish heralded by generations afore.

Do not, then,
think it wise to abandon the poor wretch,
as your forefathers had done--
The Poison lies within you.

To heal, then--

is not a matter of medicine,
is not a matter of science,
is not a matter of faith--
it is a matter of action.

It is sick.
It is dying.
And it will take us all with it.

Would you die for its sins?
JR Rhine Oct 2016
Theses on species
and their feces,

people ******* and *******,
Bukowski sneers and spits.

A cycle traversing through time
unbroken and unchallenged,


thoughtful yet dubious
of their divinity,

if any at all.
Oct 2016 · 2.7k
Nostalgic Fallacy
JR Rhine Oct 2016
is a poor excuse
for ignorance

yet it pervades
with a tenacity
stemming from fabricated desire
for the smell of ****
we're told
is roses

and it's blasphemous
to question potential "isms"
lurking behind the veil
of Saturday morning cartoons
and black and white family sitcoms.

Yet by the time the sonic *** organs
have lain into us with repressed emotion,
the holy spirit has spilled its ***** in the dirt
to traverse onward floating apparition
out of the room and down the hall
closer towards progress.

and we are left reeling
stumbling into the hallway
buttoning our blouses
and yanking at our zippers

wondering what could cause
such great haste
and we follow blindly
in the wake of the first high

or we turn backwards
and plunge into fading bricolage
as a means to cope
with the rapid and fleeting *******
of the electric eye
in its shape-shifting pylons and appendages
getting smaller in the naked eye
and gargantuan in the mind.

Clutching our *******
in great amorous heaves
of lust
or donning our father's clothes
in a mask of artifice
and enlightened cultural pretension.

Moaning for the days of youth a week ago,
the epoch squeezed in the space between thumbs,
looking for treasures in the trash
craving something tangible
in an increasingly intangible world.

The semblance of touch lost on a generation
who knows only of emotion through hieroglyphics
and never through direct sensation.

So we dig through the toy boxes
and leave Generation X puzzled
as we dig into their records
in Guns n Roses T-shirts
and high waisted jeans.

We're just looking for an immaculate conception of something palpable.
Oct 2016 · 705
JR Rhine Oct 2016
We're bored like monks
in the margins
of ancient scripture.

We want to leave behind lazy hieroglyphs
and accidental red herrings
feigning illumination

rendered by the deviousness of time
in its enclave,
running a brush of flaky gold paint
over delicate decadence
and sprinkling dust like a fairy--

we are to believe it is all
some ancient treasure.

We prance in the ether of the material world
in junkyards where we sift through the wreckage
coddling memories like drying uteruses,
realizing our generation will not leave behind artifacts
worthy of nostalgia's ensconcing embrace.

With that realization we weep and

We continue to dig.
Oct 2016 · 1.4k
A Taste of Irony
JR Rhine Oct 2016
****** Bag in sunglasses
donned indoors where
fluorescent sunlight cannot justify
the obfuscation of haughty eyes
so the visage is one
of pure pretension
and cockiness,
as self-assuredness
and the colloquial term for the phallus,
a literal ****.

(I see him strongly in the memory of a high school field trip returning home school bus late night he sits sideways back to the window head leaning back sunglasses donned smug grin I rendered him the vessel and the scape goat bearing my burning hatred for the inflated ego wrapped in an undesirable chic I deem deplorable, hate hate hate)

Smug grin,
I wrote this poem from a bean bag
in the corner of the library third floor
whilst wearing sunglasses and
a taste of irony
on callous lips
twisted in an invisible sneer.
Oct 2016 · 982
JR Rhine Oct 2016
I perused through the catacombs
gliding my fingers along your innumerate spines,
picked you up where you blossomed in my palm
and breathed archaic mysteries into my face.

I felt myself trembling
as I dared enter the hallowed corridors,
opening doors and peeking inside
in hopes to catch a semblance of your touch,
your taste,
your voice.

A fingerprint,
a coffee stain,
clues and the origins of bricolage
that left me breathless
and teary-eyed
as the weight of this sacred place
bore itself entirely upon me.

A part of your soul
encased within each one of your treasures:

I heard your stereo in a jazz history,
heard you ponder within Dostoyevsky,
saw your wry smile and charm within Fleming,
and your humor within Vaudeville--

and as I perused onward,
and the archetype bore itself naked in a holy privilege,
I closed myself within that impalpable bubble
and wept at the gates of Eden.

As I removed my hands from your ribcage,
and withdrew the breath from your nostrils,
walking away with your words and fragments of your soul
I soon realized--

You Are What You Read.
Thank you for everything, Professor Barrett. Rest easy, comrade.
Oct 2016 · 1.7k
The Electric Shaman
JR Rhine Oct 2016
You were draped across a girlfriend's bedroom wall
where a cross would be,
your arms held out loosely like an ambiguous invitation,
shielding your countenance from extraneous intrusions
under which she would sleep soundly
in the shroud of your incantation.

Your fallen angel wings beating back bad dreams
slain mercilessly
and falling at your feet.

Your lips slightly pouting, eyes dark,
obfuscating the madness and ***-crazed hallucinations
they harbor.

Hair purposefully unkempt,
disheveled sensuously atop your head,
tufts of hair brushed across your broad chest--

Bare muscles taut and taunting,
placed topographically on the poised temple--
those ready to worship bow their heads
in reverence to the sonic alchemist.

The modern adonis,
sculpted out of the Mississippi Delta Blues
and Dionysian wet dreams--
brought to life with the electric current pulsating through the microphone and its stand upon which you straddle with skin-tight leather pants--

Your left hand around its waist,
your right cupped over the phallus--
your lips part and your cataclysmal eyes
envelop the darkness before you--

Your image,
tormented and tantalizing
in an open invitation
to prostrate ourselves before you
and succumb to your hypnotic stare.

The door opens.
Next page