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Jimmy King Sep 2015
I felt biking up hill today fairly alive
And then I sit in stuffy dormrooms or walk through hallways
I crouch at desks to copy and paste old thoughts
I jog from toilet to shower to make it to class on time
And still I am three minutes late, like I
Wrote in my little notebook that “I have to stop
Letting my desire for something supersede my feelings for the individual people in my life”
But even as I wrote it
Pissingdrunk against the side of my friend’s pink house
I didn’t know what I meant, scribing only
So that I could figure it out later:
What the hell I meant by ‘desire’
What the hell I meant by ‘something.’

I felt biking up hill today fairly alive
And then I’m called upon to have opinions,
To finish my homework
To take out the trash
To define ‘desire’
To define ‘something’
And then to flip the supersedence around,
Yes I am called upon by myself and myself only
So I’m not gonna finish my ******* homework today.
I’m gonna let the trash continue to rot.
I’m gonna define ‘desire’ as a product of rational society
And I’m going to define ‘something’ as the oppressor class
And I will fly past these nets
Like a proud and bold Icarus to
Sit on my bike

Remaining and lingering
As I move through temporal space.

And then I will love.
I will be loved.
I will be subject.
I will be humanized.
From an axiological point of view,
Aug 2015 · 1.5k
Escaping Zen Buddhism
Jimmy King Aug 2015
our circles of right and wrong,
fractured in absence of fickle zen,
stand now across the sky
diagramed on clouds in venn

and smiling the grey
blobs block the meteors;
it’s love of life that may
chain our bodies in the center

of that shifty airy water space
where waffles are gentrification
and the hands we hold are separation
and its happening everyplace

we go. so to talk and act
separately, is to deny that cloudy venn;
to go where mind is scarcely fact
and establish a dangerous distance

cuz yesterday I meditated
but today I must’ve particulated
cuz  I see we’re one big contradiction
inside love that’s bound to mediation.

friere would say this occupation
is precisely our ontological vocation,
but to subjectify ourselves at the very
center of the venn is to carry

a weight upon the column
of my spinal cord unknown
even to the days
of my very best posture.

yet, your resistance to the slump—
it guides me to listen for the thump
thump of distant drums:
a revolutionary battlecry

through which I extend my hand
to hold yours across the waffled
space which we’ve so ******.
our heartbeat races through my mind.
Jimmy King Aug 2015
Part One

We sat on a strange wooden platform
Which hung suspended
From a strange metal structure.
And we kissed in the daylight
With cars passing by.

It struck me then
That I hadn’t kissed anyone in the daylight
With cars passing by
In over two years.
And I’d never before
Kissed anyone in the daylight
With cars passing by
Who identifies as a Marxist.
Or who loves Virginia Woolf.
Or who takes her sandals off to splash in muddy water without prompting and
Without even rolling up her jeans.
Or whose love of life captures her in the same contradictions as mine.
And I haven’t written a love poem
For someone who might also be writing me love poems
In over two years
But this is it.
Here it is.

This is it,
Here it is,
In four days
We will live in separate cities
And then I might not kiss anyone in the daylight
With cars passing by
For two more years
Or two more after that but
Such a possibility strikes me as unlikely.
Not because we can commute but because you showed me
As we hung suspended on a strange wooden platform
Kissing in the daylight
With cars passing by
(As we braved the mosquito bites in that field that night;
As we waded through the creek today
While thunder cracked all around us
And rain poured down right upon us)
That I am someone who someone worth loving
Can find worth loving.

Part Two**

Or hang on.
It doesn’t have to be like that.
It doesn’t have to be like kale soup,
Which has been connoted for me as representing the preservation of tradition and community while effecting radical change within the food system.
It can instead be like artichokes
Which I just like
For no ******* reason
Other than that they’re good.
We each got over 40 mosquito bites because,
While we lay in a field under the, like, five stars that decided to show themselves at the peak of the Perseides meteor shower,
We were too busy making out to give a ****.
And it was fun.
It was fun, and tonight when we got dinner and you asked me to explain why I liked artichokes so much
We abandoned our tradition of narrative, us English majors, and we decided to study Sociology,
Because sometimes it’s better to look at how things are
Before you even ask yourself why.
A ****** poem. But ideas and moments I want to return to.
Jun 2015 · 645
Columns of Windows
Jimmy King Jun 2015
yes, this city
is awe-inspiring.
the sheer height
of kroger's hq,
the intrinsic intimacy
of the 5/3 dome, yes
is the only word.
when the sun is setting,
i mean.
when the light

shines on the columns of windows, the buildings
slide startlingly out of focus to become something almost real,
something almost untainted by glass, uh--
a sunset.
a river.
the buildings wiped almost
out of existence
that river. a river
that gushes, changing with every second yet
remaining. constantly
in its pose of watermotion and water-

but then the sun fades away
and the neonlights come on,
and the moon
is far too faint and the buildings
cast shadows that are far too wide
and reality is submerged and we
are submerged.

we need another glint.
another light.
we need to turn the stillness
of this night
into a movement,
and yes,
we need to be prepared,
just in case--

we have to fight.
Jimmy King Jun 2015
your lips hung, slightly parted,
as you slept through the morning.

your face was smooth
and your tiny nose ring glinted
in the light that passed through the pine trees
and into our tent.

i stared at you, over there, for a long time
from where i lay in my sleeping bag, over here.

i knew that, just as it happened two years ago
when we lay in the bed at my mother’s house,
having spent the night together for the first time,
your eyes would slowly flicker open to meet mine
and i would somehow have to account
for why my gaze was already fixed on yours.

i prepared a hundred different good-mornings,
some chipper
           (“good morning!”)
and others saddened
           (“hey, good—um… good morning.”)
or only a little bit saddened
           (“hey there. good morning.”)
just to seem more natural even though
they were all still going to be a little bit
too chipper.

but i looked away at just the right moment and you muttered,
in your tired voice,
“how did none of the rain get into the tent?”
so all my preparations were obsolete.

i told my mom tonight,
that we’re no longer whatever we were
and it was only the fourth time i can really remember
tearing up in front of her,
although it surely happened quite frequently
when i was younger. after
scraping a knee, for instance, or
getting scolded by my brother.
the skin on my knee has healed now though,
so i’m thinking i’ll just try
not to be so concerned.
about anything, really.
May 2015 · 430
Jimmy King May 2015
the rows of roads and skyscrapers are rolling like
breakable hills above us
and under us
the waves are crashing
silicon valleys
made of thick
which carries no charge. but

here we are in the middle.

y’all make me feel outside of it and
inside of myself, cuz i am not
thick rubber and i am not
a breakable hill.

i am a body
sitting in the front seat
of my car,
driving down the highway,
and singing
at the top of my lungs
to nothing in particular.
May 2015 · 569
Cherry Blossoms
Jimmy King May 2015
“How long do these bloom?” I ask her,
Standing in the night,
The nascent springwarmth fading around us.
As the moon plots its course
Across the thin line of sky it will occupy tonight, she says,

“For a very very short time.”

We lay in the wetgrass for a bit then,
And once the moon has gone and the sun is close to rising
We part. It feels
For a moment
Like she is all the places I never went,
Still ringing loudly in my mind with obsolete importance—she is
A bandaid on soft skin,
Covering numbness.
Not pain.

Three days later
The blossoms fall from the trees in a storm
And the ground is littered with shards of pink.
Walking back along the river,
My bandaid torn off such that it ripped out all the littlehairs,
I smell them:
The tendersweetness mushed against the pavement
Under runningshoes and bicycles and myfeetnow.
Wafting through the air much more fiercely
Now that each flowerfiber is torn.

All year I stood amid a forest of cherry trees, all in bloom.
And I got so used to the smell.
Apr 2015 · 1.1k
Splinters & Ice Cream
Jimmy King Apr 2015
I thought of you today when I noticed the dirt underneath my fingernails
And when I felt the wind in my hair as I flew down a hill on my bike
And when I stared at the Hocking River again as it gently swirled downstream.
When I realized I’d be going to bed early and
When I thought about sleeping alone,
As I do almost every night.
When I decided to go the long way home.
When I sat down on a bench, ate a granola bar, and sipped away the rest of my water.
When I threw my shovel aside and dug with my hands.
When I wiped the sweat from my brow.
When I looked at my Aloe Vera plant and realized I hadn’t watered it in a while.
When I watered my Aloe Vera plant.
When I left the dinner table before the rest of my friends to call my grandma
Who once told me that you and I should get married.
When I laughed at my own thoughts
And when Ani DiFranco came on my Spotify.

I don’t exactly know what I mean
When I say I thought of you.
I don’t know anything exactly, I mean
What if the universe jumps erratically through temporal space,
And each moment only seems continuous cuz we only remember what came “before” it, as we say?
When I say that, when I think about that,
I guess I’d call that thinking about you.

I thought about you when I thought about
Getting ice cream
And when I thought I got a splinter,
Neither of which
Actually happened.
Apr 2015 · 879
Potato Peeler
Jimmy King Apr 2015
For almost two years we’ve been sitting on a conveyor belt
Heading straight for the potato peeler, which will
Slice right through our thickened skins and puncture our vitals;
A cold cruel machine designed to sit
In industrial kitchens
Waiting for Sodexo’s next batch.

But we—
We’re from the farmer’s market and we are not
Four inches in diameter and six inches in length.
We are clunky. We are knobbled. We are
Purpleyellow and we are waterysweet.
We are not
Iowabland or a poem of rhyming couplets, yeah
We are free verse and we

Had *** because we’re friends.
Or maybe because
We love each other
In one way or another.
Or maybe because we’re lost
Or maybe all of the above, yeah—I don’t know, I just know

The potato peeler won’t accept us for a second.
That mechanical grip, slicing slicing slicing,
A fumbling tumbling in countless browntowhite progression,
It won't accept
Our color, our flavor, our beautiful swirling eyes,
And for a while I didn't either.
But whether we have two more months on the belt or twenty years,
I know that our knobbled progression to nowhere
Will have been one of everywhere.
Mar 2015 · 797
Illusion of Chaos
Jimmy King Mar 2015
Ash from two cigarettes on the stone pylon beneath my feet,
I **** yellowbrown into the Hocking.
My stream meets the river on a riptide,
Carefully crafted from the funneled remnants
Of melted snow and torrential rain
Just to give off the illusion of chaos.
Forms of spectacular watermotion grace the noonday clouds,
And despite their haste, too high on molly,
There’s something hanging in the stillness beneath the mudbrown surface—
Some epiphanic moment that rapidity and angerwaves
Refuse to force out of sight; some
Strand of smoke, still floating upwards from the dampened cigarette ash
Abandoned twelve hours prior; some
Slurred-drunken word, tinged anyways with meaning.

The lips I kissed after climbing back onto the bridge the night before
Proved to be less than irrelevant (screaming later, as they did, someone else’s name
While I lay listening, still half thinking that
Maybe she’d just gone upstairs for some floss). But
The fact that there were lips there at all,
In the rain
Under the stars
Over the Hocking
Issuing with reverence the words “magical” and “perfect”
Through the darkness of the night and the echoes of Joni Mitchell’s voice…
It’s something worth noting, despite the angerwaves;
Something worth feeling
Despite the noonday clouds and dampened ash.

Now that I’ve screamed at the river and ****** on it with a harshlaugh,
I think I can also
Find a moment to give it thanks.
Because I’m off the pylon now.
I’m back on the bridge. And I’m walking South
With the flow of the Hocking, back into Athens.
And I am finally
(The rain beating against my face, my clothes, my mind)
So very here.
Mar 2015 · 732
Glimpse at 3am
Jimmy King Mar 2015
The moon swallowed me whole that night
Walking between house parties at 3am,
And as the **** finally began to wear off
I was confronted with a harsh
Glimpse of sobriety: sitting
In my mom’s kitchen
Where my ex-girlfriend pierces my ears
And wondering
What color the walls used to be. Or standing
Alone on a New York City subway
Too afraid to ask the fat man gripping the pole next to me
Whether I'd yet veered off course. Or waiting in streetlight
Tired, exhausted, ready for bed,
Outside the first concert I ever went to
For my friend's grandma to pick us up. Or dipping
A cookie in coffee this afternoon and remembering the night
I drove straight into a train and ended up in hell.
It was that sort of glimpse.
Jimmy King Feb 2015
We ventured into the hills today
Somewhat by accident, and encountered,
For the millionth time,
The irreality of past experience.

We wore summer sunglasses under the clouds
To block out the many snowflakes,
And over the course of our many conversations
That were screamed through scarves and wind,
The ground went from bare to covered to

"I used to write a poem every day," I told you,
When asked, and you nodded but
I don't know what you heard. There was
The wind, for one thing, but your attention was also focused
Not on my words but on their harmonic frequencies--
On the trail of footprints leading forward.

Somewhat by accident, we stopped in at a friend's
To warm our fingers and
Be made coffee.
In the comfort of that additional company we found,
I think,
That a recent memory
Of crunching icicles sweetened by sap
Preserved some trace of our two-ness.
Happy poems are hard but worth attempting, anyway. Developing friendships, yayy
Jimmy King Feb 2015
Just beginning to start to begin to
Come to terms with
Where I am and how,
I walk away suddenly
From those old dreams, those
Rev-lations of sound,
To meet you--
My consistent stranger--
Under guises and veils and a subconscious resistance
To the idea that it's now been a long time
Since the title of stranger
Was really appropriate.
Jimmy King Dec 2014
.              Part One               .

I wake up in a hungover haze that seems
Irrevocably unending. All the places I threw up,
That stiffness in my neck, the emptiness in my love;
There is too much to feel
So I feel numbness
And I feel remnants
Of ***** in my throat, only manifested fully
When my friends and I make fortune cookies,
Singing along to songs that we’re hearing for the first time
Amidst the chaos of exploding poinsettia plants and nascent tattoos,
All of which litter your mom’s otherwise bare counter.
I don’t make much mention, in my fortune cookies,
Of that girl who still leaves me hungover;
I fill them instead with cruel jokes
That send me cackling
Until my dehydrated headaches pass into

When I’m moonlit tipsy stumbling
Through a campus-wide coniferous forest in Washington State
With two strangers that I soberly think
Might be my future.
We arrive at the clear polluted waters
Of the Puget Sound, our boots all
Sinking into deep-mud as we walk past broken bits of shells
To low tide.
Even as the full moon sinks and I realize
That those two strangers can never be my future
(That Athens, Ohio is my future)
I still walk forward
Into the Puget Sound
Knowing that the water will stay with me
In my lungs, on my skin,
In my mind, and although I don’t tell a single person, I fear,
So rightly,
That the water from the Puget Sound,
Set to perpetually accumulate in my lungs,
Will one day come to drown me.
Even as I cry to my mom in our kitchen,
Relieved from that seemingly endless indecision
I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised
By the choice I’ve made, I’m not surprised
By the fears I still have, all that surprises me
About any of this
Is the immediacy with which
My conclusion’s future culmination begins, as I begin
And continue
While always feeling like I’m concluding,
An infinite

In spirals, spirals, spirals, leaving trails
In subconscious sands, someone paints
Blue spirals on my body, and when
I drive back to Lake Erie later,
To retrieve abandoned items and moments,
The road looks much different.
Less swirly, less threatening at first, and when we get there
We eat pineapple/onion pizza on my ****** cottage’s front porch,
Just barely shielded from the snow, and just barely
Shielded from one another. And even those
Slim shields between us begin to fall
When we stand on our melting Lake Erie.
Because the whole world
Calls to us.
The sky screams, the wind explodes,
The thin layer of water above ice rushes
Blissfully, almost hallucinogenically, towards you and towards I
And I am howling
Into the face of it all,
Fearing nothing—not even
The absence of that girl’s palm in mine
Or the water from the Puget Sound
Or the cold of the air
That is tearing at my scalp; that is tearing
At my whole being and

Is best described by a rampage
Home from a campsite
That I only ever saw
Drunkenly, in the dark, and under the pressure
Of Allan Ginsberg’s poetry and an ultimately failed ****.
On that rampage we steal tombstones,
We steal memories for ourselves,
And we steal crass glances
With crass jokes that sound sort of
Like the crass fortune cookies which somehow
Never went bad.
Someone notes during that drive
That the air is getting warmer
With regularity now,
And while I somehow can’t bring myself to cry when my cousin is shot to death,
I have to struggle to hold back tears
In our high school’s only classroom when you tell me
That you’re quitting that play we signed up for together.
I guess it’s cuz I’m concerned—
Cuz I’m deeply
Deeply concerned—
That it’s a lack of dedication
To me, to what we do together, to everything
That will prevent my rampage from concluding quietly
Amidst the smells of Indian food and the soft light
In your future dorm room
Where I will hug you
And where I

Let all the tears
Flow freely.
I guess it’s the unnecessary intensity
Of this collective celebratory anticipation
That preemptively reveals to me
That the moment of walking across a stage
To receive my high-school diploma
Won’t be quite as transformative as I’d hoped it might be,
And when I make out with that girl who still has me hungover
In the bed at my dad’s house where I lost my virginity
Almost exactly one year prior, I realize that in fact,
I’m still marching the same march, and
Both magic moments of idealized transformation in that bed
Were just as illusory.
Somehow though
Your no longer nascent tattoos have not yet faded
And I can’t help but worry,
(As sweat pours from my forehead and drenches these bedsheets;
As my finger nestles itself tiredly between the folds of her ******)
That I have, and in

When all my anticipation is realized,
People clap in the audience despite the fact
That it’s the same stream of sweat
That’s trickling down along my spine
To reach my ***.
I stare into the spotlight
For just a moment, amidst those stale applause
And in my squint, I think briefly
That none of it ******* mattered. I mean,
Despite this perspiration, I’m
Dehydrated. Hungover. I guess
Drinking more alcohol
Isn’t the best way to get over it, but I can think of nothing else,
So even when I acknowledge
That all my attempts have not even been half-assed,
But, like, one-quarter-assed
The only resolve I find is in distraction, in
******* my other ex-girlfriend instead
And not until that distant

When I’m ascending through Never Sink,
Does my head finally
Feel clear, yes,
In that glowing blue pit
Of bioluminescence,
I feel the whole world slow to a stop,
Embrace my body with its taproots
And whisper
Playfully and
In a child’s voice,
“You are the whole world” and I know that I
Am the whole world.
I breathe heavily, the only sound for miles around,
And for a moment I feel that the Puget Sound,
Along with everything else that is so ******,
Has fallen away.
For it is not my body
That is climbing on-rope through the stars and galaxies of this great sinkhole
But my mind,
But my soul,
Because Never Sink
Is not a landscape
But a mind-scape,
A soul-scape,
And it is one which is never dark
Thanks to the blue lights of soulful- (not bio-) luminescence—
A glow that is strong enough to see
A singularity
In the form of an unlocked lock,
Appearing with grace upon my driveway
After I return home
From ******* my other ex-girlfriend
For the last time.
It is only when I stop the car,
Open the door,
And hold that unlocked lock in my hand that I realize the extent to which
I am being
The ethereal being in Never Sink’s soul-scape,
Alone in the blue grace of the night,
With nothing in my breath.
The thought is terrifying.
So in

On the night of my eighteenth birthday,
The girl I’m hung over and I
Send magical, sparkling lanterns into the sky
With a wish so brilliantly bright and simultaneous
That even I am able dismiss the slurring drunk words spoken next to us—
“Here’s hopin’ that you two get married some day”
As superfluous.

.                Part Two               .

The winds above Lake Erie carry me,
Along with that lantern, into the foreignness
Which Never Sink foreshadowed.
But with the lantern as my very being
And the Puget Sound in my every breath,
Athens, Ohio does not become my soul-scape;
Even its gorgeous autumnal rolling hills
Are just land-scape, and I don’t know
Whether things would have been different
Had I not walked into that stranger’s party
For that terrible beer
On one of my first nights there, but regardless in

I walk up endless hills and stairs daily
To get around this hellhole where the only genuine people I’ve yet found
Were prepared to leave from day one, like I
Wasn’t. I wasn’t preparing for that at all, but the Puget Sound,
Lingers like phlegm in my lungs and distorts my regular refrain
Of “I can be happy here, I can be happy here,” keeping it
From ever loosing its hypothetical but eventually forcing it
To loose its conclusion:
I can be…
I can be…
I can be anything that I want to be and I am still here,
Sitting on the top terrace of this weird-assed biker bar with some girl
I just met, with some guy
Who seems cool, but in both cases
I drink one too many Blue Moon’s because I know
That neither of these people
Will ever loose their hypotheticals and will only ever
Loose their conclusions.
Gazing upwards towards the stars in the fading summer,
I try to ignore the physicality of all that’s around me,
But the alcohol churns in my stomach like violent waves, like in

How I rock like tides between the shores
Of two continents, of two
Acid trips.
One, on the floor of my dorm room, staring at my ceiling
In an attempt to make patterns
Out of patternless white paint, all the while holding hands
With that guy who seems cool, who has been dancing
In and out of hypothetical.
And the other acid trip with you,
Who somehow in the face of everything
Became one of my only certainties.
You, with whom I stood on Lake Erie
Howling into the wind in an unrealized epiphany.
An epiphany
That is now realized
Because the beers on that top terrace didn’t matter.
The white speckles on my dorm room ceiling during that first acid trip
Didn’t matter.
Hell, that girl I am in love with
Didn’t (doesn’t, can’t, won’t) matter.
What matters to me,
As I’m dressed in drag on Halloween,
Lying in your dorm room that smells of Indian food
With 120 dollars of drug money in my pocket,
Is what’s ultimately present. Right there.
Right here. But then, lying there, the time
Clicks over into

And at two in the morning it becomes
One in the morning.
I don’t know which of those hours wasn’t real
But when I hug you and cry in the soft light
It is a moment too brief.
It is a moment from which I am pulled straight
Into a hotel bed halfway to New York City,
Where I lie with that girl who I guess I’m in love with
And I’m kissing her, and I realize
That blue spirals still linger on my body, but when she groans,
So softly
That “we shouldn’t be doing this”
I pause before saying “I know,”
And in that pause, my pixelated, televised, and falsified image of reality
Briefly turns to fuzzy grey static, its finite infinity like the trance
Of meat on a rotisserie; I’m waiting
For this turkey to cook
In my friend’s mom’s home—funny
Because I’m still a vegetarian
Who sometimes likes to think of himself, in quest for definition,
As a vegan, but man
I’m beyond definition, I’m beyond anything,
I’m beyond even my darkest imaginings of myself, so when I get wasted
At a 2am that doesn’t click back on Thanksgiving morning,
I have a slice of that ******* turkey,
Cuz the vegan chili my friend and I made at school was good and all,
But I had to bike through freezing rain to get the peppers
And even though I’m starting to feel
Like I’ve found a few people who I can take in with permanence
Nothing feels more like permanence
Than this home-cooked meal
Of turkey and cranberries and sweet potatoes at a granite counter
Where, on January 1st when the ball dropped,
We all took shots, leaving me drunk, stumbling
And eventually
And of course in

I’m still
Hung over it all.
Part one, part two,
The futility of that division is so obvious now.
It’s the same poem, same sentence,
And when two not-so-new-anymore friends and I sit on a rooftop in Athens
With a bunch of still so-new I-guess-friends
Right before exam week,
Right before this emotionally excruciating semester comes to a close,
Right before I prepare to head home,
I realize that even though this place
Hasn’t quite become home yet,
My ‘home’ isn’t really at home now either.
I am without a bed in which I feel comfortable,
Without a body next to which my whole life makes sense,
And I am driving to go swing dancing—
An activity I can’t believe I’m still trying to like—
When I finally tell her that I’m in love with her:
Words that don’t matter despite
How much they do. Ultimately,
To me, to her, it’s just
A quick red-light phrase
And this poem is, without too many layers of resonance,
Not even addressed to her,
But to that girl with whom I stood on Lake Erie,
Howling into the wind,
Imagining part two but preparing
For part three, so
With that lantern still floating skyward, “here’s hopin’ that”
                                         (No. No. No. Start over.)
Here’s hoping that
At midnight
On this New Year’s Eve,
When the ball drops and when we all take shots,
Perhaps around that same granite counter-top,
These clocks
Won’t click back again.
These spirals
Will fade.
Dec 2014 · 470
Coffee Breath
Jimmy King Dec 2014
We used to drink tea together but now you
Talk about coffee breath in the mornings.
I guess I would talk about coffee breath in the mornings too
If my digestive system would forgive me for it.
I try so hard to ignore
This nagging problem that’s been following me around,
But it’s so internalized and so persistent
That even at the best of times
I can’t honestly talk myself into thinking
That I can control it. Whenever I even try—
Whenever I have that cup of coffee in the morning—
I end up in the bathroom
Struggling to somehow
Release the air from the body that I
Can’t even really trust
To get me where I need to go.

Last January,
Almost a year ago now,
My friend read me this poem that she liked
In the blanket fort in my basement.
I don’t remember what it was called
Or who was by
But it was about this guy,
Sort of like a modern-day Sisyphus, I guess,
And his job is to push these rocks
From one side of the road to the other
Almost every day,
When I walk up that near-endless staircase to my class
And almost every day
When I walk back down knowing I’m about to go
Right back up,
I think about that poem.

Where I need to go is almost always
On the other side of the staircase, and I’ve gotten used
To addressing all of my poems to you.
I guess even if I can’t really empathize with your coffee breath in a literal way
I can understand the feeling of staleness.
Funny, given all the newness of everything around me, but
My body
Has been going through this same war every single day
Just trying to digest the sustenance it needs, and my mind
Hasn’t had much time to feel like it’s done anything
That's not been solely an attempt
To keep the rocks moving
Nov 2014 · 663
Solar Flares & Sun Spots
Jimmy King Nov 2014
We sailed counter-clockwise
Through black water and pumpkin sprees,
Dangling footnotes of bookend conversations
The closest thing to clarity in speech--
But we understood the solar flares and the sunspots
And when our bodies sank into dank swampy muck,
There we were in cold moonlight
Naked and shivering and sweet, the whole balance
Of cosmic radiation flung skyward, like
It was all right then, it was all right now, everything is
Like in that movie we watched apart but
Somehow also didn’t, like how the time I tripped
On that drug you were on, my friends and I burnt our fingers
Making stupid fortune cookies
All so contrived, but the morning before the pumpkin sprees
I found a fortune on the ground that didn’t even come from my cookie
So, like it asked me to, I took a chance
And discovered that it wasn’t just my chance to take, cuz
There we were scrubbing our legs in bathroom sinks and showers
Trying to clear the muck away from skin and hair but the dirt
Was so persistent, and the persistence
Was so telling… Regardless
Of how many green globules of antibacterial soap
We squirted onto our legs, the world just wasn’t going to get clean, I mean
The world just lends itself to filth, and sometimes
You have to set the soap down and cry, or walk outside
To see the sunrise
Over the distant hazy hills,
The sunspots and solar flares
All suddenly laughable
Despite their previous profundity.
And even if it wasn’t just my chance to take,
I’m glad I picked that fortune up off the street and
Read it quietly to myself, standing there with countless
People passing by.
Nov 2014 · 438
Daylight Savings Time
Jimmy King Nov 2014
"We cannot step backwards," I said boldly,
venturing back.
My body mirrored yours, two inches away,
both of us with out legs bent just like that
facing the windows, which passed rather plainly
from darkness to daylight.
Your alarm was set for ten-o-clock,
and when it went off, pulling us both into on
I didn't know how to make it quiet,
and so waited for your body to rise,
the obnoxious mechanical chirping
echoing throughout your tiny dorm-room which smelled
sort of like Indian food.
My calves were sweaty
just like my lower-back, and I
worried that the smelly salt water
would soak into your sheets.
When your head hit the pillow again, in that 10:02 light,
you fell almost immediately back to sleep.
Checking my phone for new messages,
I noted the time at 9:02.
Thoughts of subjectivity and farcical transport through time, through
daylight savings time
danced through my head as I waited
through that ethereal hour
until you finally sat up again
at 10:02.
Nov 2014 · 802
Newness Inexorable
Jimmy King Nov 2014
The new blends itself
So inexorably and so imperfectly
To all which is so ******, ultimately:
Skin, blood,
Pricking ***** fingers in 4am closed bedrooms,
All in a testament to some great Being--
A Being that is Being knows what, cuz
It's all just a good acid trip that's too far out on its brink.
A good acid trip still on its brink or just now on its brink or
Brink. Breaking point. Newness inexorable, it is
With too little blood that I ***** my finger, but
Still I will do it, knowing that I cannot step back from this ledge.
The threshold that reality offers
Is often too much for the mind.
Oct 2014 · 578
Private White Spaces
Jimmy King Oct 2014
Hyperbolic ceiling
Of patternless white paint:
Massive human herd.
Fumbling over itself: a mountain
Climbing, climbing, climbing, the bodies
The zombies
And super-imposed on the moving and falling
Of all of us Sisyphus
Are two faces, one mine
Teeth biting lip
Tongue in throat
Intimately, privately,
Darkness on white space.

“I’m an immensely private person,” Michael said,
His hand clasped in mine, the bodies
Moving across the white skin of his face, too—he
Stuttered—and then he
I nodded as things passed
From blue to red to back; as things
Throbbed, everything so ******,
Blood pulsing
Into my body from his, from

The veins in the ceiling.
Oneness, omphalos, the knife faltered
Chest was my chest, like his hand, and I
Felt his inhale,
His lungs my lungs expanding contracting,
The human herd still
Dancing dialectically
In sync with the moving mouths and kissing lips
Of super-imposition.
Sep 2014 · 710
Third Blue Moon
Jimmy King Sep 2014
The perception is unlike mine,
Smooth fingers on bony ****
Third Blue Moon
Top terrace conversations near
Strangers asking for telephone numbers
Receiving denial in a way more powerful
Than ten numbers not typed
In the designated space, yes
We all have designated spaces
Left, right, no
Middle of the road, why
The fascination with labels: at
The third Blue Moon condensation spills
Slightly between glue and paper and glass, re-
Moving of course, the adhesive so
Powerful juggling out on the college green
Shirtless men in short shorts
That phrase evocative in it of itself
Third Blue Moon
Sleep comes bubbling from the depths of

My stomach, so angry the next morning
When everything is quiet
And the light peers in slightly through the windows
To vaguely touch the trashed beer bottles
At the top of that gross pile, their labels
Firmly attached, having dried
Back into place
Over night.
Sep 2014 · 687
Love Poem
Jimmy King Sep 2014
With you on that high sunny hill, the air
Smells like cheap baked goods
Spilling their scent across a whole city block
Through some Dunkin' Donuts kitchen window:
The fierce artificiality of donuts
On a lazy Sunday morning
When all the neighborhood kids come out running
Straight from there beds at 7:30, adorning the early light
And all I want to do, jack-*** eighteen-year-old that I am,
Is sleep. That screeching though, and then
The smell of those baked goods, leeching upstairs,
Having spread here now too like some sort of a plague...
That smell
Wafting up from the donut box, which is now cooling...
The steps
Creak under my each heavy stride, and even
Three cups of coffee later, my smiles at those screeching kids
Are still forced; my donut sits
Heavily in my stomach, like a rock.
Yes, the air smells just like that.
Up there on that hill.
With you.
My stomach hurts, that stone still
Sifting violently through my large intestine.
I take another bite-- that artificiality is so enchanting
That I'll probably have to **** like eight times later.
O, sweet porcelain!
Come to me!
Aug 2014 · 520
Athens, Part Five
Jimmy King Aug 2014
On my last day in Columbus, which
didn't feel
like my last day in Columbus
we sat on the stairs outside your apartment
overlooking the courtyard
as you chain-smoked cigarettes doing everything
very quickly. Saying
we're on the verge of it, I could be Kerouac and you
could be Ginsberg or Cassady, and all of this could be our
dharma bums.

What an uncommon and unmistakable howl that was, Joe.
The clouds moved towards us so quickly, but
until we focused on the stars, more fixed in the sky
those clouds didn't seem to be moving at all.
It was something about the courtyard you said.
It's all very prosical, you said.
I nodded because it didn't make sense.
You put out your last cigarette for the night and I
walked away from you sitting there
in the rearview of my life.

(Sal Paradise never saw Dean Moriarty again.
Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady were lifelong friends.)
Parts one through four have not yet made their way onto hellopoetry. Perhaps the collection will very soon reside here as a single poem in its entirety, although edits will need to be made to each chapter to make the poems cohesive since they were written over the course of the year-- and a year which didn't feel very cohesive at that.

Part one was written during my first visit to Athens and part five was written this evening, now that I am living here.

All of the poems are addressed to my friend Joe, who, as I wrote part one, I hoped would be with me if and when I ever made it to part five. Instead, now that I've written part five, that vision just sounds foolish and rather far off.

Instead, he is Cassady.
Aug 2014 · 428
August 17th
Jimmy King Aug 2014
the mid-day sky paints the undersides
of my closed eyelids blue as I try furiously
to wet my chapped lips and peel away that dead skin
to forget the memory of yours, so dry on my index finger
by the time 3 a.m. rolled around
and I finally got to the sink in my bathroom.
both the soap foaming on my fingers
and my clean-faced reflection in the mirror
were like I was, sunbathing
under clouds, but then

a year went by and carried us full circle.
the wind of that hurricane still rustling our still-
growing hair, I came to wonder whether that long journey
back to the white-washed night-time kitchen in my mom’s
otherwise empty house
was worth it—all the hesitancy and then
all the alarming and ultimate lack thereof. If only because of
those lanterns we sent
up into the atmosphere and
across the already countless pages of the journal you made for me,
I’m inclined to say (hesitantly, it seems, but
ultimately not so hesitantly at all) that
yes, it was.
all of it was worth it.
so now I’m left

with that blue,
that starling, stunning, shocking,
vivid blue, so deep
that even when I close my eyes and try
to blind myself from it, it sits there anyway
on the undersides of my closed eyelids
like a dream or a drugged vision, but more profound
because I know
that when I go to bed tonight, it won’t have faded in
some form of perturbed sobriety. it will still be there,
just as startling, real, and vivid
slinking surreptitiously through every moment then
Aug 2014 · 1.7k
But I Am Not a Seagull
Jimmy King Aug 2014
I sit on the same well-tended grass by the water as I did
when I finished my novel about the place where love leaves us,
and I'm looking out across the lake to the dock
where we lay the other night.

A seagull sits there now,
atop a small white post, and there
is nobody else. The bird is unmoving
save for its feathers, ruffling in the wind, and I realize that everything
will very soon be seagulls because
if that spot there-- where we watched that Chinese lantern
float skywards and where you said that you knew me better
than you ever had-- can be a seagull,
well then so can be and will be every other place where I sat
watching things that weren't Chinese lanterns
do something other than float skywards.

While I'm tempted to say you made your mark on this place,
the seagull begs to differ-- no, you made your mark
on me.
Aug 2014 · 665
Jimmy King Aug 2014
the stars exploded across every plane
of space, and there we were
below it, within it, holding
each other the way we would've liked to
a year prior when we tripped into somethin' like love
and before we'd tripped
on mushrooms together and before
everything, but now I finally know it's after, cuz
what's here with me now
is swirling-- the asphalt,
so often stepped on and so rarely
seen. until we collapsed
onto the curb with our
pillows and blankets to look down. to realize
that it had always been like that, but
we just hadn't stopped all our ******* long enough
to see how beautiful something so consistent and everyday
really was, and when we lit
those lanterns into the sky, how could there have been
a wish between the two of us other than
to remember that haunting, beautiful, swirling asphalt? and how
could I have ever wished
anything else? the lanterns float
magically into the sky carrying that wish, and we're still
sitting on the curb together, giggling and staring
down at the asphalt.
Jul 2014 · 535
Crumpled Ones
Jimmy King Jul 2014
I wonder what books I bought
at that old woman's garage sale when I
had just graduated elementary school.

She wore her hair in a ponytail of grey,
and at my age I'd imagined that her garage sale
was surely the result of her impending death.

"You like books?" she asked me, her old vocal chords straining,
as her old chapped lips parted to form the words. "Yeah,"
I replied, handing her my crumpled ones.

I figured the exchange must've made her happy
because it must've caused her to re-evaluate her generation's decision that
America's youth were declining in literacy and manners

but that thought was as delusional, I think, as the one I had
sitting on my front porch, a block away, that evening,
that perhaps the old woman had already died.

I guess I'd like to know what books I bought from that old woman
so that I might finally read them
and ensure that those crumpled ones I'd handed over
hadn't been wasted.
Jul 2014 · 9.6k
Ascending Through Never Sink
Jimmy King Jul 2014
I commit to poems the second that I begin writing them,
And here I am committing to this one,
My cursor on the screen
Tap tap tapping like tap-roots across it’s blue-glowing surface.
With every push of every button,
I begin seeing the blue light
As more than it is. I begin seeing it as a poem.
The blue light that illuminated the Never Sink sinkhole
Was not from a screen.
Nor was it from glowworms.
As I write on this screen though, there is that same blue light
With me still. It is
Streaming from the walls of the cavern,
Still massaging the bags of tiredness
That hang beneath my eyelids to remind me
Of where I just was, having *** with my ex-girlfriend,
And of all the places that I was before that: to remind me
Of the blue lights in Never Sink,
The sinkhole that is 120 feet wide and 170 feet deep that I
Climbed out of on a rope and in the dark,
Which was anything but dark—an unlocked lock
Sat in my driveway after I got home

From having *** with my ex-girlfriend tonight,
And there, in that lock, was a comparison to or an analogy for or a metaphor of
My climb out of Never Sink: gradual ascension
And then a moment
Of absolute awe and profundity so unlike any other profundity
That the clarity I felt absolutely throughout my body tonight
Can only really be brought into my mind with full force
Through a comparison and analogy and metaphor
To, for, and of the blue lights
That that temple provided us. Looking into that lock’s
Reflective gleam, I discovered that I felt
The way I’d felt ever since climbing out of Never Sink, which was exactly
How I’d spent the past year or so wanting to feel.

“Bring me,” I said to Duane, who went with me to Never Sink,
“To the hole in the ground
Where the blue light glows; where the glow-worms lightly blaze” and Duane
Said “okay” and he brought me there without
My ever having to say those words. And then,
In the moments after the sun went down we discovered
That the glowworms were not glowworms but
Armillaria mellea, a bioluminescent fungus.
Not glowworms but Armillaria mellea,
Which rose through and across the cave walls, coating the rock
With its skin. The whole pit was covered in that skin—the skin
Of that single individual.
As I methodically climbed out of the sinkhole on my rope, I felt that
Fungus (that individual) extending
Its black shoelace looking taproots into my lungs too,
And into my skin,
Where I was but where
I wasn’t quite yet. Where I was but
Where I couldn’t yet describe to myself without the use of glowworms—
Without the use of made-up and childish sounding words
Like Depropheria, which I wrote a book about but which
I never really understood, and I, the whole concept of which is flawed,
Feel like I could be the plant on Joe’s counter,
Which he said I already am.
Because if my “I” was in all of its molecules and its “I” was in all of my molecules
Then we would both just be exactly what we already were, Joe said, and so
By the very logic I extended in posing the question
I was and am the plant.

I could be Armillaria mellea too
But what am I if I think that I am glowworms? but really
The glowworms are fungus, and while I ****** my ex-girlfriend tonight, falling
Further into the space away from her, I was also
Scraping away at the walls of Never Sink
To see the tiny little hairs that revealed to Duane and I what really was there,
The Armillaria mellea, of course, but how could something so different
(“**** me, Daniel,” she said, “I feel you inside of me, I want you.”
“**** me,” I said
“I feel myself inside of you, I”)
Be the thing that I am? I would never

Stop the car because I saw something shining on my driveway.
And I would never
Open the car door
And step out into the night with the engine running.
Step out into the night to find an
Unlocked lock
Lying there on the pavement while the song that I tried to live all year
Called In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel blasts loudly
From my Buick’s speakers. Step out into the night
With that song blaring through my open car door, surely waking
My soon to be empty-nested mother from her sleep behind
That second story window
Right up ahead.

I did those things though—I
Stopped the car because I saw something shining on my driveway, and I
Did those things.
I am glow-worms.
I am, and so
I am the plant on Joe’s counter, and so
I can be a glow-worm.
I can be what I already am without knowing or comprehending that I am it.
I can be the whole universe.
I am the whole universe.
I saw over one hundred salamanders at the bottom of Never Sink.
And I saw four different species of salamanders at the bottom of Never Sink.
And I saw six different species of frogs, and I saw
Three brown rat snakes, which thankfully were not copperheads, but which
Could have been glowworms that were copperheads,
I guess. If you ask Joe, anyway. I’m not sure
I believe it fully
Even though when you strip away sentimental definitions of “I”
It’s pretty **** convincing. He was convincing.

I danced around Joe’s counter (where the plant sat, even then)
In September. At the time,
The counter was quickly becoming Alex’s counter,
Because I was becoming close friends with Alex,
And because Alex was Joe’s little sister, and because
Joe had left for the college he’d drop out of,
And during his hiatus from what he’d wanted to run from
It was just
Alex’s counter. It is Joe’s counter again now,
Because Alex has a dumb boyfriend who she likes to kiss
And doesn’t really like to ****
But who she does **** anyway and as a result
Doesn’t really like spending much time not ******* me anymore.
Anyway, I danced

Around Joe’s counter in September, when it was becoming Alex’s counter,
And I sank songs like In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
With all my new friends. I thought that I
Was living those songs
Because, if my “I” was in the molecules that vibrated when the song played,
And the “I” of those molecules was in me
Then I would be those songs and those songs would be me.
Being the songs wasn’t the same as living the songs, though.
Rising out of Never Sink I saw myself
Reflected in the blue dots of light that Armillaria mellea created.
I saw that I hadn’t been living everything
That I was; I saw that I was the blue dots then, but I also saw
That I didn’t know that the blue dots weren’t glowworms.

When I was dancing
Around Joe’s counter, I didn’t yet know the words
To In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel.
But all my new friends were singing those words, and so I
Screamed out barely-syllabic nonsense
With a smile on my face,
Speaking like a baby who recognizes the existence of language
But can’t yet put it into use.

Rising out of Never Sink
The whole cave opened up, as more and more levels of the sinkhole
Were revealed to be stars and galaxies
Of blue fungus to climb through.
Rising out of Never Sink, I held in my hand
The unlocked lock which I would use later
To weight my pocket as I would sit with these bags of tiredness hanging
Writing this poem late at night on the screen illuminated
By the blue lights of Never Sink. To weight my pocket
As I would sit writing this poem, with
***** excreted thirty minutes prior still resting on my ****
Like the name I haven’t yet learned to call her—
Caterina, Caterina, why did she change it? Maria
Was so pretty, why did she change her name, it was
To get away from me, it was to get away from me like
I wanted to get away from her, it was to get away from me it was
Because she always hated the name Maria. And
To grow more confident in herself
She needed to become
Caterina. She needed to rebrand herself like she worked on rebranding
That company’s logo for her senior thesis project in high school
When I first fell in love with her because
Glowworms lit up Never Sink at night.

They were glowworms in Never Sink
Because the glowworms are fungus
And I am the glowworms.

If you ask Joe.

I want to take some time now to describe
Rising out of Never Sink
Without giving any time
To the lock I found in my drive-way this evening, or
To Joe’s counter-top and how I danced around it knowing
That it wasn’t his but that it was him,
Or to the remnants of Maria, Caterina, and I which are all I, and which
Stick to my ***** still. Never Sink is a sinkhole
That is 170 feet deep
And 120 feet wide at its top.

I went spelunking in Alamaba, Georgia, and/or Tennesse last week
Where I never knew which state or time zone I was in,
And where an annoying but charming guy named Glenn
Led me and my best friend through epic places of infinite beauty.
One of those places was Never Sink,
Which is a sinkhole that is
170 feet deep and
120 feet wide at its top. We repelled into Never Sink
Because Glenn wanted to show us the glowworms
(Which were fungus that were glowworms that were
**** it) and because my friend Duane, who is my best friend, who is
A 39 year-old factory worker who worries that he is much older than he is,
Wanted to see the glowworms too.
We found over a hundred salamanders in Never Sink
And Duane and I discovered that it wasn’t glowworms
That illuminated the pit, but Armillaria mellea, which is a fungus, and
It was very cool.
But ascending through Never Sink was more than very cool,
And it was much more than fungus,
Just as the fungus which I took into my body in August (which it
Almost is again now) after the summer music festival was more
Than just fungus. That fungus was more than just fungus because
I took it into my body right after breaking up with Maria-Caterina (who
I can’t not talk about) For Good (which was
The name of a song they sang
At Maria-Caterina’s high school graduation a year ago, after which
We made love (which was what we called it
Because we were cliché and in love
(Which is what we made.)))

It was a spiritual journey through the cosmos,
In Never Sink,
Or at least that’s how it felt,
And when I climbed out of Never Sink’s mouth, I hugged Duane
And he hugged me and we
Thought that it was beautiful.

I am the plant in Joe’s kitchen.
I am glowworms.
Jul 2014 · 495
Tiny Dripping Sound
Jimmy King Jul 2014
All we have
is a rhythm of stepping feet,
splashing water
and bobbing flashlights.
The tunnel walls don't need to be bright
for us to walk within them
yet our shadows still splash
across those walls, keeping away
the veil of insanity
that would surely sweep in
with the darkness and
             (The madness!
             The sameness!
             Moloch! Moloch!
             We too are in Rockland!)
consume us. A nagging whisper says
that I never really entered here
and never really will leave.
the echoing drip
of a leak in the tunnel's wall.
But the echo
of those tiny drops breaking
the infinite sameness of our infinite trudge
through the tunnel-- breaking
this ghastly haze of smoggy still air--
breaking even
the monotony of our slow footsteps
through water
and settled sediment as we pause
and say
             "Shhh, shhh,
             do you hear that?"
             "Why, yes
             it's a dripping sound!"
             "Keep walking,
             let's see what's ahead"
so out we then burst
into the starry dynamo
of the night
a few choice phrases were borrowed from Howl by Allen Ginsberg
Jun 2014 · 9.2k
Jimmy King Jun 2014
If we were the kind of friends who unironically
raised our glasses in toasts,
I would give one to the generation too comforted by the ease
of a honeybee in the plaintively nonexistent mind
of a tulip

To the generation, or at least its subset
that wrongly feels representative, who stumble drunkenly
or maybe just tiredly out of tents
to **** in the view of their friends, who are still at the fire
because the tent was too cold

To those who did raise their glasses in a toast
on New Year’s Eve at what felt, with the ball drop
not screening in luddite protest, enough like midnight.
Beginning with “dear friends” and a couple laughs;
concluding with “now let’s get ****** up” and
a couple more

To those who proceeded
as directed, clinking their shot-glasses
and swigging them back. If only because
they were not tulips.
May 2014 · 953
Whitewashed Meteors
Jimmy King May 2014
And when I opened my eyes, the whole
of the night sky was white-washed—even one hundred
and five miles wasn’t enough to keep the lights
of metropolitan Columbus from blocking out
the stars. In my drunkenness, there lying
by the lakeside, I perceived the three-dimensionality
of space, and at first, I was awestruck by that vision,
but then one of the stars started shooting, as the astronomers
had predicted, and with my mouth still wide open, I realized
that the shooting star was just a moth, and not
the dust of a comet. The three-dimensional vision I’d perceived
an illusion, the picture dissolved, and there I was
again basking in the two-dimensional darkness
that even one hundred and five miles couldn’t make black.
Jimmy King May 2014
If I ever get addicted to cigarettes,
it will be because of you, Mike—
the screenwriter and smoker from Miami who I met
amidst the gentle crashing of the calm waves. It’s not
that I needed to smoke to accent the stars,
already so powerful in their summer sky without haze, but
I did need the smoke to accent you, Mike, to
hear about the time you climbed a mountain
where the air was so cold and the wind so fierce
that in your tent, your body created an atmosphere
dialectical in its warmth and surreal rain. When I
cough up phlegm in the morning, I’ll be thinking of you, Mike,
and as that brownish yellow glob slides
down the thin metal drain, I know I’ll think
that if I get addicted to cigarettes
because of you, Mike,
then it won’t be such a bad thing.
Jimmy King May 2014
From hungover breakfast to hungover breakfast
the collection of words escaping from my throat in that diner
has remained pretty much the same. This afternoon
I went there healthy and for lunch. I found
that they have a pretty good lunch menu, and
across the way, those echoes of all my former selves,
most haunting in the sameness of their
"I can't believe what I did last night"s and
"I wish we could just work things out"s, seemed
a little foolish, I guess. It was spicy, the veggie burger.
May 2014 · 512
Throwing Stones
Jimmy King May 2014
We threw stones at an ancient cliff-face
hoping that the whole thing might crumble.
Thousands of years undone by us
because then we are a part of this.
Then we aren’t insignificant.

We threw stones at a wall of stones,
and we were at if for hours
searching for the perfect projectiles—
bricks when we could find them.
It was cathartic and exhausting and good.

We threw stones,
and when we were done, covered in mud,
we all went to our separate houses to shower
and put on new pants to get ready for
our dates that night. We threw stones
at nothing really.

We were just throwing stones.
but it still resonates
May 2014 · 598
Driving to Lake Erie
Jimmy King May 2014
I guess there's a lot of comfort in the fact
that if I don't still love you in ten years,
I'll be happy about it. This road
looks the same as it did when I drove up here in August
but now that I've come full circle, I've broken
out of my own gravity, and this road
is pointed in a new direction.
May 2014 · 655
Puddles in my Shoes
Jimmy King May 2014
The world played me in reverse
every song I know by heart
and in that striking unfamiliar tune
my face was smashed down in the dirt
where I had a half-second thought
that maybe it's these bugs I like
and maybe it's not you, but then the
rain splashed down so loudly
that it made puddles in my shoes,
and my body's just an ashtray
whenever it's used. I feel my heart
pouring out my skin, and out my mouth
comes the swarm of words and mud
once locked so tightly by the thought
of your lips as the barriers to mine, so let's
roll these chunks of mud around my yard,
we can make a whole mud-man
with a rotting carrot for its nose,
the stench there to remind us of
all that we once knew.
May 2014 · 452
That Poem is Still Lost
Jimmy King May 2014
I'm in Alex's kitchen alone
trying to make black and white
out of the most daunting grey
I've ever seen. I know
categories are pretty but I'm
so sleep deprived, I
May 2014 · 451
Body Heat
Jimmy King May 2014
As your hands became my hands
and your breath my breath--
as sweat poured down my forehead in a profoundly
passionate yet hauntingly animalistic way,
I had a memory of three years from now:
our dehydrated and smiling lips kiss again
in front of the bar where we just got tipsy,
creating our own cacophony of laughter.
Whispering goodbye even as our fingertips
(which are still the same fingertips) whisper hello,
I look towards Athens and you
towards whatever life you're leading. "Sorry" I say,
and you: "It's fine." And it is.
May 2014 · 1.7k
Train Tracks
Jimmy King May 2014
A train howls through the distant summer
again tonight. Eighteen years now
I've spent lying in this bed and how
can I not yet place that howl to
any track other than Howl
by Allen Ginberg, still resting on my nightstand,
its sentiment about alarm clocks one wrong
(all mine are broken and
there it is again, chugging along
through the darkness that dances) simply because I
cannot see it?
Apr 2014 · 426
Range of Motion
Jimmy King Apr 2014
I wonder whether you'd be falling for me if you knew
how crumpled my body is
from taking that plunge.

I had my arm in a cast once, and
when it was removed the skin there was dry
and pale, and there were these
discolored dead patches of skin that
incessantly refused to wash off in the shower that night.
It took me over a week
to regain my full range of motion.

Now, I think this cast has been removed. And
I swear to you, I'm trying. Keep falling.
I will do my best to catch you, I just hope I
have my full range of motion back
by the time you reach me.
love ***** I wish we were all asexual hermaphrodites
Apr 2014 · 3.1k
Climbing Trees at Dusk
Jimmy King Apr 2014
And then I too
am part of the silence
that casts its post-sunset stillness
throughout this swamp white oak's great spread.

It seems as though even the hive of honeybees
and the nearby nest of baby birds
have stopped to admire
the feeling of the world
tilting on its axis; sinking through space.
We all gaze further upwards,
those bees and birds and I.
And nestled in the remaining twigs above,
is the shockingly finite dance
of the leaves... of the stars.

The shadows that hang from the top-most branches
cast their way down around me
and coat their way all over the ground, making it
easy to forget the height—
the ultimate suspension. Because
born within my skin
is a swamp white oak,
stretching its branches through the
grey matter in my mind,
over-taking and over-whelming.
At the end of it all is me:
a tiny little acorn laid
by an impossible evolution
of people into trees.

Every cell becomes leaf and
the heart a listening ear. Amongst
the chorus of the frogs,
the owls, the coyotes—
the chorus of the woods around—
is that shift
so revered.
The shift of the Earth.
The Earth tilting
on its axis.
It’s time to admit that the maps and
man’s little green boxes there,
are nothing but products
of a continually
diminishing temper... showing
that when this swamp white falls,
it won’t just be a wood
that’s finally left barren.
It won't just be a body
left emptied and charred.

Please, I think, as the bark gets flimsier
and flimsier
beneath my feet. As the wind gets fiercer
and fiercer
howling in my ears. *Please. Let this lone acorn
standing here
sprout into something.
Let a swamp white oak
be seen.
To be read at an Arbor Day festival right before a tree planting ceremony... Some constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated
Apr 2014 · 757
Poorly Closed Blinds
Jimmy King Apr 2014
The Earth dripped in through your body,
and there in you was the third fire, it
also about to fade, and me
also on its shore: subconscious and surreptitiously
begging those embers (smoking and cracking) to be
so much more than they ever were
in the form of a flame. Your thoughts
came out in poetry, dear. It was the way
those decomposers crept around
your frontal lobe that seemed
to say: “Remain. Smoking and cracking,
subconscious and ******.”

Sooner or later the world of clip-on bow-ties and bodies
will crumble—the society and class so high
that their calves'll give out and they'll stumble
through the blue T.V. screen light. They'll fall,
laughing and crying, on my carpeted basement floor.
And then, in a little moment of weakness,
light pouring in through too poorly closed blinds and
lips so close that those tiny little hairs brush,
we’ll all know
that that last hug goodbye
feigned its insincerity.

‘I hope I get addicted to cigarettes,’ I remember thinking.
‘What if I’m falling in love with her,’ I remember
just loud enough that she, through the window-pane,
could hear. Can hear. The Earth
dripped in through her body, the Earth
drips in through your body, semantics don't matter though
because here it is. And I
(Smoking and cracking.
Subconscious and ******.)
am still sitting here, on the shore of this third burnt-out fire. I’m focusing
my breath with my fingers,
not allowing myself to hope, but still waiting.
I’ve always had mixed feelings about
gasoline. (The Earth dripped in.)
I don't know if I got out the ideas that I wanted to, but I'm happy with the ideas the emerged in their places.
Apr 2014 · 1.1k
Knock Knock Jokes
Jimmy King Apr 2014
My drug addict cousin
didn't show up to our family dinner tonight.
My uncle drove around the block in circles,
I think hoping that she'd gotten lost. But unfortunately
she'd gotten too far lost for the easy resolution
of a trip around the block.
Her name is Hannah. It's a palindrome,
I explained to my mom. It reads the same
front to back as back to front. There's darkness
on either end, and some people call the middle part
light. My uncle is like
the stereotypical cool uncle, always
telling jokes, making puns, but
he didn't even smile tonight, and instead of "knock knock"
it  was "well I guess I see who's there, and they punched
me in the ******* face." It would be better described
as a faint red glow, that middle part. Life. A candle
burning on both ends, palindromically pulsing
from 'H's to 'N's. And my uncle,
left dealing with the puddle of wax.
Mar 2014 · 720
Reaching Wind
Jimmy King Mar 2014
We stood on Lake Erie while the sunset
exploded in the sky to someone's East,
and a storm system blew violently
though ours. There was such a contrast
between the two halves of the sky: one
illuminated with orange and red
and hot pink, and one black, dark,
and foreboding. The ice
was half-melted, and under our feet
was a shallow pool of water. Whenever
the wind blew, it looked as if the water
was rushing towards us, trying to grab us,
looking to pull us under
through the cracks.

I'd dreaded going to Lake Erie that day.
But the journey was good, sitting in my car,
playing soft music and talking. The destination
was good too, with it's opposite skies.
The only rough part
was the trip home.
Mar 2014 · 478
Not Quite Cyclical
Jimmy King Mar 2014
Blue spirals painted on my body, we sailed,
cataclysmically cascading in your spaceship
through the little towns which, in their
infinite stillness, see only movement.

Your voice brought me back for a second, Joe.
You spoke as if you might be reading a poem
you wrote two years before, saving, all that time
just for that moment.

You chugged ***** when we got there,
features illuminated and distorted in the candle-lit cold,
as I lay with your girlfriend in bed
and watched you to stay warm.

All the cars but ours had gone in the other
direction, but we'd stayed true to our course.
The void of the morning, reminiscent of the previous warning,
let the blue spirals seep, in the snow, through my skin.
Jimmy King Feb 2014
Two years ago on Valentine's Day
We had an attempt at reconciliation
And did 69 on a small sweaty couch
In a karaoke bar.

One year ago on Valentine's Day
You avoided eye contact with me and this year
You'll probably kiss someone else
And not talk to me but
That's okay.

Because it'll be just like three years ago
When I didn't know you and
I had a pretty good day.

I don't know. Maybe it won't be exactly like that.
I'm sorry, I'm not trying to deceive myself or anything,
It's just hard to say what real and what's
An admission
Of incompatibility.
from a week ago
Feb 2014 · 413
The Shadows at the Top
Jimmy King Feb 2014
I would like things to be not as they can be
But as they were.
Today I'm climbing a tree in another act
Of pure potentiality, but the dialectically
Bright shadow that hangs,
Even at eighty-five feet, is still yours.

It's cold, and my fingers grow numb.
As I speak, voice echoing across and through
The branches, the ice melts
Where my rope rubs,
Bringing the friction I need to forget.
I fear what was just as warm.

I would like to climb forever but
I can't die up here.
It would be far too fulfilling so
I'll just come down.
Give me a minute, please.
Feb 2014 · 501
Purple Fingertips
Jimmy King Feb 2014
On good days my dreams are the blackberries
Hanging from a bush they cut down
Where the little kids used to go
Six years ago
To get their hands purple and chew nervously,
Fearing their parents might walk down that little path to see
Their kids had left the pool.

On bad days my dreams are the white squares of paper
We put to our lips to change
The aforementioned 'their' from an 'our.'
Hoping our parents don't walk the path again and connect
The size of our pupils to the
Purple of our ancient fingertips.

It's the same wind that knocked down the black-berry bush
That writes these words and holds these white squares
To lips. We had a good dream together
Not long ago.
from a while ago
Feb 2014 · 508
Poem for Blaine #3
Jimmy King Feb 2014
"Write while you're drunk,
Edit while you're sober"
But words are words regardless
And the initial intent might pale
In its ultimate juxtaposition but you-
You mean just as much to me
sent a friend a drunk text this weekend, this is just a little reflection on it :)
Feb 2014 · 756
New Furniture
Jimmy King Feb 2014
After my parents got divorced
My dad moved into this tiny, ****** house
On Sunset Drive.
After a few years there, he decided
It wasn't yet his time to live on Sunset Drive
And so he moved again.
But that house still stands there
And each time I drive by
I try to reconstruct a home within my mind
That is within those four falls.
The exterior is the same, so in this reconstruction
The interior is too--
A shaggy carpet in the hallways,
A bunk-bed in the room looking out at the maple tree,
And a garden out back, exploding with tomatoes.
Of course, there might be tile in the hallways.
A couch in that room once mine.
And just a few lonely cabbages in the garden.

In each variation of the past
I have tried to find a home,
But home has moved with me.
Within old walls
Is new furniture.
Feb 2014 · 474
Praying Grey Linger
Jimmy King Feb 2014
We stood between the two doorways
In a little room that was outside of inside
But not quite outside.
We were there and the cold was there but,
At least in terms of God and of War,
We were alone.

It was with utmost neutrality
That you spoke of all you hoped to change and I,
Like that night we laid drunk on the dock
While you outlined all the times you'd almost died,
Was silent.

We lingered in that little room
A bit longer than we needed to,
Already engaged in the sort of pre-emptive nostalgia
That I know will tear these last few months apart.
But soon enough
You walked through one door,
And I through the other.

The cold bit at my face in all the places
I'd hoped it might not, and I thought,
As I walked to my car,
Of how cold the water had been
When we'd jumped,
That warm summer night,
Into Lake Erie.
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