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Jimmy King Jul 2013
I think I've almost written you
One hundred love poems...

And on this bitter and cold
Night in July
I want to tell you a million things
None of which would be fair to say

I want to say I love you
I want to say I want to hold you forever
I want to say you're the light in my life
But I can't

And I can't ever stop
Writing you love poems
Where I say all the things
That I know I shouldn't say
Because no matter what happens
I can't ever stop loving you

And that's the worst part.
That's the worst part
Because I know-
Even as I'm sitting here
Saying and not feeling
That a relationship is no longer
Best for us
I know-
That I'm going to write you
A hundred more
Love poems
Jimmy King Nov 2013
I can't help but feel
Like this rain
Is foreshadowing something
And to be honest
I'm really not looking forward
To having this conversation

But maybe,
Though all my life's goals
Contradict this idea,
Metaphor in the real world
Can't really stand
As much as I'd like to think

Maybe this time the sun
Is still shining above the clouds
And I can be happy
Despite how this conversation goes
Jimmy King Aug 2013
“I wrote him a letter
That he never got to read”

“Well maybe
That's a conversation
You now need to have
With yourself”

To move on
Maybe all
We have to do
Is move
Jimmy King Nov 2013
I stared at an old tire swing
Thinking that even when we grow up and forget
The playgrounds of childhood remain

Then I walked a little bit south though
And found the playground
I used to go to with my Dad
Torn down,
Replaced with a field

It's okay though
Because for a long time
Those happy memories were just like the pasta
In the back of my friend's car
Rotting away
But never smelling bad enough
To actually clean up

We don't have to roll down the windows
When we drive anymore;
The smell is gone,
The playground's gone
And we can finally let ourselves be warm
If a little bit sadder
Jimmy King Dec 2013
Today it fell
Like stars across the land:
The unfixed permanence
Of Earth's ceiling
(Just a dome with
Little pinpricks of light)

Ask: what's the weather like

My hand raised over my head
To hold my father's.
I skipped across the blacktop
By the playground
Thinking that those red streaks
Looked like the meteors
I envisioned falling
Through the solar system.

It's interesting:
It can be both a blue pill
And a red,
Taking me away
But leaving something more honest
In my place...

Walking through the parking lot today,
Drowning in the sea of smog,
I open my mouth and stick out my tongue
To taste the rain
Like I once could-
But now instead of a smile
I send the sky
A whispered apology
And walk away, still trapped
Under this irreparable
Dome we've ******
from a few weeks ago
Jimmy King Sep 2013
Born within my skin
Is a swamp white oak
Stretching its branches
Through the grey matter
In my mind
Over-taking, over-whelming
Each leaf becomes a cell
A part of me
In a most central way
And me a part of my species
A tiny acorn
In the context of its whole
Laid by an impossible
Evolution of trees
To people
Jimmy King Oct 2013
I wonder if it might have been easier
For you to let go
If you’d just known:
I wasn’t in the process of loosing myself
But in the process of finding myself

Sure, I was on this road for hours
Before I felt like I’d moved
More than just one minute
From where I started
But somehow,
Sitting by a little lake,
And fishing without a fishhook
I finally got a bite
And I began to reel myself in

All of life
(Just a coming and going
From the house
Where I smoked a couple cigarettes
A couple months ago)
Conspired to let a few rocks fall
To the bottom of a river;
To finally let a little bit of water
Flow over this dam
And keep rushing onwards
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
Jimmy King Aug 2013
What could have been me
Floats within the grey mush
Of my mind as two blocks down
Not unhappy tears rush
From your eyes and maybe she
Could finally be free;

Positive and negatively charged
Atoms attract one another
But the metaphor fails time's test
Which always will smother
Any trace of poetic ambition or love
Not hyperbolized or enlarged

Like the sky through which
Meteors fall tonight
But everything is just far
Too polluted with light
For even the brightest to shine
And show me how to stitch

A lost love together again
'Cause it's like a heart upside down
And in order to turn it
All the way, clear around
I'd need energy I don't think
I can muster with my pen
Jimmy King Aug 2013
Even after I make choice,
After I put a decision
Into action
I'm still undecided

It could just be
That the grass is
Always greener-
Or the rain
Always lighter-

But maybe it's
I genuinely made
The wrong choice.

Or maybe not.
I should just
Go to bed.
Jimmy King Jul 2013
It's that electric hum
In an almost consistent rhythm
Buzzing through the speakers
Of smart phones
And souls
That makes people **** themselves

Because you want so badly
Just to talk
But then comes
That moment
When you realize
The other line
Isn't going to pick up

So you keep waiting there
To that electric hum
Still begging for an answer

And then maybe
You leave a voice mail
Knowing full well
Nobody will ever

And then maybe
You call the next week
Or the next day, even
Occasionally convincing yourself
Someone has picked up
Only to be crushed
By the next
Jimmy King Nov 2013
"Come exploring with me, darling
Let's fall in love
By the side of a man-made lake
Which man has lost to time"

Letting gravity take us to its floor
I looked in your eyes
And you looked in mine
But the glances we exchanged
Were radically different somehow

"Hold my hand as I fall asleep
And remind me in the morning
Of how bad my lips tasted
So we can laugh about it
All afternoon"

Lying in that cozy little nest
I was off and on hard through the night
Never really knowing how hard,
As our bodies pressed together,
You were trying to love me too

"Let's ride our bikes
Still through that thunderstorm
Which somehow in all the time that's gone by
Has never ceased to rain."

Even as a writer,  the real world
Often seems too well described by metaphor
(You wrote on cotton candy clouds
"Rain, rain, go away
Come again

"And we can stay up late
Rolling joints; smoking six
Remembering all the things"
Through vastly different lenses
"That of course we could never forget"

I was so high that night
That I don't even remember all that happened
So I kind of hope I kissed you
Just to know I kissed you once
Not thinking it was a last kiss

"Maybe someday,
When the sun rises in the window,
We'll know that at the next sunrise
We'll both still be in that bed
Smoking joints and kissing
And falling even further
Into love."

I miss you
On mornings like this one.

"Come exploring with me, darling..."
Jimmy King Jul 2013
I like reading old poems
And thinking
About how I'm different
Even though I'm still the same:
Just a four-year-old
Trapped in the body
Of someone who now has to try
To act like an adult
And sometimes
Messes up the charade
Jimmy King Dec 2013
Yelling at a screen after-hours
With old friends and passersby

Getting drunk in desperation
And hooking up with a boy I didn't know at all
After smoking a jointswith a boy outside
Who I cared to get to know, quite a bit

Dancing around the house that I couldn't have known
Would become a strange sort of home;
Covered in candle wax and visions of Depropheria
With brand new, beautiful friends

Neck craning upwards in the Grove of
Titans: the closest thing to God on Earth

New beginnings and transient visions of forever
On a magical bus ride to New York City

Making love for the first time in my bed,
Our bodies joining and intertwining while
My future slept on the couch downstairs

A teary goodbye and a journey to a lakeside
In the middle of the night where that future,
Which blew through like a whirlwind of a summer storm,
Was foreshadowed once again

Empty bottles lining your counter and you
Tearing down, just before leaving,
All my fences too

Making love for the last time in your bed
Right before the bubble of us popped,
Leaving me only with a bowl of soapy water
And a bendy straw: so many
New chances ahead

A whole community: the family to get me through
That love just passed and the happy moments too-
Falling asleep next to someone new
And clinking glasses on the dock
With a vegan pizza to top it off

The final falling apart of April to August
And a new heartbeat pulsing in
The quiet spaces between my fingers

Trying a new drug at the top of a tree
And laughing all through the journey,
The LSD nothing and your friendship everything

Flickering fluorescent lights reminding me
Of all I've lost; of all I've gained
In this beautiful year
Of 2013
Each stanza represents a month; the poem represents the year
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.
Jimmy King Nov 2013
I heard you say
"I love you" tonight
For the first time in months
Lying in my bed
And pressing the recorded ghost of you
Harshly to my ear

But the memory of that grand perfection
Captured in your voicemail
Is more or less a façade
For when I could actually reply
Somehow things never seemed to go
Quite as smoothly

I almost cried tonight
Mostly out of habit

I almost said "I love you too"
Jimmy King Aug 2013
You see I didn't know
What an asparagus plant
Looked like
Until today
And the fact that you
Would understand
My horror
When faced with
That ignorance
Is one of the most
Liberating things
In the world

And even if
All the meaning
We derived
From the other night
Was drug enduced
And maybe mistaken
I still can't wait
To show you
That asparagus plant
And watch your eyes
As they watch me
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.
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.
Jimmy King Jul 2013
The summer camp
Isn't what you love-
It's the trees
And the acceptance
That you don't find
Back home
Because back home
The air is filled
With too many chemicals
For anyone
To really accept anyone else

Because instead of
An occasional reminder
It's constant awareness
That we
Are the problem

So come here and pray
To your fictional gods
But know
That if there were a god
It wouldn't have created
Beings capable
Of only finding solace
In something so untrue
To the reality
Of themselves
Jimmy King Aug 2013
the last time my mom
didn't see me
on my birthday
was years ago
and i cried
because she couldn't
put up with my dad
for even one day;
not even for a day
that wasn't about them
at all
not even for a day
that was about me

and my mom felt so bad
because she knew i had cried
so she saw me the next year
and the next year
and the next year

but this year
this august first
i encouraged my mom
not to come
because i can't put up
with her and my dad
for even one day;
for even one day
that's not about them at all
not even for one day
that's just about me
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
Jimmy King Sep 2013
Suits walk
Over human skins
Indifferent to
The shifting winds
Jimmy King Oct 2013
I was written over
Again and again until
When the pen
Ran out of ink
I was simply stabbed instead
With the dull ball-point
Forming a scar;
A sideways eight
Like my sideways heart
Scratched across the skin
Of every moment
I can never un-wear
Jimmy King Nov 2013
Stainless steel **** spills
Out of my ****
As I hold my breath in restraint
Trying, failing to prevent my mind
From circling back in ******
To its constant

I drew a Baoboa tree tonight
And had the drunken thought that
If trees could bleed
There wouldn't be
Any more hate

I'm sorry that liquor
Always brings me back here
To sleep
Under a Baoboa tree
Jimmy King Sep 2013
The basil plant
In the window
Was dead
When we arrived
And I'm not sure
At what point
It was replaced
But over a glass of wine
I realized
That it was again
And full
Jimmy King Sep 2013
As our friend
Is helped to *****
Into the toilet beside us
We take off our clothes
And climb into a bath,
Me smelling too much like cigarettes
To say anything
About the violent red slashes
On your upper thigh
Jimmy King Jul 2013
A year later
The smell of black coffee
Will still remind me
Of a sad morning
Spent at Lake Erie
Hiding silent
Beneath blankets and books
And sitting across from a girl
I never quite
Got done loving

Embracing for the first time
Our ultimate future
And disdaining for the first time
Our previously unshakable present
We sipped idly at our coffee
And dared not look up
From the pages of the fictional
That we had created-
Trying unsuccessfully
To worm that ephemeral truth
Out of our minds
Jimmy King Aug 2013
The fan spins
So quickly overhead
That the whole thing
Shakes and wobbles
As I,
In between blinks
That are more like naps-
Telling of a sleepless night-
Sip at my third cup of tea
Which threatens
To burn
My lips, my hands, my tongue-
But I think
Too much in metaphor
And if it hurt
As much physically
To kiss someone
Or hold someone's hand
As it would emotionally
Then maybe
I'd learn more quickly
The things that are
Truly bad for me...
But after another sip
I know that the threats of burns
Were empty so
I continue
To lay on this couch
And sip my tea,
And think about sleeping,
And wonder idly; carelessly
Whether that fan,
Which shakes in a chaos
Contained by the stability
Of the surrounding stone walls,
Will come
Crashing down
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.
Jimmy King Aug 2013
Coming home
I was met
With a slightly different
Reality than the one
I left

Maybe it's because
You can't fix someone
Bent on breaking themselves

Or maybe it's simply
Because I need to
Let the past

But I just can't spend
Any more time
Avoiding the future
Jimmy King Jul 2013
A world without love
Sounds at first
Like a dark and terrible place-
Probably because
It would be.

I don't really want
To live in that world.
But sometimes it's nice
To think
That maybe
Somewhere in the universe
On a world without love
No longer having *** with someone-
What we here in the world
Where love exists
Would call
Breaking up-
Would never mean
Loosing your best friend

So cheers to all the aliens
That reproduce on assembly lines
And go home to empty houses
But cheers to us humans too
Because we put up
With the promise of sadness
For the promise of joy
No matter how misguided
That thought process
May be.
Jimmy King Jul 2013
I used to think that I loved you for
your near-perfection...
But there was just something about
the two of us
Our love was ingenuine, and later,
we realized, impossible

Ironically, it's been the revelations
of your imperfection
That have, I think, made it possible,
for the first time
For us to love- not that we ever
will, not that we ever should
Because, let's face it, it would
probably be awful, it's just-
It's just that your imperfections
Have allowed me to see, once again
Though so much more truly this
The possibility of you and of I

So let's get addicted to cigarettes
together, darling
And running, too
In a supreme dialectic of destroying
ourselves from within
While struggling to better ourselves
from without
Something that may be, I think
The ultimate story of ourselves

(Or at least of myself-
I wonder why
I've only ever been truly drawn to
By their brokenness...

But perhaps it's better
Not to think about it.)
Jimmy King Nov 2013
I haven't cried
Since that night at the end of August
When we popped bubbles and first kissed

But I've wanted to cry
Pretty much ever since

I sometimes wish I hadn't popped
Quite so many bubbles that night
Because I've really missed the thrill
Of a tiny little third grade crush
And I've really missed the person
Who's really "just" my best friend

I think lately I've been blowing more bubbles
Than I've been popping
Jimmy King Aug 2013
After my first bubble
Of the evening
I entered a new bubble-
One of the countless bubbles
Within the bubble
Of my person.

And, in this bubble,
I was alone
And sitting in the same chair
As before,
Even though the other people
Of the back room
Had melted,
Like the walls were then,
Away from me.

I pondered the bubble
Of my person
And its interactions
With the bubbles
Of everybody else

And I thought
Of my bubble
As threatened
With either merging entirely
With another
Or popping.
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.
Jimmy King Aug 2013
I almost kissed you
When I saw you
But then my left-over high
Left me
And I remembered
What I most feared-
So I pulled my chapped lips
Away from yours
And rolled over
In the bed of my mind,
That I might one day
All the songs
I'd come to know
By heart
Jimmy King Jan 2014
The fire-light flickered on your face
And reflected off your tears.
You were staring at our father with two police officers at your side
And the world in fast-motion.

Dad handled it well
And the officers left quickly
But the light from the fire flickered
On my face as well
And only eight years after I grabbed my stuffed animals
And retreated to a friend's house,
Too horrified to spend the night under the same roof with you,
It might as well be me
Standing on display by the fire.

That light's still flickering,
The world is still in fast-motion and even though
Your hair is irrevocably not as blonde as it used to be
(And so is mine)
That doesn't mean it won't still
Lighten up in the summer-time.
Jimmy King Aug 2013
I saw someone
During a documentary
About Syria
And I wrote
A lot of poems
About it
But today,
Sitting here,
At my Capri Sun,
I don't feel
Like there's any less
For me
To be at
The center
Of my poems
Than that person
Texting so
Here's a poem
About me
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.
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.
Jimmy King Aug 2013
I write poems
Instead of learning
Because learning
Too often
Means too much
Of nothing
To me
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
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
Jimmy King Sep 2013
Sitting on your back porch
My jaw began to hurt
Because I'd been smiling so much-
And I wondered how,
As a cold front blew through
Our dismal state and world,
We managed
To find such happiness
In one another
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 Nov 2013
I wanna keep dancing on your stage
Please don't turn off the lights
Please don't go home quite yet
Because I've missed these notes you play
And I've missed
Each one of you
The drummer, the singer, the bassist...

Sometimes I'm just sitting in school
Thinking of those somehow long-
Passed summer nights
Where we'd pick up the tempo
Or maybe just slow down
Trying to lose track of time
In the back of your car and
Where'd the amp go?
Where did you go?
Jimmy King Jul 2013
“It's all about consistency”
I said one year ago
As I walked into the same room
And put my suitcase on the same bed
As the last time the two of us
Had visited that
Remnant of childhood

My best friend from forever ago
Gave a silent nod
And followed my direction
Returning passively
To the bed opposite me

Now that bed
Is empty
Because he gave up trying
To make the past present;
Gave up trying
To be friends

But I still sit
In the same bed anyway
“It's all about consistency”
Jimmy King Aug 2013
Whenever I grimace
Or cringe
It feels on some level
Like I'm just an actor
Making faces
For society
Because goddess forbid
I should ever show
My genuine
Lack of empathy

(Maybe you thought
If you cut yourself
It'd be clear
To yourself
That you weren't just
I wonder
If it worked.
I doubt
That it did.)
Jimmy King Nov 2013
I just read all the poems you ever wrote
And at the end of the last stanza
I asked for another
But on second thought
Let's write this one together-
You don't even have to worry
About crossing the T's
Or dotting the I's
Because I've got your back
And I'm not about to look away
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