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He was older than he felt
but his accomplishments
made him feel like he
was trailing behind.

Middle school said the
next step mattered.
High school said the
next step mattered.
College said your
degree would matter.
Here I am
making your drink.

Hey—did you hear?
I’m selling salvation
in a pamphlet.
Oh—is it clear?
I’m in cheap slacks
on your cheap
doorstep.  

People are dying older.
Politics keep getting bolder.
Can’t afford my prescription refill.
Sign me up for war. Use your
******* blinker. I’m only a season
behind.

He looked younger than
he was, all just because
he didn’t live life hard.
Nothing wrong with that—
some people say it’s lazy,
while eroding their bodies.

I thought that looks
would matter.
I thought wits
would matter.
That a career was just
a ladder
you scaled.
Here I am
managing pennies.
There you are
managing memories.
Hope I can afford a
vacation.

Hey—did you hear?
Your death won’t even be free.
Oh—is it clear?
You’re a tenant in your plot
until the landlord forgets.

People are getting older.
Politics are getting bolder.
Choosing insurance over groceries.
Sign me up for Hulu. Five dollars on
pump five. I’m only a paycheck behind.
Joshua Haines Jul 27
I’ve grown with little—
primarily attention
until it withered.
An identity dependent
on trends and demographic—
trading vulnerabilities for
Hollywood escapism.

The brighter the light,
the longer the shadow.
Within circle aflame,
reaching towards memory.

Saint Fluoxetine,
deliver me forward.
Allow me happiness.
Reveal to me my foibles
so that I can admire.
Joshua Haines Feb 2018
Would you look for
the atlantic coast
Where your dad
dropped you off
and became a ghost

Could you come and find
that tree in red
The one they found him under
with the hole in his head
Joshua Haines Feb 2018
Gangling ghosts cause trouble inside
this meaty microwave--
I am on these streets and don't know
how I got here.
I'm carrying 2% milk, in my left hand,
and a carton of extra-large eggs in my right--
I drop the jug and it bursts. I joke about how
I still have 2%, but no one laughs because
no one has ever really been around to hear me.
So, I'm scrambling eggs and wishing I had that
milk because who doesn't like voluminous eggs.
I stop whisking and ask who is there.
Why am I afraid of you, Why am I afraid of you
the raw scrambled eggs on the floor, touched by
ceramic seashells.
And it's you.
You are the Lord, a naked lover, that absence
caused by my auto-pilot parents
Forever,
right here.
Joshua Haines Feb 2018
Upon a milky hill
beneath the mounds of snow
Frozen with the horn I took
but was too afraid to blow
Beyond the sound of muffling
around the river’s bend
Walked a true love of mine
to whom I was a friend
Come cast your voice yonder
Your shrill towards the sky
I hope for your hand in mine
I am afraid to die
Joshua Haines Jan 2018
These hearts have become racist
What used to be kind
And all hope to be seen
is wasted
On the stampeding blind

These teeth have become stained
What used to be white
Has been darkened by the
viscera of
those consumed by the night

These hands have become destroyers
Fingers that once saved
Equal and human;
Clean or depraved

These hands have become destroyers
I feel you chewing the limb that
used to be there
Your skin is under my nails
You're burning my fingertips
And pulling my teeth

You strangle me deep
among the sea of leaves
Flashing advertisements
in my eyes, Listening to
my every word. You tell
me I'm sacrificing for the
greater good. But I feel
submissive. I feel hateful.

You say Eve is the reason
for the downfall of mankind.
She is nothing but of rib and
even bone cracks. Saying this
as you dislodge my jawbone.
I try to argue with you, but
my language is gone.

You say that a dog is harmless
if surrounded by fence. That the
owner of the dog should pay for
the fence. That the ***** could ****
or produce pups that would ****.
I am still without words and losing
copious amounts of blood.

I am poor and no-one will acknowledge
my death. I am someone people will
forget died and will have to be reminded
years from now, during a cook-out or
amateur bowling tournament. My legacy
is that of failure and being obliterated,
justifiably so.

These people look to money,
to colors on fabric idols,
to pages in a book written by
share-croppers afraid of flooding.

Remove me, so, to remember me
for what potential may have existed.
Kindly ignore that I never resisted,
and that I, the apex of forevers, was
always ungrateful. That I conformed
and became deeply hateful.
Joshua Haines Jan 2018
It becomes silent
to where I can only hear
the ringing in my ears.

I am comfortable
to the point where
I feel no longer alive.

There's a burden on
my neck that causes
me to slouch.

And I eat and sleep
throughout the years.

And I add meaning
to the days but they
become contrived.

I try with all my
might to give life a good
fight, but all I do is
panic on my couch.
Over success.
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