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Dec 2023 · 99
Joshua Haines Dec 2023
A starter home on a frozen plain
Located on the corner of
drifted dreams and main
Cigarettes and old ramen
A *** for posture, a dish pile
I hear the storm coming
Have heard it for a while

Lick me like the stamps
on the letters
to your ex-lover,
Break me like the twenties
you got from your mother.
Abuse me like the creep
you wish I was,
Use me then lose me
just because.
Joshua Haines Oct 2020
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

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

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

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.
Jul 2020 · 277
The New Shadows
Joshua Haines Jul 2020
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.
Feb 2018 · 1.2k
Alexandria in Alexandria
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
Feb 2018 · 1.2k
Right Here
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
right here.
Feb 2018 · 824
Fear of the Fallen Sun
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
Jan 2018 · 1000
America in 4K
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.
Oct 2017 · 1.1k
Short Cuts
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
White Interceptors illuminate, cry, and leave ribbons of red and blue,
  accelerating north on Featherbed. Streetlamps hang like midnight ornaments.

It starts to rain, turning the tar streets into slick mirrors.
  I can see my lights lead me, sweeping the asphalt.

Kent is still too dangerous to gentrify. The trashcans are spilling
  cereal boxes and empty two liters. I imagine a two-thousand year-old
mountain of trash, corroding and forming this neighborhood.

  Barefoot children walk around aluminum cakes, reaching for the rain.

Skinny cats trot across the street, green and yellow eyes,
  leaking through the dark. I name them after sicknesses.

The humming of my Camry grows louder as I squeeze by
  dripping, patting hands. I now recognize the moon.

Buildings swoosh by faster and faster. Minutes go by and I
  find myself on the outskirts; the trees sway, dodging rain.

My phone rings like a frenzied roach. Picking it up,

'Sure. Yeah, I'll be right there.
    'I'm going nowhere.'

The phone bounces on the grey seat. A screeching.
  Coming to a stop; my chest almost touching the center
of the steering wheel. All becomes still.

  A buck with velvet antlers stands in the rain.
It runs into the dancing forest. Much like me.
Oct 2017 · 882
3AM Thoughts About Dying
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
The news needs my fear.
I struggle to survive.
Is it terrible that if I
can't tell stories,
I think I can't be happy.

3AM is the prime-time slot
for the show, in my head,
entitled, 'Thoughts About Dying'
Starring, Attaching Sentiment
To Anything is Absurdity.
I wish I didn't have
post-****** clarity.

All my old friends are old friends.
I miss my brothers.
I miss my grandma.
I miss having the wrong
answers about death.
Oct 2017 · 1.1k
French Vanilla Person
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
French vanilla Converse,
  taupe-boxed flannel (too big),
and an American Spirit burning,
  real, real slow. What a hipster ****;
what a culture-eating parasite.
  He says, 'Read Proust with me.'
He says something about how
  his dad is dead but not in
a literal sense; metaphorically.
  I was never interested in that part
in the avant-garde spoken poetry Friday nights.

  I bust into the bathroom
and *****, grasping
  Bed Bath and Beyond clearance items.
The walls are the same shade
  of green as my skin.
A hand pets my thigh and I'm told
  it'll all be okay.
How those knuckles knew,
  I'll never know.
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
No doorknobs exist on this floor.
I can't find any outlets.
The belt that lady--I didn't mean to
disappoint--bought me is coiled,
surrounded by Tupperware walls.
A nurse checked herself in. No
affect; asking for charge; reset.
I'm twenty and letting down my dad.
My belt used to live at JC Penny
and has navy-outlined bass on it.
One of the counselors is black,
from Africa, was adopted, moved
here to be raised by two JP Morgan
lifers, played collegiate soccer, married,
got pregnant, lost the boy--which he said
he had a feeling it would have been.
So, he can relate.
No doorknobs exist on this floor.
I am twenty and this exists in the past.
Wheeling in due to an inability to walk
--totally her brain's fault; a real former-
controllable, current-uncontrollable thing
that her mind pulled on her, on account
from the cold, Vaseline touch of a relative
--this redheaded girl pretends to smile
before apologizing for pretending to smile.
Our black counselor, former soccer player
and father says to not apologize and that
we are all pretending, all the time, even
when we don't think we are.
I find this strangely comforting.
Oct 2017 · 986
An American Sculpture
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
Your prayers and thoughts
  are not sufficient.
Tweeting and posting self-indulgent
  *******; you are shallow
and your not-so-subtle
  political agenda sickens me.

The President said we should unite,
  despite a year of trying to divide us.
Although, he doesn't need to say much
  because all we've ever masturbated to
is one country for all...
  except for people we don't like.

I am caught in a web where
  each strand is a headline;
where every attempt to be free
  pulls me deeper in; where
the spider is me and you
  and you and me; where
I am eaten by myself.

  I tell myself to not care
-- it never works.
Oct 2017 · 733
I Live With A Lazy Person
Joshua Haines Oct 2017
She is attached to the couch
  like a swollen tomatoe;
glued to the TV, supine and subservient.
  Texting while while writing a generic fantasy novel, with the
  televison serving as an audio fireplace,
  she believes she'll be famous despite
lacking concentration, respect, and will.

  O, call to the daycares; a baby is loose --
neck fastened by an electronic noose.
  America come and receive thy child;
harbor a body sheltered from the wild;
  And how could you expect such
sofa fungus to survive? Well,
  first, to save someone else, they
must be alive.
Sep 2017 · 812
Room Doves
Joshua Haines Sep 2017
My shelf holds worlds;
  bending under multi-colored,
peeling teeth; paper raked by pupils.
  Cream clenches then spreads,
like a jogger's lung, and I say,
  This is why I normally take it black.
Something Steven Spielberg presented
  is strapped to my wall, reminding me of
  my childhood that has left my memory
faster than I hoped it would.
  There's a decaf tin holding mini-presidential tombstones.
I keep a picture of a woman
  I don't even know because
she looks happy and I envy that.

This room is hermetically sealing
  3 AM insomnia and daydreams.
Sep 2017 · 2.4k
Sorry Kid
Joshua Haines Sep 2017
The cluster of ice in my glass
  looks like a milky fist.
I shake my cup and ask
  about the weather.
He says, 'Hasn't rained in
  one thousand or so years.'
I say how that's unfortunate;
  he says how **** happens.

This party transitions into
  something out of an art-house film;
the Cali-tens are dancing to some
  80's song you would vaguely recognize.
They bump into one another
  like bees in an electric hive.
A Russian drinking a Russian
  asks about drugs.
I say into my drink that I
  don't have that many friends.

Looking for a bathroom,
  I am bumped by hips and lips
into the former eggshell/cigarette stain wall,
where I find my partial reflection
  looking back at me in that familiar
transparent parent way.

I find myself apologizing.
Sep 2017 · 1.4k
Taco Bell/KFC Objects
Joshua Haines Sep 2017
The yuppies are by the
  Cotto Café, asking those
not to call them hipsters.
  An auburn feminist drinks
Mexican blend, black, while
  reading Margaret Atwood.

I gave up smoking, I say,
  about a month ago.
No one really listens, which
  I sometimes find comforting.

After I walk my isolation off,
  I stumble into a Taco Bell;
one of those hybrids: this time
  KFC. The cashier is curly in the
way that broken legs are curly.
  Her eyes are green but I dare
not objectify her, I hope I don't
  say out loud, because I fear
nothing more than being

Construction loudly stutters
  and cars squeak and shush.
On this griddle of a sidewalk,
  I feel alone. Vehicles vroom
while I stand silent, a monument
  to my generation.
Aug 2017 · 778
Drugs and Success
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
Bottle of Tums on the end-table
surrounded by an imprisoned fan;
a lava lamp of antacids, cornered by dead precious-metal presidents.
Some greying ceramic **** matriarch
has a bulb sprouting out of her head,
radiating fat yellow on the olive corner, also onto the loveseat.

I say, I should read.
I say, People don't like
  one another, anymore.
She says, I want to be a doctor.
Work with animals, she said,
Help pets and people.

Days go by like the shush
following blurs of traffic.
Am I aging too soon;
Am I important enough
  to care.

Try to sell me some
Pyramid Scheme ****,
the man my age does--
the kid--
He wants sixty-five for
off-brand perfume. No way.
How about, he looks around,
the manager's discount: twenty.
I say no. I'm sorry. I can't help you.
He says no. He's sorry. He can't help himself.

An American filmography:

A Thief in Brooklyn, 1997,
Dirk Diggler Productions,
A 20 y/o man breaks into
apartments, stealing pills
from the elder renters.

Ghost Before Sundown, 2003,
Marythrone Image,
A woman suspects she is
a ghost and tries to come to
terms with never succeeding
in life.
Aug 2017 · 1.0k
My Clean and Hopeful Child
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
Be the reason I don't drink;
the oil in the lamp, car, pores.
Help me realize rock-bottom
in your backseat; two lovers
in a car on a cliff, watching
the dark brown sugar shores.

I gave up smoking like
it was my child. I couldn't
hold what was killing me,
no matter how smooth, mild.
And I can't hold this baby;
this burden bruising my bladder.
I told my father I wanted an abortion,
he said, "In this country,
your choice does not matter."

Be my reason, Pre-born;
not yet breathing; not yet
crying; not yet teething;
not yet amorous; not yet alone;
not yet loveless; not yet a stone
sinking far, sinking deep
in an ocean of heavy sleep
where you ignore my decision;
my ****** tells; my existence;
where your father is God
and erases all frowns; where
his presence suggests that he
created your hair, your smile,
your sounds; Where he is
responsible for the oil in
your lamp, car, pores; where
my only purpose was in a car
overlooking sugar brown shores.
Aug 2017 · 1.4k
Nazi Sympathizing Scum
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
Conservatives cannot admit
that the White Nationalists were wrong
"But what about Black Lives Matter.
But what about the Alt-Left.
But what about what Fox News said.
But what about what our ******* cartoon of a president said."

Think for yourself.
You are feeling bad for Neo-Nazis.
They killed people.
They have a history of killing people.
They would **** everyone that isn't white.

This country has become disgusting.
A large portion is defending the actions of terrorists.
White Nationalists, ISIS--
They are, literally, the same.

You cannot be peaceful
when it comes to Nazis.
By sympathizing with them,
you are condoning them and creating more.
The only good **** is a dead ****.
Be a ******* person,
think for yourself,
recognize true evil
when you see it,
you brainwashed *****.
Aug 2017 · 837
X's Room
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
X's dim bedroom featured two tones: olive skin and rind of lime. Like her walls, her sheets and comforter clashed. The contrast in color reminded me of 80's clothing.
In her room, X smoked cigarettes that tasted like a mechanic's finger. A clunky radio played 24/7.
  "Do your parents know you smoke in here?" I said.
  "What?" She said.
  Her parents were phantoms. She barely knew them, which makes me barely able to describe them. A week ago, I asked what they looked like. She shrugged and said she'd check the side of a milk carton.
  *** was the only thing that connected us. We took turns touching each other like we were being dared to run our finger through an open flame. I said I loved her. She said not to be silly.
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
Maggots boil from under her skin.
  I will never see her again.
I have heart aches that
  stem from mistakes.
I count them as they
  leak from her skin.

Her eyes are raisins;
  I will never find what
they last captured.
  Cheekbones higher than
my song. My finger brushed
  along all that was black
and seeped into her back,
  tripping on her vertebrae
like a boy frolicking home.

  The cacti stand still--
while I feel quite ill--
  standing in an ocean
of honey.

  The people stand still--
America is ill--
  standing in an ocean
of money.

  You stand still,
too afraid to ****
  an ocean of hate
you tolerate.
Aug 2017 · 600
All Nazis Must Die
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
The President will start a
nuclear war over twitter
  if he has to.

  White Nationalist is a way
of saying Neo-****. It's re-labeled
  to desensitize us.

  The President sympathizes with
the White Nationalists because
  he can't afford to lose their vote.
My president does not have my
  best interest in mind.
He is a power hungry tyrant--
  and half are too dumb to notice.

You don't worship God. You don't.
  You worship politics infused
with spirituality.
  You dehumanize those who
are different from you because
  you are a scared little *****.

All Nazis must die.
Them dying is the
greater good.
Nazis are inferior.
Die ****. Die.
Aug 2017 · 868
Joshua Haines Aug 2017
I imagine you're disappointed in me. I can't say I blame you. It is not my fault that I didn't become the laborer you dreamt I'd be, split palms stung by sweat.  It is my fault, however, that I became nothing at all.
  Our family was defined by a cardboard box. Your job was to move them, hundreds an hour. My brothers and I were raised by a box that puked The King Of Queens and censored 90's dramas. My mother buried Polaroids of frozen dance moves and eternal smiles, under fake jewelry in a cheap cherry box.

  And when I carried the box that ate my grandfather, I showed no stuggle, tucked in my shirt, not wanting to embarass you.

  And when I forgot the Sea Bass belt, I promised not to **** myself with, in a box at the ward.

  And when I carried the box that sealed my grandmother.

  And when I burnt the box of letters she wrote from far and away; trying to erase who I was.

  I think I have let you down, father. I can only offer myself the way I'd offer a box: disappointing on the outside with a chance of beauty in the inside, if you're willing to open up.
Jul 2017 · 951
2. Clarity; In the Dark
Joshua Haines Jul 2017
They spent the day
eating t.v. dinners;
she had Hungry Man,
he had Kid Cuisine.

Grandma changed the channel
from Middle-Class Meltdown to
an 80's cartoon about robotic bears.
And he said, Grandma, this is scary
- so she turned it to a show with
pre-teen children and vanilla jokes.

The sun melted into orange and purple,
spilling over the horizon like melted sorbet.
Surroundings purged a different dark.
Shadows stuck more than usual, she noticed.
The Lurking was present, even if she didn't
quite understand what it was or where.

A few days passed, where she could
feel malevolence nip at the heels of her home.
She remembered her daughter,
at a recital, dancing with grace --
this helped her fall asleep.

She remembered the phone ring,
radiating a green hue, stating
words she didn't understand.
Answering it. This helped her
wake up.
Jul 2017 · 665
1. Grandma; In the Dark
Joshua Haines Jul 2017
A weathered door of a face.
Her house, captured in a bubble,
on Anterograde Lane.
In the dark; in the corner,
her leg, scarred in cursive, propped,
like the whole of her frailty; on a
budget wheelchair, second hand.

A boy, brand new,
who will soon be old enough
to forget what happened.
What mother? On the road,
smeared with hot, gushing
jet-black highway blood;
encompassing the coagulated
being of what was, and, only
in hushed talks, a mother.
What daughter?

How old are you, this time?
These words slip out of a smile.
And she wishes she could hold him
-- but her frayed fingers fight back,
with every twitch trying to touch.
Delayed comfort becoming devastation
-- 4 years-old. She can hardly believe it.

Pain eats her grocery bag arms,
bulbous in her bones like
confused locusts, frenzied.  
The boy's eyes are a deep brown
nutrient-rich soil, perfectly fertile;
needing to be cared for and grown.

Forever, she could, protect him from
The Lurking that killed his mother.
At the very least, for however many
remaining years. Three. Five. Eight.
Becoming a lantern before his sight;
guiding him from dangerous design
drifting between trees, in the dark.
Jul 2017 · 883
Spiritually Mugged
Joshua Haines Jul 2017
I gave them all of my faith
because the alternative
was death.

I was afraid of God because
he loved me and I was his
- his imperfect child, in need
of divine intervention.

Did he watch
when stress caused
my hair fall out,
gathering on the drain,
by my eighteen year-old

I have been spiritually mugged;
giving up my faith to a
weaponized religion, created by
men, who wish to enslave.
Jul 2017 · 666
When I Return
Joshua Haines Jul 2017
There isn't much to say;
the hot, bleached grid system
is no longer a map to my stars.
And I wouldn't say that
unless I meant it.

Your faces are too smooth -
like honey over burnt bread,
I can taste the sweetness over
your selfless stripped sky
and your blistered babies.

The sun belongs to the city;
boiling the bay water, until
your skin falls off and reveals
that you are as empty as I was
before I left. Your sun touches
you; molesting your flesh like
a surgeon preparing rib eyes.

Of course, I'll say it:
When I return, part of me will perish
with your evaporated esteem -
finding that piece of you that I took,
hoping that you will forgive me
like how I have forgiven you.
Jul 2017 · 838
Express. Shun.
Joshua Haines Jul 2017
Here I lay,
Why reveal
who I am
who I am
is not

To be ostracized; To be sealed in
       the Hell Fire I raise for raze.  
I can't candidly express my thoughts;
for I am different - and what is different
is not able to be understood - and what is not understood
starts wars; gathers men in poison rooms; rips apart bodies
like rag-abortions, grasping at the surrounding cracked Earth.

Here I lay,
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
Don't you tell me to chill.
Like the Beastie Boys I've
got a license to ill.
Over-confident for
insecurity's sake.
An ego so big
sudden drops could
cause a quake.

                    it up.
A poem so apathetic
it might give a ****.
Wanting to rap; also
wanting to write --
don't mistake my words
for something tight.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
I backpedal before flanks of flames,
auburn and angry, devouring the
fractured field; deconstructing
                     the turn of the century.

The fire jumps up and down,
like a developing polaroid,
asking to be acknowledged
-- to which I can relate, but
I'd like to believe I cause
                  less destruction.

Closing my eyes, I become
submerged in memory of the
hideous boulevard she drove
down, to the tune of disposable
pop singers; crouching next to
the radio, praying with the servants
of postured finer joys like pirate
rubies and sweet kale salads.

When looking up, through the
windshield; through the life;
a tic scampers from eyelid to
cheek, as the car buckles before
a triumph of a deer; the size of
a Godly Eland, shoveling it's
human feet into the downtown
dirt: an asphalt so slick, we
rose from our seats, as the
God split our vehicle in half,
throwing us into opposite
guardrails; dodging cars,
while it watched us.

Shudders of savored gladness
drip down my hairline wound,
painting my face before I die
and return to the towering blaze.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
My mother enjoyed shrieking
by the luminous Atlantic.
A place where she was sure
the salmon were scant, like
the bleach dumps, threatened
by a figure who loved binding
her to thoughts of terror.

Our hands were rough, at the
time -- so much so that we
would grasp at glass in the
white sand, pressing the edges
against calluses, without feeling,
before hurling the fragments
into the endlessness.

The sun would sit on the pink
and orange carpet of the sky.
And we would join it, with our
striped bottoms in the coarseness.

Praying for the glass to return;
asking for each piece to be sharpened,
so that we may be able to feel.
Jun 2017 · 724
37. Side Bitch; Degenerates
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
I feel like dying
a death they'll count in likes.
Always second. Next best
  option -- may he rest in peace.

So many people other than me.
Having to apologize for bleeding
  on the knife in my back.
You cheated on me -- please still love me.
There are so many other men -- please
  let  me  be  your  eternal.

I'm a side *****, worth my weight
  in wallet and ****. My head of
hair is curly. Tangles of fun;
  all connected to ordinary brain.

Tell me your proud, father.
Tell me I'm worth something, mom.
Am I contributing to the economy, America?
May I crumble so that my pieces fill
the cracks that I could never fill.

So many thin, druggy boys and
a crazy, ******-honey are trying
to stomp me like the ****** dream
that I am. Pure Side *****. Pure
Side *****. Graphic designers
and killers, oh my.

But wait!
It couldn't be me
  that you're speaking to.
Die for the American Dream?
  You want me to write for
no one to read? You want me
  to **** until I can feel?
You want me to fall apart
  and be taken care of by someone
who isn't even born yet?
  You want my money.
  You want my ***.
  You want my violence.
  You want my soul.
  You want me on one side.
  You want me to **** my brother.
  You want me to be red or blue.
  You want me to pick a news channel.
  You want me to uncover my camera.
  You want to regulate me.
  I am your side *****. I am your
  side *****. You can destroy me
  and I will apologize for the
  mess my body made.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
Different colored fruit
with various tastes
One hits the ground
and the others
go to waste

Different colored fruit
some bruised
some small
If one has a worm
you have to
destroy them all

Different colored fruit
believing in higher things
Worshiping their trees
Debating over the rings
they find when they
tear their Gods apart
Different colored fruit
some sweet
some ****

Different colored fruit
with evolving views
Growing with the season
some becoming softer
some turning darker hues

Different colored fruit
learning how to die
Some at peace
with falling
Some hoping
to float
into the sky
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
It's emergence so brief and shattering,
you'd have to question it's existence.
****** from the swamp by the sky,
it is devoid of morality; it is the terror
that does not forgive what it hasn't
given permission to.

Abrupt hum of an Indian motorcycle,
streaking across the starving freeway,
leaving ribbons of red, in the long,
uncomfortably volcanic-black night.

The body on the machine is wrapped
in cheap, crimson leather, and topped
by a navy helmet, stamped by a
visor reflecting rushed stars.

Migraine-inducing headlights hit
it's prop-store-green body, as it
drips and steps towards a vintage
orange van. Through the videotape
windshield, it can see two still figures;
two figures with aviators and bandannas.

Road signs swing by; the air zipping
in and out of the helmet. The body,
effortlessly, weaves through and
past the few vehicles lost in the dark.

Decelerating, the Indian penetrates
an exit stained: 567-TX-155.

Inside the carpet lined cave,
the figures stare at the monster,
indifferent to it's existence -- well,
not entirely one reminds the other.
It's arms dance in front of it's eyes,
blinded by the freshly clicked
high-beams; unaware that they
are, slowly, stepping closer.

Approaching a skeletal forearm,
emulating a tree, the Indian gradually
becomes silent. The body walks it
behind the rooted elbow, laying it
on a web of wooded earth; pulling
up a sleeve, removing and resting
a watch on the hot, metallic carcass.

It removes it's scattering fingers,
green and twitching, from it's
shrub framed eyes. Looking
forward, two bottles of blackness
grow near. It is a miracle only
surpassed by the instability of
life, that I look upon you, one
bellows. Consider this not
personal, but a preemptive
admonishment. Simply: I
cannot allow you to live,
for I have heard what I
cannot understand. Please
know that I admire,
thus I destroy.

The leather-clad foot-claps
eat and spit the sleeping gravel.
Pace becomes quicker; frenzied,
even. Like a comet, exact in its
imprecision, the navy helmet
falls to the ground, capturing
a night-sky goodbye; casting
the moon, briefly, into her eye.
So brief you'd have to
question its existence.

It's body, pulpy and beet red,
lodges itself between their
pale, freckled fingers. They
consume, pause, then continue
to gnash on the foreign meat.

Yellow, like an ancient bone,
the moon curves and bends
with ever chomp. It can feel
it all. The insides, pulled and
wrapped around wrists; soon
yanking; soon gritty removal.
The light begins to blend
with the surrounding dark.
Last breath, ruined by the
brief choking it's flesh caused.
So brief you'd have to
question it's existence.  

Sweat rips down from her
hair, onto her eyelids. A
dead sprint is broken into,
before she throws herself
into woods, avoiding the
approaching beams of a
vehicle. Forty-three
seconds imitate the
vehicle and go by. She
lifts her eyes to the brim
of a bush; pupils sliding

Van tires make the transition
from gravel to asphalt, as the
two figures are now, indifferently,
drenched in a red-bronze, becoming
crust around their lips. The driver
says, My father told me about him --
that. He said, if given life, it would
learn to take it. You cannot change
the nature of a monster. If we
remove it, we remove death.
We control the consent.

Her heels transform her sprint
into a statue's posture. The rocks
hurt her knees, as her hands soon
follow, crashing to the ground.
Scattering fingers reach towards
her, soon met by her petite grasp.
The same fingers grow still.

She reaches towards her side,
cradling the nickle handle of
The Last Killer
looking behind her, anger and
a plan, running down her face.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
There's a God --
he is near; he will
corner you with
your fear.

It's enough.
Don't say too much.
Your differences
are seen as a crutch.

You are my...
American Truth.

Don't put it in...
Please, spit first.

There's a flag --
it is real; it will
wrap around and
claim to heal.

It can't be burnt.
Won't be buried.
The colors are
three and they
are married to
something green;
something strong;
something that
will control you
all life long.

And they will tell
you that it isn't wrong.

And they will tell
you that you aren't
American, you free-thinker.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
My spine is crooked.
I take off my shirt
and it looks like my
body is swollen on
one side.

There's a hole on
my chest; some
insect insertion,
living between
strands of hair.

A scab is on the
back of my head
and it hasn't healed
in years. I'm afraid
to fix it because I
may make it worse.
I'm terrified of what
wounds may breed.

Surgery is probably
the answer or something
like it. I hope they don't
miss and cut something
on my spine. God forbid,
I become as paralyzed as
I feel.
Joshua Haines Jun 2017
I dislike my body, much
like how a mother disapproves
of her son's girlfriend.

I'm half-naked in a bed
that isn't mine -- but I'm
used to being adopted by
beds; fostered by
temporary situations.

The sun passed, long ago,
and I know that tomorrow
might vanish, emulating
melting moments aboard
brittle rib cages, slack jaws.

Nothing days like the
yesterday and the one
before that; fragments
not meant to be placed
back together, only to
be cut on, leaving wounds
to be wished upon.

I know, one day, I'll be
as tattered as this flag
I call my master. I will
die, for the thousandth
time, as I talk to an idea
about how I was in love;
how she believed in me;
how my brother was a
man I wish I could have
back; how my littlest
brother was always in
trouble and how I didn't
help enough. I was a
writer, I'll say; I was a
son, I'll whisper that
they were imperfect but
their wish, that's what I was;
their hope, that's what I was.
I was their's.  

I'll be sunken into a seat,
staring out a window,
during a night like this.
Hiccuping thoughts
that should be tossed.
May 2017 · 1.4k
31. Druggie; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
I can tell that
you can't tell
that you aren't
going to be famous.

You helped **** a kid
by selling him laced candy
because you were trying
to buy an acting career.

Your suicide threats
and cries for help
turn me on.
I would love
for you to die.

And if you were dead --
as dead as the dirt on
the graves you've helped fill --
I wouldn't sleep better or worse;
I guess I would just be happy
knowing that someone would
be able to sleep and wake up.

They put you on the evening news
and you laughed about it on twitter.
Because you are a river
teaching drowning lessons
but not taking responsibility
for the cornflower blue corpses
that haunt your dangerous brain
and contaminate nearby life.

You are a degenerate --
but not one with potential
or hope. You are not what
is beautiful about struggle;
you are not interesting.

You are written about
much like how cancer
is written about in journals.
May 2017 · 801
30. Apocalypse; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
Sludge black driveways
holding hazardous mindsets.

Back of his head is made of
white canvas; red strap; yum-yum.

You can see body in the window.
Cut like a Valley Girl diamond.

Brown ***** hair, faint.
Narrow shoulders, pointed.

Brows arch like arrowhead;  
floating above callous constellations.

Snarls of smoke from his cig;
dragging filter like a conscience.

He studies her while she studies
how life looks around her neck.

Closer to midnight, says Darling.
Gotta let her live in a dream-mo.

Inside the piggy bank, gold looks
like memories 'round her nape.

Peeking into the mirror's reflect,
mouthing her name, twirling hips.

What a time to be a star; stable
inside the crown of debris.

Completely secure in nakedness,
a streak of light swims closer.

Black bear fur, harboring glittery
fleas; her eyes look out and up.

It is as close as anyone ever tried.
Non-stop destruction, seductive.

Darling says, look at her look.
He takes a picture with his phone.

**** beauty, ******* to
the assertiveness of annihilation.

Looking at the picture, he curses
himself for not upgrading.

A fire overflows, as she has
one hand on her stomach and
another on her purse.
May 2017 · 950
29. No Account; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
They said they had to **** my dreams
because I didn't have enough zeroes.
In other words, Mr. Doe, you were
                     lied to by your heroes;
money isn't everything,
but not having it is being invisible.
You can work sixty hour weeks,
but only earn ways to be miserable.

My parents paying four-fifty, monthly
-- which is not a lot of money; we had
to eat out of cans and delude ourselves
into thinking it was funny. Sorry, Does;
                              sorry for your woes --
but America is the big hunter, and your
                            death is how it grows.

We were not equal; no account because
                   we had no account. Asked by
our family members if we bought junk
                      in a large amount. I'm sorry
to disappoint myself -- but I
                                         cannot afford
                                                   to lose.
I am the result of a flawed America
                                     that has learned
                                                to abuse.
May 2017 · 2.6k
28. Giant; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
They tell me to lay down
and to please look at the fish.
Notice how they glide
in-and-out of the cool-blue
water; how they don't have
a care in the world -- they're
fish: one out of millions;
mindless; alone in packed
tanks; alone, jammed in
metal cans full of corpses
and low-quality mustard.

Putting the mask over my
perfect nostrils, my straight
teeth, they say Don't be afraid;
listen to my humming; how it
will blend with the high-pitch
screech you hear, now; becoming
an equilibrium of torture and
fantastical strangeness, unbound
by Gods, by Persons, by Loves.

Inside this perfect dark,
you cannot think beyond
the giant broad strokes that
is the world sweeping by --
and it is marvelous, the
buoyant miseries floating
above your head; my head
of ambivalent visions;
the Earth's core, a furiously
violent brilliance, ablaze
beneath my feet, under
layers of confounded
deathly masquerade; a
mask much like mine:
an egotistical reflection
brought out by one's
feeling of gigantic import-
-ance, despite hanging
from the vastest of ceilings;
a wannabe church in the sway
of jungle mind; primitive instinct.


You know you can wake up
  at this point, or so they say.
What does it all mean, to which
I murmur, I don't know. It's
hard to say what I know; if
anything, all I have is doubts.
All I can muster are regrets;
I wish I could return to that
perfect dark, confused and
semi-philosophical; all-
pretentious: a feeling of
being bound by brokenness.

They tell me to chill out;
you use semi-colons like
they're heartbeats. Focus
on whether your chest
holds validity.
May 2017 · 13.9k
27. Dope; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
I approach most desires
like a competition; can I
**** better than him;
can I be famous at twenty-
-three since he was famous at
twenty-four -- I must be able
to sink better than him.

God, it is exhausting. I
feel like I'm dancing with
a machine; a phantom that
I can never catch, for it runs
on my blood; my insecurities;
my passion -- and, boy, oh boy,
can I attest to having plenty of
  that stuff, ladies and germs.

I think, truly, that I am
encompassing the American Dream
I think is utterly flawed; that I think
is futile in nature; that I am sure of
is the closest thing to Hell, in this
Godless, spiritually motherless
dark shoebox of sudden collisions;
this space of useful and useless
results, splayed onto and into
our hearts, asking for reverence.

There is nothing  I want more
than to be sure that my importance
is not illusory. I am not sure if
I am real.
Joshua Haines May 2017
The window is up;
sounds of rain crinkle in,
like the static in the voice
of a faraway caller.

My cats are perched,
one grey, one tabby,
listening with me, as
we stare at miniature
mudslides glaze gener-
-ations of ants, probably
clinging onto strands of
grass; waiting to become
the past.

I think of success and
what it means to me.
I look in my wallet and
count one-two-three;
one reason to like the rain;
two reasons to embrace strife;
three reasons to consume pain;
enough zeroes to choose a life
not smothered in mud, not one
where I cling onto the grass.

I dream of a dream where
my dollar bills can last.
Joshua Haines May 2017
I think she lost a part of herself,
picking up the pieces. And that's
okay; the universe works because
something is given for
something to be gained.

Her parents were red-blooded
Americans; they drank confirmation-
bias and the minimization of minorities.
They would make her problems as small
as the countries, they couldn't find on a map,
but could find in their hearts to demonize.

Oh yes, the demons: what used to
afflict her and corrupt her pure heart.
To them, she wasn't a teenager --
a child -- stressed from carrying a
family, featuring a mother with
a brain tumor; guest starring
as the understudy for mental
health awareness.

No, she wasn't a child; she was
a burden because she cut herself,
because her legs grew too thin;
as thin as the crucifixes around
the proud, turning necks, holding
dismissive heads of 'Why-would-
you-want-to-be-dead' Christians
and 'I-don't-understand-what-isn't-
in-the-Bible' fat, white relatives.

To make things short as her
life could have been: she dipped
in and out of drugs, featuring
****** and pills that would
dip in and out of her body,
like a fool's gold life jacket,
soaking in the waves of her
pale, transitioning to adulthood,
twenty year-old waters.

She saved herself, and
they thanked God and the
boy and mostly everyone
else but her. And the little
brother sat, sinking in a seat
softer than his deep-seated
hateful beliefs. But, the
truth is that she saved not
only herself, but also the
handsome, white, tall,
smart, talented image of
drink-of-privilege.' A
tall drink who cared for
her more than the country
cared about being right; who
loved her more than the parents
of the degenerates living in some
unknown collection of poems about the
disenfranchised and American angst.

She was a protest, very wondrous;
a halting of the longest dark,
a breath of fog floating towards
a lonely, very deep pond.

And she was only beginning.
And it was all very exciting.
May 2017 · 2.0k
24. Bubble Boy; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
Solo, like Star Wars or women's soccer
I sit on a ***** chair with pure liquor
sealed from the rest of the world

Numb, like Linkin Park or lithium
they hold my wallet like it's a gun;
want to use it to gauge my meaning.

If you want a dollar, babe, then
you gotta work to separate
yourself from everything sane
or how else can you gain

the feelings you see on t.v.,
what E! says is reality--
because you're told that's
what matters, entirely.

Identity; conform to be something
marketable -- or, at the very least,
conventional. I want my insides
to be considered pretty, but
I'd have to hope someone
would give the effort to
cut me open and ignore the joy
that my bleeding out would bring.
Joshua Haines May 2017
They say we're degenerates
as we walk with sore shoulders,
flimsy backs, fractured dreams.

The word millennial is used like
some derogatory word --
we're meant to feel like ****
because our parents failed us.

Because smartphones help us
release dopamine.

Because we're addicted to
virtual realities.

Because we **** strangers
that we hope validate us.

No one understands why
the news says this about drugs
and this about violence -- or why
we do 'those things' and if we
have any '******* sense'.

It's beyond them.
Maybe beyond us.

It's higher than our weekends;
lower than our expectations.
Joshua Haines May 2017
I have a hard time in bars,
specifically ones I don't belong in.

Sometimes I stand at the bar,
this wooden horseshoe, among
other faces that I probably blend
into. I want to say, Can you see me,
but don't because why would they?

My friends are mostly gone,
scattered across states like bats:
blindly searching for life.

I didn't deserve them, anyway --
that's not self-pity, that's just
how it is.

At most midnights,
I find myself swallowed by
existential terror.

Like most Americans,
I want to be the best
and have more than my
parents ever did.

Anyway, I don't belong in bars
because I think I am better than
the people there and someone,
who thinks that type of stuff
doesn't deserve a drink -- just

I think I deserve everything
but I don't work hard enough
for the books, people, and love
I imagine.

Perhaps I am plain,
like discount yogurt, waiting
to be touched before I expire --
but there's strawberry, which,
of course, is so much better
than plain, low-fat yogurt.

There's not a universe
where I am low-fat;
why would that happen.

I am stunted: four years
behind every one else.
People like me stay
strangers: the darkest
inside the night.
May 2017 · 955
21. Virginia; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
White whiskers rooted above the trumpet player's lips;
his body moves like a sci-fi parasite, as he spits out songs
at the big bellied, Skecher-chic, boardwalk children.
The kids give a moment's interest before passing by like
armored flies, if armor were cheap cotton shirts and
helicopter parents.

Sooner or later, the sunset meets the brim of his hat.
It's a mystery as to the speed of the trumpet dropping
from his lips to its case, but you'd have to find someone
who cares about those types of things.

His brown, leather, Payless feet jut outward; away from
one another and towards American stores reflecting themselves:
Italian restaurant, Thai restaurant, Car Insurance, Dollar Store.

Quicker than you'd think, his denim hips are clamped by
the wooden arms of a misplaced deck chair, relocated to
a dining table as small and low-income as the man who
saw the dreamlike orange and purple sky drift away
behind the cemetery gray blanket of smoke, rising from
a fractured ground littered in mud-bathed, leaking bodies.

When the night has only begun to settle in, the man's
thick hands carefully adjust her picture, for he fears
the paleness of his fingers will leave more of a residue
than he is accustomed to.

Kept within the copper and green borders, she has
only begun life; twenty-three and never having to apologize,
there is still so much left to the imagination; her olive grey
cheeks are sided to his eyes, ready to be jammed with
baby, mommy, and daddy fragments of windshield;
waiting for the last embrace of a sturdy steering wheel;
her hair still dry and not dampened by insides coming out
or the flying weaker-than-you-think half-gallon of whole milk
that covered -- or washed, depending on your attitude -- the
back of her fifty-three year old head; the eggs fortunately
missing twelve times, hitting what was left of the windshield,
leaving an image comparable to the wall of a bar that not only
has a dartboard but also a man with terrible aim or who had as
much alcohol as the man who slipped his car into Margaret
and Joseph's life.

Joseph looks away from her picture, as his glass eyes begin
to shatter. Running fat palms and bulbous fingers through
the white, over grown lawn on his scarred scalp,
he says her name three times before retiring to the mattress
Margaret picked out.
May 2017 · 2.1k
20. Sicko; Degenerates
Joshua Haines May 2017
After long dark,
you can find me in my mind;
taming serpents; kissing girls.
You may not understand
why I've been the way I am.
You're under-educated
and that's only half your fault.

Sometimes I am imprisoned
within the waves of an ocean
that always misbehaves --
but it's not my fault; just the
way the god rolls: making halves
and making wholes.

After the short syrup of light,
you can find me hiding, true;
pulling off ticks; kissing boys.
You may not comprehend
the way I'm fumbled together.
You're under-educated
and that's only half your fault.

Always I am imprisoned
within the crash of culture;
my thoughts treated like worms;
my illnesses considered contrived.
But it's not my fault; just the
way you guys roll: ignoring halves
for conventional wholes.
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