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JT Nov 2020
To the girl who’s so nice that I always assumed she was trying to sell me something,
I’m sorry I never learned your name.

When you approached me six years ago,
I sat alone
and bitter.

I felt sure of myself,
resent for everyone else,
and confident in my solace.

I was 18 years old -
first week of college -
I knew it all
and needed no one.

Maybe you saw through
my cool-guy, loner disguise.
Maybe you too
Hid sadness inside.

Maybe your thoughts
weren’t as wholesome as your appearance.
Maybe you needed
a friend.

You walked up to me as I ate my lunch,
said “hi” and pitched me niceties.
I let them float by without even a swing -
a dozen or so
easy throws.

Maybe if I
had asked you to sit,
I’d have seen you weren’t looking down on me.

Maybe if I
had asked your name,
I’d have known that it wasn’t Charity.

You gifted a smile
Before walking away.
Not a hint of exhaustion,
no exasperated face -
Just patience,

“I’ll see you around”
and indeed you did.
I learned to spot you in a crowd
of 10,000, proud
to be proficient in avoidance.

I’d avert my eyes
with you a mile away -
look to nothing in the sky,
at my phone, or books -
to avoid that look
and the smile that followed.

To the girl who’s so nice that I always assumed she was trying to sell me something,
I hope you’re well.
I hope to one day return your kindness.
JT Nov 2020
The lover of winter
and the lover of fall
wed in the summer
and both died unhappy.
JT Nov 2020
Sweet baby girl,
give me the strength I need
to do right by you.

Make me believe I can be
the kind of man
not to ask so much of you.
JT Nov 2020
The sun sets o’er an idle bay.
The gulls who’ve lulled now fly away.
It feels like summer’s here to stay
And something smells like ****.

The night becomes a serene blaze
Of stars that are a humbling maze.
I walk home with a fastened gaze
And it still smells like ****.

The fog falls as I reach my door.
Beauty I see — city no more.
Streets are streams; buildings fade to moor.
I must have stepped in ****.

The beauty we see can astound
But order breaks.

Ugliness lingers
In every beautiful thing.
Check your shoe.
JT Nov 2020
One sunny day when I was 10 - the flowers in full bloom -
my father tried to shoot himself, upstairs in his locked room.

Except it wasn’t a sunny day.
It was an ordinary night -
a night I watched from the neighbor’s window a police officer smash through the glass doors of my childhood home -
a night three days before my first family visit to a psychiatric hospital -
a night filled with my mother’s tears, my confusion, shattered glass, and gunshots.

No, not a sunny day, but get it?
HAHA - misdirection.
HAHA - juxtaposition.
HAHA - I’m describing the opposite of a happy, sunny day.

I cope with the sadness by mixing it with jokes,
like how you may cope with having to eat a dead crow by dipping it in chocolate -
doesn’t help, does it, you sick *******?

My father has the sadness.
He tried to cure it with a shotgun.

His father has the sadness.
He drinks.
I wish I had a fun way to tell his story, but that's mostly it.
He wakes up early, puts on his best old-man clothes, and sits in his basement watching old Westerns
and he drinks.

I don't know why he gets up early.
I don't know why he gets dressed.
I think it's for the same reason I write -
same reason I run -
I think alcohol helps him swallow that bird - you sick ******* -
I think he had the same fear when he had his first son:
that he'd pass on the sadness.

He did.
His son did.
Was it passed though their genes or through something they’d seen?

That question terrifies me,
because I hold my daughter with my left arm -
an arm covered in scars which clearly read:

“Your dadda has the sadness.”
“Your dadda’s not well.”
“You dadda lost every fight with himself
except one” - and that’s ongoing.

He’s losing.

I fear the day she may write
about some sunny day when she was 10.

— The End —