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JM Romig Sep 2022
A black and white film
About an old man and his dog.
There is no dialogue.
Just ambient sounds -

First, of the alarm clock’s
monotonous song.
Followed by an abrupt
cutting silence as his hand slams
down on the snooze button

Then, the sound of a coffeemaker
spitting and burbling.
The coffee, pouring into a chipped mug.
Sugar, then milk,
the clink of the spoon against the ceramic
as he stirs
the long first sip

As the man looks curiously
at something on the fridge,
just out of frame.
A bag of dogfood opening.

hard kibble ringing against the metal dish.
The dog grumbling - impatiently waiting.
Tupperware  opening
The hum of a microwave, and the beep.
Last night’s stew poured into a bowl
the rest, over the kibble.

The closed caption reads:
[Enthusiastic, sloppy eating noises]

The sound of water running
as the bowls are scrubbed clean.

The door closing as the two leave
for their morning walk.
The old man and the dog
are now sitting on a park bench.

The grass, still wet from the morning dew.
There is a beautiful sunrise
over the nearby lake.

The camera pulls away,
as music overtakes the diegetic sounds
of nearby parkgoers, birds and runners,
and teens playing hooky.

The camera cuts back to for a beat
to the kitchen
in the empty house.

The camera zooms in on a weathered
and well loved piece of paper
held up by a rainbow magnet
on the refrigerator door.

Fade to a black screen,
with white letters:
What was on the paper?
Holly M Feb 2018
the silence never bothered me before-
quiet between two so intertwined
is not uncomfortable like the silence
it is merely absence of sound
-but it bothers me now
all but consuming my mind

and i say nothing
and you say nothing
and everywhere there is nothing

i pray for the radio to work its charm
with those magic changes
give me a song to sing
give me anything
that would be better than this
small talk between two so intertwined

"you're awfully quiet," you say
and i say nothing
because my right brain has a lot to say
but my left brain knows not to say it

i want to say, "i know that you don't want me here"
the thought, clear like perfectly formed ice,
echoes through my mind:
(i know that you don't want me here,
i know that you don't want me here...)
somehow that is the one thing worse than
the deafening silence
because it's the truth
and we both know it

i want to scream, "can't you see i'm hurting?"
it's written all over my face
in smiles that don't reach my eyes
in lips joined in vowed silence

"i miss you," you say
and i say nothing
but i want to be the braveheart
and cry something bold, like
"if that is so then
how come when i'm here
your face is illuminated
by a phosphorescent glow?"
but i hold my tongue
i know my thoughts are wicked
yet they are my thoughts

and i say nothing
and you say nothing
and the silence says everything
JM Romig Apr 2015
Old gentle vague dark sea
stars uncoffined above
my drummer grave
blind of age,
meet Mr. Numb Feelgood
he is dying - chasing smoke,  
following a blind parade
wanderin’ anywhere forked like Yes
at every dusty, homely, strange-eyed landmark
until driven deep down dead

Dear old diamonds,
my sleepy southern song spell fades ,
my past was a young clown
dancing, swingin' my magic heels
raging and cursing death’s grip on time

Now, I feel that morning’s fierce burn
vanishing into a tambourine memory
and I’m caught madly dreaming
against the ragged anywhere
to return green tomorrow
This poem was composed primarily from words found in Bob Dylan's "Tambourine Man", Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night", and Thomas Hardy's Drummer Hodge

JM Romig Apr 2015
everybody’s angel bodies
find happening midnight
on Kansas pavements
hipsters’ motherwords are wholely robed by time
instant everything is ordinary
buggered city  immortals --
annoyed, parentless, marijuana everymans
swiftly digging unknown eternity
groaning strange in the long mysterious night
roaring, vibrating kindness
from their holy tongues
blazing inner hideous human gold
draining ***** forever
draining everything
forever -
Moloch, Buddha, Abyss
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Mostly a Cutup from "Daydreaming of Ginsberg" by Jack Kerouac, and "Footnote to Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. NaPoWriMo 2015

To make sense of it, imagine its explaining the modern world to the beat generation in their own language.
JM Romig Apr 2015
The phone was screaming in my pocket
its voice was muffled by the pile of clothes
on top of it

The hotel water was almost too hot
it blushed my scalp
and cascaded down my face
in a way that should have felt like baptism
but didn't

After what felt like an eternity
the call went to the black hole
that is my neglected voicemail
now at over a hundred missed calls

I didn’t want to talk
not to Dad, not to Mom,
not to my fiancé,
and definitely not to some reporter
trying to make our ****** up family
the topic of the nine o’clock news

The pipes in the wall
clunked around for a second
as I turned the ****, cutting the water off
I stepped out of the shower
somehow feeling less clean than when I entered

For a moment I stood there,
towel over my head
in complete darkness

I closed my eyes and saw him
standing across from me
his eyes, locked with mine
dad’s gun in his shaking hands -
pointed directly at my head
unblinking, full of hatred, anger
and fear

They’ll call him a monster
and knowing what he’s done,
I won’t be able to say they’re wrong

Sympathizers will say that the divorce
messed him up somehow
or that he inherited our mother’s mental illness
or that he played too many first person shooters –
which is just ******* stupid

Lying on the hotel bed,
I nakedly examined the ceiling
mapping out the distance between water stains
like a cartographer

The last time he called me
he was in tears,
because some ****** from his school
beat him to a pulp
and shoved his face in dog ****

I can’t help but dwell
on something I said to him that night:

“People like that don’t change
they become ******* adults
and keep kicking people around
because they can
Because they’re rich and we’re poor
and they don’t want to see people like us
we remind them that the world isn't perfect
and doesn't revolve around them”

I don’t want to believe
that I planted the seed,
that the one time he listened to me –

Six people died
most of them, kids no older than seventeen
one teacher, and a janitor - tagged by a stray bullet
two kids have been in critical condition
for the last three days

He must have been terrified
in those last moments
before the cops riddled him with holes

He must have regretted it
or at least regretted
not having an escape plan

He never did think things through
unlike me,
connecting the countries on the ceiling
drawing imaginary lines
of cause and effect
and trying to figure out what it means
to be a big brother
in the absence of a little one
Napowrimo 4-7
JM Romig Dec 2014
Meet me, once again, at the breakwall
where we will spend time sitting
reminiscing about times we spent wishing
on a sinking star for more time to spend.

Let’s go fishing for our selves
in snapshots of past lives
and see if we can find,
in this murky water of nostalgia,
some kind of definition.

We will quest forth, finding more questions
than answers, and accepting them
with a peaceful resignation
we could never have in our raging youth.

I’d talk about how
we used to debate
with our words
carved into primitive weapons
for savage discussion -

To win arguments with each other
doing battle for days
not realizing that language
was not evolved for the purpose of combat
but rather, the opposite.

We’d watch the waves wash ashore
all the places and people we’d been
all the bits and pieces of past tragedies
will lay before us
like a thousand-year-old shipwreck.

We will laugh together
the way you do,
when you see the heavy black clouds
storming off toward a distant somewhere
and they seem smaller somehow
less frightening.

You’d say something about how
we were the most obsessed with our mortality
when we were furthest from ever facing it.

And we’ll sit there for a while
just thinking about that.
JM Romig 2014
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