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A Bryan Mar 2018
You used to only make $225 in a week
Now you can’t make $225 last a week
What is happening here?
You swore that if you made more you would be responsible and stable
And yet here you are
Barely able to stop reaching for your credit card
Barely able to stop spending your money and your time
Fixated on things you don’t need
You promised that if you made more money you would be responsible and stable
But here you are
Barely able to maintain
And filled with greed...

(Consistent financial irresponsibility is a form of self-harm and addiction)
Andrew T Dec 2016
I met this girl at the bus top across from ironhouse condiminums on west broadstreet, and we started talking and I took the wrong bus just to talk to her. I didn’t even have the right amount of change to give to the bus driver. I needed $1.50 and I was thirty-five cents short. So I walked up the asile and asked the cute girl with raybands and lavish brunette hair if she had some change. She smiled and gave me a quarter and a dime. Excellent, I’m in. After I gave the bus driver the bus fair, I leaned back in a chair and I talked to her about literature, writing, reading, poetry. Her name was Anna and her favorite book happened to be “Catcher and The Rye,” she had stacks of notebooks from grade school until now, and she journaled each day in the morning.

We stopped at Willow Lawn and I said: bye. I recommended to her some novels and I wrote down my email on a ripped out pocket book journal page. I passsed it to her, saw her hand close over the note. And then, as I got off the bus, noticed she crumpled up the note.

Later on, I came across a free sandwich, some bowls, a coors light, and a deep tissue massage (my friend is a massage therapist in training; half black; half white; #winning). So imagine being twisted and getting a deep tissue massage with creamy oil lotion. She had this cushioney tan bed to lay down on and relax.

The two girls Rachel and Rachael sang with perfect pitches these great lyrics. We smoked sticky icky *** from a bowl and a plastic orange ****. I pulled up on the carbueretor and vacummed the mushroom cloud of smoke into my lungs, sending radioactive pleasure into my body. A bowl and stem apparatus. Mouth piece. A water pipe or a **** was smokey jazz brass saxophone. The black gas washed by murky water and condensed icecubes sent me spiraling down.

So, I ended up riding on the GRTC bus, smacked sauce, and I wrote all these great ideas, and weird *** descriptions of the bus interior. Went home, changed clothes, swag black VCU shades with neon yellow sides, and a fresh Kanye West Bear shirt with Japanese eyes and shutter sunglasses. I walked down Shafer street and came up to the compass and Hibbs hall. Outside there was a crowd of people freestyle battling, and I enterered the contest. I became a compeitior and I was the challenger, there was no champion yet. I won one round, lost a round, and then went O.T. sudden death overtime. The whole time I was still high, I was carrying around a VCU Cary Street Gym aluminum water bottle with a black insulated sleeve. So I ended up losing, my friend tapped my shoulder and I said whatup and we walked to subway, and I got a foot long Buffalo Chicken sandwich.

We went to his friend’s townhouse on Main and North Harrison Street. I drank a cup of Pineapple and Rasberry Burnetts *****. We went down Cary street, and took a right on Pine Street and then we went to this Delta Chi Fraternity House. There was a kalidescope discoball with rainbow lights. A bar serving jungle juice from an orange gatorade water cooler. I silded my way into the dance floor and turned around and say this girl who I knew. She was someone I taught tennis to when I was an instructor in high school. Needless to say she got extremely attractive. So I was dumbstruck and trying to process all this **** in my mind, and I told her straight up, “Aiight we’re dancing.” And wow. I taught her to stroke the ball well from the tennis lessons. She wore these pink ******* bunny ears and a white dove cardigan and a black halter top, with a dark mini skirt.
Andrew T Aug 2016
You painted your eyelids with green velvet and ruby red. The fractured mirror kept your insecurity at bay, as sparkle blue glitter poured all over your head from a little tin can.

We drove across the bridge, and through Shocko bottom, stopping at a nearly deserted parking lot sanctioned by an honor code. We double parked behind an Acura sedan, and waited as you snorted half a gram of Molly off your manicured fingernail into each
nostril.

You took in a deep breath, smoked a Parliament, and blew smoke out the
window. After ten minutes we shambled out of the car with our purses tucked under our armpits, and red fire dying in our eyes. When we reached the Hat Factory venue, the line disappeared from our view and we walked to the entrance where two bouncers were posted up. The tall giants marked our hands with black sharpie ink, drawing a large, bold “X” on each one.

Once inside the spacious warehouse, we ascended a white marble staircase and paid a ten dollar entry fee. Another doorman took out his marker and drew a red line, crossing through the dark black “X” that was drying on our hands. You broke off and away, going
straight to the bar. The bartender asked what you wanted to drink, and you requested water. She smiled and gave you a red solo cup filed with tap water and ice-cubes. After you thanked her, she handed you a bright pink glow stick that you wrapped around your forearm, fitting a figure 8 around your skin like a cloth sleeve.

On the stage was a young man dressed in neon colored plaid and skinny jeans. He climbed up a tall stepladder and jumped from the top, belly flopping on a beautiful African Queen bodacious gluteus Maximus, daggering deep into her soaking black spandex, the decadent bodies swimming on top of each other, stroking and staining the pink gymnastic mat with hot sweat and salt. A huge beach ball colored with red, white,
yellow, and blue pinwheel stripes sailed through the air over the balcony, smacking into a deathly thin model who was smoldering her Parliament cigarette into a clear glass
ashtray.

Mollywopped undergraduates gathered around circles where reggae artists harpooned inflatable black and white killer whales with thrift store bought switchblades.

Laying flat on his stomach was an Asian photographer snapping away with his Nikon digital SLR camera, pale hipsters in ***** black blazers and black fedoras hurling red and purple plastic assault rifles into the intense mass of worry-stricken college students carefree for the moment, gyrating and grinding to the womp-womp bass booming from rectangular speakers that squished in a disc jockey and his hardwood stand with his mixer and two turn tables. He scratched the needle along the worn edge of a battle-scarred vinyl record. His fingers zigzagged the sliders, pressed down on buttons, turned up the volume knobs.

Some hyper-maniac golden child bounced around the dance floor, sneaking up behind university sophomores mesmerized by the makeshift floodlights in the rafters blinking on and off. Conversations were made in the head, but never opened up when the girl approached. Stuck up super senior girls with heavy black mascara and matted eyelashes raised their eyebrows and swatted away ***** flies with a wave of their lotioned hand.

***** girls dress in high heels and septum piercing, their ear cartilage stabbed through by unclean metal. A rude person bumps into the Hyper-maniac golden child, causing the golden child to shove squarely into the rude person’s back. Name-calling ensues, threats fired and received, looks exchanged and bitterness rose over any other tension in the fuming room.

In the far right corner were a couple of kids making out; they’d just met.

Walking away from the fight, sidling between sweaty **** people, the golden child swayed upstairs to the second floor, passed another bar and balcony tables, chairs, and dance platforms.
He went through a swinging door and joined a conversation between
a bunch of strangers. Wary around the golden boy, he starts practicing his standup Comedy routine, almost bombing on the first joke. Cheap jacks burned bright orange after a blue flame ignited the tapered paper end. Arms snared around the golden child’s body. Oh how nice! It was his friend from Modern Grammar class, he used to sit next to
her in the second row and copied homework answers from the blackboard with her.
She was happy.
And he was happy.
Andrew T May 2016
You could have reached here Wednesday by last choice
Perhaps your mood shifted. All the calm nights
you had now lay awake. You explore the city
built by the perfect people, white cathedral
stands upright on a slant, a compass buried in plain sight,
the gibberish of art students from painting lullabies as sirens.
Only children are asleep. The university
grows younger each year. The best teacher
is always late, not realizing her impact.

The person I’m most comfortable with
stays in bed. Security found indoors
the couch allures, security in the capsule,
The deafening whispers, the genuine friends
who live nearby and can’t talk straight. The blessed temple
building worshiped by advertising majors.

The lucid potential, morning sprints round the track,
a library sustained by crushed Adderall —
glowering orbs rotating back counter clockwise,
out of chimneys the black spirits climb,
detectives bicycling, the honor students rummaging
for class notes in the deep end of the dumpster.

So this is college? That frontier plateauing
before you can dive off a cloud? So this utopia
was a dollhouse, the daily on the doormat
camps in the hallway: waits while the child watches
a sit-com?
Don’t apartments stand still? Are abstract paintings
and basketball supposed to nurture a city,
not only Richmond, but also other lonely cities
of misunderstood brunettes, dank **** and dubstep
the weekend will seldom put out
until the city you moved to shuts its eye?

Just tell yourself, “live.” The best teacher, eighteen
when she moved to the university, still grins
even as she coughs out fiberglass. Any day now,
she sings, I’ll take a drive and leave this place.
I pull her close and say. You haven’t slept in your own bed.
The boy who you’ve always loved still thinks about you.
The books you read before breakfast,
whoever the author may be, inspires
and your least favorite student who raises her hand
is judged but her posture never falters.
Andrew T May 2016
A Monday morning in Richmond
     is like waking up with your head
   shaking with commotion.

You pray while you take a dump.
       You end up going across the street to Starbucks,
    with three-sixty left on your credit card.

For some reason unbeknownst to you,
you feel that you're a Renaissance artist,
brought to earth to perform studies on human beings.

Little by little you realize that you're the son of God.
There's a moldy tennis ball in
your pocket labeled: God.

Rap, or is it, Rock music that pumps through your ears?
And you're not afraid anymore.
You start to notice the handwritten facade built around your surroundings.

The State Farm billboards
perched above the scaffolding.
Your nose drizzles with crimson.

Memories of the Christopher Walken Impersonator stains the keyboard.
There is no real difference between the garbage man
and your best friend, the one who supplies you with mescaline.

And the comedown feels like a Indian Monsoon.
Electrocute your senses
until you've turned numb to your baby sister Victoria.

The Toyota Avalon cruising up
the street corner with the yellow high beams
is not the white witch from The Wizard of Oz.

Trip falls.
Inhale smoke.
Speculate more.

Dirigibles in the clear, blue sky plummet down.
You listen to your parents while you're high on *****,
wondering why mom dukes looks like Johnny Depp.

Fingers tremble as you try to type out
a handwritten letter from prison.
You meant to text message your mom, "Happy Mother's Day."

And instead
you typed out to her,
"Happy Birthday Mother!"

Lows and highs permeate through your heart.
Caving in, the walls crush into each other.
That girl was married and you gave her a head start on life.

You stole your best friend's birthday money to buy M. You tell yourself everything
is going to be okay as you swivel in your leather recliner,
A ****** dollar bill jammed up your left nostril.

Long, blue rails dotting the wrinkled notebook paper,
used up from the last owner. You
can't stop coughing.

You throw up on your clothes.
And you start to think that
maybe you are ******* up and you can't stop without an intervention.

Then
you start to think,
maybe this is all in my head.

The cold wind nips at your exposed ankles.
Red sores develop on the back of your elbows.
Local pariah is far away from his hometown.

Your favorite Uncle has stage 4 lung cancer,
and you're chain smoking menthols
to ease the edge that splits your brain in half each morning.

What is struggle without the lost—
without the success on the other side of sanity?
You pop prescriptions to ward off the insects gnawing away at your eyeballs.

Gouge your intestines with a straight edged blade bought
from the dollar store.
Ode to Keroauc.

The unholy manuscript written with pen and needle.
Cool story bro.
But you have nothing, but mistakes to offer to this unjust world.

And earth continues to spin on an uneven axis.
When it comes to a point where fiction and nonfiction
        are void of speculation.

           When it comes to the point where reality and dreams coincide
and you begin to stumble
over your shoelaces that are tied.

When it comes to a point where
               your enemies and friends seem the same that is the point
when you attempt to sleep.

But sleep will always allude you, you Danny Art
          So read your poetry aloud to the unsung.
To the sleepless.

The Walkers dressed in rags approach you,
smoking on black and milds, dark rings
circling their eyelids.  

And the time of night which you so longingly search for
in the face of listening to The Dark Knight soundtrack, gives you a pulse, a sudden click that boosts you into peril.

That bloodstain drenching
the corner of your eye sweats profusely. And that's when you start to wonder:
is everything that I'm doing baked in fallacy and witchcraft?

The comedown.
The comedown.
The comedown.

You are the burden of my fellow constituents, lost in reverie,
gone in madness, forlorn from deeds,
that are too great to imagine.

Your tears mean nothing
in comparison
to the world at large.

And that's okay.
And that's okay.
And that's okay.


You begin to discover,
that you do not write poetry,
but you write greeting cards in a journal.

Or a pen and pad,
ink
and blood.
Harry J Baxter Apr 2014
the streets are comfortably empty right now
silent save for the trash blowing down the streets
the murmur of an engine and the slapping of tires
but danger lurks off screen
a constant constant
men with nothing to lose but their desperation
and still the air is sober and calming
my head is racing and I am losing
I didn’t even show up on time
we all want to think we make the decisions
we all balk at responsibility
we have excuses
faces to point fingers at
I came upon a homeless man sleeping in a doorway
by almost tripping upon his pair of emaciated, ratty legs
he was sleeping
an absurd notion in his situation
just right there on the street
in some strange doorway
beneath an array of indifferent stars and galaxies
I stood there watching him for a moment
which felt like hours
and I don’t think this man dreams
I think for him a night of safe sleep
in a doorway
is his waking dream
Turning around I left him there
and the quiet streets of the city I love so dearly
seemed a lot less quiet

— The End —