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3d · 23
Clippings
The sun saturates—maturates my family's backyard
like clomiphene for chlorophyll.
Swords emerge from my sward, harboring mosquitoes,
the edges need to be filed down.
Father would edge the lawn, trimming its sides
to make a perfect geometric shape.
The wind would push the grass down,
like God patting the top of the field's head.
I would cut that grass—each blade sent through my blades
dispersing into a green mist.
Clippings are thrown into bat cave black garbage bags
tied tight to avoid leakage.
But when I go inside, I notice that green powder
has collected on my shoes.
6d · 147
Blue Air
Deep underwater
we blow unwilling bubbles
pockets of blue air
Nov 18 · 41
All My Fault
Andrew Rueter Nov 18
There exists an area between hurt and healed called scarred
it's a place that isn't found—but revealed
tectonic plates protecting the core
my vibrating feet split the earth
forming my fault of separation
passive plains give way to cliffs and valleys
your seismograph detected  tremors
so you escaped to safer ground
outside my sightline from inside the trench emerging
memories are all I need to dig deeper
so remembrance goes through a grainy filter
glorifying the other side of my grave of grime
engendering assumptions of purity lying
beyond the fresh dirt door
where the undead hold their light sticks and disco *****
creating light without illumination
I stumble into them like a moth at night
bumping into the last vestiges of light
they say multiplying two negatives equals a positive
but this whole keeps going deeper
we just acclimate to the depths
making a competition of going furthest down
excavating our descent by expanding the division in the land
until magma erupts
lighting the voluminous pit
revealing the hell we've dug
trickster shadows dance along the sides
hypnotizing the feral demons staring
slack-jawed at the empty canvas of the cave walls
attributing the beauty of what they've missed to ghosts
telling ourselves our horns make us unique
until the lava starts burning us
as a reminder of humanity
continuation ensures incineration
yet this cavern has become my home
after convincing myself I belong here
so everybody hysterically huddles together
to protect themselves from the consequences
oozing from the pressurized center
I squeeze to fit into the middle of the crowd
putting bodies between myself and the nothingness that awaits
watching fellow spelunkers burn
while hoping the inevitable doesn't reach me
the liquid flame consumes my carcass
there's so many directions to fling the fire in
but I benignly accept my fate
knowing this is all my fault.
Nov 13 · 46
Burmese Tiger Pit
Andrew Rueter Nov 13
My brother and I explored a ravine
in our younger years. A wooded
labyrinth where the auburn
mist of fallen leaves
covered the floor
like a Burmese
tiger pit.

My brother
and I discovered
a lake, which became
a creek, which became
a swamp. I must've found
something exciting, because
I began sprinting homeward in a
juvenile fervor. Penetrating the
leafy shroud with my eager
feet. Unaware of traps
set subtly for those
tramping  through
the wilderness.

A nail,
I stepped
on a nail in my
recklessness. My
tennis shoe armor proved
futile against the steel weaponry.
Completely exposing my vulnerable
sole, the spiked interloper sank
its lone fang into me. The
pain shot through my
foot until ambulatory
abilities all but
vanished.

I didn't watch
where I was stepping
and landed on an inadvertent
weapon.
I should've
known the pollution of man
would stab me in my
outstretched hand.

A lesson was
learned about
paranoia and why
it exists. Even if I watch
where I'm going, polluters
will slit my wrists until the findings
of the swamp are forgotten in favor of scars.
Nov 9 · 99
Keep That in Mind
“Hey, I heard about your accident. I’m here for you if you need to talk.”

“Thanks, I appreciate it. I’ll keep that in mind. By the way I heard about your breakup and I’m here to talk if you need to as well.”

“Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.”

...

...

...
Nov 6 · 59
Self Addressed
Distant coddled
alabaster runs wild
savoring the vortex of a
muscle mired maelstrom
Caligula's throne sits in the eye of the hurricane
we write letters to ourselves—self absolving sin
rhetorical ramparts squelch responsibility
free wind tickles the tips of branches, the trees stay still.

Broken bastion bereaved
bunkers are built for sandstorms
whether we weather the weather
or fall victim to the tsunami
there's a climate change in our self addressed letters—
they become less about love, more about death
after we see the treasure chest in the executioner's cache.

Devastation hollows the oppressed
a free agent becomes a Super Bowl champ
by defeating those who traded him
a letter sent home reads—I joined the winning team,
equality is inferior to superiority
those in glass houses throw stones
once they're invading stone houses.

Race to the top                sink to the bottom
of a valley where black sheep roam and scapegoats graze
waiting to become predatory lions
gnawing on the structured bones of lost wildebeests.
Wild animals don't write themselves letters
their only signature is their presence
an aura of selfish instinct.
Nov 4 · 591
Escapist Fare
I don’t want to consume art to escape my life
I want art that makes me confront my life
I want art that uncovers my blind faults
and reveals my secret triumphs.
What do I need to change?
Why do I need to change?
How do I need to change?
And why is the time for change now?
These questions help me escape from needing escapism.
Nov 1 · 54
Zyvotes
I’m worried for my country and myself.
Microscopic maybes master my maze.
The undead use the unborn to fight the living.
If I were a zygote would they love me more?
I guess what could be is more appealing than what is.
Oct 24 · 63
Down to the Dentin
Andrew Rueter Oct 24
I had a boyfriend with a mental illness
his name was Mental Illness.

Smile of shiny white enamel
radiant down to the dentin

sprinkling ******* on skinny brown blunts
drowned in Kentucky bourbon

fluorescent tubes encased in the ceiling
are fixated above candlelit chandeliers

during the storm the thunder seems like ripples
from lightning bolts that have already struck

trees are split in two (never equally)
a fire lies in the part that is one

the forest floor is filled with fallen trees and dead leaves
ashes fertilize survivors for growth.

Mangled by a gang of doppelgangers
the gangly are ganked by the gander

making advancements in cloning from advancements in clothing
and discoveries made through jean manipulation

facsimiles of progress betray judgement
a hamster wheel is made from a barrel of Kentucky bourbon

two hamsters run in opposite directions, butting heads
until they're teeth are chipped—down to the dentin.
Oct 16 · 42
Havens
Andrew Rueter Oct 16
Hong Kong protesters out in the streets
It's there they clash with police
Fighting to avoid legislative defeat
That would put them in the reach
Of the government's gripping grief

Hong Kong was a place to hide from fascism
But became a mad schism
Driven by hedonism
Justifying a decision
For China to make an incision

Meanwhile in Mexico
They're telling the rest to go
Back to their own country
Because a fascist is hunting
Using social issues for stunting
To distract from economic punting

Mexico was a tolerant purgatory
For those avoiding a death so gory
That nobody would know their story
As the drug cartels take all the glory
With the police and politicians they're affording
Using all the drugs they're exporting

These places used to be safe havens
From corruption laden
Militant ravens
Who are actually craven
Hiding behind guns and the arraignment
Of any other tribe walking their pavement

Now there's nowhere to escape
From the horrible hate
In this globalist state
So the noblest slate
Is to no longer wait
And set things straight
Oct 14 · 83
Dignity and Pride
Andrew Rueter Oct 14
There’s a difference between dignity and pride
you can lose dignity without even trying
but shedding pride is a constant battle.
Oct 9 · 54
Cords
A good church is a cord connecting a community
God's umbilical cord connecting humanity
like the cords connecting the computers, cameras and microphones
the AV team meets every week to uplift a hundred seats
before worship practice starts they connect with one another
providing lines of praise and prayer tracing their hopes and fears
running diagnostics
checking the cords connected to instruments,  lighting, earpieces
removing the frays and knots
because the sermon runs smoothly when all the cords have been checked
the cords run throughout the church and up the band's spines
the voice of God lets them know they'll be playing the bridge again
so everybody throws up their hands and sings along
their vocal cords trying to hit tonal chords
cords of water connecting eyes to mouths shows
the congregation is plugged in
because the cords have been properly checked.
Oct 6 · 71
Staring
Sorry
I didn’t mean to be rude
or offensive
or to harass you
I know it’s not polite to stare
but just so you know
not everyone staring at you thinks you’re **** as ****
and if you must know
I wasn’t staring at you because you’re beautiful
I was staring because you reminded me of someone I once knew
who was **** as ****.
Oct 4 · 36
Better
How do we fix this? What can we do?
The answer stands impatiently in front of humanity
echoing how each person must always become better
but then the question becomes
what is better?
Something learned along the way.
Sep 30 · 41
Narrow
Andrew Rueter Sep 30
"From the depths
of the mirror,
a corpse gazed back at me.
The look in his eyes, as they stared
into mine, has never left me."

Closing the book I looked at the cover,
Night by Elie Wiesel. Averting my eyes
from the book to my teacher, she stares

at the class in profound silence, then she says,
"There's something very similar happening in America
today." I was shocked, I couldn't believe it took me until

middle school to hear about this. My ears perked up in morbid
curiosity as the other students nodded making me feel like a *******,
"Abortion." the teacher stated with lofty arrogance as I breathed a sigh of relief

encouraged by the banality of right wing indoctrination replacing revelation
of more senseless slaughter. I didn't watch Fox News, I didn't know I was
supposed to hate abortion and Dr. Tiller; that's where Elie Wiesel and

teacher come in. Elie Wiesel wrote a book that makes people want
to change the world, my teacher narrowed it down to the target
in her crosshairs. Tiller died a few years later, Wiesel died

several years after that. My old middle school teacher
is still alive using books of the dead to demonize the
living for demanding demonetizing democracy

until malleable minds are mangled
shifting their forming mentality
into one as narrow as hers.
Sep 25 · 62
Dark Contract
Andrew Rueter Sep 25
Vultures draw circles in the sky
tracing the paths we run
concentric predatory perimeters
paralyze prey with peril
ping pong eyes pogo up and down
trying to detect fine print consignment.

Squirrels keep their head on a swivel
tightrope walking on telephone lines
or traveling along the branches in canopies
avoiding the ground with suspicion
of sentinel snakes slithering in the soil.

A contract is written in a newborn calf
standing up and beginning to graze
innately aware of wolf rescissions
and tornado trials.

Cephalopod ink spills on the page
tyrosinase blinds the opponent
suffocating in a dark cloud
while the octopus escapes
to grow into a Kraken form.

So eyes dart back and forth
reading back the record
of a jungle mentality
wandering high
to avoid predators below
and an ocean turning black.
Sep 24 · 220
Garden Tree Centipede
Andrew Rueter Sep 24
On a garden tree of hardened leaves
slithers a centipede anemone
claiming to be a friend of me
sprouting wings splendidly
flying to the Nth degree ahead of me
until I can no longer see
where the wronger flee
behind a Chris Pronger screen
giving me the stronger steam
to bomb the seed.
Sep 23 · 136
Separation
Andrew Rueter Sep 23
It's time I sail away
You've given me validation
But I must tide the wave
Of my salivation
With separation
So I pull the anchor
To embark on my journey
On an oil tanker
That'll likely start burning
Around the corner I'm turning
Trying to get off your gurney

I see serenity
Ahead of me
Beckoning
And lessening
Your deafening
Reckoning
Nagging incessantly
Like a referee
After ******* me
Recklessly
You wouldn't set me free
And got the best of me
But that let me see
I could barely breathe
Under your tree
So the way to be
Is separately

Your chaos blocks me from peace
I'm falling out of Heaven's reach
Marooned on your beach
Where you continually teach
Me to practice what you preach

I'm trapped in Dunkirk
With my stunned hurt
From your gun spurts
That would come first
Before quenching one's thirst
So you always won worst

I'll burn with rage
Until I turn the page
From this infernal mage
And his hurtful cage

I need to find a boat
To cross this moat
Without getting soaked
By your quotes
And your jokes
Making me want to come back
That'll just be another attack
Sep 22 · 148
Hands From The Depths
Andrew Rueter Sep 22
Success beckons like a flippant ******
offering pure triumph
the nectar of glory flows in her.
Attempting to approach I find I cannot move.
stagnant hands emerge from the depths grabbing my ankles
looking down I see they're my hands
holding my craven climbers in place
I look back at my arms to see my hands missing
who needs Kurt Angle when I can put myself in an ankle lock?

I've got a hold of me and I won't let go
escape attempts are thwarted by preemptive remorse
plunging me deeper into the depths.
The knobs on my arms can't undo the harm
of the disconnected hands of the ******
that paralytically punish
tools supposed to help me give me a belting
while the lady in red leaves disappointed.

Tired of struggling against myself
my third rate fate accepted
I'm learning to love the view from where my hands plant me
no view of outside
at least I can see a window.
                                                         ­                                             
A siren's song echoes in the wilderness distance
beautiful serenades are muffled by walls
muted singing is enjoyed in solitude.

My dismembered hands dig into my brain
until things are rearranged
there's a paradigm shift
a paradox gift
beauty becomes ugly
so no one is above me
I can look in the mirror in the eyes of my peers
and see myself standing alongside them
when they're beauty makes them uglier than me.

They don't know pain
they couldn't understand
plutonium thoughts decay vision
replacing it with radioactive judgment.
I surmise negativity is just part of my personality
I surmise success is a ***** who picks the undeserving more
life goes unexamined
while wondering why insanity swirls.

Nagging depression firmly scratches the back of my brain
all that was avoided punches from the past
an explanation of my condition is given to my mistakes
like a father excusing their son's bad behavior
words fall on deaf ears once deeds have been done

failure doesn't care about my excuses
excuses completing a self-fulfilling prophecy
by hands from the depths burying me stationary.
Sep 20 · 120
Deafened
Andrew Rueter Sep 20
Jesus didn't say the meek would conquer the Earth
Nor did he say they'd taunt for self worth
He didn't say blessed are the conquerors
Nor did he ask I trade my bomb for yours
Whatever he did say
We didn't listen
This death machine stays
And we are its pistons
Sep 18 · 198
Brimstone Eyes
Andrew Rueter Sep 18
Life is full of wonder and curiosity as a small child. My eyes see. My tongue tastes. My fingers feel. My fingers feel as much as they can hold. One day my fingers feel a pepper. I'm fascinated by its texture. I roll it around in my hand to try to understand this wondrous world and its glorious gifts.

The pepper's provided productive perplexing pondering but I'm done with it now. Once set down I feel a twitch from an itch in my eyes that see. Eyes don't see my fingers as spicy. Fingers don't feel the pain that resides within them. Ears don't hear the silent marauders invading the grooves of my fingerprints. Satisfying my itch is my instinctive reaction. I'm in for a painful surprise once fingers meet eyes.

All I see is pain. All I feel is pain.
Disorienting pain that makes me sink to the floor. The cold linoleum offers no solace for the hellfire in my eyes. Blind and lost, wandering through agony, father picks me up. I can sense the hands that crafted and nurtured me. He is the solver and thus, will solve my pain. The jubilation of rescue is washed away as he shoves me under a running faucet. Surely, he has betrayed me. Surely, he is trying to ****** me. He throws me into a waterfall and asks me to swim up it.  Between sputtering out water and trying to turn away I feel panicked anger. He created me yet he gives me pain and death? I curse him in my wrath. After hope has been lost the warmth of healing comforts my eyes. The turbulent waves I thought I was drowning in were actually washing the brimstone from my eyes. Father forgives my curses as he forgives all things. Yet, I feel guilt for my lack of loyalty. If I cursed him while he actively rescued me, what will I do when the time comes to fight for him?
Sep 16 · 56
Another Planet
Andrew Rueter Sep 16
The dead go to another planet
one inside of ours
The dead go to another planet
outside our fleshy bars
The dead go to another planet
floating around the stars.

The dead go to another planet
a place they can call home
The dead go to another planet
one of earth and bone
The dead go to another planet
one we're never shown.

The dead go to another planet
and I can't stand it
how the information demanded
is never implanted
as lives are disbanded
with tickets we're handed
leading us to another planet.
Sep 15 · 74
Satire or Stupidity
Andrew Rueter Sep 15
If you’re having trouble discerning
whether specific discourse is satire or stupidity

keep in mind if it’s one of those
then the other version of that probably exists.
Sep 11 · 46
Foxhole
Andrew Rueter Sep 11
I'm loaded into the yellow tank
alien abduction
concrete mothership.
Matchsticks
floating near the bottom of a puddle
awaiting transportation through their designated tributaries
they want to be burned out
yet they float damp and unused.

Find a foxhole
head down dig in
no fortified bunker
crosshair jersey.
Snakes slither in the breezeway
sinister squirming tendrils
pervade ventilation shafts.

Pathological spores infect the air
pheromones drive creatures crazy
after the zookeeper injected rabies
cages banging at all hours
never loosen.
Hiding from a buzzsaw
every edge its own blade
all cutting in different ways
through hardened skin and molding clay.

Crouching in a crevasse
as a stampede tramples through
dirt is kicked in my face
but a lion's teeth cannot reach.
The herd keeps moving
but comfort isn't found in the current
raccoons and skunks wander bat caves
after mastering the scent of ammonia.
Sep 9 · 55
Coins
There's a giant disparity
No economic parity
Or intellectual clarity
When they're scaring me
So I'll collapse invariably
Under coins they're barreling

They nickel and dime me
So I'm pinching for pennies
No peace I'm finding
Working at Wendy's
For the money lending
Capitalism bending
Sharks that are trending

We coin those with stacks of cash
As successes
Even if their heart's black as ash
It impresses

Money doesn't grow on trees
But it seems to float in the breeze
The direction these people please
Or happen to sneeze

I scrape
And claw
But those apes
Are frauds
Playing God
No sin absolved
Without their call

Because I don't put up with their torture
I haven't made a dime this quarter
Because of dollar hoarders
Ruling through law and order
Creating tribalistic borders

Nobody's paying my bailout
I'm too small to fail now
My life's become stale, how?
The **** of a male cow
I tear apart my only couch
Looking for a coin pouch
To get me out
Of this drought

I cut my fingers
And bruise my knuckles
My fatigue lingers
Until I buckle
My stock tumbles
As I scream uncle

We allocate all our resources to a few
While the rest of society turns into a zoo
Where people die to pay their dues
And are given a pocket of coins to use
Which ignites their fuse
But their obfuscated views
Are swayed by the news
Teaching trivial truths

Change starts jingling in my pocket
When I get on a revolutionary rocket
So they buy a gun and **** it
To preemptively block it
They use marketing to stop it
Like it's just another stock tip

They have the guns
They have the money
I have to run
If they start hunting
Because those that say something
Are the edges they're blunting
With coins they're dumping
To protect one thing:
The profit margin
Like social Darwins
They say the hard win
With unholy marred sin
By collecting the coins of their foes
To help economic hostility grow
Until coins are all we know
Sep 4 · 47
Smitten
God smites me
Because I'm smitten
He hates me rightly
For what I've written
I'm his beta kitten
And I walked away
Like Jason Witten
On retirement day
Avoiding a fiery fray
Because I'm entirely afraid
So I chose not to stay

I fell in love
Then felt God's shove
Pushing from above
With a punishing glove

I made a mistake
Then made it twice
That's all it takes
To feel God's ice
Then I made it thrice

Like 7 Brides For 7 Brothers
I've tried enough to know I'm a number
My deadened life's become encumbered
So my reddened eyes start to slumber

I don't listen
So I feel His scorn
Not in what glistens
But people I adore
Becoming those I mourn
Once they shoot me off
Into the lightning storm
Like Alex Killorn

I must pay attention
To escape the detention
Of my own invention
Ignoring what's mentioned
By God in His book
I feel the pawn and the rook
Can outmaneuver the King
All my pieces he took
And told me to sing
Sep 3 · 78
Quagmire
The raccoons on this Kentucky farm formed a quagmire. They're wild thieves embedded in the ecosystem. Irreplaceable valuables are erased in the cover of night. The farmer offers to negotiate with the masked vermin. A raccoon response results in scramble trash, they say they've got a birthright from the past. Wits end is where dog ownership begins after the adoption of a rabid dog that only sees death. Regret rocks raccoons wrestling with Cerberus but there's no turning back, Cujo is chained in their yard.  Hellhound terror leaves spellbound hares abandoning their warrens until only reddened raccoons remain with their canine warden.

Lamenting the loss of liberty, a revolutionary raccoon resolves to romp around. The dog of damnation's laser locked bloodlust focuses on the rodent-like rebel. Charging like a rocket out of its launcher, the driven dog is lured from its isolated den. This game of cat and mouse has magnanimous stakes reaching across the farmer's lake.

The rebellious raccoon runs rapidly from the rabid ravenous Rover. The runner dips and dives through cover to avoid the teeth of the other. A snapping jaw matches the movements of the juking and cutting critter. Inside of a hollow tree becomes the raccoon's destination, he enters and ascends, the snarling snapper chasing in after him.

Death's embrace seems certain for the raccoon as the hound's teeth shave the edge of its fur, but at that point the fatter can go no further. The hound's blinding bloodlust vanishes upon realizing it's stuck. Its unwavering rage turns into panicked fear once it realizes its end is near. The raccoon revels in the dog's misery, enjoying watching it slowly starving.

The raccoons revelry is rebuked once the dog just starts staring at it. They both stare at each other, unblinking, waiting for the other to die. Neither of them willing to move an inch for fear of accidentally helping the other. Both willing to die to ensure their opponent's death. The hollow facade that saved the raccoon now becomes its tomb. Defeat and death act as a sedating punishment for the dog's aggression. Fierce foes drink the poison of resentment as they both accept their demise while staring into each other's eyes.
Sep 2 · 48
Exit
Driving down the freeway in Kentucky, there are only a couple exits people expect you to take. Lexington or Louisville,
pick one. Otherwise, what specific business
do you have going on in Sadieville?

I'm one of the unknown exitters
living 20 minutes off the Mt. Zion Road exit.
No one gets off this exit but me
onto a lonely drive through the trees.

I live off an exit where the vultures eat the dead, then perch on the trees that are dead, deceased in defeat under the feet that eat.
The graves of unknown soldiers lie buried beneath
convenience stores. The storefront sign says open
but the discordance inside is close.

Wandering in the wilderness
while the wind whistled my sins
you joined me in Union
after you missed the right exit.

Voices from the nether sent you letters saying things are better up north. My box on the side of the road holds notes that were
written with the intention of being read, but they're just
thrown out with the junkmale instead.

You burned too hot and I burned too much
in a snare I was caught once you abstained from touch
You were all I had, this isn't New York City
how many people am I supposed to have with me?

150 years ago, brother fought brother over the lives of their brothers here. Not much has changed since then.
A grave robber's eyes are seen in the faces of
wanderers. Welcomes only last until usefulness has passed.

You kept driving through
I wish I could exit too
but will Ohio be any better?
Once you find out send me a letter.
Aug 26 · 50
Subterranean Cranium
Andrew Rueter Aug 26
Chasing darkness
surmising depth lies in the depths
trenches are dug in craters
the holes we dig make us special
so we keep on digging.

Subterranean cranium
head in the sand—soul buried in soil
paying the undertaker in advance
the shovel feels lighter once it's smoothing the dirt
guarding the top of the grave.

Coffin solitude
dormant tears loosen the Earth
         the clay dam breaks
jailbreak mudslide
birthed from a muddy womb
crying, gasping for air.

We cleanse ourselves in the healing waters of time
donning our Sunday best for church
joining the choir boys standing at Jesus' feet
singing a chorus of denial
"I never asked for this".
Aug 21 · 57
Eddy
Andrew Rueter Aug 21
Wading in an eddy
waiting for edification
outside a rampart levee
lamenting lack of levitation
seeing my sedentary station

has me swimming stationary
where the mud is kicked up
spreading a murky brown mist
anywhere I happen to touch anything.

The white water rapids look pure
—at least from where I'm floating
turbulence is welcome at this point
yearning to leave my mudslide broth.

Estranged from strangers
I call out for help
only to receive hell
until I'm tangled in kelp.

A barrier towers over my totality
pedestrians travel on the other side
traversing toward the other sidewalk
avoiding contact—or maybe loneliness

none of them approach the water's edge
they build walls as a protective hedge
shielding them from the precarious ledge
and those that float in the eddy beyond it.
Aug 16 · 30
Descent
Andrew Rueter Aug 16
While I'm floating in heaven
My alarm hits eleven
From sins numbering seven
My transcendence is threatened

I lower my elevation
To experience sin
Giving empty stimulation
Where I don't really win

I fair in heights
50 below Fahrenheit
Like an imperiled kite
Flying a feral flight

Living in the clouds
I hear a thunder sound
So I look around
To see I'm lightning bound

A burn immense
From a herd of dense
Turbulence
Into descent

The gravelly ground
Wears gravity's crown
It starts grabbing me down
Until I'm gradually drowned

The weight is too much
And I sink into the dirt
I say enough is enough
Then perpetuate hurt

I couldn't fly
So I rule below
I'm not gonna lie
I wish I could go
Aug 7 · 52
Other Worlds
Our world passes another at close range
we can see the inhabitants of the other world
waving to us—planning on passing through
but our gravitational fields switch
and we fall into each other's worlds
seeing the beauty of what the other has experienced
before we hit the ground.
Aug 5 · 58
Stockpiling Weapons
After harmlessly crossing your border
          you take our friendship hostage
guarding your perimeter with sandbags of arbitrary etiquette
a no man's land of manners separates us
   you snipe from your defensive position
              so I retreat and start strategizing.
Consulting my generals to discuss your tactics
  they advise me to start stockpiling weapons
                and to start looking for weaknesses.

There is a counteroffensive to your intentions.
            While you were destroying my satcoms
a successful infiltration of your command center was accomplished.
Once your defenses were understood
           your flanks appeared vulnerable.
                      Blind spots were revealed.

You only sign a treaty once your resources start depleting
then you ignore the rules I'm reading to give me a beating.
          So I'm building up my arsenal and
enriching my uranium in this centrifuge
                             where we spin in circles.
My nuclear option is prepared and capable.
                  Pacifism is more appealing than violence
     but when you try to erase who I am I must take a stand.

Armed with an ability to attack
I get a warhead on my shoulders
               found from old schematics
you shared with me while I fought your enemies.
               They were never thrown away
now they're dusted off and revisited
to make your walls crumble
and incinerate you flag.

Your nation starts hiding from what they were once confiding
                              after my nukes obliterate your infrastructure.
Rebels and runners fill fallout shelters and basement bunkers
                                         hiding from the radioactivity in the air.

Everyone's death equals success proving I'm best
        so I develop a permanent wartime economy
                                      and fire missiles mercilessly.
There's no difference between fighters and civilians
             because some insurgents are chameleons
                                      so I **** them by the millions.
                        The more weapons I get
                        the more needless death
                        until the only nations left standing
are those that have stockpiled weapons of their own.
Aug 3 · 144
Ladder
When I was young I was told to shoot for the stars
but once I got older I was told to climb a ladder
a tumultuous ladder
with rungs of compromise and concession
some of them just pointless lessons.
Ascenders climb to reach happiness
or escape misery
but I climb to climb
to occupy my time.

I spend all my energy climbing
while jet packs and rocket ships blast by me
their exhaust is blinding and suffocating.
I see bodies fall just as fast in the other direction
reachers who lost their grip
now fall to the bottom
reminding me of the gravity of my situation.

It's hard to say if I'll survive
when some people survive a fall from the top
while others die slipping two feet off the ground.
The fragility and resilience of life
seems arbitrary and random
but everyone ends up in the ground eventually.

Those above me constantly add to the ladder
so I make no progress.
Those below me constantly dig beneath it
so I keep sinking.
Climbing and going nowhere
suspended in air
at a certain point progress
becomes not falling off
and maintaining my grip
through extreme turbulence.

My hands are calloused and ******
the further up I go
the more intense the turbulence
until fear shakes my body
harder than the wind ever could.
The ladder starts splintering into my hand
until I don't know how much more I can withstand
so I devise a plan
to utilize my fellow climbers.

I find companions for assistance
I call them helpers
they're the top shelfers
I want to surround myself with.
They help me up the ladder
lifting me with encouragement
or their arms when words aren't enough
just to help me up.
Whenever I'm knocked down a few pegs
they give me back my legs
and hold my ladder steady
making life on the ladder livable
but they don't hang around forever
because this ladder I climb is mine
and everyone has their own ladder to climb.

I didn't ask for this vertical trajectory
but when my options are die or climb
I choose the ladder.
Jul 31 · 39
Identity
Andrew Rueter Jul 31
I open my eyes to close them
I close my eyes to open them
to see identity.
The mirror distorts appearance
I see what I see—not what I am,
an amnesiac that remembers everything,
yet knows nothing. Light fades into the shadows
evidence of invisible particles suspended in air.
The white lines on the black road
leave black lines on my white face.

Tales from the black addendum
demons live, God sends them
we're their descendants.
Dented faces provide rented places for descendant stasis.
Nature finds the cracks—erosion does the rest
mountains crumble—cliffs form
the mountainside dissolves into the ocean
adding mud to the ocean floor—insulation for the Earth's core.
Jul 30 · 47
Airstrikes
Andrew Rueter Jul 30
One strike from the air should be considered one airstrike
yet here in America we conflate air raids with airstrikes.

We say one plane dropping one bomb is an airstrike
but five planes dropping twenty bombs is also an airstrike
obfuscating the definition of the term
to lessen its rhetorical effect
and the statistics of our shady war efforts.

In terms of airstrikes we should count every explosive munition
because on the ground people are dealing with individual impacts
but our imperial aerial view makes it look like just one big explosion.
Jul 29 · 53
Mistaken
Andrew Rueter Jul 29
Don’t mistake my kindness for strength
or my treaties for tanks
or my beatings for banks
I’ll bleed just from blanks
then I’ll flee to the flank
to get free from their spanks.

All the mistakes
my mind makes
are mind snakes
of blind faith
that finds fate
in grind grates.

You must be mistaken
when you say I’m misshapen
and there’s no way I’m this craven
I just look for a bliss haven
where I can kiss mavens.

You must have me mistaken for someone who cares
I’m someone who cares too much
I make too many mistakes to bear
and lose your touch.

You say you have no ***** to give
because it ***** to live
without bucks to bid
on the luck to win
so you shuffle spin
off my ruffled ridge
for muscled sin.

It was a mistake talking to you
mistaking the color red for blue
mistaking what you said as true
that you had a bed for two
until I read the news
you had the best to choose
so I bled and bruised
mistaking your clues.
Andrew Rueter Jul 27
Yemen is a floating failed state spinning in the maelstrom
of flu, COVID, diphtheria, and cholera on one side
and the US backed Saudi coalition on the other.

They float there
like an abandoned oil tanker
floating off the coast in the Red Sea
threatening to spill 1,000,000 barrels of crude oil
until entirety turns black—
a sticky substance that’s hard to clean off.

It floats there as a deterrent—a ***** bomb
Houthis hold hostage future generations
with an IED that will injure all of our children—
why have Houthis weaponized the destruction of our planet?
Could it be that we’ve taken their world from them?

The people drop
like a bomb from the sky
in the Shada area of the Saada province.

The country explodes
like a car of 13 Houthis—4 children—
sending shrapnel to every corner of the Earth.

How many children is a terrorist’s life worth?
Keep in mind terrorists could hurt children
or those children could grow up to be terrorists
or a defense contractor could go out of business
so what’s the price of a child relative to those scenarios?

21,000 airstrikes in 5 years
5 years to do the math
every time we try to solve the equation
the answer comes out negative.
Jul 24 · 65
Sinking Feeling
Andrew Rueter Jul 24
Living in a space station
the bottom faces Earth
life is lonely
hovering in the abyss.
Mentality heavy
feet get heavier as the mind sinks
until dying star feet become too heavy.

Every step taken
pushes the station towards Earth
intense fear                    sinking feeling.
Stay still                      don’t move
nothing stops the momentum of heavy feet
the station continues careening.

Panic                     panic
running around searching for answers
severe spinning starts
corkscrew bullet shot at Earth
no solutions                      pure terror
lead eyelids shield vertigo eyes.

Plummeting in an aerospace submarine
burning in the hellfire of the atmosphere
I keep falling until there’s nothing left.
Jul 21 · 302
Artistic Responsibility
Andrew Rueter Jul 21
Does an artist have a responsibility
to steer their audience in a positive direction
or is honesty and self expression all that is required?
Jul 19 · 38
Jair Bolsonaro
Andrew Rueter Jul 19
The best way to change someone is through love
but you can use force at the price of resentment
or you can **** that person to eliminate their issues.

I wish I could love Jair Bolsonaro
the fatally unfit fascist president of Brazil
one of many idiots who benefit from anti-intellectualism.

He enjoys imposing his will—telling people how to live
so naturally he doesn’t enjoy being told how to live
like a child making rules to a game to benefit themselves.

Jair Bolsonaro doesn’t like using science or logic
so of course he doesn’t like using a face mask
saying protective equipment is “for fairies”.

Jair Bolsonaro contracted COVID-19
and shared videos of himself taking hydroxychloriquine
like a shameless snake oil salesman.

How am I supposed to love this man
when he fills me with resentment
to the point I start cheering for Covid?

People like him had me resorting to ****** at one point
until a rehab counselor brought up a Malachy McCourt quote
“Resentment is drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.”.
Jul 18 · 53
Kentuckian Symphony
Andrew Rueter Jul 18
Kentucky nights bring stillness
but not silence

tranquility shrouds creatures of the night
their symphony betrays that.

Grasshoppers and crickets chirp ceaselessly
microorganisms making music of magnitude

introducing dusk to night
with unintelligible cheering.

Timid critters make their presence known
using the anonymity of darkness

raccoons and opossums wail in the distance
their cries aren’t a call to action but a wild expression

they could be dying—they could be giving birth
it’s always one or the other.

Vulnerable bellowing brings out the dogs
for a canine crescendo

projecting power into the air
raised hackles raise spontaneous barking

echoing through the ravine
alerting newts and neighbors alike.

The noise is paused as dogs are brought inside
the faint murmur of scolding replaces them

like an aria without an aside
the air is still again

until a pack of coyotes complete the satz
finding their prey as the night’s finale.
Jul 17 · 273
Maintained Interaction
Andrew Rueter Jul 17
We have a conversation
talking for hours
maintained interaction
reveals personality.

We have ***
an exercise of empathy
maintained interaction
reveals vulnerability.

We have an argument
perceptions clash
maintained interaction
reveals differences.

We have a fight
fists fly strategically
maintained interaction
reveals aggression.

We have a war
priorities projected through tactics
maintained interaction
reveals love and hate.

We have a life
harmony is obscured by disconnection
maintained interaction
reveals humanity.
Jul 15 · 62
Perfect
Andrew Rueter Jul 15
You say you’re the perfect puzzle
and I’m just a crooked piece
that refuses to fit in.

You say I’ll never grow up
yet you’re Impeder Pan
living in Betterland.

If one is good and two is better
then you are two
and I am zero.

You say a blank white canvas is perfect
and my paint only obstructs the view
yet my blank canvas is just nothing.

I never live up to your measurements
because you only measure once
before you begin cutting.

So you give me a test to rate me 1-10
and tell me a perfect score
is the number one followed by a zero.

You ask me to rate Kevin in Kelvins
expecting me to cynically sell the Celsius
as not as fair in height as your Fahrenheit.

It sets you off
knowing I was turned on
like the freeway exit away from you.

You say I can’t see the forest through the trees
I say you’ll see the forest once you’re on your knees
then you say you will be a plains walker as you please.

You plant charges of C4
telling me “expect to see more”
submerging me under the sea floor.

You say the end
justifies you being mean
which just means being average.

You cut the cord
before I can pull the plug
once we’re at the end of our rope.

You say you’re perfect
as long as you’re without me
finally, something we can agree on.
Jul 9 · 345
Jungle Mentality
Some people have a jungle mentality.
They say if we lived in the jungle
the strong would dominate the weak.
But this isn’t a jungle
it’s so far from the jungle it’s impossible to say
exactly who the strong and the weak are
when there are so many variables
and the society we live in
dictates the skills and attributes we acquire.
Yet some people try to turn society into the jungle
because they think they’d thrive there
but their jungle doesn’t have trees
it has chimpanzees cut off at the knees
nor does it have a sustainable ecosystem
it has concrete walls and steel bars
where they beat the small and leach the large.
The ape beating its chest the hardest
hoards all the bananas
while its shrewdness starves.
The only jungle it resembles is Upton Sinclair’s
but before that jungle can be realized
they have to plant the jungle mentality in our minds.
Jul 8 · 319
Art and Religion
Can art and religion coexist
When art is about asking questions
And religion is about providing answers?
Really proud to have this published in Time of Singing Volume 47 Number 2 Summer 2020 issue.
Jul 5 · 53
Octagon
Two men square up
in an octagon
they circle each other
they try angles
to find the wrecked angle
to reach the top of the pyramid
for a diamond reward
to make life on this sphere bearable
because deep down in our dome we know
we preach the Holy Triangle
but ignore the lessons of the cross
hope takes the shape of its negative container
which is half empty so we’re always divided by two
the octagon mentality is reflected in the Pentagon
people fill rectangular plots in the ground
while others profit from manufacturing projectile cylinders
hiding behind stars and stripes
while we fight one another with dollar signs
in the eyes ovals stream from
we see the trapezoid we’ve built for ourselves
where our circular lives take the shape of a fist.
Jul 2 · 58
One or the Other
On one side of me lies one
on the other side of me lies the other.

The one is the one
the other is the other.

The one separates me from one another
the other turns the one into just another one.

There is no other one
so all the others are ones.

Stay with the one
or be the other.

One or the other
pick one.
Jun 24 · 51
Confederate Memorials
Andrew Rueter Jun 24
America has an obsession with guns
and will glorify anybody that carries one.

America has an obsession with race
and will glorify anybody that shares their face.

Imagine every statue and memorial in America vanished
and America placed you, Mr. Reader, in charge
of deciding what every monument in the country would be
—events commemorated, dates remembered, people honored—
how long would it take for you to start naming confederate soldiers?
Jun 24 · 63
David Poland
Andrew Rueter Jun 24
You’re a disembodied voice
only appearing in mirrors
like the Candyman.
Sometimes I look into the mirror
and say your name three times
then finish jerking off.
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