Tuesday, April 5, 2016

James Diaz- Three Poems & Photo

Monty III

How close to the fire 
do you want me,
how much like light,
when the hem of your coat
and my body doubles over
and you forget to swoon
over the punk icon
in the bathroom
but you bring me back water
and I feel like the driest plant
in the most foreign desert 
your eyes are radiant
like a pain turned fatal
but I need your pain
in my palm my tongue
my thirty thousand 
incoming missiles of loss

I think the room rolled up then
into a ball of pure nothingness
and I think you swallowed it
and fed it to me like a gerbil
out of a war zone whose only 
food in years had been the sound
of his own name
bracketed like a bar drunk
between the exit 
and just one more
like I don't know how I'll crawl
out of this one with my clothes on

you read me Whitman 
by the window
and then tell me one of your strange, 
strange dreams
behind us a room
full of fabulous people,
the famous photographer
and, I imagine, one too many
wrinkled old ladies from Warhol's factory
with their cruel indoor eye wear
and their lost sense of wonder

“I have the feeling that I'm standing in a room full
of awesome right now” you said
“It's all a plastic cup” I reassured you

why won't your smile ever close
why are you so beautiful
from the inside corner
where the light is fostering other light
and the house on the hill of your eyes
lights my mouth on fire
and screaming isn't loud enough
so I just stay silent

as silent as late night highway
as evaporated water 
as soul stuff laid into moss
and over fingertips 
I can't put it out,
this cigarette of a feeling-
this endless burn.


Erica defiant
puts her legs up on the table 
fingering the fruit
with unwashed hands
city sounds 
like a snapping travel stick
either end is oh so unbearable 
come again,
why aren't you a more steady shot?
Who wants to know?

The impound-compound
sweat of trash 
advice for today, don't look
so god damned happy
all of the time

bellow out from below 
the fire escape 
where someone's parents first met
hooked on heroin
Puerto Rican punk rock stories
could fill a book with the sordid 
one liners my old man passed on to me

now he's heavy into god 
but still sneaks the Ramones
onto his turntable late at night
with his headphones
hugging his ears
I imagine 
at the very least
he's deeply conflicted

rehabilitated, codependent 
bad back, hepatitis c
but he must have been something fierce
in those days
you'd never know it now though

I think
all in all
he's probably just really,
really fucking afraid to die.

It Had To Be That Way

There is this rift in your jaw
where words that have carved caves
underneath your tongue

each time you put the trash out
at night
you remember how as a child
every star in the sky
drew your eyes
up toward their burning white
like dust that never settles
your heart went wild 
every time you saw something
for the first time,
cartoons, stockings, cigarettes 

you lose count 
of what is owed
the soul or fear 
of nothingness
ending in a dream
black as your 4th grade
crushes hair
she borrowed your pencil
and never gave it back

some things you don't get back
youth, good looks, happiness, 
letting go,

Bio: James Diaz lives in upstate New York. He is the founding editor of the online literary arts journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared in Indiana Voice Journal, HIV Here & Now, Chronogram, Cheap Pop Lit and Foliate Oak. http://heroinchic.weebly.com/

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