The difference

The Summer was never peaceful—

Filled with silent worry

Watching from my window

Her skin turn golden brown—

Here’s everything, they said

Tokens for your smile

Just listen to the carnival

and what fun they’re having

How still it breaks my heart—

But what’s a boy of 12 to do

When everything seems pointless

And your world is very small

Knowing no one really listens

To the secret lives of children—

but I had a good mother who tried,

and that made all the difference.

1946——8——2022

In a library, off Verdugo

it’s peaceful, and quiet

besides

the adolescent girls sitting cross-legged

making jokes, and

the occasional waft of homelessness—

clocking in their ten hour shift.

The internet is free, as are the restrooms

so it all makes its own sort of sense.

It’s 2022 and I’m just now reading

letters, from 1946—and on—where the world

described, is that of failed systems

injustice and its people, confused

and troubled and hungry, and mad.

It’s the kind of peace and quiet

that slowly breaks your spirit,

that slowly breaks your heart.

In a library, off Verdugo

is where I understand.

The Old Wood Fence

I remember sitting

by the old wood fence

the alley, silent as a whisper—

The birds then sang

like they do now.

And just like a boy

hits puberty, I still don’t know

what’s wrong with me?

I watch the light

claw its way down the alley

and where shadows hide

I look for clues.

In broken bottles.

In rusted metal.

In pavement laced with weeds.

By the old wood fence

with its perfect knots — I scream

to hear my answer.

Love That Book

You recommend a book to me.

I read it till my eyes grow tired.

It’s not a long book by any means,

but a book this good doesn’t have to be—

To make my eyes feel warm like fire.

Let Me Help You Stand

When there’s no one left to listen,

just the silence of your heart

It’s there you’ll learn the lesson,

for later to impart

Within all life’s little blessings,

a simple walk around the park

I offer you this dear confession,

I’ve always loved you from afar—

I know I haven’t made this easy

I’ve been a bitter, jilted man

But I admit the damage to me

has solely been from my own hands.

I know I haven’t made this easy

Somehow you always understand

And every time that I have fallen

you’re always there to help me stand—

When there’s no one left to listen,

darling let me be your man

I don’t want to be your burden,

this time let me help you stand—

This time let me help you stand.

This Shallow Darkness

It’s 8am when I mix NyQuil and coffee, knowing

getting out of bed can be just the same as staying in.

It’s sort of like how kind words sound profane

when they’ve just bout lost there meaning.

Washing my face, have I reused this puppy dog look

one too many times that all that’s left is ugly?

I’ve made mistakes before, though this, it feels different, or

is it exactly the same one I make every time I lock the door?

It’s like hearing the front gate slam shut

then looking out the window, only to see yourself walking away.

The brain sends signals to the mouth—consider screaming—

but what’s a voice without an ear of reason?

What’s the point of footnotes, when you’re drawing them in chalk?

And even though it doesn’t rain that often, on good days it does.

So brushing yellow teeth, I spit blood into the sink

then cough a couple times before padding down the hall.

Now slouching towards the sunlight, it’s effortless this pain.

These calluses remind me that I’m doing the right thing.

Milling about I feel nothing, so it’s now I know to leave.

That rainbow in the sky, oh how it bends before it bleeds.

By the time I catch myself at the corner

and reattach this shallow darkness to my feet,

it’s a cool, crisp sort of day, where the smog smells sweet.

It’s a cool, crisp sort of silence, watching traffic in the street.

It’s a cool, crisp morning.

And I’ve no reason to complain.

Keep trying but, I don’t scare that easy.

The lights are on,

but the drive’s not there.

I wonder if this happens to everyone?

I’m sure it does, except

I’m not everyone.

And you, you’re part of them but lately

only half as strong.

Does that sound correct?

Or am I just scratching an itch

not meant to be scratched?

Am I bucketing a well

when all that’s left is rain?

I hear you when you say you’re tired.

I’m tired too.

And when you say you’re trying, love

I’m trying too.

I feel you when you’re breaking,

partly because I’m breaking too.

I feel it when your heart is aching,

since mine’s been split in two.

What’s left than but a couple lines?

Enough to prove our sorrow?

For all the many times I’ve died

I’ve always seen tomorrow.

It’s hardest when you say

the words that help you sleep,

so sleep as many days

as it took for me to wake.

Besides, I feel much better since

I know this fight’s a gas,

it’s a wonky handle left we clutch

of a longing meant to last.

The Perks of You

As daylight wanes, and night begins

there’s rapture in the air.

With static thought, and moonlit eyes

I see it all too clear.

What’s written in the stars, is written in the sand.

What’s written on the heart, is written now by hand.

My love for you is twilight.

My love for you is snow.

My love for you is many things, my love for you is old.

I’ve kept it in the shadows, of poetry and light.

I’ve kept it in the darkness, to brighten up my night.

Just know my heart is dancing, like fire unto stone.

Just know my heart is breaking, each night I am alone.

As daylight comes, I feel you near—

the darkness goes away.

The perks of you are endless still, your love’s a weathervane.