Strange Bliss

The holy broken

turns its face
in the half-light
again –
what’s your name
who gave this to you,
so much pain
I see it there
writ on the lines
of your face
how long’s it been
since you last stepped outside
the shadow of all the stuff
that doesn’t belong to you
give it here –
I’ve buried things like this before
my own two hands turning the soil
into laughter, eventually, every hit you ever took
is laughter –
my friend, I need you to know
right here and now
that you are so much more
than what’s been done to you

i tied my caring into a bow
bent at the knee
so the shore too could see
how skin collects water
to make laughter
out of dry wind

all you must do here
is call with your Midas touch
I’ll scamper in full of light
parlor tricks
from the sad side of town
against the deepest folds
of your iridescence
the universe is laughing

sorrow’s travel lines
run like poem-prayers
through my skin
at the bottom of every mountain
I lay my shade for you
a nest of bone and borrowed time
weirdest little sister
the night here
is filled with wonder
and we are orphans
in everything.

I would sharpen

my wings

on the clouds
if only I knew
what words to use
whenever I’m around you
I am half ship wreck
half light house
you are nestled like seed
before the forest
in the vein there is light
but the world asks you to dim so low
I just want you to shine
in my heart there is room
for two, but I know the need
for solitude, how rare it is
to have one good connection
one true friend,
I can’t know what hard roads you’ve traveled
but I can see from here to there written in your eyes
a back against a wall
a heart on the mend
love is only the after effect of belonging
and you do belong, even in silence
or when alone
I am reaching out in my heart
a cosmic dream catcher
only good things, my love-
I cut light out of water
and marvel that it isn’t you
and yet is you
this earth in which it’s all sometimes too much to bear
there is a laugh like a stream swishing between two rocks
warmth in the belly
a glow on everything
that has stopped glowing
there is something in you
calls something in me
I don’t have words for it
just a feeling
The Heart is a Prisoner of Bone

come down from there
your sad little frame perched in the blue
wanting – fragile lip dust / tundra
tornado, trestle bridge and gossamer like
the stars in mother-eyes gone to darker fields
and the way a body bends
and breaks, you know, this kind of breaking –
and how can one say sorry
when one doesn’t even know
what they’re supposed to be sorry for –
Iowa light on your finger tips
counting pennies out of childhood jars
dark, dark days, pestilence
rain, gun shots, all those godly noises
in our veins hushed like the sudden fall
from the weakest branch on the tree
edges blur, the closer you get
to a thing the faster it falls apart
we too, my dear, little broken zephyr’s stirring
against the void, letters meeting their maker
and the disappointment that must come
when the light is revealed…
and lacking.
Day, Then Night

“One by one,

the lights go out inside me.” -Gretchen Peters

Oh mother i sang hallelujah in your night

went rogue in this temple of bird bone
and nonexistent manna
wait for the sky to open
you’d say, wait for the lord
to take you up in his loving arms
oh mother, I just wanted you to hold me
without breaking me
without crushing my bones
I felt like fire wood
under your skin
the sorrow of time
built nests of need
out of curvatures of fallen color
I came weaponized into the world
cannon fodder
scrub land feeder
if I prayed hard enough
this light would only have sputtered
like I dreamed I would out on the highway
all good things converging toward their wreckage
oh mother I only wanted to be let in by you
without such a heavy price to pay.


Fragile Disasters

Every word in my mouth tonight
is searching for a home
a porch light with no-name on it
does the rain know where it comes from
does it only ever feel thrown
into things like two bodies
breaking into one
there is no-one (stay’s that way)
the crack is written underneath
it’s your mothers voice but it belongs to sirens
and someone reading you your rights
out in the street
is a shadow
what a name should be?
how can one ever find anything unbroken
reckless hands such as these
turns earth into offering
soluble air
through a crack in the wall
life; it’s only another line
drawn poorly
no one takes you
in at the breaking
they want the whole
how can anyone come through
that way – intact?
Bio: James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018). He is founding Editor of the literary arts & music mag Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in Occulum, Moonchild Magazine and Philosophical Idiot. He lives in upstate NY and occasionally tweets @diaz_james.

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