Two Poems | by James Diaz


born bored left alone in the bleachers blonde and doe eyed the trailer parks were simple in their sorrow storm country minor parts in the corner played one song for a mother who wore her surroundings thin tearing stitches it was a clean break cellular contraction four months in solitude drinking from unsteady hands Dina holds pills steady breathing like you got somewhere else to be and it’s only desolation peaking planted like a thing unsure is it supposed to move introduce itself or scream at the wall paper can’t dance in this public housing sunlight unwatched around boxes how we never were point to the edge of the map scream! and strong men moved in me like furniture reeked but the guards knew my poetry was silent I asked to be loved not held to the floor and hands once cared what they touched ached ate food ached called on the phone what did the lawyer say what did the doctor say am I ever never crazy can I have my comb back it doesn’t cut very deep it’s all on camera they loosed me loaned me my clothes and loop I always thought you were angry and hid it for points girl said in day room but the shouting of a friend trying to die in the quiet white four wall grabbed at the big nurse he’s fatal with his eyes I knew you couldn’t make it alone needed an ally in this ward I stood with you refused to strip he waited us out we were animals to him howling I held you no names just both of us very scared today I journaled like this to reach you with my solitude bum scar I know it got worse I heard the news dead at 18 we never had a chance you were beautiful once I won’t forget…





scar pulse tucked me in when I became lost they added milligrams to my dreaming and made me show my arms every five minutes checked for teeth marks showering slowly November clung like eyes meant for prayer anorexic ally knelt beside me showed skin’s deep poem up to the elbow we shared the story of our arms huddled like bags to the wall day closed around us long enough to become shadow I had insane for breakfast we broke toast odd objects in our underwear Lilith songs near the big window and the pine howlers ghosting us put a spell on forgiveness the needle when it went in was like a mother saying hush now there there everything’s gonna go dark for awhile woke to crackers on the bed paul said he brought me a journal for my night fits I smiled small kindness couldn’t say goodbye when you went home early I cried they said you died two weeks later I thought your death was a message I tried to return it but they found a cure for that sang it all night I itched on that arm your prayer hand and how the food wouldn’t go in I promised kept my end I didn’t crack my surviving wasn’t planned I just got older and here I am I’m sorry that you went so early and that I couldn’t follow…




James Diaz lives in upstate New York. He is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared in HIV Here & Now, Quail Bell Magazine, Ditch, Cheap Pop Lit and Foliate Oak. @diaz_james