K.O.

Friendship means no less

No more

Over there, than on these shores

Where we fight a battle for brothers’ lives,

Sisters and wives.

Because as he opens his eyes wide,

Realizes,

He’s suffocating

Not from the depression he didn’t know he was harboring

But from the disease eating at his mind

The one he put there,

The one she was fed

The one that told them they couldn’t

When it was really that they shouldn’t.

So he takes the white cloud,

Puts a smokescreen in the air

To cover the fact that when they said he couldn’t

He just decided that he wouldn’t

Wouldn’t try

Try to be there for his daughter’s first birthday

Try to get his degree

Try to put himself on a pedestal so high

Where one could bring him down.

But he settled for less

Now he’s begging for more

More time

As she takes shot after shot

Raising her glass,

As they take shot after shot

Hearing the glass crash.

But every time he goes down

Every time failure is aimed his way

“Hands up, don’t shoot”

There’s always someone there

To lend a hand

To bite the bullet

Bring him back from the edge

To get him through it.

Those denizens of his life

The ones he thought were just passin’ through.

From ashes and dust

They built him up

Made him strong enough to stand

Look his fears in the eyes

And realize

That when they decided he couldn’t

He decided he wouldn’t.

He wouldn’t sit by and take the abuse

Conveniently forget and make an excuse.

He’d be his own man

Not what society built him to be

Because society made him of glass.

But friendship turned him to bricks of gold.

So

To the soldiers across the sea

Seeing friends die

Taking bullets

So we know how to be free

I salute you.

I thank you

For giving me the chance

To know how to be free

But to our brothers on this shore

Seeing friends die

Taking bullets and punches

So they can be free

I salute you, too.

I thank you

Because another one just got free.

Styrofoam

rubbing together,

squeak to squawk to squeal,

it rends its bloody talons

down the chalkboard

then turns to me,

looming, eyes glittering yellow.

this static monster

made up of blacks and whites and greys,

claws raking down my skin

seeping into my ears, head, mind,

bleeding me blue.

my mind is splitting

lodging in my throat,

my heart,

the edges of my eyes.

then it stops.

they put the styrofoam away

and the beast is sealed away in its cave again.

Brown Neck Bottled Malt

​My brother tells me

“Don’t think about it too much.”

Yet I can only

Think about it again

And again

And again.

Think about how the words won’t flow,

Spill over the glass of my mouth

Onto the page,

Soaking in my heart along the way.

When I can feel my thoughts as my words,

As they flow down my agate skin onto my pen,

Some go unnoticed

In the desolate maelstrom of my mind,

Dismissed

Forgotten and lost to the empty void.

Yet it is this same void that inspires me,

Regurgitating the words I used to say aloud,

The words that slid down my glass neck,

Bitter as those that spoke them.

You stand proud with

Your unbreakable barrier,

Not sealed but

Empty.

And me, a

Bottled up brown neck

So full yet I can only barely

Stretch open my throat to give you these words.

I’m sorry

That you don’t understand me.

Don’t understand the pain I’m in,

The pressure that builds up from never speaking;

Glass cracking

But never breaking

Because I won’t let it.

Won’t let out the torrent of words

Even once.

Letting out a drop will open the rest

And I don’t know

If I’m strong enough to pull it back in.

So I’ll sit,

A bottled up brown neck

Sealed tight at the lips

Tapping on the lid

To keep out the bubbles

That threaten to break me.