preface

          this book of poems was written and compiled during what I would say was one of the darkest times of my life. though the content has been very lightly edited, the main premise behind it being released as a second edition is due to the circumstances of my life having completely changed. it was not but a few months after the release of this book that I came to know love as it truly is – not just through getting to and marrying my now wife, Chelsie, but by getting to know and committing my life to Christ. I rarely directly write about my faith or Christ, but behind every single poem I write is the truth of Christ as my Savior. each individual piece acts as a stepping stone that leads to the Gospel. in rereading this book, as I have numerous times since its birth three years ago, it reminds me of the darkness, depressive and anxiety ridden state I existed within. so while His name is not mentioned anywhere here, I know now it existed as the space between each word, and so it does in every new piece of writing I produce today.

          my tension with writing has always been in the need to be vulnerable, honest, and transparent and working through the fear of what that means. a lot of the time, like in this instance of releasing the second edition of this book, it means retracing those steps -telling old stories of a darker time in order to see the light better today. it is not easy, and any writer or creative person in any medium will say the same. what I want to say more than anything about this book is that while bits and pieces are fiction, for the most part, this could read as a diary during the beginning of the relationship between my wife and myself. I can recall so vividly writing some of these pieces, trembling from the fear of losing her. what I know now is that I had not yet connected my idea of her with who she truly was -and that is where the fear started and ended. I had not yet known of the perfect love that drives out fear. 

 

          my goal with writing is to remember in order to see the instances of light within every dark period of my life. I have been lost in the blackness of depression and anxiety; I have been entirely unhappy while simultaneously unsure of who I am; I still have uncertainties, doubts, and insecurities. what I had at the time that I did not know, however, is hope. light permeates the dark. sometimes all it takes is one step in order to see it.

soak

it is not like it was just yesterday
that you got less interested and
we stopped talking
it has been two years
but I think I am still in the process
of recovering
I am beginning to notice
those not so ugly things
like how on a hot summer day
when it rains
the water brings out the dirty smell
of the freshly laid pavement
and the cigarette smoke
barreling out between my teeth
looks like a tidal wave
heading to shore
ready to swallow it whole
I think about very little
not about god
or about love
I do not lay awake at night
I sleep, but not well
I get mad at the construction
and the fog that impedes
on my morning drives to work
I am always late
always in a hurry
I guess the process of recovery
is longer than what I was told
it would be as a child
like I was stabbed
and no matter how many
napkins I find
I cannot soak up the whole mess
at once

:in caring

I met a girl
in the bar
who only drank
clear liquor
and she laughed
at all my jokes
and twirled her
hair around those
skinny fingers
of hers
we were drunk
but only slightly
she asked me where
I was spending the night
but smiled like
she already knew
we had sex in
her bed even though
I have never dreamt
in it before
and did not know
her name or even
her favorite color
only that she
liked to sleep on
silk sheets and
had a few pictures
of James Dean
hanging on the wall
by morning I called her
pretty and knew her
favorite color was red
that was the color
of the lipstick that
stained my neck
and she didn’t look
beautiful when she
slept or even cute
she only looked like
a stranger, or someone
I hardly knew
and I felt like
an intruder
so I left and
tried not to imagine
us being in love
or remembering
the freckles
on her legs
after she
eventually left me
I walked down the
stairs and out into
the street where
everything was thoughtless
and dirty just
like I am
and didn’t feel a
thing, because
what is white will
become blackened
and who we love
will eventually die
or follow their dreams
to some place better
so what is
really the point
in caring to
remember

a hope, a prayer

I will catch the next bus
to your side of town
if you brew up a pot of coffee
I will knock twice real quiet
if you promise to answer quickly
I will tell you every single itch
I have felt on my skin
over the past two years
if you will listen intently
and follow up with a kiss
I will ask about your mother
if you tell me she is better once again
and back to tending to her garden
I will help you with the dishes
if I can dry my hands in your hair
I won’t ask you what happened last summer
if you tell me all your future plans
and if you are unsure, lost, or have none
I promise not to question you
if you can tell me why
I write your name in each day’s lonely sky
I will tell you how it looks different every time
if you tell me to stay
when the sun comes up
I promise not to say a word
I won’t even make a sound

starlight

I find myself going back
to that night so often
how the stars laughed at me
because they were
anything but lonely
the way the moon
hung so high above me
comparing its fullness
to my emptiness
even the road had
more company than I
the only bed that could
produce the dreams I
so desperately needed
was the last one I would
lay my head down on
thinking back at that
night, the yellow lines
stretching into the
blackness, headed for
infinity or some other
place I did not belong
I should have
closed my eyes
gripped the wheel as
tightly as I could muster
and swerved with all
the strength I
had left in me

10;

the other night
I dreamt that I died
the first thing I did
after waking up
in a panic
was feel my skin
to make sure
it was still in tact
this morning when you told me
you didn’t love me
like you once did
I just fell to the ground
scared and lost
because there was nothing
I could touch to trick myself
into believing
that I was still whole

selfish

it was so selfish
for me to think
of my hands as tools
that could possibly
fix you
when you said you
were broken
or when you told me
you didn’t need love
and I believed
you meant the opposite
and so I told you
that I was
on top of it
and those expectations
you had
I could exceed
it was so selfish
for me to think
that you needed me

sundays

I don’t know a lot about god
but I know that on a warm day
rain feels like heaven
and I don’t know a lot about sin
but I know that I felt something
when I pulled off your shirt
and breathed you in
I’ve never imagined selling
my soul to the devil
but I think I came close when
you asked how long my parents
would be gone, and in those
twenty minutes I didn’t
even try to be gentle
I never thought to question
why my mom decided to sleep
with death instead of tucking me in
I have been far too busy finding
the difference between what my pastor
taught me about sex and what
you teach me about religion

wildfire

my flame flickers
in the darkness, in the black
in the silence, in the sweet
stride of my enemies coming
for me, and it gets buried
in the smoke of their torches
how much energy it must take
to be a wildfire
to not be afraid

:in forgiveness

at some point I
stopped being angry
at you
for the way you left
how you were there
for so long
and gone in an instant
our whole relationship
I told you to do things
for yourself before me
or anybody else
and that is what you did
you didn’t leave for me
you left for yourself
and although the taste
you left on my lips
is bitter now
I do hope if mine
is still lingering on yours
its stay is short
and sweet

hands

I am dreaming of
your body tangled
with mine
your words trying hard
to find grace
as they fall
out of your mouth
but your hands
my god
your hands
speaking ever so fluently

old bridges

I want to walk
on old bridges
fearing the structure will fail
so I can relive the moment
my bones caved in
when I heard
that first buzz of summer
and the flowers
adored you so much
they bloomed more violently
when entangled
in your hair