The Moisture of Faith

We made our declarations,
Felt the warmth slip through our fingers
And ask for permission to become a bit more.
Standing on the edge of fire,
You looked me in the eyes and said it straight,
“I hate the way survival feels so much like
running away from an arranged death,
Changing the fate of what is telling you it will come.
Sooner or later.”
I mull over your words, “sooner or later…”
It makes me wonder how
I never noticed your depression and how it can be
So handsome up close and freckled like a spotted owl.
Clothed in creative ways of relativity,
You are a twice-born miracle speaking in parables.
You are the sum of fire and water.
I cannot wait to taste your shaky mouth,
To swallow up your frown,
Suck away the nutrition from the marrow of it.
I stuff my words into your face all at once,
“We are still young. Fragile and young like
Newborn babies with pink gums and soft skulls.
Is survival not, even at that stage,
placed into the hands of our elders, the caretakers?
Did we struggle with faith like this before we
Learned to speak? Is doubt not then a learned thing?”
I watch you struggle to eat your smile.
You coat the surface of your lips with the tip of your tongue.
Life is dry without these movements.
These are the things you think but cannot say.
I know this only in the way you moisturize yourself.
I am breathless when we are done thinking.
These wet apologies,
I will accept.

The Moisture of Faith × ajthewriter


To Love a Sunburn

I sat in the sun
Realizing its heat
Realizing that in asking the universe
For a miracle with you that
I do not want you to be my love potion
I do not want to be mixed up or
shaken into a lovestruck cocktail
I do not want you to spell me
Or to move magic into my veins
My body burns with these thoughts
Beneath the smile of the sun
If we are to love then,
Let it be real and true
Let it float in on waves and
Leave behind its remarkable aroma
If we are to become one
Let us learn forgiveness and sacrifice
Let us learn the art of reconciliation
Before we perfect the spar in our arguments
I am not too shy to say when
my eyes are not clear and my
Past has come to pull at the spark
In a dark and lonely room,
Let you be, for me,
the hand that flicks the lighter
And the smile that glows above the
Fruitful flame
Teach the cat to be Cheshire happy
And not so full of puzzling riddles
Teach the wordy dog tongue to
Lick the shapes of grace and not
To master manipulation in such a wild way
I want to be on fire for you
But I do not wish to burn
I cannot perish in such a lustful way
When considering the heat,
Let it be the product of
a heart-fire dancing inside the body
Let it be a star shooting deep into a field
And not a shower of hellish flame
I think about the flames and the flamethrower
I think about these things beneath the sun
Without scorching

To Love a SunBurn × ajthewriter

The Labyrinth

I have been mercifully steeped inside the maze
Blood-bone-black and breaking into the moon
With a backpack full of hopeless memories,
The monarch butterfly signals a change from
The sweet nostalgia of what we had
and what we used to be

I am not weak
I am not some broken down and lost thing
I have not sold myself to the darkest part of it
But I am here for now
With sweat soaking into my cheeks
And sore-soled feet

I am profiled into the moment
much like one of the immortalized legends,
I am navigating the lines
of an especially abstruse labyrinth
With the grace of a new style

How in fashion am I?
How contagious are my thought patterns?
Do you notice the blue and how it
Wraps its arms around me like a shawl?

Do you notice how at a moments notice, I can be
Dripped in rose gold and rising up on high heels?

They are challenging me to lean into my fears but
I am already walking on ice
just as they told me not to do
I am already pushing at the boundaries of self- discovery
Always skating
Always dancing against the body of the odds

Without hesitation and in the face of the music,
I ask my reflection,
If in a month from now, the atmosphere leaves me breathless
And the breakdown still does not come..
If the water wells are cold and my
Competitor concedes to the miracle of unexpected growth,
Will we still speak about happiness and healing?
Will the practiced dance feel the same
beneath the burn of incandescent lights?

I am tumbling and rolling deep within the knowing
that silence is a brave and blessed thing

Because of this,
I am not surprised at all of the smiles that come my way
Because of this,
I am not afraid to hold my words behind clinched teeth

The Labyrinth × ajthewriter

Word Cure

I bend at the waist,
To the qualified surgeon who thinks
About a cleansing from deep within the ear.
There is a solvent for the eyes.
The words are coated in wispy strain by
A smooth layer of sun-smoke.
I can breathe it in from the nose
And catch with my open mouth,
An herbal sediment test for baking fresh goods
Right from the wash-house of a brilliant mind.
This is how a life is saved.
Not merely with a man made medicine.
It is a curing sage,
A recollection of the things we now must know.
We were made to overcome the body.
We were made to twist the soul into a new shape
One which is able to
make a clean break whenever it becomes time.
I urge you with my heart,
Mind not only the curving wave of your favorite music
But also the lyrics which provide good shade.
Mind not only the mold made by the minister,
Mind not only the foaming, angry mouth.
Take not one bit of it at its face value,
Stare into its reddening eyes.
There is always something deeper.
Something heavier.
Something bare assed and worn thin.
Something smiling back.
Something hinted about.
Something to settle.
Something angled.
Something more.

Word Cure × ajthewriter

Rush Decisions

The pace quickens.
I am out of breath and questioning myself when
He asks me about the sounds rush decisions seem to make.

It turns my body nervous.
It sends a frozen shiver down my spinal column.
I tap at the silver caps in the back of my mouth until I am
So shaky that I must
carefully taste my words before I speak.

To honor this,
I bite my bottom lip and then the inside of my cheek,
They are the fleshiest parts of my face.
I twirl my tongue against the roof of my mouth
And lose track of time while
thinking about his palms and
The way they could quickly warm my cold nose
If I wanted them to.

I think about his chest
And how the blood pump within it could
Heat up a frigid room with certain ease just by having him breathe into it.
I think about his pockets and
How he stuffs them with the same hands
That hold my heart as if it is a shining torch.
I think about the way he chews his gum
Not only on the Left side of his face,
But switching it in quick intervals between sentences,
From one thought to the next,
From one handsome side to the other.

“Rushing breeds warmth.” I decide.
“Rushing creates the friction that moves the
Fire from flicker to flame.”

It is not haste that comes to mind when we are moving.
I am not stuffed full with
silent desperation or fast-paced shame.
Rushing is not a proven way to preserve time but
It moans with deep urgency and makes sure the
Throat continues to swallow. It is a reminder that
The act of cherishing does not only slow dance.
It can quick step just like the rest of us.

“How do you measure countenance?”
I ask with dry lips and a long-stretched smile.
“What is too early and what is on time when
the sun still decides, after all is said and done, to gracefully rise?”

At this he smiles very slowly.
At this he grabs onto my hand and quickens his stride.
We are at a steady speed now.
Making music with our shoe soles and
Making love by the fireplace in our imaginations.
At this there is no more to decide.
We are patiently awaiting the sunrise.

Rush Decisions × ajthewriter

Tell the Palms

Sometimes, there is no competition.
One must humbly learn to love the opposite.
To turn the table over and eat from the other side
Where there are options and creative stains next to
Hand carved names of all the lovers who did not
Make it to their expiration dates of forever.
I dine invited and obligated to
the breadcrumbs of a few misspelled words
And a few pieces of dried gum but
No curses and no enemies.

It is best to not beat yourself thin and to
Pull your napkin over your knees as if it were a blanket.
At breakfast time when the sun kisses at the doorway,
Be ever thankful for the warmth.
Do not interfere with where the milk derives.
Do not speak about the miles traveled back and forth.
Quietly fill your bowl and bless the maker for her favor.
Thank the water clouds in the sky above
For setting an example of how to feed a fragile thing
When there is no real reason to.

With both hands clasped, whisper into them how
These are the days of grace and dignity,
Where malice is the loudest shame and
Consideration could be the safelight which
guides the lost souls home.

Tell the palms,
These are the days that watch us closer than
a child left behind for the TV to devour.
These are the days where quality and depth shake hands
And make tasteful jokes about the treaties.
These are the days of the watermarked watchmen
Who are winding at the back of the eyes,
Praying and sipping holy spirits through
Paper thin straws and ceramic bowl hands.

Tell the palms about your business
and how its fruits glow upon your face.
Tell them how you like your coffee with one sugar
And no cream in that old chipped mug.
Tell them how the darkened days got to be so long
And how fireflies still manage to hover at the end,
When the ink has finally dried upon it.

Sometimes there is no competition.
There is only the gratitude of prayer
And laced fingertips that quake as you
Tell the palms how you couldn’t use a silver spoon
To bury your differences,
But happened to bury them nonetheless.
And not in the belly of a love-starved beast
But in the bottom line of the final arrangements.

Tell the palms,
Marinated mercy is a magnificent meal.
Sometimes the feelings fade and
This is something to be grateful for
Not only when they are bad.
Tell the palms
And when you are done,
Lift your head high enough to
Congratulate the courage in your bones for showing up
With foil-covered forgiveness and amazing grace.

Tell the Palms × ajthewriter

It is A Shame

A horrible shame

So many people are eager to make amends but

So many people are far too willing to hold to a grudge

So many are far too willing to punish over the silence

Playing God in their own spare time

So many are able to save but would rather

Watch the story on a screen

Making Angels out of superstars

And superstars into Queens

It is a shame that we look at responsibility as

An orphan

The last one picked for the team

We tease it’s hair and chant,

“No one seems to want you.”

But only to ourselves

We love to pretend it is a friend

But it is a shame

The things we say about it

Only to ourselves


To Dine Near the Roses

I found peace in a tunnel

Just to show how creative the darkness can be

I found happiness on a bridge

Just to make a way of light

Happiness in an alleyway

Happiness in a tomb

Life on the lips

Life in the womb

Brilliance in the wreckage

Survival at the gravesite

I didn’t cry the usual rivers

I didn’t pray for over the rainbow

Didn’t bother the shadows

Or the chair in the middle of the road

It’s nearly dinnertime

And I am famished

I want to know why I cannot

Dine near the Roses in bloom

It is nearly breakfast inside my mind

I want to know why

Lunch seems to hurt a bit less at noon


The New Tenant

There’s a girl in my apartment building

Don’t ask her any questions

She will not answer

Not even a name

Not even a name

She Is convinced

Everyone is in some way


Covertly operating

I smile at her often

But she is the kind of girl

Who is unimpressed by smiles

I assume she’s seen too many fake ones

Too many bright white teeth

That form fences for snake tongues

And vocal cords that vibrate with deceit

She passed me a note today that read:

“I am not your enemy. Look elsewhere.”

It is the coldest thing I have ever received

Before a warning or an eviction notice

Before a plea or an act of bargaining,

a fuck you first and foremost

A declaration notice


(Photo found on pinterest)

Two Days to Coffee

These are the things we now know..

On a good day,

Grandpa sleeps 5 hours.

A creaking knee has more music than an old jukebox.

A pulse can beat as fast or as slow as it wants to.

After 48 hours, coffee without sugar is just fine.

Discovering these things involved quite a bit of research

And a little spontaneous creativity.

Granddad says he’s done fighting with the night.

He is convinced,

It is the absence of the sun that keeps him restless.

Due to this, we drove west for hours,

Straight through the canyon wall

And past the lakes of browning water.

On only one tank of gas,

We rode deep into the wild wilderness

Just to find a place where he could rest his head and bad back.

“It’s not the back,” he corrects, “It’s my

Hip today. Maybe the hinge is broken or

Maybe the old in me has feasted on all of my oil.”

I love the way he sees himself as both naturalized

And vehiclular when he self-diagnoses.

To me, he is a spaceship covered by the clouds.

Most days he is grateful his eyes can match the sky.

Most days he lives to eagerly tell tales of

his beloved wife, long gone and buried.

Most days he says he misses her smile

But he is in no rush to see it again.

This makes me laugh.

Even in his gray experience,

He is sensible and refined.

He looks young enough to travel the entire world

A few more times.

Afraid of nothing at all but the Lord above,

He looks like death will never reach him

Without a signed permission slip.

There are no accidents in his sight.

I hold him close to my heart and

For the first time in my life I

Hear him speak about the pains of age

In a way that makes my foot ease off of the gas.

We slow talk one another well into the night

And all the way up to a pink-orange morning.

Our tones rise and fall with the sun

Much like the music we avoid.

What’s the hurry anyway,

When we are moving without a sound destination?

I imagine we are not making vault-like memories.

I imagine there is no thoughts of reminiscing moving into the future.

We are just taking ourselves on a drive

And listening to how loudly his knees can

creak in a bouncing car.

We are two days in before he dozes off to sleep.

His breathing is so light and even that

Periodically, I have to check his pulse.

After a few miles, It doesn’t scare me to do so.

I am grateful he is able to rest in spite of all the potholes.

For 5 hours, in his absence, I listened to the truck engine hum.

I made friends at the rest areas.

I ate kettle cooked chips and drank rootbeer.

I made out the shapes of clouds.

I read the signs along the roadside.

I compiled them into a book inside my mind

Until I became expert at signage and

Mile marking.

Somewhere on the horizon of the second day,

My grandfather awakes (again without my grandmother),

But he is still happy to do so.

So happy that he doesn’t complain about the back or hip.

He clears his throat and asks for coffee,

As if he is right at home out on the open road.


(Photo found on pinterest)


It took five years of diamond mining and

An in-depth documentary about the blood trials

To know how the families survived.

Truth be told, there is no innocence and

No time to look into the coal that is charity.

The narrator said that truly, the gems were worthless.

Still, the soil is stained with blood from whisked bodies

and the earth is left with deep holes in it.

There is a girl, in my social deviation class

With long curly hair and deep eye sockets.

She waves her left hand in the air when she

Has a question although she is right-handed.

I noticed,

Right next to her naked pinky finger,

There is a large but solid stone.

It sparkles and shines against the lights,

Adding extra wattage to the room.


Our professor asks the class,

“Who can tell me a story or give me a

Good example of necessary sacrifice?

One made for the good of the whole?”

The curly haired girl thinks she knows.

She thinks she is bleeding from her hand.

She is eager to tell of the things she feels

Beneath her diamond.


You Are Enough

Sometimes I say this in the mirror

I wipe hot tears and remind myself

They are not a bad thing

There is no useless water

And if they are all that comes out today,

They are enough

You are enough

Sometimes, as I wash my body in the shower

I pretend I am, not under a waterfall,

But fully present in my own home

I write the words in the steamed mirror

You are enough

You are enough

You are enough

Sometimes, when the days are long

And the world spins me like a top

I stare into my palms and tell them

You did enough

I grab my own ears and tell them

You’ve listened enough

I pat my legs and reassure them

You’ve carried enough, travelled enough

I wrap my arms around myself and ask,

“Do you feel this? This is your home.”

And I know in my heart, it is enough

There are days when the darkness hovers

And it is adamant that I avoid loving myself

It tries to convince me that

that is a job for someone else

On those days,

I sing the words loudly,

I write them boldly,

I chant them repeatedly,

I color them brightly,

I make them into poetry

I press them into my mind deeply

“You are enough

More than enough

So much more

So much more ..”


(Photo via pinterest)

Let Them Eat Cake

Today I want to celebrate

I bought a cake and had it decorated

It reads, “You are not the monster.”

It is red velvet and cream cheese

With a kitchen knife, I slice it

Into an oddly-shaped and uneven piece

But it tastes like a perfect slice would taste

Perhaps the blade cuts the contents all the same

No matter what the flavor

Under a magnolia tree

I eat with my bare hands

There is icing underneath my fingernails

There are cake crumbs on my blouse

There’s a blade in my back pocket

And sirens in the background


(Photo found on pinterest)

Casually Wandering Through the Wonder

Have you ever had a day

Where you just wanted to feel safe?

No threats from the anxieties of the outside world

No unstable states of mind

No advertisements for sickness

Imagine real health in a really healthy world

A heart-conscious reality

Where the body can relax for a change

A place where betrayal (especially of the self) does not occur

Imagine a day where you’re not battling inwardly

The brainwaves are smooth

The laughter comes easily

There is no such thing as brainwashing or

Energy vampirism

There is no such thing as hatred and

No grudges to be held, they are too heavy

There is no such thing as mental slavery

And no such thing as rescue because

No one gets lost

No one gets abandoned, there is no abandonment

There are no wars to fight

And no poverty to rise up against

There is no racism or discrimination

No rape or child abuse and no blindness

There is no hell

Just peace and comfort

Sometimes I sit and wonder

Would a world like that be heaven?

What would it be like to experience?

No negative thoughts or behaviors

No punishment theories or escape rooms

No traps or snares. No dilemmas to solve

No illusions and no cries for help.

Is it the pain that both stops us and keeps us going?

How necessary is pain to growth?

“My body and mind have been as

Prepared for peace as they have been

For war.”

I read that in a veterans magazine article

And it made me think, man

If peace was right in front of us

Would we even notice?

Would we be too traumatized to

Even recognize it as a friend?


(I do not own the rights to this image)

Lotus Lips

It was at that very moment,

The one where we lost our religions

And found ourselves floating,

That I realized I could love you.

I could fill my heart up with your energy.

It took more than coaching,

It took more than believing in

The possibility of an unbelievable God.

It took more than just a moment

And in that moment,

You looked me in the eyes and mumbled,

“This is infinity.”

Instead of just agreeing like a “good girl” would

I inhaled your words into my universe.

I let them roam their way through me.

I let them float in space alongside us,

Even though I wanted to can and steep them deep

Inside makeshift Mason jars.

I wanted to keep them clean.

I wanted to study them until they too realized that-

It took more than just accepting their opinions.

I know tone- I know metaphorical metamorphosis,

But speech is futile in the presence of such

A foreign and undomesticated form of forever.

I can’t count the stars falling from your fingers

But I can count on you to point me towards them.

I can count on your breath inside my mind.

Holding me by the ear, you whisper

“What if prayer is simply the call for restitution?”

And it makes me smile to hear you

Speak about things like that,

Things that challenge the sturdiness of life.

I do not contend you even when

Mud seeps from the dirtiest of your words.

I do not pretend to be strong and silent

When your lips are shaped just like the lotus.


(I do not own the rights to this photo)