The poetry of James Diaz

A. Tells Her Story

and if I killed someone, would you still love me then
she asks, and I know she’s serious,
just like I know she’s lonely
and scared of finding out too much about what it is that’s brought her here

she tells me things that she hopes will scare me off
I say, you’re light and good and I love you
and she laughs, I am trash, I’m a cheater, I get bored easily –
and I know she means it, but I think she doubts herself
knows maybe there is light somewhere in the hill of her eyes
just over the bend in that long road back home
that winds in on itself

we both know how little sense that word makes; home –
sticks like a pit in the throat, air moving around the loss of it
the wanting of it, oh, I love you more because you’ve killed,
not less, never less –

I’m not runnin’ from what you’re bringin’
I’m standin’ in for all the sunlight that you’ve never seen
up close and through your bedroom window
shiny little tomorrow’s dancing just beyond
your town at night, the heavy-heaven in you,
the whiskey on your breath, bruises on your thigh
like road maps to nowhere and everywhere all at once
you’re like this thing that I have no words for
but I say it anyway, goodnight angel, sleep dark
and dream of all that lonely highway light
let it bring you… home.



I Have So Many Names I Can’t Remember Them All

i slipped the moon into your bed sheets
waited for the light in you to bluster
and the walls to contract
into tiny points of weeping

when in Rome
do as the angels
in your head
stacking tall pines
out of morning eyes

you called me Tanzanite
I called you Taaffeite

we thought the good life
was drinking until everything blurred
& no consequences
two stars just below your eyes
trestled iodine
do you know what you are to me
wild moon in a jar
back of the gypsy wagon
spilling light along the way
back home

i followed on
just a lost broken treasure map
of a place that doesn’t even exist
and you huddled
in pine shadow
swallowing names
one for every feeling comes across you
in the night
ghost poetry

I got no words for you

none at all.



Moon Paper

I coupled you to the wall
there were two of us then
the rain and something about
getting clean without losing
any of our dirt, tracking mud
all over the interior
of home and outbound
brittle wind
across the river
lifting blades of grass
like thirsty bones

clouded infernos of mothers’ and fathers’
Polaroid motel 6’s draped
in honeymoon pink sky line

love is what remains after all of the shouting
it’s how two storms find their calm
inside a silence that builds up over the years
a much thicker skin
than blood contains

you look at me
and I look at you
there is something that the poem tries to get right
but misses
in this small movement of air and light
and longing

tween here and highway
and home,

laughter is the mended bone

is the story
come to its most imperfect end.

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (2018) and founding Editor of the Literary Arts & Music mag Anti-Heroin Chic. His work can be found in Occulum, Bone & Ink Press, Ditch, Moonchild Magazine and Philosophical Idiot. He lives in upstate New York.

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