In the Thick of it by James Diaz


“if anyone can claim they’re alright, so can I” —James McMurtry


can I show you something?
it will only take but a moment
years maybe
my whole life

the terrible light
and digging path ways to my trembling murmur
a two handed heart on the back lane of forever
and never have I ever known the night to last this long

here, I lifted so small a voice
into this space
I said; come as you already are
come as dog eared paradise
in rickety back porch jars of July
blueberry voiceless in the agonized half light

first the knees stopped knowing they were knees
thought themselves hands and dug for polished teeth
in the morning’s softest crust
I whispered to god
my whole face a clock withheld from the telling of its time
it is time
to let go the heaviness in my body
borrowed bones something new something almost -but not quite forgiven
in the cracking of the voice, oh friend, we sang so beautifully
that whole ride home
till home was gone – just an idea – to keep us from breaking
and there was no place left we had come from
we couldn’t point to any hill at night
and say there, my people, my place

our pain towed the line
almost always
hands held quietly
over the ash of things burning
gently burning, merciful friend
I point now to a space so large the word for it fails

I am no one – thinking I have the word
I am not what I thought I would be after all of this beautiful breaking
I am not home at the end of anything
let alone the world
I always thought was meant to outlast us

I was not wrong
I just couldn’t know
what was waiting on the other side of the mountain

they hate beautiful things
and who could blame them

I blame them
I don’t know what else would hold the crack from its largest break

and I hide

but I listen for the softer song
any day now I pray that it would return me to
something like whole
something like home.


©2019 James Diaz


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Bio: James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (2018) Indolent Books. In 2016 he founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and Prison/confinement. His work has appeared in Occulum, Bone & Ink Press, Moonchild Magazine, Memoir Mix-Tapes and Drunk Monkeys. He resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. He has never believed in anything as strongly as he does the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.

You can find James’s pages on FaceBook and Twitter.


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