I look up from my book.
I am a failure.
A confused child.
A misguided malcontent
who has never understood.

The world is glassy-eyed,
standing over me
with its red laced heel on my chest.
I lay dying, defeated,
out of breath.

I am a wicker chair in the trash.
That’s how I feel.

I am loose-leaf and locked in, way in.
I am the anti-climactic ending of some super villain.

Why do I feel like this?
Why can’t I flip the script
like some shitty musician,
some Luke Cage shit, where I rise above it?
Why do I have to be the avalanche?
Too fat for my zipper
and my pants don’t seem to fit.

Writing in a toilet,
spreading vomit
in the soil,
like gold is going to grow from this?
I was a poet.
I did it ’cause it fit.
There weren’t too many poets.
There were many other people
doing many other things.
But this was my puzzle piece.
It fit.

Who knew there was
a big old business behind it.
That the cred is in the numbers read,
the number of page hits.
That the mileage clocked
from each pen that died,
each tape unwound
rewind it.
I am a mad man
with silent violence behind it.
My mind is in the nineties,
bleacher worn bully,
prime target.
Its 2021, and the Zen is all
in the garden, and I am not in it.
I am a lurking weed growing from some seed,
that the villain sprayed at the pretty party.

Does anyone feel like this?

Am I the only one that feels like this?
That you are too pretty,
and I am the one with zits,
big hips, fat lips, and no tits
and something about this
doesn’t feel right.

Like each word I type
seems wrong.
Like I don’t belong.

Because if I rewrite my ending.
is there a pot of gold
at the end of my rainbow?

Who knows, doubt it.
Laugh about it.
Say that’s OK.
I got this.
Feel hope in the music.

Nope, that’s not it.
Find hope in the writtens,
Nope, sounds like shit.
Find hope in the children.
They are swimming in it.
My existence is slipping.

A nail in the coffin of 1996.


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His third book, Train of Thought 2: Almost Home is available now.