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* * *
I saw you on your knees there, in the dirt
You cupped the soil between your bleeding palms,
words written on your face. The words were "hurt"
and "hell" and "beauty" and those words were psalms
The psalms were thorns, the same as on that ground,
that scattered, tangled brush I saw you in.
A secret hidden in the woods I found:
you, and your thorns, and psalms that sang of sin.
I knelt by you, and both our eyes held clouds
we'd both seen more than anyone could stand
the weight on both our shoulders left us bowed
and filthy, like the dirt that stained our hands.
     but we both knew that dirt is home to seeds
     and there's no life, excepting life that bleeds
* * *
I know that things look really awful now
and that we've both seen clearer, brighter skies
without these heavy thoughts that crease your brow
and lend a darker shadow to your eyes,
these weighty worries none of us deserve
of light and heat and water bills to pay
and that your dad could have hard time to serve
and you don't know if you can find a way
to keep your fragile family from collapse
and also keep yourself alive and sane
while all around you thunder roars and claps
and you think you might drown from all the rain,
                No matter how these tempest winds have blown,
                Things could be worse. We could both be alone.
 
* * *
If I could only write one word, one page,
That truly told things just the way they are
- Of pent-up anger, calm, depression, rage,
Of Sundays in the back seat of your car,
Of failing grades and broken arms and weed,
And wishing we were people that we're not,
And punching walls until your knuckles bleed
And poetry that's pure but overwrought-
If I could take these things and lay them out
In ways that would make other people see-
A final, sudden, all-consuming shout:
That rarest gift, teenage coherency,
            I'd tell of human truths and mortal lies,
            I'd tell of love, I'd tell about your eyes.
* * *
I've only ever seen the ocean twice,
Both on vacations sullen with the heat
The family packed in hotels packed with mice
The carpet thick with sand beneath our feet,
The ashtrays full of other people's ash.
We sat and breathed in other people's air,
The water frothy with their crumpled trash
We closed our eyes and dreamed they weren't there
And all the sea was ours in which to sink,
The heavy water ours to drown inside
Our silent sea-swells, all we cared to drink
In depthless deeps our creatures lived and died-
            I'm landlocked now, I never taste the sea
            (I still pretend it all belongs to me).
* * *