Category: poems

Clam, crab, cockle, cowrie

Clam, take the shell, find a pearl

A pearl of wisdom

Grandpa sits you on his knee and shares his wisdom

He says there’s this man

He stands by the railroad tracks

His hair, wispy and fair, blows as the train passes

The buckles of his overalls shining glory

He says the man is waiting for someone to come back

Never be the one who waits

But pearls don’t come from clams, but from oysters

Crab crack open my shell

Look at my writhing innards

Watch me bleed out

Look at you

You can see all of me


A gush of honesty, a breath of fresh air



Cackling, laughing

A chuckle at his expense

Families gathered around the television

Tin foil trays to keep their meals separated


Rest your weary soul and join in the fun

Be like the American family

Look at them laugh

What the fuck is a laugh

How are they that fucking happy



Cowering in the corner stall

The other ones don’t like you so much

They think you look weird

They want you to quit correcting them so much

Maybe if they didn’t have the IQ of a walnut they could understand



Cowering as fists fly

Fists fly and bruises form

Press my tender flesh

Tenderized, made weak inside

Clam, crab, cockle, cowrie

Wisdom, vulnerability, false happiness, cowering from abuse

Punch my fucking skull

Make my brain fall all over this concrete floor

I want to see my thoughts

I want to see what goes through my mind

What the fuck goes through my mind

Watch me be creative

Watch me type for you

Watch me listen to what you want me to hear

Listen to me defy authority

Wow I’m such a rebel

Who the fuck cares rebellion is senseless

Just sit down please

These desks can’t hold the weight of your past

Wow how fucking deep

This took a turn for the worse

Guess I just have to end it all now

Polish that silver barrel

Load it up

Now dig in

Bon appetit

It’s been quite some time since we’ve sat together and we’ve really spoken

, because the last time we sat and spoke it was you who was breathing your last breath,

And you wondered what comes next, and now we sit here and I wonder what comes next,

And I ask because you know.

You know because you lived, and you came to pass on, and you’ve come now as a shadow,

And this is how I see you because you have faded.

You faded from our thoughts, from our memories, but never does our love for you fade because of the way you lived.

The way you loved each and every one of us,

The way your hand touched my face when you saw me,

The way you raised me,

The way you raised those before me,

The way you showed such deep love for those around you,

The way that you loved our God,

And the way that you knew of His love,

and as you lay, breathing those last breaths at that place where we last sat together, you knew that it was his home that you were running to, and his doors were open,

And his doors were open for you because of the way you lived,

Because of the man that you decided that you loved, and because of the great care you had taken all of your life to the man that you loved and lived with for so long because he was yours and you were his,

And as we sat there on that last day you looked up and you saw his face, and you knew that you were going home,

You were going home to those that you loved before and those that you will continue to love because you have gone home to be with them,

Yet here we are just left with a faint memory of your life,

And these Polaroids do your life no justice,

For you made an impression that is incomparable,

You did something that no one else was able to do,

You raised and you loved what was not originally yours, what was not originally given to you by our God,

You brought in and you cared for and you loved because you are love,

And now I feel such love for you because you felt such love for me,

And as we sat there on that day when you breathed your last breath, I felt your love in me and you felt my love in you, because I knew that you were going home,

I knew that your days were gone,

That each breath was one less second of life on this earth, and how much closer you were to going home,

And I look back at these Polaroids,

And I see your face,

And I feel your touch,

And I smell your perfume,

So I went back to the days when you were here with us,

Before the day that you left us with your faint shadow,

Before that day when you looked up and you saw his face,

And you knew that you were going home

When I was thirteen, I noticed

I noticed that something wasn’t quite right,

that every time I walked into a room I could see things.

The chairs and cups facing the wrong direction,

I could see the disorder in the color scheme,

See the numbers on the wall and what color they matched with,

See every single speck of dirt and every germ…

And when I was thirteen, I noticed…

I noticed that my mind wasn’t working the way it normally did,

That things just weren’t fitting together like they used to.

I noticed that I had this thing called “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”.

And what this means is that,

Every second

Of every minute

Of every hour

Of every day,

I’m constantly analyzing,

Observing everything around me,

Pinpointing everything that doesn’t “suit my fancy”.

And it seems so commonplace these days,

To quote literally every person I’ve ever spoken to,
“I’m so OCD”

As a younger child, a lot of things stressed me out.

New people, new places, pretty much anything that had to deal with change

And as a younger child, I was taught to count to ten

To close my eyes,

Plug my ears,

And count to ten

And all of the hustle and bustle and fuss of everyday life would fade away

And every time I walked into a new situation,

All I saw was a sea of staring eyes, judging and critiquing

Noticing every move I made, knowing all flaws and soft spots

And every time I walked into a new place,

Mom would tell me,

“go find a table,

Close your eyes,

Plug your ears,

And count to ten”

So that’s what I did…

I counted to ten.

  1. Did I check the doorknob three times or only two? Because if I only checked it twice then it’s just not right, then I might as well have not checked it at all. I didn’t, I didn’t check it three times. I bet you right now someone is in my house, sorting through all of our memories and just picking and choosing like a lot at the swap meet.
  2. The volume on the TV has to be 37 because 3 is blue and 7 is green and blue and green are good, so 3 and 7 are good, and 3 plus 7 is 10, and 3 times 7 is 21, and 2 plus 1 is 3, and 2 minus 1 is 1, and 7 minus 3 is four, which is a perfect square, so it just has to be 37
  3. I wonder if all of these people notice when it’s really bothering me. I wonder if they saw me when I walked in, saw the horrified look on my face when I realized that there would be more than 3 people at a popular restaurant on Friday night. I wonder if they watched me put my head down and shut my eyes and plug my ears and start counting as my legs shook.
  4. Maybe they didn’t notice. Maybe they didn’t pay any attention at all. Probably not though. They probably think that I’m some emotionally disturbed young man. They probably know that I’m some emotionally disturbed young man

Six. You probably noticed how I skipped five, and how I spelled out six, and I did that because 5 is red and red is bad so 5 is bad, and I just hate how the number six curls up like its afraid. What does it have to be afraid of?

7. I want to check that doorknob right now

7. I want to check the doorknob right now

7. I want to check the doorknob so bad it burns

Burning, itching, crawling about like germs upon my unclean palms from touching that damn doorknob

8. So doctor…when am I supposed to be able to let these things go?

9. So doctor…when am I supposed to be able to control these impulses?

10. So doctor…when can I be happy? When can I finally be positive?

10. So doctor…when can I stop counting?

Sentinel in the Sea (Morris Island Lighthouse)

And what luminous beacon shone,
to warn the lighthouse
when eroding tides came,
the rug of sandy assurance
from beneath its candy-striped mass?

None other than the melting decay
of each sunset.

“Life Should Be Played Loud”

Some poems don’t sit content
between covers.

This one screamed from the shelf
to be released from its paper cage.

So I placed this poem
on the record player
and let the needle

This poem was born
with a dying wish:

A portrait of the poet
at age fourteen…
Parents split the summer
before grade nine.
When two parents divide
into separate one’s,
a child can’t help but feel like a

This was the math that mattered,
not the equations in Algebra 2.
Though the kid could count,
like counting all the ways he dreamt
of asking out the girl one desk over,
but too self-conscious
about his back sweat after gym class
to go through with any of them.

His head only made sense
when in between headphones,
cause he understood the math of music:
Verse + Chorus + Verse + Chorus = Escape.

Turn up the volume.
This should be played loud.

The posters on his walls
were a shrine to his chosen gods:
Nirvana. Pearl Jam. Jimi Hendrix. The Doors.

The speakers shook nightly
with the heroes of rock.
Drums rattled like thunder,
baselines shook the tectonic plates,
electric guitars plugged straight
into a live wire heart,
and singers screamed this truth in his ear:
that zero in the center of your soul
is just enough space for the sound to break in.

Turn up the volume.
Turn up the sun still shining.
Turn up the lungs still breathing.
Turn up the bones still standing.
Life should be played loud.

His daily day dream
was a stack of amps
in the middle of the homecoming pep rally.
Just him, a guitar, and a mic.
The entire senior class
was a mosh pit just for him,
the varsity cheerleaders
threw their panties on stage,
and even the jocks had to bow down.

But when the bell rang
and broke the spell of his day dream,
he had to face facts:
he couldn’t sing worth shit.
He didn’t even make elementary school chorus,
and they just let you stand in the back
and mouth the words.

But that zero in the center of his soul
was now bursting to the brim:
this voice must be heard
this music must make its way out the throat
spilling the split seams of a family torn in two.

He still thanks the day
he first heard about spoken word,
poets unloading their souls in microphones,
don’t even need the band to play.

Because these floorboards
will be my drum set,
this ribcage my bass line.
I’ll play this pumping heart
like Jimi played a Fender.
I’ll rock this slam
like The Who smashed guitars.
I’ll be a one-man poetic rock band,
playing solo sets of metaphors
over a back beat
of heart break and healing.

Turn up the volume.
Turn up the sun still shining.
Turn up the lungs still breathing.
Turn up the bones still standing.

Life should be played LOUD.

When the light receded here, the world succumbed to fear
Left with only darkness, cheer became solemn leer
For three days, slowed without perceptive time, our people came to see
a forged reality of the sublime, encrypted in animosity.
Curiosity filled the minds of those forgetful of the light
for when the sun returned to them, they seemed to only fight.
Angry at the gods for what they had done, the people turned to blood.
‘An eye for an eye’ they yelled aloud, In hatred toward the sun.
But what they didn’t know was that the sun had never left.
They had littered the sky in ash until, the darkness caved their chests.
So war arose in man, as the clock began to tick.
The sun continued to shine on them, as the land began to quake.
And soon the people left that land, to never return again.
The eye left drawn upon the hand, that saved them once again.
Now years have passed
The sun has stayed
Upon it’s pillars of glass and slate
Awaiting the day that man will wake
To finalize the same mistake.

Written by Joshua Jarman Feb, 2014

Jesus came to the south to die

Rolling tide, rolling fog
Mist, dazed in the haze

The south can be such a twisted place, twisted trees and twisted faces

Alien in a strange land.
Cruelty disguised as kind hand.

Troubled feeling from the start.
Oh sweet child, bless your heart.

Lizards, snakes, alligators
Love yourself as you love your neighbors.

Grace and mercy they all cry.
Jesus came to the south to die.

(An original by David Candelaria)

The pounding of the waves echo the shoreline,
As the seagulls hover above in the sunshine,
the tide makes the horizon seem not so far,
as the fiddler crabs dance on the distant sandbar.

Oh how I long for the Charleston sea,
my hometown, oh how I miss thee,
She beckons me with the sound of her whistling wind,
calling me back into her arms like a dear friend.

My heart is sadden, and my soul grows weary,
My memories of my childhood were so cheery,
Building sand castles with sand dollars and sea shells,
the smell of salty air, driftwood, bonfires and old fish tales.

I can imagine the warmth upon my face,
While I buried my toes in the sand,
I shall await and cherish the moment when,
I return to my Charleston Sea once again.

by Matt Foley

Gather round, dear friends.
Come lovers, enemies, and mere acquaintances.
Come saints, come sinners.
Come prophets and those out to make a little profit.
Come you ramblers, you gamblers, you soul music samplers.
Come, gather round.
Gather round this fire, this home, this classroom, or coffee shop.
Wherever or whenever or whoever you are, gather round.
Let us hear poetry, like they did in days of old.

Let a guitar be strummed, let a drum be hit,
Let the turn tables spin round and round,
Let the poetry begin.

Let the rich food be tasted, let the lovers draw close,
Let some strange mystic magic fill the air,
Let the poetry begin.

Let words grow tall like skyscrapers, let them glow like sunsets,
Let the seven oceans wash up upon our feet,
Let the poetry begin.

Let similes run wild, like an unsaddled horse upon the plain,
Let our hearts be as free as our wildest dreams,
Let the poetry begin.

Let us hear Walt Whitman and Wordsworth.
Let us hear Pac, Biggie, and Langston Hughes.
Let us move to the spirit of rock, hip hop, and the blues.
Let the poetry begin.

Gather round, dear friends.
Come lovers, enemies, and mere acquaintances.
Come saints, come sinners.
You are welcome here.
Gather round this heart, this soul, this word.
Wherever or whenever or whoever you are, gather round.
Let the poetry begin.

By: Hannah Rabon

She has green hair.
She’s roughly 5 feet, 1 inch
Ergo, she is a troll.
The only thing that’s missing
Is a bejeweled belly button,
A redeeming quality.
But since she does not have a sapphire encrusted navel,
She is the ugly ducking of trolls,
Implying that one day she will grow into
A more superior goblin-like creature.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I’m assuming the negative considering how
She charges for access and inflation is unavoidable.

Or is it skewflation?
Because trolls are becoming a hot commodity
–and by “hot” I mean coveted like a Furbie on Christmas of 1998–
While tall, slender beauties are depreciating.
The shinny, plastic eggs
That no one is patient enough to use the claw to
Capture and see what’s inside.


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