Every curious eye movement
is a joist, there is a horse between my legs
that always moves forward,
my body is a weapon
before it is mine.
That is when I learned
to speak in my father’s slur
of nods, off-center stares, and nervous jokes.
When I started to observe his spasming knee
watch him watch himself fall again
and for the rest of his life.
I don’t return anything at department stores.
I always look like I know where I’m going and go.
I know the cock of a head dissecting my voice
detecting the shade of strangle inside my skull.
The Demon (I)
A lack of love perverts things,
shrivels all that was moist, cakey innocence into a corpse. Into worst. A ghost. A laugh turns into a weapon
at what hour of the night? The toothy smile that doubles
as a bear trap. My father doesn’t exist. The kindness
wrapped in male that smells like surrender. Corner mother values life more than love now.
Barks like a cop because that gets results. Yields silence and is the best way to stay invisible,
Lock yo doors. Hide yo kids, hide yo husbands. Cover legs and heads and mirrors because The Demon stares back
every time I forget who’s looking.
The Demon (III)
Just let me curse a little.
Just let me laugh at the thought of a thought.
My shame is obese today.
I just don’t want to talk.
It looks like hell outside.
My face looked like hell this morning.
I can’t tell the difference between a scar, a scab, a patch of psoriasis, and a prison tattoo.
The cave of my bedsheets. What can I say?
A push is a jump is a release.
What is outside of sleeping but waiting to sleep?
Warren Longmire is a writer, a software engineer, and an educator from the bad part of North Philadelphia. He is the co-founder of the Excelano Project Spoken Word Collective and the current Program Director of the Nick Virgilio Writers House. You can find his writing in journals including Toho, American Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly and The New Purlieu Review and on his instagram @alongmirewriter.