Literary Yard

Search for meaning

‘Family’ and poems by James Diaz

By: James Diaz


Marry me to a piece of sky
tar and feather
my bones, Mother
piece of paper my heart
over the fire in your mouth

brown hills rolling blue skies
over the engine cooling madness
of my father and blood is only thicker
than water because who else can you both love
and want to kill and then love again

Three circles of good light
on the ice sheet over dark
town water, I walk you home
thinking no one broke me
quite like you did and how much
it hurts to love you, how much it hurts not to

somethings you have to kill with mercy
what happens in a family is one of them
I am thinking about forgiveness as a thing
we do without knowing that we do it
I am thinking about love as a circle of heat
and how low we get in order to come out alive
I am thinking it’s late now,
and that I really do love you.


My Story

What do you want to know?
I’ll tell you the history of my scars
a fire that I barely got out of
burning rivers, mighty / god awful
brambles in me, one thing
leading to another

How I woke up in a hospital gown
and handcuffs, how I descended from
pain and trailer park hauntings
a brand of almost brand new
dark water mercy, shuffled my feet
to the pine hills at dusk, threw it all below

sometimes a life is handed to you
sometimes you’re just thrown
like Dasein into a wall
and the only thing you can know for certain is
that it’s not like this for everyone
but it is for you
right now
the only truth you have
to move around in.


All We Really Want is This

There is a stillness
it comes from things
I don’t know how to name
places I barely remember
faces a little hazy
in the half dark
half light

all I know of love
is what it’s not
negative theology of the heart
this little light of mine
it forgot how to shine

I remember my Grandfather’s voice
in the field, his hands like rust
and rain water, remember someone’s laughter
and how it was not mine
remembered coming to my life
like a stranger, and wondering
how in the hell I got like this

I remember needing to believe it was all worth something in the end
even if it wasn’t, the need carried me here,
one foot in front of the other
a small heart of faith
the strongest raft for crossing
over / and into
the light of everything as it lays.

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