Two Poems by James Diaz

The Hard Talking We Do

For Dennis

What’s on your mind, friend
What has you twisted
I’d sure like to know it’s name
Walk a while with you
Towards the thing causing you so much pain

I have none of the answers
But I am certain to know the song you’re singing
Alone in the dark
And knowing is the ark

I’ve been around that part of town
I know the dangers
The regulars
The sound of a train where trains don’t run anymore

I see it’s gone dark in your house
You’re pacing the hours
Considering your options
The tools you’ll use for the job of extraction

Who can know if that dark will ever lift
Who has the right to keep you here
But, you know, I sure hope you stay
If only for another day, one at a time

I am still amazed by all the subtle cruelties
How they do you
Has nothing to do with you
You know

I know you know
But there it is again
If you need it

I’ll be around
Pacing my own dark
Waiting on the new day

I sure hope you stay.


In the good light

There is a quiet work
Unseen things bend themselves to
Say, around twilight
A talon dug into ground, a feather lost
To takeoff, wild sees wilder
Turns tail in darkest wind
Boy, have I been there before

And mercy is the rain
Is the window I leave open
Running my hand across kitchen dim light
Counting blessings; begrudgingly
The rust on the tea kettle
I can’t bear to throw away
The rust on me
On everything

God, though I know you’re not
I wish you were
And it is easier this way
(Oh, what a lie)
I take what I need
And I forgive
What’s been taken
From me

Over hill and high water
Through rougher crossing may you almost
Every time

Right there, like that
In the good light
Feathers lost
Take it off
All that shame
Stay awhile in this here
Right now

Be true in it
Just be in it

We are almost home.


James Diaz (They/Them) is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha, 2021) and Motel Prayers (Alien Buddha, 2022) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their most recent work can be found in Rust + Moth, Sugar House Review, Chaotic Merge Magazine and Thrush Poetry Journal.

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