Poetry: Selections from Jason Melvin

life is simple
when in the wild
feed    fight    fuck
it’s the other F word
that fucks everything up

         the vastness of the blackness
         what an odd time for sadness
outside summer concert
the music moves us
trodden grass under our feet
surrounded by thousands     faceless
drunk     tired   wet from a sudden rain
smell of pot    strong in the air
a blanket under me
I lay back on the hillside
look to the overcast night sky
friends and strangers
just out of sight
the stage    the lights  
just out of sight
I hear the music
but stop listening
just to stare
         to be aware
of the vastness of blackness
no stars in sight
and feel so small

is it odd I looked forward?
to the nightmares    that never came
I wish to see you again in dark corners
just to see you    Dad was everywhere
when he died    night after night
behind every closed eyelid
creeping in the shadows     of every darkened room
but we were children   and it’s been years
since I believed in
and now I wish I hadn’t stopped
I long for the vivid image of you strolling
through a room
             or my sleeping mind
                                          one more time

Feb 18th, 2021
         (my brothers first birthday, post-life)
today was supposed to be the big 5 0
a celebration that you made it
but you didn’t
all day I shoveled, searched for a spot
do I tuck it next to the spleen?
slide it under my appendix?
anything could be forgotten under an appendix
I could help plan the escape
being both prisoner and warden
but I can’t
one of the last conversations we had
centered on this day
a defiance of lineage odds, surprise that you made it
but you didn’t
I dreaded the call to mom
relieved when she answered laughing
playing a game with your children
something involving blindfolds and Play-Doh and llama poop
I called to be strong for her
She asked how I was doing
               I lied
they were about to have honorary cake

I sit with silence
and the ghost of a headache
that accompanies the opening of my eyes
Daylight fights the fog

Jason Melvin has had work published in Olney, Anti-Heroin Chic, Bombfire, HorrorSleazeTrash, Drunk Monkeys, and Sledgehammer. He was 2nd runner-up in the Heartwood Poetry Prize 2021 and recently nominated for a Pushcart prize by Outcast. When he dies, he wants his ashes to be placed in a new bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and resealed. Sticky googly eyes should be placed on the outside of the bag, so his grandchildren can shake and play with him. And if they open the bag at snack time, so be it.


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