Justin Marks

Justin Marks is the author of, You’re Going to Miss Me When You’re Bored, (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009), as well as several chapbooks. He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and their twin son and daughter.

 

 

 

 

O YOU SONS & DAUGHTERS

 

That my (in)actions affect others

is still not something I fully grasp

*

Illness. Lots of illness. Nothing chronic or life threatening. Just persistent. Miserable. Like waking up with the worst hangover every day. Except I was just a kid.

But I wasn’t alone in my loneliness. I had friends. Damaged ones. We didn’t treat each other very well.

We smoked weed. Then crack. Some of us a lot. We convinced each other to date girls we didn’t want to date then ridiculed each other for dating them. Humiliation. Shame. They were what we shared. Were all we knew.

*

In the crowd, a path will appear

It will appear

or you will make it

*

I wish you could see the rain

on my screen as I text you

How purposeful it is

to my diction

*

I read things on paper

and not. We commune.

I’m scared and overly self-protective

working on a form of extreme

moderation. Its practice.

*

I’m married but still fantasize

about meeting the one

There are so many ones

*

Little white light that’s gonna show my religion      Strange distance

Hit me with your money

*

Text, and art, much like a human being, bends the artificial borders of identity

*

My barber’s name is Frank

 

 

 

 

CONTEXT IS FAMILY

 

Whatever you say I am

is what I am

A child holding a lighter

A really cool weather event

I’ll be that

The trauma and the story

of the trauma I was told

Its language mean

So stupid

I’m smarting

in my intense need

for a vacation

White is like a brother color to blue, says my daughter

Sometimes people need to be punched, says my son

Your touch

is intimidating

It feels too good

is what I think when my wife touches me

Massive gaps

in my learning

Unidentified signals from deep space

I feel like an asshole when I talk

about work

Under the skin is more skin

Increasingly sensitive

Nary a wound salt

water can’t heal

 

 

 

 

 

[As a person I’m a fiction   A heart]

 

As a person I’m a fiction    A heart

of vomit         Huge amounts

of protein

Scared      Sacred

The difference is simple

transposition

Getting high in bathrooms

Applying for jobs

Everything I do

I do for approval

A continuous movement

A need beyond my ability

 

 

 

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