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.







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







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


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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