Tom took the mic and asked for attention, and when he got it, made note of the irony.

This was his final goodbye, he’d packed his clothes and locked his home,
organized some lines into a suicide poem.

In meter and step, through stanzas spit in 5-3, he’d confess a profound phenomenon indeed.

You see, he wanted himself to end.

He watched the faces flirt with concern and wondered why, the critic’s nerve burns when something real is on the line.

Now, Tom was too fat, and Tom was too ugly, skinny as hell and resented for his good looks.

Tom was a druggy, a jock, a heathen, a fuck’n goth,
a nigger, a faggot, and whatever else somebody can be when you’re not.

Tom didn’t chastise or ask for apologies, he just rolled up his sleeve and said “here, this is my anthology”.

He broke a crooked smile and traced his veins with a finger,
and whispered something about the shapes you can make if you just let the blade linger,

Tom chose to recite his wounded life to cliques of men and women congregating under track lights,
bearing cappuccino mustaches and psychosomatic addictions to trendy words spit to elicit some friction.

He said, “these are the paths a person will walk, step by step their feet will tread,
into silent corners where life doesn’t talk, you just whisper to yourself and retreat into your head,

His soliloquy continued, half conscious of his audience,
interpreting his arm’s hieroglyphics audibly.

“It ought to be,” he told us, “that a man can escape the wrath,
of lips that like to remember how you fucked up in the past.”

“But here that dream cannot be realized,
so I thought, maybe through death, I can steal mine.”

Yet the death Tom talked about wasn’t drugs or knives or guns,
no, his expiration was the act of becoming undone.

Tom raised a second arm and exposed the crowd to a map,
of cities and countries and sunsets and oceans,
of danger and risk, the kinds of trips you take that don’t have a way back.

From wrist to elbow he’d scribbled descriptions of the places he was going to conquer,
to find those things of simple bliss, for a moment be a witness, till his chest drew breath no longer.

And when Tom choked up, and found the crowd and smiled,
and promised, “for every insult you conjure, I add a hundred miles.”

I didn’t know what to do. My chair felt old, my words had staled.
My insights were empty.

This man, beaten and rejected, will experience the world in order to forget me.

Lover, Don't Go

You gave me a book.
Its back was broken, the leather was torn.
I took it and shook,
My body rebelling, I couldn't take anymore.

The plane was my captor,
the kidnap of the willing, you forfeited me with a kiss,
it would bring me soon there after,
over oceans like the boatmen, tending the River Styx.

Why did we choose this,
to leave each other now, and let our bodies writhe,
to award ourselves the misery,
of measuring the love we've built and how fast its going to die.

You left me an inscription,
a wordless phrase upon imagined paper,
a declaration that this princess would wait,
if ever this knight found it in him to save her.

At once you both crushed me and made me immortal,
you offered me hope, yet left it contorted.

"Come back to me," you pled, as if there were a chance,
as if these things were possible for the unheroic love of men.

I climbed on the plane, a time for wings to steal me away,

and within my book there waited for me,
the poison of goodbye, the voice of desperation, a soul on its knees.

Three words bled to me from a wound I couldn't close,
a book of three words, a book, in three words, three words, "Lover, don't go."