Jungle Eyes

Even my poems sometimes turn into fiction stories…

Goodbye Saigon
JCD Kerwin

I see Saigon in her tea cup;
the soggy leaves turn red and
make explosions in my sight.

When I exhale,
I remember how hot it was
in summer when
mosquito nets
couldn’t keep me from
the sweat upon her skin.

Olive thighs
made me smile at stars
through windows while
bombs blew in
the night.

I’m alone in the quiet—
ceiling fan blades and cigarettes
my lament for her.
I see Saigon in silver droplets;
she was blood in the water.
Is this love?
(Was it love?)

I exhale jungle fire
from scorched memories.

Sigh, Saigon, sigh.

Nov., 2012


Bring a Jacket When You Leave

I’ve moved a lot of my stuff off this online art community. I do enjoy lots of the art and some rather cool people on there, but as a whole, I guess I never felt it was much of a “community” (more like a middle school). I really never thought it was very beneficial in terms of helping one grow as an artist, either. Hell, the best critiques I ever got weren’t even when I was in college, which is where I should have gotten them. I–

I digress.

Here’s a poem. But first, some background: M has blue eyes, thus the “Blue.” Also, I’m a painter. “Majored” in it as well as writing  in high school. There you go. Now go have fun. Remember to zip up your jacket. It’s cold outside.

J.C.D. Kerwin

[The artist hasn’t slept in days.]

I’m stuck inside my head again,
It’s nice to be back insane
and kicking.

I can’t escape the lyrics
I keep overplaying in my mind.
They keep the blood dripping from
my forehead and the acid from
burning down my spine.

[Keeps me on my toes, you know.]

I twitch explosions in my sleep
when the nightmares come calling
and my nails start clawing
at skin that sticks like film
to bone.

I’ve been smoking pencils
like they’ve got nicotine
but nothing’s really
like it seems.
(Just like these poems
I think are gold but
are really chicken shit on paper.)

I splutter, scribble
half-written pieces of
abstract paintings I can’t even get
myself to buck up and paint
I stomp them to pieces
on the floor.

[They were fun, once upon a turpen-time.]

I got hiccups in my head,
so I cough blood onto paper
like Pollock stains
hoping the word ink pains
splatter something better
than these level five migraines
I can’t escape.

I got my squirt guns blazing,
so I sit here waiting
for the inkblooddrops to start forming
words to make sense of worlds
I’m avoiding
with coffee cups and headphones
every bullshit droning day.

Time to give it a rest with the bullshit,
fairytalehero reason that’s not pleasing
to anyone, no one,

Maybe these dirty ketchup stains
only look good on broken refrigerators
with crying compressors
after all.

[I spell sauve moi in the tomato sludge.]

Nov., 2011
Revised September 2015


Sometimes I think of Jupiter and rocket ships, and I wonder how long it would take to build a spaceship and fly away…

Blue Heaven
J.C.D. Kerwin

It’s smog I wrap around me when I sleep.

In this city I suck down the vapor when I dream and pretend it’s sugar water. I see blue, glowing fireflies when I close my eyes. It’s the pollution; doctors say I might go blind. I think maybe those fireflies just float away into the atmosphere when I sleep.

And when I wake, it’s always raining; it’s always raining in this futurescape. (My oblivion of technology and memories.) Today isn’t any different. I face the half-open window and twist my jaw around. The outside explodes my inside world with color. When it rains this neon city glows, and we all melt together like we’re part of some deep, coral, underwater symphony.

I pretend not to notice the cars whizzing past my unit, or the buzzing of whatever new device the holographic ads are trying to sell. Instead, I strain to listen to the rain and something far away: a sax in the rainfall. Don’t know where it’s coming from but I can’t hear anything else while it’s crying. It makes me whisper her name, then I scoff before I light up a cigarette and wave away another hologram pop-up from my wall.

I open wide the windows and think I hear her voice in the song. The cigarette hangs limp from my lips and I watch the smoke make love to the smog. I stare at the infinity below, the neon, and the never-ending traffic zooming past my window.

She and I—we transcended time. We held supernovas in our hands and carried planets until they got so heavy that we dropped them off at the edges of the universe…Maybe in our dreams, I guess. Maybe that’s what it felt like on hot nights, after bottles of cheap wine and lipstick stains on my lips.

I inhale deep and think it’s her I’m breathing. The way she smelled like space. The air up there is magic. It makes you feel like dying, but in the way that you don’t think, you know that there’s a Heaven and it’s beautiful. People say Heaven is in the stars. I stay awake at night and wonder if she’s there, tasting the Milky Way and collecting my blue fireflies.

Someday I’ll save enough to buy a spaceship and become a cowboy. Then I’ll fly away and see if there really is a Heaven in the stars.

May 2012