Forty-Five Minutes

Forty-Five Minutes

One, two, three a.m. and I’m staring, blinking, glaring at the ceiling like I’ve got a grudge against the shadows. Tossing and turning makes the stitch in my side itch. I have to lie straight to keep myself from screaming but I can’t dream think the right way without shoving pillows over my face.

Must refuse to move
the pain stops and
my heartbeats

[Maybe if
I crush these tabs,
they’ll last a little longer,
be a little stronger;
make me
a little better at
not being me.]

The guy behind the desk says I’m supposed to believe in myself. I sink farther into the couch and wonder why upholstery’s always more plush in small rooms even though you’re never in the mood to sit still.

(I tell him I like the paintings of the Ming Dynasty Treasure Ships. They came with the office, he says. None of them ever know where the pictures come from.)

It all goes back
to my childhood:
where my family
went did wrong.

Separate yourself.
Cut yourself off
from everything
that hurts you.

He says.

Easier said
than done.

I say.

And the other guy throws pills at me, changing his mind with each visit. He can’t decide what makes
me messed up

Neither can I.

[Which is why I
line up orange bottles
in Chess lines,
like they’re pawns and I
am running from
the pugilist glove
that will crush me if
I don’t keep ahead of
the other me’s
next move.]

I am unimpressed with the depression of my facial expression. It gets quite old. But I don’t know how to climb out from puddles I rained out all alone.

He tells me plenty of people have sat where I sat, feeling hopeless, but they dug out, just like I will. I ask when that will be…

Right now I’m spelunking in the dark.

(October 2015)



Comfortably Numb by JohnKyo (DeviantArt)

JCD Kerwin

It’s 9 pm in July.
I hang my arm
out the car window
so I can feel
the cold so I
can feel something
other than me—
the humanity
of me.

I keep it there
until it numbs;
the feeling spreads
deep into my heart.
I smile;
thankful for
an emotion other than

I’m sick of
I wish I could
wake up and become
a robot just like them.
At least then I wouldn’t
feel pain anymore;
I’d just feel nothing
at all.

(July 2015)

Three Bucks Out of Luck

Three Bucks Out of Luck
JCD Kerwin

I met God the other day,
on a Tuesday afternoon.
He was smoking French cigarettes
and drinking black coffee.
“What this meeting all about?”
I asked and sipped my own
liquefied Arabica beans.
“You’re right; you’re all damn fucked,
just like you thought you were.”
And then he laughed and put a pair of Oakleys
over two different colored eyes.
I watched him raise a pigeon from the dead
as he passed on down the sidewalk.
Once roadkill of taxis that didn’t give a damn,
now it bobbed and waddled in the muck
of our humanity.
“We’re all just fucked anyway.”
I played with the spoon on my saucer
and watched coffee droplets turn into constellations.
The Milky Way is only a figment of our imaginations—
Andromeda is one of a thousand daytrips we can take
anytime we’d like.
I tip the mug and watch the coffee pour.
I leave without paying because I know it doesn’t matter.
Three bucks and a dime aren’t worth a damn
when we’re all just fucked anyway.

June 2015


JCD Kerwin

George doesn’t eat anything except Cheerios. He says the rings remind him of Infinity and how the world continues to move even when you don’t want it to. He finds the circles fascinating—they move, twirling in his milk, getting older and soggier just like the earth. The twirling of the earth will continue long after George is gone. Does anyone care that it will not stop—even briefly—when they cease to be?

George’s mother said, once, that if you believe in God you will go to Heaven. George went to his uncle’s funeral. His uncle was in a box. In the dirt. He hadn’t gone anywhere, George thought. Did she mean that Heaven was in the ground? He did not know.

George likes going to the park to feed the birds and watch the children on the swings. One day, someone called police officers. Now he is not allowed to watch the children. He only thought it was amazing they could swing so high. He could never swing so high. George thought maybe he could pick up some pointers. But now he isn’t allowed to watch them. So now he has no idea how to swing high enough to reach the stars. That’s all George wants to do.

There are plastic replicas of the solar system sticky-tacked to his ceiling. They glow a long time when George keeps the lights on before he goes to sleep. George does not sleep well. He dreams of giant bugs chasing him. Sometimes they catch him and eat his limbs. He does not like the dream. He does not know what it means.

George’s mother takes him to see a man every Tuesday. He is a nice man, but asks too many questions. He is as old as his mother. George wonders if they are dating.

One day George’s mother does not wake to give him his Cheerios. He called his doctor. An ambulance came. George’s house was full of many people for the next few days. Some of them were unfamiliar faces. They buried George’s mother on a Friday in the rain. George wondered if she was in Heaven with his uncle.

They sent George to a special apartment building, full of people like him, his doctor said. He likes to sit by the window and watch the ducks in the pond. He likes that he can see the stars from his bedroom window. He doesn’t need the sticky-tacked plastic replicas anymore. He wonders if his mother was wrong; maybe that is Heaven instead.

He dreams about flying on insects now. They carry him away to Mars.

June 2015


JCD Kerwin

You stumble like
a mannequin on rollerblades.
You make
faces at the sun because
you’ve stayed in bars
until the radio turned
to static.
The tv plays
the same adverts
like you’ve taped your thumb
to the rewind
You’ve made
some progress progressing
past the point of pure depression,
you’re still a puddle
of nothing.
Maybe tomorrow you
can open up your mouth
and talk,
the far back walls
make better companions
for shadows in the dark.

(Dec 2014)