Under the Armour

Under the Armour
JCD Kerwin

It’s funny that
to forge ahead
you must discard
the bloodied, broken armour
you’ve been wearing ‘round for years.

(Some sanguine stains are yours;
some family’s;
and some pure stranger’s.)

In the end,
you walk alone
with brittle bones
and scars upon your feet.
But you know,
the briar patch
you crawled through
all your life
is miles behind.
Nothing but grassy knolls
for your wounded toes

And it echoes in your head:
“With every step and
every breath: hold on.”
Hold on, hold on, hold on.
With every drip
of sweat and tear;
blood that poured from all those years:
hold on,
walk on,
through valleys beyond
the Dark cast out
from your shattered, burned insides.

(May 2015)


Blood Redwoods

Photo by Don Worth

Clear-Cutting without New Growth
JCD Kerwin

Seems like I’m drafting up my future
before I’m taking three steps
in the present.
I’m signing contracts with
invisible ink and
when I look behind, I see
10,000 acres of land acquisitions
I never knew
I traded freedom for.
thinking I am somehow special
just makes my sight foggy;
looking at those who really matter
is like watching leaves
in acid rain puddles.
Didn’t know I could cut
the fragile dreams they have
with mine…

Like a logger in a redwood grove.

(May, 2013)


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