In Response

We wrap violent things in soft language
We protect hate with freedom
I would say -somehow
But, really, it's still
That those most concerned with liberty
Have never been deprived of it
Yet, we've criminalized the radical act of being born with melanin
How dare you, with your dark skin, observe your faith
Let our nation built on the principles of religious tolerance reward your piety with the fine accommodation of the TSA thorough screening room
We look at you and see a terrorist, a dangerous animal to be contained by professionals out of sight
But chant blood and soil lit by firelight
Burn crosses
Lynch effigies
We'll stand silent because, we need all the facts
We need to make sure not to offend any very fine people
This country has spent damn near 3 centuries steeped in the blood of the ones we call savage
Yet, the tears staining that trail were not Jacksons
The lifetimes of animal brutality were not at the hands of those stolen and sold as chattel
Every political event begins with and ends with "god bless you" yet we keep erecting statues to devils
No, not devils
The devil never did so much harm as a general with misguided ideas of what qualifies as a human
-EJoveJohnson

Aspirations

I am encased in flesh that is not my own

Surrounded on all sides by foreign doughy pinkness 

The mirror is a stranger 

A liar

A testament to my lack of worth 

I wear my ugliness 

My weakness of character as adipose armor

I am safe from success

From value

From lust

I am safe from everything but myself 

Terribly heartbreakingly safe except from me, my enemy

Would destroy myself 

Should destroy myself 

Wish I could destroy myself

To carve this self away like so much extra clay 

Feeling 

Damnable lightness 

-EJoveJohnson

Fly Kidz

Family over everything But

That’s just a photo op

An IG OG

Snap story’s who you try to be 

Say Fuck the Police

During criminal activity

But have em speed dialed when you trash talk your enemies

You’re a hypocrite 

With CGI validity

Unnecessary

Cuz you’ve always had a home

And a closet full of Jordans

Never had to wonder where your next meal was comin from 

Spoiled

With your struggle free lifestyle 

Live with your parents style 

Dress up act out but mommy cleans your house child 

You’re always gone with the shutter click 

Made lots of little families but you never stick

On some I miss them so much 

-prayer hands- 

But they live a block away tip

Cuz

Family doesn’t fit your image does it

You’re a town and country gangster

Approximating thug life 

As seen on TV 

Since it was never your life

Cuz hard sells

Crack to your kids 

Who have to live in the world you just rhyme about 

-EJoveJohnson

That’s Amore

You joke

A lot

About how I’m your nightmare

How

You’re just not that into it

You tell me 

In so many actions 

That we are two roads diverged in a yellow wood

That deforestation has brought back together 

I don’t want to be your worst case scenario

Love

I don’t want to be the path of least resistance

I want to be a choice you make every day

Knowing

Full well that the world is full of choices different if not better than me 

I can’t 

Love you into loving me back 

I can’t

Be the partner I hope to have 

I can be your partner 

And

I can accept what you give 

Or not

But with me 

There’s no halfway

There’s no feeling it out

There’s no casual

It’s forever or forgotten 

It’s the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie 

Or

A sun bleached flyer long since faded

So when you tell me 

You’re in

You’re my partner my team mate my cheering section my tough love my always

You’ve gotta mean it

Because I don’t do half measures

I’m not interested in going through life with or as an NPC

But that’s a problem 

Because

Lately 

I can’t feel you next to me

-EJoveJohnson

Such a lovely place

What do you do when the chips are down 

And

You’ve bet them all on the wrong horse

Or

Maybe not the wrong horse

Per se

But, like, maybe the horse wasn’t aware of the race

And here you are holding the bag

Buying the farm

And realizing there’s no bridge to cross with your chickens 

Because life does this weird thing where it keeps changing

The only thing you or i or we can be sure of is that we can’t actually be sure of anything 

Because I swear to god, or gods, or goddess, or Oprah 

That last week my biggest concern was buying non toxic make up 

And today 

I’m figuring out where to go with my career

Deciding decisively the trajectory of my life

I’m facing down the love of my life 

Who sees my dream or our life

As his worst nightmare

And

To boot

I definitely put those five pounds back on 

So where exactly do I go from here

How do I begin to think about tomorrow as anything more than the blade of a guillotine 

Because all I want to do 

Right now

Is Netflix and coma 

To arrive at the mirage 

Check in to the Hotel California 

And call it a life

Because I have not one solitary clue 

What to do

Or 

Where to go

I’ve built this life full of strangers 

For a stranger 

I’ve never met 

And here I am 

Unsurprisingly alone

Unfixed

Influx

Like a mirage at the edge of a waterfall

-EJoveJohnson

Coat Tails

This is uncomfortable

I

Am uncomfortable

Decision point approaches

And this time it’s my choice 

Or

Is it

Because whichever way I choose 

Is loss

Whichever way I choose

Is risk

And I don’t know who I am yet

So 

How can I make that bet

Because all I have 

Is a list of what I’m not

A dogged determination that I’m not quite sure what to do with 

I am frenetic energy spiraling toward entropy 

And, possibly

Taking everything I love with me 

Yet somehow decision point approaches

And this time it’s my choice

-EJoveJohnson

Connection 

There is not always beauty

Or symmetry

Or simplicity

In fact 

Easy is a fantastic beast and no one knows where to find it

Or how to find it

No one knows how

And that’s the problem 

We are tangled tangible chaos

Overlapping and intersecting incorrectly 

All the time 

And when you finally map the way you connect to another they’re gone

Or maybe they’re just different than they were

But it’s all the same thing because you’re not the same anymore either

And you’ve poured your heart into a roadmap to nowhere

So you start again 

Because everybody has to go somewhere 

And you spend your life trying to map an infinity of pivotal moments between people 

No longer strangers

Only to have never met them again 

-EJoveJohnson

Sing the Hollow

Come the hollow

Words that lie

Ephemeral

Cosmetic for aesthetic lives

Discarded

Wasting time just filling time 

Too much and somehow not enough

For meaning

Anything more than heartbeats fading

Cuz life is fear and frequent failure

Life is free fall seating one

It’s superficial harmony

With ghosts of who we thought we’d be 

Unliving

Hollow

Lives

-EJoveJohnson

A helpful tree for grieving

I want to leave nothing left unsaid Leave

Nothing to chance 

If only, at close of day, there were no ellipses

But I know I’ll forget something important

That

We’ll talk about the meaning of life but I’ll forget to say I love you

Or maybe

I love you is all I’ll get out

See

Despite Shakespeare

An entire life can’t be condensed into a single soliloquy

All the things I should have said won’t get said and one day you’ll be gone 

Or

I’ll be gone

Whoever goes first, there will definitely be a loss 

And 

I am not equipped for that unprepared ending

I am not prepared to say goodbye before I’ve told you that I love the way your hair smells like summer vacation 

That

Yours are the strongest hands I’ve ever held 

That you’re my swan in Monet’s water lilies and you’ve always been the lighthouse guiding me home

If the number of things I have to tell you was directly proportional to the amount of time I’d have to tell them to you

I’d read you every entry on google in every language ever spoken 

But

That’s not how it works is it

One day you’ll be gone

Or

I’ll be gone 

Whoever goes first there will definitely be a loss

And

I am not prepared for the ending 

-EJoveJohnson

Proximity

The intimacy of proximity

Otherwise strangers rest together softly

Momentary bedfellows on buses

Distinct lives, histories, and futures 

Collide in an infinitude of fleeting encounters 

The ephemera of their unknown 

Lingers

Her perfume in my hair 

His coat on my skin 

The accidental chiaroscuro of sunlight and clavicle exposed in unintended sleep

Captured, filtered, remembered

Anonymously

-EJoveJohnson