James Tyler earned a BA from Austin Peay State University. He has been published in journals such as Chiron Review, Cape Rock, Poetry Quarterly, and Doubly Mad among others. He currently resides in Nashville, TN.


Trigger Warning

I haven’t written a poem in a long time.
The words were missing, lost children.
Inspiration smelled like rotten summers
with nights of too much wine, no sleep.

In those dark times that shadowed the days,
when mornings carried too much weight,
when friends turned to fiends, candles snuffed,
I swam in a lake of stones that cut the eyes.

Feet of feather, but head of lead. Burdened
and burned. The pieces, the bare fragments
on the ground and under the ground,
and hope lies somewhere between grey and gray.

The horizon is dark, even in the afternoon.
Flowers wilt as I pass by, evil wind.
Books waste in water, music crumbles slowly.
I can’t. The senses melt. The poem shreds.

Another pill that doesn’t work.
Hate is a strong word, especially when turned
on the self. I try to rise. I try to breathe.
I can’t.

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