Leah Lovell Green CC
The road stretches its jaws
swallowing the horizon in concrete lamplight
the weight of the evening pressing in thick and heavy
summer cotton sticking to warm thighs and damp spines.
My feet tingle as they slap the pavement
calloused and worn they welcome the
midnight wanderings of a soft mind
bruised by the hardness of reality:
there is nowhere to go but on.
I pluck a dandelion and nestle it into crazed locks
pick a few more and braid a crown
fit for the queen of the lost
the forgotten, the damned, the discarded
the ones who wander — and wonder
— and get absolutely nowhere
those who never learned to come home.
I suck on gold-stained fingertips
humming to cicada songs vibrating the air
searching for somewhere to lay down my weary bones
as dandelion heads fall from my hair
littering the road in my wake.
I make castles in the sandbox
of a school playground beside the highway
carefully erecting every tower
bringing to life the haven I dream of
until I find myself caught once more
by the beckoning call of the night
my kingdom falling at my feet as
cool sand shifts between naked toes
and I find my way onto the road again.
I wonder why I roam the streets
playing hide and seek with the dawn
when I long for a place to come home to at night
to rest my tired soles.
But I love making dandelion crowns and sandcastles --
reaching for ghosts in the midnight fog
searching for something solid to hold in the dark
I keep coming back empty handed.
Anthem of a high school dropout
We are the damned ones
living between the cracks, running nine to five streets,
basking in the sunlight, learning lessons in the eyes
of the ones nobody wants to look at:
those angels sitting on street corners with
baseball caps and dirty needles --
they found heaven and learned the price of bliss:
burning in hellfire on main street pavement
until they are allowed back home again.
This is how we learned to live:
crashing through the front doors of the school
the wind at our backs as the principle screams
that we'll end up dead and wasted,
but his eyes are just as dark as our angels'
and we know the truth
we are all dead already, coffins carved
into the shape of classrooms and cubicles;
but we seep through the cracks
our flesh feeds the worms,
decaying and rotting in the earth,
bleached bones crawling onto sunburned pavement
as we go searching for heaven once again.
Perry Gasteiger is a queer, non-binary poet. Their work focuses on the mundane darkness of our everyday world using juxtaposition between the real and the abstract, the beautiful and the deformed, the congruent and the disordered. Perry aims to see the easily unnoticeable in an evocative and empathetic way.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.