2 poems by Jamie Mortara

SOBER POEM

i don't drink anymore
and i don't smoke anymore
and i don't smoke
anymore
and i don't love anymore
or
at least
not the way i used to
not the way i am told to
like how watching a Coors Light commercial
isn't Drinking
they tell me it ain't love
if i don't have my lips on it
if i'm not consuming it
if it ain't
ice cold
and sweating
in my palms
no
it's not
courage
when held
like an excuse
when swung
like a blame
yeah i have heard
the love-as-drug cliché
in every song
in every bar
in every
single
one
of your relentless voicemails
but what else
am i to think
when all of this
Not Me
is far enough from my blood
for my body to no longer
crave it
how was i to know
how afraid i was
of skin
without knowing my own
solitary
quiet
my own
complete
hollow
how we are each
a box of what
we are given
and i never knew
how heavy
you made me
until i was finally
empty
how as a teenager
i used to savor
the hunger pangs
the brutality
of sprinting across the soccer fields
in July heat
my stomach left with little choice
but to gnaw at itself for a change
i have watched the fire enough
to know
how it will eat itself
to death
until nothing
is left but Starving
now tell me that
ain't human
tell me
the whiskey
the ash
the tongue
were all to dull
the hurt 
when we all know
how much i loved
the punishment
of morning

 

 

 

 


THE LION AND TIGER MAY BE MORE POWERFUL BUT THE WOLF DOESN'T PERFORM IN THE CIRCUS 93.3 SOMETHING SOMETHING: THE WOLF (AN iHEARTRADIO STATION)

if you were to ask me where the Mason-Dixon line is exactly
i'd say:
it's the very moment you pass the Phillip Morris Cigarette Tower off the side of I-95
i'd say:
it's wherever i can get this prescription filled before i hit Florida
since Tennessee makes me suicidal enough already
i've got two words for you: threshers
i've got news for you:
somebody's been drinking wine coolers in the Walmart bathroom again
now if you're afraid of falling asleep at the wheel just turn the radio on
listen to our country gradually twist itself crazy
hear us Ouroboros-eat ourselves silly
isn't it funny?
to know that you're at least better than something?
to know you're at least not one of Them?
that you're just Passing Through it?
to have it all at enough distance that you don't have to fight it?
okay i'd like to amend my prior statement:
it's more about Americans not knowing where they end
and where America begins
it's how thunderstorms will feel so far and forever
but on the highway we can drive fast enough out of it
like how i sped myself past an entire year
and took responsibility for nothing
i'm sorry:
our generation just has too much art about dying in a car
i'm sorry i'm so good at watching gas prices and knowing when to leave
can you remember the name of that Wounded Cowboy song that sang on the stereo
when we rolled our tired asses into Richmond all sundown about it?
i hadn't planned on crying in front of Alison like that
i hadn't planned on sobbing at the shoulder of some Texan road a week later like that
listening to some old white man advertise end-of-the-world foodstuff rations and body armor
warning us all about Obama's apparent New World Order
i hadn't planned on loving a murderer but it raised me
an American
is not
a complex
of occasions
but malfunctions and detours and infractions
an American
sleeping with their mouth open
on average
will eat 5-10 ghosts in their lifetime
will consume the haunt buried underneath their own homes
and what's more American
than having an unused room in the house
and calling it “the office?”
what's more criminal than hoarding all this space
and calling it “business?”