March 21, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

moren hsu photo



James Diaz




We Who Are Hard To Handle



I will redeem you

says failure to the front of the throat

where words trap under skin

like a shoe beneath ice

you can’t break through

walk the miles it would take you to get home

it’s never been your fault all that happened in trailer town

and the boom rail fourth of July pink smoke-smile hiding in box cars

the bruises backhanded when the heroin found the couch in your eyes and slept there all night


you know this trick where the light is on but no one is home

your mother taught it to you

and the world soon confirmed it


lost is how pain travels

that thin line getting thinner

cause something in you is hungry

and for more than just dinner.






When The Poem Fails You, I Won’t



I lay all my dirt into you

see this hand too

hip bone held together

with wire and all of those


falling from the rafter


I swear we were functional once

huddled against radiators


innocence lost;

cruelty found


I bend the light

for once


of the rules


the body is

half full

half empty-

one hundred

percent enemy


underneath this

failing skin

we are beautiful even broken


let the stasis unhinge

into hunger

it is all imploding

parking lots

the earth

outbound lanes

of winter and wires

holding us together

here in the dark


go be

the thing

that you

always needed

but never

until right now



good enough.







James Diaz

James Diaz lives in upstate New York. He is editor of the literary arts journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has most recently appeared in HIV Here & Now, Foliate Oak, Indiana Voice Journal, These Fragile Lilacs and Bad Acid Laboratories Inc.

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