Category Archives: Poetry

The Night the Stars Fell from Heaven

at last something broke you
and that thing, it was you
you were closing your eyes
you were seeing it through

you blew up and sold
the world outside and within
and i fell on your black day
you showed me how to live

you showed me how to die
and no matter how hard i try
to stare at the sun
it is black to my blind eyes

and suddenly my eyes are open
somehow things begin to focus
high

we are all illuminated
light is shining on our faces
blind

until our rapture
falls to pieces

these are stolen
bits and pieces

*

new york is hot
how i loathe where i’m living
Bharata, you fought
now it’s i who is giving
up 
and now fly

now fly from your empty cage, girl
you are rust and the sky
always killing the bird
see, i am the night
jesus christ i suppose
see, i am the light

i don’t mean to remind you
of anything you gave me in song
you blessed my muse with your light
what you did was so wrong

the light in us was darkness
how the night is so long
light a fire, wait for summer
we black stars wander on

smoldering embers
september’s come and gone
here comes my december
half beast
and half gone

*

broken and cold
but all is still holy
halleiluah and through you
yes everything, holy

did we want it darker
so you turned out the light?

now i’m doing time
playing with meter and rhyme
longing to be in the house
of my own secret life

until the sea must free us
i’ll wait for you there
you came just to see us 
all we sailing where?

all of us sailors
rowers, keep rowing
now no light is showing
now the danger’s approaching

row gently, never gently!
upstream to ignite
row never gently!
rage at that night!

oh captain, my lying captain
turn around and take me home
a long time ago
i thought you’d died alone

everybody knows this boat’s leaking
all the white horses stopped sleeping
the ponies stopped running
i the band just keep playing
though the girls now are aging

lilac wine, sweet and heady
how my hand is unsteady
how aghast and unready
like my love that is ending
like the last night you danced me

when the music was over
you turned out the lights
you kissed me goodnight
with a thousand goodbyes

still in my dreams you walk dripping
from the sea where i’m slipping
from the sea that shall free me
to my hut that is ripping
through the masterpiece 
tripping

how my soul is worn thin
i can’t even begin
to speak
so i’ll speak no more

and if it be your will
i’ll sink beneath your wisdom
like a stone

like a stone
i’ll wait for you there

alone

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my eyes reflect
the void
i walk in
children walk by
i avert my gaze
they don’t need to see it

4/23/2016

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heavy

the burden of all being
rests heavily on me
for i am

the poet’s madness
communicable disease to the masses

memory I grasp at
who I was
what I was
before I was

this body
this story
unparalleled glory
unfettered and gory
seer and seen all the same

the one of infinite names
always coming and came

i bleed words into being
i breathe verbs into doing
what they’ve always done before

eternal occurrence
repeating endurance
faith discarded, acquired
again and again

this moment is heavy
my hand is unsteady
breathless and heady
thin air where i’m treading

prepare the unready
within you that’s getting
worn out and sold out
with every beat of the sun

nothing new
nothing special
and average at best you’ll
never find rest till
the tiller is turning you

the sun that is burning you
gives life through the chlorophyll
and finally free from
your burden of thought

~ justin aptaker, 7-28-2018

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8/30/19

Everyone’s been talking about how 
the universe will either expand 
indefinite cold star death
or collapse and then repeat itself

meanwhile i’m a slave proper
in every sense of the word physical
bound to the elements hunger
a criminal for speaking my thoughts aloud

a loud or a soft noise unheard
unseen and unknown and unthinkable
still I would try to define it
humanity, always effing the ineffable

i’m one and apart and the same all the same
the universe cloaked in name after name
every man and woman a star
in their own drama melodrama how dramatic

i am in a word addict
again you might say i’m back at it
rhyming with rhythm but static
sense or nonsense and i’ve had it 

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Laudanum

how can i afford the cure? 
the cure is my disease
how can i speak with words still pure? 
my doctor poisons me
yet will i laud
and make it
soft
the words of the wise
are plainly lost 

Written ca. 2011

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koans

like koans
halting in their tracks
your logical thought
processes like a train, black and long
when it runs in a padded room
small, silent, white

Written ca. 2006

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Kerux

the angel called out to me
Recite! 
But I said, 
“what will I recite with these unclean lips? “

So the angel ripped my larynx
out of my throat
and set it on fire
until it burned to ashes

then I began to recite

ca. 2011

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Just More Nonsense From Within Our Captivity

i and i wept
by the waters of Knoxville
remembering Zion
repatriation, what a notion
slowly, we came to our senses

the brave new world
closing in around us
we sought our refuge
at the doors of perception

timothy leary and
Marcus Garvey
were on a bad trip
together one day
when it began to snow outside
like grace
from heaven, falling
i was there with them
the angel of death

my thanatalivity
is all i know now
i will make it
to the end

ca. 2012

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Hubris Geneseos

Kerouac, if i share your life
must i also share your death? 
the inherent conflict lies in striving
only to be laid to rest

it weaves itself like black golden thread
through our dreams before we were human
collectively we are so much less
so much more
and soon

then i was face to face 
with the limits of love and grace
and every word i said
echoed back at me in the silence of my own mind

there, no sorrow
there, no regret
there, only me
and yet
and yet…

the hubris of giving birth
is the prime mover of this universe
and bearing the light, if i consume
my body, my soul, inside this womb
and draw all men into myself
until i am a living, breathing, burning tomb

until reality is compounded and condensed in me
until i’m a light which cannot see 

ca. 2011

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Hippocrates

it’s ready to happen
hours count down to launch, but the burners hum already
the structure is taken up
siphons slowly into the bloodstream

the catalyst, the moment
the agonist, the imitator

the perceptual set is set, and it’s famished
not even lit, and it’s waiting for more- 
the stimulant, the ignition
the doctor, the system

like inlets of blood, the freeways carry us to the city
like carcinogens, like poison medication
like aluminum, like exhaust

i too am carried
and when i reach that center
i am deposited, and begin to take effect
while i wait for my own poison to take hold of me
blood within Blood
and
poison in Poison
medication in Medication in MEDICATION
we make sure all of our cancers are medicated

it has happened already
but i am waiting for it to happen again
the freeway now quiets itself in anticipation
a new day to repeat
the city is ready for more

ca. 2006

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