Tag Archives: Existential poems

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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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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Gloria Inferni

hell is not hot
if you think it is, it’s just because you haven’t been there
hell is like cool drink of water
but it gets under your skin
gets right where it hurts the most
understands your weaknesses
anticipates your failures
its always there waiting
crouching
silent

hell is not
anything you would expect
because the glory of hell
is to give the unexpected

ca. 2012

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Get it Right

go to school
obey authority
follow tradition
join society

go to church
worship god
get married
get a job

pay rent
be responsible
have children
stay faithful

work harder
be productive
rest and silence
are vulgar, seductive

wear clothes
don’t offend
don’t care
just pretend

act normal
stand in line
grow old
now you die

ca. 2016

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Gently

go gently, gently, into that good night
i will not rage
against the dying of the light

the light is blinding
and i am burned
leaving forgotten, all i have spurned

hello Darkness, my old friend
please impale my two-part heart
with the bleeding tip of my black-blooded pen
that way, maybe
that way, we will never speak again

in that sleep, surely no nightmares
may come
that are worse
than the present one

send me quietly into that good night
i will not fight
the dying of the light 

Written ca. 2011

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Eulogy

renaissance
San Francisco, a whisper in the wind tonight
tells of rebirth
not Beat
or beaten down
not beatific simply being

it is whispered that soon
we will all see our visions and dream our dreams
amidst the microchip mindbending screams
can you really, really believe? 

The true dawn begins tonight
at which I woke, and was alight
and the wind rushed through me like 
the rustle of dead leaves

San Francisco, I never knew
you but I hear of your deeds of renunciation and renown
they have echoed across time and space like starlight
that is evergreen

I have seen, I see, I will continue to see
me in you
you in me
I was born
not anachronistically
but just in time
just in time 

ca. 2011

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nameless

worlds within
and without are all waning
insatiable
chaos
vacuum
the void
which sat between heavens
heavens splitting the waters
the waters, the weeds
create living geometries

etch-a-sketch drawings
of silent mandalas

now the dreamweaver
lotus
now the lucid unwaking ones
who appear at your bedside
disdaining your closet

while you lie
awake
sleeping
hypnogogically paralyzed
their eyes burning green
freeze your skies
red
as

Christ
comes

you
trapped in misogamy
you
flying through tattered air
you
stoned off this oxygen
burned by the stare
of a mirror 

ca. 2006

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Grown

i’ve grown weary
of this story
growing
weary
of this frame
oh so weary
of this cosmos
in which I got this name

and I can’t remember why I came

I’m fearful for the leaving
can’t seem to quit the game
oh how I love this loathsome body
I carry with me night and day

and when I look into the mirror
I see a stranger face

sweet solace sought in speaking
my wearisome refrain
no rest foreseen in sleeping
if I must wake again
in lukewarm purgatory
on waves that toss and strain
in sitcoms just repeating
weary lines and jokes again

and again 

I’ve grown weary

of this story

growing

weary

of this frame

oh so weary

of this cosmos

in which I got this name

and I can’t remember why I came

I’m fearful for the leaving

can’t seem to quit the game

oh how I love this loathsome body

I carry with me night and day

and when I look into the mirror

I see a stranger face

sweet solace sought in speaking

my wearisome refrain

no rest foreseen in sleeping

if I must wake again

in lukewarm purgatory

on waves that toss and strain

in sitcoms just repeating

weary lines and jokes again

and again

~ justin aptaker, 1/6/2018

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totality

momentary clarity
seeing i’m human after all
grandeur drowned in mortality
i am all totality

i’m nothing at all
yes, feeling small
the largest of feelings
the hardest for telling

foretelling my futures
complexity looming
chaos consuming
hope always blooming

at the last minute
not done till i’m finished
never give up the ghost
just because you’ve lost hope

over the horizon
fixing my eyes again
flesh spirit battle weary
soul, hold me, onward dreary

love, you’re a mystery
a curse and a gift to me
the wind that keeps lifting me
the waves always drifting me

connected to feeling
in body, in realness
ethereal madness
fading some, can i grasp this

can you grasp?
i don’t ask this
my last breath, my life passed then
never to ask when
in an age, in an afternoon

breath fleeting leaving soon
inspiration the gentle moon
good night sweetly gripping me
i am all totality

ca. 2017 – 2018

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Invocation

come now
i welcome you
and as the sign of my invitation
i’ll smear some of my blood over my thoughts
before i write them down

come burning
like the ember at the end of my cigarette
which i burn ritualistically
like a sacrifice for sin

come, i’ll slay swine and serpents
to lay out for you
forgive me, it is all i have to give
but i understand that it is the sincerity of the giving
and not the gift
which you desire

and for your thirst
i’ll give a bitter gall
that is all
i have, for your thirst or for mine

but come
come in time
i pine
away
like every day
you ever made

i ask for no angels to herald your arrival
lest wiser men arrive
and present you with better gifts
than i can afford

come Lord

ca. 2011 – 2012

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