“ Cheers To The Divorce I’ll Never Have”

Can’t hold down a relationship when I carry depression for one.

Can’t start a family; I still remember the moment when that childhood bubble popped and spilled alcohol all over the rug.

It’s the middle of winter and I’m pouring out PBR on the front steps.

Some for those already gone and some to remind me it’s a slippery slope…

– Joshua Tool 01/07/17

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“Implied Shapes”

The lamp

Tall, brass, bent, dusty, discarded

Sitting nervously & disheveled underneath the staircase

Bowing in the crawl space where I’d kept my musty middle school journals

Rested against recycled vintage apple boxes

Somewhere in the absence of light bore a figure of a single limbed creature

The burnt, brown suspended bulb dangling and clinging against its pull chain

An old red shag rug rolled vertically into the corner

I forced the door against the clutter and squeezed into the piled up past

I sat atop a filled crate and paged through journal entries from a time I didn’t have spell check

I became half of a shadow as my eyes tried to adjust to the lack of light

Implied shapes made monsters out of old mops

I wiped the cobwebs from my hair and smeared them on my pant legs

Almost forgetting the film on my hands I licked my fingers and continued through my entries

Implied shapes

The absence of light left my mind to wander

In the shadows

Where I have always painted my best pictures

The lamp still rested

Tall, brass, bent, dusty, discarded

As I painted

As I implied shapes on pages

-Joshua Tool 12/08/17

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“Rock Bottom Is A Good Foundation To Build On”

I gave you my sour green apple starburst; you gave me the sour cherry flavor as even trade. Our mouths salivating; teeth squeaking and sticking on sugary colored corn syrup squares as we reached for the next one before we’d even finished the sweets on our tongues. Softly digging our nails underneath the small triangular waxy folds. Peeling its machine made origami in the blue tint of the tv as we lay naked in bed. I set my alarm to please our projections of linear time and set my phone back on its charging dock. I took my antidepressants as you’d crack the window. We turned our warm bare backs to each other, slapped and squeezed our pillows, and softy said goodnight. Weaving and stacking our legs and feet together. We didn’t even brush our teeth. 

I thought of this moment in the gas station the other day. I am nearly 30 days sober now with a whole lot of climbing back up to do. Quite literally, I am taking up rock climbing now; and meditation; I’m also building everything I said I would when we first met. Now do to a lack of sugar intake that I would before ingest with alcohol, I crave sweets like crazy and I had to make an impulse buy at a Shell on the south side right next to the highway. I bought some sweet and sour starbursts. I purchased them from a disgruntled attendant who looked at me funny, like; really? A 30 year old buying candy? Maybe it was just in my head. I shook it off and shoved the bag into my front gray pullover hoodie pocket and jumped into the dirty white transport van that was taking me home from my substance abuse class. It smelled like stale cigarettes and frustration. I’m not allowed to drive anymore. The sun was quickly making its way behind the mountains and was completely dark about halfway through the ride home. I pulled out my yellow king size bag of Starbursts, only to discover it was nearly 50% sour green apple and I had no one to trade with. I absolutely despise green apple, but I ate them anyway. I tried to eat them first so I would have the flavor I liked at the end.

 
I’m always waiting for the best parts at the end. 
Somehow I always just wind up with sour green apple and no one to trade with. 
-Joshua Tool 08/25/17

No Oasis For Old Orchids

Our relationship was like the orchids I forgot to water for months.

So beautiful and full of color and life and potential for growth in the beginning; but I forgot to water you.

And like my orchids the sun took you away.

Burnt up and burnt out.

I stayed inside for weeks at a time after that.

Watering my liver down with an endless stream of alcohol, while I talked with my shadow about how badly it wished to be cast at my feet in the sun once more.

To run through the sprinklers and shower storms.

I finally made it outside again, but I sit in the shade.

I sit and smoke

and tremble.

I am not a religious man but for some reason I found myself in a prayer position.

My hands pressed flatly together against my lips, pointed towards the sky, dissecting my face in a vertical fashion.

My thumbs pushing into my lymph nodes.

Staring at the garden as I ponder if this was a taught position or instinct.

Somehow it felt right.

Like biting your nails before a job interview, or pacing in the waiting room of a hospital.

I play in the dirt in hopes to dig up some pieces of me that got burnt up in our drought.

I shook.

My DTs were acting up again.

Better get something to water them down.

I pushed my lips to the soft tops of my knuckles on my now balled fists.

Like at least I won’t let go of me. But I would.

I then pulled my head back and separated my fused fingers.

Even I let go of me.

 

We grew & loved within a carnal connection;

until the weather changed for the worse and withered.

My heart. My art. My blind and trusting romanticism.

Everything I worked for

 

I was doing alright before I met you,

and now even I let go of me.

“Brackish;”

To be clear and unclear at the same time 

I created you in my basement. 
I made your hair out of recycled violin strings. 
I made you breathe with what is left of my screams. 
I made your hands out of old wooden things… 
I found them on the street.
I made your face. Your identity; with broken shards of glass from a mirror I broke when I was 17. 
I made your eyes out of marbles that looked like the oceans southern beach in a hurricane. 
I made your tongue out of the words that I drooled on my pillow whilst sleeping in a dream. 
I made out with you. 
I made you.
I made you up. 
-Joshua Tool 07/07/17

“Bloodline”

The click of the burner raised my ears.

Smelling the sizzle of browning butter.
Coloring each slender bead of rice with a spice that only the South knows as home.
More splash and turning with a wooden spoon.
How can I remember things that I haven’t experienced with this array of sensations?
Nothing like a home cooked meal.
Our memories retract as our stomachs fill.
You taught me soul:
Love.
Warmth.
That a family meal wasn’t just something to pass the time.
That it is re-energizing.
Cathartic.
A social phenomenon.
As we taste together.
As we share our days.
We are one.
We are love.
I sparked the second burner.
And asked you for the salt.
This is everything.
I love you.
-Joshua Tool 06/27/17

“It’s Kind Of Like Drowning, Only To Know You Will Be Resuscitated” 

Do you remember the first time we saw each other outside of work? 

I brought you to the everlasting DIY venue, The Flux Capacitor.

You wore a green belly shirt and black puffy oversized parka.

I was so scared to touch your hand but I wanted make sure you were safe next to the pit. 

I failed. 

The tide pushed the bodies and you were slammed into the wall. 

I felt so bad.

But you took it like a champ.

That’s the first time I knew I loved you, yet was still scared to touch your hand.

This was the purest form of how we were or knew each other. 

Now we hate each other.

Well, I assume you hate me.

It’s hard to find hate in my memories. 

Yet I try to wash your name out of my mouth.

I will probably be losing moments of my life very soon. 

Like trying to write on a blackboard with a pen. 

Soon I will find myself doing push-ups as I think about this moment. 

Where have we come.

I am still a creator.

I am still to overcome a task of the relentless daytime tv of prison. 

And I will.

And I don’t care where you wind up, as long as you are happy and the kids are safe. 

I will keep this with me as something to pass the time and smile.

And cry.

If only words were made of clay, I would smash the mold and reform where we have come.

Mabye they’ll have clay in jail. 

-Joshua Tool 06/16/17

“Skin Graft”

I saw a window.

It was of the inhabitants of our nocturnal natures.

I kissed your hand in this mirror and you kissed my forehead back.

We wore matching outfits like a fucking Gap commercial.

It was solid baby blue sweaters with paisley under button-ups.

I loved it.

And than the house caught fire with flames like we had burned for each other.

The firefighters started blasting their green phallic water “whatevers” onto the flames as the smoke rose and the window broke.

My mirror is gone.

I only look at a soggy ember memory.

I saw myself try to jump out of that window for self preservation.

But I never quite reached the guts.

Now I have a chard face that no-one, not even I, had the stomach to look at.

So maybe its good the window broke…

But the memory remains.

You were burned into it, as I tried to douse the passion with my own salty watery eye drop “whatevers” onto it.

I go back to that house from time to time.

Luckily there is still not a mirror to reflect my unrecognizable face, but your memory still lives in those blackend walls.

I mostly sit there and think…

And weep for our perfect mirror.

If only I had enough water to lend, we could still reflect in that nightly window.

Exposed and perfect.

Next time I will…

I will put you first out of the mirror and use my water to save our window.

-Chronicles Of A Flame

-Joshua Tool 06/14/17

“This Sugar Is Eating My Bones” (A Crevasse With A Veiw)

Stainless skin moves round in clockwise circles of ink.

Pacing the cemented down stainless steel oval of tables that have worn too many men’s impressions to go unmarked. 
I sit.
Cold in my oversized orange dress & watch these callused conferences carrying into cackles & I forget. 
Where I am. 
I shit in front of peers & we all wore the same sin. 
I did my hair in the scratched piece of metal called a mirror and brushed my teeth next to those you would not associate with or sit next to on the bus. 
I haven’t slept. 
I wrote this with my back turned & haven’t flinched.
These are not monsters.
These are just men. Artists. Poets. 
Made to wear the wrong skin. 
-Joshua Tool 05/25/17