“Driving Slow In The Left Lane”

You were as deep as the wishing well I am currently bathing in. Like paint transfer you’ve scratched your colors on me and I can’t seem to scrub them off. Like beauty was only a dent in this car wreck. You were a hit and run. Now I am a machine left with red reminders on my body. You are now as deep as the paint job you have covered up on my counter black paint transfers. If only I had insurance I could paint over you. But thanks for the fast times. I think I’ll look both ways before crossing a four way stop next time. 

-Joshua Tool 10/15/17


“Tuning By Ear”

There are many strings in this world

Some if you pull them just right they can make beautiful, love inspiring music
If you pull too hard they snap and become only be meant for things like puppets 
If you are good enough you can tightrope across them
I feel I’ve been tightroping for far too long
Yet now I am ever so slightly twisting patiently on the cello 
The sound of which transformed me to move me and make me feel real, 
the very same one that would be played too hard, break and make me dance in an uncontrolled and undesired way
Pulling me back and forth over the tightrope like Pinocchio
Tuning a piano is hard but it seems to be the only strings I want to tightrope with 
I want to be a string that you can tune by ear. 
A string that makes you dance without puppet shackles. 

-Joshua Tool 10/12/17

“Learning How To Compartmentalize 20 Minus Ten”

Khaki slims held quietly in the closet.

I made a profession from pure observation.
I can’t stop thinking about death.
Or loss. 
My god why can we be so repugnant. 
Or beautiful.
Or both.
My body is somewhat of an over used book.
Read and returned, cheaper each borrow.
Or like Beck replaying your prom.
Once endearing and then nobody makes mixed tapes anymore. 
I see blue more majestic now.
I see you as conundrum.
How many showers will clean this old book, without smudging the wording. 
“My embarrassing admission is I am glad that you’re nice.”
And my blankets swam on the window pain. 
Joshua Tool-


“When Zero Is Tangible”

Something touched me like a taser gun 

Like a lazy priest only tickling my raised adrenaline forced bumps and pink scars 
Like whatever he said was okay but broken 
Like Latin tongues struggle not to roll 
Riddle me this
Can a chicken really be a reference to how to be a man? 
Can our atoms thrust enough to create a heavy melted crayon observation 
Like fire was meant for our mouths 
To burn ears and hairs
To tell a story about memories that once made home a real place 
I burn every night
-Joshua Tool


“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

“Ambulance/Water Floaties” 

I hear sirens scream past my street about 5 times a day…

I am always worried they are coming for me.

Because I have stolen too many breaths from favorite poets and too many hearts in my memories.
I sit and write

And cough 

These cancer sticks have replaced where I used to breathe on your neck and ears. 
You’re now a soundtrack to my biggest fears.
Like listening to someone talk underwater.
“I’m not waving, I’m drowning” – P.O.S. 
I wade in sweat and sips of what was once your perfect scent. 

Or at least what I believed was you. 
I’m still treading, waiting for someone or something to pull me from the depths. 
I hope they jump in soon because I am gasping and as a smoker I don’t have the endurance to tread as long as I used to.
I hear sirens again.
I think this time they are coming for me. 
-Joshua Tool 07/23/17

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.


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

“Ode To Ma”

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: 
That a family meal wasn’t just something to pass the time. 
That it is re-energizing.
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