“Black Mold”

I am always uncomfortable

Like my anxious husk is ready to peel

But instead

Just dies and dries and could blow away in the lightest breeze

Like there are boulders in my throat with nowhere to go

Like a lover always pushing too hard on my sternum

A tensing tongue and ground up gums

It’s brushing your teeth to blood and falling asleep just to numb

It’s a constant hangover without the hooch

So I drink

Cause it doesn’t seem to matter if I do

And then it does

I am always uncomfortable

-Joshua Tool 02/05/18


“Heart Shaped Handicapped Sticker”

a limp

Something that brings attention

Like your smile but crueler

I try to dance it off

Cacti swimming in my blood

Tingle and pierce

I shake my bum leg

I walk to you and kiss you on the mouth

I fall and kiss you on the hand

My princess

I am paralyzed from all of the years walking the wrong way

Away from you

-Joshua Tool 01/23/18


Chipping my teeth on hotel ice left over from the bucket we had chilled the champagne in

You stared out into the down pour that was Portland, or was it Seattle?

I don’t remember, it was my birthday and I was drunk

White noise slapping the streets as it’s mist passed through the screen on the half opened window

I guess you aren’t allowed to open windows fully in hotels anymore

Too many jumpers

Window still open, I set the bucket of half melted ice on the dresser

I wonder if it will rain all night? I thought to myself

I hope it does

Something so perfectly tangible about rain

and calming


Like no matter how much blood I drool on my shirt, somewhere there is grass growing greener

Window still open, we cleaned out the mini bar and jumped

Right into bed

the mist beading on our faces

We chipped our teeth on each other’s

I passed out with my socks on

It would be and Irish breakfast in bed

and It was still raining

-Joshua Tool 01/20/18


“Empty Spaces”

I find a tub

One that has feet

And that can also accommodate my scraggly limbs

And it sits in the living room

It is not hooked up to any plumbing so I bathe in only sun from the window

Splashing on dust and the furniture that has scratched the old wooden floors

and staring at the exposed brick walls

That look as if someone where playing piano when the mason had nestled them together

Tones bouncing and falling

The mortar dripping and hardening

I sit until my spine hurts like an over used bible

And stare at the dancing dust

I think about painting the ceiling cerulean

And decide that would be hideous

I think about Love

And what it means

I think about you

But I also think about me

And how there isn’t room for two in this tub

And I’m okay with that.

-Joshua Tool 01/19/18


“Memory Foam”

That single moment when I forgot what it’s like to share a bed

Was the day I truly let go of you

Now I leave my dirty socks all over floor and leave the light on until 4 am

-Joshua Tool 01/15/18


“Thoughts In The Shower”

Life has giving me so much soil

Some from my fathers hand

Some from my mothers heart

Some from my brothers pocket

And I have planted many gardens

And didn’t bother to water them

If somehow I can remember to water the earth I was gifted

I too, someday might give you a rose

-Joshua Tool 01/14/18


“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


Like My Poetry? Grab Your Copy Of My Book! Link In About Me!


“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.