Juan Chemes- Journey (to Kate Kirtz)


It’s the things I see with my eyes closed 
when I indent myself to be present
and my hope becomes hopelessly idle, 
(shut tight) in closed parenthesis. 

It’s my impostor syndrome at its best: 
urging me off the ledge, talking to me
the way false prophets prophesy
fasle prophets. 

It’s the promise of me that I failed, 
going nowhere in a hurry, running
from past thing that aren’t worth words; 
words from the book of —who cares now?

It’s the things I discuss in my mind,
(but never mind). The things that talk
to me in Hallmark card sentences; 
the way a cliché becomes a chiché.

It’s not even a matter of changing
but editing out your endlessness.
It’s my image in your countenance. 
It’s a fuck of sorts.

It’s my weak, but necessary restrain
from jumping into pieces.
It’s the blinders on the horse.
It’s whatever it is that it’s a “yes.”

But not today, and not right now.
Not inside this prayer.

(to Kate Kirtz)

I was deficiency, so I became another and thus my story started.
And, here’s to the adventure that tempts me out of the ordinary,
the same one I reject, only to inevitably embrace moments later.

Here’s to the magical helpers, the mentors, the ones that popped up
unknown, out of nowhere just to vanish —to unexpectedly return
at some point, to point the path—to save the day.

Here’s also to the trials, the tests, the belly of the beast, with its
enemies, allies and obstacles; its thresholds and its hieros gamus.
Here’s to finding love in the underworld of your crazed bar graphs.

The harrowing of my soul rewards me with the ultimate boon: 
the ascent, the magic flight, the refusal of the return, 
the apotheosis to come, and the rescue from without.

Here’s to the death of my dreams, the dark night of my soul
the sacrifices, the showdown, the climax, the resurrection and
every step that’ve made me a master of two worlds. 

Here’s to each and all of those phases, and every word from your notes
for I may not be a hero, but you’ve grant me more than a thousand faces
to tell the tale. So, here’s to you.

Juan Chemes earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Adelphi University, New York

About the contributor

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