Poetry- by Micah James Bauman

Love conquers all

says the unbroken heart
the playful, unbroken heart
as love stands over me
in a gas station restroom
I dance before the mirror
to an unfamiliar pop song
playing over the speakers
love has conquered this place too
why would it bother
this is a filthy facility
with a condom dispenser, fifty cents each
“manufactured with pride”
for any man who should want
I walk out of the restroom
I head towards the exit
of this building conquered by love
I look around and see
soft drinks, gossip magazines,
newspapers and cigarettes
do I want one drink before I leave
do I approach the pretty girl
standing there among potato chips
and overpriced candy bars
I leave with saucy wings
but not before the man
at the register asks if I want
a free drink today
of course I accept this offer
and move on to another place
soon to be conquered by love

A Tale of Revenge

When I was just a kid, living in the Gardens
I was not yet the thrower of stones,
the tosser of toy trucks,
and cinder blocks.
Often at my mother’s expense—
the windshield of her car cracked into
a firework bloom—
In those days I was the victim.
Stones thrown at me, over and over
by some brat from the neighborhood.
I was trying to make my way back home.
But the stones kept coming. Until luckily,
though I didn’t immediately sense my luck,
one of the rocks knocked my glasses off and
launched them into the grass of an empty lot.
Was this what brought him running, or
was it his mother’s appearance at the back door?
Soon both of us were searching the lawn.
“They are probably really expensive, right?”
I did not know their price but did not think
It could be very high. But, I nodded my head.
“Oh yes.” I said. “Very expensive.”
He kept looking toward his mother
who was now slowly walking our way,
I had already found my glasses,
hid them behind my back, and slipped
them into my pocket. I waited and watched
while he searched and searched the grass.

The Valley

Here i am again
back in the valley
a deep depression
below the mountains
a worker asks me several
questions about my “history”
and my “preferences”
I’d prefer she didn’t ask
someone else takes me
to another room
he tells me to strip
then gives me a dirty look
as if I’m doing something wrong
he holds a pen and paper
studies my nakedness
noting any scars or cuts
I am now led into my room
I rest my now-clothed body
the bed will remain unmade
and I will not do my laundry


I was eager to arrive at the hospital
The ambulance ride was uncomfortable.
I spent the entire three-hours
staring out the window.
As we passed my favorite restaurant
I thought back to what the doctor said
while I laid in the ER: “You live
in America. You should laugh.”
So when I arrived at the hospital,
I tried to be funny.
Being the joker for the other residents,
making them laugh.

In America,
you should laugh

I don’t recall many of the jokes.
There was plenty of material
in the morning routine,
which included questions
about our bowel movements.
Trust me.
I was funny.
For certain.
And that way
no one noticed the stitches
on top of my head.


The words “Trust no one”
were tattooed across her chest.
The design was not the best,
but it told me I could trust her.
If she trusted no one,
What about her friends?
What about her family?
What about the tattoo artist?
A misunderstanding,
but she insisted I was gay.
I could not convince her otherwise
“Its ok, I’m bi.”
I let it slide. Maybe,
she had no brothers, friends
or family like I did. Perhaps,
she was a little strange.
My father is gay,
but I am straight–
a fun fact I used to tell
my classmates.
“It’s not your fault.” they’d say.
I had never considered that.
It doesn’t work that way.
Everyone in the hospital
was a little strange,
including Stella,
whom I trusted.
Though, she told the girls
and other patients I was gay.
They nodded their heads
and assured me “It’s okay.”


About the contributor

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