Two Poems by Zachary Kluckman, the Founder of MindWell Poetry

 

DEPRESSION BUILDS A SCARECROW 

 

sitting hunched over

the shipwreck of your sternum

churning breath from burning lungs

 

                        searching for survivors in the blood

 

all the little birds beneath the wrist

 

                                                                        a pulse

 

                        a pulse

 

a black bird

 

            perched on every rib

tearing the flesh from your chest

with bone sharpened beaks and tongues

cut from razor-wire fence

 

                                                                        depression is

 

            an abusive relationship you have with your skin

 

sitting cross-legged in the dark

a mattress tossed on dirty floors

rocking and whispering

 

                                    prayers to a god you don’t believe in

 

            to any god who will listen

.

.

.

.

 

IT’S OK TO SAY I’M NOT OK  

 

something I am                                   working on

 

                                    asking for

 

the side effects of a life lived alone / when you steal your own tongue / seal it in a jar /

send it / home / with the child you might have been / if not for its weight / if you had

someone

 

who lives in your head                                   six months a year

                                                who listened

 

without changing their name / fact / when you sew your tongue / to the roof of your

mouth / with your own lips / to avoid / goodbye / you become someone new every

day / someone who forgets how to say –

 

watch your mouth                               wilt like a flower

                                    when it hurts

 

How many serpents of razorblade / can you hold / in your throat / before the words

/ cut themselves / loose / how many nights / did I pillow my face / with the forgetful

-ness of breath / scream my suicide into cotton / while writing / this poem

 

exists                                                   means

                        I must have made it

 

must have washed / thunder from my clothes / the rain from my blood / until the sky /

like a champagne flute / shattered its dying rose / through the letters in my name /

how it aches to pick yourself / from a lineup / in the closet / every morning

 

if you stand                                         in your own shadow

                                    long enough

 

you learn to speak/ those three little words / I’m not ok / to mean / becoming

comfortable with your own birth / sets graveyards on fire / a thousand tombs violent

rocking / how the trees applaud

 

how a child                                                     with your familiar face

                        stares from your mirror

 

returns your voice / as your bones release / their butterflies

About the contributor

Zachery Kluckman
National Poetry Awards 2014 Slam Artist of the Year, Kluckman is a Gold Medal Poetry Awards Teacher and a founding organizer of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change program. He has two collections, tours as a spoken word artist, and was recently invited to Kenya's Kistrech Poetry Festival.

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