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.

Related Articles

3 poems by Deborah Purdy

Deborah Purdy's work has appeared in Gravel Literary Magazine, Cleaver Magazine, and other publications.

‘The Use of Fear’ by Hilary Sideris

Hilary Sideris's latest collect is 'Un Amore Veloce' (Kelsay Books 2019)

‘October’ by Mary Beth Hines

Massachusetts poet Mary Beth Hines.

More Like This

Poet, Christian Garduno

Christian Garduno edited the compilation Evolver and his own solo poetry collection Face, while a History undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley.

3 New Poems from Matt Hohner

Matt Hohner won the Oberon Poetry Award in 2016

Tickled Pink, poetry by Kevin Kling

Kevin Kling was named the Minneapolis Storyteller Laureate in 2014. He has written five books.   


Poetry by Carolyn Martin

Writing poetry since her twenties, Carolyn’s first project was to rewrite the Bible. ‘My poems attempt to be simple in words as they grapple with the complexity of being on earth right now.’

Three Poems by Glenis Redmond

I confront the weighted history of the red clay South. I dig deep. I strive to say the unsayable, while listening to the music of the multitudes that walk with me: my known and my unknown ancestors that seek to be heard.