James Diaz: Bodies That Linger
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente


I learned the able way

of bodies that linger in door ways too long

that speak the tongue of winter 

in corner market parking lots

surrounded by the sound of hunters like church bells

but they worship death

without the resurrection

I don't know what it's like 

and in your place I would surly crumble 

but you grip the wheel, I imagine, so hard -

you take the next turn and the next and the next

me, I don't even know how to drive

I'm scared all the time

and I don't know why

the worst really has already happened

there is this river in my darkest dream

and they named it dial tone 

skin of your teeth

and god is good 

with numbers

but not with names

I don't want you to be alone

ever my friend

and sometimes, sometimes

I don't know what to say

to make it all better

when the best thing I could possibly say

is exactly that. 

James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and editor (along with Elisabeth Horan & Amy Alexander) of the anthology What Keeps us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma (Anti-Heroin Chic Press, 2019). In 2016 he founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and Prison/confinement. His most recent work can be found in Moonchild Magazine, Occulum, Drunk Monkeys and Thimble Literary Magazine. He resides in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. He has never believed in anything as strongly as he does the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.