Poetry: John Maurer

John Maurer
The Effect of Building a Greenhouse Out of Red Brick

I know as much about the wild as a houseplant, though I couldn’t enter into it even if I wanted to
It isn’t a choice is what I tell myself while I weigh out my options and ignore the scale’s balance
Upon a tree line, I look through leaves; I see me leaving the world more honestly than I entered it

Trust me, there’s a difference between cabin fever and a fever dream set in a cabin, I’d know
I’m going through both right now, right here where my delusions dilute each other’s strength Down into the soil that I grew from which now festers more problems than my roots can grasp

From a skyscraper away, the concrete makes the tangible just seem laughably unnecessary
I don’t fit in at public occasions and I’d further argue that I don’t feel like I fit in even in private
Even just a party of one is no fun for me if I know that I’m going to attend the event

Aiming for any vein of distraction while these statues carved out of words all fall the same way
To dust and all at once, and once again it’s just you and your thoughts trying to find a way back To a home you haven’t known but have imagined fully enough to carve its floor plan in stone

With your only visual reference being the back of the hand you are using to chisel it out
***

 
A Headstone on a Treadmill

Sometimes we need to run just to prove to ourselves that we still can
I’ve been to enough funerals that sometimes I cry for the same reason

Sometimes the acceptance isn't worth the gauntlet of rejection between itself and I
This is what the collective voices of doubt chant from the cavernous depths of my mind

Don't assimilate, don't let your life get plotted out on a bar graph or a pie chart
Don't get boiled down into crumbling numbers and a blur of integer residue

Don't get lost or caught in a web of finesse that protects their interests but never yours
Instead, find a way out from the same place where they say there certainly isn't one

This is playing Russian roulette with blanks in every chamber…if I remember correctly…
This is white paint on white canvas, a napkin poem invisibly inked that never radiates legibility

That being said, don't let them confuse you from writing memoirs that didn't happen
And don’t let them make you think twice about writing fiction that did
***


An Imagined Migration

I'm still learning how to inhale and exhale with proper timing
To draw in deeply an acceptance of self and a comfort in vulnerability
To push out without stress the selfish hauntings and the trauma too old

I'm trying to learn to let go of what's on my mind without losing hold of it entirely
I’m learning to let go of surface-level convictions and to resort more to refortifying my passion
While relearning how to believe in myself, I’m made to remember that it's a leap of faith

There will always be nothing but a thousand-foot fall beneath, but this has always been the case
So, if you hesitate at the cliffs edge and look back, you’ll remember why you were running
As Occam taught us with his razor, it doesn’t matter if it’s impossible when it’s the only option

With nowhere else to walk, it’s worth a try, I think while watching iguanas dive into the sea
And it makes me wonder; if you took away the water, how many weeks or generations 
Would it take for their scales and talons to turn into feathers and beaks?
***


Over Practiced and Undereducated

I don't require the validation of others, but I am still irked when I don't have it
I've laid the groundwork for the ground to be reworked into a garden
The petals of its flowers will be no less beautiful being unseen by my eyes
But I want to see them anyways; I want to see what the dirt I’m buried in transforms into

Maybe I've grown into the hedge maze, maybe I'm not lost at all
Losing over and over to analyze it, trying to reverse engineer it
That seems to be alchemy to me, only silver-tongued pablum to my ears
That I could ever write a poem that more than poets ever hear or read

I hope I don't die this year but, as I live and breathe, I have a funny feeling
like when you can’t remember the joke anymore, just how your lungs felt 
like they were going to collapse as you laughed yourself into hyperventilation
Like maybe I've done the best I can do, maybe it's time to rest
Yet, I am awake through the early and late hours still looking

Foraging for phonetic reflections of refracted light to paint these faceless portraits
Looking for words, looking for an order to put them in, looking for a way to say what I feel Without having to spell out my personal life for my books to sell out; I’m trying to tell you how
The record stays broken no matter the speed of the platter or the condition of the needle
All the while, I maintain my ability to claim I didn’t say this, I just said it without saying it

I think the stained glass pinatas look far more beautiful in mosaics on the floor
The milk glass used as a milk glass is better shattered too, most things are
Just ask the genuflection splinters still sitting deep under the skin of my kneecaps
Which have grown large enough and long enough to have rings that can be counted now
But instead, I sit in the back of my mind wondering if it is me who is counting me out

On my deathbed, I turn my head towards the white light, and I look my identity in the eye
When I finally am made to take the time to take stock of what I have and what I’ve lost
It is only in this final moment when paying the price that I recognize what life has cost me
In a twilight between temporal and whatever is or isn’t beyond, I plead at my own soul’s feet
And at the exact moment my soul speaks, I cease to exist to hear what I had to say to myself

As I fizzle out amongst my echoing whispers into the endless abyss of sonorous silence
***

Bio: John Maurer is a 27-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but their work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. They have been previously published in Setu Bilingual, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than a hundred others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)


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