nothing more than feelings

By on Feb 18, 2013 in Poetry

Scenes from 1967

to be alive & to feel that way:
to be here like a smooth black worry stone
there like a circling red tailed hawk
everywhere like hunger like music like hydrogen like faith
like the blood on the back steps of the Beauty Shop

to be alive & to feel that way:
to be strange like a charmed quark
afraid like that face in your mirror
empty like a row of yellow plastic chairs
in the Greyhound Bus station in Dayton Ohio at 3am
on February 19th, 1977
to be desperate & relentless like a shiny new stripmall
proud like my parents on their wedding day
shut down like the Troy Street Pool Hall on Christmas Eve
to be free & joyous like Chuck Berry
duckwalking across the stage of the Paramount Theatre
playing those perfect Chuck Berry chords
& making history a much more interesting subject to study
& shake your ass to

to be alive & to feel that way:
to be high & beautiful & brilliant & cool & above
& beyond it all even for a while
to fall like a bag full of bowling balls
heaved from the top floor of a parking garage
to pass out & wind up right THERE (wherever that is)
to come to the next morning
sprawled in front of some growling old yellow Frigidaire
& looking like one of those corpses
Matthew Brady photographed after the battle of Antietam:
to hear it because you have no choice because you can’t
the cold front thunderstorm rollin & tumblin its way thru town
the wind crying everything except Mary
to see it with your shattered hungover eyes
the blinding rain slashing across the casement windows
like Alexander destroying the Persian Empire
& slaughtering so many of his fellow human beings
in the process of becoming legendary
that the Persians finally decided to start calling him a God
hoping that an abject asskissing of that magnitude
would make him stop
which it did
but not for long
because nobody gets bored & bloodthirsty
faster than a God

to be alive & to feel that way:
to be angry like the argument about the argument
about the argument about the argument about which one of us
started the fucking argument
to be guilty like a drunk stealing money from his mother
nervouse like a loud hawaiian shirt
needy like the aging ParrotHead sweating away inside of it
to be happy for no reason & good for nothing
silent like snow falling disappearing
into the restless olive drab river
strong like Martin Luther King actually trying
to love his enemies 
to be secret like a shoebox filled with stolen diet pills
& rubbers & pictures of naked women & unsent love poems
& a diary i kept in the summer of 1967
but finally quit writing in because i couldn’t stand
telling the truth
even to myself

to be alive & to feel that way:
to stand in the cold front wind
the stinging rain that’s coming in straight & fast
to shut the fuck up for a change & pay some attention
to get it like an eviction notice:
everything & nothing
that’s what made me
& they didn’t have or need a reason to do it
it’s just how they roll whether you want them to or not
& one fine day they’re going to kill me
the exact same way

how lucky i ask you
can one man get… 


Jim Dwyer is a devout fallen-away Irish Catholic from Dayton, Ohio. He's 62 years old, cheerfully depressed, and grateful every day that he hasn't gotten what he deserves. His work has appeared on several compilation CDs: "The Best of the National Poetry Slam 2001," "The Very Best of the New York Urbana Slam 2003," and "Gladiator Night in Columbus, Ohio." He's also been published in The Iconoclast, Abbey, Plain Spoke and Mudfish. He lives now in Saint Petersburg, Florida and is often seen in the company of his amazingly patient and tolerant partner, Margaret Westendorf.


  1. I have known this poet and psuedo intellectual for some years now, and can attest to the fact that he has in fact not gotten that which he does so richly deserve.
    His poems are kickass, tho!

  2. You got to love and admire a poem that can mention the Dayton bus station and a shiny new strip mall in the same verse! Don’t know which one is more depressing though!