Archive for the JAMES DIAZ Category

This Time by James Diaz

Posted in JAMES DIAZ with tags on April 7, 2021 by Scot


This time

the past is the past
depends on how bad it really was

he hit me here
and here
in the parking lot of the auto mechanic’s
neon glow
I said do it again
and I’ll put you in the ground

there was a name my mother used to call the neighbors
angrily in Spanish
there was a way she held the salt shaker in her hand
that reminded me of
a solo dancer
heels clicking on a sad High school gymnasium floor
abandoned by her date for a hotter flame

my father was at the race track
with the rent again

I was sent after him
around the corner
with my tiny hands
held out like contrition
momma says tell him milk and bread
I say I won’t forget this pain, ever
my only inheritance

tonight i cut deeper than I expected
the vein in me sang the whole chorus this time,
she cooed like a rail yard
at the end of the world
I looked like I felt
like I looked hooked up to the moon
trailed by barking dogs and no last name
they said it wouldn’t hurt so much if I just handed it over to him

they were wrong

it had a life of its own
a death-bell
that i ate like laughter
motel-vacancy in my eyes,
past the bone
is the spirit
past the spirit
is the pain

you can’t outrun what you are –
not ever

it’s twenty dollars to forget
it’s twenty years
to remember

the county off road & grid
in the tall pine
moon mother
shouts after tail lights
disappearing into the mountains
her daughter, in her mouth –
she breaks the thing in two

a god of silence
walking home
to build a wreckage
from her womb.

Drifter by JAMES DIAZ

Posted in JAMES DIAZ with tags on March 1, 2021 by Scot


good god
he’s swinging the sink
out the window again
and just how many blue birds
can one man chase around the yard
until the cops arrive
lovable little creature
of the neon mountain
come chew the size of this hurt
down for me
cancel all my debts
lend me a good pair of shoes
for the road I’m walkin’ on

how hard did you drive those dreams
into the ground,
must have hurt when no one saw what was comin’
and you had no clean clothes
upon release
shufflin’ along the highway
aching to be
but only dyin’ in time

there is a pure flash of life
you chase like a dog his tail
linger on what could have been
like the yellow
patch of light on the surface of the water
you aren’t really there
but you are still a sight to behold
ragged brother
I know what went wrong
I know it ain’t ever gonna get better

three drinks in
it’s the one thing I have left to give you
a poem that ain’t gonna lie to you no more
not tonight –
tonight, brother, I can feel the cold
coming off your bones,
I’m handin’ over my shoes
cause some things words just can’t fix.




James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (forthcoming, Alien Buddha Press, 2021,) as well as the founding Editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared most recently in Cobra Milk Mag, Bear Creek Gazette and Resurrection Mag. They live in a far too cold and snowy upstate New York, where they are waiting patiently for the Spring. 

This Is Not A Poem by JAMES DIAZ

Posted in JAMES DIAZ with tags on May 9, 2017 by Scot


I’m more of a Cassandra with
my fingers on the pane
of Gettysburg
and early in the morning
it’s the birds territory
we step into
borrowing things
that belong to them
not just songs
but language barriers
and sometimes
falling out of trees
at night
even if only on the inside


JAMES DIAZ is the founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in HIV Here & NowFoliate OakChronogram, and Sick Lit Magazine. His first book of poems, This Someone I Call Stranger, is forthcoming from Indolent Books (Fall, 2017.)