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ry downey


I'm sorry darling
I got lost on my way.

The beach is dark at night
you know
when there is no moon
to see by.
Whitecaps are not white
and not seen
except by the ears.

The grip of death so close
the reaching arms of the waves.
To die on a beach
so far from home

what a wonder!

It's dizzy in the dark
every direction the same
and the eyes blacked.
Wait until they adjust to the dark.

Will they ever adjust?
The waiting is a lifetime
and I wish I was a cat


knowing all and speaking
nothing but a sound
that speaks my name.

I lick myself and blink my eyes
stand up and stretch
yawn with my tongue out,
turn in a three quarter
and lay in my spot of sun


Here we are
or here I am.

Still in the dark.

Answers are the brightest lure
but who really has those?
Questions are the rod,
flicking the lure
above my head.
I reach up to catch it

find that it is made of dreams.
What do I do now?

I search for what's between
your legs
in the dark,
drooling and barking
at the only thing I trust

the wetness there
and the smell
proof that I'm still needed
to bring you somewhere else

maybe in the process
I'll come too.

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the beginnings of things

There is snow falling into my eggs
as I sit at a table outside of Sunlight
waiting for my buddy to arrive so he can drink
his hemp milk coffee that sits
steaming in the February air,
clouds whipping into unseen cold.
I wanted the steamed veggies and tofu
but it was over when i remembered
huevos rancheros.

I am colder than I have been in recent
Remembering the homeless encampment
under the overpass I know my cold can hardly
be called misfortune.
We are all cold and alone in our own worlds.
Are you the star of the movie of your life
like I am in mine?
Does everyone else seem like extras to you
or do they have souls too?

I was watching a tv show where one character says to the star,
"I hope she knows you only like
the beginning of things."
And my entire name was undressed.
I am telling you these things so you will hear
it from me if not understand.
That's a little too much to ask,
wouldn't you agree?

I've watched so many movies more than once
that now I usually watch to the end
of the beginning
and go do something else.
I don't want the story of the end,
those are usually sad. And I already have
enough of that.
The story of the beginning is scary but
I call it exciting. Last night was another first
sex with someone. We both came at the same
three times.
Now I'm scared to learn what comes next.
She refilled my water bottle while I slept
and folded my pants and bundled my socks
next to my bag.
I hope I know nothing is forever.

I am at my favorite park and the snow still
falls, failing to stick and the birds crisscross
in flight, daring me to focus
on one.
It's impossible and instead I blur my eyes
listening to a Kid Cudi song about the void
in my car and watching the indiscriminate
flakes so much like me
And I hear words from the speakers...

"Oh God, oh god...thank you...

You've been in my dreams, you've been
In my dreams

I'm just trying to be the best man I can be

Thank you for listening...

Thank you for never leaving me...

It's gonna be okay...

I promise you..."

And for a moment I found myself
Where i was,
Not wishing for the beginning
Or thinking about the end
As the snow blew and fell
On everything in sight
But never stuck.


I am trying to see everything in the world

as having spirit 


The roaring bus carrying so many lives 

throwing water from puddles my way

has spirit 


The water thrown my way as it arcs

upward, slicing in protest of gravity

has spirit 


The unconscious man lying on the ground
propped against the Chase Bank

wall, needle still in his arm, one shoe on, 

has spirit 


The person bending down to see if he

is alive or breathing, offering to call

an ambulance 

has spirit 


The ambulance red and white lights

whirling like closing your eyes 

and looking at the sun 

has spirit. 


The paramedic dropping out

of the ambulance to check 

the vitals of the unconscious man,

prying his eyes to peek at pupil width

has spirit. 


The Narcan that saved someone

i am in love with, breathing into red 

veins and holding another's hand

to lead them back here

has spirit. 


The lights of the high rise apartment buildings

overseeing us all that i glimpse 

as I turn away from the scene,

the lights that will never illuminate pages

from a book I read 

have spirit. 


The reflection of the person in the shop

window walking on his way to work, trying

not to be late, grateful a life was saved,

the reflection that looks so much like me

has spirit. 

ry downey is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest. His favorite things in the world are trees, cats, clouds, and poems and he writes about these things with increasing regularity. His first book of poems, Flowers Leaning Toward the Sun was published in 2019 and he is finishing up his second book, The Dinosaurs are Orange in Seattle. He is also co-host of the Two Failures Podcast. He lives in Seattle. 

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