Adolescent poems that I’ll soon grow out of


There is a young girl
Ten perhaps twelve,
Who never has the right change
For the machines in the Laundromat,
Though each time she brings
A fresh bag of newly worn clothes

One night, while I sat there
Too drunk to be out alone,
She asked me guess
Which country that she came from,
So I listened to the tone
Looked into her eyes,
Evaluated the colour of her hair

Portugal, I guessed and she
Said no, I followed with Brazil
And she shook her head,
Finally she caved
And said Argentina
And I smiled

I still see this young girl
In the Laundromat, though now
We pool our coppers together
To buy detergent, while I tell
Her stories that she says are never funny
And she translates TV shows
That I cannot understand

Life is not all bad, she said once to me,
As we watched our wet clothes
Turn before us, like a baker’s
Well worn hands kneading dough.



I keep a pair of shoes, my only pair,
By the front door inside a cabinet,
Where there are indeed many others
Though none of them are mine

While I like these shoes
Their leather, their age
How it is that they carry me
Across the earth

I do not want to wear them

Let the day stay behind the curtain
Keep away the city, for one more silent hour,
For when I put them on, my feet
Treading the pavement unafraid,
Then it must mean that I
Am not here, alone with you

And that makes the world
So much more
Of an unwanted place



Will Adolescent Skin Keep Me Forever Young?

Over the past couple of years
I’ve lost many teeth,
They darken, implode
Curl up inside and hollow out
Like volcanoes depleted
And spent

Eventually, when the pain subsides
I pay lots of money to have them removed,
Leaving vacant spaces for rent

Yet still when I see you
I wish that I could smile
To show you what your presence
On this earth deserves, how it resonates
Your being here with me,

I’m afraid that one day
You’ll ask me to smile
When I no longer can,
Not while a smile at least
that I’d ever want to give you

So I hope for now at least,
This poem will suffice
That it will do

Let it smile for you.


Don’t You Ever Write About Me

I’ve used poetry
As a leash, to keep
Real life on the ropes,
To buffer experience at bay

I’ve watched things implode
And felt myself crumble,
While constantly thinking
This will make good writing one day

It has helped me to endure,
Given rise to terrible choices
And justified pain that I have knowingly
Caused, indifferently scaring others

One day, It’ll make
A good poem I said,
Its just research
Not permanent damage

Yet if I could take,
Could burn and erase
Every word that I’ve written
Each thought that I’ve ever amassed

And take but a second
Of the pain from your heart
Then this would be
The very last poem that I’d
Choose to never even start.

Author: jameskramerblog

James Kramer is a fiction writer currently based in Beijing. His writing has appeared in Your Impossible Voice, as well as various Poetry anthologies. He currently writes a monthly-ish column for LeftLion magazine on China.

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