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Jeremy T. Karn: Mourning Things

I am the backyard river / that died too young to name itself / I am the boy that will lose his name when I am tired of feeling alive…

Apostle Creed of a Depressed Boy

“My body is a haunted house that I am lost in. There are no doors but there are knives and a hundred windows” – Jacqui Germain

& I love the feeling of tracing grief beneath the root of my skin
            Every word that begins in the throat / ends with the family’s picture folding its hands against your mouth from spilling it out
            I don’t know how to pray to anymore / when prayer is a key to a damaged lock
I am the boy in a cobweb on the kitchen door / a knife got broken in my palm to imitate my heart
            The room wore darkness as the blood crawling in my veins
            The image of the almost dark night / seduced the room into nakedness / draw the curtains, said my father / exposing the sour taste of my skin on his tongue,
            & the pain / & grief I shared with a God that died in a horror movie
            God too, is depressed / God too, is depressed
            God too, is depressed / God too, is depressed
We are gods created by another God
The woman in the moon is my mother
The moonlight wrapped around my body like / a cloud on the tree nearby / & the night burns slowly on the candle stand
The wind holding my body parts together / makes a shape of the light in / the kitchen sink
            The kitchen door swings back & fro like clothes in the wind
It was mournful / the muteness of house towards us / my breath too scared of silence, leaves me for the curtain
I am afraid of living another second / I am afraid of praying / God will consider me a hypocrite
            I believe in my solitude
Last night, there was a moon dying in an old well – [I believe in death also]
The night unscrewed itself from the curtain
I am the backyard river / that died too young to name itself / I am the boy that will lose his name when I am tired of feeling alive
            I am figuring out other alternate ways of living

I would love to write about this feeling
The heaviness of my name for my mouth to mention
            I would love to write about this feeling / that loves dark places / about the songs made for dead birds / & boys that are bored of God & his pompousness
I hold my life in my hands like mutilated money / I want to unplug the light from my eyes
            I want to love what is refusing to love me
Tonight the sea is rising in my mother’s tea cup
            The black & white TV on the wall carried / the color of silence
Three years in depression are enough to stop / running around with death in this house
& you know how this feels / the night trying to look down on you / or the bulb on ceiling that tricked you that you are still alive
Since we were all born screaming,
            I am losing the last song in my throat / I am losing the lyric in my cries
Every sound in the house sounds like / God instructing Moses to take off his sandal
I want to know how it feels / to have your bones bundle together like spoons
I want to erase this image from / the family’s photo my father frowned at every morning
I want to be brighter than the bulb in the kitchen / I want to get drunk and sleep naked like a whore
I want to love you / I want to love you only / you moving with the rhythm of my heartbeat
I want to bring back the days when / we walked on the beach picking seashells / I want to kiss you again in my dark kitchen /
I want to wait until the day ends / with us sitting on the beach / watching a boy scrub the dirt off the sea’s back
My mother believed nobody will be depressed in Heaven
I believed my mother & the gospel on her lips
& this is how the day worn out on my skin / & darkness on the curtain bows in gratitude
This is how my mother forgets her voice in a garbage bag
When she said
God’s chosen people are depressed / & I built grief like a cake / when the dead & living tried to live in my body at once
At church, the pastor will once again remind us that God is everywhere
& you’ll wonder why I’m ashamed of God & the way He works
Why my solitude has a life in it & she opens her chest & reveals her heart to the singing birds on the window pane
            I want to taste the wind on the kitchen curtain
            I want to rip out this expired voice from my throat

I want my name to drag me out of this body until I feel my feet on the frozen kitchen tiles
In every heart is a grief that is meant to be memorized/ in every mouth is a voice that’s learning how to grow into dead music

Mourning Things I can’t Name is Blasphemy

This sadness was created so it could fit evenly in our mouths
Everyone knows about / the grief that hangs on our tongues
            i am eager of how it will taste…
The bitterness on our lips / the night forcing itself between our teeth
There are faces on the family’s picture filled with tears / there are
Men who want to be like shipwrecks / to go beneath & never return

When Eric demised, his footprints were left lying on the bunt bathroom tiles
Today to remember his life, / our hearts will keep / ticking like clock until the battery runs out
& silence will be the first stage of dying / feeling God traveling in your body is another
Mama says it’s blasphemy to mention my
Uncle’s name near fire / near smoke / near things the mouth can’t name


Credo to What I want to say About Eric

A boy’s body is a home searching for a resting place
Dark night like December 22nd is a surgical room / so quiet & tired of painful audiences
            Praying is like masturbating / both have happy ending
A boy grew up with a burnt body to skip autopsy / this is a secret kept only by the dead
Sometimes you can reach for the cloud like Eric by baptizing with fire
In you are people searching for their own names
In a boy’s eyes is a dark night that comes only on December 22nd
Eric said, in order to get rid of fear—get at the hilltop & write your name
on the wind
Smile is a country of forged citizens
Yesterday a boy got scared / he got himself pregnant by masturbating
A boy in search for a home searched for his navel in his grave

Poetry: Jeremy T. Karn
Image by chezbeate from Pixabay

Jeremy T. Karn
Jeremy T. Karn
Jeremy T. Karn is a 23years old poet and storyteller from Monrovia, Liberia. He is an undergraduate student studying Sociology. His poems have been published by Praxis Magazine, African Writer Magazine, Odd Magazine, Kalahari Review, Arthut and other places. He can be reached through his email

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