D. B. DEVILLIERS

Poetry

Sky Blue

I don’t know why you
care about me and I
can’t really understand
and I’m afraid of
everything I don’t
understand
and I’m afraid of
everything.

Hope You Might Hope For Me Too

4:52am

I will lay here and hope against

hope I get to
dream of you.

Some Things Are Worth Fighting For And This Is One Of Them

It’s more than a little tired at this point to
go after that old cliché that it’s always better being
younger than older
but I’m still young enough to do it
what happens is you learn things
you learn what everyone learns:

that life has a nasty tendency to slip through your fingers or
sneak past you when for an instant you lowered your
gaze without even realizing it
that happiness isn’t exactly what you thought it was

it’s not a destination because barring certain professions most
people don’t go on a road trip and arrive in the middle of a battle
because that’s what it really is
you fight so hard to eke out a little
instant for yourself
and when that instant comes you’ve gotta dig in and
fight to hold on to it because the waves never stop coming
and they never get tired
they never falter

but we’re just people
feeble fallible people
we get tired and we falter and the instant slips by and you
find yourself nearly overrun and in that instant you’ll want to
turn your pistol on yourself because you’ve heard all the
awful stories of what’ll happen now
truth is we’re most of us no more than two or
three bad choices from
a gutter or a
gravestone and so you’ve
got to dig in and fight despite your
shrinking perimeter

and this is the part that trips a lot of people up
sure trips me up
there’s no valor in this fight
it’s you get up you brush your teeth you put your boots on you
tell customers to have a good one for eight hours in
exchange for forty eight dollars
this ain’t iwo jima even though sometimes I think
that’s what our instincts are really screaming for
a saber tooth tiger you’ve got to spear before it
starts to tear into
your trachea
starvation and exposure a constant
horrifying struggle against forces so unimaginably
bleak because that’s what we’ve done for the overwhelming
portion of our time as a species and nothing is ever unlearnt quickly
least of all the worst of things

I will create distance between myself and reality
I will seek ease
I will stand in line and buy my prepackaged meat and the foam and
the cellophane separate me from the
man who nine hundred miles away struck the beast over the
head with a sledgehammer to stun it straddling the narrow
booth into which it was led and then the other men cinch its legs and winch
it up and cut its throat and it bleeds to death without even having
an instant to wonder
how its remains are to be cut up and trucked away refrigerated
inventoried to be bought and sold to wonder that that’s the only reason it was ever
fed cornmeal augered down a hundred yard trough alongside countless others of
its kind literally cow-eyed and caged and utterly bewildered until it reached size enough to
take the trip to the final spot where the
man waits with the hammer
I will do this
I’ll hardly think about it
I’ll hardly care of course
or I’d make different choices
and this isn’t a poem advocating vegetarianism hell I hardly
eat vegetables unless you count corn mash distilled into
whiskey it’s a poem about well
this is the modern life and won’t you sit here and
marvel at its splendor
all the ease it breeds in me
ill at ease
maybe you know what I’m talking about
maybe not

and someday I’ll make one of these and it’ll be right and it’ll save me
suppose every writer thinks the writing will save him
and yes of course the war in my head never stops no
matter how much I move the words around
what can you do what can you really do
well there are lots of ways to end up in federal custody
and there are lots and lots of ways to die
and lots and lots of ways to live
so dig in buddy, it’s gonna be for the long haul
nobody’s fast enough to distance reality, not really
and it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll carve out your piece
it’ll be worth it in the end
you’ll find your peace
if only for an instant
and it’ll all be worth it.

Ten And Eight Tenths Of A Mile, 84 Westbound

There are words I imagine
I imagine
for when your life explodes without
much warning
there’s the sudden ice storm the rain which
freezes damn near instantaneously upon the asphalt and at
sixty miles per hour of course
there’s the old spin there’s the old hello the
passing semis
a hundred yards back
what can you do
hold steady touch neither the gas nor the brake
my father taught me well
and the embankment was conveniently leniently inclined
and the center of gravity in a small cheap commuter car is
thankfully low for the rapid lateral transition of traction
there are words
there must be words for when four seconds feel like forty
there must be words for when you nearly kill
yourself and two of your best friends
there are too many things are happening all at once
but I got me two options
and I intend to take the
harder one.

Words For Someone Who Helped Put Words In My Head Once

oh lovely lovely
the pain I could never have presumed to imagine
because of course there do exist
people who hide it a little better than I do
or they deal with it better, feel free to pick one

suppose it’s not an awful bet to just go ahead and
assume anyone you might come across in the street or wherever has
more than likely known suffering beyond reckoning
but we get so goddamned hung up on ourselves
coroner’s summation: asphyxiation by having hanged oneself from oneself
perpetual motion sorts of self-destructive engines we might be
but we’re young enough still
like to think if I’m lucky enough to see ninety I’ll still
think I’m young enough to hope
for the next day
and oh lovely
doesn’t this world just tear you to pieces

speaking of course for myself—largely just guessing in your case
suppose I wouldn’t have minded learning to make more than a mere
guess but I am at this point not but the manner of man who I am
and I know what manner of man that is
so of course I couldn’t begin to blame you

we’ll get to that place
not together, at different points in space and time but I do
honestly believe that is a place and it’s not heaven but it’s
what we all hope and try and strive for
we won’t meet there
but there will be a great open sky and
deep red earth and on occasion the pitiless sun will
run out for a smoke break and we’ll grab a drink of water and cool in
the fleeting shade and it’ll be so breathtakingly

well

the poet makes his effort at five o
clock in the morning
and promises nothing short of honesty
and certainly not specificity

but I believe the pitiless sun will bake the earth to the
grill cover shimmer and the sky will be so awfully blue and
your paradise will not be mine but there will be love in my heart
for this thing I had to hurt so much for
to keep above ground
to keep moving
and I believe in you as well
there will be love in my heart and that must be
what we suffer for
oh lovely
that must be it.

All The Great Slot Cars Of History

though caesar is a tyrant he is likely
well-intentioned and by virtue of charisma or whatever we
want him to survive the
knives and every time we read it or see it you just
hope maybe a little that this time he
makes it but of course
it went the one way
and despite the brilliance of the orators they
all died bleeding too
and everyone was just doing the right thing of course
I’m sure he thought he was very important
I’m sure they all did
all the tiny little pawns of history
drunken poets and emperors of rome
it’s very easy to feel very
very small

I am a car in a slot
a child’s toy
in very good company.

This Is The Longest Sentence You’re Likely To Read Today/This Too Shall Pass (Away)

Here’s one I wrote a while back and didn’t put up because, well, just read it and you’ll see why. I guess it’s kind of sad.

If all we are is the sum of the choices we make
when the fuck did I ever choose this was it
last night this morning last year my next life past
life this very instant? I can’t remember am I always choosing this
I can’t remember anything my hands shake almost
too hard to even type this if only I could have a strong
drink or five right now it takes that many anymore to
stave it off I guess that might be one reason why I
feel like I’m dying all the time the choices we
make why do we make them and at this
fleeting waystop en route from oblivion to oblivion will I
spend myself hammered or shaking so hard I had to locktite the
screws in my head forgetting being as it happens
compulsively telling friends and strangers alike
I am insane
can you read it from my face you can can’t you can’t you
tell I’m paranoid about my own paranoia and the shame
I should feel ashamed of this right have I earned the
right to suffer from mental illness yet have I earned the
right to write about it I don’t know but my own better judgment
tells me to bury this shit hide it tell no one because most people
just can’t understand
and christ do I wish I didn’t
but I disregard my better judgment as always
I’ve got to write it, it’s a compulsion
thankfully it does make me feel better about it all
but isn’t it already readily transparent I feel like everyone can see it
feel like my pores excrete some sort of pheromone that signals to everyone in my
immediate vicinity: this guy’s unhappy
did I forget to take the shirt off this morning that reads hey everyone I’m batshit nuts
and I’ve never been so scared in my life except for every other waking moment of
a thing I can’t even name or see or even adequately describe the
aching void the dread the lack that zero absolute beyond reckoning
heat death of consciousness of the self final reversion to
entropy as precedes so must succeed the threshold
singularity black beyond black silent beyond silence the
fear the fear you can’t escape no one will ever escape you’re
making that choice you will always make that choice you
crazy son of a bitch what are you doing to yourself
deep breath fold down visor open mirror look at self
you are ok you are ok you are ok ok
repeat it out loud with conviction you
will survive this day or at least this minute or at least this
instant knock wood it’s all in my head that’s true but
wasn’t geometry all in Euclid’s head at
one point isn’t everything all in our heads well
that’s a little misguided and reductive don’t you
think but the dread sure as shit feels real
is there such a phobia as fear of self
I guess that’s called depression comorbid
generalized anxiety disorder
terms terms
anyway break’s over back to work keep it together.

The Shitty Thing About This Thing Is All Of It

the hard part is of course the beginning
you’ve got to catch the reader’s attention
as an inveterate fleeter of mind I am the difficult
target audience to which I presently address myself
and that’s not some bullshit metaphor no when I write I truly
am just talking to myself
a tendency towards one of several big words I seek to
know myself a little bit better because maybe then I’ll be a
little bit less scared or sad or confused or all the words which
according to my own upbringing and understanding should
not describe a man
and so here I find myself
oh honey baby tell me something I want you to
tell me what you think about when you shake
into tiny little pieces and you blow blood into tissues and
that’s what happened last night huh nothing like a
good expensive regret you can’t afford and oh baby please
tell me something I need you to tell me why you do it and
maybe maybe I can say maybe again and have some hope and
do you have any of that? I’ll spend everything I have if
you’ll sell it but how could I ask that but how couldn’t I see
this is what desperation smells like and I can smell it on you too
but of course you don’t exist and neither do I so hey we have
that in common huh rapport there the lines go and go and goddamn
I am so terribly alone and I am so
terribly afraid and I can’t write anymore because hell I
can hardly even think anymore and that’s the way I want it
one can effectively lobotomize oneself given ethanol enough and time enough and you
get to choke and vomit and bleed and vomit and you get to kill
everything you’ve ever known you get to take it all and when they
finally put you down in the oven or the dirt they’ll read words and
cry and you’ll kill them a little more and maybe maybe you’re being too
hard on yourself but the trouble is you
aren’t being hard enough
or you’d do something about it.

Suppose no one ever told me it would be easy.

The Time Is Now One Quarter To Six In The Morning, Winding Down On The Old Decade Aren’t We

when you die how much of me will die
when I die how much of you will die
how did it get to this
how did we get here
the poet uses repetition to stress a point
breathe
just look at the trees
everything is going to be ok
won’t even hear it no one ever does
not in any meaningful way
breathe
look at the trees
it will take no time at all and right now will be a
terribly long time ago
everything is going to be ok
breathe
look at the trees
look at the sky
everything is going to be ok.

And There Shall Be No More Death

I think I’ll probably live in that moment forever
if only I could live there forever
if only it could have been one of the
good ones or at least the not awful ones if
only I could live forever there where the stunned
disbelieving still held power there’s
a knock on the door nine
forty seven pm there’s been
the worst thing anyone’s ever said
there’s been wash your hands with
warm water don’t use heroin vaccinate drive the
speed limit don’t hold the kickback
brake to the forward handle on the saw there’s
change your oil don’t run yellows don’t
drive drunk we’ll come get you
make your bed
take your vitamins
make friends
play sports
study
try
try and you’ll make it
but there’s worst thing anyone’s ever heard the
worst thing anyone’s ever said
there’s been an accident
and if I could live forever
if I could live forever
sometimes you follow the rules and sometimes there’s just
nothing to be done
killed instantly they said but don’t you
think they always say that
and but what did you do except unwittingly
intercept the deviant trajectory of an unconscious man who
should have been piloting his seven thousand pound
vehicle and sometimes you just don’t get to know why
you just don’t get to know why
do we even really exist
and if we don’t then can we really no longer exist
somewhere else in time or space does that
awful closed casket find love find peace make peace
you just can’t know.