I’ve felt old and ancient
Since I was 12 years old,
Worn out, road weary,
For reasons unexplained
Living in the Cleaver household
In an idyllic isolated Oregon valley.
It made me want to believe in reincarnation,
The only explanation for the
Spread thin butter feeling
That started in the 3rd grade
When I reasoned out
That death meant oblivion
Not fluffy clouds and angels,
Training myself not to think of it,
To fend off the icy black hole
Opening under my sternum,
Crushing everything within its event horizon.
I lay in bed, tears streaming cheeks,
meaninglesness pressing down; suffocating
I start to scream,
Pretending to have had a nightmare,
So my mother will come, hold, and console.
Unable to articulate the existential crisis
Of an 8 year old boy.
John W. Leys is a 44 year old disabled US Army veteran, husband and father. He’s been making up stories (and sometimes writing them down) for as long as he can remember and has been writing poetry since he was 14 years old. His favorite poets include Lord Byron, Ted Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Catullus and Bob Dylan. In his spare time he enjoys fishing, reading philosophy, and playing his ukulele.