local color love poetry mourning muse

will you still love me tomorrow

he loved me completely

he had the sweetest, big dumb bear grin

honey dripping even

when he looked at me

he smiled the length of the eastern seaboard

crooked loving sunshine in smiles over 5 o’clock stubble

whilst buying me tiny lobsters made of chocolate

took 1,001 pictures of me drinking coffee, eating lemon Italian ice

marveling at hermit crabs wearing ornately bejeweled shells

navigating social media oceans and long distance romances

from Neptune City to New York Harbor

we nearly sank together

we never truly said goodbye

we never stopped wanting

we never stopped feeling

but he never trusted himself

he never trusted me

though he had many names for me

baby gurl

angel kitten

alicia honey

sweetie poof,

and sometimes simply,


he lied

and then abandoned me to coddle

his comfortable failures.

He once told me the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference.

How’s that working out, jack?

I knew he would never have the courage

to call me the one thing he should have called me:

his wife.


Make Your Own Fun -079: Alicia Young-Neville

Hosted by the hilarious Eric Lawson, Make Your Own Fun is a series where writers of every ilk are interviewed, but mostly freegin’ poets.

Americana art cemeteries childhood chronology comfort family history journalism local color mourning muse Ohio Southern Gothic writing

exposed cobblestone

it’s never quiet

in the city at night

however i’ve found

if my boots are planted quietly

amidst 3am lamplight

standing in space once occupied

by a storied brick house where my

great grandfather aged 90

lived and died

i can hear elm street recalling sadly

that he left for the hereafter

decades before i arrived

Music pop culture

a summoner of nothing in particular

in the sunlit honey kitchen

listening to

the Smiths singing

there’s a club if I’d like to go

swaying with coffee in hand

it occurred to me that


is a fetish item

art beauty behavior belief botany cemeteries death desserts ecology family life love poetry

yellow petals

i walked into our backyard and spoke

to the witch hazel tree this morning

she was the closest woman i could find

beneath a sun that decided to shine

for the first time in a week

witch hazel calms angry skin

soothes redness and inflammation

her fleshy bark turned to me as i told her our story

though she already knew the words

she had felt the earth around her roots quake as i screamed

for the baby i tried to give you who is buried perpetually at our feet

for the day i walked out on you in a restaurant

to not hurt you with my sharpened tongue

i didn’t want to lash out at you for wounds i’m still nursing

that you didn’t inflict

the way you had the nerve to follow me

and when our eyes met

you smiled because you love my damaged heart perfectly

i told the witch hazel tree all of this

her buds bloomed yellow petals for an answer

right in front of me


-i love you, James




in lieu of flowers

the doctor asked
if i wanted a death certificate
i said yes
proof of life
that she existed

as you can’t bury
lost hope
in a tiny white casket


dancing with cigars in the garage

they creep up on you suddenly
when you aren’t looking for
these moments when you realize
you have everything you ever
and you aren’t sure how to process
this much joy
at least everything that went wrong
prepared you to recognize
what is right
light a candle for the lost
they’ve earned it


the t-shirt

when next the situation arises
that i need to sleep at your place
and i borrow something to sleep in
don’t give me sweats or your best pajamas
i want your oldest, rattiest t-shirt
the Nirvana t-shirt that you bought
in 1992 from a record store
back when there were record stores
the one your mom spilled bleach on
so you didn’t take it to band camp
but it was okay because bleach
was their best album
the t-shirt that mopped up
your barf in college
the one your roommate spilled
both ranch dressing and candle wax on
at the same party
the one that’s faded from being washed 7,000 times
that needed washing a few more
the t-shirt that has a constellation
of holes in it that look
like the Falkland Islands
the t-shirt your dog had puppies on
but you cleaned that shirt and kept wearing it
because you love that dog
and you loved those puppies
and it made you want to keep
that fuckin’ t-shirt even more
give me that soft broken-in
raggedy t-shirt
that represents your entire life
give me that t-shirt
to sleep in


of things beautiful

a person looks
to the night sky
and sees stars

a poet looks
to the night sky
and sees a graveyard
of light

how horrible the heart of a poet
our burden a tragedy
of things beautiful

literature relationships writing

the joy of…

when we’re apart

what i miss the most

is the way our laughter

came together