Three Poems – RJ Walker

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Come On Pen

Go pen! 
Fly! 
Up up and away pen! 
Come on Pen.
Come on Pen, you got this. 
Move goddammit. 
I need you to do something.
Just 
fucking
do something! 

There is a boy bleeding to death
in my arms
and we are locked
in the back of an ambulance.
I need you to write me a key
write me a crowbar
or something. 
Just write me something. 
Something I can use. 
Get these emergencies out of me. 

Come on Pen,
hustle goddamit. 
Write me a dialysis machine
to scrub all this nightmare
out of my blood. 
Become a needle.
Become a shovel
Dig these corpses out of me. 

Behind my eyes
there is a 15 year old girl named Helpless
she is overdosing on anti-depressants
and playing with her dead dog
in a room that looks an awful lot like mine
and this ambulance
isn’t fast enough
so write me an Engine that runs on Jesus.
Write me a Jesus that doesn’t run on death and taxes. 
Write me a chest that isn’t shaped like a prison for my heart. 

Get it out.
Get them out.
These kids with cancer
kids with guns
kids with dead parents.
I can’t do this by myself.
It makes my hands feel like a stabbing victim.

Goddammit Pen.
Why are you so fucking useless.

Why can’t you write haunted houses
into bounce houses. 
Why can’t you fix anything.

No matter what you write
or how loud
Gunshots don't sound like piano keys,
Tanks never run out of gas,
and bombs still turn people into firewood.

All you do is dance like a drunk phlebotomist
and bleed pretty all over the corpses of trees. 

Just do something for once!
Just
Fucking do something!

	And my Pen said
	this poem
	right back to me. 
Come on, RJ
Do something. 



The Honest World
After Jeffery McDaniel

Everytime I hang up the phone
I say “I Love You, bye.” 
as most people do. 

“Iloveyoubye”
as if it was a single word
“Iloveyoubye”

and she did the same.
“Love you too!” 
She would say
“loveyoutoo” 
as if it was a single word. 

Then,
The United States Government.
Confessed to everyone
that there had always been a finite number of lies
and we just ran out
The last lie ever told,
was that it was all going to be just fine. 

Some politicians went to jail
some police officers too
and more than a few world religions collapsed. 
Everything seemed just fine to me though.

I hang up the phone
I say
“Iloveyoubye”
each time still
“Iloveyoubye”
“I… love you…” 
And the silence after clutches my chest
like a windshield clutches a bug. 
And she just whispers
“...Bye” 



Racially Biased GED Questions vs Predator

In the most godless part of Texas
there is a train. 
This train is traveling at a speed of
ninety seven miles per hour.
It is headed west. 
It is headed west
because it wants to get rich.
It wants to get famous. 
It wants to load Los Angeles onto its back
and take it with.

Its cargo is aspirin
but it thinks that it is full of cocaine,
each bottle of aspirin contains 
200 milligrams of gunpowder
and 100 milligrams of 
“Good job kid,
you done a good job.” 
Which is why the train thinks
that the aspirin is actually cocaine. 

On board
the conductor
is making 15 
bucks an hour.
He dreams 
of one day becoming a train
with a coal-fired heart
and clear direction. 

The conductor has 3 kids.
None of them want to be conductors.
They are each a lightning bolt.
They all want to be grounded.
Because that would mean
that their father would be there to tell them so
to take them by the hand
to their rooms. 

They all live in a stormcloud
with their mother.
Who is rain.
Four days a week
she fills her tea cups
with her raindrops
and sells them for 15 dollars each
to men. 
			Answer the questions based on the above information: 

How many raindrops does it take to fill one tea cup and how many tea cups does 
the rain have to sell to put her lightning bolts through private school? 
A. 20, 6000. 
B. C
C. B
D. Our eyes contain enough rain to turn our voices into rivers and our chests contain 
enough lightning to burn down our bodies.  

Predator marks D. He doesn’t know how expensive private school is. He doesn’t know 
the volume of a tea cup. But he knows exactly how much electricity it takes to burn 
a body down and exactly how deep a river must be to drown in. 

If the conductor travels from The Most Godless Part of Texas to LA, will the money 
he has made be enough to afford living in a stormcloud? Would he have enough 
money to become a train when he reaches LA? 
A. True, Yes, and Forever.
B. False, No, and Never.
C. The conductor is already the train. He is its heart, mind and stomach. Trains do not 
need a place to live, only a place to go. 
D. Both A and B, but not D. 

Predator marks B. It is not the answer he wanted to mark, but he thinks it is the answer 
the test wants. He has never seen or ridden a train. He has no idea what a conductor 
does other than transfer power. 

If the train sells enough cocaine in LA, could it afford acting lessons and/or a place 
to beat its blues songs into the ears of important people, rather than the Texas dirt?
A. Tie your heart to the tracks, kid. 
B. Press the coal in your gut into a diamond. 
C. The cocaine will never sell because it is aspirin being sent to treat the heart attack 
that is Hollywood. 
D. All of the Above. 

Predator marks
himself
on the hand
with his lighter. 
He swallows the test
and boards the next train to LA. 
The next time Predator takes the GED,
he will pass
because he will have all the answers. 
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