William James

working class poetry // punk rock performance


Brother, see how we are born of different blood.
See the difference in our coats, the way yours

swirls thick – sable bristles of stiff night,
and mine – smooth as snowfall. Ivory. Bone.

How the light disappears into you, hides beneath
your rippling shoulders. How that same light

shines off of my skin, reflects every star back to me,
turns the paleness of my wrists to full moon. Brother,

hear how we learned to speak in separate tongues. Hear
the cadence of my breath, its slow quiet calm.

Brother, for too long I have chewed on
the fat and gristle of my father’s demands.

I have seen him dressed in pelt, your mother’s
blood still flecked on his blade. Brother,

I am not my father. I will not learn to see your neck
only in scope or crosshair, I will not reduce you to meat.

Watch, brother, as I lift my head, turn my throat open,
point mouth to sky. Follow me, brother. Pull your lips

to snarl against bared teeth. I will teach you
every muse I have known. I will teach you to sing.


[originally published in Ghost House Review]

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