a message that counts

Click below to hear the poem’s audio.

These days you need pictures and sounds.

Something short,




that slaps them where it hurts—

The nose,

the ears,

the eyeballs,

the nuts.

So that they slow down

just enough

to open up

so you’ve got a chance

to send a message

That counts.


“Hey fuckers, one of you has a tiny clot running its way through your veins and by the end of this day, or tomorrow, or the next or the next—you’ll be dead. So, hug your Mother, thank your Father, call your Sisters and your Brothers, and don’t let another moment pass where you revel in your pain or sadness and convince yourself that you’re not good enough so you don’t have to try. Don’t waste time convincing yourself and others that you’re happy. Just be happy. Don’t complain that you need more when you know very well that this world is full of babies dying, women starving, and men gnawing off their own arms and legs to survive. And don’t ever think that you’re better than anybody else because of your color, your political affiliation, your religion, sexual orientation, or any of your fear-filled beliefs. And remember, you’re not as smart as you believe. Stop, stop being so weak. You were put here on this big ball of dirt by magic that you aren’t meant to understand—none of us are—so stop trying to tell others how to live, what to believe, and remember if someone wants your opinion, they’ll ask for it. Be silent and strong and patient, and in all of your wrongs strive for the power of forgiveness. Develop a Code—one mistake at a time—and live by it.”

You’ll see soon enough

that it isn’t about all those distractions—

the quick images and slick sounds that are so snappy

colorful and loud.

And you’ll learn too

that it isn’t about you

and if you’re stubborn

and stuck in your ways

too far gone

one way or the other

to change

sooner than later

you’ll get the message.

A fist to the nose,

an open hand to the ear,

fingers into your eyeball,

a boot into the nuts

or a clot

sneaking up

to make the kill.

Slow down,

sack up,

open your gut

so you have a chance

to receive

the message

that counts.


~ K.J.


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