Poetry from I.W. Rollins

Blood of Kings Past

i sat across from
this man in my office
building. He stated that i looked
so familiar to him and he did
to me as well when he exclaimed “I am cousin Dave!”

cousin Dave
a man i have not seen since
i was a child. fucking shit,
cousin Dave
my father’s cousin
nephew of my grandfather
son of my grandfather’s sister
who is the daughter of my
great grandfather Francis
who was fresh off a rotting
boat with a dream of the vast
spoils of America

yet here we are
direct bloodline of his
in a sweltering office
building in southern New Jersey
not even 20 miles from
where his ship crashed into shore
just over the bridge
no American Dream
no Manifest Destiny
no vast spoils, conquered lands
just a timid shrimp of a
middle aged man
and a mid twenty something college dropout
sitting in an
office in may
discussing insurance premiums and
commission schedules
and i feel that blood we share
well up around me
first my chest, then my throat and mouth until
it begins to fill my lungs and
choke me
and a vile gurgle
pops through
“dave this was you! you did this!
we were
supposed to be

i shake his hand, and pat his back
as sales men do,
“oh yes Dave i will tell my father you say hello
yes he’s doing well, yes we should all get together
yes tell aunt kate, yes Dave
i will call you thursday Dave, yes you
take care Dave, goodbye”

i have not spoken to my
father in 8 months

that is a silence
i am not breaking

The Young Man

who is the young man?
a poor loser
unworthy of
the love he is given?
a 0 in the bank
no gas in the car
yet an angel on his arm

the brain is disfigured
he only sees the destruction around him
notices the houses on the
side of pike
rotting into the trees
the abandoned fruit stand
dilapidated, eaten by the bugs
he only feels the torture
he feels the angry hearts around him
but yet he is
still loved?

“someone else deserves this
but not me,” is what he’ll say
“someone else has earned this
but not me”

no gas in the car
no oil in the car
he attempts to get away
but the car won’t run

this place would be fuller without
him, he knows this, it would be
full of life
but he is selfish, the young man
he eats this love he doesn’t deserve
eats it like a
great machine
he takes their love, and he makes it hate
develops it inside him into fear
fear that this great love
he has not earned
will someday cease
and be no more

if this is his mind when loved, he thinks
he dreads to see himself alone

The First Kiss, Many Times

fifteen was the age and
time the bottle first kissed
me, what a feeling. i drank
because i was so happy.
i kissed a girl that night
a pretty girl,
a beautiful girl
she kissed the other boys there too,
she went home
with the one
and i found
the bottle’s kiss for
a different reason,
for the first time.
i learned that the
bottle and its kiss
were a constant comfort
and the bottle was never far
after that.
the bottle’s kiss was a kiss
the other boys couldn’t have,
it was all my own
just like my sadness
was all my own
they could not have it, it
made me different from them.

i will drink and kiss
until it kills me.
i will be different from them
until it kills me.

Working Class Series #7

rising with an early alarm, another day
coffee, cigarette, toast, eggs
hands splitting and cracking, callused and dry
aged way beyond their years
the shovel has made them hard
the blaring sun made them tough.
four years spent working
for a degree you can’t use
for a job you didn’t want
in a field you never liked
tied to a payment more than the rent.
another day sweating in the sun
you don’t mind
at least you have the choice.

I.W. Rollins is a 25 year old poet and short story author. Outside of writing, he enjoys film and the outdoors, as well as live music. His work can be seen at iwrollins.wordpress.com and Instagram @iwrollins. He lives in southern New Jersey.