I need to take my typewriter out of this room

I need to take my body out of this room

Leave the computer

The shoes

The books of poetry

Retreat into the woods

Or into the mountains

Or plant feet against the roadside and walk

Into Chester

Into the Ohio River

Out of here

Out of this second skin

This brown paper bag

No text messages

No e-mails

No rejections of poems

No pencil shavings swept into dustpans

Hum songs to myself

Hum Johnny Cash

Bob Dylan

Townes Van Zandt

Tom Waits

Ray Charles

Snap my fingers

Sleep in trees and recite The Odyssey

Type poems on leaves

Type poems on leaves

Leave to Charleston West Virginia

Leave to Columbus Ohio

San Bernardino

San Luis Obispo

New York

New Orleans

Sit cross-legged on the sidewalk

Type love poems for Southern belles

For saints of Voodoo

For old blind prophet men

Buy stamps at the post office

Send letters to Sadie

Send poems to Tara

Send drawings of birds to the lonesome ocean

Send new words in bottles floating into Lake Borgne

Into the Gulf of Mexico

Into the mouths of great blue whales



The eyes are not here

There are no eyes here

In this valley of dying stars


The walls around my body change

I walk from room to room

Square to square

And feel everything around me sparsely distributed

Like no surface on Jupiter

No surface on Saturn

Liquid core concealed between 88,000 miles of atoms


I love the sound of rain but when I hear the sound of rain

I have to wonder if it’s really rain or just an air conditioner


The eyes are here

My eyes are here in this skull

Though I cannot make out the details of rooms

My eyes are here

My eyes are here and I am not here


I’m in California

Reading Kerouac high up in the mountains over San Bernardino

I’m in Charleston West Virginia my favorite city

Walking barefoot across seventeen cold city blocks

With Jordan beside me talking watching night owls walking

Looking down at the street of bricks

Looking up at the stars in the sky


I’m in Buckhannon West Virginia dear old Wesleyan College

With Sadie who shared her umbrella beneath the sunshine

With Tara who wrote of stardust in her hair

With Merrin who made me new, and now we have dissolved

With Walter who leapt up the stairs sounding barbaric yawps

With Patrick who walked back transfixed from the jazz concert


Their hearts have gone into mine

Their hearts have been so generous

Their hearts have forced these poems into my hands



I want poetry to be angelic.

I want poetry to be beautiful.

I want poetry to be eloquent.

I want everyone to read me at my most eloquent.


I want to write about my depression.

I don’t want to write eloquently about depression.

Depression make this old endurance seem impossible.

Depression drag me down to the floor.


Depression distract me from my poetry!

Depression no good. It bad.


Depression is not a chrysalis depression is a brown paper bag.


Je ne sais pas quoi faire.

I follow a blog on Tumblr and the girl is German

And the Fräulein regards her own suicide mind

As a flower pressed between poems

A single-cell organism

Like it looks beautiful under a microscope,

Like it’s a nebula that propagates love and bright colors.

Everything she posts is in black and white.


You wouldn’t believe the ways I’ve pulled myself up.

One time I wrote in a notebook You have to grow old.

If you die at 16 you will never look like John Berryman.


I used to tell my mom I felt like an empty shell.

Grandpa Whitman says there is no empty shell.

He says the shell is the soul.


I love Grandpa Whitman.

He says to un-tuck your shirt,

To take off your clothes.

I’m only wearing my glasses and a pair of blue underwear.

I’m only wearing my glasses and a pair of blue underwear

And I feel so complete.

I’m in my underwear I’m listening to Lou Reed.


I think he’s singing to me.


All the trees are calling after you.


He is singing to me.


Help me in my weakness

Help me find my proper place


His body is gone.


Now he belongs to the ages



O Lou, sing to me

With your voice like black coffee

Carry me over Brooklyn

On an actual cloud of cigarette rain



O Lou, write poems on angelic rough napkins

Send them like raindrops into my mind



Lou, do you know I wear sunglasses

To look more like you?


Lou, do you know your songs

Are like plaster for my feelings?


Lou, do you know my feelings

Are eggs

That carry your voice with me



O Lou, we both know that

Black is the absence of color


And the unchanging gray sky

Is an enduring struggle

The poker face of the universe



Ah Lou, I need to get out of here.

I gotta get outta Dodge.

I just need to lay low for a while.


Take my hand as we pass through your New York world

Of cigarettes rain smoke

Black shoes coats and concrete


Send me with Jordan catapulting through the streets

On an Odyssey of faraway crises

In flannel shirt and glasses

Beneath cold heavy clouds in the astronomic night


Take me to the cool bookstores of Charleston

Leave me sitting on the floor

Stacked between cracked leaves


Take my shoes you know I don’t like them


Take me to Sadie

In Elkins West Virginia


Take me to Sadie

So I can do what a friend is supposed to do


Take me to Sadie

In her museum of trouble


So I can cover her tired shoulders in a blanket of actual dreams

And we may waltz out the window

Into the Polaroid clouds


I will lay my typewriter down on the floor

Wrap myself in new jackets

New York New Orleans

I will touch

I will touch the eyes

The eyes are not here


Nothing ever exists where it’s supposed to

Nothing ever exists how it’s supposed to

Ah Lou, your rainclouds are real and so noble

Beneath a universe that refuses to be tricked


Take me out of this room and into the world

All the trees are calling after me





Luis Neer is a young poet, painter and high school student from West Virginia. He is an alumnus of the 2014 WV Governor’s School for the Arts, and his poems have recently appeared in Right Hand Pointing; Verse-Virtual; The Rain, Party & Disaster Society and elsewhere.


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Cover Photo: Jos van Wunnik (