Written submission from Austin Curtis

The following is a collection of original poetry by Austin Curtis, a Creative Writing student at Texas State University. We are extremely moved by the poignant and reflective tones Austin has beautifully and intricately worked into his writing style.

Austin is also the singer and lyricist for The Measure Of, an ambient metal band that is scheduled to release “Petals”, a full-length album, later in 2014.

Read five of Austin’s poems below:

—–

At 5:45 AM, Before Work

You run your fingertips

along the back of my neck,

with the same grace

that the needle seduces the vinyl.

Accustom to the records rotating temperament, the grooves moan

with the same fluidity of lovers lying in and on and around love.

At 6 Am, Before Work

You whisper to hurry along, not to be late.

But I get lost now and then

in space and time–

when I live inside your smile lines.

At 6:15, On the Drive to Work

I listen to the same old CD’s –Morrissey’s

Your Arsenal, Kill Uncle, Viva Hate.

We could live off fate,

if we didn’t fancy failure.

We would believe in an afterlife,

if it wasn’t for each other.

—–

Nightmare Tryst 

My body is only a broken wish.

Rip me in half, the larger half wins.

(My liver, my spine, my listless mind)

Here’s the prize for wasted time,

we’ll parade around your sheets

and impersonate the blind.

Our lust leaves no stone unturned.

Chastity belts, buried and bound, begs the question

and this is what I found:

Is it worth having any sliver of hope,

when the idea is afloat

on the crests of white seas,

that people could possibly make love

without me?

—–

Compassion Begins At Home

Our teachers branded our foreheads

with golden stars. Our tongues stamped with tenacious flesh to

sell, sell, sell

to the crybabies. Hell, it tastes so sweet.

Hey, tainted text said

the golden age was never meant to change.

“Shit man, we’re straight, white males

bred to be big goddamn winners.

Watch me stand on the fridge

and reach for the sky, I’ll

remove the husk and suck it dry.

Now, throw the animals in the freezer.”

The soil repents what barren stomachs cannot forget.

Well, people have killed for less.

—–

Another Late Night on Maudlin Street

With each step of my black shoes

I meet you in the middle of Maudlin Street, there

I crushed petals from the roses I gave to you

I was handsome and smart, but there was nothing I could do

to convince myself I was not vulnerable and bare

with each step of my black shoes

We could scream and shout until our faces turn blue

with precision, graceful destruction, and care

I crushed petals from the roses I gave to you

Where our dead-end path was to turn from there, I had no clue

My head reminded of my pillow, littered with your perfect hair

with each step of my black shoes

You told me to leave, but the brush of your lips ceased the breath I drew

so gasping for air

I crushed petals from the roses I gave to you

You were wrong when you thought I would mend with affection’s glue

You were wounded and crazy, that’s why I wanted to be in your room, where

with each step of my black shoes

I crushed petals from the roses I gave to you

—–

Oh Honey, You Need Help

It was a calculated risk.

Seeing my reflection in food I didn’t want, at a chain restaurant

In the town I grew up in. (and had not confronted in two years)

Miserable crackling, dreaded conversations

I put the last of my muddy cash

On the over/under

Of how many times I would hear the phrase,

“We just want to know what’s going on with you.

What’s the matter?”

How soon would the salt mines of my vision

crack and leak

Salty tears onto the already

Sodium filled slush trough,

presented to me with birthday candles.

I was broke, my stomach too,

my mind on a name tag tied to my left wrist.

I’m calling the hospital in the morning.

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