I Can't Breathe

by Darryl Price

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."--Desmond Tutu

and all the animals are migrating away from us. That can't be 
good. I can't breathe and the moon is on fire. I can't 
breathe and the ground is starting to rise again. Maybe this time 
they'll break through. I can't breathe and I can't love if I 
can't breathe. I can't breathe and what am I doing here under 
heaven? I can't breathe and birds fly high. I can't breathe and 

I can no longer identify blinking lights. What is wrong with me? 
I can't breathe and I still want to be liked. I can't 
breathe and now it's time to get ready for bed? I don't 
know if I'm ready. I can't feel my legs. I can't breathe 
and my neck hurts. I can't breathe and you are so heavy. 
I can't breathe and my mind is shattered. My body feels disconnected.

I can't breathe and I cannot swim. Not now. Not Ever. I 
can't breathe and I can't walk away. I am lost. Leave me 
here. I'll drag myself home. Sooner or later. I can't breathe and 
still miss someone. I can't breathe and part of me hopes there 
is a paradise. I can't breathe and to probably misquote Van Gogh, 
I hope the sky shall always remain clear between us. You know 

what I mean to say to you. I can't breathe and I 
want to go home. Can't breathe and please think it over. I 
can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I 
can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.  I 
can't breathe and everything is so strange. I can't breathe and the 
road to hell is full of good intention, right? I can't breathe 

and nothing is being done. Respond! I can't breathe and a man 
needs to breathe. I can't breathe and why won't you listen? I
can't breathe and all the trees are going down. I can't breathe 
and the brown paper bag should smell warm. Warm inside. I can't 
breathe and so pay attention. I can't breathe and be a good 
sport, won't you? Wake up! We're in a bad dream. Wake me.      

Bonus poems:

Meditation Between the Trees

by Darryl Price

It's all starting to make sense. Just 
kidding. It's pretty messed up. But 
here we are. Here we go again. 
Look in any direction. The 
young people just want to be left 
alone to be together. There 
are always those who would have made 
other harder plans for us. They 

want your money or your life. They 
don't know you. They don't want to know 
anything about you. If you 
love your love, they could care less. If 
you are in pain, they wish you would 
just shut up about it. This is 
nothing new. It's been going on 
since things started going on. But 

some of us have had enough of 
all of it now. The powerful 
bullying the weak, taking sure 
advantage of every freeform 
advantage in their soft lives to 
cause harm to others, with clubs or 
rubber bullets or laws or lawns. 
Doesn't matter what the weapon 

is or isn't. It's always meant 
to cause severe sorrow to the 
innocent. To bring about the 
next trail of tears on a brand new 
generation again. What they 
don't know, can't seem to understand,  
is how our good reforms itself 
every time, from sad nothing to 

beautiful something, every time, 
from blood to new blood. From shells on 
the beach to glistening dolphins 
jumping high and mighty right out 
of the seas to kiss the sky with 
endless mirth. Things regain a sense 
of belonging because they are 
free and wild, not because they are 

put in some kind of order, and 
because they are the living proof, 
the embodiment of a strong
ancient spirit that will never 
surrender its joy to the mad 
oppressors of any age or 
under any circumstance. They 
will shove you. They will walk over 

top of you. They will weaponize 
the enslaved sun and the moon against 
your courage. But they will never 
end you. Because you are without 
end. If you cease to exist they 
cease to exist. They need you. The 
only answer that'll justify
our response in the end is love.   

There's a Word I've Heard of

by Darryl Price

I'd like us all to meet. By the way, I think I 
actually still care, but it's so hard to tell. 
I've been told this word contains every sound ever 
made, every thought, ever wearily lived. That's a 
whole lot to take hold on. I feel there must be some 
funny little catch to carrying on like this. 
Like if you don't get the riddle thing just right it 
will eventually consume your true super 

identity and leave you faceless in the crowd, 
so to speak. All that means is you'll be lonely 
in the end, which doesn't sound too great a way to 
go home to me. Nobody should have that kind of 
dark power over another person's life. And 
really, nobody should have to end up lonely. 
But, hey, I don't make the silly rules, the unfair 
rules that mess up everything. Those were hammered out 

by some starry dust and split atoms a long time 
ago. And anyway at this point I'm headed 
to the lonely side of town myself. Also I'm 
not that nice a fellow at following the laid 
down rules for living the good life either. If you 
ask me: we should get a real chance to figure that 
one out for ourselves I think. Mostly because I 
don't subscribe to anything mystical being 

so very hard to take or harsh to do. But that's 
just because I believe we are absolutely 
allowed to not be perfect. We are the chosen 
ones caring enough to allow it to happen, 
that imperfection, because of that one kind word 
in our collective vocabulary that we 
agree upon. I don't want to be preshaped by 
others to fit their idea of what it means 

to be human. So all I can tell you is, for 
me, that all consuming word is a lonesome road, 
after all. And as you can see, hear and tell, it's 
left me feeling quite bereft here in the present 
sense. I still wish its joy and happiness for you.
What more can I say? My name is not in the book?
I have too many questions about the sorrow.
But the word has heard it all before. Go and be.