Poetry by A J Lewis

Poetry by A J LewisYes I am a poet, as if the world needed another, right? Well, as you will discover (if you haven’t already), I am good at this craft. I like to type on the computer or typewriter when I write (whatever meets my mood at the time). I am honest and to the point, meaning I am not afraid to say what I think. I like walks in the park and late night phone conversations. I like to read Bukowski when I take a shit on the toilet and Rilke when it rains. I think that Snyder is brilliant. I know that there is a God, but I have serious doubts about organized Christian religion. I am a Pisces, which means I am moody, emotional and sensitive. I like to drink vodka in the afternoon, but don’t call me a drunk, because I can out drink any of you little shits. I am not athletic, but I exercise occasionally. I am a vegetarian. I write to get this loud voice of poetry out of me and into words. Please… only the serious should read on. I am not interested in the boring, mundane, average or the needy. I am not attempting to be a hero, nor am I a role model. I am just a poet with an honest voice. I am awaiting your reaction to my poetry.

The Fruits Of Failure

age seems to be the deciding judge
of whether or not
I find success in my endeavors.
and in the fruit of my failures
I have looked deep into myself
to analyze where I need to go
and how I need to change
to become something more than myself.

I have compared myself to the modern day heroes –
the giants among us all –
and I have wondered how such greatness is achievable
by a person;
that in this world there are people now
that seem to move mountains with words,
that inspire millions with songs
and that champion against failures for us to love them.

for me
it is a tiring existence
to feel like I am less than half of who these heroes are.
and I can only imagine
that even a hero must have feelings too;
that maybe in their life
they have lost, and they have loved, and they have
worried too;
that there must be some part of them
that can be found in the darkness of their soul
that is less than heroic.

I’ve given up trying to be a hero to others.
and I’m about done
trying to figure out what makes a hero
out of a man.
these days I’m just a man
trying to do what I think is right
in a world that often seems so dark
and so wrong.

How I Reclaimed My Soul

I have always walked the line
between the light and the darkness,
and there was a time in my life where I resided
in the darkness
until consequence
and karma
caught up with me.

after recovering from that dark lifestyle
I found that I could find quiet
in the light
and I began doing a different kind of meditation each day.

I was given a second chance to
reclaim my soul.

this new lifestyle went on for a while
and it was productive
until I became thirsty again for the darker parts of life
and did things that I am not proud of
and drank
and drank
and drank to forget about my hardships, my losses and my sadness.

leave it to me to throw away a second chance.

my relationships went to hell
as I burned my bridges with friends
and secluded myself
inside my own dark world.
I threw away ethics
and belief
and laughed at faith,
because I convinced myself that I was going to live forever.

but since my son’s birth
I have been making my way back into the lighter parts of life.
somewhere in me there is a decent man left
and I look at my son and I wonder:
do I want him to grow up and be like me now?

someone once told me that we learn by example,
and I have been a witness to this truth all my life.
my experiences have not been good
and I have not led a positive lifestyle.
but maybe somewhere in me
there is a good person
ready to come out
and shine on this world.

The Singular Poem

I have written many poems
in myself
without words or
paper or
I have been
happy and
lost and
I have spent the afternoons trying to figure the clouds
and the nights waiting by candle light.
the poem will happen in you:
it will build and
and the words will become
the page of

I am the poem
the singular poem
and now I sit here in this apartment
by myself
my wife and children and family now long removed
hitting keys
trying to make sense of this
becoming the
singular poem

the rain comes
the days come
and all I have are these memories
as I stare out this window
as I stare into the future of my life

and you said I was a terrible person
deep in the darkness

but I always imagined myself surrounded by golden light
above it all
like the clouds




the dream
the better person for all of you

but I am the poem now

and I must move on.

The Singular Poem

To Each Of Us Our Own

we play games with people,
entertaining anger
and fits of rage,
laughing through our temporary insanity
and our reasons.
and I have always had hateful thoughts
when life did not go my way;
I have always seen people as barriers
that keep me from my happiness.

there have been jobs that I have quit
and there have been jobs that I have been fired from
because I don’t like to answer to anyone but myself
and I don’t like to be belittled
or judged
or alienated.

people have their own perspectives
and point-of-views;
people have their own righteous beliefs
and motivations.
and I have probably not given people credit for their actions
when credit was due.

and it has become apparent to me lately
that no matter where I go
there will always be the same type of people who,
in their own way,
clash with me.
so let me say a prayer tonight through this poem
to ask God to give me the insight
to deal with these people.

I have spent my whole life trying to deal with my problems.
and I don’t think I have what it takes
to deal with the problems of others.
I need a little bit of guidance
to get me past the negative impressions of a first encounter
to appreciate the value of us all.

What Ernie Said

in elementary school I was an outcast.
I had very few friends
and was picked on by a cruel bully named
who rallied my classmates against me
to pick on me
to laugh at me
to treat me like

this was at a Christian private school.
my parent’s suffered and saved to send me
there; they wanted me to have a good education.

my parents were poor
so sometimes I didn’t get a haircut for months,
and this would fuel the fire of my peers
and I would get made fun of for how I looked –
I would get laughed at
because my clothes were out of style
because I dressed poor
because I didn’t fit into what was popular.

this was also where I met Ernie.

he was Mexican and had bad acne on his face.

both of us had a lot of common interests,
and both of us didn’t fit in to what was considered the norm.

sometimes on the weekends we would hang out at his house.
he lived in a Mexican community in west Phoenix;
the houses were smaller and had chain link fences in the
front and back yards.
we would play video games
or go out with his older sister
who could drive.
his parent’s were nice, and we would watch the Spanish stations
on the TV during the afternoon.

I considered him my best friend at the time.
it was nice to have someone to talk to.

at the end of our middle school term
Ernie approached me on the school grounds.

his voice sounded important
but I didn’t expect what he was about to tell me.

“we are from two different worlds, you and me,” he said, “and I don’t know
how the two of us can be friends anymore.”

“what do you mean?” I asked. I was shocked.

“you are white and I’m Mexican. you don’t understand
the world that I come from.”

I was angry. I felt betrayed. and he was probably right about it.
I didn’t understand his world.
but did I really have to?

he left me there wondering,
and afterwards I didn’t say much to him again.

when high school started at the Christian academy,
I realized that I didn’t have a friend on the whole campus.
I got out of that place quick
and by the second semester I ended up at a public school,
which became a hell as well,
and I found out that I was even more alone
in a bigger world that
I didn’t understand.

that experience…
my life…
Ernie drew the line between our worlds,
and I have been carrying his words with me since.

he turned his back on me,
and I became white
in a world of ethnicity.

yet, I still wonder about him
and where he is today.
he was my best friend,
lost to the world
and to himself.