(not quite) a literary journal


Substance and North Star, by Josh Kayo


I️ don’t get my true nature
I emit hypocrisy through every orifice, garnished with tears of false virtues.

Be wary in my presence, you can’t believe a word I️ say
Riddled with guilt but I’m a sinner so I’ve got no room to pray
I️ abuse my mother tongue so I️ can always get my way, like artists clay I️ mold and play until sentiment means nothing
I hope it’s in our human nature that I’m not the only one who feels like Frankenstein’s creature, that we’re all just creatures of habit, inhabiting and navigating, struggling, contemplating the topic of our own substance

Substance abuse to ease our pain, xanax and adderal after all we all are equals when we’re six feet under
Constantly wonder where fulfillment is
The end of a bottle is where we thought it was
We build a wall with every brick of bitter snow in the fridge, some carry glockenspiel to ding up foes and burn every bridge
The fire of our tongue burns the flesh of our brothers, caught in the crossfire are our sisters and mothers
We’re slaves to the favorite, graded to keep our egos sedated, inebriated with prospects of empty fleeting acceptance
We’re street walkers, prostituting all four corners of the earth to seek the approval of our fellow escorts
I feel like a conjured up corpse, who’s stuck with buyers remorse; the filters found on instagram are functioning as diaphragms it’s really no mystery why somebody pops a xan we need our substance

North Star

How do I deal with this crimson in asphalt jungles, where sentiment and soliloquy are mumbled, often fumbled
How can I sleep in my velvet sheets while burlap sacks litter the streets, no cleats for this harsh terrain as gaea weeps, “me too.”
Khan’s legacy lives on as we rape and pillage, every noun is now united as no stone was left unturned
In turn, our skin became cellophane and transparent, making apparent what we do to cope with our inner trauma
Our lungs our black, and our minds are altered as Louis Lowry’s pleas were silenced by each inhale
I exhale, a pillar of emotions riding atop a wave of tobacco
When did my thoughts become consumed with existential crisis, is it conducive to enticement with clothes and vices
Or is it something that you’re born with, forlorn with, cursed to be eternally torn with, mourn for me

I’m 50% Jack Kerouac, 1937 Ford Sedan
The other half is a monk, call me Thelonious the Theologian
Or maybe the thespian, which mask will I wear today
Which will help slay my persona non grata, my fraudulent facade

I know heartbreak
I know fear, coated in self doubt
I know clarity through conviction
Defeat at my own volition
Not knowing what’s missing until it’s gone quietly into that good night
I’ve despised myself, disguised myself,
isolation with nobody besides myself
I’ve felt love that defies mercury, passion that incites Aphrodite’s envy, but
When will I know why the caged bird sings, why freedom rings, and most of all what traveling north means

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