Tag Archives: youth

Gen Next


Sometimes you need to move seats,
change your view, to change
your mind.

I’ve spent 25 windowless years
in a heavily windowed building.

The work done gives me glimpses
of a different world, one much
kinder and more caring than
what flickers on television.

I see hope on the papers
I push. On display: small hands
and hearts about to alter everything.

Don’t fear the message of the moment
being broadcast … or the messenger.
The fleeting old. They are already lost.

Who I work for matters most.
I put my trust there, in their
Snap-ing fingers
and inclusive composition.

Sometimes you need to move.

NaPoWriMo Day 20


by any other name



three of them curl up most nights
under a pile of blankets and a tarp
on a grate outside the Baltimore Street 7-Eleven

the young woman
is just the right kind of thin
beautiful even with smudges
and wrinkled clothing

she’s flanked by two wiry men
that match her in age

most mornings
a group of their friends
comes to wake them
surrounds their nest
and slouch with ease against the store windows
laughing and talking
until the trio
emerges from their sidewalk cocoon

standing and stretching
they dole out back-patting hugs
as if they’ve just scuffed down well-worn stairs
to some sunny kitchen
lured by bacon and coffee
and the faces they most long to see

Juliette and her Romeos
avoiding the quick death
promised by poisoned cup and dagger
by names and prejudice
and bordered garden walls
their smiles in the cold gray confounding
and upending expectations

NaPoWriMo Day 3




she’d wondered
if it was somehow wrong
to chew
Body Of Christ in bread form
resting on pink

so she’d let it dissolve
like a lozenge
become glue
on her tongue
trapping names in vain

every question caught
before it could form wings
fly her off
sharp toothed
hungry and unashamed

August 2015
Julie Ayers




Behind the cash register at the Royal Farm,
the blond boy with the big smile
and the baggie of pills in his pocket
who will be dead by 2:27 am,
his friends stopping the car
in front of his parents’ house
just long enough to leave his cooling body
next to the masonry pillar mailbox
where his mother will discover it
when she backs out of the driveway
early Saturday morning on her way to
the boot camp she joined
because she’s about to turn 50
and wants to enter
the next half of her life
with the same series of numbers
on the bathroom scale
that showed the day she graduated
from high school.

He took the job at Royal Farm
to show his dad
he wasn’t lazy,
saving up to pay his own way
to Cancun for spring break
since he hadn’t maintained the 3.5 GPA
his parents had insisted as condition
for their footing the bill.

The news of his potential existence
had caused his mother to sink
to the floor seventeen years prior,
sob with relief and a joy too big to hold
his father kneeling next to her on the tile,
resting his hands gently on her quaking back.
She’d been trying to conceive for six years,
consulted a fertility expert
to identify any issues,
explore options.

She never ceased to love him
with that very same intensity,
even when he totaled the car,
forgot her 47th birthday and didn’t get a card
or gift so weeded the flower bed by the pond
or when he told her he hated her
when she grounded him for a full month
from electronics for buying online games
with her credit card without permission.
$682 worth of League of Legends and in-game purchases.

After his funeral,
she cuts her hair short
and rarely smiles,
drops out of boot camp
and spends most days standing
by the dining room window
holding an empty coffee mug
and staring out towards the pond,
the view of water
now almost entirely obstructed by thistle,
beds full of suffocating thorns,
choking out even the smallest bloom.


Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 28


A Solid Investment


jhighgrad2By sixteen, I’d watched my mother work hard at her day job
as a clinic receptionist, supplement that meager income
waitressing at night and doing seasonal work at the apple farm
on weekends in the fall to keep her four kids in sneakers, jeans,
and peanut butter. When my great, great aunt died, leaving me
with one less dedicated adult in my life but a $7000 inheritance,
I already knew not to blow it on a car, Doc Martens, or blow,
but to settle it in stocks like they taught us in 3rd grade,
requiring us to make a good investment, chart its progress
in crayon weekly, watch our fictional $100 blossom in an economic

boom. It was a college seed. A just in case. An I’ve Got Plans
for My Future
move. It was tuition, rent, and ramen noodles
should my other degree funding options fizzle and fade. A tanked
economy and inept broker had crushed my $7000 to $3000
by my senior year at university (so much for elementary lessons
in diligence and prosperity). Time to cash out while there was still
any cash to out. Now 21, somewhat schooled, and nearly degreed,
I bought a backpack and a plane ticket and headed to Europe
with my soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend, because, before I never could again
due to job and family and mortgage and inertia, I wanted
to get lost on roadways where I couldn’t read the signs, frustrated
by transit systems I didn’t understand, and eat crepes prepared by a street

vender outside a train station in Paris that were so good I wept. Before
life could crush me from $7000 to $3000 to Nothing, before the myelin sheath
covering my nerves could turn to lace, before all my careful planning could
leave me grounded and housebound, I needed to invest richly in sheer audacity.

September 2013
Julie Ayers

Mark Making


They scrawl, leave their mark on the boulders, the kids. They believe this is necessary, that the path they cut
through the dew is not sufficient.
Too green to appreciate that the paint
will flake or be washed clean
by torrents, decades. Even the substance
of stone will dwindle, particle by particle,
under the patient passage of what comes
next. If, but instead, they’d stopped
and sat, set their spray paint cans
on the grass and rested shoulder
to shoulder on the sold rock with their partner
in time, sighed over the algea green
in the sunlight, and heard the woosh
of their own blood rushing, would they
have come closer to discovering immortality
in this moment.

September 2103
Julie Ayers


Tea and Sympathy


It snowed
and it was lovely

Everything sugared

and quiet

Outside our blanketed house
on the pretty, frosted street
a sporty, black car rotated
making circles in the white
as it bounced off of the orange of a school bus

First the boom
of right, front bumper slamming
into the wall of bus
car tire ripped from axle
still rolling as it arched through the air
landing like a summer planter
in the center of someone’s yard
four houses down
and across the street

Now the back
spinning round for its battering by solid orange
the shred of metal and crunch of plastic
causing those out freeing their sidewalks of confection
to pause

Ice crystals and car guts
a black ooze of motor oil
and still car
finally stopping at the curb
as if to park
but nose in versus properly parallel

My dad is gonna kill me
said the trembling
slope shouldered driver
late for his morning high school class
as I handed him a mug of steaming chamomile tea


It will be your habit of rushing
being driven by fear
not listening to the soundtrack
provided by each day
your youthful arrogance
and blindness to the changing print of sky
to the emerging greens of spring
or the kiss of snow
your deafness to the world ever whispering:

It is all so beautiful.
Slow down.

January 2013
Julie Ayers

photo (28)