Cole Depuy: Poetry: April 2020


Southern Legitimacy Statement: I’ve lived at the margins for some time, within the southern sections of northern territories that is. I went to school in Southern Connecticut and now I live in the Southern Tier of upstate New York. As if I was planted, just above my own navel, when I’m sitting in the grass.


Below stalactites
of dread, I empty
hidden fears, bottles
of betrayal and the stalactites melt,
soak me in a shame

I now exalt.

During detox I hallucinate:
corpses between the sheets,
microphones in the corners,
whispers from the vents,
my ribcage unlocks into wings.

My parents drive me up north
when a bed opens up.
48-hours sober, the doctor
takes notes.
How much did you use?
When was your last drink?

A new reality emerges
and I write my parents,
three younger brothers
a letter of gratitude.

To purge, to confess:
The pills in a sock,
what the officers didn’t find,
screams from within the jail cell.

The paper swallows my tears.

In front of the brass mail slot,
a bald counselor stops me.
I’m telling my parents
everything, I say and he asks me to hold on
to the letter for now.

To never tell
someone what they don’t
need to hear.


Saint Matthew

I thought my middle name
was a tribute
to Saint Matthew the Apostle

because my parents
presented me with a pendant
of him at my Confirmation.

But then my grandma pointed
to an Old English Sheepdog figurine

and said, that looks like Matthew,
your father’s first dog.

I had to ask my dad,
Why is my middle name Matthew?
After my dog, he said.
The sheepdog I grew up with.

And in that moment, I was
released from sainthood,
loving my enemies, and helping
those less fortunate.


Teenage Gravity Bong Survivor

I light the bowlful of cheap
marijuana and my bangs
ignite like Daedalus’ wings.

Before paranoia
my cop-less rearview mirror
displayed objects further
then they appeared.

My stoner friends in back seats,
innocent as dwarfs
with bloodshot eyes.

Now I crush benzodiazepine
into joints
and exhale it all
like sniper smoke.

My gardening boss once told me,
when bleeding
hold the cut above the heart.

But I can’t survive upside-down.

Getting high
is not childlike

The panic it brings though,
the panic is better than nothing.