Justin DiSandro

Dying Words (on deaf ears)

I fought in a war,
and died with the future in the palm of my hand.

Not your future,
or mine,
but all the collective future that can fit between the tiny trigger finger of a young boy and the scrape he got from falling off a bicycle last week.


It’s not much,

I know.

but at least it’s not shelled in lead or covered in blood,
Made of dreams, or painted black,
Mass produced, or created for an individual purpose.


Trust me,
the trees cant even see this future through the fog of firestorm
Kicking in front of the clouds and thoughts of wasteful idealists.

Don’t fool yourself.
Seriously, don’t.

I hold the future.

I do,

In the palm of my little hand. It is right here.



but it’s not for you or me,
for war or peace,
justice or death,
hope or despair.



But your ideas can’t define what the future is.
So don’t bother.


Instead, follow me to the future,
Just so you can see,
That they never made a monkey out of you or me.

Well, maybe you.

But our lips will still be sealed to the cold and curdled calls of the parting waves of that lead based, blood filled, dream-like machine that made an ocean to cover your face with a blank, black ink invented to pen peace, war, life, death, justice and despair…ugh.

Of course,

when you fall asleep during the nuclear daydream,
with bullets painting the sky and piercing the stars,
Your last look will be at the future laying in your own hand.
And maybe,
yes, just maybe,
you can do a better job of explaining it than I did.


Gracious host (for the most part)

Gracious host, who, for the most part, has become my dear friend,
I beg and beseech of thee, for several small, yet lasting things.

First, being that this is my first time from home,
I ask for a delicate explanation of purpose and action.
You see, as you can imagine, I am only a little scared.
And, yet, am myself gracious to be parted from that
lonely frown I was wearing.

It was dastardly boring, and I am thankful for my new predicament.

As for the food.
What ever can it be? A plain smear of meat
With only a hint of salt?
And where are the potatoes or the greens?
What a plain boring meal that it put me right to sleep!

Have you never cooked for more than a party of simply thee?

This sir, is a sub par attempt.
A disaster.

Did you not ever hear,
That you win more friends with honey than beer?
But, have no worry, as I was famished,
and would eat a horse.

My next query,
kind sir,
is something that I hope you can answer more clearly than before,
and it addresses the question of why
you boarded up the windows in this monastery?

I can see tiny trickles of moonlight arching through the notches
Of that splintering wood,
So, I know there life outside these walls.

And now I am confused.

I remember it being day last,
When we first meet.
Where has the sun gone?
Do you know what time it is?

I am still hanging on your promises of candy and
Fleeting freedom,
so I will keep my questions brief.

I suppose, the most pressing question would be,
What is that dreadful smell?
It’s like a slaughter house in here, and the heat is no help.

Have you no knack to prepare for company?
You should unboard those windows and
Let the wind bluster out your home!

Oh, and by the way,
Is this your home?

You told me that you were going to take me someplace special,
Someplace fun,
Something fit for a kid like me,
Something to dispel the ghastly grip of
a lonely, scorching summer day.

This surely cannot be it,
Can it?

No, actually, the more I think about it,
I recall asking you to leave me alone

No sweets, no matter how tender, could get me
To falter into being duped into some sort
Of fake splendor.

No, not me, kind sir.
Not me at all.
And at this moment, I believe I wish to part.
More quickly than I did arrive.

I would ask for a ride, my gracious host,
But I do not wish to impose a second more.
So, if you can, and if only to just
Point me to the shroud you call a door,
And I will be on my way.

In all honesty, I do appreciate your hospitality,
But I cannot stay a moment more.
No harsh words will make it so,
So why do you continue to agonize my soul.

My last question,
Kind sir,
Won’t you please untie me and let me go?

Or, at least kill me with the lights off


Barefoot, beat down, battered and blue

barefoot, beat down, battered and beautiful
wearing that dress, lit by the islands, your smile is the fruit of the sun.
no more a wicked breath to breathe the sour taste of forgotten sand.

keep your head above the riptide, watered down crash of political waves
against our otherwise, unintelligent ocean side town.
no more a face to see the sleeping feet laying in the heavens,
your hands climb the beckoning stairwell that leads star-crossed lovers to meet
the eternal Jesus that sleeps in your eyes.

keep me awake now, with the trumpeting screams that reign against a burning background.
no more a snow white drizzle across a failed TV screen,
your hair lifts a paper moon to reflect against an orbit of laughter in an
otherwise laugh-less room.

quiet, quaint, emotionlessly believable, your shoes are left dying in the grass.
no more a stone to step daintily across a lye infected river,
your toes leave pale, cold kisses next to an empty nightstand in an otherwise thriving room.

put your thoughts back now, and turn your mind to tired constraints and verse-less verbs.
no more a bluebird's song to sing us through troubled times,
your voice lifts failed leaves to dance against a pale, tinfoil sky.

numbered days can't count the ways you make the subtle breeze blow.
no more a cog in the clock that pieces its way through peaceful diligence.
your past becomes the kind future that pieces together elegant sentences from
dissident words.

barefoot, beat down, battered and beautiful.
we are all abused like kings,
no more a child to cry to our father,
our lives become the skipped blurb in a history of macabre justice.


Arson, Garcon

arsons lay bricks like daylight across the busy parkway.
bumbling passerbys trip, toes caught in gooey pavement,
eyes stuck on fast-forward as dust clouds settle on the horizon.

backwards disasters line the foreground, littering lips with murmurs
of distrust and hypocrisy.
lingering fingers point at intelligent graffiti lining the skyline,
as calm thoughts erupt into a storm of futility.

leaves, labeled with love and lust for lorn days, float past like wayward voyagers.
pausing to make companions with the dustless wind,
and speeding up to catch the breeze as it passes.

pious, pickled, and beaten to a pulp, the arsenic arsonists make their way home,
pockets filled to the brim with sunlight and stars,
and eyes to the meadows with burgeoning disgust.


A poem at gunpoint (give me your money)

I smell the wind, breathing on my neck, kind sir,
And do wonder, if and whenever, that these cold chills
Will become a warm, tender touch of that sweet
Raw and ripe red.
And, as you do know, kind sir, we are the bored and forgotten breed,
So can have no lofty expectations of knowing the answer to simple questions,
Or awkward pleas.
I would ask, but know I would care not for your answer.
But, kindly of course, I do bid your help, or a brief moment of your time
To test the waters on the forefront of knowledge.
You see, I am no more than one man living near the shore.
The beach is my burden, and the leaves my sand, and my life
Utterly a bore.
And since now, as you can imagine, the air is in the frost grasp of winter,
And with Delicate defiance has grappled the sun way too long,
My own depression is already too much to succumb.
I am left with nothing more than a bare footprint dying in the snow.
My wife is a moment’s breath from birthing more than we can know,
And we are tasked with observing the tides subsiding flow.
Time is the cousin to forgotten memories,
My friend,
And plays second fiddle to failing hope,
Fledgling and flailing in the waters at best,
But sincerely and utterly unknown.
So, as to not drag this on for a moment too long,
But before you think my breath is too short,
and all together wrong,
Will you kind sir, do me the pleasure of
Parting your hair, and biting this peach,
And telling my mom that this is not that way
In which that I die?

Justin DiSandro is a writer, filmmaker, and adventurer from Chicago. His works have been published in numerous journals including Farmhouse Magazine, Blue Moon Press and Pious.