Coins in my pocket

I need instant reply

I take pills
as if they would
erase my ails

I want to go back
go back to that place
where inspiration sparks

but something is holding
me back, something
is hindering my progress

I’ve said all the same shit
over & over again
keep wondering what is new

I want to feel fresh
want to revitalize my life
I want to flip the table on routine

vital, I want to feel
this instead of
warning signs of fatal

frail, my bones are so
when did I start to care
& listen for every creak

I used to be so carefree
& full of self-
destructive tendencies

where am I now
please tell me
where I am now

just walking through
memories like neighborhoods
jingling the coins in my pocket



Alter my mood
I want to
falter my mind

I want to be here
but I also
want to be somewhere else

on another plane
dream of
another place

I want to further myself
but I am always
working against myself

hinder my progress
I want to
reach my potential

I want to love myself
but I’ve harbored
too many regrets

I want to climb
the ladder but I
keep kicking out rungs

I want to clean up
this yard but I
keep stepping on rakes

I want to clean up
my self-image but I am
not what I imagined

detail this mirror
crack my face in vain
show me what I should see

in another dream
I would like to float
with you in my peripheral

you, a balloon string
floating just
outside of my reach

swallowing these feelings
because it hurts
too much to spit them out

regurgitating garbage
because it hurts
too much to tell the truth

these are the feelings that set us free

these are the constructs that feed our sleep

am I the one to be set free?

or am I the one to remain asleep

Temperate Lichen

Rising over violent squall
gravel on my windshield
highway near the ocean
rain slows to a drizzle
I sight a sign of hesitation
step into temperate lichen

boardwalk practical
designed to be magical
morphing into staircase
twisting within murmuring creek
without anyone breathe deep
drawing in cedar on the air

waves crashing on remote coast
it’s busy season, visitors near & far
in search of immersion why not go all in
here I am dead between the open ocean
& imagining lonely tidal youthful looks
end of the road on massive wooden dock

tuning forks emit low sound
a shuddering luxury
an excellent vantage point
driftwood thunder washed ashore
with the enthusiasm of black seas rocks
in reflection of graveyard lighthouse

see it firsthand at crack of dawn
seethe & foam mesmerizing moments
sneaky operator clanging buoy in background
aquarium throws parity nudging starfish
spurning relative calm of violent oxygen
clouds hang billowing posing for a landscape


“Ate Tapes” by Steve Shultz

Punch Drunk Press

Ate Tapes

Time is a tape deck

we are stuck
on rewind,
fast to skip ahead

eaten up inside

pause button stuck,,,
as we try to pick up

our spilled black ribbon entrails

Shultz Steve Shultz currently throws mail for the United States Postal Service. He is a former journalist with The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. He is native to Colorado, born and raised, calling the Mile High suburb of Aurora home for most of his life. He is the author of FM Ghost, his first collection of poetry. His work has been featured in various zines and publications both online and in print. Read more of his poetry at here.

Featured Image by Robbie Masso. Find him on Facebook, instagram, and his website.

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Sober Dream

Veering off course, I found myself
in a strange intersection

dreaming, of course
I found myself in enough pain to awake

it was the first sober dream
I’ve had in a year of Mondays

the pain in my useless limbs
receding, I found the truth
pouring away from me like a fountain

I tried to hold on with
eight stiff fingers and two broken thumbs
but it all slipped away from me

the meaning that once was so clear

Flip Book

There is a memoir inside of me
but it wants to stay there
it cannot decide if it does not want
to be told, or does not want to be received

the seeds of self doubt were planted
long ago
this self portrait was defaced
long ago

how do these years turn
with ease like a flip book
how many pages turn
before you stop reading

how many moments
would make up each page
so many questions arise
and are filed away

while simply existing


Looking for
I am feeling
of purpose
Of feeling
I am meaning
To do something
I am lapsing in
My judgement
I am lacking
As a husband
A father
As a self, myself
I am battling in my health
A child’s laugh
Makes me smile
But now my tears
Are all grown up
I’m all grown up
But now my tears
are welling up

I’ve been gone too long
now it’s time to come back home