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Traffic Report

poems by reek bell

Undisclosed location

If you let me have this

I will give you my belt, shoe laces, metal utensils, and stretch quietly everyday at 7:30am.

I don’t want oxys from the corner store anymore, but i did….

my hidden mason jars of piss weren’t good, but the egg and cheese sandwiches were.

Told my friends I'd stay, then I did, then I left without saying goodbye.

I knew that she loved me, and she did, so I left no way for her to reach me.

Some time later I was on the tenth floor, making friends with the techs and convincing everyone to watch the movies I chose. Trading crisis center stories, talking shit on our families, and lying loud enough the nurses could hear us say we “no longer wished to die.”

I made friends with the woman from South Philly who would come get me if I missed dinner.

I felt lucky my loneliness wasn’t as ingrained as hers.

Indebted to her kindness I attempted to convince her to leave her cop boyfriend.

The whole floor came outside after a storm...

The cemetery below us seemed like more of a beautiful accessory than the usual ironic reminder.

The green of everything felt like the brightest color I’d ever seen.

On the patio we were always dreaming of cigarettes.

Like children we passed pens from our mouths, blowing imaginary smoke into the air,

while someone was always teaching spades.

Somehow we’d often get to talking about the ocean…

looking down to the street I’d see a bus pulling up to take us there.

I’d see the water fight for us when they try to bring us back.

When it was time to leave we exchanged our I love you’s with the uncertainty of ever seeing each other again.

When I miss everyone,

I try the phone numbers that don’t work,

then go to the cemetery below the caged-in patio,

and try to throw cigarettes up to the tenth floor.


The routine you believe in ghosts?

Not just in a whisper, but life in the dirt and the dark.

Everyone came to help to feel a part of the tragedy

The buried casting a quilt, the selfish living off the warmth.

They’ll even steal the bones...

establish any proximity to a loss just to market the mourning.

Not me, not us.

But…we too can be later on assimilationists.

Hiding out in our early militant moments.

They have gone stitched, and we have not come back to rip the seam.

We are tired and they want that of us, and that’s not our fault but that is whats happening.

It’s a promise to make you cry,

It’s a promise to bring chaos to your bed.

Where was everyone when the hope rushed out?

A quick tide with no moon to follow.

We’re now asking you to break away,

light the bits of the frey so that our ends will not dance together.

We’ll remain like a knot, chunky and dense enough to withstand the ways we’d pull away.

Honoring the jagged rocks we befriended..

that held up our coasts when all the grief came in.


we’re not here for you

They started this without,

With all this inbetween it has taken shape of the room.

Let it be sorrow but real and sometimes joy.

Let us dream beyond the veil of power that is not ours to hold.

Stack our ruins in the creases of the doorways,

keep them out!

The block’s been on fire,

there is no compromise here.

We’ve been the gasp.

Seen the meaning.

Been the ooze, the blood, and the scab.

We’ve witnessed the slaughter

the ceremony, the descent into a real hell.

If we lay our demons in the trees could we confront it then?!

A new year, a nervous birth.

Maybe we can fix the repeat..

relieve the ends held together by the exhausted,

nurture the other deviants that always catch us before the burial.

reek bell

reek Bell is a Philadelphia based writer. They enjoy writing about film, friendship, surviving and joy. They’re currently working on a book of poems, and a zine series about friendship.
Traffic Report