new boots

dear unrelenting neverending uphill battle
i bought some new boots today
size twelve double wide
steel toes and hard soles 
does that frighten you?

of course not
you are the unrelenting neverending uphill battle
journey with no arrival 
mindless ambition, missions and visions
tall as denali 
long as god’s shadow
all of us on trial

as a kid 
i got my ass kicked by the other kids in school
beat down in the home that i ran from
beat down in the streets i ran to
as a man
dragged down in the great recession
lost the business i built from spit and dirt
and beaten flat in the aftermath
by the i.r.s. 
cut down to size in the eyes of soulless white collars
got my ass kicked by every boss i crossed
every woman i loved, everything below
and everything above
thugged and mugged in the dark  
left for dead
and i wreck myself when no one else will
cause i don’t know myself
without any bruises 

can you see all the teeth in my eyes?

i’m a bubba-shaped object
hands like two pitbulls  
a mind made of knuckles 
a heart of scar tissue
blood like burnt diesel 
my name is no-shame
and i’ve got some new boots
dear unrelenting neverending uphill battle
i’m coming for you
 

Published by

phillip woodruff

i live in colorado, i love poetry and fishing, i've never been to kentucky, i own 5 pairs of shoes, sometimes i drive too fast, i like craft beer, i own 37 fishing poles, i've never been to iceland, sometimes i drive too slow, right now there is a black bird outside my window, i stare at him and he stares at me

13 thoughts on “new boots”

  1. This is so brilliant and beautiful and raw. Thank you for giving me the honor and privilege of reading this. You.

    My favorite:
    “and i wreck myself when no one else will
    cause i don’t know myself
    without any bruises”

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  2. I appreciate the courage it takes to pour yourself out on the page like that. I’m glad you have yourself some new sh*t kickers. I enjoyed your musical selection also.

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  3. Ah, here it is! I clicked from my side bar yesterday or so, and it had been taken down for more editing, I guess. This is your usual stellar stuff, Phillip. The staccato similes near the end are deliciously sharp, and the way the poem moves from a litany of setbacks to a RAWR of defiance is so satisfying. I like “long as god’s shadow.” Us granola switchblade nuns are always all about god and stuff. 🙂

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  4. ‘bloody hell” was my response – it means basically just how impressively raw and in your face this poem is – the boots are a kick back and that makes all the difference to those gut spilling vicissitudes

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    1. hey joy! i saw your comment, but i have no idea what happened to it, i may have deleted it by accident, i’ve done that before. i remember seeing it and there was nothing wrong with it. sorry it took so long to reply, i was out of town and far away from any kind of internet. i will stop by your blog soon, i have lots of catching up to do.

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    2. ah-ha! i found it, your comment was attached to a different post that i ended up taking down… here it is, sorry about that

      “Of course you were missed, and welcome back. This poem is dynamite, so the absence had no ill effects on the muse factory, anyway. I think this may be one of the most thumpingly strong, well-constructed things I’ve ever read from you, phillip, tho your trademark whimsy is just a little under wraps–it’s far too honest to miss it, tho. I can relteto every line, and I know this place too well: “and i wreck myself when no one else will/cause i don’t know myself/without any bruises..” Despite, or maybe because of, that feeling of having faced utter overwhelming exhaustion and futility, this poem is also a poem of hope, and of growth. Just super good.”

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