I look at him, a body passing on the street

and wonder

what would it be like to know you

but here is the paradox

of introverts and strangers-

I think too hard about

what I will never know


I don’t have the right steps to walk toward you

and spend a few minutes changing out worlds

so I will sit here and draw circles on the floor

and hope you find some meaning in the scribbles


I am more likely to leave an anonymous note slipped under your table

than let you learn what my body feels like


so somewhere in parallel

I will waste all my time on you

I will shed my skin to look at you

nothing in our way

I will let you and keep letting you

trip over all the little moments,

surprises you will never see coming


somewhere in parallel

I will learn the important things by writing you down

I will call you a good thing

or the best thing that ever happened

you will make it so hard to leave, I can tell

sometimes I will get so caught up in your eyes when you’re talking

it makes you repeat yourself (I’m sorry

but not sorry enough to stop looking,

you’re so goddamn beautiful)

and here and now

I will look at you, a stranger passing on the street

and wonder

what would it be like to know you

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 10/30/20

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don’t understand me
no numeral of quantity
preacher lady looking
at accusations in a book
saying infinity is proof
of a mathematical sacrifice
that saved humanity
if only we could get back
to three and then zero
says quantum physics
is why we have clocks
and space shuttles
slipping through cracks
in the fabrics of blankets
claims blankets are white
masses, says I’m mass
the tree is mass, birds
are mass and a mass
is a spot that breaks
into a speck so small
my car is invisible to god
claims i don’t pray right
because i do it with my
hands and my speech
is imperfect, can’t talk
to god with a slur or slang
says i need to be prized
and perfect like a precious
moment figurine, demands
i stop calling him home boy
he’s not your boy, throws
a piece paper at me with
nothing on it but a squiggle
in the middle of a circle,
claims it represent life
and who i used to be
when i had a brain
and understood counting
was invented for more
than money, need to crunch
the numbers to understand
my sister is the same as me
though she died in a hospital,
tells me i’m better than nobody
but I act like a stranger hiding
my divinity code under a hat

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This is what genuis looks like in a poem!

Ode to a Stranger (day 28)

When I want to forget and sink

I shatter at a stranger’s feet

Push myself through the doorway,

toss my memories on the concrete


Strangers mesh together until I smile,

let go and die a little inside

I lean back into unfamiliarity

when there’s a stranger by my side


I’m not calling you a liar or

leaving graffiti on this doorstep

But I’m not worried with a stranger

even if we wandered and overslept


You spilled seven letters and a bloodstain

on the carpet beneath my feet

but if I sit here with a stranger

days are minutes and don’t repeat


When I want to forget another day

I shatter in a stranger’s arms

I was done but now I find myself

falling for yet another charm

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written 8/28/16

Ode to a stranger

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19 and Naïve

WARNING: This is a heavy piece of writing that deals with the topic of sexual assault through relaying a survivors experience of date rape. If you are offended or sensitive to this subject matter, then please refrain from reading this particular piece. 


To everyone else: I wanted this piece of writing to channel the various feelings, thoughts, and overall experience of what it's like to go through such a horrific experience. It's choppy, it's scattered, and it's devoid of warmth. It's as though you're watching these events occur, but you aren't really experiencing them. You're disconnected; dissociated. To the survivors of sexual assault, my heart goes out to you and I know your many pains. For me, writing about my experiences has provided more healing than any shrink or pills ever could. 

I'm always here to talk if anyone ever needs a listening ear, or sounding board. 

You're not alone.





19 and naïve




She rides the 5E down the line

It's 11 PM

Past her bedtime

Work in the morning, she'll sleep in


One shot,

One night,

One boy who never paid her mind


Cold, it's the Dead of winter. She takes off a glove and fixes her hair


He's finally noticed her

She's coming at his midnight beckon


Houses with closed blinds fly past the window

Ever closer to her destination


her heart beats in rhythm to the bumping of tires over potholes


A man boards the bus,

waves a glove in her face

Crazy wide eyes and alcohol on his breath,

insanity pours out of a poisoned mouth


She sidles past and steps outside,

Cold air punches her lungs and leaves her gasping


She's walking




Towards the house in the middle of the street


The house he's waiting for her in



Waiting for his chance


Stopping at the porch, he welcomes her with open arms,

Tall and strong, enveloping her in a disconcerting embrace


They enter,

A staircase leads up


to a room


The room


The room with posters

And a laptop

And an inflatable mattress


'We're going to watch a movie'


It's not a question


We are

I am


I sit, but he wants to lay

His voice slithers wet and heavy in my ear


'You want it, but I'm not giving it to you'


My brain starts to ache


Throat becomes sandpaper

I've forgotten how to breathe


I don't want it


Hands now roaming my body without permission 

Shallow compliments fall on me and explode in a queasy stomach


I'm going numb

His mouth on mine

This isn't how I imagined it


Fighting back against bile rising in my throat


When did I become naked


He tells me I want it


I still don't


What happened to the movie

I just wanted a movie


He's inside me

Everything hurts

His face is ugly

And I think I hate him


He tells me to shut up


I can't


A hand strikes me





'I told you to be quiet'


Strong hands now hug my throat

A violent embrace

I want to cough

I can't





Spots dance before my eyes


Tears threaten to fall

Please don't betray me

Trying to maintain


I can't



He grabs my face


'Are you crying?'


There's amusement in his voice

It's a game to him


He soothes me

Wipes my tears

Before resuming


Mouth to my ear again




'I love raping you


I love raping you


God it's good


Dirty whore


I know you love it'


I'm there for years

I think I flew away  for a few of them




Out of the room with the inflatable mattress

Out of my body


The body that rejected me

Made this happen



It's finally over

A lifetime has passed

I never knew a body could feel like this from the inside


I am dirty




Angry and




Now downstairs,  he pulls me on his lap

Another man is there and they casually chat

They're laughing


I'm sick


And I think he is too


Going home now

I'm back

I'm alive

(I think)


It's so cold


I work tomorrow


I'm going to sleep in



A lonely second chance

Walking in the footsteps of the shadows before him

Many years a plenty so deep dark and empty

Never ever too few to hate him very coarsely


They preach to him of god’s love

While at the cliff giving him a shove

It saddens him when he thinks about how they should love him

When any perfect stranger easily can trim or replace him


Finally realizing he needs a second chance as he stares at the walls

Putting him in a trance

Knowing he has to try and make this last stance

 Lonely living out this life sentence, but I bet they won’t miss his invalid absence.

Written by, 

Rob Casteel

The Solemner

I saw you on the train that morning.

You looked so misshapen,

With your superfluous lower lip protruding,

Like the petal of a rose,

Damaged by morning dew.

Your eyes wondered,

Like glass marbles, pouring

Distain into all you knew.

Like a diamond in the rough,

You were there among the grey,

Shaped into nothing but Solemness.

A Solemner.

Lost in the morning,

Of heavy tides and and matchstick lives,

Disappearing completely.

Those eyes, those cheeks,

That imploring gaze,

Made me no Solemner

Then a man could be.

Such beauty,


Wasted through the day,

As it seeps through the drain,

Like water.

Down it falls,

Never to be seen again.

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"The Demons of Man"

I fabricate skyscrapers, piercing the heavens with chrome blades.

I see a world of fire: combusting, incinerating, devouring.


The valleys burn red with blood stained spades,

The universe watching discreetly, towering.



The demons of man ignite the skylines as day bleeds to night,

The structures emitting a silent roar as the stars lay breathless.


The avenues inhale kerosene, reflecting red light,

The cities burn to ash, dying, defenseless.



As the aggregation of starlight coats our landscape with a luminous glare,

The ruins of a million memories electrify the skies.


The fires burn out as the moon is relieved of its empowering stare,

The once amplified street pinned under its arbitrary demise.



Once upon a time, when man walked with man,

I stared in the eyes of a world worth living.


I watched as it twisted, tore, became a cancerous scan;

Mankind destroying itself, relentless, unforgiving.



As I walk under a sun that illuminates a planet encased in sorrow,

Tears fall parallel to light rays.

As clouds float in a boundless ocean, awaiting tomorrow,

I continue roaming, a stranger, in a world astray.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Let me know what you think.

Al-GUROBAA (The Stranger)


A Stranger
Living in the entagle of peoples' fear
In a rough path he is a scavenger
Souls are rejoicing in jahiliyah
Glad tidings to the stranger
In the midst of turbulent cheer
Of rebeliousness at top gear
While Sapiens have torn the viel of fear
Alien he is; he's bullied and labelled a liar
Yet, the truth he doesn't despair
He ramains a stranger
and he's treated like a scavenger
Suffering, his lot; yet his conscience's clear
Glad tidings to this stranger
Forever victory will be his share

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Hey There, Stranger


I was one hour too late,

I walked in to the jeep

Then an angel surfaced

Tongue-tied, I couldn't speak


Your skin, it was whiter than me

Oh, crafted perfectly

Your hair, you dyed it brown like me

So bright and glistening


Your teeth lit up when you smiled

Oh, how I wish you were mine

And kiss those tempting lips

You made me lose my speech


I couldn't help myself

Look at your perfect self

I didn't know what I felt

With your gaze, you made me melt


You also wore glasses 

No, I do not know your name

Please fill my world's patches

I'll never be the same


Hey there, mystical stranger

Who wore a shirt with spider

You filled my tiresome world with mystery

I wish someday there will be you and me


I hope someday we'll see each other

I wish one day we'll be together

I'll sleep now thinking of you

Pretending you like me too

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