Words By Tomas Nieto, Art By Hailey Renee
Origins of the Origami Man
Call me a historian—
the map of me folded into a throat, whispered
on the backside of a doubt
keep your head up, shoulders back.
Your eye always on the prize.
Thousand-fold, one for each
hard blow gone mindset. Your spine
will bend back and forth
until it is as thin as string—
turn from the hips, look straight ahead
like you done this before,
like all the times you were called
bitch. The deep split of that tongue
sucks the tears from your thirst
till you turn to paper.
Advice from the Origami Man
Cut the love letters from your
feet and watch how movement
becomes man’s way
of commanding attention.
an origami heart
is still paper in its makeup.
It tears in water and wear;
the soft will wash from your bloodstream
and this paper will become heavy
as fist and feathers
because fight or flight is the quickest way
to kill the boy in the man.
along the tendons and fibers
the twist and shatter—
watch those thumbs
curl into punches.
Promise: the trauma from the blow
is never as much as
you hurt me.
Let that poem sit heavy in your throat
and when you spit
let the sparks burn the ground
because that’s the night
you’ll get a seat at this table
and feast like the king you never were.
Truth of the Origami Man
Do you still sing this song, Poet?
You say you write this constitution
on the boundaries of me? Stop trying
to soft the beat and blind this blade.
There is no gentle in this—
not for you, not for me, not any other man—
we are all thinning at the edges
and counting the threads—victimless I swear
because vice over risk.
Shake this up and
watch your hypocrisy crumble
because lines separate things for a reason.
If you can’t be honest with yourself
and hunt when the smell of blood isn’t yours,
they will come for your teeth and leave with your truth.
Do not unfold this poem
because your fault lines will split
at the creases.
Your footing is nothing more
than the shoes you can’t fill.
Keep it together.
To the Origami Man
And when this body
becomes nothing more than a body,
and when I am nothing more than origami
look for the smoke signals
the silence falling from mother’s eyes.
In the outline,
write me lost boy
because I am both the crime
and the detective
and the only difference is my alibi—
the mirror keeps me up at night,
the ones that scare
the shit out of me
because I have folded the boy
he is crawling
up my throat,
looking for meat.