Reading: Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Poetry - March 14

I – Canvas to Artist
Wrap our cracking skin
in deep-root truth.
Wear our hearts out
where sleeves should go –
help whoever’s trying
to fathom them
not need to
remove so much.

Harden our heaviest metals.
Take pin-prick traumas
and make memorials
of the worse ones
we somehow escaped
without visible scars.

Indulge us,
and we will pay to have them
embossed, exposed to show
and tell our story –
a magnum opus
mouthed in flesh.

Ink us,
and give us power
to draw someone
like a homing signal –
to be found,
and to find another
blemished body
to mesh with ours.

II – Canvas to Lover

I will prove my worth to you
in ink,
in a name not signed
by my own hand.

This will fade with time –
as all things do –
but by it, you will always
recognize my darkness
and the depths of my commitment.endcap

Justin Barisich is a rising son of New Orleans, the half-Croatian middle child of a commercial fisherman, a graduate of Vanderbilt University, a freelancer, a satirist, a poet, and a performer. His written poetry has appeared in RATTLE, The Five Hundred, The Vanderbilt Review, WORDPEACE, The Rookery, and Splattered Thoughts. Justin has performed his spoken word poetry for thousands of folks all across the United States, in venues such as the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and the National Civil Rights Museum. You can read more of his words at

  1. Benjamin Carr

    12 March

    Excellent work. I appreciate the alliteration and rhythm of the first piece, particularly.

    • Justin Barisich

      15 March

      Thank you for your kind words, kind sir!

  2. Ethan Rocke

    17 March

    This is quite good.

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