Jehoiakim (fire song i) by j.p. berame

Jehoiakim (fire song i)

a tribute to the faculty center fire


an hour past


and i’ve read

how our dearests

have witnessed

the burning

of an empire

of papers

of books

of blood and sweat

of lifeworks

oh amber



spitting fire


destruction is beauty

or so they say

but have you ever tried

to look into the eyes

of someone

of something


from the inside?

here’s a story:


i saw a building

swallowed by

its inner fire

fueled by its guts

fueled by its insides

i sensed the smoke


i sensed the fire

and the trees bowed down

more in reverence

than silent defiance

a tribute

to the holy ghosts

of ashes flying


the building’s



i saw a building

swallowed by

its inner fire

fueled by

its own viscera

which is to say


i saw

what i’m afraid of:

my own phoenix


eating guts

inside out


all i have ever allowed

my own dragon



all i’ve ever built

my sand castles

my white towers

which is to say


i saw Vesuvius inside me

and love


in rising

in rousing

i am burning

my empire skin.

(74 lines)


Justin’s Note: Hello, my name is Justin and I’m a Bukowski addict. “Hi, Justin.” Anyways one of the things that I enjoy is ignoring capitalization rules, well. You can’t just start using i instead of I and consider it ‘done well.’ It has to be natural and when it’s used right it adds a nuance to the poem that’s priceless. Like Bukowski did. j.p did it well. I was immersed in this poem from the very start, vivid imagery, and interesting metaphors riddle this fire poem that singes and brands your mind with its delicate verse. You will have the scars to prove it. Isn’t that what good poetry should do? Not just mark, not just change, but scar.

Bio: j. p. berame is a 20-something poet/photographer/producer based in Manila, Philippines. Visit her at


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