"Back When" A Poem by Boston Alum, Jason Wright

Back when, I had friends

In one shot. I was everything I am not.

I was creative. I was handsome.

I was damaged. And then some.

I was waking into it all.

Till oddball somehow became commercial.


The world doesn't know me.

Noone does.

Poker guise, faded smile.

I am less then rough.

And half as tough.


I am second to none.

None. Or should I say to noon.

Cause twilight is coming

Reflect on that for a second.

Look for the book in your nearest poetry section.


Think when did writing become manic scribe on a wall.

When did it all go out the door.

What was it all worth?

Why do I try at all?


What was the point of all this?

To try and deny my mental illness?

No that’s not mania. Its brilliance.

Its not anxiety, its just quick thinking

No that’s not the writing of a madman

Or a sad man. Or a lunatic

Its not a letter to the world?

Its not. Not a ribbon, a place holder.

A foot note?


What does it all matter?

Poetry is dead. Deader then the masters.


Long live the strong.
The weak will workshop.

Draft, and redraft

And publish….make a name for themselves.

A name for themselves in poetry.


Poetry was all I had.

It made me everything I am.

Back when I had friends. I had pens.

I had a notebook and a dream.

To be part of a team.

To be part of something.


To be something.


Not wretched.

Not lifeless.

Not empty.

I need to meditate.


Ground and clear.

Take my medicine.

Say goodnight to my audience.

jason wright headshot TIMB.jpg

Jason Wright is a poet who lives in Massachusetts. He is the founder and editor of Oddball Magazine www.oddballmagazine.com, an online poetry and arts magazine. He is the co-host of the Oddball Show, a podcast that centers on interviewing interesting people who have interesting stories to tell. He is a published poet, and also Head Publisher for Oddball Magazine Publishing. He is a member of NAMI and a regular In Our Own Voice speaker.  His book A Letter to the World was released by Tell Tale Chap Books in 2014. He is currently looking for a publisher for his latest book Train of Thought. It is already to go. Jason has always been a tireless advocate of educating and informing the public to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness. He is a champion of his condition, and works as a Certified Peer Specialist to empower those living with a mental health diagnosis.  He recently performed in the 2018 Cast of This Is My Brave Boston.