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Roy Jakob Bass

There was a laugh that surprised us all.


Becoming and booming, falling and rising

against the silence, crumbling it

like the waves we were once caught under.


At first I resisted.

Then, I laughed too.


A devious squall emerged,

quite unlike me,


bubbling from a place I had not known I hosted,

and it joined the cacophony

reviving stoic walls.


It returned to me with every bellow.

Each one shaking my frame

until I tumbled in foundation.


I laughed at the pain,

& everything that had happened.


The anguish.

The tragedy.

& all the days I claimed I could not.


More pain. More tragedy.

I laughed despite it all.


I laughed because I was still here

& it was not.

because there was an absurdity

to it all.


I howled, guffawed, giggled

at all the nights that had broken me

until the air grew fresh to fettered lungs.


I held the world to my gaze, shed the torment

in tears, wiped them candidly & felt

how they wished to be relinquished.


We laughed until the silence overcame us,

& the peace had returned.


Roy Jakob Bass is a Russian-Israeli-American poet living in New Jersey, by way of Brooklyn. He performs spoken word under the name Robin, competing in and winning poetry slams across the country. His work focuses on American immigration, mental health, trauma, and chronic illness. He holds a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago, and he can be found on instagram under @RobinSpokenWord and @MissingFrames.

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