Always found my idols not in spirit,

But in those I wish I could be.

When my own mind isn’t

Enough for me:

Steal it.


Find another,

Mold them into my brain—

(With my own thoughts I won’t bother)

Rip them open, find I can’t quite attain.

Absorb each drop until my pores collapse

In on themselves, myself a mess.

Their lives to be my maps

When in distress:



In the morning,

Summon it with my pen,

Ink on page till it comes pouring,

Soothe my scattered head with another’s dread.





When I first heard the news I thought: “There is no way in hell this is real”.

I remember him. Every now and then, I’d remember him.

Five years ago we were sitting in Centennial Park,

Watching a surprisingly well put together high school production of Macbeth.

And he was kind to me, always kind, 

Even when it felt like the rest of the world was against me.

He understood me. We were bonded together 

By the confusing torture of feeling trapped in our bodies.

A torture that can kill, but a torture he endured like no other.

He spent years fighting against that loss of hope, never allowing it to take him.

And he learned to love himself as his body slowly began to align with the man in his head.

He was proud, he found happiness—


And he was killed for it.


The last time we spoke was two weeks before it happened.

And I am grateful I managed to tell him how much he did for me.

It used to be so easy for me to block out these random acts of violence,

To not let it scare me, even when the reality is that it could be me next.

But it is absolutely terrifying to live knowing that someone you used to be friends with,

Someone who supported and inspired you to keep fighting,

Was murdered for simply being who he is.



They Met on a Family Beach Vacation in 2013.


They met on a family beach vacation in 2013.

Under an Alabama summer moon, hand in hand they stood

Breathing in the smell of salt: him and him and the sea.


Both of them young, holding hands in secrecy—

Though years have passed, if you gave them the chance they still would.

They met on a family beach vacation in 2013.


Soaked in innocence, laid in sand under a breezy palm tree,

A shared childhood crush, the lingering hope they will always hold—

A never-dying faith in the blurry memory of him and him and the sea.


Eight years later, when everything has changed, each of them still holds a key

That would open the other’s heart and reveal the love that lived into adulthood.

They met on a family beach vacation in 2013.


They may meet again, and be too nervous to admit the thing on which they both agree:

That in their heads they both still hold onto the promise that was foretold

When moonlight sealed their two lives together: him and him and the sea.


My gaze floods with jealousy, because before last August, that used to be you and me.

When I saw you again, and was swallowed by the light of the moon under which we once stood.

We met on a family beach vacation in 2013.

I will always remember most fondly, the fleeting image of you and me and the sea.



Biographical Note: Mason Ryan Newbury is a 19-year-old poet from Nashville, Tennessee who has focused his studies on creative writing since attending Nashville School of the Arts for high school. He found his calling with poetry, and typically writes pieces that are almost confessional in an attempt to make sense of the things he has experienced throughout his life so far. Mason is currently a Junior at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing.