Patrick Roche


Patrick Roche (he/him) is an award-winning poet, performer, mental health advocate, and Carly Rae Jepsen enthusiast from New Jersey. Videos of Patrick’s work have amassed over 9.5 million views on YouTube, making him one of the most popular spoken word poets. Patrick has competed or been featured at multiple national and international competitions and festivals.Patrick serves nationally as an ambassador for the JED Foundation, promoting mental and emotional health, suicide prevention, and substance abuse awareness.

In recognition of his work as a touring speaker and performer, Patrick was named the 2020 Spoken Word Artist of the Year by APCA (the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities), and he has featured at numerous conferences and conventions including the national conferences for both APCA and NACA (the National Association for Campus Activities).

His solo stage show debuted in 2020 and was featured on BroadwayWorld. It was then selected for Dixon Place’s HOT! Festival, the longest-running festival of its kind celebrating LGBTQIA+ theater and art.

Patrick is the author of the full-length poetry collection, A Socially Acceptable Breakdown (Button Poetry, 2021) and two other chapbooks. His work has appeared in or been published by Button Poetry, UpWorthy, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post, NBC LX, MSN, Beech Street Review, Gal Pals Present, Freezeray Press, Voicemail Poems, and his mom’s fridge. His work explores mental health, grief, sexuality, body image, disordered eating, family, memory, love, joy, pop culture, and everything in between. Patrick is a 2014 graduate of Princeton University, where he studied Classics (specifically Latin and Greek poetry) and Education. He loves his dog very much. Source 


21. My father is run over by a car.

He is passed out on the road with a blood alcohol content four times the legal limit.

I do not cry.

Four months later, the nurses lose his pulse, and I wonder whose life

flashed before his eyes. Rewinding VHS tapes, old home videos.


20. 19. I haven't brought a friend home in four years.


18. My mother sips the word divorce. Her mouth curls at the taste,

like it burns going down. 


17. I start doing homework at Starbucks. I have more meaningful conversations

with the barista than with my family.


16. I wait for Christmas Eve. My brother and I usually exchange gifts

to one another early. This year, he and my father exchange blows. 

My mother doesn't go to mass.


15. I come up with the theory that my father started drinking again

because maybe he found out I'm gay. Like if he could make everything else blurry, maybe somehow I'd look straight.


15. My mother cleans up his vomit in the middle of the night and cooks

breakfast in the morning like she hasn't lost her appetite.


15. I blame myself.


15. My brother blames everyone else. 


15. My mother blames the dog.


15. Superbowl Sunday, my father bursts through the door like an avalanche

picking up speed and debris as he falls, banisters, coffee tables,

picture frames, tumbling, stumbling. 

I find his AA chip on the kitchen counter.


14. My father's been sober for ten, maybe eleven years? 

I just know we don't even think about it anymore. 


13. 12. 11. Mom tells me Daddy's meetings are for AA. 

She asks if I know what that means. I don't. I nod anyway.


10. My parents never drink wine at family gatherings. 

All my other aunts and uncles do. I get distracted by the TV

and forget to ask why. 


9. 8. 7. 6. I want to be Spider Man. Or my dad. They're kinda the same.


5. 4. 3. I have a nightmare, the recurring one about Ursula from The Little Mermaid. 

So, I get up. I waddle toward Mommy and Daddy's room, blankie in hand. I pause.

Daddy's standing in his underwear, silhouetted by refrigerator light. 


2. 1. 0. When my mother was pregnant with me, I wonder if she hoped 

as so many mothers do, that her baby boy would grow up to be 

just like his father. 





Literary Movements:

Spoken Word

Anthology Years:




Memory & The Past

Mental Health

Literary Devices:


the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”

Template Poem

a poem in which a poet uses a predetermined form to structure the poem. For example: a multiple-choice format, a recipe, directions, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Miranda Rights. A template poem borrows an already established form to provide structure and commentary.