A moment

You’ll make me forget it, for a moment
The shadow behind the door, the dark in the sky hiding between the stars and reaching in to snatch away what’s left of the warmth in your brow.

But I’ll dive into our false forever;  in the gaps amidst your heartbeats spindling an eternity in your veins; I’ll pull the covers over my head and conceal the last sparks of our eyes from the hungry abyss above.

These sweet assurences may fall from my mouth but they’re so much sweeter from your tongue
so why don’t you lie to me
My love, there are only two ways this ends and I’m terrified of both
so lie to me
tell me all your new favorite ways, to lie to me
that no one could judge me,
that this pain is just the result of growing beyond it
and, a personal favorite, that it will all be okay

and for this moment I’ll believe you

Memories of Elysium

Bring me back, boatman
to the golden dream that I escaped;
place me back, back in the amber clear I watch slip between my fingers each morning, clenched fist pushing away the memories from where I was before.

The angels sang to me of salvation,
Gentle harp’s familiar gilded string toned as lyres; celebrating the carress I long fought against, before they claimed the gift of argus and mounted his eyes on their wings.

Bring me back, boatman
That I might visit those you’ve taken.
You’ve gobbled your share and left us to mourn. Betrayed our love for your duty and now they sing in the sweet memories of Elysium that I’m pining for.

Perhaps we can strike a deal,
Nectar or honey – I’ve heard you like coins?
But even more I’ve heard you’re as much at their mercy as us, clawing on Charon’s walls unable to accept the cruelty that no place is so far away as yesterday.

Bring me back, boatman
take me through the ghostly waters;
refresh my memory that I might understand, where I came from and what’s held in my hands. Was I a hero? tell me what did I lose when I climbed from the Styx?

Was this the baptist’s price?
The gate toll to enter the kingdom of clouds.
Washing away the unclean with the rest of me, the Jordan left behind something pure as rain that felt a lie all the same.

So bring me back, boatman.
From Eden to Heaven and the odyssey in between;
There is a hint of fiction that’s stranger than life,
And something in this paradise that’s not in mine.

Never saw

An owl perches overhead
Judgement’s omen in a tree
Your throat tastes of dread
Nothing more to do but flee

Heart pounding in your ear
leaves and twigs crack undertoe
the pursuer can hear your fear
but you couldn’t hear his bow

That’s where yout struggle ends
Caught up in its whistle and draw
His arrow always finds it quarry
The last man you never saw

Try Again

I will try again

writing about you is taking an exam on my favorite subject in a language I don’t understand.
Present and real; palpable and radiant but amorphous and complicated such that I can only jot down enough to never be satisfied.

I will try again

I can’t find it on a page so I have to find it in my pen, but whenever I try I end up spilling the well over my desk. It reminds me that by the time I’m done carving bars and scratching them out the paper would be just as  dark, anyway.

If I showed that to you – you’d still read it twice. You’d hang it on the fridge and know that every pointed groove is a monument to the idea that I tried and that’s the part you love. You’d hold the blob of ink to the light like you’re checking for counterfeits and see the words that you never needed the blob for anyway.

I will try again

You see a love of whimsy and intensity, a strong desire to believe in destiny. Someone who seeks nothing with their art but to find the spot in the aether where there is both tinder and match so I can finally light myself ablaze, admire the colors I might produce and at least be seen if never understood.

That is to say, I believe in me you’ve found the things you’ve always felt were too foolish to love about yourself. That sometimes I think we can’t define who we are to each other because giving it a name would force the idea that we should admire ourselves the same way, too, and contentness just looks too much like complacency to swallow with pomegranate seeds.

I will try again

I believe we’re not supposed to condense every beautiful thing into post-it notes. That if I were to place every letter of definition I could ever write about you in my scrapbook it could only be experienced as much as the scenic polaroids it borders, and that picking it up would only remind me to send you my newest favorite song for the third time this month.

I don’t believe that you’ll ever give up chasing the perfect painting of your pain and growth so you can display it on your guestroom wall for those you think might recognize it, or that anyone will cheer for each attempt as hard I will;
Or even that I could ever explain to you why it’s such important work.
But I will try again.

Smoking Habit

I’m thinking of tyring religion again
rolling up the holy papers to spark a light
A deep breath of salvation’s white smoke
lend me comfort until you scratch my lungs

They dressed me up in this smoking habit
Told me it would keep me warm in the courtyard
That a fiery mantle would light my path
Proving my cause to be something righteous

Melted off my shoulders, held by its own weight
Fallen victim to the curse of its heat

Even so the liquid remains fit in a syringe
Plunger down might give the same relief
Coloring our surroundings as if finger paint
Shifting demons to angels between heartbeats

The Year of Rebellion

The high sun begins the year of rebellion
Fires from the sky bring ash to the ground

Grey snowfall begets a somber tone
Recalls a lack of color beneath surface
Lesser shades from what is shown

Yet the blaze continues just overhead
Crackling reminders to sow your rage
Igniting the desire to paint it all red

Water ripples in the year of rebellion
Cooling pools within a draught

Movements rapid like hummingbird wing
Whirlpool dragging down the last regret
Cleansed until you again feel the sting

Torrents of change with personal grace
Cast rejection to the lady of the lake
Laugh at her gift, and cry in her face

Winds run hot in the year of rebellion
Steam bellows angry from every pore

Gusts of heat somehow make us smothered
Discomfort, this new reality with the others
A much worse meaning of “hot and bothered”

Yet stagnant air had left something missing
An empty field with no breeze is a false promise
It simply wasn’t our own voice we were hissing

The Earth lies heavy in the year of rebellion
Even sand grains add to crushing weight

Continents shift with passing fellows
Different boulders upon their shoulders
For standing beside different bellows

We were warned of an unfortunate truth
That passing to new world is still cumbersome
Like closing jaw against a broken tooth

Ironic that defiance is an obligation
Another hole to dig, a little bit deeper

Contribute to our change with them, women, and men
We’ve had room for weapons and microphones
Among the rebels, shouldn’t some of us hold a pen?


Anyone reading, thank you for the support! Today marks the one year anniversary of the website, and though I stopped posting as frequently for personal reasons I can see my poetry still steadily improving and being enjoyed by people in my personal life. It really means so much to me. -TJ

Water and Fear


Heat on, cut the meat, plate to spin, cut your feet
Pot’s boiling but I can’t remember to turn it down
Lost somewhere between its whistle and retreat
If I struggle well enough I might not drown

Freezing first might give some solodarity
Or split like ice before I shave the snow
Mad grasps for salt, oil and familiarity
Pray for a better interruption in the flow

The old tap’s stuck open from the rust
Trickling sounds will be the death of me
Moisture sinks and soggies the crust
Crumbles the version you’ll never see

Unforseen memories and troubling noise
Close the kitchen to avoid the weather
Withstand the cold, we have no choice
The sleet and rain can’t last forever

Paralyzed by the passing cloud’s frustrated tears
Tranquilized by its sound on the roof of your mouth
Sometimes I don’t know how you move those fears
The bounce of your mind makes a dope out of mine

Come we’ll search for safer harbor
Pindrop stands upon shaking ground
Such is attempts for light on the water
To find a single ant within a mound

Calmer tides come with sun’s rise
Victory stated in official decree
But sharks fins poke from placid waves
A primal reminder to fear the sea

Change

Change

Change

Change

Change is what comes when the machine fails
Rusted bolts screech louder when they halt
Mending again yet to bare no fruit
Replacement must be the only truth

Change is the needed outcome of a wound
Balm and bandage meant just to cover
Keeping such a thing so tightly bound
Distracts from a scar that never formed

Change is the nature of fluid’s fate
Contained with tanks and glass
Yet running over stone in rapid flow
When its full weight comes to break

Change is the pain of an iron man marathon
Walls make steps heavy and breath thin
Resistance builds until ankles are weak
Yet heavy feet beat louder underneath

A path toward desired outcome
Or just another act in the play
“Hungry for change”
It just sounds better,
Than “starving the same”

Streets are littered with hapless souls
Tossed about with just seed to plant
The choice is removed from which to be
Revolutionaries for a boundless age
Or, another beggar, looking for change

Rudis

The last foe falls in endless game
Victory lifts the hopeless struggle
And you find it all feels the same

Step forward and claim your prize
Oak branch twisted to mock blade
Set with feast for prying eyes
A mighty boast of higher grade

You fought for survival
Beneath cruel master’s leash
Now find your revival,
Or die within your niche

The flames were to burn
But just so they were to shape
To see the colors you could earn
What we might make of hopeless ape

Fighter cut from metal and stone
Forged with sand, tempered in dirt
Became a weapon they couldn’t own;
A person they could not hurt

Absolute victory stands before you now
The promise of peace, it was a lie
You will stand but not take your bow
Though it was not here, you will yet die

What we’ve made, a champion of the sand
A warrior stands removed from his plight
Things fall in place just as planned
You’ve gained freedom to choose your fight

You knew your struggle but not your stakes
The symbol of freedom is oaken sword
Wood for it to bend before it breaks
Blade because peace is not your reward

You will pay for victory with your life
Condemned to continue on the sand
In freedom you will yet choose strife
Hilt will once again find your hand

Join the battle for those yet in chain
Find a way to help cast their weight
For they are those that feel your pain.
For they are those that share your fate.

A symbol earned by knowing its name
show your rudis to all who’ll see
Only then could they know your claim
That we all might be set free

Broken Throne

When I decline their offer of cheer
I always wonder if they see the fear

A kindly gesture met with refusal
Chilled bomb within grasp
My very own Mozel Tov cocktail
Terror clawing at sanity’s clasp

Do they see me wrestle the wheel
Take the right turn on the wrong street
Committing a sin against my song
Trying to resist my own beat

Craving the sweet taste of submission
Wash of failure drowning out that fight
Momentary charade of peace in the land
Shield blinding from the reality of blight

When guards are down sleeping shallow
Silent invaders seize their opportunity
Disguising themselves as if they should be
Uniting all of me in peaceful toxic unity

A silent war hid snuggly beneath gaze
Carried on the back for all else to know
Yet we find the truth of our betrayal in our folly
Naming our enemy for a chance to grow

At the end of the road is recovery
Yet the journey stands hollow and alone
A civil war raging for a new king
To hope the close lends no broken throne

Still I wonder what people think
When I tell them I don’t drink