San Diego    1988 -   
Jon Tobias is a sucker for love poems and romanticizes everything. He doesn't mean to, but it's what he does.

You can check out my flash fiction and short stories here:

Instagram @normanshine
Jon Tobias is a sucker for love poems and romanticizes everything. He doesn't mean to, but it's what he does.

You can check out my flash fiction and short stories here:

Instagram @normanshine
Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
May 18      May 19

Today I wanted to buy the copyright to the process of hallelujah
Sucking in joy the same way whales eat krill
You just bottle it up inside your lungs until you have enough

Inside my fridge I have vacuum sealed jars of hallelujah
There’s nothing religious about that
Jars labeled things like
Loss of virginity
Rob lived this time
The homework is complete


It’s the same way prayer works
Pulling bits of god like an inhale

I want to hyperventilate on your hallelujah
Like a gospel choir on speed

It collects
Over time
For instance
It was maybe a month in to sleeping at Delia’s and Toffer’s house
Before I realized
I didn’t have to sleep in my car anymore
You go into the bathroom to piss and realize
A jar labeled
Found a Home for now

I know science can do this
For the sake of all that is a monument to a single life
So that on your death bed, or at your funeral
Everyone there can hold a jar

Cold and warm at the same time
Vibrating in their palms
In violent joy
Like mozzletoff cocktails
They are thrown
And when they shatter there is a song
That has been collecting for years

The same word in different tonal joys

Your life

Every good moment


If god were real
When he’d appear

It would be out of nowhere
In mysterious ways

God would be dressed as a clown
His front top teeth are missing
And he slurs like a drunk
Sometimes you can’t understand him

He does this on purpose
God was never cryptic
He just had trouble enunciating


You have trouble looking at his face
It is hard to take the message of a clown seriously

So you look down at the globes of the tip of his shoes
Red shiny bulbs

Inside the reflection
You are ant sized
You feel small in that moment

God says something but you are busy looking down
You see other ant sized people walking behind you
Towards work
To get food
To go to school

God makes you a halo
Out of balloons
It is white because he ran out of yellow

Before he puts it on your head
Turned sideways
It looks like dangling handcuffs

He makes you a sword and belt too

You have just been turned into an angel
A human angel armed with the necessary tools to fight on his behalf

You don’t feel strong in that moment
You still feel like an ant
God gives you a holy water balloon
Just in case things get hairy

You decide you might be able to surprise baptize someone with it

Then god walks a way
But you totally feel better because he just gave you a halo and a sword

You cry that night
Because you have never felt so small and helpless in your entire life

You never felt so silly
Wielding you faith as firm as a balloon sword
Wearing your blow up halo as a badge

So you throw them away

Not your faith

Just the balloons

God says
His tongue pressed to his gums to prevent lisps

Then he begins to pump up another balloon
He honks his horn
And you are so confused

Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
Nov 21, 2013      Nov 21, 2013

It's on them nights I drink alone. Find myself thinking of home. These beers bottle bones empty and shatter. Liquor lung sigh. Chest heavy like a white trash wind chime. Like a six pack of bud ice hanging from some fishing line. Hear them low notes bouncing of the lips in the wind. And maybe you worry, but shit, I'm fine to drive. And on those days when my gut isn't a gas tank for beer refilling at a pity party pit stop, I drive on love. Write love poems on phones before the booze knocks me out. And sure, maybe my love makes as much sense as the words I slurr. And maybe my love is as unique as the crackheads needle in the haystack, but I'll still love you serious as a heart attack. Like a stroke... of genius... an epiphany about the realness of God. That maybe the story is flawed, but you're welcome to believe. And maybe I'm drunk right now, but I never meant to deceive. So kiss me with your break lights, while a pray to the slow light that I can live life like an old man feeding birds on a bench in the park. Got nothing else on his mind... just love... you maybe. And whatever you might think. I promise. I'm fine to drive

Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
Nov 12, 2013      Nov 13, 2013

This song ended like a dry heave halleluja
Like the auction caller ran out of breath
Like we both had nothing to sell and nothing to say

And I've been waiting fo that gasp
So this song can come back.
Been adding gunpowder and tobacco leaves to my coffee
For voice like the earth
To sing a song written like dust kicked up in the ways we walk away
In dirt brown cursive
And choke on your harmonica inhale

You left me speechless
With the things you said to me
Your rusty bear trap dentures gnashing

Spitting out the venom
you sucked from your own wounds
Your music tastes bad when it's lost it's tune
When Captain Morgan set your soul to sea
Poppin' pain killers because the pain aint free
And momma's got a new song now

Long after the men have left to the stairs to smoke
And the women wait with them to be walked to their cars
You sit on your piano alone
Still singing
Warped wreckord throat
A song all slurs

I leave with the men too

And it's just you
In your tiny room

The door slowly closes behind me
and your song is cut short

And I catch myself singing along in the silence
And realize

I'm out of tune

Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
Nov 6, 2013      Nov 7, 2013

I found this love
like playing tetris

Anxiety at the falling of pieces
too fast

There are still holes in there

And I stand like a brick wall now
full of peep-holes
and glory holes
all places to let the cold in

And maybe I held you like a blanket

And maybe we played each other like Jenga
pulling out bricks
to restack somewhere else

A smaller structure
But stronger than we are

First time I have touched a computer with internet access in months. Writing this freestyle from a library somewhere in San Diego. Much love HP.
Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
Sep 16, 2013      Sep 16, 2013

You sleep earthquake some nights
like a puppy
Whimper and swim

You dream like the grand canyon did when it was just a shallow river bed

You never expect to get so big
to create so much space

So I know holding you won't make you still

Your head in my hands like a sunrise
strands of gold
drizzling between my fingers

Your body
like a lonely bear living in a city
you miss home
eat only yellow things
and honey
bumble bees
and chips of paint from fire hydrants

Inside you belly it is always
always spring

So much light
you don't sleep well most nights

And I wish I could place my hands
inside the space between your shoulder blades

and take it out of you
hold it swirling in my hands

I will put it into a jar of water
and in then in the fridge
so that it might learn stillness in the cold

I will come back to bed to you
a beer bottle still in my hand

I will pull the blankets from you
and let the dark settle
Inside this new space

And maybe this night
You can sleep peacefully

Jon Tobias
Jon Tobias
Aug 27, 2013      Aug 27, 2013

I was looking at your chest x rays on the lighted wall

Your straight spine centered behind your rounded ribcage
Looks like busted churchgates
from all the times you let your ghosts go

And there are bees buzzing in your shoulders only
you aren't cold this time

So much faith in what I do with words
Willing to love me like a half written gospel
we are filling in as we go

And I want to write us poetry
like the first man was asked to play the first piano

dance with me to my deathbed

I am afraid
That one day I might kiss you
like a deaf stethoscope
that no longer hears your heart

That this language will grow stale
Along with your faith in me

but my knees
are riverbeds for prayer

And I carry my chest heavy like a library
full of books that hate the silence

You should know that
being a poet is more than just a choice

and maybe my body is like a library
but when I pray to you
I'll never use my inside voice

Just like I know that god used nails
to make the iron in your blood stream

That you'll be strong even when you're old
and even then
I still want you to believe in me

When we are like trains that no longer run the tracks
when we've fully mapped the topography of our bodies

But some days
our engine chests come back

and I write a poem about you that is new

And you listen
To my huff and rumble
you lift your tea and saucer with shaking hands
I close my eyes
and hear our train coming

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