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Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
Let us ****** the world together
You and I
While there's still
So much time

Together we could put out the sun,
Spread a blanket on the precipice
And say a quick prayer
For no particular reason at all

We could finally enjoy the silence
That was for so long
Denied us all
While the cities slowly crumble

We could write love poems in the dark
for this dying earth
One last toast to the dregs
For oblivion
Before the stars go out
And our eyes close forever
As if to say
We were our own lights anyway

We could ****** the world together
And give birth
To a universe of our own making
Before the stars finally go out
One last time
Like drawing circles in the sea's sand
Or growling in the shadows
At tossed meat
And random phrases
Or one last beer
For the meaningless excellence
Of it all

We could do all of that
While the cities slowly burn out
And the sea's stars crumble
Before the world that would be murdered
Murders itself
While we make the only toast
That ever mattered
We, our own lights, anyway
As if to say
That birth and death were the same thing
Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
O People of time’s salutations, my love is gathering seashells by that hilled windy gathering place the sea (like dim worlds vexed with sound in the stuck conch, to undo this day the scaly wrongs that scuttle in the soul’s sea); for gull-winged griefs that drop their vowels on spat hills of light, my love is gathering portents like sea-made money for the truths found there in untruth, and hearing them there, I see them there:

Summer folk that come from cold to these great gathering hills and find one breasted ounce of ocean silver to keep like crying know that taut pants cringing came, the color of kisses, scattered on the sand grains like arms and legs. O People of time’s salutations, this shell and ear will bray there for the weeped hills that leaving love labored.

Folk of autumn come from fear, wracked by youth, grow old there where the hills recede — gather dust of water to glow the sun over with knowing that came too late. Sad gone days lean to and fro in the salutating tide that tugs the land for lack of care. O People of time’s salutations, this conch and ear will hear them scratch as the days go out to sea.

The morning folk that come from shadow gather wand watered proverbs in the still light. Great hills for these mad people who froth like waves for the sayings of ages. O People of time’s salutations, though eternities implode like new suns in their slow gatherings, shell and breath can not blow them out beyond sound’s ill reach where the sea goes endlessly rocking and mocking their finitudes.

The folk of evening come from labor, their wasted souls on hill and sullied waves dropped like shells in wrong places. Muscles matted on sanddollar days yield no virtue’s wages. Work is a shark’s tooth for the weary. O People of time’s salutations, shell and ear will hear them breathe though the sun going down can not.

Shell and ear for these splay sounds that daunt and dabble (by a sea of hilly days go on). But to pity and praise this great endeavour, my love is seashell gathering by that same great sea while the waves go pithily out on this hill and moneyed water like thoughts and implications. O People of time’s salutations, this conch and ear will trumpet eternities in the long-winded tides that walk there.
Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
The snow is piling higher now
on the garden that was young
when pretty boys they gave me flowers
that I planted, one by one;

But the years flew by like summer birds
bound elsewhere, like the youth I knew -
now there's a pretty flower there
for every pretty boy I knew

when I was young. It doesn't matter now
that all the memories are buried
and none of them remember how
to save me from the one I married.

Winter scratches at the door with frosty fingers.
All the pretty boys are gone - but the snow it lingers.
Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
Once I thought to myself
that Frost was right,
that free verse was like
playing tennis without a net.

But sometimes reading Bukowski
is like looking into Chapman's Homer
for the first time
and I think of writing
as an organic process
like ***-stained thank you notes
and Spanish bones.

I think I enjoy poetry the most
when I'm not thinking about it at all,
the way the deep sea makes a sound
that can't be heard
but we all see the rain
and feel the cold on our skin.

It's just something that happens
like an ******
or a suicide
or a ******
like weeping in a pillow
when no one is looking.
Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
Cupping candles on the open landscape,
marching to the heartbeat of the earth,
head hung low I hold the empty plate
that carries my last meal, the vanished mirth

I knew before the terrible black promise
of days that have been too long in the night.
I know I will not see the fabled summit.
A phosphorous reminder of the light,

Solemn-eyed the moon proclaims my doom,
my quiet song on this unhappy moor,
as I who move from chaos into gloom
light candles and bring darkness to the world.

If I could find within this grave omission
the fortitude of strength to stay the hand
that trembles with an urge to amputation
on the backdoor of tomorrow where I stand

How I would walk then as the need arises
and before the looming mountain make my plea
as far away the sun it blithely rises,
but I do not think that it will rise for me.

I do not think that it will rise for me.
Jon-Paul Smith Aug 2018
Where have all the writers gone?
Where are all the poets?
Where is our Sandberg with his easy lines,
our Jeffers with his discontent,
our Frost playing tennis without a net
or with a net it doesn't matter?
Where is the greatness that defines us?
Where is our crying Ginsberg
our Bukowski with his rough blackbirds
and our Cohen of the Modern Miracle
(we're still waiting)?
Where is the voice of the internet age?
It'd better come soon.
Because it's lonely here with no one to read,
no modern sage to turn to
and I wonder how many people today
turn away from their windows
to their keyboards,
like me,
and type this in.
With all apologies to Leonard Cohen.
  Aug 2018 Jon-Paul Smith
Lord Byron
Start not—nor deem my spirit fled:
  In me behold the only skull,
From which, unlike a living head,
  Whatever flows is never dull.

I lived, I loved, I quaff’d, like thee:
  I died: let earth my bones resign;
Fill up—thou canst not injure me;
  The worm hath fouler lips than thine.

Better to hold the sparkling grape,
  Than nurse the earth-worm’s slimy brood;
And circle in the goblet’s shape
  The drink of Gods, than reptile’s food.
Where once my wit, perchance, hath shone,
  In aid of others’ let me shine;
And when, alas! our brains are gone,
  What nobler substitute than wine?

Quaff while thou canst: another race,
  When thou and thine, like me, are sped,
May rescue thee from earth’s embrace,
  And rhyme and revel with the dead.

Why not? since through life’s little day
  Our heads such sad effects produce;
Redeem’d from worms and wasting clay,
  This chance is theirs, to be of use.
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