Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Jack Oct 2015
Got lost in the longing,
Daydreaming farewells,
That train whistle holler,
The smell of motels,

Familiar with strangers,
Sacrifice morning light,
My strongest convictions,
Now too weak to fight,

Dear broken romantics,
Sweet Hollywood eyes,
Find peace in invention,
Deceitful disguise,

Come cold revelation,
An end drawing near,
Speak slow of salvation,
Too softly to hear,

The darkest conclusions,
Stealing your air,
Your daughter beside you,
Your wife’s empty chair,

A hospice hotel room,
That low trumpet sound,
My dad on my shoulder,
A rose on the ground,

Still learning to lose you,
Without letting go,
Turn sorrow to saplings,
Let new forests grow,

Just remember the laughter,
Your voice in my ear,
That music still playing,
Too softly to hear.
1.5k · Nov 2015
Bad Luck
Jack Nov 2015
Under those bridges like ladders, we walked and we slept,
With the lives that we picked apart and the pieces we kept,
A backwards world gone broken, pieces falling down like rain
Shiny shattered shards of ruin, but the reflection will remain,
And she waits and she watches, slowly licking at her fur,
Maybe we wake up to dream, maybe the path crosses her,
Sleeping under blankets in summer, open umbrellas indoors,
But can’t go back to teenage sunsets, can’t fight our parent’s wars,
It will take time, maybe our whole lives, but everything for now,
Dangling from the end of her string with a sick sweet meow,
And the only thing I need to know is if old men still dream,
When silence is golden, am I worth my weight in a scream?
Seeking a world with cyan skies where Fridays only come in twelves,
We saved yesterday for tomorrow, but still can’t save us from ourselves,
Seven more years, six more months, one last day and then through,
As the thought finally occurs that it was me crossing you.
1.0k · Sep 2015
Bartender, the usual
Jack Sep 2015
After the flowers had all withered,
The ribbons bleached and frayed,
Our faults, lost and forgiven,
The cost both felt and paid.

As sidewalks cracked and crumbled,
Your palm print turned to dust,
Only memories left to miss us,
No beauty in which to trust.

Maybe I’m the last pretender,
The only flower on his grave,
The lone stubborn reminder,
Of a world you couldn’t save.

We are so far from what was,
With no ending yet in sight,
Just take that as a blessing,
It’s all I have to give tonight.
987 · Jan 2016
Jack Jan 2016
Cars collide and I wake up,
Dressed in someone else’s skin,
I don’t know which way I was going,
I couldn’t tell you where I’d been.

We talked that night in broken pieces,
Or was it all inside my head?
You asked me if I was sorry,
And I asked if I was dead.

I walked along the empty hallways,
Lost in poison, fog and mist,
Desperate to find some meaning,
In memories that don’t exist.

You said I’d been trying so hard lately,
But sometimes this is how things go,
My mom told me to keep my guard up,
My dad called to say he told me so.

Now all alone in some apartment,
And still surrounded all the same,
Trying to find my sense of balance,
Or lose everything that I became.
Looking back. Originally written in the spring of 2006.
985 · Aug 2015
Jack Aug 2015
It was but a whisper,
Soft touch of sorrow,
Wind-kissed bare branches,
Some trace of tomorrow,
The world bleeds wide open,
On hummingbird’s wings,
Built on void and division,
******* Jack wedding rings,
Tugging and timeless,
Half-written romance,
Kind hearts dare to linger,
If blessed with a chance,
Dim light in the window,
Cold rain on her face,
A heart starving in safety,
Eyes of fire and lace.
On the head of a pin,
Choke and grasping at air,
One touch of temptation,
Still with you anywhere.
979 · Oct 2015
Jack Oct 2015
Letting go what might have been,
Fighting demons, courting sin,
Alone and far too lost to win,
Another day upon my chin,
Holding on, breathing in,
Running on adrenaline,
A new war within,
Just me and pen,
Synthetic skin,
Wearing thin,
Begin again,
970 · Dec 2015
View from the train tracks
Jack Dec 2015
Both hands in my pockets, a blank page tucked in my shoe,
Call it a list of every little thing I wouldn’t give for you,
Traded the city for salvation, but found neither kingdom nor crown,
We were too young for such silence, and far too old to settle down,
Now standing on a subway platform, New York buzzing overhead,
My skull sick with the ghosts off all the things we never said,
Pale skin caked with shadows, dull eyes lit low with fear,
Please bring me back to you, or any place that isn’t here.
Jack Apr 2016
I follow rainbow gutter rivers back to my empty downtown apartment.
When I was young, I looked up at these buildings in awe.
Shiny glass towers full of giants,
staring down at me, ant-like and enamored.
You looked beautiful in your wedding dress,
they said.

A decade spent selling disposable garbage to the masses,
rereading Ogilvy on Advertising and wearing uncomfortable shoes.
Today I’m one of those giants.
Do you still throw darts at my picture?
Do you ever think about me,
at all?

A thousand miles away, a little girl asks her mother,
to make her a cherry pie for her birthday.
She knows it’s my favorite.
If we have cherry pie, maybe he’ll come to my party,
she says.

Seven drinks later, I told my dad I was miserable.
A hollow shell of anything I’d ever planned to be.
He didn’t believe me.
After all, I had never let him down,

The last time we saw one another, we ate dinner on the floor.
You smelled like you’d been on fire.
A week later, I found a strand of your hair in my bed,
and sighed.

It was nearly sunrise when I arrived,
leaving a trail of clothes all along my floor.
Lying in bed, I thought about how long ago yesterday was.
All those slow summer mornings,
and three-day goodbyes.

I stare down at the streets below,
as innocent wide-eyed dreamers shuffle their feet on cold sidewalks.
Somewhere a young boy leaves home for the first and last time,
and I think about how beautiful you still look,
in photographs.
944 · Aug 2015
Your Softest Touch
Jack Aug 2015
Does it hurt more to know that you exist,
As a moment passed, or chance I missed?
Than it would to never fall under your gaze,
Or feel your light upon the coldest days?
Last night, I dreamed you never knew me,
Like a ghost, you walked straight through me,
Tonight, I’ll let that nightmare overtake me,
For fear your softest touch might break me,
So paint me as a summer’s breeze, a rose,
That never dies, but never grows,
Leave me in your yard to peel and rust,
Or on a shelf with keys and dust,
Some tattered memory, your something blue,
Anything that you might hold on to,
Because no victory, no grand success,
Would be worth it if you thought me less,
I’ve seen my best, in both peace and war,
But I don’t yearn for those days anymore,
Because no honor bestowed could ever eclipse,
The chance to be a single smile upon your lips.
Jack Jan 2016
In the soft sulfur mines where these days went to waste,
You learned that knowing the recipe could ruin the taste,
And as those pictures of diamonds turn back into coal,
Pain killers comfort the head, but leave damaged the soul,
Your mind wanders through alleys where false lovers roam,
Leaving you with souvenirs and stories, but no place to call home,
You search for life here, between the miles and goodbyes,
While buried deep underneath these cold granite skies,
Where you dream about bright lights and running away,
Only to wake up with nobody listening and nothing to say,
Caving in before your catalytic converter heart starts to stall,
Your only mark on the world, another scratch in the wall.
838 · Feb 2020
Jack Feb 2020
I would gladly die a whisper
on the tip of your tongue.
812 · Sep 2015
Horseless carriage
Jack Sep 2015
It was loveless, lost and seldom planned,
Penned obtuse in steady hand,
We dreamed aloud as old men lied,
Then took their place as old men died,
And lay with what hope we could ration,
Drawn away in stiff staccato fashion,
To another dismal city street,
Holding on with trembling feet,
As time still breaks us, all we know,
Keep faith in loss and letting go,
This sacrifice, once worth the cause,
Now only good for cheap applause,
But maybe somewhere chance still carries on,
To catch on to us before we’re gone,
As we color outside limits and lanes,
Seeking freedom from these rusted chains.
Jack Jan 2016
With the momentum of a setting sun, the subtlety of stars,
We embrace a world that we created, still we cannot make it ours,
You walk your television talk, turn and shoot from your smile,
Ride atop your highest horse, enjoy the view from denial,
When the whole world is medicated, cure becomes the disease,
Either fall in line and be counted, or learn to fight from your knees,
They tore our cities asunder, and from ash built angrier gods,
We compromised for the children, now they consider us frauds,
Losing our souls to the static, drowning in manufactured waves,
Content to be the heroes that no one needs and no one saves,
On a slow search for Heaven, or at least more interesting sins,
But an ending is still an ending, no matter where it begins.
805 · Aug 2016
A Single Wave
Jack Aug 2016
Woke with the sting of regret, it’s been too long since I fell,
I missed the rush of fresh air, I missed the taste of the smell,
I was in love with the tightrope, the stained glass of her eyes,
Bowed by the weight of surrender, I settled for compromise,
Watching those false idols dance, turning wolves into sheep,
As we played coy with the monsters that sang us to sleep,
I had a million places to go, and so much I’d hoped to say,
But I wasted another tomorrow thinking about yesterday,
And those sticky situations where we all came unglued,
While I daydreamed a sky that wouldn’t mirror my mood,
A slow dance with routine, and every face looks the same,
I was choking to death on the stale taste of my name,
So I started sanding sharp edges, hoping that I might fit in,
I spent a year writing my ending, so I could finally begin,
Dusting off open road acrobatics, I twisted south by the sea,
Searching for the rotting remains of who I thought I should be,
But it was just another battle that I lost to the war,
The same wrecking ball feet with new roads to explore,
Nothing quite felt right, my fingertips became springs,
I’d lost the girl to save the world, and other foolish things,
It was my first last-ditch effort, my best second guess,
I painted myself into a corner of the picture of success,
Fifteen-hundred miles, and still felt so far out of reach,
Until late one night my phone rang as I walked along the beach,
I told my story to the old man as he listened patiently,
When I finished, he calmly asked me to turn and face the sea,
He said, “The ocean is the journey, the sum of all you gave,
Do not lose perspective; this is but a single wave.”
I drove home that night and slept for the first time in half a week,
And when I awoke, the path before me didn’t feel quite so bleak,
I realized there’s no shame in letting someone catch us if we fall,
And that being lost is different than being nowhere at all,
I learned that each story is a lesson, not merely a scar,
And that all we have left is not the same as everything we are.
Jack Mar 2016
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about your old nose,
The one you cut apart and remolded,
So you could feel beautiful.

There used to be that little bump along the bridge,
The tip wiggled slightly when you laughed,
Now it just sits there.

Today your daughter has your old wiggly nose,
And she looks just like you,
Used to.

I hope that she appreciates it more than you did,
And I hope it reminds her every day,
That she’s beautiful
761 · Aug 2015
Bronze Medal
Jack Aug 2015
The big hand reaches one at 4am,
And I was you, and you were them,
In the foggy faded moonlight buzz,
Misplaced what made me who I was,
Or who I always meant to be,
When all was lost and I was free,
Consumed by his desire, your disease,
A gaze that burns but never sees,
Denial justified by thoughts of fate,
Either born too soon or died too late,
As love serves to magnify the flaws,
Forgive the sins, obscure the cause,
Use honesty to seed the lie,
Drunk driving through the needle’s eye,
And after all, and all it took,
I wasn’t worth a second look,
My only chance, your second choice,
The stars still imitate your voice,
But the song you sing is not for me.

So why is she still all I see?
755 · Jan 2016
Room 1715
Jack Jan 2016
The day fell cold and lonely,
A broken glass, a hotel floor,
These scars still serve as a reminder,
Life can always hurt much more.

Lie to me, please lie to me,
Just make me feel ok,
Nothing will matter in the morning,
I was never meant to stay.

We turn and burn and never learn,
New days, the same old times,
Wherever you pray, let’s go there now,
Forgive us for our crimes.

Thick choking smoke sings me awake,
She says, “Leave me behind.”
I lift my head to ask her what she said,
“Oh nothing, never mind.”

It was all a matchstick fairytale,
Some coldblooded grasp at fate,
A redemption burned in effigy,
A salvation far too late.
751 · Mar 2016
Jack Mar 2016
Lost in the faint, unsettled dust of wonder,
We become the chains that pull us under,
The architects of empty wishing wells,
Or the ghosts that haunt these cheap motels,
And as hope crumbled into ash and rust,
I was left with nobody but myself to trust,
Just the paranoia upon which we all depend,
And the sad songs where we met our end,
Still my heart kept dancing in unsteady code,
As I buried my pride by the side of the road,
Singing black sheep, bedroom, bells of war,
I still remember where you keep the floor,
And as their laughter fell apart like rain,
I was left with nobody but myself to blame,
Just the empty promises that we all pretend,
And the silence where we’ll meet our end.
723 · Dec 2015
Jack Dec 2015
I saw her in statues,
a summit so high,
but all mountains crumble,
in pursuit of the sky.

She knew me as rumor,
ramshackle repose,
buried under the burden,
of dust and shadows.

I loved her in glances,  
from airplanes and cars,
on cold city nights,
spent searching for stars.

She found me unraveled,
in the ashes of art,
a child devoid of wonder,
a page torn apart.

I lost her some midnight,
in thin neon glow,
to a remaining reminder,
from late long ago.

She forgets me in pieces,
Past tense pinot noir,
a third second chance,
a well-faded scar.

I miss her as conflict,
weak in the cause,
an unfinished ending,
born of finality’s flaws.
719 · Jan 2016
Jack Jan 2016
I’m done talking and talking, it all comes out wrong,
A desperate and obvious plea to belong,
Just a lie in the eye of a sick newborn child,
To die free like a three-legged wolf in the wild,
Blue scissors and glue and the scraps we once were,
She thinks about getting drunk while I think about her,
And time truly is circles, repeating again,
So sick of the stories of places we’ve been,
We toast to this New Year the same as the last,
As I wonder how time seems to fail me so fast,
They’re all dressed up in price tags and out for the show,
I’ll end how I end, and that said here we go:
New shoes on worn paths and old empty desires,
Counting down dusty days on the chapped lips of liars,
Reruns on TV and a shiny new book,
Forgetting how much I missed this and how much it took,
Her voice sounds like yours did back when nothing was said,
I could stay here forever, stumbling lost through my head,
Memories useless like gravestones buried in snow,
I’ll try not to ask if you’ll pretend not to know,
Still the war rages on as if no battle occurred,
I saw it all, but as promised I won’t say a word.
I recently stumbled across a small stash of long-forgotten poems I'd written roughly 9-10 years ago. This angst-filled mess comes from January 2007.
714 · Nov 2015
In Dreams
Jack Nov 2015
Surrounded by liars, we conspire to exhale,
Suspended from heaven by wires so frail,
I was as you knew me; half there, half alive,
Too old to know better, too young still to drive,
An hourglass bandage, alone in my room,
A bruise to explain, an excuse to consume,
Burned down to silence, ethanol in my nose,
Confidence hibernation, voice never unfroze,
Turned to paper and pen, writing unhappy ends,
Tuned out all the fighting, lost faith in my friends,
A funerary maze, and I stayed there for days,
Kept safe from the addicts, degenerate haze,
Until finally I slept, free from sirens and screams,
It felt so good to see you, if only in dreams,
And I stared as you sat, delicate as a ghost,
I know I wasn’t there when you needed me most,
Always so far from home, and still so far from free,
Maybe I became less than you meant me to be,
With fire in my shoes and a map in my head,
Spent 3 years on the run, 4 wheels and no bed,
No food in my stomach, hollow cheeks caving in,
I came too far to fail, but was too lost to win,
Still the city lights held me with frenzied embrace,
Childhood imperfections forever etched on my face,
But head down I’ll hold on, however hopeless it seems,
And someday we’ll meet again, if only in dreams.
Jack May 2016
Words don’t come so easy these days,
They no longer taste of vintage wine,
Maybe I’m the last gasp of a dying breed,
Or maybe I’m a failure by design,

You ran out of patience for tomorrow,
I ran out of hope and foolish pride,
I had no more answers I could sell you,
No more places in my head to hide,

Last night I was sleeping in an airport,
Maybe I was lost inside your smile,
Come and wake me when I get there,
Call me when I’m back in style,

I won’t apologize again for leaving,
I’m only sorry if I let you down,
But after all the oceans had run dry,
There was nowhere left for me to drown,

I told you a tale of bold surrender,
You heard a story of morose decay,
I didn’t mean to lead to this conclusion,
But I wrote it all to end this way,

The words all came so easy back then,
Burning my lips like old moonshine,
But maybe I’m still the first star you see,
Or maybe I’m the future in decline.
681 · Sep 2015
Seconds Away
Jack Sep 2015
Seconds away for yet another day,
And too far now to know,
If what I say will matter anyway,
If distance helps us grow.

Just another night, another bed,
I drank to stay awake,
Left my name, you took my heart instead,
A trophy, something to break.

Fell in love with eyes, that cheap disguise,
Left knives inside my throat,
I felt twice as wise when fed those lies,
And “I love yous” you misquote.

Tonight, I watched you disappear,
And drank to fall apart,
Seconds away for yet another year,
And no clue where to start.
675 · Aug 2015
Jack Aug 2015
The revolution left you spinning, now you’re sitting where you stood,
Can’t go back to the beginning, wouldn’t fight this if you could,
In the garden that you hated, where nothing has ever grown,
Under shadows where we waited, until the light left us alone,
With our indifferent indecision, and stolen bottles in your car,
We’ll drink until we’re happy here, happy with who we are,
Reaping the rewards of repetition, less memorable memories,
Stumbling sick with superstition in the safety of disease,
But come morning better angels will be beating down our doors,
With tools in hand, their best-laid plans will build us better wars,
Daydream a hero’s fate, but I was too late, lost on that battlefield,
Too dull to be that sword you fell on, and far too weak to be your shield,
Now left with a threadbare chair and TV glare, a dusty driver’s seat,
That unworn path and drunken sailor’s laugh, still mourning my defeat,
But I can’t go back or throw it all away, the things I never meant to be,
A castle built on compromise, a pile of clothes shaped just like me,
So maybe now is not the time to sit and count the things we’ve lost,
How can we admit defeat, when so much hell remains uncrossed?
665 · Feb 2016
Of Grace
Jack Feb 2016
I’d been on the road for thirty days, with no port in that storm,
Until you offered me an anchor and a smile to keep me warm,
You were all elbows and angles, pale and graceful as a foal,
With a voice like hummingbird wings, but a prizefighter for a soul,
I said, “Stay out of my dreams hero, there’s no tomorrow for you here,
Where sunny days feel like nothing more than darkness painted clear.”
I was a disheveled mess of jangles nerves and caffeine-colored eyes,
“You have nothing to be ashamed of,” she told me. “Everybody dies.”
Maybe you should have left me broken, adrift 1,000 miles off shore,
All that time you wasted on me could have saved so many more,
Still you took me by the hand and led me through the midnight rain,
Determined to remind me that life was always worth the pain,
You asked me who it was I meant to be, beneath the fog and rust,
And we walked along that old road until it crumbled into dust,
We were greeted by a gnarled tree that grew lonely on a hill,
With a heart carved in its trunk by lovers once and maybe still,
You said, “This is where the road ends, and disappears into the sea.
There is no answer in this darkness. There’s only you and me.”
When I drove you home that night, you softly kissed me in my car,
Before you walked away you laughed and said, “I see you, there you are.”
As days turned into weeks, we found each other bit by bit,
Sharing our secrets in a way that only silence can permit,
Tracing each line with a finger, you asked me if my scars had alibis,
We spent a sunny day in the park where we named all the butterflies,
And I wanted so badly to be happy, still it felt so out of reach,
You cooked pancakes for dinner, and I got drunk on the beach,
I found some cautionary caveat in the shy light of that moon,
Maybe you dreamed too easy, or maybe I gave up too soon,
I was a wreck, with self-neglect worn as my hollow crown,
I wanted you to love me, yet was terrified I’d let you down,
And I was all alone when that ringing phone shook me half awake,
Your voice fell into a thousand shards before the news could break,
Speeding towards the hospital, and I ran every single light,
Tears stinging both our eyes, I sat and held your hand all night,
With words like wrecking *****, the doctor tore our world apart,
And those machines lulled us to sleep as they sang your beating heart,
Too soon the light inside your eyes faded into a glossy glare,
As the needles fed you poison, I helped you shave off all your hair,
With no appetite for food, we watched our bodies slowly erode,
You told me I should walk away; I had no duty to share your load,
But I could never let you stand alone against catastrophe,
I just took you by the hand and said, “There’s only you and me.”
And as I talked in future tenses to carve out those pretty lies,
I just couldn’t see the forest past the trees around your eyes,
At night I paced the rooftop as stars taught me how to pray,
Maybe I needed to know hope mattered. I just needed you to stay.
But I never felt more helpless, or thought that you looked more like me,
Then when you took me by the hand and said, “Let me die with dignity.”
And I could only sit and watch that second hand waving goodbye,
As every single world I meant to say to you just came out as a sigh,
My heart was torn in half on the day God granted you reprieve,
Losing you was like losing the wind, like forgetting how to breathe,
And they tell me grieving is believing that the end is where we stop,
But maybe it’s one last lingering view taken from the mountain top,
As colors fade and seasons pass, I still remember you in every star,
And smile into the cold night air to say, “I see you, there you are.”
663 · Sep 2017
The Floor is Lava
Jack Sep 2017
It never felt at all peculiar,
The things I left upon the shelf,
Busy becoming something familiar,
The worst version of myself,

Faded and frayed at the seams,
She told me love never waits,
So I’m left chasing new dreams,
with longer expiration dates,

You were the sunset in June,
I was the tip of your spear,
The first sweet taste of the moon,
Burning so cold and austere,

And she asks me to breathe,
Would that be such a crime?
Maybe I deserve the reprieve,
I swear I can quite anytime,

Just one more night on the chin,
Ashamed of the blue in your eyes,
Frail fingers, cold skin,
Too late to say your goodbyes,

Another disillusion shattered,
Sunrise was calling our bluff,
She said I was there when it mattered,
I can only pray that’s enough.
645 · Mar 2016
Jack Mar 2016
The city screamed from far away, carnivorous call,
As those neon lights illuminated nothing at all,
I saw my whole life written on a face with no name,
30 minutes, 30 years; it still feels the same,
On a subway platform, I wore the streets as a cloak,
With murderous indifference, nobody spoke,
Adrift in the hum and shuffle, I circle empty squares,
Swimming in electric fire and unoccupied stares,
As moonlight cut the misty haze, scratching my eye,
I found myself the beginning of another goodbye,
Standing tall among the skyscrapers, drowning in shade,
An encore performance of a mess that I made,
And on the ride home, an old man played the Rising Sun,
Reminding me of the only thing I still can’t outrun.
645 · Nov 2016
Fall Back
Jack Nov 2016
Drowning in an open bar reception,
You were more beautiful than I remembered.
It had been two years since I saw you for the last time, last time.
Some days, I barely thought about you at all.

Everything was different and nothing had changed.
You watched me from across the room and I pretended not to notice.
You passed me a note like we were in high school,
Do you like me, yes or no?

I told you that you were too good for me,
And hoped you wouldn’t believe it.
I wanted to stare into your eyes forever,
So all I could do was look away.

Without warning, you told me you loved me.
“I’ll find you in L.A.,” you said.
I knew better than to believe you,
But sometimes all we have is our dreams.

You moved like fire on the dance floor,
Forever ruining my favorite song.
You stole a kiss on the cheek,
And I pretended it didn’t break my heart.

We said goodbye for the last time, again.
Lying awake in my motel bed, I watched the clock roll back.
One more sleepless hour,
Still chasing that same old dream.
637 · Aug 2015
Today, Oh Today
Jack Aug 2015
Today, oh today, sick with rust and decay,
The clogged streets out of town that only got in your way.
Nightingale sing-song, sing cool summer nights,
Sing seashell-string houses, please turn out the lights.
We’ll be grown-ups grown up still wondering what we will be,
She said she won’t trust anyone over 30, only Jesus and me.
And I wait and I pace down the wall by the fence,
Nervous with 3am loneliness, ramshackle suspense.
Are there still windows worth watching, back dust country roads,
Some lost place love lingers, bubbles up and explodes?
You were here, I was there, are we anywhere still?
Be my sweetest regret, I’ll be your very first ****.
And today, just today, weak with strength, far away,
Swollen with promises of forever, and no intention to stay.
627 · Sep 2016
Jack Sep 2016
I felt a shiver of regret as the sun burned down the stars,
In the absence of emptiness, there was nothing to claim as ours,
All I could do was shake the cinders from my weary, bleary brain,
And try to build some beauty from the ashes that remain,

I saw the world in cobwebs through the fingertips of dawn,
The only truth I know: there’s no revenge like moving on,
So I took apart my heart to help me lighten up my load,
And let the pieces point me even further down the road,

Maybe we lived like vampires, never stopping to reflect,
Tearing down the pretty castles we could no longer protect,
Your tightrope tongue painted forever in a promissory note,
As I lost hope in all the barbed wire and sand inside my throat,

Burdened with my hands of glass and eyes of tourmaline,
Broken by everything I touch, weathered by all I’ve seen,
Perhaps the sun will bring atonement, a secret I can keep,
You’ll build a better birdcage, maybe I’ll look where I leap,

For now, I’ll search for answers in the lines around my eyes,
Inhale the rotting stench of time, taste the miles and compromise,
As I walk the narrow pathway that separates lost from free,
Letting go, still I know, you’re the only road back home for me.
617 · Oct 2015
Jack Oct 2015
The conversation tumbles out in ribbons and fall leaves,
In stories we all tell ourselves that nobody believes,
Walk with wolves in their wolf clothes, costume suits and ties,
Watching it all end with deaf ears and hourglass eyes,
As the chips turn to ashes, we fall where we please,
On grey dashboard tables, on broken church knees,
Vulnerabilities remain hidden behind a digital disguise,
Where everything that ever happened happened to be lies,
Our feet are getting older now, we tiptoe a safer route,
Drunk on expensive alcohol, nothing new to write about,
I was always left or leaving, maybe I’m already gone,
And I want to talk about it, but you turn the TV on,
So I stare out the window, and I wait it all away,
Repeating softly to myself, We’re all okay, we’re all okay.
606 · Nov 2017
An Ounce of Prevention
Jack Nov 2017
Until you’re here, until I’m gone,
Please forgive me if I carry on,

Late summer sun, a kiss goodbye,
I blinked, and half my life went by,

Another state, a rootless tree,
I drew your face from memory,

One last last chance, a slow decay,
I may not have another day,

And so I fight, swing from my knees,
I won’t succumb to this disease,

Ticker-tape parade, Tinkertoy heart,
Please forgive me if I fall apart.
600 · Feb 2016
Jack Feb 2016
As the cold breath of winter screamed,
We fell apart to be redeemed,
Then rebuilt silence through subtraction,
With the blinding speed of our inaction,
Still seeking peace in our own skin,
While dying to be young again,
As we tiptoed in our father’s shoes
And gave more than we had to lose,
We fought the fire behind our eyes,
With each incongruent compromise,
In the warmth of illuminated refrain,
And the remnants where we still remain,
Praying empathy breeds chain reactions,
Or that love can multiply these fractions,
But it’s more than we can hope tonight,
At least until summer sings its blinding light.
599 · Nov 2016
Jack Nov 2016
I painted a picture in my head of a world embracing,
Now it hangs like a carrot from the tail we’re chasing,
You never made a wave in that pool you drowned in,
Still searching for a reason in the loss we’re found in,
If I became Saint Christopher you were Saint Thomas,
Building stronger walls around a broken promise,
I gave everything to make it, and you called me lucky,
Sleeping in my car somewhere in East Kentucky,
Maybe a fairytale ending wasn’t worth the hassle,
So we handed back the keys to that old kingless castle,
We all try to write a story hoping it might outlive us,
But if we tell all of our secrets then who will forgive us?
Now an angel sings a song atop your faded dresser,
Wings clipped inside a cage so that you can possess her,
And I’m still locked inside a moment that I can’t outlast,
Wondering how these years left me behind so fast,
Now tip one more glass of poison as I toast my health,
You’re still the only voice I hear when I talk to myself,
Like the shadow of an echo of your hand still waving,
A fever-dream reminder of a world worth saving,
Maybe together we can find a way to endure this path,
Fighting the current as we kick against the river’s wrath,
And we’ll never let them tell us how much we can take,
Our muscles scream for mercy, but our bones won’t break.
587 · May 2016
The sorrow before the sun
Jack May 2016
Another redeye, hello Sky Harbor,
I’m home to say more goodbyes,
The sun is colder where I come from,
Or more willing to compromise,

Dressed up in shiny new sunglasses,  
And worn out welcome backs,
Adrift in that unceasing river,
That froze us in our tracks,

And there was something in the water,
But no time left in the well,
Just secrets we don’t dare to whisper,
And lies we cannot help but tell,

I never thought I’d live to see forever,
Or that I’d come so far only to lose,
The road was rougher than I realized,
I couldn’t walk it in your shoes,

Maybe I was too far gone to tell you,
Or you were too far away to hear,
The cancer claimed your lungs,
And now that air will never clear,

So I’ll keep retracing every footstep,
Looking for you where I lost me,
In the space between what I became,
And who I always meant to be.
573 · Jan 2017
There from here
Jack Jan 2017
Dressed in dripping shadows, an angel with no wings,
She was dangling from the ceiling, a puppet with no strings,
Eyes heavy with ambition, a soul you couldn’t mend,
Handfuls of good intentions you never found a way to spend,
Now from across the table, we dissect our better times,
Like foggy silhouettes trying to color inside our lines,

Remembering that winding road that got us here,
And the one goodbye that taught us fear,
We took apart a future that we couldn’t face alone,
And built another house that we would never make a home,
I told you about a destination that I felt but couldn’t see,
And how all of that nothing still means everything to me,

Maybe this kind of talk has no place behind the neon glow,
But you know I never knew how or when to let it go,
So tonight I’ll put my better self back upon the shelf,
And try to count the years since I last felt like myself,
As I stare up at the stars, I can see them oh so clear,
Still I never figured out how to make it there from here.
558 · Sep 2015
Never Again
Jack Sep 2015
Blood on the pavement,
Stars in my eyes,
Broken glass seashells,
Dishonest goodbyes,

City light searing,
Burning through skin,
Sway and then stagger,
Never again.

Moments of sorrow,
Violence and grace,
A rounded remainder,
Imaginary embrace,

Seize and then silent,
Apologetic sin,
Cold glass concerto,
Never again.
557 · Nov 2015
I am
Jack Nov 2015
I am the girl dressed up in blue or green,
I am the boy who would be king or queen,
I am the woman with her bride to be,
I am the man behind the surgery,

I see logic fall before the fable,
I see 4 cell phones at the dinner table,
I see self-worth inside a shopping cart,
I see selfies valued more than art,

I hear politicians bang the drums of war,
I hear us argue which life matters more,
I hear shouting across a yawning schism,
I hear decency mislabeled as heroism,

I know a hashtag doesn’t provide relief,
I know a t-shirt does not equate belief,
I know a comment is not a conversation,
I know money cannot purchase salvation,

I am the girl bullied on the internet,
I am the boy with scars he can’t forget,
I am the woman labeled **** or *****,
I am the man owes the world much more.
544 · Oct 2015
Acte gratuit
Jack Oct 2015
Through wires where we sold perfection,
As the mirror fed you cold reflection,
You walked through hell with furrowed brow,
And thought that you’d be home by now,
Before the sorrow, nameless grief,
Count on fingers, toes and teeth,
Those hours that you lost to longing,
Safe in your place, never belonging,
Now filtered through the windshield glare,
As four wheels take you anywhere,
Then lose you when the sun burns out,
Bleary eyes, hands weak with doubt,
You carry more than you can pack,
And a god who whispers nothing back,
As you venture into the great unknown,
To find your path, or pave your own,
Repeating softly, round and round,
“There’s still some hope yet to be found.”
514 · Mar 2016
Protection Money
Jack Mar 2016
Alleys and ashtrays, flesh and bone,
I woke up next to you and felt alone,
Still searching for everything I’ve lost,
Or some change to show for all the cost,
But I can’t make amends for all I lack,
Can’t hold my breath, can’t turn back,
As that circle meets us where we end,
And destiny breaks us where we bend,
My head was sirens, concrete and snow,
You slept beside me as I let you go.
494 · Aug 2016
Tinfoil Hat
Jack Aug 2016
Inside the cats stretch and purr, lick their fur by the fire,
With practiced indifference to instinct and desire,
Outside the birds rise and sing as the baby birds die,
There were bound to be casualties learning to fly,

Below the sirens ring out, cities burn in the night,
Watchers watching the watchmen with no vision in sight,
Above it all, the airwaves deliver electronic placation,
As recreational outrage replaces conversation,

Before our horses were fastened to the carousel tracks,
We felt the wind, rather than the wall to our backs,
After all, we all got older, tied with time’s rusty chains,
Fingers wedged into ears, souls sedated by stains,

Either we’ll fall to the seduction of safety’s allure,
Clutching at cobwebs and killed by the cure,
Or we’ll rediscover that small voice we tried to ignore,
And remember some battles are still worth the war.
480 · Jun 2016
Jack Jun 2016
It became so hard to let go once we knew what we know,
We were nothing more than actors bored to death with the show
Taking stars on blind faith, safe here under the dome,
Planting flags in the fire, the lights that we claimed for home,
Still you painted all the walls, planted roots and cheap flowers,
You were checking off years while I was counting down hours,
Until the minutes got too heavy, holding out just to hold on,
With only seconds to let go, you closed your eyes and I was gone,
Leaving behind only the shadow I became while I was here,
And a goodbye letter that I rewrote every night for half a year,
There was so much I tried to tell you, and still so much left unsaid,
The words danced around my stomach and I got lost inside my head,
Searching for some drunken shade of moonlight, a home I never knew,
Or the better day that’s waiting just beyond my field of view,
So I’ll chase another chapter, but I won’t forget you when I’m gone,
We can invent meaning for movement, but motion isn’t moving on.
479 · Apr 2016
Jack Apr 2016
There comes a point when you realize that you have only yourself
to blame.
You could have had any life you wanted, and you ended up here.
It was never a mistake.
You fought for this; you sacrificed and bled.
You had to know,
deep down,
how this was always going to end.
433 · Oct 2015
Walk it off
Jack Oct 2015
I felt a nagging in my beat-up brain, a whisper in my eye,
Became a drifter on a Metro train, a blister or a sigh,
Half a world away, yet still felt lost inside my head,
I’d been awake for days and you were sleeping in his bed,
All alone with strangers, midnight exhaled from cheap guitar,
The rhythm of my heart perfected on the cold wood of the bar,
Wrapped safely in the darkness that I caught but couldn’t chase,
As I searched for your lips on every lonely stranger’s face,
Forget the gutter rainbows, neon lights, the way you said “LA,”
That was another life, another night, a world I couldn’t stay,
So I’ll walk it off or walk away, pretend that makes me free,
Determined not to be the ghost you said you always saw in me,
Remember the end before eternity, the pride before the fall?
I told you everyone was broken, and you pinned it to your wall,
You said there was no glory in the selfish way I sacrifice my health,
I saw only beauty in the world, but couldn’t find it in myself,
As I retrace the Seine, that briny line, in boredom or denial,
With misdirection perfected and well-worn just like a smile,
Spent the night dissecting every word, was I the story or the eye?
Was I the thought or the reminder, was I the secret or the lie?
By the time the sunlight found me, I was faithless, I was flawed,
Lost in the shadows that surround me, I was heartsick, I was awed,
Sipping cold caffeine in Café Du Nord, I rest my weary feet,
If I’m truly lost with or without you, the latter can’t compete.
413 · Apr 2016
Burning Books
Jack Apr 2016
A right of passion or presumptive plea,
Resting a broken head on bended knee,
Seeking a second chance to finish third,
Or some salvation in a prayer misheard,
Atop your graffiti kingdom, shotgun glare,
Choking down that manufactured air,
While men gain strength from all you lack
But grow no taller standing on your back,
And you read them like a burning book,
As home became the stands you took,
Finding shelter beneath the lowest rung,
Or solace on some fool’s gold tongue,
But your compass heart has been misled,
By monsters swirling through your head,
As they tirelessly stoke the fires of doubt,
That weary feet can’t quite stomp out,
But in time, you’ll chase away that blaze,
If you refuse to become your darkest days,
There is always a road from the abyss,
So as I leave you, please remember this:
You are more than what you’ve been,
Embrace each ending, start again.
411 · Jan 2017
(33.960034, -77.941329)
Jack Jan 2017
It’s true you can’t go home again, no matter what they say,
But the world is out there waiting; who would want to anyway?
There is no glory in the bleached bones of ghosts we leave behind,
So I whistle past the graveyard in that corner of my mind,
Still haunted by the chains that I escaped but couldn’t break,
Before the truth became the only bitter pill I didn’t take,
All it cost me was a life I thought I wanted, another best-laid plan,
And every single thing I ever thought it took to be a man,
Now the path curves to a circle, I come back only to leave,
Progressing towards an ending that I feel but don’t believe,
Maybe someday I’ll learn the difference between loss and letting go,
Ignore signs and highway lines, make footprints in the snow,
But until that day I’ll keep repeating every word I never said,
Only awake inside my dreams, only alive in my own head.
408 · Apr 2016
Goodnight, Sarah
Jack Apr 2016
My friend Sarah sits alone at night and scribbles on a page,
Turning each line into a battle, a war that she must wage,
She writes about getting out, fear and doubt, her failure to fit in,
Seeking metaphors for moonlight as she bleeds out through her pen,
But she keeps her poems in an old shoebox so no one ever knows,
Because she gets more like on Instagram by taking off her clothes,
Don’t call it a plea for popularity; she’s establishing a brand,
That’s all that matters when the world fits in the palm of your hand,
As she spends every day surrounded by the people she’ll never please,
She can’t help but look around her and despise the world she sees,
Her parents can’t afford the artificial life for which they strive,
But orange is the new black, and forty is the new twenty-five,
She watches them sacrifice a future that was never theirs to lose,
And walk around all day technically blind, staring at their shoes,
Meanwhile her friends all speak in memes, aspiring only to be seen,
A million tiny little lives lived inside a million tiny little screens,
As corporations burn down everything they cannot steal or sell,
And politicians fabricate the facts to justify the lies they tell,
The television markets manufactured rage, advertising decay,
Meanwhile Sarah fills another page, and tucks it safely away.
405 · Apr 2016
Dancing Shoes
Jack Apr 2016
Ferris wheel, smoking gun, pillars and posts,
Spent the whole night dancing with the shadows of ghosts,
In that empty coliseum where we slept on the floor,
Dressed only in the skin that we’d grown to abhor,
With twisted tongues describing what we couldn’t deny,
I never met your mother and I never said goodbye,
Tiptoeing worn shoes, station wagon, rolling with stones,
Singing the songs that you’d carved straight into my bones,
With hands ten and two as we sped towards dead ends,
Clinging to salted wounds and the fragments of friends,
Still we can live forever, if only for one night,
As long as we keep dancing, there is no end in sight.
380 · Jul 2017
Pillow Fort
Jack Jul 2017
Fighting demons in the darkness, under blankets where we cower,
The lightness of eternity, the crushing weight of one more hour,
Where were you when failure faded, where I was I when roads decayed?
In the static haze you waited, as the current bent and swayed,
Tiptoeing sleepless starless silence, knowing I would never be,
The longing on your fingertips, or anyone else but me,
Still I spend all night grasping, gasping for some thread of air,
Chewing holes in scenery so you might realize I’m there,
Spend every day running in circles, yet I can’t escape this maze,
So I’ll pretend a plan by steady hand, to justify this hopeless gaze.
Jack Dec 2016
I was half-awake when last we spoke,
My veins pumping thumbtacks and smoke,
Twelve hours west, a world apart,
A battleship with broken heart,
You were unbound, an empty page,
The spotlight that burned down the stage,
The calm beneath the raging sea,
Your bottled words now floating free,
But the tide brought with it fear and doubt,
Still I waded in to wait it out,
And watched as you went drifting by,
The last star in my fractured sky,
I said “Do your best to picture me,
Before I was who I claimed to be,”
You told not to dwell on old regrets,
Life marches on, the moon forgets,
And so it did, and so we went,
Losing track of all we meant,
To do or fight or be or say,
Before the weight of time got in our way,
Now your sun sets as my day begins,
But don’t tell me how tomorrow ends,
Just leave me with my windshield glare,
And the last lingering taste of moonlit air,
Still searching for some peace of mind,
In the future that you left behind.
Next page