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Jack Feb 2020
Remember this madness,
The fault in our fears,
The scars in our stories,
The taste of our tears,

Remember those roses,
The color of rage,
The cost of tomorrow,
The broken birdcage,

Remember your story,
The taste of fall rain,
The glory of failure,
The beauty in pain,

Remember this longing,
The price of despair,
The touch of true love,
The dream we all share.
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.
Jack Nov 2017
Another round, another story,
Sunset bleeding through the walls,

Still trying to be the hero,
No one needs and no one calls,

I was sleeping with the sirens,
And flashing lights that I call friends,

A decade living On the Road,
And I know how that story ends,

But tonight, we laugh like children,
Her eyes tell me I could belong,

Still I have soles left on my shoes,
A tank of gas that says she’s wrong,

All of these stars still burn so bright,
And I know I should have known,

If you’re the one that got away,
That just means you’re all alone.
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.”
Jack Feb 2020
I would gladly die a whisper
on the tip of your tongue.
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
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.
Jack Apr 2019
Cautious creators,
Captivating with care,
Surviving safety,
But going nowhere.
Jack Nov 2017
Wounded dog, scratch and bite,
I felt the toe of your shoe,

Saw it stand, saw it fall,
Before I believed it was true,

Marionette, trapeze wires,
I couldn’t live through your phone,

Times changed, changing time,
And progress left me alone,

Catching on, catching fire,
Won’t catch me on your hook,

Marching blind, toothless words,
A hero burning their book,

Wounded jaw, sharpened tongue,
Spinning those Ferris wheel lies,

Running through, running from,
Cling to that look in her eyes,

Lost souls, sold at cost,
Find safety under the dome,

Painted floors, picture frames,
Can’t turn walls into a home,

Turning back, turning on,
The road bled into the sea,

Salted earth, scattered ash,
Turn that book back to a tree,

Counting down, countless stars
And no more tigers to tame,

Can’t move on, can’t change,
Still nothing’s ever the same.
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 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.
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.
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?
Jack Aug 2015
A burning sensation bubbles under cold skin,
The excuse that we turn to again and again,
Left us pacing the ceiling, the walls and the stars,
Still ignoring those feelings, the close calls and the scars,
And maybe I know I knew I’d forget to let go,
Or maybe you saw you’d see what we lost long ago,
With such practiced decay, simply too weak to say,
You were who I used to be as you faded away,
Sung from sick rusty throat, make some hazy appeal,
Pretending synthetic swelter somehow makes us real,
Or at least leads us through another purposeless fight,
To find heat in the embers we can no longer ignite,
In a slow search for composure, hold back, contemplate,
But maybe we only lose more the longer we wait,
So make peace with the ashes, embrace this disarray,
Or become who you used to be as I fade away.
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.
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.
Jack Nov 2018
Flies in the ashtray, karmic demands,
Hope in your eyes and blood on your hands,
Lips taught as bowstrings, fingers sharpened to hooks,
So far from the heroes you read in your books,
Daydream dereliction, sweet spinning wheel sting,
A straw dog sunrise and stained-glass wedding ring,
That heretic’s halo, your sandcastle throne,
A superficial wound that cuts to the bone,
Such pretty perdition, a fresh-paved descent,
Perfectly cast for the role of satisfied malcontent,
Inhale those excuses, wear victimhood like a crown,
Place blame on the ocean for letting you drown,
Adrift on a tightrope, breathe twilight’s dull hue,
Expecting those same roads to lead someplace new,
Await the whispers of morning, awake and a wreck,
The first breath of spring on the back of your neck,
Search for sincerity’s semblance, some echo of truth,
A fragment of hope in the splinters of youth,
But you found only fractures, sins never confessed,
As some tiny voice claws deep inside of your chest,
Heard but unanswered, it calls out just to say,
That this place is your home. You built it this way.
Jack Feb 2016
Death, decay
Turning grey,
Fade away,

Stay astray,
Betray today,
Fight anyway,
Jack Dec 2018
We raise hell where mighty buildings fell,
Steal their bricks to build new walls,
As the silence that we heard so well,
Hangs with pride in empty halls,

Like photographs of those now lost,
We faded with the touch of time,
Arms outstretched with fingers crossed,
The only victims of this crime,

In the cool shade of complacency,
Where only distance grew,
Disaster came and went so patiently,
I’m just glad that it was you,

Now twilight toasts to yet another year,
That we’ll regret before it’s gone,
As the glory with which we disappear,
Become the price of moving on.
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.
Jack Jan 2016
Come morning I awoke with you.
On my mind.

Faded fingerprints upon my heart.
Your touch remains.

A reminder of everything I ever was.
Or could have.

I did just enough to make you fall in love.
With someone else.
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.
Jack Feb 2020
Somewhere safe inside the silence
where I let my heartache roam,

Or the treetops where I hid when
I was scared to go back home,

I awake to find the nightmare,
demons perched upon the shelf,

And the truth I tried to tell you,
but hadn’t learned yet for myself.
Jack Oct 2017
Wipe the mirror on the bathroom door,
So it’s clearer that you lost the war,
A longing look, a stubborn stare,
The pills you took to make them care,
And a stranger’s name that you call home,
In shoes you couldn’t make your own,
As you tiptoed through that cautious crime,
In a cold room where you sold your time,
Until those four walls became a maze,
Where you got lost for days and days,
Hoping footprints might leave uncovered,
A world to pretend that you discovered,
As everything you took for granted,
Became the place your flag was planted,
Still you long for all that isn’t there,
And seek purpose in the midnight air,
Hoping someday someone will recognize,
The scream behind your hollow eyes,
And realize that you are so much more,
Than the reflection on that bathroom door,
But for now, just hold your head up high,
Say you’re sorry, swear you’ll try,
Expect a feast, but be content with crumbs,
And dance until the music comes.
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.
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.
Jack Sep 2015
We were either too young to believe in love,
Or too old to believe in anything else.
Jack Oct 2018
As you faded out of focus in my eye, twisted and caught,
We watched our lives become an end to a means we both forgot,
It was a refracted reflection of a memory suppressed,
An imperfect imperfection, half-thought and second-guessed,
And so I focused on commotion, let the years pass me by,
I said that love was all I needed right before I said goodbye,
Now I know the dark side of desire like the back of my hand,
And you know the terror of a life that went exactly as planned,
Complacently counting down the hours till the days do us in,
We tiptoe through the flowers as the flames flicker and spin,
It slipped right through my fingers, ****** knuckles black and blue,
My life flashed past my eyes and all I thought about was you,
And the way we fit together in the shards of shattered dreams,
With souls lighter than feathers, yet still gnawing at our seams,
Desperately clinging to beliefs so we have something left to lose,
But I know we can’t call it fate if this is something that we choose,
So I stand here with no answers, only more unoffered prayers,
And a wound forever burning that no amount of time repairs.
Jack Jun 2018
A picture of Paris, that white wedding gown,
We lit one more candle and burned it all down,

Tangled in tightropes, deceived by our scars,
Serving our sentence behind faded bars,

A penchant for poison, a toast to good health,
And the voice that I hear when I talk to myself,

A dance with delusion, still playing our role,
Carving some shape out of that empty hole,

A lonely motel room, a twice-broken heart,
I was who you were back when you fell apart,

The sweet taste of surrender, a casket you built,
A road paved with ashes and blood-colored silt,

Of time and the river, a Manhattan sunset,
I write to remember what she drinks to forget,

Count on cold fingers, whittled down to the bone,
All the noise that I made to not feel so alone.
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.
Jack Apr 2019
Not sure which left us more broken,
The first kiss, or the last words spoken,
Both stung our hearts, a phantom pain,
The stench of ghosts in morning rain,
Trapped in a game we didn’t choose,
That neither of us knew how to lose,
So we loaded dice to tip the scales,
Fought with fumes and fingernails,
As strain built up in small degrees,
And finally brought us to our knees.

They say time can heal, but rarely does,
Lost sight of who I thought I was,
A sea of hope left me marooned,
And sunrise only salts the wound,
Now counting walls as vision narrows,
Fighting sleep with slings and arrows,
Held hostage by a fraying thread,
That exists only inside my head,
I left it all to smoke and smolder,
Woke up alone and so much older.

It took a village to raze the child,
Maybe it takes a wolf to tame the wild,
Or a shark to truly know the sea,
So where then does that all leave me?
There is no peace in cheap perfumes,
And no full hearts in empty rooms,
Only dust and unforgiving shade,
Sweet blue lights to dull the blade,
Held hostage in this house of glass,
I tell myself, this too must pass.

Eyes wide open, seared with wonder,
Hold me close to pull me under,
And walk it off with head held high,
A clenched fist cannot wave goodbye,
Sic transit sunlight, pirouette,
Embrace all that you can’t forget,
That fading ember, tarnished gold,
The remnants of the soul you sold,
Shall rise from under ash and boot,
Unclean, less pure, but resolute.
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.
Jack Jun 2019
Merciful madness,
Beautiful blaze,
Stowaway starlight,
Gravity’s gaze,

Enduring embers,
Coffin cocoon,
Absolving ashes,
Mystical moon.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Jack Sep 2015
I was lost in the ether, subservient thrill,
Strong from the hunt, yet sick from the ****,
Give in and get over, sharp wits and clean swords,
One’s compass condemns what another’s good book rewards,
And all former rebellion, now practiced away,
I write all night long, but have nothing to say.
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 Feb 2020
Inside our starless little secret, the
darkness we embraced,
As we shiver in the shadow of the
carrot that we chased.

Worn-out welcome homesick, your
well-concealed black eye,
The accomplice and the victim of one
more long con goodbye.

It was just a symptom of a symbol, a
whisper wrapped in shame,
My hands forgot their purpose as my
tongue forgot your name.

The weight of all our fears became an
anchor, holding tight.
I told you that I loved you, just not here,
and not tonight.

Outside the sun is shining, but I can
feel it getting colder,
And they say the world is ending, but
I’m only getting older.
Jack Aug 2015
I felt the rain on my face and toes.
We were apples of eyes once, pride and second chances.
Now the paint has cracked and faded on the houses we grew up in.
Those days are boxed in closets, sealed away in cheap frames or forgotten.
I stare at a barely-recognized face in the mirror and realize that I never once thought this through.
The plans that carried me away now rest firmly on my shoulders.
I fear the day I will no longer be able to simply shrug it all away.
Still, I’d give my life to you if I had it to do over again.
Like I should have all along.
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.
Jack Aug 2015
I can only flicker until I burn out, can’t move on until I’m gone,
But you can never let it go if you still leave the porch light on,
Burn the forest down, the wedding gown, those drunken dreamers eyes,
Idolize each pretty failure, speak in riddles, believe in lies,
Another night of hesitation, across the room and sideways stares,
There’s only static on the station, but no one hears or no one cares,
Unblinking eyes along the ceiling, watching the voices in the walls,
Along a path now cracked and peeling, fire burns but engine stalls,
And there was never any way out, only places left to leave,
Shards of moonlight on the water, and a tear on sailor’s sleeve,
So drain a glass to faces we forgot, or friends we never knew,
Sail by the ash breeze of another, or become whatever’s left of you.
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.
Jack Oct 2018
Behind the shelter that you built so you could justify the storm,
You reinforce the walls, and burn your books to keep it warm,
Stacking manufactured facts so you can barricade the door,
Safe inside that padded room where they can’t hurt you anymore,
Without a war, our will to fight will set its sights upon a brother,
In the absence of opposition, it seems we’ll settle for each other,
It was an addiction to the motion that helped to justify the spin,
But maybe the world will come together as the walls cave in,
Just know that when you win you win, but you learn only in loss,
You could help shoulder the burden if you just put down that cross.
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.
Jack Aug 2015
Now that we’ve been here before,
Distinguished lion from shark,
Learned all of fortune and greed,
And slept alone in the dark.

Now that we’re fathers of sons,
Nomads and lonely old men,
We know how far we must go,
So we know where to begin.

Now that the drunks never sing,
Sleep under bridges and coats,
The words we never could say,
Slowly suffocate in our throats.

Now that the oceans are warm,
Concealing currents so strong,
Will we still die hero’s deaths,
Or just admit we were wrong?

Now that we’ve lost all we found,
With only hope to conceal,
Placing our lives in a box,
All to make living less real.

Now that we’ve been here before,
And did it all just the same,
We’re better knowing we’re not,
And still never sorry we came.
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.”
Jack Aug 2015
Neon exhales into the cold night air,
Just one more wounded sip,
A voice that never took her anywhere,
Still tugging at her lip,
Survive another day, let sight decay,
Move fast but never free,
Refuse to play, lose anyway,
For all the world to see.
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