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Jon Shierling Oct 2013
There was water near, her horse could smell it, and so could she after journeying so far. Seemingly small things regained their importance in an empty land such as this, for what use is wealth without water, or power without others to wield it upon? A strange thought, not like her at all. People changed in this desert though; she knew from the way she watched her horse’s stride, and how she could remember all the names of the constellations, something she had not been able to do since times long past. She would not allow her mount to make directly for the water source, a well most likely, and she was wary. Around the foot of this dune, and there it was, the expected well, and a single palm standing sentry beside it. She drew water, relished the sound as it sloshed around in the hide bag, relished the act of letting her horse drink first, the joy of uncomplicated companionship. She drank, refilled her own water skins, ate a few dates, and let her gaze wander. She had maybe an hour left of daylight and was in no hurry to arrive, wherever it was that she was going. A hawk cried as it stooped upon a hare two hundred yards to her right, a beautiful thing to her. And on the heels of that, a fear. A quarter mile away, outlined against the distant plateau, walked another rider.

She had been drifting, sailing almost into a sleep, and now she was awake. What was that sound? Guitar. Her guitar, played with unsure hands, hesitant and sad. Bodiless chords making their way through the open window. God it was hot, oppressive almost, and she could still see the sweat beading on Clara’s forehead. She would not get back to sleep now, not so uncomfortable. She wriggled out of bed, carefully moving out of Clara’s arms. Needlessly though, Clara never woke without a good shaking or a loud noise. She pulled her green sweater off of the chair where it had been thrown an hour before and paused before putting it on. Something she had forgotten to do maybe, something at the back of her mind. Nothing. Closing the door behind her, she padded through the small living room to the open balcony and stood behind the man sitting on an old barstool, rescued he said, from a bar in Alfama. She watched him try and play her guitar, watched him bent in concentration. There was a bottle of wine and two glasses, one empty, standing on the wicker table next to him. Picking up the empty one, he held it out to her without turning around. “I hope I didn’t bother you Ta’ra, I was in a mood and couldn’t help it.” “No,” she said, taking the offered glass, “It’s too hot to sleep.” It annoyed her that he always knew when someone was around him, and in she and Clara’s case, which one of them. Curling up on the loveseat opposite him, she gazed out at Lisboa in all of its late afternoon beauty. “Give that back, you’re butchering whatever the hell it is you’re trying to play,” holding her hand out for her guitar. He handed it back to her, shrugged and said something about it being a long time since he’d picked up an instrument. She smiled, drained her glass, and began to play an old song, barely remembered. “Çevrem, etrafım şen mutlu iken. Ben yine hüzünlüyüm” She had never heard the melody played with a guitar, but she knew it well enough to play it without any hesitation. A haunting thing, this song, in a dialect she only knew by proximity, but no less powerful for people who cared for such things. She cradled her guitar, intent only on the music, on where her fingers must go. He watched and listened. “Why talk. If you do not listen to me? Running away…”
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
Three shots of Jameson and a few mouthfuls of Publix potato salad in, and I'm ready to write. Or so I thought. And yet, in some sort of cosmic ****, somebody with a name out of the past liked a poem on this site. No picture, no poems, no identifying information to speak of. Just a name. I don't even know what I was going to write now. Had some sort of an idea to talk about this job I have and tie that into a metaphor for America, all this very clean plastic and mysterious machines emitting odd beeping noises as I blast Muddy Waters and croone to poor people on the telephone who are far more bewildered than I. But now, oh no, not now. Now I have to reconsider my assumptions, yet again, and this on the heels of finally resigning myself to the demented suspicion that there really is no place for freaks like me who run off of alcohol and a sort of dark throw-back Watergate mentality. But now I have to look up at the tiled ceiling and have a what-the-**** conversation with the great comedian in the sky....again. I guess that's just the way it is, people coming and going out of life, and me doing everything I can to try and make some kind of sense out of this outrageousness. Ah ***** it, this is the Blues after all, and man oh man, sure makes a good story.
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
I have one wish,
and one only that carries any worth.

I wish to be found by you,
and yet I know that it's not
your desire.

Were you to appear at the door
Of my slightly ****** room,
it would be disappointing to
you I fear....I know.

Id not be the man you're seeking,
Never have been,
and never will be.

I will always be your friend,
will always be happy to cook
Chocolate chip pancakes for you.

But I suppose that I have to accept
that we will never be anything
but a dream.

You have your life
and I have mine.
Jon Shierling Mar 2014
For once, tonight I don't want to drink, I don't want to be hazy, I don't want to smoke a joint, or do a few lines.

I am content being sober I guess, because I feel as if I have important things to do, as if I've rediscovered some sense of purpose that has been lacking for eight years or so.

It's so strange to me, this sense of fullness, even though I am so weary, so jaded.

Winter is passing here, and as with every change of seasons, I look behind me for the reminders of where I've come from, and for courage to continue on to wherever it is that I'm going.

Getting kinda tired of running, kinda tired of remembering that Jess told me I reminded her of Tom Waits once.

It's lonely working nights here by myself, but I don't mind it much; gives me plenty of time to think, to sort things out without a bottle.

So strange, how the past can permeate us without our knowing it, bursting out of hibernation just when we thought we had gone far enough.

I guess I do still have a streak of the Romantic in me, no matter how things pan out during the course of days, and weeks, and months, and years, somehow...I'm still me.

Somewhere still lives in me the boy so full of passion and principles, he who loved without speaking, cried without accepting, and receded into the man I am now.
Jon Shierling Feb 2015
My Love, where have you gone? Where is the jewel that shone so brightly in your heart when we were young? I was away from you for years, campaigning across mountains and deserts, called by duty to my sardharan. Though never did I forsake you, nor our love. And now at last that I have come back, laden with the riches of far lands and strange peoples, enough to provide our family for ten lifetimes, you have grown cold. What happened in those years? Why won't you embrace me the way you once did, with such passion? It was that fire that drove me through war and death and sickness, those memories of our life before. Why does my own daughter fear me now? The day I returned you wept and she ran into the house as if from a ghost. When I embrace her now she cringes, as if expecting a whip. Our own Fatima, why should she be so afraid? I chased butterflies with her when she was but able to walk. Why should she now stiffen when I touch her? And where is your family? Mine were long dead when we were wed but yours loved and cherished our union, always some cousin or aunt was around to talk or invite us to dinner with them. Why won't you speak to me? I was nobody when I left for the war, but now I am returned, a deghan in the service of our lord, one of his trusted bodyguards, the commander of a hundred lancers and yet, my stallion Hafez was hamstrung in our field last night! They left him in misery for me to find this morning. My Love, what has happened to our home?
Jon Shierling Sep 2015
I don't know if I'll ever be happier
than when you fell asleep in my arms.

I don't know if I'll ever be more lost
than when I wake without you.

I don't know if I did wrong
to say so much and do so little.

I don't know if perhaps I wanted
more than was allowed.

I don't know if you told the truth
or if I merely lied to myself.

I don't know what this is now,
only that things are different now,
after you.
Jon Shierling Jan 2015
At one time, seemingly lifetimes ago,
I felt as if I could take the pain experienced
by those who crossed my path and
somehow, maybe by empathetic magic or
good old fashioned love, turn it into
something useful to them...but now
I admit that I know better.

God or Allah or Buddha or Luck
placed people in my path and also
placed me in theirs, sometimes for a
few minutes or a day or months or years
but the mechanism and the time are irrelevant.

Knowing now that no matter what I do
I will never be the person that the few I've
loved actually need is a cold, cold understanding,
the kind or understanding that makes a person
age ten years in a month, yet it's something
worth realizing for it's own sake.

Look at this mountain of empty sins piled
around me, these bottles full of regrets,
you see now why when she looks at me
I wave and pass her by, knowing that
all I have to offer is a mere attempt at love.

I have nothing to give to anyone but my heart,
here take it please this beating wounded thing,
take it from my own keeping and do what you
wish with it, for I no longer wish it to be my own.

Take that heart given, and keep it close, but not
too close, for it won't help you when you're happy
and life is grand, no that heart is only in your
keeping for one purpose and one only....
as Dante said, eat of it and take strength for your own.
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
So go on then, read to me from your sacred book full of songs
and half articulated dreams, spinning irresolutely toward a destination I have no name for.

Show me these images and portents, these slow chords and rhymes, high and low and inside and out, reaching into me and twisting the screaming infant of a heart that I need to so desperately give away.

Commanding me to step outside of my own experience and my own fear, asking me to follow you on outstretched wings of wax and gull feathers.

But I have known your kind, was one of you once, those figures of myth and meaning, swept away in an instant by the music that I hear and desire and suffer for, and yet shall not be beguiled by.

But what I write now, this sort of struggling epitaph of straight razors and crying boys, this is not a specific tirade against you, or my irritation at having been seen through, no no, none of that is really the feeling that I am seeking to evoke.

........................We Are The Sum Of All We Have Been,

The poor weeping ghost of William Blake back again to sit by me and wonder, what many things the world may hold...............taking me by the hand, we follow.

And yet we may and will continue to grow and flow through the ever changing riverbeds of soul if only we try, if only we seek, to overcome this thing, this empty hole that I can see following us all.

And yet, somewhere in the six inches immediately in front of our hearts, there seems to be this kind of faint glow, a multifaceted hum, projecting itself forward into a future where both end and beginning form a wonderful, beautiful whole.
Jon Shierling Nov 2014
What she said to me sitting at that bar
sipping God's own overpriced whiskey
was the truest thing any one has ever
managed to tell me about myself.

And the drive up to town after
the ribbon of freeway stretching
on into forever and the radio full
of Bukowski's guts blaring with
her feet on my dashboard.

That room with wine colored
walls and a taste reminiscent
of some novel I know I've
read somewhere, somewhen.

Tiny bed I'm constantly trying
to not fall out of sweetly
forcing me closer to her
in the early morning grey.

Something unspoken and
something unseen but somehow
un-needing to be clarified
for once living on feeling
only what there is now.
Jon Shierling Nov 2014
Kyrie Eleison*

Father, my Father, Glory unto Thee, creator and sustainer of our Earth, hear my prayer. I found a single strand of hair in my car, long and reddish brown, and I wept.

I wept not for myself, or for something that I had lost, but for an idea which that represented, a yearning for something greater than myself, for a finale end to this loneliness I have run from for uncounted years.

Yet I understood that we, your children, are more than abstractions, more than symbols, more than mere variations on a theme.

We are the landscaper who left a single bunch of flowers unmowed in an open field, we are the children attending a theater in Palestine dedicated to self expression and non-violence, we are the penitent kneeling at the pillar of St. Simon in Syria, we are the bus driver giving free rides in Queens, we are the random person who pulled a needle out of my friend's arm one night, we are humanity, and our journey is a long one.

Many of us feel abandoned by You, many don't believe in You at all, and many, such as myself, are merely lost and wondering, searching for signs You have left along the way, managing as best we can to get back to that place where You live.

I thank You though, thank You for the beauty that is all around us, but more than that, I thank You for helping me to see it, to see the World, not as I am, but as You are. I am trying, and perhaps one day I shall succeed.
Jon Shierling Mar 2016
There were many things I wanted to ask when I held you in my hands. Things I know now you were waiting for me to ask. But it wasn't in me to bring those shadows to light in that ****** room after I had proved myself to be no better than those that wounded you so deeply. I had thought myself inviolate, apart, above temptations aside from those I actively hurled myself after. You offered me that needle and I thought I had to, in order to prove myself somehow I guess, but I also wanted to get ******, so I traded love for solidarity. Ironically, since then I've not craved opiates, and the one night I got ****** up enough to query a spike I was too drunk to manage. I guess I have you to thank for getting that out of me. But the expectation and the surprise in your eyes when I let you shoot me up, and then many hours later nearly **** us, are things I'll take to my grave with me. I loved you. I loved you those years ago when we were teenagers, and I loved you the second time you hit me, like some kind of beautiful horror out of the past. We didn't do a very good job of loving each other my dear, but **** it if we didn't try. You never set out to hurt me, and I didn't wanna cause you pain either. But it we did hurt each other, in ways I don't have the words to explain. I put my hope in you, my love, but I guess didn't have enough left of a heart. And it was indeed stupid of me to bring you back to the heart of your pain expecting a miracle. But you in your turn did the same to me. You took my last hope in a happy ending, in terrible beginnings turning out okay. Never again will I let someone just as broken as me in, never again will my walls fall. I'm sorry your father did what he did to you, but nothing I could have ever done would have taken that away. I told Rachael the same thing about her brother....I don't have enough love in my heart to overcome what happened. I'm not angry at you anymore, because I know that we're all just doing the best we can. I can't forget though, can't forget you sitting naked on the bed demanding more than my ****. You cried out for more than I could give.

I'm coming back from the hole I put myself in I suppose. You were the last ***** in outdated armour I've tossed away. The last of many things. For quite a few months I fought hard to be normal, like all the rest, but thanks to you I can finally accept that I never will be anything but a freak, anachronistic and feared. I have to look on a world that I don't like and don't want to be a part of now. Before I failed at loving you, I could accept that circumstances changed, but I remained essentially a good guy, misunderstood but whole. Now, I know better. The whole world changed without me understanding how or why.

I'm going away. Far, far away. It's the best I can do for myself and I think the best I can do for you. I'm sure there'll be a good man standing next to you in those pictures of you picking berries in white one day soon. I'm looking forward to that day, the day I see images of you happy. With any luck, I'll be somewhere in nowhere.
Jon Shierling Dec 2014
I find it quite ironic that certain things
have now become certain taboos here,
especially since trangenderism is a
fact of human experience that existed
many long years before our current
conception of gender roles and morality.

It simply astounds me at our capacity
for hatred and fear seemingly powered
by those who are so different in outlook
and attraction and orientation......
yet those outside of my own ******
preference are in fact those who've
visited the least judgement upon me?

I feel like an alien descended from some
other planet simply flabbergasted at the
unrelenting tide of supposed social norms
you people ****** upon each other full
of such self righteous indignation.

So many divisions and separations,
more than any sane person would be able
to keep track of honestly, and all the while
the real heart of the problem falls by the wayside.

Aren't we all looking for the kind of Love
that puts our nightmares to shame by looking
into our eyes the next morning and whispering
that it's not real, it's just a bad dream?

How are any of us mere humans different in that?
And more to the point, why are we so adept at
pointing fingers at our supposed differences,
how skilled at saying "Yes, it's their fault that my
own life is less than I want it to be, it's those ****/
muslims/etc's fault?

Why are we so terrible at looking inward,
so unskilled at throwing that eye of judgement
upon ourselves when in fact, not one of us has
anyone to blame for the life we've chosen
save ourselves.
#cantbreathe #handsupdontshoot #1916inyourhead #zombie
Jon Shierling Jul 2015
Lost again down those empty hallways,
music in my head and your heart in my mouth,
footfalls echoing from the otherwise silent walls.

To turn about, grasping at shadows just out of reach
knowing that they have something yet to teach,
but of what and for whom they will not speak.

Brought down by hands and hearts and eyes,
hands to break, hearts to bind, and eyes to lie.

In what language do you want me to say it?
Or would hating you be more appropriate,
more in line with your appetite?

And who is that over there,
just beyond your shoulder half shown,
bearing a cowl and a mirror?

We cannot go back and we cannot get out
and who is it that shall carry whom
through the horrors of this night?

I will stay here with you though
and carry the lamp forward
as you try and ****** your own minotaur.
Jon Shierling Jan 2015
Hmm, good ***** is what all you guys want right?
Yeah, ******* and a bubble ****.
Get her white girl wasted, twerk'n hard,
drunk enough so you can put it in her ***.

She never had it up there before and she's
drunk enough or rollin good and strong so that
she thinks hands and ***** equal romance.

Speak a lil French or German...just a couple words
Francais or Deutch and she'll be begging for you
to fill her up with your crooked sausage right?

Yeah baby **** me good but don't
*** in me because I don't love you,
I just wanna be ******* to take my
angry thoughts away.

We all have had that one person we
really loved, but that **** fell apart,
so go ahead and pretend that it wasn't
your fault or hers or his.....

Oh man when you *** it's magnificent,
but you leave her there empty,
while you think you've given her
the best lay of her young life right?

What you don't understand is that
she wasn't in it for the ***, she
wasn't letting you do what you want
because she felt good, no matter what she said.

She only wants what you want,
which is real love,
but you two are too scared
of what that really means.;
Jon Shierling Dec 2014
Sometimes there are only the small things
left for us to cling to when all else
has receded into the folds of the past,
or the mists of an uncertain future.

Merely a moment remembered perhaps,
or a burning hope for what may come,
but it is in this, the power of the heart
to derive what strength it can,
in which I place my life.

It is always Autumn in that moment
for me, golden leaves falling
and making the raking of them
an almost daily chore.

But I wouldn't trade the trees
they fall from for anything,
their beauty being worth the work.

Nor would I trade the journey
that has brought me here by
so many crooked paths,
painful as it may have been.

It has all been worth it,
every wound and every tear,
all those nights spent empty
and searching, looking backward
and in love with memories.

This is worth all the pain I
could ever suffer, all the money
I could ever make, all the
great adventures I may have had.

This moment, looking up
from raking leaves in a yard
and thinking long thoughts,
to see her watching me.

She was pouring love into her
garden, lavishing it with care
as if it were the height of May
and the plants were exploding
into bloom all around her.

It's overcast today, and quiet,
that quiet right before a light snow,
the first snow of the year a few
days before Thanksgiving.

She told me last night about
a Buddhist concept that I had
some trouble wrapping my head
around, something called
loving-kindness, which I have
been thinking on as we go.

I think I understand what it means
now, when our eyes meet in that
moment during a pause from routine.

I'll have to try and ask about it later
when we go inside and eat supper,
but for now, with us as we are, in this
moment I understand.
Jon Shierling Jan 2022
I still find strands of your hair on my clothes
Jon Shierling Feb 2022
I accumulate ghosts the way other men collect trophies
Jon Shierling Mar 2022
I’m so ****** tired of feeling compelled to suffer a penalty for you falling in love with me.

You knew I was a Jackal when you first tasted me.

I don’t owe you an apology for having survived nightmares, for loving you the best I could with what I had while horrible things were happening that I couldn’t tell you about.

I’m not an imposter, or a liar or less of a man than I presented as.

I fell in love with you and I didn’t want to.

We tried to staunch the blood still flowing from each other’s wounds…without knowing that we liked the taste.
Jon Shierling Dec 2013
I stumbled against you at the bazaar in Alexandria one day,
   a stroke of accidental closeness as we brushed hands,
and my heart shivered like the old man on the corner of Divisadero street.

And then you vanished from my mind as a dead leaf from branch,
   till I saw you again in a tavern by the docks,
quill in hand and the world on your back.

We share that same dusty look, that obvious stride
   that wanderers from everywhere can so easily surmise
to belong to one in kind.

The day after you were at the well by the caravanserai,
   and I recognized your goatskin shoes as those
of a mariner from the North, the land of the Majus, my kin.
Jon Shierling Feb 2015
To my Dearest Readers, I wish to apologize beforehand for the things I'm going to start writing. I will offend many of you, I will probably lose many friends as well. I may in fact burn all of the bridges I have left in my desire to speak. I just want to warn you beforehand that there is no subject too politically incorrect, no logical fallacy too strange to address.
Jon Shierling Dec 2014
Another soul gone elsewhere
life taken by their own hand
perhaps a kindness they showed
themselves at last to depart these
erstwhile longing shores.

I won't do his memory disservice
by attempting any sweeping ode
nor pretend that I knew him better
than some few others in my life.

But I will pray for him, though
prayer is not something I often do
nor believe in as a certain substitute
for actual action in the direction of suffering.

Had I known how deep the extant
of said suffering I would have done
more though that is indeed the paradox
that we as humans share: namely, we don't
know anything, really, about the people
we see every single day, unless we ask.

Never again will I not ask how someone is,
never will I turn a blind eye to that shuffling
gait or those hunched shoulders nor will
I ever forget that my own pain never has
been and never will be an excuse to not
be a reasonable human being.

Good-bye and Godspeed Andrew.
Put in a good word for me please
to whoever it is that runs wherever it
is that you have gone. And please know
that it wasn't indifference that kept
me from asking after you, merely ignorance.
Jon Shierling Sep 2014
I can't convince you of the simple prosaic fact
That you are loved
Not for what you do
But for who you are

It may be just a simple, stupid platitude
but I wish I could hold you
and help you believe
that it really is going to be ok.
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
You feelin a bit down, a bit overwhelmed, kinda like some sorta clown?
Well come along with me and a few of my friends,
we can turn you around
and flip this town upside down.

Say hi to Nico, she's very persuasive
although the ****** might be somewhat pervasive
and I don't blame ya if that ain't your scene
here's a buddy new, hello there Mr. Haller
slightly wolfish but not too mean.

What is reality?
Don't ask me man, I'm just along for the ride.
But give me a mirror and I'll show you everything
you do and don't wanna see.

If you've been lookin for something
that has no name and no identification
on a road to nowhere
and for madmen only, as they say
come along with we merry, twisted few.

Yeah we'll make something out of you,
and when people say "Go with God!",
you might respond with "**** that. I don't go with God.
He's comin with me."
Jon Shierling Jul 2013
It caught me off guard, this sudden feeling of loss, this sense that something beautiful was gone forever. I didn't know what to do with it, this overwhelming idea that now, out of neglect or shame or starvation, a work of art had withered away into nothing.
I suppose that I'm beginning to understand that the world isn't a narrative, it's not a story by an author with a plot and a hero.
This is the essential fallacy taught to children with a streak of the hopeless romantic in them:
the desperate belief that somewhere out there is a place for people who live their lives waiting for King Arthur instead of Jesus.

And even now, with every word comes the terrifying truth that my babbling is going to change absolutely nothing, not a single atom is going to **** an electron on the completion.
I won't feel better, the situation won't change, you the reader aren't going to say EUREKA!!!! at the end of it, so what's the point?

Expression, that is the point of it, and to be be completely blunt about it all, I hope some one I love and admire will read this and say the typical things that are said when people are honest on public forums. Do I have a point? No, not really.
So what do I do with this loss, this empty fireplace in my soul?

I drink and smoke and **** it away, stay so busy that I don't have time to consider it, this knowledge that the fire has gone out. How typical of me, how unoriginal and bourgeoise to write another ode to the trials of the individual.
Who am I to feel loss and pain when my stomach is full and my needs are met?
Aren't I another servant of economic output?
Should I not donate time and money to a cause more worthy of respect than a withering example of excessive individualism such as myself?

No, and what's more, ******* society, ******* for taking away the only haven I ever had: my head. ******* for marketing my imagination,
for inventing a bunch of ******* about responsibility for the greater good,
for poisoning the little freedom I do have with feelings of uselessness.

And most especially ******* for your greatest crime of all;
implanting this feeling of guilt whenever I do anything with my own well-being in mind.
You have created a system that perpetuates itself on shame and output,
you have killed the desire to create for it's own sake.

*******, and I'm going to unplug from you if it's the last ****** thing I ever do.
Jon Shierling Apr 2015
I didn't intend to wind up here tonight, typing a sick excuse for a poem into my phone from a dive.

But that crazy South African really put the hook in me, apealing to my vanity and persona, as if an alcoholic ex-soldier could own such.

In the background of my thoughts go pieces of other poems, pieces of memories, tired revelations cried out into the darkness.

So sick of people asking me why I'm sad, and them forgetting what my answer is five minutes later, when that new girl or new guy walks by.

I have more to say, but I know that no matter what I spit onto page will make no difference in the long run.

So bartender, I need another shot.
Jon Shierling May 2014
I have been reliving the same moments over and over.
I think that if I had been a better man, if I had been able to shed this fake skin I've been wearing for so long.....
Our lives might have been very different.
At the very least, I wouldn't wake up in the mornings....
wondering who you are now.
Jon Shierling Jul 2013
Your eyes are the only blue in this desert;
gunslinger eyes, the kind of eyes that quench a dying soul's thirst
and turn nightmares away in the dark.

Behind those eyes is a heart worth a hundred Grails,
  a kindred soul shot from Apollo's bow.

And I, broken soldier that I am, for all my courage and all my faith,
  dare not stray too close for fear of rejection
  or, far more frightening
Jon Shierling Mar 2015
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm going out on a limb and guessing that you've always been the one to be there for people when they needed you. But, it's really, really hard, to let anybody be there for you. I'm not talking about needing money or anything either. But just talking, and having somebody listen. You told me that's what you wanted, that's what you needed, and yet every time you get a bit too close to the heart of it, you stop speaking. You need somebody to talk to, and I need somebody to listen to. You don't have to trust me, just know that I understand how incredibly hard it is for people who usually do the listening, to be listened to."
Jon Shierling Apr 2014
I just realized that no matter what I do
or say
or conquer
or love
or ****
or create
or ****
or consume
or throw up
or give..........

It will never be enough.
Jon Shierling Nov 2014
So the poem I posted before this. I was drunk, and high, and apparently became a 15 year old emo kid cutting myself and shoving a banana up my ***. Please forgive me poetry gods, I knew not what I did.
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
Feel like I'm falling somewhere
somewhat transcendental
needing to stop pretending
that what I feel
and see
and live

I suppose that I wanted to write
something that may
have been something
magically enticing
that could
bring me
back to

But I'm sick of these vicious ravings
tacked up on some kind
of failing travesty
crying out
for an

So what that I was looking for someone
to cling to in this raging sea
so what that I may have
been the exact opposite
of who and what
she and I
may have

I don't think that my absolute and unwelcome
need to write whatever comes to mind
is some kind of balm that may cure
whatever sinking, slithering thing
that ails me so, irresolute
and very sullen
but rather
is a mirror

How this phrase grown out of a horror movie
and one thousand years of Alchemy
has become a byword between us
living as a hashtag and a symbol
in the world we now have here
our only complete interaction
contact in something
souls flung

Realizing that I'm not writing this to you or me
but rather all of us that have fought
in our own way to continue
believing in something
greater than ourselves
weak and yet
resilient as

I have not the words to break through the walls
that I have built for myself out of
shame and a soul wounded
and so scarred as to
have torn your
happiness from

But I still retain this deep suspicion that
what still lives within us all
is a burning and a knowing
something not for Truth
but for not needing
to feel so
****** lonely
so sickeningly

And so I sit here behind by computer forged from
metal and silicon and greed, typing out love and rage
not really believing that what I say
will ever have any real impact
on the society that I have
come here, truly
to destroy.

So let's take a true gander at this wretch of a world
that we've created for ourselves, hoping
that all of this half-assed search
for real and absolute
freedom from oppression
is more
Jon Shierling Jul 2017
Simon opens the door. Door to the same apartment in Lisbon. But it's somehow different when he walks through the threshold. Full of people, as it used to be on weekend nights. But these are strangers, men and women he no longer recognizes, or feels any kinship with. The bottles of wine and beer and liquor are as it used to be, along with the **** on the kitchen table and the hookah by the couch. But pistols and syringes lay open upon flat surfaces now alongside the old instruments of fun. Like a dream, people whose names he didn't know greet him like a hero as he creeps through his own kitchen. Someone hands him a joint, which he hits, tastes **** and something else which make things even more surreal, passes it back to the mass, and fights his way to a chair where the tv used to be. "Simon, Simon! Just the guy to end this stalemate! Tell us, how do you feel about this ******* they're feeding us now eh!?! More austerity measures! Let those pigs **** some more and leave less for us eh?" A magazine is casually tossed in his general direction. Simon catches it by the spine, and glances at it, trying too hard to remember the name that belongs to the face on the cover. In an attempt to not be argumentative, he vaguely agrees, "Of course there are changes to be made, we all recognize that, but it's a delicate thing. The EU charter has provisions for this, but it's not being followed here. Or anywhere else though, so we can't get ahead of ourselves. Pardon me senor, can I hit that right quick?" The hookah hose is handed, a bottle is passed, and Simon gets up out of the chair. Tara is nowhere in sight, possibly *******, possibly preaching, possibly shooting up, maybe all three. Clara is in the bathroom throwing up most likely, and I don't know why I'm here, he thinks it might be something to do with a feeble hope that what he'd been told was just exaggerated rumor. He wanders the apartment that was once so full of....something else,something he couldn't name, looking for the good that he used to feel in it. People talk at him and he responds, but he doesn't really pay much attention to their comments or his responses. He finds himself on the balcony, blessedly empty, lights a cigarette and let's his memory drift. Remembers the guitar, and the wine, and the feel of her hand when she took it from him to play. He hums the tune to himself, half as a mercy and half as a torture. He remembers the shape of her shoulder and the green of her sweater, and the sunset reflected in her eyes when she slapped him, the fire in her that he has loved since that day. The fire he has been watching die for months. "You can never love someone enough to make them love themselves, usually they end up resenting you for it anyway," says a voice from behind him. Simon, in the place his mind is now isn't even surprised, simply turns to the source of the voice, a man sitting in the far back left corner. "They may end up hating you for it even. People cling to their self-conceptions harder than anything, more so than politics or religion or love. Especially if it's good clean love. Damaging, nasty love is the kind people like her need, and will never be turned away from." It's hard to make out features in the glow cast by candles and distant city lights, but Simon can see the speaker's face is aquiline, high cheekbones and a very straight nose. Brownish short hair, light and thin body, built like a runner or a Bedouin. Simon almost asks who he his, almost responds with the usual surface garbage he's been saying to people all night. Instead, he asks the almost shadow what the **** he's talking about and, more importantly who the **** he thinks he is to presume to know that kind of crap about someone you've never met. "You know exactly what, and who I'm talking about Simon. As for presuming to know things about people I've never met, I have met Tara, and Clara, and a hundred other girls like them. And I know how those stories end." "And how do you know my name, who the hell are you and what the hell do want?" Simon responded. The almost shadow's cigarette flares as he inhales and for a second Simon can see the grey eyes of a Gael, is reminded of mists and mountains, ancient memory, understands that he's being hunted. "Lots of people know your name here. I've seen that look on your face many times, worn it myself many times, and I don't want anything from you. But you certainly want something from me, even though you don'y know it yet. It's good to finally meet you Simon. You can call me Ashenden." The voice leans forward into the light and extends his hand. As Simon takes it, he looks into the face of a predator.
Jon Shierling Dec 2014
I'd like to tell a true story to you, dear readers. It's not exactly a nice story, but it's one I've only told to a few, so I think the time has come to make it public, especially since I know that the only person involved that would read it is me. This is a story that has changed my life, for good or ill, some experience that curdled my perception of how the world I live in works.

One night, years ago, I wound up at a house party in beautiful St. Augustine, and I was sober when I got there, very late, as I had promised to be the dd. But, we walked from the dorms back to Riberia Street, so I had no responsibilities once we got there. So, while drinking and partaking of other choice substances, I met the now famous Emily, she who I first started really writing for, she who set me free from some pointless idea of what was necessary. Dear God she had perfect *******, and could kiss like French writers wished their wives or lovers could kiss. I fell in love with her that night....and also was wounded at the same time.

Emily had three friends, a Latina from Miami called Natasha ironically, a White girl from up North named Lauren Ruotollo, and another chick from up that way who introduced herself as Kiki. I was in the middle of a conversation with Emily, when I had to ***. So, naturally I walked off the porch and did my business on the side of that house, and while standing there I looked to my left and saw a random dude shoving his thing into a girl's mouth propped against a tree. I thought nothing of it in that moment, and went back to talking to that perfect Emily.

What felt like hours or honestly was only minutes later, on the back porch with my tongue in Emily's mouth and my hand up her shirt, Natasha and Lauren found us; hunting for Kiki. I found her out back, not ten yards from where Emily and I were standing. She was the girl taking it hard from random *******, who left her with not even a thank you. Her skirt and ******* were racked up over her stomach, and when I picked her up, she coughed up *** all over my shirt. I carried her to Natasha's car and put her inside, yelling to God that He owed me one. Emily, Natasha, Lauren and Kiki then rolled off into the wee morning hours, and a little piece of my soul died.

I went back inside that house and couldn't find that empty *******. So I snorted an entire 8 ball and took off my *** covered shirt in the middle of Riberia and burned that ****** then and there.

So when you ask me why I have some problems that didn't come from the Army, I'll tell you this story.
Jon Shierling Mar 2015
I am here now,
empty handed and barefoot,
but somehow
able to see things again.

By some miracle
perhaps ,
my desire was tempered
by the Friend's whispering,
so that I may be a better friend
to you.
Jon Shierling Apr 2015
It ends here, now.
This compromised soul,
this tired acceptance of a dead hope;
too much time wasted in longing
for something that brings forgetfulness.

Somehow, I love you.
And everything you still stand for.

I don't know how many disguised lines
were puked up by me in dark alleys,
or scribbled in a ***** notebook
alongside tradecraft and parameters.

So many years and I'm still bound by something,
some smiling morality whispering
seductively of what might have been,
if only I had thrown loyalty and that
outdated wraith called honour aside.

I understand that I'll never see you again,
will never have the chance to rectify
the wrong I did to your heart and soul
in the name of something that doesn't exist.

Never did I understand why Everett tried
so hard to put you on display; but looking back
now I get why you wanted Krum so bad,
and why you tried to trust me.

Regardless of what may have passed,
I still want to thank you.

Thank you for giving me a place to sleep,
and a friend when I had no one.
Jon Shierling Jul 2014
Perhaps the people who are no good at accepting things, or accepting the faults (real and imagined) of others, are that way because they're no good at accepting their own.
Jon Shierling Jan 2015
There are some people who like history as an interest or read it for a hobby, maybe go to reenactments and museums and such. Interested they may be in it, for those people history is still an external thing, dead and gone, merely entertaining or knowledge giving. For others, we experience the history and it becomes a part of who we are, the flavor of what we learn imprints itself somehow. For us, there is no such thing as an attic full of "stuff". There are attics full of stories, of connections between ourselves and what brought us here. The stories and pasts of others, are also reflections of our own.
Jon Shierling Jun 2016
That's it. I'm done passively digesting all of this garbage. it's time to stand up and start doing. Stop whining, stop blaming the things you don't like about your life on other people (Muslims, Republicans, Liberals, Rich People, Young People etc). The world is not unchangeable, and instead of bemoaning how powerless you are to change it, take action. We all have the power to make this life more than it is, and it doesn't start in the halls of Congress, it doesn't begin with other groups conforming to fit your world view, it begins with YOU. Today, right here, right now, YOU have the power to influence the world around you in a positive, meaningful way. Even though it doesn't seem like it, real change starts with the individual, deep inside, an active decision to not accept things as they are and to take part in changing them for the better. The same old human frailties and insecurities are the REAL opposition. Not the people who want to come here and live better lives, not the people who want the violence to end, not the people who go to church on Sundays, not the people who just want a chance to see their children prosper and be left to live their lives. Many of you will say,"BUT that's exactly what WE want! It's those OTHERS that won't leave us be, so we have to be reactionary to DEFEND ourselves." That is complete ******* and you know it. It's bad logic and it's the kind of crap governments have been using to justify wars of aggression since the dawn of civilization. Hate, Greed, Fear, Jealousy, these are our real enemies, and all the actions we take that are based on them are invariably marred by their origin. With the whole country choosing sides, and trying to force me to choose one or the other, I refuse. I don't accept either party's world view, I will NEVER accept the xenophobia and horror that they propagate to further themselves. Their ONLY purpose is to make us believe that WE NEED THEM, but in fact it is we who should reflect on just how absolutely THEY NEED US. Now, I'm not asking any more of you than I do of myself. I don't expect people to drop everything and go start a revolution, or to become monks and attain Nirvana, or whatever highest attenuation of your belief system. What I do expect, is for all of us to remember that we have unimaginable power to affect those around us in our daily lives, just by simply giving hope and encouragement, by building each other up, instead of insecurely hoarding affection because we think there's not enough of it. Don't be discouraged, don't believe the lies that are fed you everyday about your fellow humans and their intentions, don't ever forget that WE MAKE THE WORLD AS WE SEE FIT, SO DON"T MAKE IT ******. Times are dark, but the odds aren't insurmountable by any means, there is real, positive action that can be taken, workable solutions that can be achieved. I hope to see you on the other side.
Jon Shierling Jun 2017
I woke up one day and found myself in a room
with walls covered in pieces of the soul of
the girl sleeping in my arms.

It was beautiful and terrible to behold,
just as is she, just as was the knowing
at that moment that I'm a Writer
that loves an Artist....
I'm a character in my own book
and I'm ******.
Jon Shierling Nov 2014
Explain to me, dearest Muses, about dualism.
Yes, dualism, the light and dark, yin and yang,
contradictory nature of all us mere humans.

How is it, verily, that a man (or boy)
such as I, may keep a copy of Rumi
which I read from almost sanctimoniously,
yet also drink like a ***** Irish fiend,
spouting profanity thirty seconds
after writing a hymn?
Jon Shierling Nov 2014
There is some such music that may be played
a strange lilting tone as they say,
that no matter my condition
nor present company I find myself in
shall move me to tears....
perhaps of joy or sadness or long forgotten despair.

It's overwhelming rush of memory and hope
rising and falling upon my tired, blood-stained heart,
as the immeasurable and ever flowing tides
shall perhaps one day carve of me,
the man I was born to be.
Jon Shierling Jun 2015
How to explain what it feels like,
when your soul is crumbling within,
to watch your possible futures meet eachother during the same night, and know that in order to survive,
you must leave one behind.
Jon Shierling Jun 2017
I kissed her and tasted the blood of a wounded soul.

I felt her heartbeat and heard again the drums of my people.

I held her in my arms and remembered why I was sent.

I lay with her and the flame burned again.

I looked into her eyes and eternity gazed back.
Jon Shierling Oct 2014
Stack up. Second man, remember to cover right
and keep your elbow out
so third doesn't catch the door
swinging back on hinges.

Here comes the rock
and the rush.

I've come here to do business tonight,
business with that personal devil
on his aching throne.

Memories to sift through
experiences to re-live
and renounce.

One can't simply shoot
at a conception that needs
to die.

And here I come again,
pushing through wreckage
and half formed nightmares
wailing at the sky.

"I have come, in spite of myself,
to practice the acts of forgiveness
upon you who have stolen so much."

You who have subverted my love
and my hope
and my faith.

You who burned into me your belief
that everything and everyone
has a price.

You that made me into less than a man,
who corrupted my heart
and taught me to laugh at Love as folly.

For these sins I forgive you my Father
not for your sake
but for my own.

All that I have done and not done
as a result of believing you
is over. Ex Nihilo

Here is my sword,
ill used.
Here is my horse,
lame and ******.
Here is my lance,
Here is my armour,
rusted and heavy.

Take back these things given unto me
I have no need of them
on this new journey.

I go now,
with or without
she whom I love,
to create beautiful things,
to bring light and peace,
to be a true human being,
to live my own life
rather than trying to atone
for yours.
Jon Shierling Jun 2017
Some things need to be broken
before they can actually work right.

Hearts for example.

The more mine gets cut apart
the more fire I have to pour into hers.
Jon Shierling Apr 2018
Shutter filtered moonlight bright and clear as a flashing sword
    my surest guide over the landscape of your body.

I cannot say whether it is my hand that pivots brush and ink,
    or they that carry me along across your back.

This then is what the sages meant by formlessness:
    I am the Brush and Ink and Moonlight.
Jon Shierling Jul 2013
Upon the road East of Gergesa,
  A red sunrise burning the morning
as poor peasant women pass me by.

Wars, rumors of wars, have followed at my back;
  my whole journey being ahead
or behind of some meaningless conflict.

You called me to this task
  the only one of them ascending;
my Holy of Holies, my religion
  you bade me go and wander,
returning only when I am worthy of you.

You chose well, I the lover of the
  long rides and the open sky,
perchance the only one of them
  you believed would ever return.
Jon Shierling May 2017
Every now and again

we understand that we have a choice

between wearing the mask

or throwing it away.
Jon Shierling Jun 2013
I remember well your house by the sea,
sand in all the corners, plants like gypsy tents,
a garden full of senses and clothing.

I remember well your garden by the sea,
a red dress draped over hibiscus, a linen shirt in the grass,
birds and orange blossom and always the music of water.

I remember well your fountain by the sea,
flower petals always dancing, some druid's holy spring,
the blessed waters a perfect shrine for you.

I remember well your love by the sea,
your body a continent to explore, your heart an ocean to sail,
an oasis of flowers, of water, of music, of a soul.
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