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Jon Tobias Apr 2015
I wish the traveling circus were still around to run away to. It's not about being afraid to leave as much as it is needing a place to go. But my father was a mountain and my mother was a hole. And we're caves, mouths open and full of the cold. Been sitting so long myths have been made about the things that live inside us. The children come on dares to look in there. And yell in fear, at first only to have those sounds echo back. Then they laugh. There was never anything to be afraid of. Our bodies are full of that noise. Mostly the laughter. It lasts longer. It feels better. But is easier to forget because no one ever learned anything by laughing as much as being brave. You have to be scared to be brave. And moving from this place takes the strength of an earthquake sometimes. But you should know, your hands will never be big enough to hold all the rubble when the mountain crumbles. I remember when the cancer hit. The chest x rays from when they removed the portocath. Backlit, your chest resembles a busted cemetery gate from some ghost scene in a Sherlock Holmes movie. Broken. From letting all your ghosts go. And don't focus on all the things your hands can't hold. Your head fits just fine. Your hand. Cupped over your mouth to catch all your sighs. Can hold a cup of coffee to give to someone. Flowers. A poem. Tonight. Tonight you realize you're a mountain twice removed. A marble statue. So strong and so beautiful people will come a long ways just to see you.
Recycling some old metaphors. Why not?
Mar 2015 · 2.0k
Drunk Text Love Poem # 1
Jon Tobias Mar 2015
I wouldn't call them scars. Our bodies are ancient calendars marked with times and places. Tonight, you are not real. You are the desperate ocean lapping at the shoreline trying to take back the secrets in the bottles cast off by lovers, and children, letters to the dead sometimes. They are not your secrets, but they came to you first. They are full of feelings you have once felt or will feel. The bottles glisten in the sand mockingly, beautifully, painfully, like window shopping for jewelry you'll never be able to afford. You never expect to want the glass back after it has been pulled out of you. But the stories inside are your stories now too. You cast them off in the same manner hoping somone better than the sea will find them. The story about your cancer, your mother, the love you feel right now, the love returned, the time you thought of the beauty of a flower, the flower you killed to show someone how beautiful it was, the realization of the importance of stillness. All those stories like broken bottles in your skin. Like jewels encrusted on a big brass door leading to a room you live in. But tonight, you are the ocean at high tide, finally getting your bottles back.
As per request from a friend.
Jon Tobias Dec 2014
The metal in this brass knuckle heart
punches my chest from the inside out

The valves, a semiconductor for the static
electricity of your touch

Who ever thought a defibrillator could be so soft?

And in the challenge of this love
I wonder what kind of mettle you're thinking
of now

And I think patience is found
on a molecular level inside the iron
in your blood

And love then, a stone ground down
from your ashes

I mean, pressure and heat are
what diamonds are made from

Tell me again of the struggles you shone through

And through that logic, we are precious stones
but so much softer than that

I want to hold you like the focused light
from a jeweler trying to make a sale
but so much more earnest than that

And what of the contradiction
between hardness
and softness

Because there is you

How can you be so hard
and so full of life?

How can you be so beautiful?
Dec 2014 · 1.5k
The Ghost Parade
Jon Tobias Dec 2014
Today I did not miss the ghost parade
Which always comes without warning
And leaves the way your glasses do
Dusting its tracks before placing itself
On the counter in the bathroom

I think of the pain that comes with growing wings
And understanding the difference between
Beauty and utility

I am too big to fly

We need to grow simpler things from our backs
Starting with patience
But I am just being silly
Patience should grow from your lungs

The ghost parade is a quiet thing
Always manages to pass through you
With the slowness of a carriage ride
Through some well lit park in the evening

And just like all ghosts
They remind you of something you've lost
Or will never have
And takes it with them when they leave

The parade marched off with my wings
Silver feathers erupting like confetti

I heard the hunters load their rifles
And assumed this was a good thing
Aug 2014 · 1.9k
Drunk Text #73 Pretend
Jon Tobias Aug 2014
For a moment, right now, pretend that forgiveness will never feel like taking a bet. That the phrase, "I love you," Is not just another form of turrets. Pretend that you've got a pocket heavy with change and you walk like a wishing well wind-chime. And you've got a nickel in there for every time you cried for something. And your chance to change is as easy as flicking your thumb. Launching a coin into a pool of water. Pretend that you've got a penny melted and molded from the iron in your blood. Pretend that that wish will come true. Pretend that I just put mine down on a bet on you. Double or nothing, because ******* kid, to me, you mean something. And I don't mean any big life success. This is deathbed memories type ****. Who was there when it mattered type ****. Pizza on the car hood when the mice are asleep in the oven and the birds have nested in the old stove burners. Finding safety in a hammock held up by the corners of a mouth. Warmth in arms when you realized how cold it was actually going to be down south. For a moment right now pretend. That you've got a friend with a body made of drawbridge and hands strong enough to close it when you need to. Eyes like a moat. A blanket quilted from your lover's muscles. For a moment right now pretend that that friend isn't me. It's you. Forget God. Forget finding forgiveness and love there. On the inside that friend is you. Making penny bets like a Philippino woman in the smoking section of a casino. Double or nothing. 50/50. Pretend now that I'll be there too. Tossing coins in a well. Wishing only the best for you.
Copied and pasted from my phone to hp. Sent at 2:33 am 8/5/2014
Jon Tobias Jul 2014
My father is an old truck
Sunbleached red

Breathes broken bottles
A faulty catalytic converter throat
All the smoke trapped inside

But the nicotine helps his brain function

Cinderblock sturdy
But skinny
A single pillar holding the roof up

A man built in a time when you had to tell things it was time to die
Leave them in a field somewhere and forget about

How do you write a love poem to a car of a man
Built in a time without airbags?
A car of a man who crashed with you inside so many times
You learned about rebuilding from experience
From trial and error

And how do you forgive a man who can no longer tell you he’s sorry?

Don’t feel
Don’t give up
Don’t hurt you on purpose

Sometimes something inside just breaks
And no one catches it
And maybe you crash
Break a nose
Black an eye

As far as I know
I am not a broken man
But I’ve learned where all the parts go

And if I am my father’s son
A mechanic more often than a car maybe
Then I will be fine

The truck is dying
And beyond repair

You forgive it for that
It is old and past its time

And maybe it can’t say that it’s sorry

But there is a field somewhere that you plan on leaving it
To collect weeds
And rust
And be forgotten

So you forgive it
May 2014 · 2.5k
Hallelujah Copywrite
Jon Tobias May 2014
Today I wanted to buy the copyright to the process of hallelujah
******* in joy the same way whales eat krill
You just bottle it up inside your lungs until you have enough

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


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

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

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

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

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

The same word in different tonal joys

Your life

Every good moment

May 2014 · 1.9k
Meeting God
Jon Tobias May 2014
If god were real
When he’d appear

It would be out of nowhere
In mysterious ways

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

He makes you a sword and belt too

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

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

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

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

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

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

So you throw them away

Not your faith

Just the balloons

God says
His tongue pressed to his gums to prevent lisps

Then he begins to pump up another balloon
He honks his horn
And you are so confused
Jon Tobias Nov 2013
It's on them nights I drink alone. Find myself thinking of home. These beers bottle bones empty and shatter. Liquor lung sigh. Chest heavy like a white trash wind chime. Like a six pack of bud ice hanging from some fishing line. Hear them low notes bouncing of the lips in the wind. And maybe you worry, but ****, I'm fine to drive. And on those days when my gut isn't a gas tank for beer refilling at a pity party pit stop, I drive on love. Write love poems on phones before the ***** knocks me out. And sure, maybe my love makes as much sense as the words I slurr. And maybe my love is as unique as the crackheads needle in the haystack, but I'll still love you serious as a heart attack. Like a stroke... of genius... an epiphany about the realness of God. That maybe the story is flawed, but you're welcome to believe. And maybe I'm drunk right now, but I never meant to deceive. So kiss me with your break lights, while a pray to the slow light that I can live life like an old man feeding birds on a bench in the park. Got nothing else on his mind... just love... you maybe. And whatever you might think. I promise. I'm fine to drive
Nov 2013 · 1.4k
Mother's Song
Jon Tobias Nov 2013
This song ended like a dry heave halleluja
Like the auction caller ran out of breath
Like we both had nothing to sell and nothing to say

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

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

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

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

I leave with the men too

And it's just you
In your tiny room

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

And I catch myself singing along in the silence
And realize

I'm out of tune
Nov 2013 · 3.3k
On Rebuilding
Jon Tobias Nov 2013
I found this love
like playing tetris

Anxiety at the falling of pieces
too fast

There are still holes in there

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

And maybe I held you like a blanket

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

A smaller structure
But stronger than we are
First time I have touched a computer with internet access in months. Writing this freestyle from a library somewhere in San Diego. Much love HP.
Jon Tobias Sep 2013
You sleep earthquake some nights
like a puppy
Whimper and swim

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

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

So I know holding you won't make you still

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

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

Inside you belly it is always
always spring

So much light
you don't sleep well most nights

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

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

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

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

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

And maybe this night
You can sleep peacefully
Aug 2013 · 1.3k
Jon Tobias Aug 2013
I was looking at your chest x rays on the lighted wall

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

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

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

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

dance with me to my deathbed

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

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

but my knees
are riverbeds for prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

But some days
our engine chests come back

and I write a poem about you that is new

And you listen
To my huff and rumble
you lift your tea and saucer with shaking hands
I close my eyes
and hear our train coming
Aug 2013 · 1.6k
You Imagine there's a Fire
Jon Tobias Aug 2013
How it starts is there's an apartment your family lives in
You do not live there
but your stuff does
Then you find out your mom brought bed bugs home from the rehab center

They are downsizing everything now
You show up with 3 boxes
and tell yourself
these can hold more than enough

Mostly you fill them with your favorite books
and in the heat of it
even that feels trivial

But you look at the photos in the frames
The pictures of you at six flags on your last birthday
You let those go
The paper towel painting Monica did at the lake
It's all in a box marked trash now

You joke to yourself about how silly
they would look on the dashboard of your car

The old electronics
and journals
writing contest trophies

You take an inventory
of everything you've ever owned
all your clothes have been thrown away

and you leave with just three boxes
and you ask yourself

"If my life were on fire
what would I save?"

only you can't answer that question
because when the fire is burning
it's not that everything looks as important as everything else
so much as nothing does
not even you

So you smile
and say that you are happy to leave everything behind
because now you have the joy of the memory of having it

Only this time
there is a girl
and she is riding shotgun in your car as you drive away

And maybe she can see the mixed emotion on your face
like driving of a cliff in your boss's car
only he is in the trunk

And she scratches the back of your head
and says
"Tell me a story handsome"
Jul 2013 · 1.3k
I Think of the Tree
Jon Tobias Jul 2013
My little brother cuts himself
And I wonder about the scars

Imagine that they are more like
the lines inside the trunk of a fallen tree
An indication of how long he has lived
or how fast he grew

and time is a funny thing now
Because it is easy to forget how old he is
because of how old he looks
and on the inside
who knows

I just think of counting rings
on a fallen tree stump
like a warped record

after the day grows quiet
if I placed a needle to the wood
What song would it play?
Jul 2013 · 982
Sound of Permanence
Jon Tobias Jul 2013
I have been breathing deeply lately
trying to find permanence I think

Because the money will not stay
and the car will not last
and the days turn to nights
and I sleep for tomorrow
and not for the dreams

I have been lost in wonder

And I wonder if there is a sound
for the breath of the spider
that Delia has just sprayed with raid

Or if there is a sound
for the parting of clouds
that reveals the sun

Or if there is a sound
for roots breaking a seed

And if that sound might be similar
to what my bones do sometimes

And right now
safety sounds like the click of the lock in the frame

and peace sounds like the hiss of the can seal breaking

and happiness sounds like the suction of lips
to my neck
to her neck
to our mouths

Each sound is a second
maybe less

Like being under hypnosis

And as far as permanence goes
I have enough
Jul 2013 · 1.1k
Jon Tobias Jul 2013
I wonder if the big bang
was a response to god's loneliness

And maybe he sat alone for a long time
half braining ideas
about making things that
might love him

God never said
let there be light
he just put a gun in his mouth and splattered
stars across the wall of the universe

His black hole brain
something like regret
trying to **** all the stars back inside

And I think about the days you tried

But that's not like you kid
Even though you had blood
spilling out a hole in your gut
Bone white shallow breathed

There are still stains on the passenger seat of my car
Which I now call my living room
because I am homeless

And there are no walls that could hold the contents of your head
like jackson ******* bloodspatter
a pretentious painting titled
and homage to the ****** of failure

And you are not our mother
suicide cocktail
no ice

and you are not our father
an Alzheimer's ghost
Haunting a history
we never lived through

You are skinny like water
running down the zylephone of your ribcage
tinny laughter

Asking me questions like
if love is as powerful as they say it is in the movies
then why do people give up sometimes

I'll never give up I said

You asked me if I thought god was mad at you

the doctor chalked up you living
to just luck

and I think of when god made molds of men out of mud
and breathed into them
and the mud men lived
Mud must have felt lucky then

But for us its not luck
we make so much fuss
Just so the world knows
we're alive as ****
Jun 2013 · 1.6k
I am a Comic Strip Hobo
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
I feel like a comic strip hobo
With no money for deposit

And still I step from slapstick to cement
and hope court jester is enough here

I have come out of the rain
and into your home
Drawn to you
Though there is no pie in your window
No ghostly fingers of your sweet smell
beckoning me in

You make me feel
Like a ghost in a graveyard
Praying for a new harmonica inhale
and exhale
So that this music can sound more like a dance for two
A panic waltz for feet trying to match your grace

And today
There is honey between my teeth
A sweet sound

Our love is backwards
An elbow torqued and knuckle gutted dry heave halleluja

Arthur Miller would have written a satire about our love

I remember our early conversations
You said you didn't believe in god
I said that he was a fantastic literary device
You said though you didn't believe in god
that people themselves could be godly
I suddenly wondered what you would look like with a jerry curl
"Let's not call it godly," I said
"What then," you said
I don't know

I just know that
Your eyes are like second winds
like Breathcatch memories
of highway carjackings
where you were the one left on the side of the road

The warm summer pillow of your stomach
And the peel of my face away from it
Is sticky like candy
Your stomach is like candy in that way
So is my face
I can be sweet too

Your smile is speechless
like the speakers are speechless
And the music has stopped
and our bodies are still
save for your smile
That quivers like fire

And I am a comic strip hobo
With a bandana backpack
and not much to offer

But I am drawn to you

You make me feel like harmonica breath
You make my mouth feel like honey
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
I feel like I have fox-holed my gut
Sleeping only in the shape of a ball

And I have folded the thought of you into a trench
so that I might sleep safely tonight

But I have learned how not to be lost
In the sharpening of my shoulder blades
I have learned never to shrug
In the off chance I will
shed my wings
and truly be lost

Come back to me

I have been drunk for a week now
and I feel like your breath will sober me up

I want to hold your head like a sunrise
strands of gold drizzle out to the tips of my fingers

I am buzzing
Lacking structure

Your smile
like a hammock hanging from the laugh lines in your eyes

You laugh like a runway held up by your own cool breath

I want to place my mouth there
In darkness, aquatic nightlight glow

Your skin, goose bump braille
a language I am still learning

My fingertips
tracing the topography of your smooth

Your landscape
I want to get lost

My hands
your skin
My drunk
your breath

Come back to me
Sober me up
Read this along with several other poems last night at a poetry reading in San Diego. Of all the places I feel I am most in my element, on a stage reading poetry is a second home to me.
Jun 2013 · 1.3k
If I Knew
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
I don't know how to be scared anymore
I don't know how to be cold anymore

I've spent some nights in this car
Not worried about anything
Even though the transmission is failing

Drive back and forth most days
Trying to understand this thing we call home

And I want to repay you in something more substantial than money
This poetry posted on websites
and left on coffee tables
but the transmission is failing

And I am falling in love with you
And if I knew that love was the answer to homelesness
That in the shedding of weight
and in the cutting open
Was this

I'd have left long ago

Vaggabond heart
Finding safety
In your chestplate
Like a sea snail who has
shed his shell

To squeeze into yours

There is so much room in there
So much room

Your body
a cabin
made of welcome mats

An extra plate of food at the table
I am always hungry

This body
A broken radiator
always overheating
Give me your feet
To keep warm

Keep me
like a humble savage
Saying grace
In a language
You'll never understand

Changing clothes in a closet trunk
3 backpacks for different things
Worn like heirloom rings
Like they are all that I own
That mean anything

They are

And not that I know what it means just yet
Take me home tonight
Jun 2013 · 1.2k
The Password to your House
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
The password to the entrance of your home is
I brought beer

I love you with my liver

If you were a city
You'd be Atlantis
I would be its shorelines

We have both participated
In each other's floods

We were never levies for one another
I will not hold back the ocean for you

I will pick you back up when I can though
So that you can be a landscape that is timeless

In your presence
we are never killing time
We are defining minutes into laughter
So that we can walk away happy

Even in silence
We are living

I called myself homeless
and you said
I wasn't
but I couldn't stay here forever

Then you asked me
"Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?"

Then we sank into sleep

And I know your mornings
Your noise
Your wake up call
Takes getting used to

But that is fine
Because I know your flood
and your drought
And I love you with my liver

And yeah
I brought beer
Jun 2013 · 1.5k
Homeless and the Sea
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
I remember her body against me

She tells me she doesn't want to get hurt
That I will break her heart

You can break me like a wishbone
and keep the better half

Sharpen it like a prison shiv
and stab me with it if I do

She is the snow
I am a stove in a single room cabin

I have been cutting off parts of this home
and feeding them into my belly

There is sawdust
on the floor of my love

Most of this house is gone now
I am still a stove
she is still snow

We both think
this heat is a good idea

I keep burning

Call her iglu
Call her daring
Call me almost homeless

I have left the stove

I am a candle now

Slow burning

Call me always hot still

Call her always melting

The floor is always wet

I tried to trap the ocean
in a dresser drawer

But we were flooded roofless

I learned to hold my breath

She learned that warmth doesn't really change anything

There was the sun
and it heated her body

I bathed in the ocean
she made
a thin
near burnt candle

I sank down

Her heart was made of winning halves of wishbones
Sharpened like shivs

I did not go near them

I am not afraid of getting hurt
But I have always been taught
to respect the sea
Jon Tobias Jun 2013
I am as tasteless
as the boiled chicken we are about to eat

Her hands tremble
as she sips her beer
The glass taps her teeth

She exhales like an ocean
made of bone

skeleton secrets
and rolling clatter

It is not cold in here

I don't remember what I said

But I do remember something my grandmother
often said to me

"Whatever man has been here before
and whatever man will be here again
Do not let him speak for you now"
May 2013 · 1.4k
Drunk poem 133: Bad Dream
Jon Tobias May 2013
I am falling
I am about to fall

There are instructions in my hand
something about landing safely
Something about floating
Not flying

I do not know who has decided this for me
There are tools in my hands
I am expected to build a kite in the freefall I think

Somone pushes me
If I land safely then she will love me
this is dream truth

I am a kite now
I let my string drag along the surface of the earth

Reel me in as I pass by
Or don't

I don't care
I can't fly
But I can't fall anymore either
It is 11 am. I am still drunk. This is a dream I had. I feel lost today.
May 2013 · 1.4k
Drunk Love Poem 132
Jon Tobias May 2013
I feel like a big man
in a straight jacket
who has just learned
despite all his strength
he'll never break the restraints

I'm not saying
you should ever give up

Just relax when you can
Don't fight so hard
You'll be free soon enough

It is  what loneliness feels like on late nights
and I find myself drunk texting poetry

I want to make your ears time capsules
for the things I have to say

Sometimes I settle for your phone

I want to wake up
in the morning
with a message from you

A picture of your smile
Your smile
Your stupid beautiful smile

It is all I ever really wanted anyway
May 2013 · 2.3k
Inspired By Instagram
Jon Tobias May 2013
The posted photo
made on somones computer
looked like loneliness
dressed as wisdom
and begged you to believe the fallacy

It said
Don't fall in love when you're lonely
fall in love when you're ready

You will never learn how love works
if you save it

give it away
get hurt
give it away again

Love takes practice

And even if finding my love
looks like the crackhead's
needle in the haystack

Know that my love isn't *****
You won't get sick from my love
It is just that my love has been used

And that is all that love ever wanted anyway
was to be used

It is not some Star Wars action figure
Meant to never be opened
to maintain value

Imagine Luke Skywalker's
Anger at you upon tasting fresh air
Have you seriously been keeping this from me?

Have you seriously been keeping this from me?

My love is pure
Been refined
by the filter of bodies
and coming back to me

My love is top shelf
but it is always free
Thanks Taylor
May 2013 · 1.8k
This Closet These Stories
Jon Tobias May 2013
The doorknob to the closet
full of my skeletons is made of

But there are days
when honesty tugs a little too roughly and
I realize this isn't all that funny now
Is it?

As a writer
You learn presentation is key
In the bend of language
I create this man
I want you to believe me to be

And so I tell you these stories
like they are jokes
Like they are no big deal

Like the first time I got drunk
was with my friend's mom
who was a known child molester
She tried to order us ****
But couldn't work the cable

Or my friends and I used to travel our city
via the water drainage system
Near the mall
We got lost once
and while standing
in ankle high water
we saw at least 20 homeless people
sleeping on pallets
We called that place *** City
We had to get directions back out

There's a possibilty I have been an accessory to ******
Around the time in my life when I learned
How not to dwell

My body was a wishbone
My father meant to break
But every beating
left me the better half

I find so much of it funny

My brother's most recent suicide attempt
My mother's
My father's Alzheimer's

He once chased after our mailman
Asking him about some letter
from some woman
I have never met before

I find laughter
and beauty
in the bend of language

When this chest becomes a broken radiator
and my heart grows cold
The metaphor mutates Campfire

Come here
I am lonely
and I have a story to tell you
May 2013 · 1.2k
I Wouldn't Call it a Fear
Jon Tobias May 2013
I wouldn't call it a fear
of falling in love

But how this feels is like
A child's drawing of infinity
But he tells you
Actually it is two people kissing

And I want to cut the image in half
so I can talk in circles
and filibuster the time
I should be using to kiss you

Kissing does not mean you are falling in love
But it is a start

In the same way I sleep best with a body against me
But I have a twin bed

*** is not falling in love
But it often ends
with you falling asleep  
against me

And from there
what do we fall into?
Who does the catching?
May 2013 · 1.1k
Your Dirty Neck
Jon Tobias May 2013
After the sweat cools on your now
***** neck
it changes the scent of your skin

I want to place my mouth there
And taste you like the ocean
Filtered through a cloud

I get so mad at the sky
Pulling itself inward overhead
I swear that it is a breathing thing

Then rain comes
And it's breath is now laughter

It pleases the sky to keep us here

But I am still a child
Man sized
Holding you

I suggest we walk in the rain

It is not cold
But we are getting wet

The rain changes the scent of your skin

Your neck is still a little *****
I want to put my mouth there
Jon Tobias May 2013
Sometimes the mornings are restless
and the hangover is heavy
and the heart is heavy

And everything goes quiet
The body goes quiet
Maybe the sheets rustle
But the body is quiet
In silent prayer

This headache a revival
Back into existence

She has awaken already
She does not even leave her scent behind

I am thankful
Mostly for the quiet
As the sun illuminates the blinds
Like the beginning of light
exploding through a wall

And I am thankful
That no matter where these nights take me
Every morning
feels like home
Jon Tobias May 2013
His hat says
I Remember Pearl Harbor
He asks me to put the wine in the basket
Hanging behind his motorized wheelchair

He smells a little like ***
His sweatpants have dark stains all over
Like a leapord who has gone old and grey

"They can put a motor on one
of these things
but they can't make them comfortable"

"When you're an old man like me
maybe yours will fly
but I bet your *** will still fall asleep all the time"

I tell him
that when I am old
I hope they make wheelchairs
that feel like a father's shoulders

He shakes his head after I say that and laughs
"That sounds like it might be nice
But i couldn't say I know what that feels like"

Me neither
I tell him
New Series I think. We'll see.
Jon Tobias May 2013
"I am leaving to see your mother"
He tells me

He hums
But it is not music

The doctor says people in end stage COPD
make noises like that

I hope that when I am old
my body will uncontrollably make music too

"Dad," I say


"You know you ****** up at being a dad right?"

"I know" hmm hmmm hmmm hmm

"I'm proud of you anyways though"

"What for?"

" Time I guess. I couldnt say. Can you tell me just once that you love me?"

"Will it change anything if I do?" Hmmm hmmm hmmm


"I'm going to see your mother."
New series.
Jon Tobias May 2013
"You've gotten so tall"
she says

"It's only been a few months" I tell her
She looks directly into my mouth as I speak
Her face is different
Even the way she smells
I can't place it
but it is ugly

"You're taller"

"You drank yourself blind. I haven't changed"

"You know you were a c-section
Cut out like a tumor?"

"I know"

I remind myself
that forgiveness
and being cordial
and finding peace
can often be different things

She holds her elbows out
and my father helps lower her to the couch

"I'm coming home soon," she says
"You're going to have your mother back."

I am leaving soon I tell her
and I am never coming back
Jon Tobias May 2013
Sue tells me that there used to be
a railroad
a few streets down

The shopping center was just a big dirt feild

"When we were kids"
she says
"We would put our hands to the windows sometimes
You'll never know what that feels like"

I imagine her bones
As railroad tracks
No one traces the topagraphy of her body anymore

Her hands shake as
She picks up
her saucer and tea cup
I hear a train coming
This is a new series I am starting. Let's see how it does.
May 2013 · 1.1k
Writer's Block
Jon Tobias May 2013
This poetry is bad art now
As fragile and as tasteless as a communion wafer
In the mouth of a murderer

I thought this poetry would make you love me
But your body stands like a marble statue
In a Stendhall suicide exhibit

Looking away is easy

Maybe I gave my heart away to easily
That flattery is bad manners
When everyone is a subject

Forgive me
For I have sinned poetically
Lived solely for the stories I want to tell later

So that my chest might be a campfire
And voice the gravel trail that slips beneath your feet
You listen to maintain balance

So yeah
I ****** up
I feel ****** up

Like poster board
Covered in Jackson ******* blood spatter
And called an "Homage to the ****** of Failure"

It's lazy

This language is lazy

My heart is lazy
Pulsing with the same low voltage of the moon

I don't care anymore

I don't care
For some people the hardest part about giving up on something you love is as soon as you do, you find a reason not to.
Jon Tobias Apr 2013
After reading my first love poem
And misunderstanding my first love story
Romanticizing your bleak hope
I knew I was ******

And in trying to explain this
I am left feeling like a schizophrenic Walt Whitman
Scrawling poems about your beauty

As if love is something you can actually seek outside yourself
While inside you there are walls
Mine fields
Trapdoors leading to deadfalls
All to keep you from it

I want to stand at the entrance to myself
And be baptized in my own sweat
From the work of this deconstruction

There is heaven and peace in the rubble
Blueprints for a home without safeguards
A simple place you can rest your head at night
This chest

Love is not something you seek
But you tell that to these hands
This pen
This mouth
Tell these eyes without losing my gaze
That it is not hiding somewhere behind you

It is not
I know this now
I know that love is this
Your heart is this
Your body is this

A spare room in a small house
You had intented on living alone in

And everytime someone comes to your door
Know it is always nicer inside
And be grateful that someone came to it
Let them in with your smile
"I have been expecting you"
Then let them leave if that is what they must do
They might

Just remember to be grateful for their presence
Everyone who sought your door
Sought it because there is something good there
There is always you
I am kinda over writing love poetry, but to no avail most poems I write become those, especially ones written while drunk. Oh well.
Jon Tobias Apr 2013
I want to write this poem
Like a band-aid
For a knuckle scrape the stucco frustration

The adrenalin shiver
Maybe you look at your fingertips
And know you'll never be a doctor

A poem that finds you peaceful

We go to exrtremes so often
This middle ground has leeway
Move around in it

There are things I need to say
Halfwritten letters
Stacked inside a gut-heavy dumbwaiter
And if I ever found the courage to pull the rope
I might choke

This poetry gets scared sometimes
I know you get scared sometimes
There are memories you re-live
Like a masochistic dvr
Or a photo album labeled
"Let's not go back to this place"

I want there to be poems in response to this

A literary anitbiotic
For the sickness we create

There is a reason chemistry makes use of the alphabet

And I find myself searching for the language
Like a child holding his head up to the rain with his mouth open
And wondering why he never feels a single drop touch his tongue
Like a scientists he decides that the water evaporates because of the heat in his breath
So he holds it

It has taken me years to finally understand
You don't need to hold your breath
But you do need to be still
And the reason you think the rain never touches your tongue
Is because your tongue is already wet

And you
Every moment of you
Already is poetry
I am going to read downtown on tuesday and I have been struggling to write lately, but I so badly wanted to write at least one fresh thing to read. I have been unable to write. This is what I came up with and what I plan on reading. If any of you are in or near the San Diego area, you should come. It is Tuesday, April 16th at 7pm. at this address: 3015 Juniper St San Diego, CA 92104 It is Rebecca's coffee house.
Mar 2013 · 1.4k
I Want to Live
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
I have traveled back in time
Or maybe I have dreamt this place in 1987

A bank
My mother a teller
In the middle of a divorce
Or maybe the divorce hasn’t happened yet

My father walks in
He is a security guard
College dropout
Loves fighting as much as I do

She never went to college
Maybe she thinks he is mysterious
He prevents a robbery
Beats a man in the parking lot

He flirts with her over a coffee break
And this is the part where everything goes fuzzy
Because I could never see my father as a charming man

I want to tell them to stop
If love at first sight
Cared enough to have foresight too
They’d stop

Maybe they were nice people once
If we all knew what we’d one day become
We could fix things

I want to tell them that they will have children
I want to tell them about the things that they will do to these children
And then to themselves
And back and forth and back and forth
Like a pendulum made of knives and soft things

But I do not exist in this place in 1987
And even if I did

I want to live
I want to live
Mar 2013 · 1.1k
Hello Nighttime
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
It hasn’t been as cold lately
The train of shopping carts rattles
Vibrate my forearms
Especially as I cross the yellow speed bumps on the ground

The city put those there to trip up skateboarders
And to confuse babies in strollers

Old women on walkers avoid them

There are things designed to make us slower
More careful

I think about my last poetry reading while filling the coolers
And don’t ask myself why when alone
I take myself to the places that make me most happy

My cashier asks me when he can go home

You do everything slower when
You keep yourself company
When you’re lonely
You’re not savoring moments
You just taking your time
Because you can
I set the alarms and lock the doors
The moon has been out for a while
I will go home and write

Everyone is asleep except for me
I crack open a few beers
Open the window so the moon can keep me company

Forever I thought there was something wrong with me
But I have learned
Like the moon
Some things will only shine in the nighttime
Not everything looks like gold under the sunlight
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
Writing poetry is a lonely thing
It looks you square in the eyes, smiling
It asks you to write alone
Even in company
When writing poetry
You are alone

And even lonelier still
It asks you
To go inside of yourself
There are things there you must find

There is a man inside my body
A boy
And they look just like me
They each hold letters
I do not know what they say
I must find them

Poetry is love you want
Is someone you want to be in love with
Poetry is a child tugging at the pant-leg of someone
You want to be in love with

Poetry is the coffee stain on long sleeve shirts
Right over the wrist
Your mother called them chocolate stains
Never blood

Poetry is my drunk fingertip stumble
My white-boy wasted
My way of loving less awkward

Poetry is someone telling you they love your poetry
Poetry is loving someone for loving your poetry
Poetry is also kissing that person

There is a man
In mirrors he might be me
We have a letter we want to give to you
But they read like a feeling

We spend hours in solitude
Finding ways to step into the daylight

Poetry is convincing you
You need a reason to step into the daylight

There are words etched into your teeth
All white
No bling
The letters change with the shape of your mouth

Smile more often
Even when you don’t want to

Poetry is trying to teach you to speak peace
with the words in your smile
To people you don’t want to speak peace to

Poetry is an angry father
Is neck bruises from belt loops
Is rug-burn from being dragged across the floor

Poetry does not love you
It simply asks you
To find space inside of yourself
And then it wants you to give it to someone else

There are people inside of you
With stories

Writing poetry is a lonely thing
Giving it away
Until no one can be a thief to your soul

That too
Is poetry
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
I am a bear inside the church of bees
There are people in here I am in love with

They are covered in bees
They tell me that the bees hurt

I am hungry
The pastor tells everyone it is god’s gift to them
This sting

I want to hold you like honey
I have been eating daffodils
There is sunshine in my belly always

I am not afraid of the bees

The buzzing is loud
If you listen carefully it is god sending you a message through white noise
Listening for it is futile
You are in pain

I begin to pluck the bees from the bodies
Of the people I am in love with

Though I try to be gentle
I hurt them still

There is honey and blood on their skin
I want to lick both
Mar 2013 · 1.0k
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
Punch today in the face
She said

Today you will make a stranger happy because you can
Today is your day to be charming
Don’t waste it
I said

Just so you know
That wasn’t a sunset you saw
That was bruises on the face of the ending day

And I smile
Every time I think of you

Charming is a birthmark you just found out you had
You find you like its shape

Be charming like a birthmark
It makes people trust you
You can have oodles of charm
When you want to
Mar 2013 · 917
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
It is summer
And the wind presses the thin fabric to your body

Every woman’s *** looks perfect in a sundress

You have been sweating
And the fabric sticks to you in the next breeze

In stillness you are a Greek statue
With wet folds of fabric outlining your frame

There are wrinkles in some places
And I think that you might look like this when you are old
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
You are as pretty as a moon-****

The moon
so heavy inside
Almost solid
Crashed into the Earth during its formation
Taking bits of the Earth with it

Then the Earth made oceans
And sky
Birthed life from the places inside of itself
So much color and movement
It did not need the sun for beauty
The Earth is even beautiful in the dark

And the moon
The moon watched
Spun full rotation
Keeping its face always looking directly at its skies

The moon cratered like acne
Scarred like someone without an atmosphere

Battered and beat up
But every crash
The moon did not let parts of itself go
There is no room for more moons here

And occasionally
With the calm cold rumble
Moonquake shiver
Shakes dust from its back
The sunlight stolen into white shimmer
Stars way too close to be real

Looks like the ******
Of a firework show
Only every cannon misfired but yours

The whole world was watching

And everyone said
was that?

What was that?

You are as pretty as a moon-****
Jon Tobias Mar 2013
Cigarette smoke and **** colored beer
Family is a suckerpunch epiphany
For people who’ve spent so much time
Saying they no longer had one

I swore forever
Mine was missing parts
This heart carved shells
Let’s swap odd shapes
Re-sew them and **** up our beats forever

If the world is ending and you find me here
Kicking up the earth
Dirt scatter to the wind
Brown blood spatter
That’s just me trying to escape faster

Join me or leave me
But I got this beef with gravity
Like a severed head tetherball
This face senseless

You make me senseless

Numb to all the bad parts
In the same way salt makes everything sweeter
You make everything sweeter
Your salty skin
Sweet mouth
Sweet speak
Sweet laughter

Make me feel a little less stupid
About giving in to the movement
This mouth
This body
Like a knee-buckle kick to the gas pedal
And I peel out by accident

And you can still love me
Like family
I’ve slept in so many beds
And on so many floors
All so much more comfortable than my own

I swear I have bed bugs
Drinking my blood as I sleep
Getting drunk most nights
Them and me
Wake up itchy and fatigued
Like an allergy

But you
You smile like a hammock
Held up by strings hanging from your eye squint
To your dimples

Without speaking
“you can rest here tonight”

This is for the beds
For the people who say ouch when I hug them
For the family I thought I never had

For the appreciation that
Every moment of sadness
Means I’ve known so much joy
To feel that way

I’ve known so much joy
Thank you
Another drunkish poem....
Jon Tobias Feb 2013
I dropped her off on the other side of the city
Lights blur past my window
And I lose focus
A different kind of space travel

I don’t know why I drove here instead
The house on Ellen

I had always imagined it as a sad thing
Keeping the shape of comfort
Waiting lonely for me to come back to it

The shattered window
And the holed walls
The singed edge crop-circle in the living room carpet

I broke in
The place smelled new
Like fresh paint
And good credit

I am not a vandal
But these places don’t feel like home
Unless something has been broken

It was just a lock

My tires hugged the road like it didn’t want me to be there
Like hydroplaning without the rain
And every red light turned green
Just after I hit the breaks
Like a bully placing a hand on my chest and then saying
“Nah, I’m just ******* with you. Keep on going.”

There’s this place I sleep most nights
I am still in the parking lot writing this
And I don’t want to go upstairs yet

By my parking place
Frogs ribbit
They sound content
Though they live along the water drainage line that seems like a stream
Only there are more flies and crickets to eat here

Home is a funny place
So I have decided this

Not that I believe in God but
I’ve decided
His hands are as big as the world
So big it is easy to feel like no one is holding you
Even when you're being hurled a million miles an hour

And maybe that is why I feel I have no home
I mean
Hold me like you are small too
I've been drinking
Jon Tobias Feb 2013
The answer sits awkward in my mouth
Like an Egyptian vowel
Some language I have yet to learn

And I stand like a third world country that there are no commercials for
There are no heartstrings to tug
No Sarah Mclachlan songs
No one sees the hunger
Building in the bellies of my motherless country

But if there must be indifference in this love
I want to love you more than you love me
Feb 2013 · 1.2k
When a Poet Forgets
Jon Tobias Feb 2013
Forgive me for forgetting
The purpose of this poetry

I got lost in the prose
And diluted the feeling
Distracted enough
To not kiss you completely

I feel like a man who has eaten
Food with onions in it
Self-conscious syntax between my teeth

My tongue attempting to describe
All the things your lips are like

I forget that I am supposed to feel first
Then write
Feb 2013 · 1.3k
Jon Tobias Feb 2013
Black flakes fall from my side like
Charred skin

Shapely scars
Poetry mostly

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt… so it goes”
This hip don’t lie

Of all the scar-stories this body tells
I like poetry the best

Though the ones I didn’t pay for
Are more poetic maybe
Their stories longer
A journey
Across the throat
Chest horizon
Knuckle toothed

This body once holie
Now healed
Inked in poetry
Now holy

Like charred skin
Stained black
from my side
I think I am taking that Walt Whitman line a little too seriously. "And your body shall be a great poem." Another poetry tattoo.
Jon Tobias Feb 2013
When I had a heart
Shaped like two red canaries
Holding each other
Wings flapping so hard
I coughed up feathers

I knew

I am not a big man
But I feel like a big man

I feel important
Like the glints of light
In a man’s muddy fingers

I shine in places

Trench my sides at night
I will keep you warm

In dreams I lumber
Break bee hives
With my bear hands

Dip my hands in honey
Like it was holy water

The bee’s tiny sting
Is worth it

The buzzing is a hum
I wish I could make with my chest

The pain is worth it

In dreams
My eyes are still brown
But darker
Reflect and camouflage
The landscape
The trees and dirt blend into the
Globes of my eyes

I dip my bear hands into the
Honey again

There is the sting
It feels like god

Tell the bears I am coming home
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