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JT Jun 16
We like chopping our love into pieces.
We like labeled jars, tiny portions;
we ration bits to our mothers, our friends,
our courtly lovers, clinging and clutching,
no crumbs for the people we don't know.
The truth is, there is one, enormous love.
One fire in the hearth, one warmth,
one cornucopia resplendent on the table.
There is one home in your heart
for all of it.
An entry for a shortform poetry contest.
And a link to vote for my poem, if you're feeling so inclined: https://woobox.com/bd5zah/gallery/3XYxeyzfrKs
JT May 28
Suppose it starts
with wildfire;
lightning on
your driest trees
or once-loved campsites
left neglected, or kindling
that you'll never see--
it all burns just the same.

Suppose it starts
with wildfire;
flames beget
a blood orange sky
and magma pits
beside black trees,
and all your kindest woodland creatures
hurt and hide and crawl away--
but they burn all the same.

Suppose it starts
with wildfire;
see your landscape
on the hill, sickly scorched
with trees rail thin,
stark beside lush greenery,
almost lovely in how clear
the story of the suffering feels,
and burning's just the same.

So what if it starts
with wildfire?
There's no need
for water, seeds,
when warmth still crackles
in the wood and
you have pain and gasoline;
light the match and you will see--
it still burns just the same.
JT Dec 2017
I am in love with Nobody
And Nobody loves me,
When I roll over in my bed
It’s Nobody I see;
Nobody cares enough to stay
And hold me when I weep,
And Nobody will dry my tears
To soothe me back to sleep;
Nobody is a friend to me
When I am feeling down,
And Nobody knows what to do
To get rid of my frown.

As I go through my average day
Nobody’s by my side,
Offering his company or
proffering his guide.
Nobody is my only friend
Sent from the gods above,
But now it seems that fate has tried
To meddle with our love.
Tomorrow night, my Nobody
Heads back to his old home;
He has a wife and child, he says,
Who know not where he roams;

Nobody has been travelling
For years from shore to shore,
Traversing through Ionia
After the Trojan War.
Oh, I will miss my Nobody
With all my giant heart,
I cannot bear to dwell on thoughts
Of us being apart.
Nobody holds my hand and says,
“Polyphemus, don’t cry,”
But I can’t stop the massive tears
From welling in my eye.
I was going through some notebooks from high school and found this gem. Guess what we were reading in English class?
JT Dec 2016
About the time that the skin around his eyes
and behind his ears matches the evening sky
(black and blue, ****** pockets of purple),
a nurse asks me what happened and I tell her,
against white walls, and over a pile of bruised meat,
and beneath the phantom of a prognosis that includes
the words "injury" and "traumatic" and "brain" which seeped into
the atmosphere hours, but that doesn't make any sense,
because just seconds ago we were drinking
from cheap bottles, the color of honey or flypaper
depending on the place, we had black comedy
smeared across our faces like thick shadows under lamp lights,
we were stumbling across a road together
through the city's living darkness and we were twelve
and we were twenty-four and we were forty-five
all at once and that doesn't make any sense, but it's true.
A nurse asks me what happened and I tell her. But
I leave out the flashbang between the parenthesis,
the part where given the choice
between grabbing him or saving myself,
space and time come undone in the headlights of a truck
and I'm back on the sidewalk before you can say
"self-preservation."
The nurse tells me it was lucky I was there,
and a little clear fluid leaks out of his nose in tacit agreement.
heeeeeeavily edited 2/23/17 :P
JT Sep 2016
I don't know what he was to others—
   fireworks, lemonade, ants crawling on a picnic blanket—
   but I always knew him at his worst.
He was sleep cycles shaped like carnival pretzels,
   days that bled together,
weeks that clumped like a rat king
   under floorboards in the beach house.
He spoke in clouds
   swollen with diluvian rain,
daggers of lightning
   cracking the river in half,
the language of a muggy body in sticky room
   staring out a window
at absolutely nothing.
   The sort of stuff that makes me think
he didn't know his own strength,
   most of the time.

As always, when he died this year
   he died by degrees,
bedridden in the hospice of September.
   I listened to his death rattle
 of rustling yellow leaves
   and watched the last of the fireflies
crawl from between his parted lips.
   When he went cold for good
I built a pyre out of his firewood bones.
   The ashes fell into the soil
like seeds in waiting, and I watched
   the moon grow so large that it stretched
the nighttime like candy licorice
   and made it longer than before.
My duty done, I turned to go.
   The smoke rose up to embrace the sky,
and at the time, I could have sworn
  that from the corner of my eye
I saw it curl around
   and wave at me.
version four point something.
JT Jul 2016
Thrown into existence, my words
writhe in the throes
of their own growing pains,
sinking like stones
somewhere in the midway
of catharsis and precision,
half-knowing they're alive
and scared half-to-death
of falling like a tree
with no one around,
of never making a sound
before crashing to
the forest floor
where toadstools eat
away their meat
and ivy clamours
at their bones,
blank tombstones for
an unmarked grave
where no one ever goes;
but that kind of silence
is just a bad dream,
they'll come to know,
for all breath is immortal
even if the growing's slow.
JT Jul 2016
I was made to be milk glass—
  Lately, I've been more of
a scattering of light,
  a technicolor oil spill,
effervescent kerosene,
  a phosphene
in a running eye,
  fluorescent aerosol
going cumulonimbus
  in a green sky;
a variegated skin rash
  caused by shining neon bile
all festering and iridescent;
  a tattered road map
on the wall of a food court,
  bearing incandescent roads
twisting like snakes
  eating their own tails;
a human being in the form of a
  kaleidoscopic feedback loop
passed back and forth
  between the mouth and the ear
and the mouth and the ear forevermore,
  burning the tongue, the finger tips
and teetering on the edge
  of glittering, glorious incendium—
After the smoke has cleared,
  I can go back
to sleeping on the shelf.
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