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Sep 2021 · 29
Ghosts
Patrick McCombs Sep 2021
Trapped beneath the surface of the ice again
Nothing I say will penetrate the thick crust of permafrost
That has surrounded and enveloped me.
Sympathies of my confidants have been exhausted
A well has been bled dry by slow repetition.  
There’s a black hole in the center of my chest
Nothing escapes from its dark clutches
Nothing escapes this  tempest, only silence remains,
The lake is calm on the surface
But underneath lies a vortex threatening to consume everything in its path.
Everything is a puzzle waiting to be solved.
With the right knowledge and perspective, conundrums can be unraveled.
But I can’t seem to solve myself.
I want to untie the gordian knot
Revealing the root cause of my problems.
Ghosts from the past that need to be confronted.
The past is always erupting into the present
Interrupting the natural progression of things.
The past nudges things ever so slightly
Until you're on a path wondering how you ended up there.
In order to confront the apparitions of the past,
They must be summoned first.
Offer them memories buried underneath years of emotional sediment.
The ghosts of my past are murky nameless things that are beyond definition.
Will naming the things that have haunted me dispel them?
What if nothing is gained from digging up the bodies and studying the bones beneath the earth that was better left undisturbed.
Feb 2018 · 252
Anxiety IV
Patrick McCombs Feb 2018
Nobody is behind me.
Nobody is behind me.
Nobody is behind me.
I double check
I feel my muscles relax
Giving into it
The pressure is rerouted
The valve is momentarily relieved
Patrick McCombs Oct 2017
You know you’re depressed when you watch an ad for depression medication and think hey that sounds like me
You know you’re depressed when sweatpants make up a large portion of your wardrobe
You know you’re depressed when people tell you just to try harder or to just be happy
You know you’re depressed when you take naps all the time just because it's easier than being awake
You know you’re depressed if you cry at episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation
You know you’re depressed when you have to pretend to be excited
You know you’re depressed when you feel overwhelmed and you haven’t done anything that day
You know you’re depressed when it’s 3am
You know you’re depressed if people know and keep trying to interact with you
You know you’re depressed if you have chemical imbalance in your brain
You know you’re depressed when you can’t bother to make actual dinner so you just eat oreos and call it a day
You know you’re depressed when netflix asks if you’re still watching
You know you’re depressed when your friends call and you don’t respond
You know you’re depressed when you just want to stop
Feb 2017 · 355
Train Observations
Patrick McCombs Feb 2017
Two people talking on the train
Thunderous overwhelming roar of motion
Drowning out all sound
As if someone put them on mute
****** expressions and hand gestures remain
The bare bones of the conversational garnish.
Before cell phones or headphones
Were there more conversations
Or were they sardines trapped in deadly silence
Hanging over them like a toxic gas.
When the Train is filled to the brim
Almost bursting and spilling out  
And it just stops in the middle of the tracks.
A sudden silence and a stillness
Without the rhythm and motion of the train
you realize that you're standing mere inches away
From at least four different people.
There's a audible sigh and curses because
Everyone on the train is trying to get somewhere.
Feb 2017 · 320
Untitled
Patrick McCombs Feb 2017
There's something lost in translation
Something lost from mind to paper
Where the most precise words fail
From paper to other discerning eyes
Where the words are no longer yours
Intentions are stolen and melted down
Forged into weapons, new and beautiful
Things you never intended to create
Jan 2017 · 355
Airbrushing
Patrick McCombs Jan 2017
You’re a thought half remembered
Finer details seeping and slipping though
The cracks of memory
Never solid, always fleeting

Filling in the gaps
With leaps of logic
Painting in the blanks
With complementary shades

The past never dies
The corpse is repacked
Airbrushed and glossed
So it isn't so hard to look at
Dec 2016 · 335
Water
Patrick McCombs Dec 2016
Disappointment washed over your face
Radiating off of you in waves
Creating ravaging riptides
Dragging me down into depths
Unknown and unexplored
Nov 2016 · 882
The many jobs of a poet
Patrick McCombs Nov 2016
Poets are assassins
Words wound and ****
Cut open arteries
Spilling life blood
Sharpening and refining words  
Honing them to a killing edge

Poets are sorcerers
Words; their incantation
Grammar; their arcane ritual
Sentences turn into spells
Transforming you into someone else
Teleporting you to a distant place

Few poets are prophets
Gifted and cursed with visions
Vessels to be filled
Conduits waiting for lightning to strike

Poets are codebreakers
Deciphering life's enigmas
Translating experiences into words
Skilled technicians
Finding the right words
For exactly the right moments
Nov 2016 · 1.0k
Anxiety III
Patrick McCombs Nov 2016
Talking on the phone is easy
But making phone calls is difficult
Thirty gut wrenching seconds
Heart beat ringing in my ears
Lungs working overtime
Every time the ringing tone resumes
I think its someone answering
My muscles tense
My lips ready to spit out
My already rehearsed lines  
But no one answers
I never leave voicemails
A worse fate is ****** upon me
Anticipating their return call
Nov 2016 · 1.2k
The Limits Of Photography
Patrick McCombs Nov 2016
The photo is shot
The subject is killed, embalmed
Corpses on display
Moments entombed in amber
Preserved forever
Taken out of time
No past, no future
Only that one shining moment
Patrick McCombs Nov 2016
You kissed me on the corner
Of Highland and North Central
A block away from my house
My eyes were closed
My stomach was tightening
The air was still
On that slow June day
That was just hot enough
To justify ice cream
I had walked over that spot
A thousand times before
Unaware of its purpose
I've walked over that spot
A thousand times afterwards
But now it has been transformed
Into a nerve ending
Independent of my body
Every time I step on that corner
On Highland and North Central
For better or for worse
Memories flood in unbidden
Fresh and as volatile
As that June day
Oct 2016 · 265
Cigarette Smoke
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
Stale cigarette smoke
Lingers longer than you did
Half a pack of death
Half a pack of relief
Clings to my sheets
Like a ghost refusing
to be exorcised
Oct 2016 · 336
Neighbors
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
The apartment walls are as thin
As cell membranes
Your life is seeping into mine
Through osmosis

You're room is right above mine
And sound and fury and smells
Come through the divide
Flowing freely as wine

Our clocks are aligned
The car door slams in the parking lot at two am
You drunkenly lead girls up to your lair
Unaware of anyone else in the building

You **** with the windows open
The bed creaks above me
A major seismic event
Complete with a screaming damsel
Oct 2016 · 199
Promise
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
All my hopes hung on one promise
One impossible magical promise
Everything traces back
To this one point
That only holds up
When I don't look at it directly
It hangs in my peripheral
Out of time, out of focus
Fluid in definition
Like a monolith
It supports me
Like a ghost
It haunts me
Like gravity
It grounds me
Like a black hole
It consumes me
Oct 2016 · 260
Drifting(2016)
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
Her eyes gleam in the light
Like stolen treasure
Her laugh replays in your mind
Long after she leaves
She is never there long enough
For the cracks to surface
For her laughter to ring hollow
For you to notice that
Her smile doesn't reach her eyes
She wanders from place to place
But she is not lost
She is fleeing
From the ghosts
That haunt the church
That she left behind
Five thousand miles ago
I'm starting a project where I'm going to adapt some of my early poems from like six years ago into something that resembles my current voice. Its more challenging than I thought it would be.
Oct 2016 · 863
Old poems
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
Old poems dead and buried
In death the words deteriorated
Into things I no longer recognized
Strange arcane relics
Gateways to past minds
Awaiting to be excavated
By wandering eyes
Oct 2016 · 545
Untitled
Patrick McCombs Oct 2016
I want to write long rambling letters
Like Ginsberg, Kerouac Burroughs
Stream of consciousness
The sea of unconsciousness

But I have no correspondents
No one writes letters
None of my friends ever have
No one puts pen to paper

Texts are ethereal wisps of smoke
Letters are concrete things
That belong in old shoeboxes
Until the words fade into obscurity

I should deliver my letters to the void
With no mailing address, no stamps, no nothing
Just drop them in mailboxes
Like a single raindrop falling into the sea

The words won’t be trapped
In my head or in in old notebooks
Or in undiscovered corners of the web
But floating out there in the kosmos forever
Sep 2016 · 498
Lead poisoning
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
Flask in pocket
Like a gun in a holster
Fingers itching
To squeeze that trigger
Im already loaded
Prone to misfire
Ready to administer
The self inflicted bullet
Sep 2016 · 275
Untitled
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
The future shines bright
In the theatre of my mind
The past is always better
Through thick rose tinted lenses
The past was great
The present is dying
But the future will be great again
Now is being suffocated
By boundless optimism
And reverence for the dead
Sep 2016 · 180
Conversational Wells
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
The conversational well
We've tapped into
Quickly runs dry

We're left
Gasping
For air

We use our phones
Like shields
From wandering eyes
Silences that linger

Grasping at straws
We deal in small talk
Like a cashier and a customer  
Like people who've never met

Distance has betrayed us
Time has eroded our foundation
But if we dig deep enough
We will discover why we were friends
Sep 2016 · 747
Netflix: media darwinism
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
Never ending netflix
Are you still watching?
Yes. I am always watching
Binging: rapid consumption
The sin of a glutton
Always feeling guilty afterwards
Marathoning: a long journey
Requiring stamina and determination
When you finish
You feel acomplished but half empty
As you long for the next race.

The continue watching section
Is an ever changing battle ground
Where titans like Mad Men
With its 7 seasons and hour episodes
Rise and fall
The catalog rotates constantly
An exercise in media darwinism
Where only the strong remain
And the marathon runners
Are at the top of the food chain
Sep 2016 · 443
Study time
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
Lost in the labyrinth of words
Cigarette carelessly perched
In between her fingers
Smoke rising and swaying
To the jazz
That made the room heavy
With deep contemplation
No one spoke
No one dared to break the silence
To disrupt the voyage
Into our own minds
Sep 2016 · 346
Abstract Planes
Patrick McCombs Sep 2016
The clouds, low, thick and suffocating
Made the world feel compact
The airport has normalized
The strange metal beasts
That fly unhindered by gravity
The clouds hang low
The beasts fly high
The sounds of Engines
And Trembling Sonics
Are now heard without context
An otherwordly screech
By some lovecraftian horror
About to pierce the veil
And plummet into our plane
Aug 2016 · 357
Train Cars
Patrick McCombs Aug 2016
Everyone you see is the main character of their own story
With their own plots and supporting casts
Friends are just people with overlapping narratives
That's why train cars are fascinating to me
The entangling of so many narrative threads
So many people that i'll never see again
We are a series of rivers
Thousands of tributaries flowing and converging
For a single shining moment
Aug 2016 · 253
Notebooks
Patrick McCombs Aug 2016
People are always giving me notebooks
Once they find out I write
At christmas
At birthdays
At random
At least two a year
They sit in a stack on my shelf
Hundreds of pages blank
Hundreds of poems unwritten
White page syndrome
Magnified ten fold
Intimidation radiating off them in waves
I prefer to use a computer
There, the pages are infinite
The limits are unknowable
No silent expectations to fulfill
Just a never ending canvas
Jul 2016 · 462
Novel Conversations
Patrick McCombs Jul 2016
I wish I was a character in a novel
My conversations would be meticulously crafted
I would never be at a loss for....words  
There wouldn't be          long          awkward
Silences
                               Between sentences
I would never have to repeat myself
I would never have to repeat myself
I would never be unblurred
No i  said misheard
My thoughts wouldn't s-s-stutter right out of the gate
Causing a ten word pile-up in my mouth
I wish I could make life more novel
I just want to trim away all the fat
All the conversational excess
To get to the real meat of it
Do away with all conversational trivialities
And just move the plot forward
May 2016 · 483
Anxiety II
Patrick McCombs May 2016
Twisting labyrinthine thoughts
That fork off endlessly
Into impenetrable darkness  
That leads me astray
Away from sleep
Away from solace
A downward spiral
Endless free fall
May 2016 · 643
Home
Patrick McCombs May 2016
Cursed by geography
By Latitude
And Longitude
Enslaved by History
Ground drenched with blood
Corrupted by ghosts
Toxic down to the bedrock
May 2016 · 347
My Favorite Moments (redux)
Patrick McCombs May 2016
Trudging through untouched snow
Face made red by the wind
Cold felt in my bones
Distant stars looked down on me
From the depths of space

Drinking cold water in summer
Relaxing in the reclining lawn chair
Watching clouds drift
Mockingbird's melody carried
On the wayward breeze

Scrambled eggs sneak under my door
Finds my nose
Jumpstarts my motor
My stomach howls
In an instant
I'm down stairs feasting

We're the lone car on the highway
Everyone else is gone
The only ones left in the universe
That greases my throat
Confessions and secrets flow
In the sanctuary of two am

When Inspiration strikes
Fragments and whispers
Condense, take form
Go from thoughts to paper
In an instant
They go as quickly as they come
Apr 2016 · 344
I sing the blues today
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
Everything was fine yesterday 
But today I need to sing the blues
When I woke up this morning
The sun was a little bit dimmer
The birds were out of tune
Strangers seemed stranger
The buses were running late
In my mind nothing could go right
My own thoughts turned against me
Everything was out of order
A darker shade of blue
I couldn't tell you
What the difference was
Between yesterday and today
All I know is
Today I need to sing the blues
Because I have a song that needs to be heard
Or else all the notes
Will build up in my mind
And take over every inch of space
But you need to hear my song
So you know that your not the only one
Who sings the blues today
Apr 2016 · 629
Insomnia
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
At the height of my sleep deprivation
I saw the sun rise two times in one day  
And my brain cried out in desperation
As all my thoughts remain in disarray.
My blankets are trying to smother me.
I've memorized the cracks in the ceiling.
I just need for my body to be free,
To escape this never ending feeling
That I will always be trapped in my mind
Haunted by the ghosts of my past mistakes
Unable to face the world I will find
When this fever eventually breaks.
Only in my dreams do I find my peace
That is where all my anxieties cease
Apr 2016 · 305
Recieving Transmissions
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
Sometimes when I try to force a poem, nothing happens.
But in the moment before I fall asleep
In the swirl of commotion that consumes my mind
Pops in that perfect line that was just
Out of reach
Then the flood gates open
My mind is awash with line after line
It goes as quickly as it arrives
If I don't get them on paper quick enough, they start to decay
That's why I keep a notebook next to my bed
Often when i read it in the morning it doesn't sound like me
Ironically this poem came to me right before bed
Apr 2016 · 302
Regurgitation
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
When I digest poems
I often regurgitate them
It's like throwing up
Alphabet soup
The letters
Are in a different order
Coming up
Than going down
After they've been
Saturated
In my juices
They become mine
Apr 2016 · 278
The Lady
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
My words are delivered
To the shores of my mind
By The Veiled Lady
She comes to me in a rosewood boat
From a distant land
She speaks to me in tongues long dead
My mind goes blank
My heart discerns their meaning
And creates poetry
Apr 2016 · 547
Lies
Patrick McCombs Apr 2016
Constructing my Web of lies
Strand by strand
Day by day
Self imposed ignorance
Thousands of soft lies
To bury one hard truth
First it's a safety net
Then it's a noose
Mar 2016 · 602
Anxiety
Patrick McCombs Mar 2016
Nameless, faceless
An indescribable void
An overwhelming
Strangling
Shroud
That I can't shake off
That no one can see

To the people who don't know
Don't tell me to "just talk to people"
If there was an easy way out
Of my self constructed maze
I would take it.
Mar 2016 · 321
Chalk poems
Patrick McCombs Mar 2016
I inscribe my poems in chalk  
Scribble them on the pavement
Even though tomorrow it will rain
Because in the fleeting moment of its existence
I hope a stranger will stumble upon it
And be moved by the random encounter
Mar 2016 · 965
Travel Song
Patrick McCombs Mar 2016
The pavement sings
As my rubber connects
To the wordless song
That lies deep in the earth
My pace and my breath aligns
With that inherent rhythm
That arises from travel
A song that all travelers know
A song that had no end
Patrick McCombs Mar 2016
Beyond the borders of our empire
Beyond the oceans of everstorm
Where man first rose from this earth
In the shadows of the western hills
There, buried deep underground
Lies a truth beyond our understanding
Received by prophets of ages past
Long forgotten by the ravages of time
But it's existence lingers in our consciousness
Like a spirit who shall not be exorcised
Every myth from every culture
Has tried to explain this truth
The truth of our origins
The church has declared me a heretic
You, the public have condemned me
But I do not blame you
The blind can not be expected to see
A lie often repeated becomes truth
But I have seen beyond that
I have seen the invisible strings
That hold everything together
They all connect to this single point
I must make the journey, no, the pilgrimage
To the shadows of the western hills
Mar 2016 · 8.5k
A Beach in Winter
Patrick McCombs Mar 2016
A salty mist sprays into the air,
As water crashes against the shore.
A lone gull glides against the wind,
Over an abandoned January beach.
The sun, a cold dot in the bleak sky.
Feb 2016 · 374
San Francisco: 1848
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
Sometimes in the depths of the silence
From the back of my tiny shack
I can hear your laughter
Ever since I boarded that train
To travel out west to the territories
Every cell in your body has changed
You've become a different person  
When I read your replies
I don't hear your voice
I constantly look at your photo
To remind myself
What you look like
And why I am here
But I'm starting to feel the strain
Of the three thousand miles
That are between us
I long for the day
When instead of paper and ink
You will be flesh and blood
When you're no longer just words on a page
And I can hear your laugh again
Feb 2016 · 632
Unsent letters
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
Maybe you were never really there
Maybe the park never happened
I could never prove it
All evidence was destroyed
In the wake of your sudden departure
Memories faded
Like old photographs
Tucked away
Forgotten in shoeboxes
When you flood my mind
I write you letters to dispel your ghost
A one sided conversation
With your unknowable future
Boxes full of unsent letters
Someday I'll burn them all
And hope that the smoke
Carries my words to you
Feb 2016 · 2.1k
Achieving Immortality
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
We are all going to live forever
As fragments floating in the ether
As tweets and emails
Photos and blogs
Our digital footprint
Will leave an imprint
On all of our graves
On the Internet
Nothing is private
Everything is public
Nothing is fleeting
Everything is forever
Feb 2016 · 634
Atari 2600
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
In the depths of my basement
Hidden behind the christmas decorations
And under the family albums
Lies a box waiting to be discovered
It holds a legend from a bygone era
The atari 2600
It may be the grandfather of gaming
But it still plays like it's 1977
It's been going strong for forty years
But my laptop called it quits after five
You have to start with the classics
Like Pacman pitfall and pong
Galaga asteroids and dig dug
All of them in glorious 8 bits
A throwback to simpler times
When there were no updates to download
Nothing to install to the hard drive
12 year Olds didn't mock you online
It was just you and a joystick
Feb 2016 · 710
Last Resort Motel
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
Take exit thirty six for the Last Resort Motel
Where the vacancy sign flickers like a beacon
To the wounded and the weary
The blue paint is ancient and peeling
Revealing all the colors that it used to be
Like the building itself
Is trying to turn back time
Its not a Red Roof or a Motel Six
Its the sole survivor of its species
And it clings bitterly to life
Its a place in between places
On the outskirts of a small town
Who draws their lifeblood from the highway
But the blood is starting to thin
The wounds are taking longer to heal
And the bleeding won't stop
It may be your last chance
To stay at the Last Resort Motel
Feb 2016 · 288
My Favorite Moments
Patrick McCombs Feb 2016
I was walking through untouched snow
Feeling the frigid winds on my face
As distant stars dimly glow
From the cold depths of space

I was drinking cold water on a hot summer's day
As I sat out back in the reclining chair
Watching the clouds drift away
And a mockingbird's melody flowed through the air

The smell of scrambled eggs sneaks under my door
And suddenly I'm wide awake
My stomach would wait no more
I’m quickly downstairs devouring pancakes

We were the only car on the highway
Traveling in the dead of night
Where there are things you can only say
In secret and out of sight

Inspiration strikes in the dead of night
Fragments and whispers linger in my head
I write them in my notebook before they take flight
And choose another poet instead
Jan 2016 · 520
Isolated
Patrick McCombs Jan 2016
Only poets read poetry
Only liberals watch msnbc
Only conservatives watch fox
Everybody is entrenched
In their own sound proof bubbles
A perpetual echo chamber
Where lies are repeated
Until they turn into truths
There are no debates only battles
One preconceived notion
Forever pitted against
Another preconceived notion
It is the duty of poets to humanize
To use our pens as swords
To burst our bubbles
To show that we are all humans
But only poets read poetry
Jan 2016 · 372
Carved in stone
Patrick McCombs Jan 2016
I walked down the well worn path
As the sun climbed up the sky
Light seeped through the trees
And the heat pressed down on me

There was a large rock off to the side
Like it was placed there just for weary hikers
I climbed on top of the rock
And sat there for awhile

There was something carved on the side
"Kate+Roger summer of 87"
A day, a relationship, an act of love
Forever memorialized in stone

I wondered if they are still together
If thirty years later they come back here and laugh
Or maybe only one of them does
And smiles a bittersweet smile
Jan 2016 · 363
The Silence of the night
Patrick McCombs Jan 2016
I am built backwards
I sleep most of the day
And stay up all night
From midnight till dawn
Those are the best hours
When I gaze out of my bedroom window into the darkness
I don't see a black void threatening to swallow me whole
But rather I see a calming and tranquil ocean of shadows
It makes me feel like i'm the only person alive
Because after I turn off all the lights
After I stop looking at my phone
All I am left with
Is the soft embrace of the silence of the night
Except not quite
Because within that silence
I can hear my beating heart
The air flowing through my lungs
The blood coursing through my veins
And my brain is flooded with thoughts
Jan 2016 · 415
Eviction Notice
Patrick McCombs Jan 2016
You've been living in my head
You’re three months behind on your rent
I posted countless eviction notices
But you ignored them all

You've barricaded yourself in there
You linger like a disease
You have infected my memories
And soon they will start to fester

When I smell fresh bread in the morning
You used to make breakfast
When I hear Ben Folds Five
That was your favorite band

In the middle of the night
In the darkness and the silence
I can hear you moving in my head
And it keeps me awake
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