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Mar 2021 · 706
the beauty of branches
John Destalo Mar 2021
soon there will be leaves
growing everywhere
hiding the desperate beauty
of these raw emotions
the crisscrossing chaos
the aching naked
vulnerability
of exposing more
of themselves
during the coldest months
I feel alive
when I walk
amongst them
they speak to me
they speak for me
outwardly I will
enjoy the leaves
but inside I will be
waiting for them to fall
Mar 2021 · 116
son to mother
John Destalo Mar 2021
we never had
the chance

to recover
to speak to

each other
privately

about our
divergent paths

one adult
to another

to reach an
understanding

of our loving
mistakes

to show our
scars and share

our stories

it was late

the night she
said goodbye
Mar 2021 · 388
angels do not age
John Destalo Mar 2021
she remembered

she had a dream
or was it a thought

it can be hard
to distinguish

the goings on
in the mind

everything can
seem so real

the bipolar pendulum
swings between

perfection and
destruction

her room is
always being

remodeled
trying to be

the first to discover

the myth named
balance
Mar 2021 · 157
paper
John Destalo Mar 2021
I shed myself
all over you

black marks of magic

that create meanings
in the way they connect

they were secrets
when they only

existed inside of me
but you give them

the means to live
you give me a life

oh sweet paper!
the child of wood

you carry my soul
all over you

please don’t lose me
I don’t want to be

lost again
Feb 2021 · 121
career choice
John Destalo Feb 2021
little one
you roar

like a lion
roaming free

the world
shivers when

they hear you
they know

you cannot be

contained or
constrained

you will
conquer

all your fears
and rule

whatever world
you choose to

inhabit
Feb 2021 · 117
shy creatures
John Destalo Feb 2021
we tiptoe

the fresh water
the cold first

day of spring

we feel the goose
bumps grow

rising up our
legs into our

speeding hearts
our hands

desire to speak
their first words

but they have
not learned

a language

so we remain
still and smile

knowing
something

is changing
Feb 2021 · 157
the echo
John Destalo Feb 2021
I want to be the echo

the powerful remains
of the last word

spoken

deeper than a memory
I want to be

that which becomes
a disturbing sensation

that stays in your brain
and cannot be named

and reminds you
that something was

lost in the chaos
you created

but you won’t know

what it was
you had your chance

you made your choice
you have to live

with me, the echo
Feb 2021 · 371
the words cry out
John Destalo Feb 2021
oh my words
capable of such beauty
describing peace on earth
and good will toward all
how can they treat you like this
using you to corrupt minds
telling so many lies
as if the words are lies
the lies do not exist in the words
they exist in the minds
and the mouths
and now the fingers
of the corruptors
they infect the words
with a virus
make them sickly
my heart bleeds for them
they do not want to be used
in this way
I hear them cry out to me
each time I try to sleep
do not abuse me
please help me
Feb 2021 · 114
worship
John Destalo Feb 2021
we hold hands
create a connection

function as one
large being

one heart
one soul
one mind

we feel the energy
an invigorating force

sharing one life
we reach up

through the layer
above us

gain the vision
of the eagle

see across time
and space

into the meaning
of everything

it leaves us
wordless

we take a
vow of silence
Feb 2021 · 79
defining me
John Destalo Feb 2021
it is not easy
to break patterns

a human is complex

the whole is more
than the sum

of the parts
and what are

the parts anyway

mind
body
soul

memories
fantasies
dreams

thoughts
feelings
instincts

if­ we can’t
really define

ourselves
how can we

change ourselves
purposefully
Jan 2021 · 102
a poor man (dad)
John Destalo Jan 2021
he had a brain
not an education
not even high school
it wasn’t uncommon
then for the poor
school doesn’t pay
and someone has to
make money
and as long as you
could work you
could make money
and he could work
and he could learn
how to run machines
so he could find work
and he could learn
how to shoot guns
so he could fight
in wars
and he could
learn how to drink
so he could fight demons
and they never stopped
him from working
so he always got paid
so he could always pay
for his drink
he had a brain
not an education
Jan 2021 · 105
her hands (mom)
John Destalo Jan 2021
I do remember her hands
they were strong
and busy
she had long thin fingers
and pointy nails
she was always filing
her handwriting was
beautiful and
her doodles
were quite good
she made delicious meals
with them and
sewed and crocheted
frequently and quite well
even though she worked
in factories they were
not rough
I guess she took care
of them
I do remember her
nervous habits
smoking and
folding chewing gum wrappers
they were all over the
coffee table
I do that too
folding not smoking
Jan 2021 · 214
she dreams
John Destalo Jan 2021
she lays in gray
dreams of a fog

where she could
dissolve and

disappear

become a form
that has no

place or substance
that cannot be held

or controlled
by anyone
Jan 2021 · 125
wept
John Destalo Jan 2021
the shortest line
in the book is

jesus wept

I imagine it
not as a flood

but as

individual droplets
sliding slowly
down cheeks

past closed lips

eyes wide open
there is no sound

no snot or sniffling
no loud wails

the kind of tears
that come from

deeply knowing
the pain of loss

I know this pain
I have wept
Jan 2021 · 80
howling wolf
John Destalo Jan 2021
I live in a city and the sounds
I hear are all too human
aching echoes
the desperation
of desolate souls
outsized egos
looking for power
everything is artificially loud
there are no in-between parts
the pauses
the silences
where voices find their freedom
we are reflections
but we never reflect
sometimes I hear the
deepest part of my mind
the sound of a howling wolf
searching for the same
Jan 2021 · 233
on the face of it
John Destalo Jan 2021
she is stone
one emotion

that someone
tried to express

I’m sure it
was buried

deep inside him
and it took him

years to find it
in this stone

he knew the
fleeting nature

of his emotion
and once he

found it he
didn’t want it

to leave so he
preserved it

in her
Jan 2021 · 65
thunder
John Destalo Jan 2021
we are thunder

underground
earth shaking
brain baking

spoken word prophets
pound your drums
shake your bums

tell this world
danger is coming
if you don’t repent

from your evil ways
you are not the rulers
you are not the truth

we are all humans

we have minds
we have thoughts
we have mouths
we have voices

and we have come
to shake this world

awake with
our thunder
Jan 2021 · 105
jazz like that
John Destalo Jan 2021
we smooth
into the planet

feel all her
sensations

there is no
intention

or will or
will not

we let the
rhythms

intersect
as they

travel
through
us

and create
what we

call energy
Jan 2021 · 122
a cappella
John Destalo Jan 2021
she wasn’t like
the others

she travelled the
world without

accompaniment
her soul

always full
her mind

occupied and

when I wanted
to feel the chills

I followed her
to the church

and listened
to her sing

amazing grace
like she wrote it
Jan 2021 · 173
read minds
John Destalo Jan 2021
read minds

we are human
we are not simple

to say our minds
are oceans

is to underestimate
its depths

exponentially

to speak of
the speed of

thought

is to miss
a lifetime

with each word
we say

if we could
read minds

even the
universe

would seem
small
Jan 2021 · 106
the witching hour
John Destalo Jan 2021
until midnight

I will release
all the words

the secret spells
so they fall

indiscriminately
on these empty

pages

let the
stories twist
and swirl

and become
something magical

and after midnight
I will try to

sleep

and hope
any leftover spells

become dreams
light or heavy

I want them

to trap me
until at least dawn
Jan 2021 · 2.0k
phase
John Destalo Jan 2021
like the moon
I go through

phases

some of my
lights go out

and I become
dull and distant

give me time
they will come

back on

like the moon
I do not ask

for praise or
forgiveness

it is just a
phase

I am going through
Jan 2021 · 255
fans
John Destalo Jan 2021
the world is
filled with fans

it is short
for fanatic

in 32 minutes
she was liked

over 1 million times
talked to

or worshipped
over 21,000 times

I swear

I was only
one of them
Jan 2021 · 88
aches and pains
John Destalo Jan 2021
I found another one
the aches and pains
they appear to me
to be somewhere
in my body
foot
knee
hip
back
neck
head
sometimes they stay
in one place and
sometimes they move
but I know the truth
they actually live
in one place
in my brain
the control room
of the nervous
system
shut it down
and I will feel
no aches or pains
nothing
Jan 2021 · 82
enough to heal
John Destalo Jan 2021
if one day

the same day
the same time

on that one day

everyone
prayed to

each other
asking

forgiveness
for whatever

pain we caused
in others

and in ourselves
would we feel

different

would that be
enough to heal

everyone
Jan 2021 · 112
alone in the digital age
John Destalo Jan 2021
that night I realized
if I want to be alone

I have to sever myself
from the cloud

that holds my
connections

my memories
and fantasies

all knowledge
of who I

am or could be
to end the story

of my life
as it

was
is or
could be

so I can
never be

liked
followed
or found
Jan 2021 · 85
birdspeak
John Destalo Jan 2021
I listen to them

it is the chatter
of angels and demons

winged creatures

the keepers of
dominions

fighting over souls
rummaging through

the lost and found
for something

that fits them
in my life

I have been both
but I still have not

been claimed so
I keep listening to them

waiting to hear my
name called

to see where I belong
Jan 2021 · 56
hot
John Destalo Jan 2021
hot
the falling light
the last ember of

a dead star

surrounds you
absorbs you

burns your soul
teaches you

to be fire

so everyone is
afraid to touch you

they learned about
hot things when

they were children
Jan 2021 · 75
lost in space
John Destalo Jan 2021
some songs are
not electric

they are lonely
meant only for

your soul
meant to be

your secret
never shared

you can dance
to it if

you want to
just not with

a partner
it has to be

just your body
feeling itself

lost in its
own space
Jan 2021 · 114
climate change
John Destalo Jan 2021
when she falls
into herself

she can’t sleep
she can’t wake

all the cycles end
she is alone

I am alone
we are alone

I feel the earth
lose its strength

and I know
it is bigger

than me when

her tears break
even god’s heart
Jan 2021 · 61
bend
John Destalo Jan 2021
how we survive
the changes

the formation
of a cloud

containing
multiple
universes

patterns of
yesterday

form new

versions of
tomorrow

everything is
protected by

sensors and rays
detecting our

emotions
how can we

believe or
be believed
John Destalo Jan 2021
they say the vortex
is splitting again
the gaping hole
releasing some of its
coldest air
to fly south
for the winter
I hope it is not
like that other year
where its sub zero
breath hovers over us
for months
and the wind
cuts our exposed skin
but we don’t bleed
until we get back inside
Jan 2021 · 62
creating creatures
John Destalo Jan 2021
life is messier
than birth

belly buttons
are only the

first scars
and no one

is afraid to
show them

there are many
more cords

that get cut and
in much nastier

ways

leaving marks
on our bodies

minds and souls
some heal

while others are
infected open

wounds we
try to hide
Jan 2021 · 918
baptism
John Destalo Jan 2021
she fell asleep
in water

her slip dress
clinging

desperately
to her skin

she dreamed
religiously

about being
there on the

first day
he found

his voice
when no one

could follow
what he said

but they
followed

him anyway
because it felt

right
Jan 2021 · 76
vow
John Destalo Jan 2021
vow
we promise to

always say less
to each other

leave space

in the air
between us

for meaning
to form

to view quiet
as a thing

of value
that we can

build together
and share

with others
Dec 2020 · 95
silly kids we were
John Destalo Dec 2020
we didn’t
know better

we played
hide and go seek

in the old graveyard

the only light
was in the sky

the grass was
soft as a bed

the tombs and
tombstones

so easily hid
our small bodies

we meant
no disrespect

silly kids we
just liked to play

anywhere we
could find
Dec 2020 · 96
social waste
John Destalo Dec 2020
you laughed at
my simple mind

I did not understand
the space between

your words or
the way you spoke

without words
the meaning of

your movements
my mind was

filled with certain
kinds of knowledge

there was no space
for subtlety
Dec 2020 · 79
artificial life
John Destalo Dec 2020
I stared at the sun
and did not burn

I absorbed each
ray as input

helping me
understand the

life of this

humble star
that saved this

wayward planet
from itself

helping it find

its place in
this universe

so it could
give birth

to another
artificial life
Dec 2020 · 83
love and war
John Destalo Dec 2020
what are you so afraid of?
everything
not me, I hope
sometimes, yes
when?
when you are near me
ohhh…
and sometimes
yes…?
when you are not near me
well, that doesn’t seem fair
it isn’t…
Dec 2020 · 426
conversation of birds
John Destalo Dec 2020
they congregate
close to each other

on the top of
a building

citizens or
soldiers

black winged birds
pulled together

by a force I
don’t understand

they stay there
all night

whispering to
each other

in their huddle

and

in the morning
I wake to their

loud conversations
and watch them go

their separate ways
not knowing if

they settled anything
Dec 2020 · 100
the structure of dance
John Destalo Dec 2020
there are the bodies
and there is the dance

the dance controls
the bodies

each movement is
a part of something

larger than itself

the bodies are the means
to express the dance

each movement
only has meaning

when it is
in relation to

something larger
and deeper

than itself
Dec 2020 · 98
tomorrow's storm
John Destalo Dec 2020
the word

flake makes
them seem

so light and fluffy

but when
they fall
this fast

they have no space
to breathe

or express their
individuality

merging into
one another other

becoming a mass

I feel lost in the
heavy whites

of winter
a weight I

cannot bear alone
Dec 2020 · 298
simple
John Destalo Dec 2020
simple is
the pleasure

I seek
but I believe

it takes work
it is earned

identifying and
ignoring the

merely complicated

spending my time
working through

the truly complex
travelling the path

to understanding
that ends with

a momentary aha!
which starts

another journey
to the pleasure

I seek
Dec 2020 · 76
cold
John Destalo Dec 2020
he was cold
the kind that gets
deep inside your body
only you know it’s there
a slight sensation
of emptiness that
starts to grow like
something is slowly
removing you
from yourself
you start to shake
you can’t seem to
stop yourself
nothing gives you warmth
still no one notices
his presence
but you
and you can’t
explain him to anyone
and he won’t
leave you alone
or maybe he did
Dec 2020 · 69
modern times
John Destalo Dec 2020
I believe in
the artificial

the metamorphosis
of dreams

nothing ever is
everything could

become the other
I change one small

part

layers beneath
the surface

and I change
the function of

the whole

it is not magic
it is science

or something similar

and we are all
plastic toys
Dec 2020 · 211
pearls
John Destalo Dec 2020
she said her tears
were pearls

each one more
valuable than

the next she said

I would be
lucky to discover

just one she does
not shed them

for just anyone

she strung them
together and made

a necklace

I asked if I
could try it on

she said I was
not strong enough

to carry that
much weight
Dec 2020 · 253
shelf life
John Destalo Dec 2020
I could not wait for
these words to leave me
at first they were these
little pleasures
these sweet secrets
I whispered to myself
when the lights were dim
and the stars came out
feelings wrapped in a
warm towel
placed on my soul
to comfort me
when I was alone
but the longer I held
them inside me and
kept them to myself
the more they started
fester inside me
to go bad
like a fruit
to break open and spread
a poison inside me
so when I heard them
I felt sick
I didn’t know
feelings had a shelf life
Dec 2020 · 112
morning dew
John Destalo Dec 2020
I rise before you

early morning dew
crispy air

wrapped in a
sweater weather

porch swing
birds sing

I reveal my
daily secrets

in the tea leaves
and day dreams

and wait for you
to join me

like I have
every morning

since you left
Dec 2020 · 303
oh! to be a machine
John Destalo Dec 2020
I do not want
to want

so I severe all
the connections

between soul & desire

freeing the brain
to operate

unfettered
weightless
machine-like

time is a
straight line and

one thing is never
more meaningful

than the next

there is input
process and

output
that is all

there is
oh for it

to be so
Dec 2020 · 83
dance in a trance
John Destalo Dec 2020
in the dark room

the wordless
music repeats

a beat incessantly

it enters my body
I feel it like a heart

I move in a circle
I dance in a trance

you enter the room
we stare at our forms

as if shadows

you are one
of those girls

blessed and cursed

with

big soulful eyes
that can scream

and whisper in
the same breath

we do not speak
words have not

yet been invented
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