Author: jacklantic

Nothing at all

I often dream of losing it all
to fire, flood, or fleeing,
and romanticize my deportation
back to my homeland shores,
where I’d buy a house near the Cornish sea,
in an unassuming coastal town
that’s tucked away from tourism,
and huddles boats in coves.

Maybe one day I’d paint them,
on a whim, when words are not enough
to capture how they bob about,
in no particular hurry,
with scars along their bellies
that mark of a bolder past
where they had purpose beyond their staying afloat.

Retired to the curiosity
of those who wonder where they’ve been,
what they’ve held, and what they’ve seen,
they’re anchored for eternity
in the salty chill of an English port,
whose only sweetness comes in tea
that steams in foggy windows,
lit by yellow lamps for reading,
with faces propped on chins in hands,
dreaming out across the water
to top the waves with wonder.

Cresting and collapsing,
our sacrificial offerings
are washed against the rocks and lost
so we may live without those needs,
those fantasies and fallacies,
that try to trick us out of time
that’s better spent distilling rhyme
from dreams (not fears) where kingdoms fall,
and you’re left with everything,
which is nothing at all.

Infinity

Come to me, infinity.
Bring every kind you hold.
Hand me the keys to fantasies
that sprawl as they unfold.

Run to me, infinity.
Spare not a beat or breath.
Deliver me eternity
so I will not know death.

Sing to me, infinity.
Roll music off your tongue.
Our lips have waited patiently
for infinity to come.

Ohio

Breaths caught
like lumps of bread;
hiccups hop, and jump, and spread
from throat to lungs with bated dread.
My mind turns to Ohio.

Stomachs turn
like private sorrow,
churn and burn and fear tomorrow;
for either side, it’s hard to swallow
the color of Ohio.

Drinks poured
like loaded guns,
cocked, rocked, shot, and flung.
Show me the man who says he’s won,
and I’ll show you Ohio.

Reminisce

The sugar scrub reminds me of
the sand between our toes;
thrown back to when, on wooden decks,
as summer came to close,
we set up chairs, and passed around
a light for our cigars,
puffed clouds into the balmy night,
laughed hard into the stars.
Our voices echoed out to sea,
and bounced upon the waves.
Though long thought lost, it came to be
that laughter was engraved
in sentimental memories,
brought forth by little more
than everyday simplicities
that reminisce the shore.

The maraschino and I

Sometimes I’ll leave it there for days,
scared to touch it, for if I do
I know how I’ll be tempted – no,
demanded by the crystal
to stuff it full of ice
lace its skin with sweetness,
and douse with golden poison…
straining into its smaller cousin –
decadent, and invitingly chilled –
a single, large cube begs to crack,
as I have,
under the spill of viscous concoction.

I raise my glass to the maraschino and I,
drowning in our sorrows.

Inside

What is it you see
when I bare myself, torn open,
pins holding back the flesh,
heart pulsing, shuddering in electric air,
lungs shivering, exposed and rapid…
I strain to see you,
to read your expression.
I scream out for it.
What is it you see?

What is it you hear
when I pour and pull the music from my throat,
dig words out my gums from the raw, sharp root,
eyes watering, glistened with agony;
I’m desperate for it to sound like the truth…
I cover my face,
striving to zero-in on your voice.
I beg for you to tell me.
What is it you hear?

What is it you feel
when I force your hand through my chest,
ribs cracking, organs displaced,
fingers splitting through sticky blood….
I wince, twisting your knuckles to pull you deeper;
even if it kills me,
I need to know what it is you feel
inside.

Gravity

The sun rises, pulls up shades,
eyelids, and tilts heads to the sky,
lifts spirits, and lights the way.
Romance over its setting;
eyes clinging with sad fascination,
sentimental for dying flames and waning embers.
Follow it now,
down, down, down over the hills,
till staring, reality beneath feet,
grounded again,
seeking sun through the floor.
Gravity pulls and draws heavier truths;
forces peer through the dark,
and examine the ground.
Ponder in darkness.

All the while, it rises,
ready to raise us from beds and bad decisions,
where we’d fallen (fast) asleep.

Run to the moon

I lost a day to a curious night –
how I suffer for the play and no pause;
the food sat too heavy, and my mind’s never ready
to admit to the sleep it implores.

Some find a way to recover their might;
how they rest before dusk is an art.
Even when I’m deserving, I find it unnerving
to arrive the same day I depart.

Instead I pray to a mug (held too tight;
how it burns me awake through the palms)
to speed up the sun from a crawl to a run;
pray the moon scoops me up in her arms.

A novel case

The symptoms hide in silent whirs
of hearts that seem both fast and slow,
as if the wary beats could stir
the beast our world has come to know.

We wear our masks to hide and guard
a sickness we cannot discern,
and suffocate behind facades
of shallow breaths, and numb concern.

Contagions crawl through eyes and screens,
they spread through tongues and social feeds,
infecting our society
with novel mass-anxiety.