Poetry and Roses

You see the world in poetry and roses -

the secret language of the songbirds

swelters in the tides of the summer breeze;

you hear their rings and choral chimes

as enjambment and internal rhyme,

the waterfall roars like a lion in your

mind, the water running like white

stallions over stretching hills of blue.

Her beauty is wrapped in metaphors

like thick bands of silk that obscure

the perfect wrapping of a present.

The spirals of her autumn hair fall

as freely as brittle leaves, that

crumple beneath careless feet;

they never think to stop and look,

and listen to them fracture into mosaics.

Her laughter is the Summer, and lighter

than the day that shines so white

you forget how darkness ever felt;

but her sleep reminds that the moon

can burn more deeply than the Sun. You

thought you could forget the stinging

cold of her nights, but her darkness

is as bright as her sunshine laughter.

And every mistake bursts into purple

roses of capillaries, blooming into

flower paintings; wishing to pull back

the canvas to see what masterpieces her

flaws could form. Each sharp word

pricks like thorns that stick in your skin,

but your accidents could never be as

beautiful as hers; her rose petal lips

and rosewater eyes are gardens where

perfect things bloom between the

splintered wooden lattices of you.

Her burden is the spikes she grew to

threaten the world as it threatened her; the

burgundy torture of her soul bleeds into

her blossoms to glorify a window display,

to be uprooted and admired for her

sunshine suffering, burning to survive in

a world whose only escape is Winter.

Her eyes are Winter snow, now. Cold like

the ocean rupturing into roaring saltwater

waterfalls she sounds like horses on blue

mountains she feels like broken glass

of forgotten autumn mosaics she tastes like

splinters in your rose petal tongue and

bleeds into windows of Winter and Summer

she is the seasons and roses and petals

and Sun and you lost her in lattices and gardens

of roses and poetry.

JS (c)


Cold laces bones more closely than marrow,

stones tell stories to deafened souls

as tales turn to pleas to be heard,

but are forgotten at the sight and

delight of a beautiful face

that is laced by the cold of the breeze.

A century is just a year waiting to be heard,

a plot of history not as valuable as a sculpted face -

that stone is a page of a textbook blowing in a breeze

that blew a century ago, as cold as bone marrow

in forgotten fossils, once discovered, now forgotten and

remembered, forgotten and remembered by souls.

Remember them like you remember her face,

read their stories like you read her skin and marrow,

feel their fear like you feel her breath in the breeze,

listen to their loss like you worship every heartbeat she’s ever heard,

look up to the sky, welcome the biting cold, and

realize today, for an instant, God regretted giving us souls.

JS (C)

Tired Thoughts

People are like scaffolding -
strong until we are inevitably taken down.

Life is like a building -
built, repaired, renewed, forgotten, refurbished, forgotten and destroyed by time.

Time is like scaffolding -
both the reason and and the resource for repairs, their existence, and therefore the cause of their inevitable demise; nothing can fall without being built.

People are like time -
there always seems to be enough of us to make the repairs we need, but all we do is destroy for destruction’s sake.

JS (c)

Beauty in Tragedy (Spoken Word)

There’s beauty in tragedy.


I once saw a girl sleeping on the street -

her hair was the color of a sun in a distant sky,

lining clouds in silver in a distant galaxy;

the freckles on her face formed constellations of places

I don’t want to go, and don’t want to see,

through planes of loss and pain and suffering,

and I couldn’t help but think that if I’d seen her at a party,

or a pub, I’d’ve thought her hair yellow.


I once saw a man begging for food outside a Tesco;

his eyes were brown like two ships looking for port in a storm,

wanting for sleep that wasn’t plagued by the tossing of the sea,

tired of the gales that brushed his splintered face, worn like a deck,

and when I looked at him, he smiled at me with sad, starving eyes,

and I knew if I’d seen him at Banshee’s, I’d’ve been afraid.


I once saw you, crying on a sofa;

your tears were like Scotland’s winter rain: cold and sharp;

your hand was freezing like the bay, and rough like wet sand.

I’d’ve held you, and warmed you, and told you everything was going to be okay,

but you were so much more beautiful, dwelling there,

in tragedy.


JS (c)

Sonnet X

I paint my memories in black and gold:

the first for depth, the latter for its light,

for shadows see through dusk and biting cold,

and burning stars steal trust from blackest night;

so further may I peer through crowded tombs

and into eyes of those I have betrayed,

and let my cries echo through catacombs,

whose stone will never hear through I have prayed.

Cold my pleas will ring until my shadows

hide from fear of darker daemons still,

and soot coats floors and hands and gold and windows,

and sight and sun are left in dreams and wills.

So let me paint my mind in black and gold,

lest soot would mar your hands, for none to hold.

JS (c)


When I was born I saw the world in 8-bit,

nothing rounded as smoothly as mother promised,

nothing as defined as binary,

seams were lost in low definition

as colors ran into each other, sunsets

made of building blocks, each with letters

of our names carved upon them;

we had to sculpt them into skyscrapers,

make them giants just to tell

ourselves apart.


Spacebars told us we could only jump so high,

keys that once unlocked only moved in four directions,

data limits limited levels we could reach; we became

masters of deleting our pasts to craft our futures

in hopes we would reach ranks high enough to fly from,

even though our landing strip was just the sound of static.


Time defines as well as freshly sharpened pencils,

that reek of burning bark and molten lead:

smells defining the future for a generation of

8-bit babies.


JS (c)


Bitten lips whisper confessions

too shy for eyes to muster.


Truths seep from bite marks,

and hope falling gazes witness interest,


white laughter bleeds grey,

now an excuse to lean closer;


quietly sore mouths say promises,

praying to have to repeat


and warmly breathe into open ears,

no longer hearing, but dreaming


of furnace embraces and

teeth marks on necks,


that plead bitten lips

to kiss them better.


JS (c)