I put my thoughts on display in such a way

you might encounter them naturally.

I extended them into the heavy air

nodding as they floated on each dust particle

in hunt of someone to hear them,

to escape being dragged from the gutter

only to be hung up and dried, forgotten,

and falling back in,

like a sick habit needled into each synapse.

And I always fail to see the humor

as they sink to the ground and you

step over them, like in some bad

drama, where the wallflower is really just

a shy idiot.

JS 2018




Looking out the second story window

raindrops forming into thin white lines

tiny thread reminders weaving a tapestry

of water that smothers me, cold and pulsing,


the heartbeat of an unforgiving ocean

drowning me with each frigid pinprick.

Walking to my car, now swimming in between

each woven knot like crossroad synapses


a maze of my memories of you, signals flying

too fast to remember which way I came from,

trains of thoughts pushing onward through

the storm. My car is warm and dry. I can hear


the raindrops hitting the roof, gliding down

my window to form more wet networks that

make me think of you. Each muted beat stings

and brings alive the ache that lives just behind


my ribs, bone bruises that would know your

warmth to settle back to white, lost in how

far away their remedy has gone. Missing you

drowns me like a quick rain on cold stone.

JS 2018


You Were an Eagle


This poem was inspired by “I was an Eagle” by Laura Marling –

My feathers may be white, but near the earth

I find my sustenance too blind to flee,

and stain that which was once considered pure,

but now is dull as iron left at sea,


and while my brothers carried messages

to save the lives of good and honored men,

remembered by the ancient passages,

for bravery of olive branch amends,


I carry only beauty on my wings,

a hat-trick made of flowers and deceit,

false promises of bright, eternal things,

while knowing well how Death commands her fleets,


but you are made of Zeus and gospel tomes –

quiet lightning, stronger than belief,

you carry gods with talons made of stone,

demanding faith with every focused beat.


That music drowns the sorrow of my doubt,

and floats on currents warmed from summer sun.

I know its healing well. I fear without,

I may not ever greater things become.


Your wings were built to rise above the air,

your eyes to see the futures you possess,

my flight is flinching when I’m kicked or scared,

to flee a vacant threat, and then to rest.


I wish that it were different, but my love,

we can’t be both the eagle and the dove.


                                                                             JS 2018


21-bojack-12_w750_h560_2xThis tar was shallower ten years ago,

the skin was thicker too, as so was mine.

It used to barely come above my toes,

but every second higher yet it climbs.

And I can see the things that led me here,

those choices, things I did and didn’t say,

the people I love most and hold most dear,

but didn’t love enough to not betray.

The spotlight knows my skin more than the sun –

in California an impressive feat –

but neither could recall the damage done,

not even with their still relentless heat.

It must be them that heated up the tar.

How else could I have sunk so quick, so far?


JS 2017

From the perspective of Bojack Horseman (if he had the attention span to write a sonnet)

The Lonely

lonely-travshotz-agency.jpgLoving is lonelier than I remember –

the acid beneath my skin lingering longer

now that I wait for you to see it,

hoping you will tell me it is beautiful.


My lips against your shoulder blades

whispering thoughts of me into your bones

that they might surface to your skin

and remind you I have been there.


With arms tight enough around my ribs

my envy cannot grow into my throat

and I am safe in my affections:

I do not want to be where you are not.


I did not remember the loneliness

of loving more than being loved,

of wanting more than being wanted,

or the fear of surrendering myself to my heart,


but I know it now like the nothing in the sky,

and the quiet in the dawn,

in the comfortable singe of whisky,

and the look in your eyes.


JS (2017)

(picture by Travshotz Agency:

Sonnet IX

Laughter ringing loud like honesty,

acknowledging a modicum of trust

that germinated quickly in our spring

and flows from loving, flabbergasted tongues.

It crept like quiet voices in the morning,

through halls with railing rays in shining dust,

and found itself beside us waking early

in breath as fresh as newly day begun.

The furnace in my chest was warm like thunder –

true, but only by a different name –

it’s lost inside a labyrinth of anger,

that’s far too hot to call the trap a game.

Your voice, a river, calms the rising heat.

To love, to know a warm and restful sleep.

But I’d Rather Forget

I am worth more than this.

I am worth more than three times a week you

sometimes stay the night,

more than two months of begrudged letters

and two months of ironically unadulterated silence.


I am worth more than no notification about a delay

when I have been counting down the days

for weeks warped into lifetimes without you,

more than half apologies over soft drinks whistled

through quiet excuses and clenched teeth.


I am worth more than your thoughtlessness,

leaving passive bruises on my backbone.


I am worth more that the halfhearted currency

you have gilded to resemble love. I am worth

too much to give real gold forged from the fires

in my chest in change, but it has become

comfortable habit, like buying drinks for an old friend

with money they lent you.


I know that I am worth more than the tired hours

spent waiting to sleep so we might dream together,

only to wake up next to you alone, in a magpie nest

of shiny things you call love that taste bitter

the longer I wear them on my tongue.


Sonnet VII

I don’t recall the color of your smile,
the sound of waking up beside your breath,
through dreams you mumble, tripping all the while,
o’er words you say when sleep sequesters death.


Memories like San Francisco plaster,

dissolving through the dawn’s relentless mist;

rusted bridges seem to sink us faster,

lest we burn them first with clenching fists.


I lost the road we journeyed once to get here,

looked back to find my footsteps faded now,

retracing tracks with eyes untuned to darkness,

tripping into dreams where I have drowned.


I can know the clouds in cloudless skies.

I can love you without knowing why.

At Dusk

3D-Digital-Forest-City.jpgI leave the flat late and still
get to walk in the half light,
where moonmist glows
over grass, crickets whispering
the secrets of the weather
to one another.

The city is fantastically quiet,
a calm before winds full of
wanderers brought to the night,
dragged from buzzing kitchens
into pathway lamplights, moths
claiming their rightful suns
against a silent sky.

Soon the murmurs will be
a song humming in the wet
air, shying the crickets away
from their gossiping tongues.

Ours is the wind,
ours is the night –
ours is the half light.

The Forest


The tired night could not sleep alone, without you
her thoughts of our darkness rest like weeds and rain
in a forest patch that did hide its secrets well.
You waited for the day to save her soul.

Alone our secrets hide in the darkness and weeds.
Tired without you, the forest waited not to sleep
well; her soul could patch its thoughts like rain.
You did save for her a night of rest that day.

Save our secrets of rain – patch the soul that weeds
darkness. A forest without night could not hide her,
waited alone for you and the tired day to rest in her
like its thoughts. Did you sleep well?


JS (C)