He is black tar heroin mosaics,

molded by broken pitch pieces of rushing

gushing, mind over matter overdose paintings -

incoherent under microscopes from cracks

that look too much veins, but a monster

mountain range captured in monochrome,

snow mistaken for ash in damning strokes of

blind bristles; a face sculpted in the summit withering

thinner through narrow oxygen.

He breathes wanderlust wound around campfire

flames consuming both wood and stone,

crackling pine needles like cracking whips

and branches tumbling in forest infernos

rumbling over tracks of hypodermic trains,

piercing veins of valley roots and hillstone,

drawing red life from dry bones into vials

of meadow green, baked and dried in sundry

browns, dying his hardcover histories

shades of storybook bark leaving slivers of

themselves in fingerprints.

He dreams in city grids, one way streets

stretched like violin strings ringing like struck

hubcaps on bustling taxicabs; metallic sound

landing on heaving chests beating with

paper heart pacemakers, accidentally pinching

nerves in valves bleeding into networks of

memories falling from high rises’ high tides

and high times to go home to black hole

towns, past the event horizon of backwoods bartending

in forest fire mazes that started forming

in his veins long before he ever touched

the needle.

JS (c) 2015

Far Away

Find me far away, my love,

when grey the sky and black the lake,

and ‘neath the mud I’m buried deep,

while bones for beetles shelter make,

as ink, like water, finally sleeps,

and storms, like stars, fall from above.

Find me far away, my love.

Find me far away, my dear,

when quiet lay the distant fogs,

and heavy hang the willow branches,

while silent fall the ticking clocks,

as roaring fires sink to ashes,

and misty eyes glow bright and clear.

Find me far away, my dear.

Find me far away, my lord,

when seas of monsters breathe my flesh,

and lash my back with suckered whips,

while skin from bone is bloody threshed,

as ink fills eyes and stains the lips,

and my neck frays, a severed cord,

find me far away, my lord.

Find me far away.

JS (c) 2014

Sonnet VIII (To Make Wordsworth Proud)

The friction of the black cicada wings

sparks forest fires that glow like foreign suns,

and scream their molten chirps of coming spring,

crying prayers without a throat or lungs,

while spirits haunt the meadows in their death

lingering like air of desert pines,

their fallen souls leave marks like ember crests,

and tell their tales of mountains without mines;

for now the flames arise from flares and gears,

drowning songs of nature with the steam:

hot air rises higher than our fears

which fall as fast as meadow creatures’ dreams.

We wait for love considered lost and found,

and hope to hear, someday, cicadas’ sounds.

JS (c)


Toes are not eggshells – don’t be so
afraid to step.
An argument is not a pulled pin
destined to end in fire.
My screams are not the thunder,
and your screams are not the flash.
My mind is not desert ice, and
the ground around me is not coal
glowing with breath like embers from
forgotten fires. It would not burn you.

I am not inevitable, like
destruction is not in a wave,
nor fire in the thunder,
nor fracture in the earthquake –
I am only the water, the sound, and the
shaking, and though I am not
written in algorithms,
I am certain in my skin.

Unpredictable does not mean dangerous.
Broken does not mean sharp.
Stable does not mean safe.

JS (c)

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)