Giants – A poem.

When the mountains are devoured
by the soft, white tongue
of the sky, the world ceases to exist

for a moment. Everything is erased—
and I am isolated, a tiny lake
surrounded by land.

Only magic could do this, but I know
that magic doesn’t exist.
Not really.

But tell that to the mountains,
swimming in the belly of the sky
and waiting to be broken
into hail.

JKolasch

Blindside – A poem.

When cars are used as weapons,
do you see your naked reflection in the rear view
mirror, or are you astonished—
deflecting off the fender.

Are you the people on the sidewalk,
standing with signs or bricks?
Their hands divide like houses—
listen to what they shout,
but read their eyes and their lips.
They whisper something different.

You are the white sheets
that hang over windows and eyes.
So you can pretend to be blind.

You are the screams of a child
lost in the crowd on a street that has become
a civil war.

You are the noose—
tight around your neck with fingers
clutching useless at your
side. A sign that mutters something.
It doesn’t matter anymore.

When you stop—
will you ever—
are you on your knees? Begging?
Or are you on your feet.
Threatening.

JKolasch

Horizon – A poem.

It’s like falling—
the sudden jump of nothing
catches in my throat
and drops far below
what I thought.

I bury myself
in the ambient sounds of the world
and hold on,
hold on so hard my fingers ache.
Afraid that if I open
my eyes and open my hands
that you will drift away—
lost in the eddy of light
that bathes me in pale warmth.

Orange isn’t a comfort
when it’s not only the sun that sets.
Dark brings the rain
and the ocean to swallow me whole.

I crave the light to return,
to set the world ablaze.
In the morning, though,
it doesn’t bring you back.

It’s like falling.

JKolasch

Watercolor – A poem.

It doesn’t matter if you believe in god
when the vivid pinks of dawn bloom.
I don’t wonder who painted roses
in the sky. I just love them.

I don’t pretend the world is bright.
When the rain comes,
everything is opaque and the world becomes
a ghost shifting uncomfortably.

The mountain trees blend into each other
over and over, until the green becomes blurred.
To see those layers, and discern
the subtle hues between them—

that is the true gift of living.
The world is transparent, and everyone
lives on top of each other,
like the near invisible layers

of watercolor paint.

JKolasch

The Corporeal Ghost – A poem.

The strings that make the puppet two-step
in front of laughing kids. Their eyes gleam.
And when the puppet falls, no one cries.
Because it’s part of the comedy.
Like the dead from the grave, the tiny
painted wooden body returns to dance,
caught in strings that everyone chooses
to let their eyes slip past, like skirting
the murder of a mother of two on the 5 o’clock news.
Because it’s part of the tragedy.
The tears that cling and refuse to fall
scream we are only human.

The child, cutting into
the stuffed teddy bear, curious of the softness.
In the aftermath of clouded stuffing,
like a nest prepared by a bird’s dreaming,
the child sits, cross-legged, in the middle,
clutching the hollow husk of Mr. Pemberbottom,
asking why won’t the clouds go back?

The gasp I feel that pounds against
my calcium cage. A stick rattles against
old oaken slats, in time with the steps that crush
and stain the sidewalk with the carnage of
blueberries, shed and forgotten by the tree’s broken hand.
My shoes stick, so I leave them.
Because it’s part of the drama.
And barefoot I wade through the tiny bodies,
feeling their squish between my toes.

The flat of a hand spread wide against the wall,
veins trying to peek through vellum skin against
the yearning to slip through the eggshell white, the drywall,
the cedar beams. Like the gilded bird, the blue of sky
held in two tiny orbs, looking through the bars, but unable
to escape them. Because even birds want to fly,
and knife into the clouds like the butcher
slices the choicest cuts. And when the day
is over, and the knife clean, the blood clings tightly
in my hands.

JKolasch

Photograph – A poem.

Unlike the phoenix,
you will not burn when I hold
the match to your skin.

Unlike the phoenix,
you will not be reborn—
the brilliant, scarlet eruption
of feathers that dance like flame—
tiny suns falling from outstretched arms.

You are reaching for me, and the hurt
in your eyes slips past—
the satellite sailing past Pluto, drifting
deeper into the unknown.

Because I am not reaching for you.
I stare beyond you, to the rain
soaked window where you used to sit,
with hand and forehead flowered against the glass.

Unlike the phoenix,
you will not be reborn—
you will remain frozen, a slightly sad smile
that is sun faded and creased.

Unlike the phoenix,
you will not burn when I hold
the match to the glass—
though the frame has scorched.

And I simply can’t let go.

JKolasch

Critical – A poem.

The monitor has become
a mirror.

Like a shield,
it used to separate—
creating a comfortable distance.

The barbs from fingertips
would deflect—

and forget.

Yet, the face inside
is visible—

harder to ignore.

I can see you—
or, is that me?

My eyes wet from the strain.
That’s what I tell myself.
It’s stuck in my throat—
and even reaching for water I know won’t help—
I have to look away.

But I see it.
I see you, a floating haze of words
and pictures.

Seared in my vision.

The monitor has become
a mirror.

And I,
well, I am no better
than those I criticize.

JKolasch

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