Tag Archives: poems


Rock City Chasm

Photo by JSMB, “Rock City” Trail in WV

You exist

And I don’t care
How much you resist,
I don’t care
How much you doubt it,
How much you deny
Or lie about it,
How you close your eyes
And tighten your fists,
It makes no difference
You still exist

Parallels infinite
Broken sims
Impossible dreams
And forgotten whims
Ebbing and flowing
Aspirations of bliss
Who never got
A chance like this

Young women, young men
An incomparable gift,
You exist

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Plague of Fireflies



Photo by tsaiian, CC

Seventeen-Year Cicadas
You’ve heard them sing their song,
Sonic waves unstoppable
All spring and summer long

But another swarm is coming-
Oh what can ready your eyes?
For every thousand years
Is a Plague of Fireflies

Some will think them falling stars
Some will think them wild fires
Some will think they’re dreaming
When all these things transpire

Lightning Bugs in your bushes
Fireflies in your trees
Rivers of luminous insects
Blowing in the breeze

You won’t have enough mason jars
For the trillions in your town
There aren’t enough kids to capture
The quintillions the whole world round

The darkest mountain will shimmer
The clouds will glitter at night
Even the snowy poles of earth
Will sparkle twice as white

In those days the earth will glow
The moon will shine it back
The night will be a rock show
Yellow instead of black

It will be too bright to sleep or think
When earth becomes a star,
You’ll have to stay home everyday
You can’t see to drive a car

To basements and caves we’ll go then
In darkness down deep inside,
And how long will we be there?
For seventeen years we’ll hide

-Jared St. Martin Brown, June 2016

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We want to live to be one hundred
Because we do not think that the last 20 years
Will be so lonely and so painful
That they will mar the joys of our youth
And when we watch our children go into their
Own declining years
And hear of our grandchildren giving birth
To descendants we will never know
We realize it is a mercy to forget them
Name by name
As they forget us
Year by year
“Do you know who this is Grandpa?”
Said one middle aged fellow pointing to another
They were both familiar
“Yes,” I replied but it was a lie
“This is Tim, Elizabeth’s son.
He got married last week.
He’s got two step kids now.”
“I know!” I said but that was a lie too
The two men stayed a while then left
And after some strangely brief amount of time
It all happened again
And like a magnetic tape stripped
Of its particles by the very machine that plays it
I forgot them
Name by name
Year by year
We want to live
“Do you know who I am?”
“Sure I do”
Declining machine
“I ‘m Susan”
Familiar particles
“I know”
“I’m Susan, Dad.”
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Hugh Hefner bought a place in the cemetery

Next to the grave of Marilyn Monroe

Just as Faustus asked to kiss Helen of Troy

As he stood on the canyon rim of the Abyss

“Ah Mephistophilis!”

It wouldn’t really be a man’s world

Unless every Beauty could be juxtaposed

Next to her pornographer

Now would it?

Beauty is Truth, and Truth Beauty

And someone can get rich selling one without the other

And, Dear Beauty, that is a sad Truth



All of the street art

On the walls of Pandemonium

Points toward heaven-

It’s very rebellious in that way


Beelzebub scoffed when he saw

The immaculate spiral of painted hosts

Tumbling from ethereal light

Tattooed in wild graphics

Branching into infinite fractals

Down the columns of city hall

As if Gustave Dore was a punk

With a can of paint, a million stencils

And the speed of an archangel


“Keep Hell Tidy!”

He shouted and peered

Through the sulfurous haze

Grumbling something

About church and state

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The Truth of Spring

It is the truth of the mist of thawing mud

Heavy grass clumped and crawling


Writhing in its saturated bed

Exhaling winter

And every cell in my legs is reborn

Each singing operatic into my joints,


Atrophy will not win this year,

You are resurrected,

You and your woods,”

And I remember old infatuations-

Enamored with the trees-

I go and scream unmitigated life

To those blood covered roods

And my spirit elated

Leaps from me to sail mythic

Into those red splattered branches

And feel them right upon my naked heart-

And my lover born again

In the flowering fields

Trillium, violets, and laurels of eternal wisdom

And my children in the water bathing new skin

Not for filth, but for the sake of sensation

For the cold,

For joy

It is the truth of the emerging canopy

Which will soon be heavy with its own fruit

And will bend low to touch the rising grass

Clover and wild onion

And clasp hands in the shadowy cathedrals of spring


-JSMB 3/1/09

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a CITY is a couple million people pretending

not to look at one another


but they must steal secret glances once in while

because they are all wearing the same expression,

skillfully mimicked to the last talon of each crow’s foot,

emulations of fiction

and even the freest of them

must feign disinterest

of those millions pressing against him

in apartments above and trains below,

the millions he must pretend not to notice,

who, in turn, pretend not to notice him

in the CITY he joined to escape the vast emptiness

of the natural world


A CITY is also a couple million people pretending

that none of this is true

-JSMB 3/4/12

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Heaven and Earth



Dark Matter, or Energy- one and the same

Flinging or holding- It’s Gravity’s shame,

Holy Ghost, Space Ghost- ubiquitous, rude

There’s no dream of order you cannot intrude



Super-massive terrifying ominous Black Hole

You can crush Time, but can you compact the soul?

Brother, you’re more than a mind can bear

For we only see you by what isn’t there




There was a little river

With aspirations grand

To be the first to circle the earth

And cut through every land


He, through the narrow canyons, passed

Through woods of thirsty trees

But found all his ambitions lost

When he fell into the sea



There was a mighty glacier

Crawling in the sun

It towered o’er the valley trees,

Yet envied every one


Generations sprouted and fell

And the glacier melted and then

It became the water in their roots

And slowly rose again


                           -JSMB 2012

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Luminous Clouds


A woman whose toes painted honey-bronze

Have walked the horizon, a thousand dawns,

Luminous clouds at her ankles and feet

Wash over the mountains to the village streets


A woman whose mind is verdant as June

Has walked the forest, a thousand moons,

The kids at her hips never need strain

Her country’s alive with sun and rain


A woman whose spirit is magenta bright

Sleeps a little late after year’s last night

As slowly she rises to New Year’s Day

She brings the light to overcast gray


Her thousand moons, Her thousand dawns

Paint the skies honey-bronze

Luminous clouds at her shoulders and back

Like an armored Roman in his chariot track

Luminous clouds at her elbows and wrists

Like an African queen with rings in her fists

Luminous clouds rest on her thighs

Like an Amazon scholar with magenta eyes


And the glittering fog disperses and blows

At the will of the woman with painted toes

And the future is tamed by the verdant girl

As storms of glory envelop the world


                                                -JSMB 1/1/2012

                                                    (for Albani)

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Rich Mullins 1955-1997

Dear Rich Mullins,

You wanted to go out like Elijah

With the whirlwind to fuel your chariot of fire


Well, I hope that when you were flying through the window

Of that car, as it rolled over on the highway in Illinois,

Your spirit never hit the ground


And when your body rolled beneath the tractor-trailer,

I bet your feet found themselves planted upon incendiary gold

As if a solar wave from Heaven, sent the day of your rebirth,

Met you in that Holy second to carry you to your resurrection


I hope the prairie dropped out from beneath you

Like a trap door on a rickety stage

And, in an eternal second, the Earth became

Just one in a scattering of a trillion specs

In the strands of the universe,

And for just about length of time it took God

To breathe life into Adam’s nostrils,

I hope your chariot was the brightest thing in creation


-JSMB 11/20/11

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Street Art

Banksy Banksy, Batman of Art

Flew from his cave like a silent dart

Emergency sirens, dreadful and loud

Signal stenciled on smoggy clouds


For, underscored by a Joker’s laugh,

An insidious wall broke the city in half,

And a stupid riot broke out when

The people were divided into “us” and “them”


Then “BAM! POW!” the partition was bruised-

Next morning, the deed on the local news,

And despite the clarity of disabused minds,

The heroics themselves were called a crime


For as the sun exposed the unwelcome wall

The painting upon it made it fall…

So painted elephants ruled the day

And, as usual, Batman hidden away


-JSMB 10/13/11

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