jake st. john | four poems

Looking for Sunflowers

the tapestry of night
pinned by stars
……………………..to the walls
is motionless
the sidewalks tremble
narrow roads collide
street lamps
.………………..shadow the homeless
the alabaster groaning
…………………………………in moon light
the neon
…………..screaming down faded alleys
lost saints
…………….wander the face of the city
not wanting to be found
sirens squeal in passing
blue and red echo off brick
smoking philosophers
…………………………………scatting in doorways
rush of trains
…………………..over the tide
and the rain drops
…………………………..tip toe
……………………………………around conversations
before drowning in day light


so many around me
walk with eyes closed
stubbing their toes
on the edges of life
getting bruised in the process
and tripping over
their surroundings
never taking the time
to see the cracks
in the sidewalk
or the flower
poking up from the ground
littered with plastic bottles
around the stop sign
spray painted with graffiti
at the corner of the intersection
eyes closed they stumble around
with hands outstretched
so they don’t fall
down the stairs of the city
or catch a random tree branch
to their noses
in the fields of eternity
sending the singing birds
squawking into the sunburnt
sky of clouds
that they will never see

a different night

another kid was attacked here
sometime late last night
but he survived
(the lucky ones have)
he was punched and kicked
not stabbed like before
those responsible
must have been bored
and lazy this time
the newspaper article
was a little shorter
than usual, the police
were in the vicinity
most likely patrolling the pubs
or even controlling
a degenerate group of senior citizens
out for a night of decadence
at the local theater
the attackers were long gone
when they arrived
but like the murder on Halloween
the blood is still in the street

Poem To End Silence

where are the poets
the ones who give breath to insight
the ones who will not avoid feeling
who accept the knowledge of commitment
creating portraits of social aversion
getting their hands dirty
when engaged with civilization

where are the words
emanating from the hearts
of the exploited and broken

the street is empty of all noise
the scream falls silent on the anxious night
dark corners turn lonely and unfamiliar

where are the moonlight conversations
the enjoyment of language
the passion of critique
the declaration of advancement

where are those who will become the art
paint your skin with feeling
dissect society with phrases
ignore the line drawn
by the hand of the sun
and cross it freely and with meaning

where are the stanzas of heavenly disapproval
cradle your infant thoughts
nurture them into reality
but by all means give them life
give them a reason for existing
justify their scars

crawl out of the mud
when knocked off your feet
scratch to find balance
assume an upright position
and proceed with second thoughts
torn apart by experience

where are the poets who bleed
by the brutal edge of understanding
step to the front of the crowd
announce your arrival with a song
sung slightly out of tune

turn heads by rattling cages
dance to the beat of taxi cabs and hydraulic squeals
dance in protest
dance for love
and when you’ve had enough
scream out
scream with all your life
released with all candid purpose
scream with the disgust of acknowledgement
scream with the disapproval that comes
with the consciousness
that conformity handcuffs the soul
and inhibits rational growth
scream out as surroundings become still
scream louder at every turn
scream louder in the face of oppression
scream for desires and demands
scream for today
scream for tomorrow
scream for the ones with no voice
Scream for those that can not scream
scream for change
scream so the streets rise up in unison
echoing your personal horror
scream into the great chaos of stars
scream until they come to take you away
scream as they drag you into the depths of forgetting
make your scream careen down avenues
across borders
over oceans
up the foot hills
to the peak of all mountains
let that scream touch each ear along its journey
and let that scream give a glimmering sensation of hope

Jake St. John currently writes out of New London, CT, where he also coordinates poetry readings in and around the New England area. He is the co-editor of Flying Fish and the editor of Elephant, two small press poetry magazines. His work has appeared in several print publications including Chronogram, Unarmed Journal and Fell Swoop. He has published several collections of poetry.

0 Replies to “jake st. john | four poems”

  1. your poems are amazing. after reading “poem to end silence” I felt like my body wanted to scream. I am from Argentina and some words I dont understand but even so, your poems are amazing. son como pedazos de carne cruda. they are like raw meat. thank you.

    please excuse my bad english
    I want to be a poet
    Quiero ser un poeta

    Tomás Peralta

  2. Began to read Wherther last week and always try to put an image to what I’m reading, so I started to look at photos at the internet and this website showed up. Schools in Colombia don’t encourage you to read much poetry but read your poem named Routine and suit so perfect to what I was feeling and even inspired me to write something. I don’t know much about poetry to be honest and English is not my mother language … and propably you’ll never read this but I just wanted to share it:
    Up and still; smoking not thinking. Getting in the mechanical mode; constricting my heart, numbing my feelings putting on the bandage in my eyes and stared walking with my eyes closed… MORNING FEELING.
    Didi Ale Villegas

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