I speak for those

Photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash

I speak for those
who do not speak for themselves
I speak for those
who can not speak for themselves

I speak for myself, true
yet we are all more together
than some might think

I speak for life,
all forms of life
not only myself
not only my kind
but for plants
and trees
and dogs
and snails
and moon jellies
all burning in my distance

I speak for those
who do not look like me
I speak for those
who do not have voices like me
I speak for those
whose silence is too often
mistaken for consent

I speak for those
who have no voice,
for if they did
they would say what we do not want to hear.

“Love us,” they would say.
“Love us, as we love you.”
Even though
You rape and maim and kill
All we know is love
(love, and function
but mostly love)
And therefore we ask
All you must do
is simply love
love us,
as we love you.


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My Writing is a Doorway

Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

My writing is a doorway
a portal into Love
a prayer to the above

My writing is a doorway
through which I travel every day
sometimes in deed,
yet more often only in thought
in words.

Few others tread this path.
I am not alone;
I know I am not alone
yet I am the only one here
I am the only one writing
I am the only one working here
in this space
only me
and I am somehow
knowing there are others on the path
their path;
their writing path
they too are alone on theirs.

And my thoughts distract me.
My thoughts distract me
My thinking distracts me
over and over
and over again
when it does
I come back
falling down seven times
and getting up eight.

And I must remember
my writing is a doorway
my writing is a portal
my voice is my transport
into great things
of my own daring creation.

20210520 Thu

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Surrender to Self

Photo by Slava B on Unsplash

It’s easy
to fall back
on old works,

no one knows
no one cares
so it’s easier
to just put them forward
as if
I’d just written them.

Yes, no one knows
no one but me
and it would eat away at me
pretending like that.

So when
the tiniest bit of hope
of inspiration
the most infinitesimal jot
and tittle
of Love —
when that hit,
there I was,
pen already in hand
with a fortuitously placed notebook.

And here I write
images of a poem-a-day
dancing madly in my head,
derived from demented ballerinas
and here I sit
following the Voice of God
as it whispers in my head
in a thundering sort of way

surrendering, surrendering
I’ve found
is my highest goal.

Surrendering to my Self.


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Mincing Words

Mincing Words

Your breath
synced with mine
your sounds
synced with mine
your eyes
locked with mine

we’re doin’ time
your eyes
ultimate divine
your sounds
you and me

your breath
synced with mine
bleeds into mine
your sounds
synced with mine
slides through time
your eyes
locked with mine
bore into mine

your thoughts
slow grind with mine
your heart
slow grinds with mine
your eyes
slow grind with mine
your soul
slow grinds with mine

doin’ time
slow grind with mine

Thanks to Akua Naru for the inspiration.

Posted by John Onorato in Poetry, 0 comments
Water Over Whispers

Water Over Whispers

Let us close the door
behind us,
shut the world away.

Slowly, slowly, off
slip our clothes.

It is as if gods
were releasing their essence
we are those gods,
you and I
deep in the eyes
our arms raising.

Hush —
let us do without words
only sighs
only whispers
only glances
only touches
soft and gentle

Before you, someone made the Earth
and the moon
and the comet,
fire in the pitch of space.

What will we make, you and I?
a rush of blood and water,
a tropical sun,
moonrise over a mountain
a mighty river’s murmur
in her bed.

The gods watch over us.
Time himself attends us,
standing stock still.
Even their keen stares cannot hold back
the first word we speak:


Posted by John Onorato in Poetry, 0 comments
Here We Go Again

Here We Go Again

This is the end
of the beginning
of the end
of the beginning
of the
of the

and on …

You are gone
gone now
yet not gone
You are here
yet not here
now you can sing
now you are silent

Where are you?
released, released
Where are you?
here, you are here
with me
with us
with love
with love

is the end
this is the end
this is the end
of the beginning
of the end
of the beginning
of the end
of the beginning
and on
and on

( birthed
in violent red fire
yet holding still
six feet above me )

is it you?

it’s the end
it’s the beginning
it’s the end
it’s the beginning

it is the beginning

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Blowing Down the Walls

Blowing Down the Walls

Despite my
best efforts to keep my life all
and shit
I feel things changing
and it scares the crap out of me
I want it so badly
I want to change so badly
I know how
complacent I have become
and I hate it
I hate myself for that

(not a long leap
by any imagination)

but simultaneous-like
change scares
the living shit out of me
I suppose it would scare anyone
I suppose I can’t always
blame that one on my brain injury
but fuck change scares me
but hey, the muse struck, here at four am
like she usually does

that bitch

I mean really, why can’t she keep
normal fucking hours like the rest of humanity
but I digress

so hey, the muse struck, at four am
and I listened to her
whereas usually I would mistake her
for something else,
or not hear her at all,

or maybe even stuff a sock in that fat bitch’s mouth …

and I dunno, it feels like I just ate
a stick of spiritual dynamite
and that sucker just went off
in my under-used heart
blowing it wide open
here’s hoping I can get some more mileage
out of it

real soon now
being complacent sucks
I gotta tell ya.

Posted by John Onorato in Poetry, 0 comments
For Gerry

For Gerry

Won’t the clouds
please stay still
for just a moment

let me enjoy
being with my friend
one last time —

Let me soak it in
your house,
your dog
the organs you played
your pictures and your glassware and your books
all so precious to you

your presence,
never strong
always gentle
and now

At least you’re better.
At least you’re free of pain.
At least you are there
with the gods
looking down on us
as we struggle on
without you.

Here’s some stories and anecdotes about the friend in this poem, who passed away in late 2019.

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Stemming the Tide

Stemming the Tide

Let me see you —
my eyes light on you
from across the room.

you meet my gaze
and smile.

Oh, heaven!

It is
as if
I see you
for the first time —
branches released
(stars released
from the trees
of our being-ness.

Let us do
without words, without noise
only touches
only glances
only sighs
soft and gentle
yet insistent
as the world falls away.

Chaos behind us,
you belong to me
just as I belong to you
twin islets of sanity
in a world made of madness,
chaos before us.

Before you,
there was no form
only void
and me, waiting.

Before you,
there was a cavalcade of souls
each more inadequate
than the last.

Time himself
stands stock still
immovable, immaterial
as our host moves,

The gods themselves
write paeans to our desire
there you are
and here I am
locked in the memory of your eyes.

Posted by John Onorato in Poetry, 0 comments
Go Figure

Go Figure

Crotchwell thinks I am mad.
Crotchwell thinks I am mad
while he sits in his corner
playing with his paddle-ball

When his time comes
Crotchwell sits in front of the board
hands fidgeting
occasionally going to the key
around his neck
just as I sit at the board
when it is my turn.

When it is not my turn
that is, when it is Crotchwell’s turn
I like to write.
I have run out of paper
margins and all
so I have taken to writing on the walls.

Crotchwell watches me
and undoubtedly considers
whether this is odd behavior
or not.

Sometimes his hand strays near
the .45 on his hip
and he thinks
of whether he should kill me
or not.

For if one of us is acting strangely,
it is the duty of the other
to shoot the strange one.

This is an order.

We have many orders.

We are to watch this board
and wait for something unusual to happen.

We were not told
what this unusual thing would be,
but we were assured
that we would know it
when it came.

If something indefinably unusual
happens on the board,
Crotchwell is supposed to proceed
to one end of the room
and I to the other.

Then we are to take the keys
from around our necks,
insert them in the special locks
and turn them at the same time.

If we do that,
something very unusual will happen.

Something much more unusual
than a few lights on a board.

In the meantime,
Crotchwell plays with his paddle-ball
and I shall write on the walls.

I covet Crotchwell’s paddle-ball —
I have asked him if I could play with it
and that earned me only a baleful glare
from Crotchwell,
keeper of the paddle-ball.

I tried to take it from him
and play with it myself
but he found out.

Now he sleeps with it
under his pillow,
and sometimes
the ball hangs down
as if his pillow
were growing a testicle.

Crotchwell’s pillow
grows a testicle
and I compose sonnets on this event
writing them on the wall
so small that none can read them
not even Crotchwell.

I do not want him to know
that I am composing sonnets
about his paddle-ball —
I used to write large
but I have gotten smaller, because
of space considerations as well as
Crotchwell himself;
I wonder if he will consider this strange behavior.

Crotchwell watches me
he undoubtedly thinks of shooting me
and I watch Crotchwell
I try to decide if I should shoot him
or not.

Perhaps if I shot him
it would bring some reprieve
to this madness.

Perhaps if he shot me
it would bring some reprieve
to this madness.

It is an endless game,
between Crotchwell
and I
and we’re not even players —
I’ve got the strangest feeling.

I think I’ve got it figured
that we’re just pawns.

We don’t figure,
Crotchwell or
and the paddle-ball
and the poetry
figure even less,
but at least
they give us
something to think about
when we are not
watching the board
for something unusual to happen.

Here’s some background on the subject of this poem.

Posted by John Onorato in Poetry, 0 comments