Jon-Sands

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

—  Jon Sands, “A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You”

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

—  Jon Sands, A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You
A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You | Jon Sands

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

I have the perfect idea. When we retire we will sit together on the porch of your beautiful mansion. In our rocketchairs I will tell you fabulous stories about what I have seen.
—  Jon Sands, excerpt from “Paloma”
Pretend for one moment you are me, because you are. I have always been your moment. The first time. Anytime this universe exploded inside your stomach and you could not stop saying, love, love, and love, and you.
—  Jon Sands, from “Am” in The New Clean
Jon Sands - The Fishermen

Sometimes you dance slow with your best friend
while a woman you love differently than you love
Etta James sings At Last into a karaoke machine
like she wrote it in the bathroom.  
Sometimes every person you know is drunk enough
it becomes a new definition for sober.

There is a bar on the west side of Brooklyn
the fishermen call home (or they used to
when Brooklyn had fishermen), a siren carrying them back
to their whiskey. Sometimes there is tonight.
We are six people making footsteps that never disappear.
Can you imagine the lines we have drawn to get here?

There are people who have called us their homes.
Tonight, there is family in the oxygen. Sometimes,
two people is its own person. It has a lifespan,
it gets hungry, it too, can lie underneath its sheets
and wonder how it can still feel alone—
Sometimes it is more. 

There is a phone booth in the bar that seats one.
Six of us scramble inside, crawl up the walls
until even our drinks fit. Our bodies are rediscovering
what it is to be possible. It is one night
when the clocks in Brooklyn begin to spill backwards,
then stop. The bartender — still as a stalagmite,

while the perfect pour stays perfect.
The couple at the corner table,
together like popsicle sticks in a freezer—
the ovvvvv from I love you suspended
in the air like a vibrating chandelier.  
We, with our songs, with our slow dances,

our smiles —  which on any other day
rotate like the swing on a jump rope —
we are the last to go, we are the last to go

we are last —

1 AM.
I am afraid to write anything down these days -to document the changing wind of my life lest it become permanent.
To miss a person I am standing beside.
To love what is absent.
To be alone in a snow-globe with beautiful weather.
—  Jon Sands —Last Night

I am the view of any sunset
on any skyline
from any highway
which still spells Cincinnati in cursive
on the back of my eyeballs.

Pretend for one moment you are me
because you are.

I have always been your moment,
the first time
any time
this universe exploded inside your stomach
and you could not stop saying

I love you.

—  Jon Sands, excerpt from “Am”
youtube

Black Girl White Boy

addshjfkljofg this poem always leaves me speechless! You might have to listen to it a couple hundred times but once it hits you…man….

I never assume that just because I’m writing something, everyone has to know it, or that I have an obligation to share it. There is often a lot of understanding to be gained in the sharing, but you always have a choice. There’s a growing cadre of poems that I may never share out or publish, but it doesn’t change that they were asking me to write them.
—  Jon Sands, interviewed by Hanif Abdurraqib for 30 in 30(0)
I do not speak, but
when I do, I am not afraid my eyes have shown too much. I have not
wrapped myself completely around what you think of me. I have never
been persuaded to love without condoms. I never called it love when it
should have been called penis. Called it love when it should have been
called lonely. Called it love when it should have been called trying-too-
hard. My outer layer does not mask my secrets well. I do not feel secrets
pressing the walls of my throat. I have never allowed ugly words to
crawl inside my cheeks, then splatter across walls. I will not sing. I will
never be a singer. I never named this voice beautiful. Never imagined
the sky was a goal we could accomplish. I never thought we were the
sky. People will always people. We do not name ourselves potential.
Our skin is only a collection of cells. I do not name myself solution.
Accountable is not a line in this story. Gravity will always keep us stuck
to this floor. These bones don’t want out of this skin. I do not wish to
unlock my ribcage, say, Look – I made this. I do not bleed. I am giving
you the entire story. You have already leafed through my pages. You
have seen the whole show.
—  Jon Sands, excerpt from Not About You