Monday, November 28, 2011


I'll pretend to love you
so you'll keep making me sandwiches
and I'll try to figure out how to keep you happy
without losing my mind

but the days wear on
and my patience wears thin
behind this false smile
my teeth are clenched
and grinding

when you talk
I look over your shoulder
out the window
at anything else
but you

our love is counterfeit
at least mine is
built on a lie
hidden under false hope
and whitewashed
with a fading coat of lust

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stonemason's Lament

You. You were right about everything.
A warm blooded ghost casting shadows on my eye.
I. I knew it from the start.
Suspending reason to chase my love of sorrow.

I'm the one who reads a book twice
and expects words to change in the meantime,
while in between time, print is dead,
each syllable a mortared stone
art's illusion suggesting life
when the only possible change
is destruction.

So when you look back
(I don't expect you to look back)
You'll see me running crooked circles
around these crumbling monuments
forever bearing witness to ephemeral truths
locked in cold, dead stone
or as close as human feeling can approach.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature never changed a diaper.
Father Time don't understand the moonwalk.
She just lets her children figure things out for themselves,
While he's marching on and on across their corpses.

And all the children sing and dance forever.
And all the children march and carry praise.
And all the children smear their gold dust into tired, blinded eyes.
All the children cry and kick at bedtime.

Mother Nature doesn't care about her babies.
She only ever cares that there are more.
She spreads her legs and welcomes any suitor.
Mother Nature is an eager, lusty whore.

And all the children clutch her apron strings.
And all the children shout and scream “she's pure”.
And all the children crave to suck her supple breast.
All the children do is break her heart.

Father Time doesn't care about his sons.
He only cares that they will keep on spinning.
He will not listen to them whine and talk about their feelings,
Father Time wants the trains to run more promptly.

And all the children try to make him proud.
And all the children want to catch his eye.
And all the children try to play when he gets home from work.
All the children scan the darkness for his face.

Mother Nature and Father Time went to market
And all the children stayed right here at home.
Mother Nature and Father Time went to the Milky Way
And all the children got was a lousy T-shirt.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Gun

My words do my dirty work
droppin simile like napalm
and metaphorical carpet bombs
destroying empty streets
paved with bricks of doubt
enshrouding complacent city states of mind

and as I contemplate this piece I cease existing
in the conscious world
as words take over
moving through me

bringing you a message of divine inspiration
and sweet sadistic desperation

I become the gun
focusing an explosion in one direction

I sharpen syllables like shuriken
split my lip with a pencil
and spit this infection through your brain
while I grab the wind like a samurai sword

the last lost wandering ronin on a mission from God
to slay haters and masturbators
with more to prove than offer
and weave resurrection science
over hollow corpses
to bring them back and ask what they learned

droppin shit from so far over your head
you think it's chocolate rain
and turn baby bird mouths to the sky
to take a hit to your tongue
and trip with me until I'm done
dumb, undone and spun

and I'm gasping for breath
grasping for meaning
drunk on the word
and lost in plain sight

I reach into my darkest corner
rip the lid off a box of secrets
and dare you to look at my truth
I love and I bleed, I lie and I lead
I eat fear like an orphan gobbles chocolate
I FUCK like a demon possesed
and I fight like a dozen howling wolves
to live a life worth the price of admission

starving, snarling, stinking, and alone
naked and shaking
there is no room for death in me
there is no room for shame in me
one heart and one soul burning
with the passion of a thousand suns
I am the gun
and I do not fear the fire.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pound Puppy

On her second day
at a three day kill shelter
she found me
with her bright eyes full of dark rain
and a hyperactive tail that drew my eye

I was looking for a cat
because puppies are dumb
chew everything
and piss all over the carpet

But she was cute enough to tame
and learned to come without a leash
we laid together afternoons
and dug up the neighbor's garden

On the way out one morning
I forgot to latch the door
and she ran

To the old man down the street
singing a recycled, borrowed lullaby
through tired teeth

So now I keep a plate of kibble
on the doorstep

Whistle strange melodies for her
and double-check my locks

Hoping she'll run back for a walk around the block

Or five

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The wise wives say when separating
One should never watch the other disappear,
For every second that you linger
Delays return another year.

Stolen glances past the shoulder
Catch eyefuls of salt
That stain shirt sleeves
And collars
Crusted thick and white

Where strained expectations
Meet and polish sharp again
Their edges against

Words too hard
Words too soft
Words not spoken
Words that can not

Will not
Write speak forget forgive

I cast a cold shadow
Over my eyes
And spit ice
Under my throat.
I gouge you from my flesh
And sow corn in the furrows
To harvest for the welcome feast.

I save my salt
To preserve our meat.

hands clasped, off-cast
skin of the mantis
courtship and blood

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on beauty

Back in Germany, I was telling my friend AWOL about this girl back in the states I was in love with. My high school sweetheart, half-italian, half-jewish, huge breasts, long, thick brown hair, sweet brown eyes and a smile that could just melt you. I was heading back to the states, we were both newly divorced, she was graduating med school, we had been in the gifted classes together back in the day.

And AWOL, who was a couple years older, out of the service already, and living on the economy over there said

"So she's smart."




"Big ol titties"

you know it, bro.

"Has a nice personality"

the best.

"And she's gonna be a doctor, so she's gonna have money."

I guess so, but I'll be doing alright myself.

"Is she loyal?"

uh, I dunno, I guess.

"Cuz if she ain't loyal, she ain't worth a shit."

And then a few months later, she broke my heart and crushed the pieces into powder.

I still don't think I've recovered from that, and it's been eleven years.

I keep finding her in other women, projecting her like the bat signal on a smog-filled sky, and giving too much of myself, too soon. Living on hope instead of honesty.

Still insane, repeating the same thing, expecting different results. Maybe some day it will work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

White Tiger

I don't pretend I can hold the wind
make a horse drink
or talk sense into a woman
or any human

but sometimes I pretend
to be a lot tougher than I really am

the question is
how thirsty
have you become

and how much blue ocean
you can hold in your belly
at once

my love comes in waves
that break on the sand and scatter
tiny castles, overtop the levees
washing away truth
your fingers write inside your eyelids

my love shines warm on your face
undemanding, unrelenting
and merciless
it will burn you to a cinder

so it's probably best to hide
behind the sunscreen and umbrella
you're better off
not dipping toes in my foamy surf

unless you want to get real
and stop running
from your reflection
in twin blue pools

beautiful child
showing brave
for the ash-white tiger
come to eat your fear and pain,

I swallow darkness,
cleanse mud,
and burn lies off impure gold,
Little girl, are you afraid of light?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To Be A Great Writer

I guess this counts as a cover poem, like I posted the Ginsberg a while back, this offering of Bukowski's is my absolute favorite poem. 

What's best isn't what he says, but what he doesn't say, I wonder if you can hear it?

how to be a great writer

you've got to fuck a great many women
beautiful women
and write a few decent love poems.
and don't worry about age
and / or freshly-arrived talents.
just drink more beer
more and more beer
and attend the racetrack at least once a
and win
if possible.
learning to win is hard--
any slob can be a good loser.
and don't forget your Brahms
and your Bach and your
don't overexcercise.
sleep until noon.
avoid credit cards
or paying for anything on
remember that there isn't a piece of ass
in this world worth more than $50
(in 1977).
and if you have the ability to love
love yourself first
but always be aware of the possibility of
total defeat
whether the reason for that defeat
seems right or wrong--
an early taste of death is not necessarily
a bad thing.
stay out of churches and bars and museums,
and like the spider be
time is everybody's cross,
all that dross.
stay with the beer.
beer is continuous blood.
a continuous lover.
get a large typewriter
and as the footsteps go up and down
outside your window
hit that thing
hit it hard
make it a heavyweight fight
make it the bull when he first charges in
and remember the old dogs
who fought so well:
Hemingway, Celine, Dostoevsky, Hamsun.
If you don't think they didn't go crazy
in tiny rooms
just like you're doing now
without women
without food
without hope
then you're not ready.
drink more beer.
there's time.
and if there's not
that's all right

Monday, October 3, 2011

I am become whore, purveyor of words

It's no great secret that I am poor.

It's just damn hard to find a job that pays anything close to a decent wage with the black marks I have on my background.

So I've come up with a novel idea to help raise funds, pay my bills, and get a little further up off the ground than I currently find myself.

For the LOW LOW price of $5 US, I will write a poem for you.

The obvious go-to is a love poem for your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, etc, but feel free to think outside the box, fathers, daughters, sons, mothers, sisters, grandparents, BFFs, your dog, yourself, whatever you want immortalized in the unique verse that ONLY taojoannes can offer, I can get you for $5.

I specialize in romantic poetry, but I'm not currently in love, so let your love be my muse, and we both gain in the process.

Here's an example of a poem that wound up getting me engaged to a wonderful woman that I just couldn't keep Saturday Night Sniffles

It's good for any occasion, anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Valentines, weddings, engagements, funerals, divorce, graduation, expulsion, surgery, WHATEVER excuse you need to express to someone how you feel about them, or someone else.

But why do I need to pay a poet? I can just write it myself.

Poets need to eat, too, and your special someone deserves nothing less than the BEST expression of your truest feelings. You might understand your feelings, you might not, you might know how to evoke those feelings using the beauty of language and imagery to communicate, through language, on a level deeper than words alone can penetrate, you might not.

What poets do is take our feelings like love and pain and find those images and sounds that resonate with those feelings most strongly in the human consciousness, then we arrange them artfully for maximum effect.

You might not even like poetry, but I bet your girlfriend does, and while she would surely appreciate your amateur attempt at putting pen to paper, she would appreciate EVEN MORE the fact that you cared enough to hire the very best.

NOBODY writes poetry like Tao Joannes writes poetry, and I can make it as pathos-dripping, erotic, shocking, funny, or plain as you like. It's all about helping YOU express what you want to say in the way YOU want it said.

So how does it work?

Couldn't be simpler. You send a paypal payment, we connect via email or chat or google+ hangout or skype or telephone, you provide details about the subject, the theme, the type of poem, style of poem, how you feel about the subject, and, as best as you can, WHY you feel the way you do.

I then take that information, chew on it for a while, let it percolate, and then translate it into an EPIC poem, which I format in LibreOffice with or without additional graphics, and save as a PDF document which I make available to you. You can then print it and/or frame it, or just email it to your target.

What I recommend is to read it to your subject, because nothing makes it more personal than that moment, coming from your own lips. For bonus points, you can even memorize it, to show that EXTRA bit of effort and caring.

For a few extra dollars (another $5) I will print it out, sign it, and ship it to you.

But what if I don't have a special someone?

No problem, if you don't have anyone in mind and don't want me to write one about you, yourself, but still want one of my one-of-a-kind verses, you can send $5 for a signed print of any of my poems, many of which are on display on this blog.

Some examples:
Missing You
I Want To Say I Love You
My Name Is Not

Choose an Option
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