Jon caught our attention ten years ago, as a participant in our online contests, and eventually a winner. In fact, we were so impressed with his writing that he was selected as one of five unique voices to be published in our hardcopy anthology, 5×5 Keeping the Dream Aloft: Five authors-Five stories each. Here he departs from his passion to write short stories and a novel-in-progress to share his poetry. Well done…thanks Jon, and we hope to see you in the spring when we host the 9nth Annual Writers’ Reunion in Oceanside. Please enjoy,
Post Funeral Prayers
by Jon Tobias
Try Not To Cry
I want to call these eyes housebroken.
I want to speak a language that only knows
the present tense.
A language without memory or hope.
A language without foresight
where every day comes as a surprise.
A language where etcetera and ellipsis end
sentences instead of periods.
A language where everything happens now
and then is not happening at all
and may never happen again.
I want this to be my language,
a language where people only go
but are never gone.
I go to send you a selfie
to tell you I miss you
and swipe through the filters.
Bear face, baby, big mouth, makeup.
I stop on the ageing filter
and see my face much older,
grey, balding, bigger nose
I loosen my lower lip,
make my eyes blank,
look around lost,
and it is my father’s face
coughed up food
and snot in our mustache
waiting to be wiped again
yellow cigarette-stained fingertips
debating on pushing the capture button
a passive, okay,
slips from my lips
like a man who has to
have the world speak for him.
Do you want me to take your plate away?
Do you want a shave after your bath?
Do you want your nice shirt for dinner?
Do you want your last meal to be left over ribs?
Do you want to call your son
and let it go to voice mail one last time?
Photographic Proof of Bigfoot
I have a photo of you
with your grandson.
You both sit on a couch
in pajamas while he shows
you something in a book,
and you look at it with a big toothless smile
while holding your oxygen tube
over your forearm as if it were
an unruly scarf end falling from
Now that the anger has left
your body, it has given your face
some animal likeness to gentleness,
And now I can fill in this emptiness
with imagined compilation videos of children
happily waking their fathers in bed.
And now I can let go of the longing
for a love I wish I knew in exchange
for proof of its existence at all
even though it wasn’t for me.
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Jon Tobias is a San Diego based poet whose works have been published by Local Gems Press, Quillkeepers Press, White Stag Publishing, and of course A Word With You Press. He is an SDSU graduate with a bachelors in English. He is a daydreamer and nighttime into the pillow screamer. Most importantly though, he is a poet.