Jeff Suszczynski - Poetry/Lyrics

Selected poems and lyrics, 2000-2019.


ah, Pan –

ah, Pan -
don’t smear vaseline over lens
let us remember:
we grew large under glass
so you gave us:
a book of rainchecks
a weakling coat of arms
and a panoply of lies
ah, Pan -
you reduced us to:
wilted cowards jaundiced fear
you watched us move unaware and blimping
didn’t like the night
so we installed permanent daylight
ah, Pan – are you happier now?
you blinked and it brought down my airplane…

american night

you drive under wires and over floods
in a sea of taillights
your imaginary angel called again
but the hands-free went dead
you ache for connection
but get fields of grain and rest stops instead

all hail the american night...

the arrhythmic fervor

i miss you before you’re gone
so convinced that we will end
that rhythmic will turn to chaos -
the tachycardia makes ears buzz and hands sweat
with the arrhythmic fervor of a thousand birds
trying to flap together :
are we to remain so?

calamity vessels

the derelict castle, the growing moat
the circle shrinks as the gravity grows
death, love and history -
haunted by the same old things
and we can no longer see land
from our calamity vessels
soon we'll explode our inflatable arks...

chicago: remedy the guestlist

i'm enlisting your shadow to walk with me today
tumble into skylines with the outline of your face

my mythological timelines now just posters on a wall
had you ever been there you could've had them all
you could've had them all...

come on, november

out by the roadside where no angels walk
we're in aimless agony
joyless tubers plucked from the ground,
huddled round nearly invisible skeleton trees
sitting in fallow fields

so come on, november
come on, unbroken skies
bring leaves in the hallway
bring me some cold sunlight
through open autumn windows

the sun always sets around here...

contact lens family tree

glasses over eyes
we steam and shroud
we are the golden age:
there's a door fixed on the ceiling
not to be opened soon.

appearances in restaurants
where fickle food gets lodged in throat
with listening booths featuring
"The Golden Sounds of Contemporary Disasters"
etched on the cover is only after-rubble
of storied sidewalks.

the dancehall atlantic

down your darkened corridors who dances?
they await you, they hear your echoed footsteps
waves from planes destined for the dancehall atlantic
angel voice in chambers
and who are we but albatross?

my car hits ghosts at intersections
the humidity of a hundred summers is in us
the matchbook crumbles with no fire
and i’m waiting alone without you

the darlings of homecoming

oh, damaged beauties of the bulimic sky
you are gorgeous and so used
you are planets bursting from longing
to be greater than you are -
you wish you were stars
so come, let us toast the darlings of the goodnight kiss (on the cheek)

disciples of languor

the great escape lies in not moving
riding on laws of inertia
dread and stagnation upon the morsel…

short sleep and useless wishes
but no matter:
i'll tread water until drowned…

empty homes

the slow night telephone
arms out for something
grab nothing but pale light
the secret’s out:  we’re all alone here
buffalo has empty homes

we’re drowned in watery echoes
and great lakes breezes
and a lack of newness

so let’s meet at the cemetery gates
hold each other up and watch the sky

esteeming the flashes

any moment now and we explode
so much lost potential
waiting for applause in an empty room
but they don't want your perfection
they just want your large and unkempt torso
and disappearing hair
for the museum of also-rans
where nothing's ever activated

fizzle and crack

standing in the doorway of the new century
point at the horizon but never go there
instead -
bulk food and trinkets,
too many buildings,
drunken phone calls
and smalltalk crosswords with you

burn this mountain of unsent letters
step up and out of your air-raid drill desk protection
but -
the alarm clock is ringing,
lightbulbs imploding,
ill-concealed moments of infidelity
i ape you and you ape me

grandmaster ennui

you always looked prettier in oil slicks
but you brought cubic measurement and ruined the mystery
i don’t want your case studies sterile and bone dry
your ven diagram love letters have grown tired
explain your lack of motivation in three sentences or less:
“life ends. life ends. life ends.”

harbinger ebbward

when everything was newer we were bored
we didn't cling to anything
now that we find it hard to remember clearly
we want to subside and crystallize those dim light moments
and bring it all back

hotflash backrooms

it's been a fabulous decade so far
all a smear of drunken memory
and we watch the stars fade away to the clouds again

we learned to write in competing blood letters
soon moved on to whips and daggers
the bombs were created before we knew what they could do
in hotflash backrooms

if the accident will

we shivered underneath neon signs proclaiming our deaths
we picked through the rubble just to pass the time
listened for ghost transmissions under the pile
i thought i heard you laughing
i thought i heard you sing

we waited for rescue but none ever came
now they fly overhead not to save us but to watch the dwindle
in an old parking lot
we wrote in the dust from fallen buildings:
'we're still alive so fuck you'

keith radford’s puppet head

hinted beauty – poised and ready
but not enough spark to set it off
you made the bulletins and newsclippings
you’re just taped to folders now
freezeframed we are ghosts
caught in the flood of commonplace
i would extend a hand in confidence
but the stairs are steep now...

the kingdom plentiful

everyone cries wolf but eventually it happens
here we go it's time for the ride
disturbances under the sea
sunrise with blowing snow or was it ashes?
running with fire
we saw it all loom overhead
the planet cleanses the kingdom plentiful

mt. hope

stone cold and a rust-flake snow
shivering in towels as the summer sun leeches out to leave you pale
you want to melt into another mouth or universe
but you'll find your way again
walking underneath the cemetery crows

no saviors, please

fortune smiles when she wants to
a sniper at the barbecue
no princess of touch and feel
she’s all about timing
and the carnival will be brief
so rejoice over little things
not over lambs but plastic bags

parenthetical nashville blues

it's already been indexed
one way traffic in dead cities
chemical sunset fade to deep blue dusk
sing a hotel lullaby
titled: 'a lifestyle of drinking (nashville blues)'

walking carpeted hallways
with the always buzz of machinery
antihistamine snacktime
fighting with vending machines
enough half-thoughts to lose your mind
watching street scenes unfold from above
fall into sweet sleep in fresh sheets
and again tomorrow…

the receiving end

recovery hindsight
anyone can trace their steps
if they just try hard enough
i will peruse your memory
for an ancient untruth
and stagger you out
in front of everyone
i’ll drag you down
but somehow
the further you go
the further i follow.

the short sugar

float then nestle down
into artifact gray and brown
just churn through unremarkably
without ceremony or thought
announcing the lady pinhole bedwarmer
her gavel pops eardrums
as she exhorts us on:
"if it ends, it ends…"

skylab love scene

once when I had everything
nothing seemed alive as me
but now my collections have stunted limbs
and the universe is shrinking...

i missed the signpost, you took my hand
and declared resistance is futile
immersed ourselves in gas station landscapes
and power lines and pitted streets
we waited months for the leaves on the trees.

we never sparkled, the dust untouched
and you said, “You think you're so much better than me
but I know how you got that scar.
I know how you got that scar.”

we kept the fire night and day
until you had to go away.

quite a surprise, when through it all
we always pretended that it was
under control.

some time, when you have the time
i hope you call just to say hello.

the straw brigade

your listerine teeth
our broken-armed love
you, chiseled by facelift
it’s our job to clap when you speak
and complain at every roadside
we’re counting cars
should be angling towards meaning
instead coughing in your exhaust plume
endured rival chants for so long
we finally built a campfire for all the lonely hearts
breathe and you’ll put it out
we’re fanning flames, it’s almost life

tinhorn planet

i reached hard for your escalator prize
stretched and thin, waiting for the harvest season
wire to wire, connect me please
to your tinhorn planet sitting on a pedestal
a desperate call for sustenance went unanswered
your only gifts were liquor, tachycardia and false grails

though the swelling is gone now
i can still feel your hands on my throat
everytime you call

unlimited february

the pennies you found and collected
faraway trains over the frozen river
which city do you live in now
under the silent february snow?

backlit by wake up water
in this space you want landmarks
trying to find a place to rest your aching bones
a fire on the hearth, a portal home