"Power of Positive Thought"

by Jeph Johnson


First I said (and was pessimistic):

"My memory ain't what it used to be."

Then I turned it around to be positive:

"I am remembering my memory being better"

Meaning I have added a new memory and am remembering things I have never remembered before!

Author's Notes/Comments: 


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Tangent Manifesto

I am turning 30 soon.

I hear that this is an age at which we begin to measure years against



pay rates.


My consciousness has recently become littered with photographs of unfamiliar sunsets,

partially obscured by

BOLD WHITE TYPEFACE shouting motivational imperatives to

rid myself of people who bring me down,

take the first small steps toward my goals,

and allow myself a weekly “cheat day” in the quest for self-optimization.


The clock is ticking.

The plot is thickening.

The clutch is sticking.

My bell is ringing.

The death knell of my 20s is

the tea kettle of my senses, as it

boils and whistles,

spitting spits of water,

212 degrees, 100 C,

over the edge,

where they hit the burner and sizzle...

and I become acutely aware that I am getting older.


My generation has a reputation for being

one of unwritten songs, unfinished thoughts, and unfinished

We have more aphorisms than hobbies, more goals than plans, and more plans than actions.


But my only true fear is to look back and lament that

things just didn't turn out how I'd envisioned them.


I refuse to hold others' definitions of failure against myself.

I refuse to hold my own definition of failure against myself.


I have forgiven myself for

all the books I'll never finish

and renewed my library card.


I have issued myself a pardon for all the glasses of cheap wine

I have poured and abandoned

in moments of distraction.


I have recognized the absurdity of so many razor blades dulled out of fear that if I were to shave less, people would assume I was trying to make a statement.


I have come to terms with the fact that I am

the type of person who writes things like “Learn Swedish” on a to-do list,

and that I will probably never learn Swedish,

and that I will probably keep putting it on the list.


I have looked at my life, cut holes in the pockets, and let things that don't work for me fall out.


Cable TV, Complacency

 Meat, Dairy, and Monogamy

 High-waisted bathing suit bottoms

 and no more Coconut Rum: we all know how that ended the last time.


No regrets.

Each tattoo is a litmus test to see if it's worth opening my mouth,

or if I've already been dismissed.

Saving my breath for old age.


No regrets.

Spanish One Night Stand didn't call the next morning, and I would not have answered.

Saving my breath for old age.


No regrets.

I'm not picking out baby names and I'm not playing mind games.

Saving your breath.


I am neither business nor casual: still comfortable around

blown glass, ashtrays, and blasphemy

shaky knees, lost keys, and idolatry


A refusal to be bored is all it takes to hold on to yourself:

an awareness of how unaware you have the potential to become.


Little kid in Mom's shoes, the 11th hour, happy birthday.



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Passing Time

Passing Time

In the back of my mind

I feel the passing of time

It passes faster every day

  • It spins on like a top

    It I cannot stop

    It just keeps passing away

  • Every morning a new hurt bone

    I must have slept wrong

    I can barely move

  • Walking more crooked every day

    Forgetting what I want to say

    Can no longer find my groove

  • Every day getting closer to the end

    Further away from where I did begin

    Where has all the time gone

  • Every day it is always the same

    As time washes my life down the drain

    How much more time to spend alone?

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    Fog on a Mirror

    I wasn't ready for the things that I learned,
    of the breaking of hearts or how the world turns.
    I quench all the fires with whiskey that burns
    cause in your November arms I will never find warmth.

    You weren't ready for a love that was true,
    You were born for the sun, and my heart is the moon.
    Colors surround you, I can just sing the blues.
    My winter-born heart always plays out of tune.

    Now I'm older and wiser, I can see crystal clear,
    That I fell for your love, like you fell for my fear.
    There's something we're lacking, like fog on a mirror,
    Our messages written, soon disappear.

    But life has it's way with every person I've met,
    Like insects surrounded by a young child's net.
    And I am imperfect, on this you can bet,
    I only drink to remember, just how to forget.

    Death of Beauty

    Just poems

    Love me not for what you see, my dear,
    or for that which you can touch & hold.
    For I'm not immune to the wrath of time,
    you day, I too will grow old.

    My thick auburn locks will turn to gray
    and my youthful glow will have faded.
    My vibrant smile, like a flower, will wilt,
    and once sparkling eyes will seem jaded.

    My skin might look like an ill-fitting suit,
    and gravity will cease to be a friend.
    Wrinkles will devour my pretty face,
    leaving my looks a memory, in the end.

    So love me not for what you see, my dear
    let what is unseen be why.
    Love beyond what you can touch & hold,
    for one day my beauty will die.

    Author's Notes/Comments: 

    Just some thoughts as I grow older...

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    On Aging


    Loneliness besets us all as we age.
    Will we be alone in our twilight years?
    Children will visit taking precious moments from their already over busy lives.
    Old friends will call as they are able.
    But what about those"everydays", those reflective days?
    When memories flood every crevice of your humaness.
    And you fight the emotions you try valiantly to repress.
    Who or what shall we turn to?
    Who will make unwanted personal decisions over our silent protests?

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    The Rope Swing

    I watched as the rope swing swung and children laughed-
    an interloper I- but yet I stayed
    and watched for hours from the bench- they thought me daft
    to waste a sunny day tucked in the shade.
    But this bench for me became a small life raft
    that saved me as the day began to fade.
    For life, as days like this, to quickly end,
    when bodies rest and souls alone must wend.

    Author's Notes/Comments: 

    Comments are greatly appreciated... Thank you for reading.

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    Memories Ghost

    I came home to my small town
    and wandered 'round, both up and down
    streets known so well, but had not seen
    since I was a boy, scrawny and lean,
    my baseball cap a soiled crown.

    How can some places known so well,
    seem yet unkown, I ask, pray tell,
    to that same boy, a man now grown
    who wandered 'bout as one who owned
    all that he saw, Main Street to dell?

    It's a trick, that in effect
    the young from mem'ries ghost protects,
    yet haunts us all, beloved kin
    from dwelling on what might have been
    but for times continual trek.

    Author's Notes/Comments: 

    One of my favorite poems. I love the line, "my baseball cap a soiled crown."

    Please comment freely...

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    "Growing Gray"

    by Jeph Johnson


    I feel my beard growing gray,
    Hiding wasted nights and days.
    Beneath it was a smiling face
    Until delight was put to waste.
    Now downcast and without faith
    I sink into a depressed grave
    I breathe my last and contemplate
    How love to me has come too late...

    Author's Notes/Comments: 


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