Jonathan Block's poetry has been published in many journals around the world, including Phoebe, The NRG Anthology, The Chiron Review and Riverrun. He has also taught poetry for the Writer's Voice program in Connecticut.

This page contains published and unpublished poems. Follow the title links below. Longer poems have their own page. Click here for haiku.

Click here to read my lyrics.

A Science Of Forget
Sonic Approach
Silver Sky
Swell And Slack
I Talk With The Spirits
Before The Ceremony
In Deference To Memory

Click here for haiku

        Sonic Approach

Somewhere down the totem pole
the shape of electricity mumbles
distracting fortunes that fail to recall
but look back to discover years
of discarded metal shine again
an atmosphere monochromatic
yearning for warmer weather
attention moving strangely inward

There is no sense and explanations
are a hand smashing plate glass
turns not taken into formations
unfinished and ignored by structure
perhaps it's easier to forgo forgotten
images flashing than air unexpected
try to grab a galaxy before progress
suffocates the glowing particles

Light bulbs burn brightest the moment
before they blow a slice of time
removed and sewn together flash
an instant converge and destined
to be strangers some roads are best left
by foliage and wonders undiscovered
now nullified tired of revealing silence
against a language of nondisclosure

        Silver Sky

And the trees appeared overnight. Green
mixed in among the brown leaves that never
fell. Sitting on the radiator, dirty white paint
flaking down to iron, leaning against
the cigarette ash window, another attempt to
follow the gnaw translating passing minutes, months
disappear in the murky synapses, less lucid
with each successive firing. Try to pull
back something from a harvested field, husks
dry and matted: what happens when it rains.

Morning thunder sounds in the coffee mugs.
We start from the beginning with no sense
of lost time or money. Memory is no help:
the question is not of making the same mistakes
twice; it's more following a different corridor,
a direction that wasn't under consideration.

Shadows on the wood columns, drainpipes echo,
pavements brighten. One minute he's attentive in
the chair, the next shaky hands and slumping body.
The impossible line, evidence abounds: a cracked
sidewalk, fallen branches. The lapse of consciousness
again again; he wanted to say goodbye but forgot.
Is it too late if you never know the hour
when they will come? The telephone rings.

Temperatures and weights rise, no-wax floors
creak. The insight turns out to be less than
imagined, arbitrary. Better to be present
with weak words than absent from strong ones.
Meanwhile, crows build a nest with twigs,
cedar chips and newspaper. The beginning is invisible.

Limbs slow to a standstill, held together by humid
air. Heartbeat reverberates, breath quickens and
sweat forms along the forehead. Steam rises off
the pavement, feet sink in soft tar. A leaf
twitches now and then, turning over.
The air conditioner doesn't work and we're
forced to open windows and swat bugs
no one can identify. Time slips and we forget
who and where we are like skidding on sand,
waking in a hospital with no knowledge of the
spill. The nurse asked if we were
still here, not an easy question to answer.


Coaxing back silence
rough from the weather
worn until the fast break
the way inside and forth

he thought oblivion
maybe next time
thickets and rain showers
grass wide open dishonest
strain the uneven process

blend the insignificant key
fragments shorn from action
too late and hard branches
the breeze hot and slow

flip the rear-view mirror
a sun burns the morning
but the sky won't relent
trimming branches filled
with wet August leaves

prophecies unconsidered
and shuttered clanging
thoughts resonate half-dead
abandoned swollen humidity

a watering can evaporates
one foot from the vine
brown losing its edge
unintentional and silent
around telephone poles
air thick with dirt

crows squawk adding
to the litany of trees
that wash the afternoon
so much passes unclear
not even halfway
sparkles off the shrinking
each flash
less defined
short of breath

sun streak fills a spider
warned up the juniper
blown off and dangling
lands on moist mulch
lower as the season shrinks
dense and uncertain
pregnant with a simmering
hope silver and sway slightly
down a dead-end street
months at a clip erased

remnants stuck in the ether
some gin given to strangers
empty before the crow reaches
a log of grubs and termites


The moon is not so far
that its path can't be traced

nor floating milkweed
referenced to one time

rather the weight and steam
of one last hot air slap

before everything between
brown and yellow measures
a closer night
some leaves already turning

        Swell And Slack

Given that the sun belongs to the existing world
and is not in itself divine, the fog
yields slowly. There are two windows
between us and outside, reminders that
systems regenerate consistently, and rising
waters sound up through the sand.
Gulls finish feeding and the inlet's
spectrum moves from gray to
blue, bright off raggy waves:
transient green further out, rusty
near shore. Seaweed wavers,
dispersed morning retreating into dense
pines against the horizon. Bees
come out to clover on the lawn
that ends where the eroding seawall
begins: pine roots poke through.
And there's still me to contend with:
these inspired minutes, mere
reactions, inadequate echoes.

Then the broken reef comes through
black, slimy, splintered islands.
Spray condenses at the bottom
of pines, diffuses and disappears
all the way up. Far from indifferent
the mother has forebearance in this
quiet desolation. Seagulls colored white
wash against silver mud and water,
melt into the sparse green.
This privilege is an obligation
and I'm attached to it all
from the blue chair, trying
to attract the spirits. I'll join
the sorry old men, drooped shoulders
and brillo beards, while you cut
salt greens and ferns for paper
along the tidemark.

        I Talk With The Spirits

Circling overhead
branches sway
profiled in ash
brilliance not
saying a word

Dissonant levels
their own center
movements unseen soil
sprouting backward
calling through the wet
perennial blanket sleeping
grass stonewall moss
all melt to the same
lilting vibration

Thud thwap bass
drum press roll
rising still from the
grave unearthed jewel

Three in one
circular breath
then high register
flute flying over
ride cymbal tongue
slap valve taps

Just a visitor
from the blues

        Before The Ceremony

The not-possible return fires off
once in a while when least expected.
Intensity less than before but there
nonetheless. Renewed faith in possibilities.

Soaked stairs, dirty white stones, distant
reeds thumping ceremonial, unable to translate
the heart and cortex rush. Red ends of the trees
gray in the cold. Full forest presence in measure.

Branches shadow the brown moss. Wooden signs
show the wear of winter salt and sand occasionally
moving toward green. The second hand doesn't bother
but the calendar does: now ain't the time for your tears.

Telephone wires carry whatever comes as no surprise
to the bird jumping, cicadas soon to follow. Something
silver glints now and then. Windshields flash by
the highway in the distance. The older ones sit

around and decide what will erase the future tense.
Searching for looking on seeking out. No other way
to repeat the same/old/story. Some of the windows
have been closed, the bedroom light is on next door.

Refuse to reorient or move down a different stretch.
Digital delay footsteps pulled back to the real, black
against the barely sky getting darker. Light breathes
its last breath, the bamboo shade looms into focus.

        In Deference To Memory

It was
then the
mocking stopped:
figures in
an air
shroud. Six
years (two
plus four)
stolid, vacuum,
crashes down.
Babylon strange.

What were
they wearing,
how was
it phrased,
where did
it happen?

Besides all
that there
are no
questions: effort,
empty mind,
the inability
to conjure
what once
was amaranthine,

the picture
soft focus,
half asleep
half awake,
slightly all
the time.