from OFTEN COILED (Often Coiled)

Voices change the mood of the day.
A telephone ring breaks the silence.
The College of broken wills remains.
Lip service is paid to guidance.

Thoughtless use belittle’s what nature has gained,
our focus is on our weapons of mass production.
Time was waiting for no one to arrive,
bending and stretching its way to the other side.

Circumstantial quality –
speculating louts –
who has the chance of finishing
before the lights go out?

Science pushes us in ways we couldn’t guess
as we hold out our hands for a gaming edge.
We preen and prance about, seeking to impress
instead of searching for knowledge.

Our grand elixir hides in a shell game
as we bow before the great god of commerce.
And though we may well try we can’t seem to refrain
from thinking it should all be ours, more for less.

Circumstantial quality –
speculating louts –
who has the chance of finishing
before the lights go out?

  • Jeff Sampson (2009)


from OFTEN COILED (Often Coiled)

It looks like a sell-off of ancient lines.
Feels like a trade-off, passing the time.
See the way lines control, well-defended right along.
Strong arms will push you away
whenever you wander within the imperial walls.

So many lies,
so many glories to bring you around when your head’s out of line.
That’s how the ones who want to rule keep us all away –
so many weary nights.
If you don’t know you had it,
you don’t know you gave it away.

So a man wants the land – oh my, the silly comes.
Protests are shoved out of the way –
oh my, the sadness comes.
Standing in the fire – better get involved.
The moment is getting away,
the moment is fading away.

The scourge of the land is set to come by.
The death of the land is all we’ll have left to buy.
Oh my, the silly comes
and every stream will turn to grey.

Moment gets carried away –
lost in a reverie
of toys they lay at our feet.
What will it take for you to see?

– Jeff Sampson (2010)


from FROM DUST TO DUSK (Sampson – Carroll)

Where I am going,
where dead must go,
there is no shoulder,
no where to moan.

When ended roamin’,
when leaves and flowers
fall in the echo
then I am home.

Now it is snowing.
the city bluer
the wind, it comes again.
A wave goes through.

Oh, there’s a sitting old.
A listed memo, no.
Against the strength to breathe
a hand will turn to go.

A when is no when
a turn is slow.
A yen to leave you,
all knowing.

No treasure.
No place beside the stone.
Another furtive moment
will not arrive.

All calls,
still frozen.
All calls –
all those are gone.
All of them gone.

All of them.
There are no calls.
Buried them.

– Jeff Sampson (2021)


from NOCTURNES (Jeff Sampson and Kecap Tuyul)

30 years
30 years is a long, long time
to be living with a memory –
the kind that clutches, goads and stabs
remembers fractured, splattered dreams
haunts the living, loving days.

letting past affairs reside
where they ought to be,
much depends on from where
I acknowledge and view.

let the future come as it will,
and let the past stay the past.

– Jeff Sampson (2014)


from ODDS-N-ENDS (Jeff Sampson)

Caution in the initial step –
dragging shadows past their usefulness.
Beloved believing in their grieving
remainders are reminders of a shallow past.

Cold are the thoughts intruding on desire
(weighted threats enclose the hollow throne).
Vanquished reluctantly, kneeling over mind –
spirits impaled upon the pyre.

Lost traction again –
spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning away.
That empty frame lying naked in the hall
determines all, the more I couldn’t say.

Aberrations on the trail lay waste to endless peace,
marking passage built on wanderlust in pain.
Rain falls again, washing clean the tainted grief,
leaving shadows in restraint along the way.

Cried for help, but the damage was done –
turning, turning, turning, turning away.
Reasons relinquished were second to none
(dead heart relieved to be a soldier).

Crossways in the wrong time, head lost in the roar –
the wrong way reveals a malice grin.
Nine locks upon the door, feet nailed to the floor,
turning, turning, turning, turning within.

– Jeff Sampson (2015)


from CURTAIN OFF THE SCENE (Sampson – Carroll)

there are masters, there are servants –
those without say;
there are quitters, there are doers –
the ones who find a way.
there are bumbershoots and bandersnatch and carriers between
a plynth of might and majesty and places yet unseen.

litter from the sordid past lies languid on the shore
as pleasure domes release the bats and druids walk the moor.

a stretch of cavern walkabouts relives the childhood screams –
playing fodder for the beast that moves within our dreams;
pulling on the shreds of light to curtain off the scene.

– Jeff Sampson (2016)


from IF WE HAD KNOWN (Sara Ayers and Jeff Sampson)

Oh terror, what is the cause?
How did I lose my peace and accord?
My last wish was different than the ones before,
how did I get myself so turned around?

Perhaps it’s a matter of perception,
perhaps someone wants to walk me home.
I couldn’t live there anymore,
my likeness was standing in a panic –
my shadow, fleeting and anaemic.
The streets were flowing red –
so many faces I knew washing by.

I’m a toy – pull my chain, I’ll laugh for you.
Cut my hair – change my shoes, it’s pointless.
There’s nothing permanent about the way you make me lie.

A shrug for the scowls I perceive.
What is the reason behind you wanting me to believe?
I’ll never play those stupid games again.

I’m a volunteer, I’m only here because I want to be.
What is the point of ignoring me?
Should it be me who turns his back to walk away?

Calmer winds overrule.
Calmer thoughts may see me through.
A younger me might start it all again,
but there doesn’t seem to be a point to any type of plan.

I haven’t been around the world
but I have been several kinds of fool
and I don’t want that again.
Offer me your hand,
your strength will calm me.
Is there any other way?

Memory – tearing me.
Memory – haunting me.

– Jeff Sampson (2008)