The Poetry of
Jack Scott


Etymologically speaking, an inkling has nothing to do with ink. That does not suit my purposes. Dictionaries hold many, many definitions, all of which are valid, none of which pinpoints the use I make of it. The closest, perhaps, is: an utterance in an undertone. What’s really being said is between the lines of what’s actually being said on the surface. Inklings can be sneaky things. Inklings are like raindrops on a windshield before you turn the wiper on. To my mind , inklings are like words written in real ink running somewhat on paper, carrying the idea of a Rorschach test. Old bumperstickers streaked with mud.

My mind is every age it has ever been.

I have spent much of my life listening to people tell me what I already know.

I would rather love a woman that I can’t have than have a woman I can’t love.

The most comforting word in the English language is enough.

A garden is how you feel when you are in it.

Being a bestseller doesn’t make it a bad book.

Dinosaurs became extinct because they failed to adapt to molten lava.

My mouse finger is throbbing with expectancy.

I didn’t know I liked you until I learned we had the same enemies.

If right brains and left brains couldn’t get along, we’d probably have two heads.

I may not be what you expected, but I am exactly what you asked for.

It’s easier wading downstream, but you catch more fish the other direction.

Mirrors reverse right and left sides. Why don’t they also reverse top and bottom?

Multi-tasking is doing three things wrong in the time it would take to do one thing right.

Nothing is ever as good again.

Since women are generally better dancers, why do men lead?

Tell your mother to think of your tattoo as your bar code.

The difference between a “life mask” and a “death mask” is those two little holes under the nose.

Society is irreparable.

Society taxes or prohibits most those things that feel best.

The more laws you make, the more laws you break.

Thank god there has always been an underground conspiracy of excellence.

There is nothing else so thrilling as a blank sheet of paper and a pen in the hand.

There never were any good old days.

Ours is a greed-based economy.

What’s good for the hole is good for the soul.

I have no problem getting new ideas. My problem is getting rid of old ones.

My well-being rests as much on things I need to say as on things I need to hear.

Since odors are small particles of the objects smelled, in a way, descriptions are odors.

I would like to go over the transcripts of yesterday’s conversations and make some deletions.

We could not survive direct full exposure to reality without going through gradual stages of exposure. It’s like sun-tanning.

Habit is comforting and deadening.

Deep dissatisfaction can come from a history of superficial gratification.

Now is needing more of this and less of that.

Every creator must reinvent the wheel to gain the momentum he needs for orbit.

If Humpback whales can communicate halfway around the world, isn’t that the same as all the way around?

Surf the language while the tide is high; edit when the sea is flat.

After a lifetime of aversion therapy, I am finally averse.

Apology is cheaper and easier than permission.

Don’t try to count live crabs.

Even bad marriages can have good honeymoons.

Everyone has at least one deal buster.

If you don’t know what you’re talking about, I don’t care what you think.

My clothes are a much better fit than the room.

The best way to decorate a room is to open a book.

It was not the only, but, nevertheless, a good way.

Nothing is what it seems to be, including nothing.

Need is a difficult word to use properly.

Fine actors and actresses should record guided meditations.

The closest relationships we have are with our pets.

The deepest inhales smokers take are through their cigarettes.

“The life, unexamined, is not worth living”. The over examined life is not much fun either.

The reports of my life have been greatly exaggerated.

Can some color blind people experience color while in a visionary or altered state?

If you look for something long enough you may forget what you’re looking for.

We are governed by the ungoverned.

Why should my beliefs cause you to doubt your own?

Some days you can do a week’s work. Some weeks you won’t do a day’s.

The end is always embedded within the beginning.

Entering love is like adopting a puppy. The pain of death is in it.

Depression can be a condition of the planet rather than just a state of the weather.

All religion is local.

Curing is narrow, healing is wide.

Is it possible to talk candidly about loneliness without instilling some sense of obligation?

Equilibrium may not be possible. Think Sisyphus.

Altruism is a choice of the individual, and perhaps also an imperative for the Species.

For every study, there is an equal and opposite study.

If a movie makes my butt hurt, it can’t be very good.

There’s an optimum size for everything.

Becoming insane is neither as simple nor easy in practice as it is in theory. And it’s hard work.

The only difference between a man and a dirty old man is age.

Love dies more slowly of its width, more swiftly of its height.

My consciousness is not mine alone.

What we need now are Infertility Gods.

Your advice should never exceed your firsthand knowledge

Inspirational talks are like Chinese meals; half an hour later you’re depressed again.

It’s better to have the illusion of love than no love at all.

It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.

Life is claustrophobic.

Memory itself is more interesting than what it holds.

My memory is the only thing that knows that I have lived.

I wonder how many lab mice I’ve killed.

The only way to stop pollution is to make a stink.

Don’t condemn what you can’t pronounce.

I was an only egg.

Truth bites.

Do what you do best.
Do what you do, best.

America: Fix it or Fuck it!

The man is obviously prejudiced; he has a viewpoint.

Form is the bowl that fits the soup.

There is not really a first of anything.

I hope I die well, not sick.

It will be as difficult for me to forgive you, as it would be not to forgive you.

I gave a damn and nobody came.

Honesty is worth an occasional indignity.

This nation, right or wrong, but we will defend to the death our right to your opinion.

If you don’t think much of yourself, you won’t think much of my judgment in loving you.

If I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, I must be doing the wrong thing.

When I am out of body, we’re both happier.

Eventually the past becomes unbelievable.

Resurrection is the miracle of becoming virgin each time you shed a too-tight skin.

Courage is the ability to withstand the wrong kind of pain.

It may clear the spider webs from one’s system, but nothing kills the spider.

It’s not that I should have been anyone else, but I was the wrong me.

I could stand winning much better if there weren’t so much loss in it.

One hardly ever falls out of the nest directly into another nest.

A little happiness goes a long way . . . quickly.

To tell the truth is to foreclose the mortgage on a lie.

I’ve gotten through life so far without writing Ann Landers.

I feel like animal Jell-O

There is no single cause for anything.

The penguin is a bird of play.

I aimed too high and my own arrow struck me down.

Hunger gets things built, but full lives in them.

Hungry friends dine last.

Ever is limited by the chance of never.

You must exchange your time for wages to pay for what you want.

I want to save them because they might save me.

I often allow myself to drift into a place where thought cannot follow.

I’m searching for the combination that will open my mind’s safe.

The computer is the most compact piece of genius since the Big Bang.

Destruction destroys destroyer.

They had an intellectual marriage based on emotional starvation.

Guilt is the regret that you have done it. Shame is getting caught.

I wonder how Shakespeare ever did it without a photocopier. He didn’t even have a dictionary.

In terms of population, death is contraception.

People don’t say “You’re welcome” anymore. “No problem” instead really rankles me.

We have an expiration date.

We’re being graded, you know.

The President is a hood ornament

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t.

I would kill or die for you. “Who would you kill?” Someone who wanted to die.

If one moving thing exists, so does time.

I would not like to see myself as others see me.

It doesn’t matter how deep the water is if you stay on top of it.

Two sculptures: one, the prisoner of the material, the other, its guest.

He never lived far enough up to look down on others.

When people tell you too frequently how busy they are their message is how important they want you to believe them to be.

How disconcerting. Those memories I was just having . . . weren’t mine.

In her youth she took in some mud and spent the rest of her life not making a pearl.

The problem with my enemy is that I agree with him.

I was never a good student, but always an osmotic learner.

I’m trying to move so fast the bullet won’t catch me.

When you stop believing you can fly . . . you fall.

Shame is the shadow cast by who you say you are over who know you are.

I, volcano, speak in lava. You, ocean, quench my wrath.

Conversations flow at the speed of other.

At the far edge of our sea my bottles come back to me.

My hands are smarter than I am.

Better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all. How lucky we are, for the ones who got away.

Everything’s a metaphor.

It is better to love than to be loved.

Physicists are mystics, too.

Is poetry fiction or non-fiction?

They were each slices of the pie. I have never had a whole pie.

Buddhism is a platonic marriage with a really long prenuptial agreement.

Help, I’ve fallen up and I can’t get down.

I Brake for Squirrels.

I looked up God’s skirt yesterday.

Is the absence of error and misinformation in itself a freedom?

Is the vocabulary of the written word significantly different than that of the spoken word?

It’s a shame that the young see adults as people to turn from, rather than to.

It’s easy to lust, hard to love, and even harder to tell the difference.

Logic follows or arises from its antecedents without disconnection.

Situational depression may arise also from dreams.

Science is as timid as it is valid.

Are there advanced persons, as well as other advanced beings among us? More than likely.

Embedded within the healing ”industry” are the diseases of smugness and arrogance.

An addiction is a progressive craving for something you want, but don’t need, which you have come to regard as irresistible.

The beginning of every love contains some knowledge of its end.

Everything human is in its infancy.

We are smarter than we act. We do not want responsibility for our intelligence.

If it can’t make you cry it’s not worth doing.

Help me describe what I understand, and understand what I can’t describe.

I have a lower opinion of people who can but don’t read.

Love has caused more accidents than any other single thing.

We have to learn to become our own father

We are heroes; there has been no choice. Had there been choice we would not be heroes.

Nature has furnished us with examples of every truth we are ready to accept. Nature has far more examples than we have truths.

Skeptic when listening.
Agnostic when speaking.
Atheist in practice.

We all have secrets, my difference being that I let mine out to breathe sometimes, a practice short of wisdom, but long enough for some relief.

God is simply everything that is.

Logic is the mathematics of thought.

In the military are dissidents deliberately put in harm’s way?

Dying is not a sharable experience. It is solitary.

Probably most good poetry is spoken once, never repeated, not written down, then forgotten. Is that really much different than published poetry?

Thanks for the necessary. It teaches economy in the use of the foolish.

It is mortalizing to realize how many forgettable people we have forgotten.

Laughter is eraser.

Comes a time for everyone when we must become our own father and forgive ourselves.

One definition of “translation” is “going to heaven without dying”.
One meaning of getting old is going to hell without dying.

On the highway of my mind there has been much roadkill of thought.

God’s like me: loves creation, hates maintenance.

The god who invented space keeps his distance.

The cardinal does not know that he is red. His wife does.

I heard the first geese today. They’re like mourning doves. You never know how near or far away they are.

It would add 20 years to my life if I could subtract all the time I’ve spent worrying about things that never happened.

No one under the age of 35 should be allowed to attempt to write an autobiography or blame anyone else for his life.

I spend some days with tears in my eyes and goose bumps on my skin listening to dead people sing with live voices.

Three things drop inexorably fast once they begin: the New Year’s ball in Times Square, the sun when you’re in your boat catching fish and haven’t started home and your gas gauge once it hits the half full mark.

Time is shaped fittingly like an hourglass, its stricture, the present.

All religion is poisonous. All!

Clichés are regional.

Poetry is infinite choices between words made in attempts to best reflect experiences, emotions and events.

Has pornography had an upward or downward effect on the national birthrate?

Summer usually arrives in Baltimore in a dumptruck. We don’t usually have a Spring.

Cursive handwriting on a blackboard is an unnatural act.

Love and art are dietary requirements of the soul, magical and healing.

To be loved is a luxury, to love is a necessity.

Nonfiction and fact are not synonymous.

I don’t take shit . . . or prisoners.

Earth is bipolar. I should be right at home.

I am one of the most interesting people you don’t know.

Cremation: I’ll cheat the worm and feed him ashes

For many years I traveled toward a place I thought I’d left.

I am followed by my footsteps.

If you can swim it doesn’t matter how deep the water is.

The Detritus Belt: endless orbiting loop of repetitive memories.

They, who are warm in winter, say dogs and the homeless do not feel cold like the rest of us.

I’d rather be naked than president.

Most people die of retirement.

For birds regular sex is approximately once a year.

Court: plea market.

Some of the best ideas men have come up with have been forgotten or ignored.

Should and god are two words that don’t belong in vocabulary.

Because I remember something doesn’t mean it happened; it means only that I remember something.

Although prone to exaggeration, I am honest in what I say. My dishonesty lies in what I do not say.

I loved the women in my life until I didn’t.

My motto: “Spes Phthisica, a frenzy of creation in the face of extinction.”

By giving something a name scientists claim to know it.

That people become predictable doesn’t mean that we know them.

There are those who see mental illness as a ritualized form of self pity.


®Copyright 2015 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.