I Am Santo

Fiction, poetry, music and mindscape pictures by creative artist Jason Santo

Kicking the tires

So begins three months of nothing but what I want to do. I’ve worked diligently for well over thirty years, and now – finally – some time off to concentrate on things I want to do. It’s an incredible feeling that I’ve been writing about or describing in conversation to people every day since I was awarded this sabbatical.

What happened? I wouldn’t say I “broke down,” but I would offer that I’d had enough of the status quo and living, it seemed, for everyone other than myself. We get one life, and I was spending mine worrying about making everyone happy while giving my own happiness and well-being little mind.

We were in Spain, I was on a day off and yet I was on my phone – always the damn phone – and arguing with a co-worker about the approach to something technical which I took way too damn seriously. That’s me, though, taking everything as serious as a car accident. But this time, it wasn’t a car accident, to me whatever it was we were in dispute over was a train wreck of epic proportions. A train hit by a plane that somehow fell into a football stadium. I just was so worked-up. And why?

The truth is, I was – and am – burnt out. I’ve spent the last ten years at the same workplace diligently pushing whatever I could across the finish line, putting productivity ahead of most everything including the birth of my second child. That’s not my employer’s fault. That’s my fault for not knowing when to say when.

The cup runneth over. I’ve taken on so much for a role that I hoped would expand in scope and title – my great play for getting to a pole position in the rat race. And for the last three years, it went unchecked. So I crashed and now I’ve been allowed to reevaluate, rethink, and decompress. Pole position is likely lost, but I’ll accept that. I’m not sure I’m corporate success material; perhaps the cut of my jib is just not right for the suit-and-tie brigade. But I am a good employee who works damn hard and solves the problems without a Hell of a lot of overhead. And I’m fine with doing it at my current place of work for another ten years, providing I can find a balance in my day-to-day life.

Part of that balance is making time for writing. And the first thing I did was start cracking the journbal (my affectionate name for my daily reflections that resulted from a typo some thirty years ago) so I could clear my mind. Next was getting this site’s damn SSL situation taken care of. Unsure of why I took the approach I did with my personal website, but I find it hilarious that I’m responsible for at work was languishing in my personal life. The landscaper’s lawn is always the worst in the neighborhood and all that.

Now it’s on to writing, specifically copy-editing and compilation of poems and short stories. I put the number of books I have sitting around here at five. Can I put all five together by the end of my time off in early December? Doubtful. But maybe I can get one or two of them done, and oh what a relief that’ll be.

Because while I may be a web professional with mad organizational skills and a knack for becoming proficient in most anything I touch, I’m first and foremost a storyteller. And that identity needs proof now. What is a writer that doesn’t write? What is a writer that hasn’t anything for anyone to read? Not much of a writer at all, in my estimation.

Time to change that.

What’s Poppin?

And why wouldn’t I start a journal entry some two years after the last with a borrowed title from a TikTok-famous rap track?

Truth is, not much has been poppin. Since 2020 was an anguished blur for most of us, it probably isn’t worth recounting. What can be said is that we made it through relatively unscathed from a physical standpoint and while it was emotionally debilitating, what isn’t? Life is constantly taking pieces out of our hearts. If it wasn’t, would there be so many songs about heartbreak?

Before the pandemic started, I’d downloaded an app called Reflectly on my phone. It was a pretty bare-bones creature that offered daily platitudes and motivational sayings, but I liked it as a journal-keeping software. Here I was with Microsoft Word and Evernote Premium and I went for this ridiculous app from Norway that seemed to have almost zero market penetration. It was good for many moons too; at least four months of daily journaling. And then they revamped the functionality of the app… and lost me. My daily habits became weekly, then monthly, then none-at-all. This February, I let the subscription expire, as I did too with Evernote Premium.

With the acquisition of a new mechanical keyboard – one of the supa-fly glowing background ones – I’m wondering if I might give this WordPress site a real go. I mean, it does have some history, logging all of those old Instagram-via-Tumblr posts, but also using WordPress at my day job makes me wonder what it might be like to use the CMS as a creative platform.

So, I may be here for a bit. It wouldn’t be too forthcoming – that’s the good part about having an app on a locked phone: there’s no need to be shy. But it might offer me a place to consistently give voice to some thoughts that too often seem out of place on Facebook (where no one cares) and Instagram (which I try desperately to only write creatively.)

As usual, no promises. Maybe it’s a single run with this keyboard and we’re done. But I get the sense it could be something more. I’ve been feeling the cyclical nature of life of late, and I’m sensing my twenties are rolling around again in a more wizened state as I near my, gulp, fifties. Could it be that the creative energy that used to course through me like lightning is building up wattage for a new run at powering me through days?

One can dream. But again, one will not promise.

When the last thing becomes the only thing

I started this random site about two-and-a-half years ago to get myself up and running on WordPress again after many, many years of using other CMS solutions. There was interest at my day job in it, so I fired up an instance and wrote a couple entries, focusing more on moving old material from various platforms – mostly Tumblr – to here. As I was writing on Instagram and even posting periodic stories to Facebook, this was a forgotten space that acted more as a nuisance due to filechange notifications and SPAM comments. And yet here we are and this is the only part of me that’s really present online.

What happened? Life, really. I got too busy – and felt too dragged down – by social media, and the weight of not regularly writing on Instagram felt oppressive and shameful. I was tired of not posting anything creative and just talking about my life on Facebook – or Twitter – seemed pointless. Politics were infuriating. Being witty was tiring. Interactions with friends felt inconsequential. Time was nearly extinct and when I did have a moment, all I did was scroll and scroll, feeling more and more down about the state of everything.

So I jumped offline and said good-bye to most of it all – except Twitter, which I do not use – and this blog, which I also don’t use. But here I can tell a story to anyone who might be looking for me. And here that is:

I am fine. Life is busy and I am consumed with parenting my two children and working smart and well-enough to keep myself from drowning in debt. I am doing a 365 project for my son Diego which too is online, so there is that, but it’s nothing anyone seemed remotely interested in beyond his mom and I. Such is the choice of platforms, I suppose. I did the same 365 project for my boy Justin when he was Diego’s age and while challenging, I’ve rarely been more pleased with the outcome of a project. This one has been just as fulfilling.

This July, I am getting married to Diego’s extraordinary and incredible mother in Spain. I visited London and New York City in March. I’ll be in Aruba in November. It’s a big year for travel, and I’m looking forward to making this chapter of my life “official,” although to me, she and I agreed long ago to be together forever when we agreed to try for a child.

This is my best chapter. I’m living for those I love and the byproduct is a kind of happiness and sense of self I’ve never known. I’m still a mopey, angry mess a lot of the time, but it’s less and less time and I’m less and less mopey and angry. (Or at least I hope I am.)

So life goes on without being under the indifferent microscope of Facebook or Instagram. I love and work and keep breathing. I don’t know what’s next for the creative side of me, but I do know that I’ll be creative again at some point. Or maybe not. I can’t say I care all that much anymore. There just isn’t enough time to care that much.

This goes here. That goes there.

This is kind of a turgid brainspill, so I apologize if you’re here reading it as I believe most entries here going forward are going to be more about me sorting through my thoughts and less about me sharing creativity.

It’s been a couple weeks since I swung by and did a little organizing. My days at work learning WordPress are much more about working on the back end, php, HTML, CSS, etc. It’s fun, but in time that work will lead to categorization, tagging and site taxonomy. That means getting back to working with posts and maybe in turn it’ll lead to me coming around these parts to write something new.

But there’s a bigger issue to tackle when it comes to posting material on this site and it’s a simple one: what belongs here? Many of the older posts are poems and short fiction that passed through my Blogger and Tumblr accounts, neither of which I use much, if at all, anymore. In fact, I need to redirect jasonsanto.com to here, a domain switch that gives me a little bit of agita as I’ve struggled with redirects in the past – an admittedly ridiculous fact because there should be nothing more simple. But I don’t want a simple redirect, so much as a mirror of iamsanto.com to appear with the same directory structure, etc. as this site. I seem to recall that being a SEO no-no, so then it becomes obvious that I need jasonsanto.com to occupy the WordPress hosting instance, reversing the original set-up and… well, that’s all tangential and too much bother on this sunny, September Tuesday.

Back to the original thought and the question of “what belongs here?”, I find myself puzzled with what this venue will represent. The goal in 2016 was to publish a book or three, but so far I’m slower than a snail crawling through tar when it comes to organizing manuscripts. As a result, I could just keep popping new creative writing into here, as my recent attempts at broadening my readership by using Facebook posts has been a punched A-Class ticket to Fail Town. What did I expect, though? Facebook loves silly, cute, incendiary, and – most of all – anything easily digestible. While my stories and poems are bite size, they’re not bite-sized enough. Instagram was never the right platform for me in this regard. Facebook even less so.

Medium has piqued my interest as an online spot where people with attention spans may congregate, but there’s something about it that’s left me a little hesitant. It’s almost as though my work isn’t right for any of these platforms, leading me again to this bloggy approach until I publish something.

But will I publish something?

That’s the real question, and it’s a chicken-and-the-egg scenario. If I don’t publish, no one can read it. But without any demand, I am hesitant to put in the effort to supply. Either way I look at it, there doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut, simple answer so I just continue doing what I’ve been doing; writing on Instagram for the dozen or so seemingly dedicated readers that exist out a following of over 1,200 accounts.

Why? Because it’s easy and it’s an (albeit minuscule) audience. Plus I have a rhythm with which I’m comfortable when I create for there – that 2,200 character limit has been a fun challenge to write to episodically. Of course, I could just re-post the stuff here – kind of like I did with my other sites. But that seems pretty pointless. If anyone is interested in my writing, they likely already read my Instagram so what’s the benefit of a site with the same material? Perhaps the fact that it’s organized? Is that enough of a benefit?

The categorization of a site like this pretty much allows everything to be here. The bonus for the creative stuff is that, if someone likes my work, they have a whole Hell of a lot of it to sort through and read in a variety of ways pretty easily. There are tags. There’s a search feature. There are distinct types of writing broken out in the navigation. No one is likely to care, but for me it at least feels moderately clean – almost as though my mind has some order to it. Instagram cannot offer that.

There is one thing that will not be here, however, and that’s anything that’s ultra-personal. This may be a blog, but it’s not a journal. That’s perhaps too bad because I certainly could use the outlet as I always have a lot with which I’m trying to come to grips and I’ve grown downright lazy with attending to my thoughts in the written journals I maintained most of my life. I think the last time I wrote in my journal was six months ago. Sad. I really want to get back to that kind of writing, but I need to do it there, not here.

Oddly, my last journal had stories within it – one of which, Grave, had several installments typed up and included on Blogger and is now here! It was both personal rumination and creative expression, and I think that’s exactly what a journal should be. So this… this place just becomes a sortable dumping ground; a place to drop off thoughts and creativity without much hope of attracting any significant audience. And yet it feels good to have it all here: it feels tidy.

Anyhow, I guess there will be quite a few entries like this one, rambles that find me wondering about the whys when the wondering is the why.

Knowing When to Say When

The irony was not lost on Tim. While he sat in the bustling middle of Royal Street with his fingers wrapped around the tip of Clive’s clarinet, Clive crouched forward and explained the issue with his cock. It was too large, he told Tim just loud enough that the other band members setting up for today’s gig, including Kira the violinist they’d brought in only a couple weeks ago, could overhear the humble brag. Tim felt hot embarrassment creep into the sides of his face, but tried to hide it with a creased brow and unwavering gaze, treating Clive’s problem with his latest conquest as if it was a topic of genuine concern. Still he felt the glances of the others, some quick, some lingering like campfire embers and he paid no mind, staying focused while Clive continued his tale about how he simply couldn’t fit in this girl’s butt. He’d known their bandleader for two years, and while he was frequently a difficult person – one ex-bandmate called him a double-sided verbal razor-blade coated in alcohol – Tim had liked Clive’s brashness and charisma. He was an excellent musician as well as a formidable playa, and the stories of his exploits gave Tim an active, vicarious sex life set to the whimsical tones of the Dixieland they played together. Recently though, Tim’s tolerance for both busking and Clive had started to wane, the excitement of playing in the center of all these rusted New Orleans pastels and greed-sodden, wide-eyed tourists having lost its organic rush. Playing had in general become a chore, as was listening to Clive drone on about his adventures between the sheets and the details he insisted were important with his booming voice and gregarious laugh were flat notes wafting through humid afternoons. Yet Tim listened, partly believing, partly irritated, and partly, if he were forced to admit it, still hopeful that he and Clive’s own chemistry still lurked behind each one of these ribald anecdotes; the water beneath his snake-oil salesman grin.

They’d kissed one time, right around when Tim had joined the band. It was a hazy evening, measured in empty pint glasses, neon, a hoarse voice and cigarette breath. Clive was the first man Tim had kissed. He’d noticed himself in flux beforehand, right after high school he started watching porn with an eye on the men, their length and thickness, the musculature and straight lines at the jaw, the abdomen. He grunted hardest when they came, timing himself with their release and while the women’s hunger still turned him on, it was the men tensing, letting go, weakening that was led him to climax. Kissing Clive was unexpected, thrilling. Their lips fit as naturally as any woman Tim had kissed and while he wasn’t crazy about the straw texture of Clive’s dreads under his open palm, Tim’s body roared when he felt the hardness growing in Clive’s pants rub against his leg. That was the anchor that kept him listening while every wind in life seemed to be blowing him away from music and from Clive, especially the hot air spewed while they were setting up for a gig.

Clive finished rolling his cigarette, clearing a dreadlock from his face and smiling big. He’d settled on the same conclusion as always to his conundrum: find someone new who can satisfy him. Then he laughed, big and dark, but melodic and charming like a canyon echo. And as Tim handed him his clarinet and went back to setting up his drum kit, he saw the violinist looking long at Clive with a bottom lip slightly tucked under a front tooth. Of course. The new band member induction. The story was bait, lines cast just loud enough to inspire curiosity. Clive wasn’t talking to Tim, but at him. The drummer sighed heavily, tightened his high-hat and knew this was going to be another long gig.


Folly is the rakish thought,
The waved saber at entropy,
That growth would permit
A gentle or linear path.
These shades of today
In their antediluvian assertion
Stretch pallid beliefs
Like worn out skin
Across bones aching from experience
And each limping step
Into tomorrow
Quivers with unattended reason,
A dogged journey through dust-stained gales,
Where turns are inevitable,
Chic is the unflappable ballast
Of a storm-tested heart
But oceans drown even the most revered,
The dedicated flailing
In undulating agony,
Choked by the churning salt
And white-cresting brutality
That spills from predictability.
Oh they’ll fight,
Those intrepid hands hardened
By rain-slickened rope running
Raw and hot,
Loosed by sideways seas.
But forgiveness lay
In the corner of passivity,
Where strewn survivors litter
Tide-smoothed sands.
The path veers
With passion or placidity,
Each a knuckle in the tangle
Of our striving.
And a sun lurks above
A beacon of straight-line promise
And refracted, bent reality.

 download film Rings

Heavens Dim

This love blooms
With galaxy center force
Shaming light-stealing lusts,
Rewriting time’s relativity.
The past writhes
Slick and parasitic
But with its nebulaic charms
Birthing shimmering futures
From dusty tendril grips
And oh how the firmament
Pales in its white-knuckle press
Leaking spent wishes between
Void clogged fingers.
Lofty simplicity summons suns,
Questions quasars,
Pronounces pulsars
In weak-kneed comparison
To the heated clutch of these heavenly bodies,
The undulating fission
Where sweat and greed
Sting tongues,
Where ardor’s salted urgency
Slickens, stirs, softens.
Just let that universe shade green
In rambling, cheap verse
Because behind all that black
Are these blue dreams
Purpling with every flinch,
Each quivering vision
Of the beyond
As heights seize, crack, open
And rest sweeps celestial reach
Beneath mingled eyelashes
Clichés are forgiven,
Pasts are revealed as stepping stones
Run smooth, eroded
By the torrential bliss
Of now
Reigning like sunlight.

I’ve left time even as it tries to eddy around me. I consider the tick of seconds, the rounding of hours and the rise and fall of the sun as a tide pulling away forever. Such linear confines, we instead discover ourselves swimming in a present stretching in every direction with our every interaction; pebbles dropped into the infinite wading pool of experience. The scent of your skin is more a guide to my understanding of where I am than crossed-off days on a calendar. The exquisite bending of your back from kisses to those most sensitive folds counts more than years of settled compromise. The lazy evening spills of our uncommon conversation fill more important volumes than history. The shackles of the clock fail to hold this connection, we act outside of its deliberate restraint and instead we envelope one another in spaces bigger than here; more encompassing that the infinitesimal binding of simple matter. For these matters of the heart steal science and expose it to greater forces than gravity or magnetism, dwarfing the largest celestial masses to sand grains and reducing devout masses to common recitation. God dies and lives again in our mutually unwavering gaze, the fabric of his grace leaking omnipotence upon which floats this certainty like a galleon lost on paradise seas where days mean nothing and the breeze of your sweet breath teases every inch of my greedy skin. Let it all fail around us, rules shattering like ransacked cathedrals. We’ll bask in the light of our union, finding warmth from our awakened faith in belonging; the limitless accretion of us that glows brighter than any star, burns longer than any light year.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #writersofig #writersofinstagram #poetsofInstagram #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poet #storyteller #sensual #sensuality #erotic #suggestive #bliss

#gallery-2 {
margin: auto;
#gallery-2 .gallery-item {
float: left;
margin-top: 10px;
text-align: center;
width: 33%;
#gallery-2 img {
border: 2px solid #cfcfcf;
#gallery-2 .gallery-caption {
margin-left: 0;
/* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

Happy Valentine’s Day. #sixwordstory #sixwordlovestory #writersofinstagram #writersofig #writer #writing #storyteller #story #poetry #poetic #poem #poet #poetsofig #poetsofinstagram #poetrycommunity #microfiction #love #wedding #valentineswatch Transformers: The Last Knight film online now

Maggie panted, feeling her lungs burn the way they did back before she got used to running. It had been two years since she’d put in a serious effort and she hadn’t planned ahead, not mapping the course, wearing her Fitbit or even stretching beforehand. She just caught the feel of Spring dancing in the city breeze and suddenly felt as she had well before the accident, her blood awakening like the budding season whispering for her to go. It was different now, obviously. Just walking on plastic was difficult enough some days, so running required a flood of determination she could feel rippling from her skin like solar flares. Maggie didn’t take it easy; she’d practiced enough to know how this worked, and by the time she decided to head into the park, the trees folding into each other above her like the interlocking fingers of pensive doctors with bad news, she’d gained a good head of steam. She did stay on the even paths, however, letting the root-ruptured, snaking tangents of yesterday slither off in her periphery even as she recalled how those were her training ground for Tough Mudders and triathlons. Maggie used to worry about breaking her ankle while tackling those risky trails. Such worry had been a luxury.

Ahead she spied a shattered glass bottle glimmering like spilled jewels caught in the sun. Someone had missed the trashcan and a constellation dotted the pavement. It reminded her of the pool of glass she’d seen on the highway that night, not simply a collection of stars, but a splayed galaxy reaching from the left shoulder into her lane. Not wanting to run over it, she’d swerved right. In the right lane, an old man in a classic boat of a Buick veered left to avoid another piece of roadside debris. According to the police report, it was a long section of a bumper mistakenly not cleared from a recent accident. The Buick slammed into the rear passenger side of her boxy Honda CR-V and the steering wheel suddenly jerked to the right in her hands. Her car rolled and the windshield joined the roadway firmament while she flinched, not seeing the jersey barrier loom ahead before nearly dissecting her entire vehicle. (Continued in next comment…)