I Am Santo

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

The concrete wasn’t the weight holding Joseph under the water as much as his regrets did. He was cold, but thankful for the decision to dive into the end. He knew he could fight, swim with the cinderblock burden of his every poor judgement and selfish grift, from family, from friends, from lovers. But this option was the only one that made sense. He needed to die, and quickly, not as atonement as there could be no making up for the black hole he left in the lives of others, but to stop the damage of his constant robbery of light. Joseph couldn’t spread any more darkness, so this made sense. Plummet. Allow the deep to embrace him, fill him. He only had to breathe one last time. And when he did, the shock came not from his lungs panicking as they filled with freezing saltwater but from memories of his constant greed; images of the hurt he’d caused again and again setting his slumping shoulders free from the spine-bending guilt he’d long suffered, but never tried to amend. And in that moment, as the dark water grew an impossible pitch, he almost fought back against this final act of craven selfishness, realizing it as such, understanding that by giving up, he’d just done what he’d always done. There wasn’t enough time for Joseph to react, nor was there enough will. He sunk to the sooty bottom, gone before the blocks anchored him to the murk, once again dead weight in the oceans of countless lives.


I haven’t done a challenge since 2013, so it seemed a good time to try. Thanks to @kat.savage and @j.r.rogue for the #WhenWeOutgrowOurBones September prompts. Here is 9/1 a day late.

#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #writersofig #poetsofig #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poet #storyteller #ocean #splash #concrete #prompt #september1 #SwimmingLikeACinderBlock

I believe in the faith
Of a thousand turtles
Guided by belief
Driven by instinct.
It’s like this affection.
Natural and willing
The culmination of
Desire and need,
Greed and lust,
These eggs we bury
On the shoreline
Of togetherness.
It’s a beautiful hunger.
Awaking with hard yearning,
The blush of heated skin
Awaiting lips and tongue,
Eager hands and thoughts
That burn like the veins
Of crisp fallen leaves
In this longest autumn;
Camouflage immolation,
We uncover our common ground
And clear away our obscuring fear.
Oh how beautiful
This fire that we welcome.
How reveaking with its
Licks and purge,
A climax of untold intensity
Tearing though body and mind,
Tensing muscle and stealing breath,
A serum of joy and pain
Administered to those bold enough
With open hearts
Cleared of the debris of yesterday
That littered the stumbling,
Broken and misguided
Attempts at adoration
That felt as natural as sunrise
But were always dusks
Making it impossible to see
So now these eyes snap open
As the air grows cold
And this body feels starved
Of moaning bliss.
But Spring’s promise
Is in the hearth of loneliness
And I warm myself,
My sandy-limbed
And salt-sweat beliefs
Exactly where they are
Suppose to be;
Dreaming of you.
Buried in the season
Of us.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #writersofig #poetsofig #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poetrycommunity #igwriters #ocean #sunrise #dawn #morning #beach #sand #hope #shore (at Instinct)

Ifs and whens,
A community of hope
Congregating at the alter of
And it’s not merely map miles
Or circumstances
For those are tamed seas
And beaten back wilds,
And we are guided
By explorer hearts;
We won’t turn back
Despite the threatening beauty
Of ocean gales
Under corpulent nimbus
And the whipped up frenzy
Of drowning whitecaps.
No we won’t flinch
At the thick briar
And tangled verdant vine
Of undiscovered country.
Because we are brave.
Or are we?
The salt-choked lungs
And lacerated limbs
Of our leagues of longing
Are larcenous without love.
That’s where the ship lists
And the path crowds over
With impasse.
The big if or when.
Is it allowed into the craggy,
Weather-beaten nooks
Of our pitched and yawned hearts?
Or is this massive exploration
An embarrassment of confused motive;
Manifest destiny
The way water loses itself down drains.
Our power is what we make it,
And as this clock signals judgement
These hands wring
So high above intention
That wisdom seeks refuge
And passions override
With the inaudible whine
Of dying faith.
The point of every adventure
Is to settle.
So set that compass.
Obey the law of North.
Find a home and keep it.
Because outside
The storm’s still beating
And the path’s still unbeaten.
Come in
If and when
You’re ready.
The compass can only tell you where
Not when.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #writersofig #poetsofig #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poetrycommunity #igwriters #ocean #atlanticocean #newhampshire #beach #shoreline #surf #rainy #seaside #lowtide (at Qualified)

Tawny loose meanings, strung along faithless waters, shorelines on the border of endless loss depths, returning feral tides that remind of need, of devotion, of uncertainty where dreams should linger.

Such waves won’t deny suffering, and the elongated strife of hope, a vestigial tail wagged whenever the crash of truth storms rocky breaks, shatters teeth and bone as if it were a rusty clawed hammer, splinter shards and dust breathed into cancerous black lungs.

Choking, dry and heaving, the gasp for air through the acrid soot of failed meaning; low is the servent that never served himself, for the end of day will drown without a drop of water to be found anywhere and, even less, any sense of meaning.

Absent are such threads of meaning, the sinew of tributaries providing fertile belief and the unconscious fevers of plowed tracts, dense with the calamity of worry that this will end in alone; that no will can provide a way and thus crop of yearning will rot all chance.

Here there is death and there, out there in the vast churning of salt and chaos, there is crucifixion and the blood of surfeit desires, of grandest need that roils like this blood for belonging, this thudding heart a moon pulling wild waves.

Give in to it and drown, ignore it and starve, for only an eclipse will save and that’s a long way off; a stretched dusty road for the broken-hearted fool to travel with thin-soul shoes and blistering feats navigating in the blue of lunar mourning.


Inspired by the talented @picobogue who I am thrilled to call a friend here on IG. Without his support, I am not sure I’d still be doing this.

#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #writersofig #poetsofig #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poetrycommunity #igwriters #iamwriting #ocean #sea #nhseacoast #newhampshire #atlanticocean #rocky #coastline (at The Inlet of Bogue)

This faith awarded is a gift of trust so welcome, so cherished. A tire swing of joy, were childhood never ending. A belief in the sanctity of day and healing through touch, like kissed booboos for even the deepest abrasions. These lips, tongue and hands understand healing. They understand the true purpose of their creation when assigned to the task of nourishing through pleasure, not merely skin deep, because oceans aren’t simply the waves skittering across a briny epididymis, no they are of the same depth as any one of the thinking, feeling, realized adults stumbling around on dry land, each with sea fathoms of insecurities and woe churning up dust and obscuring sea bed hearts. Guidance through the murk is possible but the pressure is so severe that few will brave the journey, so the surface is merely where the start begins, an intensity of light and heat that bleeds through the darkest parts of a soul and releases willingness and beliefs in heaving, ecstatic breaths. The arrival of faith’s reward is resurrection from lost wander, the bliss of certainty coupled with the high tide of lust; each quake of a sea body is a tsunami surging, cresting, purging with breathless delight. When exhausted slumber arrives, so too shall the truth that while one heals, so too does the healer. Hands, hearts, sex merged into an endless sea reflecting stars of infinite pasts, of gorgeous futures.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #writersofig #poetsofig #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #poetrycommunity #igwriters #beach #berries #ocean #oceanside #seaside #sea #atlanticocean (at Oceans)

Joseph stood in the September water and the deep chill of it made him cringe. He wanted to run back to the dry sands and towel off, but he was only waist deep and he had to go deeper to purge; to chase away the hold Kayla had on him. So he kept moving forward, and as the icy Atlantic waters wrapped his abdomen in a stinging vice grip, he winced and imagined her hands pried loose from around him, as if undoing the way she used to step up behind and give him a hug; her embrace broken by frigid exorcism. He came to the ocean to forget her kisses and scent, the subtle, twitching smile his jokes produced, the way she pushed herself up to receive him during their lovemaking. During their sex. Because he wasn’t in love with her. Joseph held a deep breath and braced himself for the chilling, dense unforgiveness of the sea. Then he dipped his head under, as he had so many times before, below the surface and held himself down, eyes open in the burning green murk of the tide. The pain of his warm breath stored inside of him was lightning leaping from his skin into the damning cold. And when he broke the surface, the crisp air attacked Joseph like enraged hornets. He screamed despite his awareness of early morning beach walkers within earshot with their dogs leading them. And he felt the thoughts of Kayla slip off him like the saltwater streaming down his face. He would walk out of the surf now and leave her memory to be collected by the tide; whatever they had now buried at sea with failures he’d rid himself of over the years. Joseph couldn’t get it right, the only constant he’d come to know being the taste of salt on his lips each time he said goodbye.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #instawriter #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #fictions #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #microfiction #literature #poetrycommunity #writersofinstagram #storyteller #ocean #beach #wave (at Cleansed)

They set sail as lovers. Returning apart, their lust drowned.


#poem #poetry #poetic #igwriters #poetry_addicts #literary_imagery1 #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #window #creativewriting #microfiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #streamofconsciousness #writersofinstagram #story #storyteller #atenwordstorybp #wordeconomy #ocean #harbor #portsmouthnh #neehampshire #seacoastĀ 
(at A Death at Sea)

In the hunger of the land, where sun and soil mixed with water and great chemistry pervaded the answer to larger questions with a kind of indefatigable disdain for logic, he stood. Never one for vague pronouncements to the nature of things – the climbing trees and the scent of the verdant reach, the clawfoot vallies between resting snow-capped mountains and the clear air that seemed to dispell not only his existence, but any other’s – he wasn’t one to say he loved it all. The love simply sat patiently inside of his impatient heart, and as he stayed fixed like a proverbial stick in the mud he wondered why here there was calm and serenity while he was denied it everywhere else. The answer was of course that this was always here; the withdrawn sea, the polished stones, the dancing light. They lived always and like the words to his favorite song or the memory of that beautiful dance he shared with a stranger, it was always waiting to quiet his worry. No one else waited. At that moment, he undestood what made each beat of his heart sear with pain, as if each chamber were ripped from the other. He hurt because no one else was reliable, at least not in a way that the sky, the water or the land were. At least not in the way memory was. And he cursed all of it, and the way each reflected the face of his yearning within their bold shapes and wonder, as if great mirrors of deference to his need for complete. No one can be this, he concluded. And yet that four chambered core of him wailed longing into his veins, and ocean drops stung at his eyes when he thought of what he’d had, what he’d lost and what he hoped for. The world looked back at him with ideals, and he would accept nothing less.


#poem #poetry #writing #writer #poetic #creativewriting #igwriters #poetry_addicts #literary_imagery1 #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #poetsofinstagram #writersofinstagram #story #mud #feet #muddy #stones #dirty #nature #ocean #lowtide #gritty (at Communion)

Carol and Bruce had said all they could say. The day was expiring the same way their words had; quietly, but with a kind of ferocious inevitability that spread like hungry fire across the cloud-bruised sky. Carol looked up often, noting to herself how the gray had exploded into rich orange above the sea, their sea. Bruce kept his eyes straight, registering little, his senses shuttered against whatever noise the sparse crowd of beach revelers might have made, the sky’s rage, and Carol. They’d held hands for the first part of their walk despite the failure of their understanding, as if each felt obligated to save the other from falling from a cliff, fingers lazily laced. It took only the tiniest hint of truth’s gravity to yank them apart, and they both tumbled down, into the abyss of their dying affection. Carol believed he owed her another chance, their beautiful days vastly outweighing the stormy which recently forced them into hiding from each other, for she’d become a cold front and he was a bloom of passion making the world hot and thick, his presence surrounded by temper lightning and disdain’s thunder. Bruce hated her for this crucifixion; for setting thick nails of regret into his wrists, and Achilles. She was Judas, had shared their sea with another, and now the shoreline was in ruin, hurricane stained and littered with the refuse of their failure. He knew he’d climbed on the cross first, his waning tolerance of this life perhaps a bigger betrayal than her straying intimacies, but he couldn’t forgive. So they walked, silent and unable to stop the setting sun ending their life together, words spent like sand in the wind.


This was a collaboration with the fantastic and immensely talented Ana, who guys by @mylifespix here on IG. She selected one of her photos and sent it to me, and above is the story it inspired from me. Thank you, Ana! I hope we do more of these in the future!

#creativewriting #fiction #flashfiction #writing #writer #story #shortstory #streamofconsciousness #microfiction #sunset #beach #orange #dusk #silhouette #westcoast #surf #ocean #sea #natureĀ 

Rina sat on the edge of the high rocks and dangled her gangly legs over the crash of the sea below. It growled at her as if it were a circus lion set free on a cruel ringmaster, and so she faced the gray above and welcomed the cool mist covering everything as if the sky knew love. She would pretend when she was smaller that Earth was evil and the sky was good, so that every day basked in ceaseless adoration. And each night she would sleep with her back to the grim hold of the ground and leave herself open to the wheel of stars spinning over her. There were times when Rina felt she could leave the Earth, especially on Winter nights when Orion raised his sword and shield and protected the Heavens from the drunken screams of her mother and the John she had moaning above her in the next room. And when it was Rina’s turn to pay the rent, she hoped the ground would swallow their spilled seed while the sky would free her body from the bed. Yet neither had done their job and now she sat four months pregnant wanting to believe again in her childhood. At fourteen years old, Rina had lost faith in everything, but she had to believe just one more time. That freedom from the sick grip of men was only a breath away. And when she nudged herself over the edge, she felt joy in her brief flight. She knew the sky would hold her and her child forever next to brave Orion while the sea would wash away her sin.
This begins a long-planned ten photo-story collaboration with the profoundly talented @peregrinasola. I have written #microfiction to five of her photos and she did the same to five of mine. No schedule for these, but they’ll appear in close proximity in feeds following both of us. Ranjana is an incredible person and of you don’t follow her, you really should! #jsrvcollab

#poem #poetry #writing #writer #poetic #creativewriting #igwriters #poetry_addicts #literary_imagery1 #igpoets #igpoems #mobileartistry #creativewriting #microfiction #story #flashfiction #shortstory #cliff #seacliff #ocean #sea #edge #overthedge #flowers #rocks