A Perceived Prison

Veiled, though sunlight pervades
to dance in eking, dusted
paisley patterns

some withdraw, in anguish
like
a vampire
they
cringe

there is a drought within

their soul, is
a stretch of desert road
nearly erased

depression can be
four walls with cloth shutters
that might as well be
granite ramparts

Card Tricks

The dearth of joy is;
black as licorice drool, spittoon
gloom

a bastard spirit retching in
burnt shadows,
stop-motion dancing,
macabre flailing

failing, the curdled, wrung soul crawls
like a stone across crackled ground, prostrate
before obscure magicians,
peering-up with
one eye
at the Devil’s
sleight-of-hand.

A Drunken Old German Who Liked to Sing Songs

Grandpa liked his Pall-Mall straights
ripped in half, stuck one half
in his shirt pocket, smoked the other
down to a roach, with leather-
tough fingers

a second-generation German from
Minnesota, transplanted
to Iowa

had a house painting business,
barked orders at hired help, then
left them unsupervised
most of the day while he drank
at the tavern

he always came back smelling
of cheap beer and pickled eggs, yelling
with that strangled, raspy throat bellow,
“Jesus-Christ, I thought you fellas would’ve
had this shit wrapped up by now!”

He’d then smoke a Pall-Mall shorty,
grumble to himself and
blow his nose like
a farmer

when he drank Mad Dog,
only at home, he waxed philosophical
asking me, “Boy, do you know why you should
stay away from red-heads?”

I knew the answer, heard it
a hundred times
but entertained him anyway,
“Why grandpa?”

“Cuz they’ll give ya the shits and
steal yer soul!”

He always laughed like a drunken pirate
after, until he coughed, spitting
on newspapers laid-out
on the floor.

Oracle

Wine of muses bleeds from my veins,
past dry palate
to intoxicate my soul lest
I spasm in grief

atop diamond sarsens I’ve been
at the shores of Heaven
where seraphim tilt winsome heads
captivated

I have crawled in Hell’s wasteland
on bloodied hands and knees,
silent, biting my lip till
warm, copper taste
sickened

I am a sower of cryptic messages
filtered through dreamt desires, screaming in the night
or splayed in crackled crevices like
abandoned spider webs
in fallowed forest.

Fingers channel something ancient, drawn in dust,
once illuminated by fires, embers drift
to the stars with reverence.

To Till and reap: a writer’s dilemma

Fallowness must taunt
as withered wraiths scratch at your door
hungrily moaning
as blown dust
slips through cracks

until prayer for light and restorative rain
pervades, figuratively
hands must get dirty as
surreal seeds
are sown
from grittiness of character,
somewhere beneath
calloused fingers, ragged cuticles
suffuse an ancient
chelation.

Presentiment: I once saw myself very old

I stared out of a half-steamed window
watching ravens swoop and dart
through chimney smoke, at play, tag it must have been
as gangly winter shadows crept across
wind-hardened snow

the eaves whistled, icicles were bent into
translucent catawampus claws

my left thumb trembled, right index finger
as well, as I repositioned hands on the
armrests of my wheelchair
and sighed.

A grainy, rather faded heyday film played
in my mind, I smiled at the rosy-cheeked boy
in a tire swing, kicking his feet into
an aqua-blue summer sky, hardly
earth-bound

then, the movie reel fast-forwarded to,
heart-pounding, sick-in-love days of sweet and sour tears,
recited poetic jumbles of words, sometimes
kicked into the street like
an empty can

but the love, gilded in frames, mantel presentable
memories, have always been there
for you, my dear

scent of your hair, those brown irises
opened wide after we kissed, like
desert flower blooms at midnight in awe
of the universe, and that
shuddered sigh; will be my
very last thoughts
before I pass.

Death Is Not the Worst

It’s one hundred twenty degrees
in the mind of a lunatic, no shade,
no occasional breeze, only
beads of sweat pouring
down foreheads, stinging
mind’s-eye, I hear yelling in the night;
detritus words launched
at God.

Panhandled change is counted, over and over
at the bus stop, rapid-fire blinks
too numerous to count
must stir-up mini vortexes
in another dimension,
a meth mother huddled in a doorway
brushes her daughter’s silky hair;
mother tweaks to her
own tune.

Outward beauty is only skin-deep
just as winter ice can hide dead fish and
worse jetsam beneath an urban pond,
a needle in a haystack has become
a stack of bloody syringes,
no play on words there, just a dirty
ditty sung in most any
modern city, heroin zombies lurk
behind dumpsters, everyone wears their
holier-than-thou blinders.

I see it all, thirty-somethings screaming in the streets,
fighting themselves more than anyone else.
There will be blackeyes and
pounding headaches in the morning,
mascara will run like soul shattering fault-lines.
It’ll all repeat next Saturday night
as Satan picks his teeth
and laughs.

Sacred Lotus

161

 

Virgin soft flesh splayed
on a translucent jade pond
your sage wisdom roars

I Am Not a Robot

I have traced moon’s polished
alabaster form
afar
with trembling fingers,
I have cast
tear-soaked letters
into rainy streets,
watched them swirl
down sewers,
I have been hypnotized by
Erato’s stare, in crystal pools
I have reciprocated

these traits
of a hungry heart
with volumes
of sighing words
sown into mirrors and
patiently listening
night

dead-fish eyes
perched upon rococo facades
are warning beacons,
I see strings attached to
a choreographed touch,
hollow language
is the screaming confession
of a festered soul.

Truth

“A ‘mistake’ is being ignorant of the facts and/or outcome. ‘Careless indifference’ is being aware of the facts and/or outcome and simply not caring. Regardless, innocent people suffer. Being ‘human’ is not a malady, it’s a responsibility hallmarked by maturity and emotional intelligence.”

-Michael J. Donnelly

Invocation to autumn

 

I have stared out a window for hours
as summer bowed its head

at October rain, at banana-yellow leaves
glistening, tumbling in slow-motion
sighing with nature

as autumn overcame, as wraiths
sorrowfully caressed withering roses
with bony fingers, as ravens
sang hymns

but my soul changes
always, it puts on a worsted cloak
grey and speckled brown

a page turns slowly, as though
the story is a familiar one
read many times and
I smile

joining melancholy muses and romantic rebels
reveling in dreamt sage scented vortices
whirling like dervishes
biding farewell to swelter and
buzzing things

the prayer is then lifted and I whisper,
“Rest well honored flora and fauna
but before you close your eyes
see the pumpkin-orange painted sky
at dusk, before you sleep.”

Yes, I Would Mourn

Should you die
I would lament to the wind
tearing at my clothes
cursing the darkness
for taking my light

for a short season
there would be not one iota
of joy, smiles would be banished
my pillow would certainly
remain damp

there would be a spiritual battle
within, fitful dreams
stark awakenings and
fist-clenching
prayers for strength

until the storm passed
I would cling to
photographs
covet your love notes with
head hung low
breathing in and out

and the silence
would rage

but like spring’s song I would
stir, to recall your words
once spoken, “Don’t grieve too long, please
live and be happy.”