Midnight’s secluded palace

Gray-haired wizards gave electric music to despair’s lonesome tone; we drank our ale from tall tin, and we listened– as the band played, and we later kissed, tresses pulled, then let slip ‘tween curled fingers’ grasp, white teeth nibbling– in a hunger, at last remembered, and within Midnight’s secluded palace, poetry’s chipped-sickle wraith, diminished, returned to its grave.

a daydream’s peril

simply spoken, I do not know
if it’d be still owned
within myself– anymore
displaced, from its home
this, the echo-hollow
having filled itself
with more of itself– overgrown
its legions, its incarnations
bloated and swollen
and its claw-finger children
whose eyes haven’t glimmer
and whose mouths, sealed, never sing hymns

tho who’ve mumbled their poems
lurk, hungered–
birthing shadow within every crevice
where once each’d existed, as wishes
ambling, golden, like dust specks
floating without burden of earth
upon slender-amber rays of sun
aye, no place remains
in which a soul
might dare again
a daydream’s peril

the somber song

we’d need a thing taller than love–
to heal us, of our broken faith, lovers
a thing– taller than the stoic mountain
it’d wish be regarded
capped in sun-brushed, purple-heather sway
tho at its peaks, a petulant child, it’d be
bellowing its stone-tablet demands
aye, its red-faced, screaming needs
tho if it should listen
with compassion
it’d hear even
a fallen tear’s trailing whimper
we’d need a thing sager
than love, lovers
silent, when instead
it should roar
in defense of those unable
as are even those strongest of men
when midnight’s loathing
throws its sooty cloak over
our days
as even horizons know limits
we’d need a thing wider than love
my lovers–
to open its broad arms
in empathy’s grace
to accept, all we are
thus far, unforgiven–
to comprehend– we are not lonely
for wish of more company
billions of us, teeming
crawling over each other
to be known
loneliness is only
the hums and murmurs
of those souls, voiceless
in the long wander
the slow piano music
more absence, than sound
which finds no white-frill dancers
to glide within its subtle rhythms
the somber song
that only one
shall hear

ecstasy of sorrows

this business of living, kills us all
“He lived a good life,” they said
one, after another–
and the women wept, the men, solemn
hands folded, heads tipped, slightly down
watching seam-stocking legs and shining shoes
growing up– out of the sullen-umber ground
the combed-hair children, epiphanous, this day
ninety seven years after his own birth
shaking, wrinkle-knuckle handfuls of dirt
tossed upon his gleaming, black-lacquer box
and what does anyone know of a man
even in a near-century, to offer in eulogy?
most thoughts exist
only within a mind’s secrecy
never spoken, their treason
nor, especially, their selfless honor
never known, a man’s ecstasy of sorrows
these, his own, his doting harem of shadows
and to each, be he devoted
aye, and to all

Who will stay?

Who will stay
Until we are old, pale, and grayed, bodies fallen?

Who will stay
When we are broken, when we haven’t words
Knowing our silence, taking our hand as we are stilled by fear?

Who will stay
Through our whispering insanity
Finding forgiveness, though unfair, their crucifixion?

Who will stay
Cut by razor-tongue
Bleeding from confusion’s wounds, yet still drawing us near?

Who will stay
Through the rain’s gray pain
Until distant morning sun gifts us hope again?

Who will stay
When summer’s butterflies are gone
When perched love birds know only lonely songs?

Who will stay
Through the tumors, illness, through disease?

Who will stay
Longer than a warm, summer evening’s dream?

Who will stay
Who will prove themselves not a fantasy?

Some may look the sky
Their question, merely, why?
All I ask, tell me, please
Who will stay?


An older poem, tho timelessly relevant to me.

unborn soul

this thing, craved
tho our wish’d be always
uncertain
having learned, since children
of hope’s wanton dereliction
our orbit-paths, paralleling
as might Saturn’s chalk-dust lines
within a prism’s bent-light paradigm
falling together, meeting hastily
and then dispersing
into nothingness
once witnessed collision’s distortions
these guileless verses, whispered into the heart
of an ashen-winged soul
tho yet to grace this darkened parlor
as it pivots in place
and as we cling to its barren sand
aye, she’d find me now
speaking in tongues
praying– in my ash-tree desert
on stone-cut knee
imploring– that she’d receive me
that she’d know me, once
this, my entirety
everything
I shall ever be
found, in all
that I’ve not written down
tho it’d exist, unspoken
thereby incomplete
and tho some squalid evenings
she’d find me weeping
into my poetry’s poverty-trodden squalor
dare I conjure
Yeats– he believed
in magic
the wishful fool
thus, why not I
believe
in thine abiding sagacity
aye, thine benign mercy
o ye– yet unborn soul?

Carried on the Wind

He walked with a peculiar gait. First, his knees would creak forward, then his feet would whip compliantly into place, frightened to be left behind, scuffing the gravel with each odd step. The rest of his body did not move, except as carried forward stiffly by his wayward legs. I can’t say I recall him saying much to us kids. There may have been the occasional grumble or dark muttering, but no actual conversation. Though he had trouble keeping a job, the years as a mechanic, hunched over and banging his knuckles on the cold metal under the hoods of Plymouths, and Fords, and Volkswagens with the damned engine crammed in the back, carried over into his posture. Even as a large man, his stature was lessened, carrying the weight of his defeat.

I had seen the wedding pictures, the smiling, petite brunette and the handsome man he had once been, standing tall, eyes alive with love, and with hope for the future. Now he wore a scowl, and a beard, grown in apathy, and lines on his face deep, much deeper than his years. It was the liquor that had aged him so quickly. His uncombed, reddish-brown hair was long enough to be carried on the wind as he walked. As he approached, people would inch away, giving him room to pass, pulling their children closer.

Kenny and Mark were their only children, nine years old, and seven, respectively. Both had the same haircut, long, but cut in a straight line at the back, and around the sides. Their bangs hung in their eyes. Kenny had Scoliosis. He carried himself with a hunch as well, but it wasn’t the spine curvature which pulled down on his shoulders, as cursed with a burden. It wasn’t a small bend in his back that made him struggle to smile. Mark still had a bit of innocence, just as confused, but Kenny looked out for him, so Mark could still be a kid, for as long as life would let him be one.

Their house was always dark. It was rare that any adults were home. And that was a good thing. If one were home, it might not be too bad. He would drink, sullenly, and not say much, or she would putter around the house, moving things around, attempting to restore some order to her world, though it never looked any different. If they were both home, the screaming would start.

Children don’t understand these things. They don’t understand when the only gods that they have ever believed in fall from the heavens, shattering, as broken mortals. They don’t understand the screaming, the anger, and the fear. They don’t understand the violence. They don’t understand one parent hitting the other with a car, and they should never have to understand such things. He survived the car incident. It would be an overstatement to say that he lived.

I didn’t understand either. My parents divorced around that time, and I moved back and forth between the two for a while. I lost contact with Kenny and Mark. I lost contact with everyone, including myself. On a weekend visit to see my mother, we were driving when we saw him walking on a road that no one would walk unless they had no car, appearing a way that no one would appear unless they had no home, his long, reddish-brown hair still carried on the wind as he walked with a peculiar gait.

We both saw him, and neither ever said a word about it; we barely spoke at all that day.

iron gates of black

up the road
paved, pocked, and grayed
or down it, a bit
near the tall-grass deer field
once a farm
now marked– ‘land for sale’
in peeling, red-paint letters
flattened upon
a square-post wooden sign
towers– a stone home
atop a slim, emerald hill’s incline
the house, several times larger
than those humbler homes
that surround
wrought iron gates of black
grow tall– out of their shadows
the fence-wall, spanning wide
tho the heavy gates, at the center
swung ajar
and I don’t know
who lives there
and whomever lives
there
behind the iron gates
doesn’t know– of me
never, the other seen
never, the gates’ moans
heard
creaking open
slightly more
or less
ajar
tho moved
by someone–
and never
the gates of iron
seen
fully closed