My Book Now Available on Amazon.com: The Winter Bites My Bones: New and Collected Poems, 1980-2013


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Originally posted on The Winter Bites My Bones:

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Well, it’s finally here.  For those of you who have been following my work, my first book is now available on Amazon via this link:  Thank you for your patronage and I look forward to writing for you for years to come.  ~ Dennis

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For Better or Worse


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For better or for worse, I am a dark writer.

 It isn’t something I wanted to be as I grew up…it is more something that had to be done to give my inner grief a voice so that the pain and suffering did not consume me. The events of my life have consumed me like maggots feasting on the carcass of a dead child. Have you ever wondered why the best of Irish writers are so dark and depressing? It is because they were consumed and compelled by lives lived in abject poverty, disease and general disrepair and despair. Bram Stoker, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Frank McCourt, …all suffered from severe moral disintegration, from morbid ideations brought about by the unrelenting ugliness that this so called “good life” thrust upon them.  

 The French poéts maudits;  François Villon, Baudelaire and Rimbaud?  These were simple men forced to live  their lives outside or against society, awash in the abuse of drugs and alcohol, insanity, crime, and violence. They all died pitiful, painful deaths. Or how about the Americans?  Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Bukowski…each caught up in what life does best…grinding their souls to dust in the absence of any lasting hope until the merciful fist of death grabbed each by the ankle and pulled them under.

 You may think I’m just cynical and indulgent…but I tell you, for every ray of sunshine you can conjure, I can show you ten bolts of lightning that rip and destroy.  I am glad others have happiness….but I myself was pushed through this veil of insidious despair without my consent, and I’ve learned to navigate life in the absence of hope.  And yes, I find some comfort there.  It’s what I know.

 People are always saying, “try and look on the bright side,” and to them I say, “ Look around you, for fuck’s sake!”  There is an ocean of pain, agony, and suffering washing over the majority of the earth’s population…and you think platitudes  and sweet rejoinders make a difference when the crows peck the eyes from a dead child who has starved in the Sudan? Or when 20 beautiful innocent children in Sandy Hook have their precious lives snuffed out, or when entire populations are being systematically wiped off the face of the earth for political expediency?  Get real.  Take off your rose-colored specs and take a deep look around you!  Evil flourishes upon a people’s unwillingness to see.  They are blinded by their blazing sunshine and forced optimism.

 Yes, we live in the same world, but I see the shadows where you see the light. I don’t write this kind of crap because I have something to say…I write it because something which must be said has me to write it. My apologies for the rant…but I get so ill in my gut when people say, “there, there…the world is a beautiful place. Just try harder to be happy.”

 The world is obscene and delusional. And it hurts.

Poets and Prostitutes


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He was a lover of street prostitutes;
not the sable-wrapped uptown girls
bathed in Chanel No.5 and punishing Daddy
by selling their tight-toned wares retail,
but rather those wholesale working-class girls
perfumed by the sweat of their labors;
standing beneath broken streetlights at 2 a.m.,
in cheap, colorful makeup and Wal-Mart lingerie,
with asses bubbling back and semi-flaccid breasts;
those colorful painted whores of the night.

In his youth, he had been scorched by the beautiful
and he would never again have the fevered yearning
of lying with flesh more pliant and comely.

Street-walkers fed his pathos and filled his inner void.
They would let him kiss them on the mouth,
and wouldn’t complain when he couldn’t get hard
because of too much beer and whiskey.

They’d always wait patiently, filing their nails,
chewing open-mouthed wads of gum -
but most of all, they would never, ever
fill the silence with meaning-less chatter.

If he couldn’t function, they didn’t condemn him,
but would play with themselves upon request
so at least the failing of the hour felt sexy.

Most of all, they didn’t lie!

They wouldn’t tell him what a great lover he was
or offer up false platitudes on his endowment;
They used their real names and would share their coke
for an extra twenty-five, and he would pour them full shots.

Sometimes, he would write beautiful sonnets for them
and they would genuinely be moved to tears.

If the sex was lousy, they took it in stride and didn’t bitch.
They didn’t conspicuously spit into folded Kleenex
or stuff their mouths with wads of spearmint gum
after he had come, just to lose the taste of him.
Rather, they swallowed because they, too, didn’t care
if they got one more filthy, fucking disease.

They were like him; defeated and empty,
just grateful not to be judged and discarded
like yesterday’s rotten fruit.

Self-Reflection


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I am the ripe green apple,
plucked from Eden’s garden
Contemptuously bitten,
no hope for God’s pardon.
I am Achilles heel
that hobbles my stride;
Odysseus’ curse,
my insufferable pride..
That lock of hair
claiming Sampson’s life,
And the brother of Able,
I’m Cain with a knife!
I am the snakes coiled
in Medusa’s dark mane -
Like a lance to the boil,
my mercy is strained.
I’m the brew in the cauldron
of deep-forested witches -
The ugliness that comes
from Frankenstein’s stitches.
I am alone and afraid,
but too stubborn to change;
Hopeless and lost
and most certain deranged!
I’m broken, defeated,
and reeking of sin,
The lowest of cowards,
the most evil of men.
A life, ever wasted
on cheap wine and women,
My descent into Death
is just now beginning.
This ghost will remain
as my specter of shame -
I’d rather be dead
than live more of the same ~

 

FRANKENSTEIN


Unfortunately, many people will relate all to knowingly to the poem. Re-posted from a talented poetess I’ve collaborated with in the past (http://dlmchale.com/2013/02/06/in-remembrance-of-sandy-hook-elementary/) Her work has an brutal, often naked truth to it. Please visit her blog for this and much, much more of her incredible writing at: http://hastywords.wordpress.com/

The Insidiousness of Life


Corner BAr 3

The insidiousness of life is that it constantly presses upon you;
it is unrelenting in its demands that you nurture and refine it.
It evolves, with or without your consent, so there is no rest,
no time to simply put it on cruise control enjoy the passing of time.

For me, every breath is a nuisance; every step is a cursed journey
saddled with failed expectations and societal derision.
I never belonged to this world, nor has it offered itself to me,
and the contempt with which I hold its false promises

eats at my guts like ravens nibbling away at my flesh.
Where others are guided by the soft-bent wings of angels,
I am weighed down by the relentless nagging of demons;
wicked little imps who mock my waking hours and torment my sleep.

There is not a grave dug deep enough to bury my sorrows,
nor do I seek any forgiveness for my sorry state.
I will wash away the stench of my miserable existence
with endless cups of liquid absolution, and in my drunken state,

I will stumble through somehow.

Tomorrow’s sunrise may warmly embrace the multitudes;
each with their cheerful dispositions and infernal optimism.
I, on the other hand, will wither beneath the heat,
thirsting constantly for the darkness beneath a waning moon,
for it is in darkness that my soul finds its true voice.

Diagnosis


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moments of crazy
little peeks behind the sanity curtain
screaming like a banshee
binge drink-eat-screw
before being declared unsound
living under a microscope
then come the drugs
take the pills, follow the rules, and play nice
cue the side effects
a good doctor, a good therapist, and the right meds
the holy trinity of madness
find the knots that need untying and
the pathways that need re-wiring
navigate this world in different ways
or spiral into despair
a misshapen version of a human
a different way of seeing
easily wounded, and easily elated
weird, misaligned
lacking the candle needed
to get out of the dark

 

Beneath These Stairs


Imagehttp://alastairsphotofiction.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/photo-fiction-sunday-june-16th-2013/

photo by Alastair

These are the back alleys
where destitute meets despair
and this is my journey.
The stairs call me from the bowels
of my misfortunes, beckoning me
onward and up…I shall not go.
At the top of these stairs
humanity stirs, and I am long
since far removed…my face
cannot bear the light, my fate
lies in the shadows of this alley.

I fell from these stairs years ago,
awash in drink and drug…I found
my refuge in this shaded vale
beneath the mortal blow,
below the pain and affliction
stirring far above.
My world is diminished,
as am I,
though the day will come when
when my tired bones ascend,
when my body fades upon these
cold stone steps.
Then, and only then,
shall my soul ascend,
Then, and only then.
shall I find my peace.

Where I Live


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How temperamental is the man in me
who misses you but will not call this because
I find the thought of romance more alluring
than actually opening myself to you?
I drink to burn the voices in my belly
that mock my tenuous hold on sanity.
I buy my smokes one at a time because
I have no vision of or faith in tomorrow
and I make my living scratching the underbelly of
this wretched world;
This desolate city, crumbling beneath the
broken wings of blackbirds…it is my home.
It is where I live. My pen scrapes past
its veneer of civility and sheds light upon
the ugly, the lost, the torn asunder. My people.
I take my walks at night under many clouds
all dressed in muted black.
I am callous with the hipsters and the tweakers
camped by the muddy rivers, and the hookers
and the pimps and the holy man and the
goddamned garish fluidity of this headache world.
I live in a city of fifty thousand accumulated flesh tombs
or more pretending about the news and the weather
with their minds drifting always back to the same
goddamned thing. How pathetic to be so far away
in space but not in time?
How desperate is the faith convinced by two arguments;
Both to be and not to be?
When I stumble, I lean against the wall or the lamppost
reading a page of Plath or passage of Hemingway
and all I can think is how courageous their exits were.
I yearn for their knowledge of the final crossing.
I read words, not novels, because words
are better spit than woven.
I refuse my fate gazing at my expiration date
and pouring another drink, I turn off the radio and
sit silently in the dark chambers of my thoughts.
I remember you, but me? I do not.

The Tortured Scribe


block

Delusions scatter, inspiration dwindles;
how then shall I progress?
The world revolves on a shaky spindle
and the heart barely beats in my chest.

Having given so much to this wretched life,
I fear I’ve gone insane.
I awake at night with a sudden fright
and a fever in my brain.
I reach into descending light -
a trembling hand extends;
my fingers white, with no insight,
I grip the writer’s pen.

Words drip onto a page uncurled,
a scattering of thoughts still burning -
my soul calls out, “God, let me out!”
and speaks of desperate yearning.
Like splattered pools of fallen rain
that swallow my reflection,
I’m lost again and deep within
the fog of introspection.

And still no words to rise within
my consciousness this day -
expressions of this tortured scribe
Must find another way.

 

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i never had a plan for you


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you push and pull, like wolves at the door,
and all i hear is this discordant humming.
you play only the black keys, the sharp keys,
and your music screams of pain.
but isn’t that the choice?

we’ve come a long and lonely way
to owe ourselves to wolves
each howl a dying little light of the soul
i don’t remember, did we take this road together?
did you see our wings fold together?

you have a wanderlust growing in your soul
and live where ashes take the form of houses
all around the grounds we see a flashlight metronome,
that skips to sleep in leaps, lock and key, or latchkey…
a house you tricked empty because
you knew they would take it back, piece by piece.

who do we let it in? do we have a choice?
you said you don’t even like to be seen
in the parking lot, beneath the moon
and the drinking of the glass…
whatever the hell that means

i’m sorry again for everything i’ve been
and all the things i wasn’t
i’d sink to your city streets if i wasn’t buried in your hands
there is nothing out there; i do not hear what you hear
regardless of everything, i came to know you as a relic
you are ashes falling between my burnt fingers

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A Midnight Violation


fear

Bathed in an ethereal light
this child has no skin in the game
yet her trust holds demands
she cannot bear.

The creak of her bedroom door
snatches the sleep from her eyes
and in the darkness, horror descends;
her pillow, once soft and warm,
betrays her and once under, now over
muffles her surprise.

Beneath his weight, she dissipates
her cries muffled in the night.
Her fright smothers – she gasps for air
and he’s still there, grinding her
fragile hips into dust.

God looks on, and in His fashion
does nothing to intervene;
a celestial voyeur.

Stuffed animals bolt to the floor
one after the other, and with them
descends lost innocence; her
face laced in spittle, and she’s so little.

He rolls over, spent and condemned
as blackness descends to fill her.
Nothing is as it seems, but not a dream.
Tears wash away the vision of
this violation.

He rises as she plummets;
this child painted with the smell of
cigarettes and cheap liquor.
Morning filters through frosted panes
but she finds no warmth in the rising sun.

They’ll be no accounting for this sin
and no childhood left within this shattered
shell of a child. A darkness, deeper than sleep,
envelopes her lost innocence, and the
night’s breeze carries the cry of angels.

 

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Solitude


alone_in_the_dark

Back then, before
The moon sunk low and lower still
Pushed down by the foggy fingers
Of morning’s misty gray light
The city slept its restless sleep
Caressed by the icy winds of winter,
Wrapped in the shadowed shroud
Of indifference and indignation

Existing here in my cobwebbed corner
Alone among the distant many,
Isolated and detached from life
The door to my heart soundly latched
Behind the four walls of my existence
Love, Hope, Joy, and Promise
Cracked and crumbling into dust
Beneath my naked and bruised feet.

Laying there listless but listening still
To the hustle and bustle outside
Buzzing like bees, swarming in my head
I cried out, but none heard or came
I lifted my eyes toward the rising sun
But they were burned and blinded
By the intense vision of my failure
My tears salting my solitude
Nothingness replacing the light
Resignation, this cowards flight

I swore and cursed the fates
but in the end, I had to let go

Faulty Reasoning


inmate

I was wrong about obscurity then,
hoping for darkness and a quiet bed;
but then the iron door slammed shut
and the cacophony of inmates filled my brain.

My crime was meant to buy me the freedom
from life’s incessant hammering; but I found
myself thrust into a discordant and never-ending
screech of men bemoaning their false innocence
and knives fashioned from melted toothbrushes
jabbing the life from unsuspecting fools.

I had hoped for the consistency of routine and
lights out early, but beneath the glaring ceiling
sconces that burned 24/7, each night slammed down
with new threats and opportunists to perish.

I longed for the numbness I had known in my
drink and drugs, but in here, they would only
give you antacids and an aspirin.

I had simply not thought this through.

Poet’s Defeat


fallen angel

 

Let the night unfold as may;
I am sleepless and nocturnal
a carpet of stars lights the way
across blank pages of my journal

Though little light is cast, and sure
No verse forthcoming pours from me
for all the emptiness I endure
One inspired word would set me free

Yet these droplets fall in un-metered rhyme
for me to unravel, on bended knee
I am as useless as soliloquy to a mime
Or autumn leaves to a winter tree

So loose my bonds and set me free
No more my pen to scribe
No vacuous lines of poetry
There’s simply nothing left inside.

 

A Dark and Distant Star


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My sleep is bathed in fearful sweat;
each night a pitched battle between
all that I’ve loved and all that I’ve lost.

My dreams betray me.
Treasonous vignettes spinning through the night
like mismatched pieces of a puzzle:
no matter how desperately I press one vision into another,
it will not lock, and the picture remains incoherent.

When morning breaks, I arise once more
into the cool, grey fog  of isolation.
Cold and shivering,
uncertain, and empty.

Unfocused, confused,
eyes pasted shut with broken sleep
and a mouth of stale cotton.

Each day is spent in a stumbling stupor
of regret and indecision.
Like a bird on broken wings,
my thoughts fall aimlessly before me.
I am tired and disillusioned.
I am conscious but cannot see.

I exist in darkness descending
and tomorrow’s light is a dark and distant star.

Crucified Beneath Her Touch


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In my darkest hour,
rolled up into a ball upon the divan
reading Plath and Poe,
fantasizing about the silent sweetness of death;
writing angry, diminished verse raging against
all things holy and full of light…
then, only then was I full of purpose and certainty.

From the falling of the sun until the break of dawn,
pouring ice-less cups of bourbon to free my tongue,
burning with each gulp as I exorcised my demons
on the back of half-torn slips of
empty bank statements and creditor threat letters.

My loving Kate stood sentinel outside the door,
occasionally sneaking in a tepid bowl of broth
or a grilled cheese sandwich;
she both hated me beyond all measure
and attended to my waking needs with a love that
stung me to my bitter core.
She stayed because she could see in me
what I could not, as I lay crucified beneath
her touch. I stayed with her so that someone
would be around to answer the angry phone.

In the daylight, awash in the cool grey light of morning,
I tucked away in the roll-topped desk
all evidence of my madness.
Beneath a shower of scalding water,
I made vain attempts to wash away my sins
of the previous night.
I stuffed my walking corpse into
a starched white linen shirt,
draped with a burgundy tie,
and stepped into my fresh-pressed suit
(dear, Kate!) I kissed her dry lips goodbye.

Each day, I drive into the city,
interviewing for jobs I would never accept,
stopping by Tommy’s Irish Pub for a shot of Johnny,
and napping the afternoon away on a
faded green park bench outside the county courthouse.
At 5pm I headed home to flee the light once more.

Dinner would rest un-touched
as I passed straight through toward oblivion.
Kate would be at her spinning class
as I dropped the suit and all pretense,
pulled on a pair of faded jeans,
and slowly drifted into my melancholy.
Each day, I would rummage through her dresser,
lightly tracing my fingers over her satin underthings,
remembering when.

I’d pull another freshly  bought bottle
of amber courage from the kitchen pantry
(dear, sweet Kate) and poured
myself another night.

 

Beyond the Blackened Veil


Homeless Man

The long days,
the forgotten nights,
have left me scarred and depleted;
I’d consumed my fill
of sour cabbage and cheap whiskey
and slept on damp piles of rotting leaves,
wrapping myself in regret and self pity.

There were, of course, lucid moments;
when the wind would caress my cheek
softly, like the touch of an angel,
and in those moments,
I made vows not meant for keeping.

My coat, now threadbare
and reeking of last night’s vomit and rain,
has been my home;
I dwell deep within its folds,
seeking some comfort there
and finding none, toss it to young mulatto boy,
who will be dead before winter finishes lashing
his heroin scabbed flesh.

But listen, my friend -
I have known joy and love,
and those in copious measure,
when I was young and foolish enough
to believe that even the wilted rose retained her charm.
I have lain with princesses and chambermaids
with equal passion,
the rusty moon of autumn casting
night shadows upon our secrets.
I once handed out ten dollar bills
because the roll in my pocket was so big
it chaffed my thigh.

Now, the cold jingling of pennies and a nickel
mark the cadence of my stumbling gait.

In my youth, and folly, I read Yeats and Eliot
and took solace in their pretty tomes;
they hung bejeweled words around my neck
and filled my boyish mind with infinite possibilities.
They lied, of course,
but still I welcomed the deceit
and even scribbled a few haughty poems myself
on love and other falsehoods.

Don’t misunderstand…
I do not rail against the imbalance of life.
Some ride the festooned dragon across velvet skies,
while others bathe in the shit and piss
of their miserable existence;
and certainly we will all go down – together -
beneath the broken sod.

Today,
I just look for a patch of yellow grass
upon which to lie down,
close my blood stained eyes,
to catch my final breath
and let this bitterness go.
I have no fight left for this life or any other.
I am weary and resolved that there are
new worlds and better poems
beyond the blackened veil.

Amber Waves of Pain


I made my bed on an ocean of glass shards
floating upon the undulating waves of incomprehension;
bourbon-soaked dreams sliced open and bleeding life’s meaning,
though it really depends on how hard you punch the veil of reflection.

I fell face first into a wall of glass.
Left with scars beneath my skin, jagged slices of nothingness
to rub my blood stained fingers over in that pain-filled comfort
where drunkenness sometimes seems like a good idea.

There always comes a point where I think I can stumble along,
the darkness isn’t so dark, the demons aren’t so scary, right?
It’s time to get off the merry-go-round
someone spliced to a rollercoaster,
only I forgot to notice ‘cause I was too busy going ‘round in circles.

It’s like breathing in asbestos that’s slicing through my lungs so hard
I can’t breathe, can’t think, and can’t be!
Pain has never felt as tangible as right now;
I’d do anything to make it stop,
anything to go back and find fermented heaven again.

But it keeps hitting like seven years bad luck
with perpetually bloody knuckles.
While I deliberately forget about the glass shards
imbedding themselves in and under my skin
until I’m at risk of bleeding to death, more glass than human.

Death’s Warm Embrace


My dreams are fermented delusions
A kaleidoscope of meandering falls
Through time and space, while the
Screams of my inflictions penetrate
And annihilate my grip on reality.

My waking hours, of which few remain,
Adds another layer of darkness to an
Already bleak existence, while the light
Of relentless self-reflection blinds me to
Any hope of reprieve or absolution.

I stand with one foot in the grave
And the other hobbled by uncertainty.
I do not fear this final step into the abyss
So much as I dread the act of departure;
The inglorious gasp of a final breath
Inhaling the petrichor of a wasted life.

A silent scream rattles from my gut
Cursing the sun of a new day rising.
I cannot bear another savage stroke
From a Sun that fails to warm me.
Let the final night descend and into
Death’s warm embrace enfold my soul.

Betrayal


Like a black-velvet curtain slowly falling,
I was not prepared for your numbing descent;
I am cleaved in two, a house divided against itself.
My thoughts, sharp as a honed razor, dribbles
incoherence as it passes over my muddled tongue;
thick molasses reluctantly oozing from a honey dipper,
but without the sweetness.
Do not pity me – I am yet fully housed within this melted
shell and am quite aware that my left side has betrayed
my right, but I no longer possess the mastery of pointing this out.

 

Beyond the Blackened Veil


The long days, the forgotten nights
have left me scarred and depleted;
I’d consumed my fill of sour cabbage and
cheap whiskey and slept on damp piles
of rotting leaves, wrapping myself in
regret and self pity.

There were, of course,
lucid moments when the wind would
caress my cheek softly, like the touch of
an angel, and in those moments, I made
vows not meant for keeping.

My coat, now threadbare and reeking
of last night’s vomit and rain, has been my home;
I dwell deep within its folds, seeking
some comfort there and finding none,
toss it to young mulatto boy, who will be
dead before winter finishes lashing his
heroin scabbed flesh.

But listen, my friend, I have known joy and love,
and those in copious measure, when I was young
and foolish enough to believe that even the
wilted rose retained her charm. I have lain with
princesses and chambermaids with equal
passion, the rusty moon of autumn casting
night shadows upon our secrets.

I once handed out ten dollar bills because
the roll in my pocket was so big it chaffed my thigh.
Now, the cold jingling of pennies and a nickel
mark the cadence of my stumbling gait.

In my youth, and folly, I read Yeats and Eliot
and took solace in their pretty tomes; they
hung bejeweled words around my neck and filled
my boyish mind with infinite possibilities. They
lied, of course, but still I welcomed the deceit
and even scribbled a few haughty poems on
love and other falsehoods myself.

Don’t misunderstand…I do not rail against the
imbalance of life. Some ride the festooned
dragon across velvet skies, while others bathe
in the shit and piss of their miserable existence;
and certainly we will all go down together beneath
the broken sod.

Today, I just look for a patch of yellow grass
upon which to lie down, close my blood stained
eyes, to catch my final breath and let this
bitterness go. I have no fight left for this life

 

(Sketch by Josef Rocha)

Bourgeois


You,
with your aphoristic charm,
dancing without a care as you sip absinthe
into the sleepless hours of dawn -
all smiles and laughter within your elite,
esoteric gaggle of bright-eyed friends.

You,
in your stupor, your haze
of self-absorption and carefree bon-vivant,
cannot bear to acknowledge the footman and the maid,
whose lives run parallel to yours;
captivated faces, reflected sullen and destitute
in the polished silver trays they carry -
each truffle thereupon which would deliver them,
and those they love from their blighted existence
drenched in hate and self-loathing.

Dance on.

There will always be pain gilding your merriment
and hunger lacing the edges of your cornucopia.

Eulogy of Despair


A fog of defeat envelopes my feet;
I am hobbled by my own false steps.
Aimlessly I’ve wandered, a life mostly squandered
Upon roads I have paved in regret.
Awash in addiction, my life’s predilection
Was always toward numbing the pain –
A failure to cope with the absence of hope
Now leaves me with nothing to gain.
With each labored breath, I contemplate death
And the comfort that darkness portends
All meaning eludes me, my sins now preclude me
From offering empty amends.
These words that I write do most bitterly bite -
A eulogy composed in my shame;
My anger now melts for the hand I was dealt;
I have only myself left to blame.
The hour descends that foreshadows my end
All my woes now be tucked into bed
Please, do not deny her this final desire -
The earth reaches up for her dead.

An Addict’s Indifference


Those were the lost years
when my days were bathed in
the hazy, soft glow of fentanyl
and tomorrow never came.
Those were the stacked hours
of feeling nothing
and floating lazily
down the opium river.
I neither belonged there,
or here,
for more than one lucid moment
between applied patches -
On with the new and hungrily
chewing the old.
I was then a woken mummy,
wrapped in dirty layers of
chemical indifference,
stepping haltingly from
light into shadow.
In those years,
my world spun on a shaky spindle,
my North, my South, my East
and West tossed into a
dark, bottomless hole.
Saturdays were spent in
sweat stained sheets,
clothed in smoke and asphalt
as the withdrawals descended;
counting the seconds and praying
Death would gather me in its
dark bosom.
Every four weeks, the pharmacist
would call my name and I would
lather, rinse, repeat.

Awakening


I have lived on the cusp
of knowing, and still my days
are filled with
incertitude,
Laughter rings my home
where generations have
gathered,
Flesh and bone betray
and to this day
I cannot make out the faces
that call me brother!
My father fell from grace
the day I was born and
stumbling, perfumed by
the scent of failure
and sweet vermouth,
he made his exit.
I never knew him.
My legs stretch long
before my faltered steps
but they cannot carry me
far enough away.
My dreams are salted and
weathered; my hope reserved
for the scattering of
copper pennies upon foreign
streets.
My only wish is to sleep
through this overture of
nothingness until cool
waters redeem my parched
awakening.

A Dark and Distant Star


” Every poem has a soul, the soul of the person who wrote it and the soul of those who read it and dream about it.” – dlmchale

My sleep is bathed in fearful sweat; each night a
pitched battle between all that I’ve loved and all
that I’ve lost.

My dreams betray me. Treasonous vignettes spinning
through the night like mismatched pieces of a puzzle:
no matter how desperately I press one vision into another,
it will not lock and the picture remains incoherent.

When morning breaks, I arise once more into the cool,
grey fog of isolation. Cold and shivering, aching and
empty. Unfocused and confused, eyes pasted shut with
broken sleep and a mouth of stale cotton.
.
Each day is spent in a stumbling stupor of regret and
indecision. Like a bird on broken wings, my thoughts fall
dangerously about me. I am tired and disillusioned. I am
conscious but cannot see. I exist in a pale light descending
and tomorrow’s hope is a dark and distant star.

Contrasting Lights


You have always stood beneath a dazzling
array of bright colors.
Brilliant, and brave, and blinding.
Your light provided bright reflections
and lit the stage upon which you danced;
careless, joyful, and exuberant.

It was a separate light that bathed me,
not quite so radiant and full of shadows.
It has never illuminated my way
nor has it warmed me in its beam.
It was what it seemed: an insignificant
blue glow, dim and misleading.

In your light, you were found. In mine,
everything was lost.

Secrets


My shadow falls away.
No sun will touch this truth.
Wandering, cold and revealed
almost naked in my sin.
I have squandered the best of me,
descending now with the rest of me.
Secrets eat at my guts
and I am consumed completely.
Would that my lips could part
and exorcise that which I dare not speak.
I am taunted by courage beyond my reach.
My body is cleaved in two;
one side dead, the other living in fear of living.
My own hand betrays me,
and I cannot sleep eternal.
The truth is an acid
eating away any hope of resurrection.
I am undone, yet left standing.