I Bark, Therefore, I Am


Lord Byron enjoying his "after-vet" time alone.

Lord Byron enjoying his “after-vet” time alone.

I’m not going to yank your leash – it’s been a busy month. A few weeks ago, my humans took me into the scary place with the man in the white coat. You know the place. It’s where everyone gathers around me as I lay on a cold. steel table and they poke and prod. Seems I had something called cancer and my human’s seemed really, really worried and sad. It couldn’t be all that bad, I thought, as the treats seemed to triple recently… but before I could whimper, “let’s get out of this place”, they left me and went away.

Now, I know I’m a brave boy…at least that’s what they told me as they left. But I certainly didn’t feel brave as the man in the white coat took me into the back room and put me into a deep sleep.

I dreamt of all the eight, wonderful, play-packed years I had spent with my humans. I must have chased ten thousand bouncy things in the park, and they always bought me squeaky things to keep me occupied as they went to work each day. I dreamt of the day they rescued me. I had been kept in a breeders cage since birth, and when I was freed, I had seizures brought on by the new flood of attention and love. But as they said, I’m a brave boy, and I was so happy when they took me home to share their kennel with me. Over the next 8 years, I learned to play and cuddle and found my utmost joy in the little humans that would pet me, cooing, “Oooh..he’s so soft!”

I confess, nothing was as much fun as Christmas at my human’s owners house in Grass Valley when I get my new toys and treats! Didn’t much care for the firecracker day each July, but I found my comfort behind Mama’s legs. Oh, how I dreamed some big dog dreams.

When I woke up, the scary man in the white coat was smiling, and there were my humans!! They had come back (as they always do). My tail thumped as I could see how joyful and happy they were! “I got it all,” beamed the white coated man. “It’s was a low grade cancer and I’d be surprised if it comes back,” he said. I don’t know what all the fuss was about, but my humans were no longer sad, and that was all that mattered to me. I’ve got a lot of living, chasing, and loving to do still yet.

As I left the room, I looked back at the white-coated man and gave a little bark. He wasn’t so scary after all, and I felt I owed him a bark of thanks.

 

A Midnight Violation


I preface this poem with an apology should it provoke any memories in my dear readers of similar abuse. It is never my intention to cause pain.  On the contrary, I offer my love and compassion, and yes, my hope for healing by bringing into the light secrets that grow and fester in the dark. I dedicate this to my younger sisters, who I love and cherish dearly, for the countless midnights stolen from their innocence. And to all victims of this senseless abuse. There is love and hope beyond the pain ~ Dennis

Image

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, as the
morning’s breeze carries the cry of angels.


“Just so you know, despite the darkness and despair of some of my poetry, here’s a glimpse of the more hopeful and soulful affirmation of my personality” Anyone laughs, I un-follow!

images (2)

PROMISES

You ask if love’s forever
A promise I can’t make
But if I could, or thought I should
I would not hesitate

I’d promise you forever
And then a day or two
If I were free to guarantee
Forever loving you

But promises are born of doubt
A doubt that’s seldom real
The love we know can only grow
In trusting what we feel

Yet, I’ll promise you this moment
If words can still your fears
Just hold me now and show me how
To love you through the years

 

Promises

Father’s Day


Image

He pillaged the title the day I was born
and like most thieves, he took for granted that which he stole.
Being a “father” meant no more to him than taking the trash out
the only difference being, he preferred to bring the trash in.
Each night, drunk and puffed full of false bravado, he would
return home from the bar twenty minutes after closing
with some strange woman who was half his age
who still managed to look twice as old as he was.
They all smoked and smelled of cheap perfume and beer,
and as he pushed by my mother with
with a violence that seemed to rattle her bones,
he would look at me, a frightened five year old
with no understanding of what this all meant,
and flip me the finger.

Every day was “father’s day”..
his to do with as he willed.
They took their sins into
my mother’s bedroom and slammed the door behind them.
I feared my father, but hated my mother
for not taking us out of this broken house and into
the world where somewhere, someone could love us.
That’s all I wanted…love. What I got was limitless contempt
for complicating their lives.
She just sat in the living room before the television, defeated
and sipping her gin, counting the years down until she might
find the courage to cut her wrists,
leaving us to…him.

Irises


Irises by Vincent van Gogh

Irises by Vincent van Gogh

I watch from my folding chair,
the low autumn sun measuring out
the remains of the day.
She, genuflecting in the garden,
places four purple seedlings
into the dark damp earth,
pushing each with a jab of her fingers
and a prayer to bloom their beginning –
(those same fingers that used to softly
trace the curvature of the small of my back
when we made love)
purple irises close to the ground
She says they are insanely beautiful
and I say, “Did you know van Gogh painted
Irises from an insane asylum in Saint-Remy,
locked in the grip of unimaginable pain and suffering?”
She looks at me…looks through me,
as a small tear appears in the corner of her eye.
She knows.
She knows her garden better than she knows me,
but she knows that once these flowers root,
I am leaving her.
Turning back above these flowers,
my sweet-faced wife tilts a rusted watering can,
wanting more leaves, more flowers,
more life!  as water pours from the spout.
Five tongue-shaped petals fall ever so slowly
onto the black earth before she bends
and picks up each severed petal
and puts them oh so carefully in her pocket.

Secrets


Image

My shadow falls away -
no sun will touch this truth.
Wandering cold and revealed;
almost naked in my sin,
for I have squandered the best of me,
despair descends upon what’s left 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 reach.

My body is cleaved in two:
one side dead
while the other exists in fear of living.
I am betrayed by my own hand
and I shall not sleep eternal.

The truth is an acid
eating away any hope of resurrection.
I am undone, yet left standing.
I am buried alive beneath my secrets.

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My Turn From Heaven


God Hate
My ashes are to dust betrothed,
my bones ‘neath lily and the rose.
My soul, which hath no penitence,
shall ne’er see heaven’s countenance!
While God doth cry on bended knee,
“Who brought this vile wretch to Me?”
I have no prayer to speak for me,
nor do I seek His sympathy.
I’ve cast my lot upon this heap,
come now an everlasting sleep.
As angels flee on bended wing
my unwinding was a simple thing.

Light heart though first was given me
soon beat with endless misery.
Once hopeful dreamer fast awoken,
songs unsung and words unspoken.
Continually seeking His advisement,
receiving only harsh chastisement.
As a child I prayed for his bemusement,
though my suffering lent to His amusement -
He offered love, and then he took
my loved ones from his holy book.
He filled my life with misery
and hid Himself in the Trinity.

Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
lashed me to their whipping post,
And each with certain celestial glee
tore the very heart from me!
And so began my slow decline
that leaves me now in full recline;
I have no faith, nor do I now,
profess in this my final hour
To seek His love and lifting grace
in this my final resting place.
In timeless repose let me rest,
a thorn insert into my breast.
For pain is something dear to me,
His lust for blood unclear to me:
Why such angst and bitter spew?
You do not know the God I knew!

 

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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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Death’s Warm Embrace


deaths-embrace

 

My dreams are fermented delusions
A kaleidoscope of meandering falls
Through time and space, while the
Screams of my infliction 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.

 

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The Night She Called


alone-in-bed1

 

I was so drunk
the night she called
I thought the phone ringing
was a song in my brain -
I hummed along
and laughed that empty laugh
that is found at the bottom
of well drunk bottles.

Later, she came to the door
and knocked, knocked, knocked
while I stared
at the crack spreading
up the wall,
reminding me of her varicose veins.
I tapped my foot in time.

I will most certainly die
on this side of the door one night,
and all the ringing and knocking
won’t bring me back to life.

 

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The Trinity and Me


tombstones

 

First They took my father,
and then consumed my mother
Without the slightest hesitance,
They came and took another
My sister left in tender years,
They left me naught but pouring tears
We’re promised today and not the other,
so They came again and claimed my brother

I prayed They’d come for me one day,
but here I stand with feet of clay
And this belies my ardent fear,
They’ll not return for many years
Leaving me with nothing more
than dreams of how it was before
How cruel and painful can They get,
my day will come, but not just yet

And so I stand here all alone,
with a wounded heart and an empty home.
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost;
which of these I hate the most?
The Trinity it’s plain to see,
for it’s all for One and none for me.

 

Last Call


ghost

Last night, as I lay muddled,
in my whiskey-soaked slumber,
A wraith-like mist appeared;
blue-black and musty scented
in tattered rags dipped in dust.

My burning sleep-clenched eyes
could not squeeze the scepter gone.
Her orbs, two onyx stones
set above translucent cheeks;
her mouth, a gaping maw
spewing ruby-red flames.

She floated on an icy breeze
scented with blood and bitters.

“Last call!” she hissed,

pouring me two bony fingers
of amber absolution,
judgment oozing from
her snake-coiled tongue.
I listened to the familiar tinkle
of liquefied reasoning cascading
across ice-cubed rebuttals.

Fear terrorized me,
stroking my belly with cold hands.
My gut curveting far and high
like smoke-flecked stallions
raking the black sky
with their steel-sparked shoes.

the earth reached up
with vise-gripped soiled fingers
grasping my naked ankles
and pulled down my saturated bones;
my drunken soul laid out and set
beneath lichen-laced granite.

Jagged stone-edged knives etched
my name and this,
the year of my drunken descent.

Three Seasons of Life


images (1)

In the youngest years, there is fear and pain

images (2)

In the middle years, there is ecstasy, laughter,
hope, promise. happiness, delight, pleasure, bliss,
confidence, optimism, courage, faith, joy, desire,
hopefulness, buoyancy, brightness, anticipation,
choice, sex, cheerfulness, and contentment.

Old woman

In the final years, there is fear and pain.

A Dark and Distant Star


Image

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.

The Destitute


bolivia-prison

This is the refuse of humanity;
huddled in these corners,
iron-chained and forgotten
souls. These slimy walls
reverberate with muffled echoes
that slip through iron bars, devoid
of white wings to carry
hope to a voiceless god. The
ceiling hovers like a heavy mist,
dark and putrid, thick and barbed,
chocking any head held high.
Footsteps fall on a threshing floor gaping
with endless chasms where
missteps twist the misstepped into
vague memories. Here, forgivers are
unforgiving and the soother speaks
with a forked tongue lashing through
grinning lips, while the outside clamor
of unbound hands applaud and
beckon for an encore. This is where
a healing touch decays and
withers as the cacophonous
shadows swallow warm light.
No stars pave the way to an
escape; no amount of strength can
tear the bonds of this furious
storm that confines vitality amid the
waves of rotting life. No
song comforts. Listen to
the empty void of removed memories.

 

My Father’s Gift


My father was a gifted man,
if by gifted you mean having the ability
to take a perfectly good family and
fuck it up beyond all recognition.

I often wonder what his childhood
was like – did he lay awake at night
anxiously awaiting that condemning
sliver of light from a cracked bedroom
door? Did he endure the midnight
smell of rum and coke that announced
another night of abuse? Did he whisper
to himself, “this is what I want to do
when I grow up?”

He had a gift for loving his children,
much like a pimp has the gift of loving
his whores.

The Void


A breaking dawn does not mean
a new day has begun;
my life is spun in hours that
never advance, and I do not
even bother to rise in the mornings
of the whippoorwill.
I am filled with an emptiness
that stretches into nothingness.
and when my name is called
I do not answer.
Yesterday, today, tomorrow…
they are all rolled into my despair,
and I have stopped fighting for a
meaning that never comes.
My brittle bones are ground into
the finest dust, and when the wind
kicks up, I am scattered
through empty streets.
I have surrendered to bouts
of liquid reasoning
for the grave will not dig itself.

A Midnight Violation


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, as the
morning’s breeze carries the cry of angels.

Do Not Be Afraid


Do not be afraid
to lose yourself in me.

My hands are strong,
yet gentle
and, if need be,
I shall carry you
within the calm shadows
of my love.

Do not be afraid
to laugh with me;
the warmth of my love for you
I gather from the
rainbows of your smile.

Do not be afraid to cry with me
when life overwhelms you;
I will gather your tears
within the well of my understanding
and pour them carefully
upon the fires of your fear.

Do not be afraid
to live with me;
I will build for you a home
with floors of tender mercy,
Walls of compassion,
ceilings of hope,
and windows of promise.

Do not be afraid
to die with me;
I will lead you through
the dark forests of your doubt
until the bright meadows
of forever rise beneath our feet
and the cool waters of eternity
swallows our souls, together.