Love in a Guayusa* Shop


(*)Guayusa an organic herb sustainably grown in the Amazon Rainforest by Ecuadorian families only available at GUNPOWDER (http://drinkgunpowder.com)

coffee

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.

Yet, we sit this soundless morning at
Gunpowder, the drone of Venice Beach
tourists muted by the intensity
of her faded beauty,
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer -
sipping my guayusa latte,
drinking in the realness of her,
tasting the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.

I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.

Every few minutes she looks
off into the empty distance
a blank and distant stare -
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.

I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.

I also know that I love her,
she who I do not know
and she who no longer loves
in return.

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

This World


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Your love, your hate –
it’s all the same thing
it gathers me in the same web
entangling me with empty promises.
and like a lot of dreams
it made a monster at the end of it.

This is a world where nothing is solved –
where time is a flat circle
and everything we ever do, or have ever done,
we do over and over and over again.

Where you touch darkness
and darkness touches you back.

Best In Morning


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I love you best in morning…
In that quiet hour
before the sun fully rises
and the shadows of the night
linger possessively;
as I lie motionless
beside you
watching
the seductive blush
of a new dawn
filtering slowly through
the frosted windowpane,
caressing you in those last
moments of sleep
with warm fingers of light.
It is in that
special time,
that magic time of morning
as I, too, caress you
with my eyes
and with my thoughts
that I love you
best

 

The Lantern


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Do you see that lantern on the mantle?
Its light has shined on three generations of this family.

My grandfather learned to read under the tutelage of its glow.
He wrote love letters to my grandmother in verse reflecting
The warmth gathered from its flickering beam.

My mother found her way home through lost woods
To the waiting arms of my Dad,
And on the night I was conceived, it lent its sexuality.

Bright and slightly hesitant, still burn brightly
The night I was born, weaving moonbeams
Linking silver threads through the tapestry of our lives;
Illuminating my path through the years,

It has lit my tears and calmed my fears;
Beneath its flame we all found ways to heal
To bind up old wounds; to celebrate new beginnings,
While keeping vigil as loved ones passed away

One day I’ll pass it down to my children
Now crawling on the ground
And in its light they’ll learn to see within themselves,
Beyond themselves

I take it down and light it it’s blackened wick
Whenever I am consumed by darkness;
It watches over me and comforts me;

It reminds me that there are so many ways
To become illuminated

 

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


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A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

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In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

Ocean Walk


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Silver threads woven through midnight skies -
Shooting stars as the white crane flies!
Cool autumn winds and the moon’s reflection;
Shallow tide pools inviting full inspection.

The ocean roars and rolls cascading,
White foam shorelines, slowly fading.
Footprints, mine, wet and dissolving -
Deep in thought, me, a life evolving.

Have I lived the life I was meant to live?
Did I take what was offered, did I offer to give?
Have I fought for the causes that helped to free men,
Or did I justify excuses time and again?

Did I love to my fullest, did I offer my heart?
Did I honor my word, or just play the part?
Have I sacrificed joy for immediate thrills?
Was I too vain, or humble, did I help to cure ills?

Did I live a life worthy, will others be proud,
Will I be buried alone or there with the crowd?
All these and more are the questions I pose.
These really aren’t mysteries for me to suppose!

The Sun now is rising, with fingers of light -
The end of reflection, the end of the night.
I turn with my back to the blue ocean swell;
I’ve too few answers, and that’s just as well.

Life is for living, and there is no exception -
We aren’t meant to dwell in such introspection!
The truth is unfolding, and this much is true;
I’ve plenty days left, and too much to do.

A Dark and Vile Seduction


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Photo by MaggieKai

I can see your soul
in the dark pit of despair, my love…
you have a demon lurking.

Sweat drops in rivulets of panic
staining your face with guilty roadmaps;
crisscrossing your haughty cheeks.

I gave you my faith – you whispered a cursed prayer,
condemning me to the eternal flames
of your vile inequities.

How could I not see the beast
raging within your tender breasts;
the sharpened fangs masquerading as nipples
glistening in the dark?

Your undulating hips covered in thorns,
your lying lips sweetened with vinegar.
Your reddening eyes, beacons of hate.

Just what is you think I’ve found?

Something deep and dark and inviting
despite the screaming in my brain –
I have no voice but to consent, not thought but to obey.

Don’t torture yourself with hungered thoughts;
devour me as your wicked appetite compels.
but please, spit out my bones for Heaven’s sake.

Do Not Be Afraid


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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.

We Write What We Know


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I had lived one life with my face turned from the sun,
breathing icy winds and my father’s sin.
He is gone now but his fingerprints
remain a stain upon my broken bones.
My sister traded his midnight hugs for an opium exit;
her ashes instead of his lashes.

I took my refuge in dark shadows and withered.

I told…once.
Was rewarded with a year sabbatical in a red brick asylum,
bought and paid for with my mother’s silence.
She collected her ransom daily/offered up her womb’s fruit
to feed him like grapes to Caesar’s gaping maw.
She furnished her home with lost innocence
and found comfort in our cries.

She is buried now and I am robbed of my mourning.

Unearth me when tomorrow comes.
Set my broken feet upon polished stones;
let ascending steps carry me home.
My screams no longer echo from the mountaintops

My dreams no longer tether my pain.
I am not healed, but I feel, and my words
anoint my open wounds.

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 ~

 

A Lingering Pain


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In another life, we would call this love.

Today it is just a lingering pain,
clenched fistfuls of it lashing forth upon the shore.
The oceans scream.

We want crisis, oh, how we hunger for it.

When we were young, we ate sorrow without sugar
before losing ourselves in the forest of shame.
Beyond our innocence, beneath our yearning yokes,
we lay together secretly in this seashore cavern;
frantic with love.

I was the lazy one, eating your peach without washing it;
writing a song for my supper
and with a bare mouth, kissing the very ankle
that kicks the life out of me today.
Our bodies rolled in and out like the tides
and in the forgotten distance, the thunder laughed
at our selfish lust.

Today, the beach below is sliced by dying rivers
brown-blue and reaching for the seawater;
One wet finger of water traces into the cavern
and licks our naked feet, causing me to
momentarily thrust too deep
while you, asleep, curse the very dream of me.

We met here once, as children full of hope,
our thirsts slaked in the moistness of the cave.
The ash-white hotness of passion powdering your fingertips
upon the small of my back, pulling me into your deeper meaning,
so hot then the sands turned to glass
crunching and shattering beneath our frantic embrace.

In that life, we called it love.

Today, the moon sucks the tides back to her
jealous bosom, leaving us naked and thrashing
like dying fish upon the shore.

Today, my love, is just a lingering pain.

Lights


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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

 

Unholy Vengeance


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Into the rain and clapping thunder
Sends God His vengeful deadly host
To see His children torn asunder
For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Throughout the night, and sure the road
Iron hooves clip steady shoreward
And more the rattling of the swords
Their sharpened tips now pointing forward

In fearless form astride their steeds
into pitched battle thrown
Ride Death and Justice gallantly
Slicing meat from bone

Upon each hamlet, rape and pillage
Man offered up for Heaven’s plunder
While screams ascend from every village
And babies slain in wide eyed wonder

No mercy shown unto this throng
Nor gracious sympathy bestowed
While Justice seeks to right a wrong
Death collects what God is owed

Before their blades a thousand fall
Ten thousand more now pave the street
Into the sea are driven all
This sacrilege is now complete

And as the surf coughs up her dead
Death and Justice sheath their blades
The golden sands now blood-soaked red
Belie this savage Godly raid

Revenge exacts its costly measure
Exhausted homeward ride the two
They fight not for acclaim or treasure
But to enforce what’s “right” and “true”

Lover’s Delight


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With desire spent, we leave the night
Our bodies bathed in morning’s light
Our limbs entwined like climbing vines
Our kisses sweet like summer wine

Our spirits soar, our hearts set free
Beneath a verdant canopy
Of flowering trees and running streams
Of fragrant winds and lazy dreams

Such sorrow shall we one day know
When either you, or I, shall go
And leave the other to sorely miss
This warm embrace, this soulful kiss

As the sunrise drives away the night
and sunlight fades to starry light
So does this love, in ardent gladness,
Dispel the weight of parting’s sadness

But let us in this moment know
One final bout in passion’s throe
And leave the morrow to the night
This moment now is our delight

 

Nostalgia


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In my mind’s recess, a soft caress
of memories and days gone by
A kaleidoscope of love and hope
And answers to the “Why?”

I fall within and live again
Those magic days bygone
My thoughts set free in reverie
Warmed by a setting sun

Another time in perfect rhyme
Now formed in my revision
I’m lifted up as I fill my cup
With reflection and a vision

Within my dream, or so it seems
The best of times has past
Yet still somehow, I cherish “Now”
And tighter still my grasp

Outside my mind my thoughts unwind
And now today returned
Living in yesterday is still no way
To face the future’s turn

 

The Lantern


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Do you see that lantern on the mantle?
Its light has shined on three generations of this family.

My grandfather learned to read under the tutelage of its glow.
He wrote love letters to my grandmother in verse reflecting
The warmth gathered from its flickering beam.

My mother found her way home through lost woods
To the waiting arms of my Dad,
And on the night I was conceived, it lent its sexuality.

Bright and slightly hesitant, still burn brightly
The night I was born, weaving moonbeams
Linking silver threads through the tapestry of our lives;
Illuminating my path through the years,

It has lit my tears and calmed my fears;
Beneath its flame we all found ways to heal
To bind up old wounds; to celebrate new beginnings,
While keeping vigil as loved ones passed away

One day I’ll pass it down to my children
Now crawling on the ground
And in its light they’ll learn to see within themselves,
Beyond themselves

I take it down and light it it’s blackened wick
Whenever I am consumed by darkness;
It watches over me and comforts me;

It reminds me that there are so many ways
To become illuminated

 

Vanity


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Understanding you is not,
contrary to your incessant belief
the sole purpose of my existence
You are whatever you are,
while I, without pause, accept this
If I were to assume a constant analysis of you
and the things you do
as my pre-ordained purpose for existing
I would as soon take the sharpest of razors
and pass it with pleasure
one-eighth inch deep across my gullible throat
Your vanity exhausts me
Is there not a moment within any given day
wherein your every waking thought
is directed toward anything, or anyone, other than yourself?
If not, then tell me, do you ever grow weary
of unceasingly caressing the image of yourself,
as even lust-crazed men tire of their indiscriminate seductions
of faceless women?
Don’t you ever lie spent after
a consuming bout of self-adoration?
Here, then, is my ardent hope and prayer for you
May you love yourself only to the measure
that others may, perchance
find in the smoldering remnants of your self-delight
a crumb or two left over
upon which to nourish their love for you as well

 

Cut Gently


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Be gentle with your words
they cut like knives and twice as deep
if you’ve hatred to spew, just keep
searching for a way to express yourself
without completely diminishing
everyone else around you
On more than one occasion
You’ve carved me up until I had
nothing left inside to support me
Loving you isn’t hard,
It’s the most natural thing I do
but listening to you sometimes
takes such masochistic effort
That said, we all need to express
those emotions that bind us up
in those moments, cut gently
and give me some time to heal

Scary Love


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Day and night
Her complexion changes;
Love or fight
These are her ranges.

And here I am locked into the midst of it,
Trying my best to make out the gist of it.
I’m caught in her spell; she has such a hold on me.
It can feel like hell, but it’s just where I want to be!
When the morning comes, do I stay, or do I go?
With the rising sun, there’s so much I need to know.
As I hold her close, our two hearts will beat as one,
But don’t assume they will beat when tomorrow comes.

Night and day,
Haven’t got a clue!
Fight or love
Either way I lose.

And here she is right in the thick of it,
Trying her best not to get sick of it.
My love for her is far beyond doubt -
But should I love her from the inside or out?
She loves like an angel when all’s going well,
But burns like the devil when things go to hell!
The best I can do is to commit to the fray;
Praying to God I can survive one more day.

Day or night
When will she come to me?
Love or fight
What will her method be?

I try to predict, but she’s much too slick for me,
And if I run, she’s much too quick for me!
This love we share is hopeless and wonderful -
In a black and white world, it’s so bright and colorful.
My fate is cast, so I’ll just make the best of it -
I’ll hold her close, and just take the rest of it.
She’s a riddle, that’s true, but I’ve got her figured out;
At least I think I do, but still, I have my doubts.

Day after day
I’ll continue to work on this -
Night after night
She’ll reset with just a kiss.

 

All The Love I Once Had…And Lost


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I have no thought of future love
That’s a bridge I’m not ready to cross
I need time yet to heal
From the pain that I feel
For the love I once had…and lost

It’s not that I don’t feel the need
In truth, no need is greater
But unless I survive
What I’m feeling inside
I’ll have no need for later

Be patient with me, please understand
I’m not a man who’s made of stone
I’ll deal with tomorrow
When I’ve dealt with the sorrow
Of living today all alone

I’m not giving up on the future
I just have no time for the thought
Of loving again
While I’m still lost within
All the love I once had…and lost

Cowardly Run


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 “Contemplation” by Unknown Artist

Footsteps echo across silent floors
Lightly I stumble against bolted doors
I can no longer see for the daylight blinds
Thoughts become jumbled; confused is the mind
Beneath my eyelids, a white pain sears
Unleashing regrets, a torrent of fears
So many years wasted and so few to live
I lie down exhausted, no strength to forgive
My bed sheets are covered in sweat and regret
My slumber eludes me, a payment for debts
I toss and I turn and shiver with cold
The reckoning comes for we who grow old
I wait for an ending, too slow to come
My life has been naught but a cowardly run
My reason is slipping; my hope is diminished
The sun is now setting, my long days are finished
Chandelier stars slowly appear
Darkness descends, as time disappears
Moment by moment, and breath by breath
Slowly appears the sweet face of Death


“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!

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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


This is dedicated to two sisters who I have recently come to know and adore. They are the embodiment of what this poem attempts to convey – that we are transformed by the love one has for another.  I’ve posted this before, but never has it spoken so loudly until I understood the transforming love these two sisters have shared in their very special bond.

Pino-AfternoonRespite-30x30

By Pino – Two Sisters in “Afternoon Respite”

LOVE”S TRANSFORMING HAND

I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand
But I can’t deny what’s plain to see
Loving you is changing me

As a child walking on the shore
I saw the ocean…nothing more
I cried, “Oh God – what senseless waste
This vast expanse of liquid space.”

Yet now, with your hands guiding me
I cherish the life within the sea
I built myself a one room home
And dared to live there all alone

It wasn’t that I did not care
Just felt I had not much to share
But now, beneath Love’s soft caress
I simply have to give my best

I once viewed stars as nothing much
Cold, distant worlds beyond my touch.
I had no need for cheap sensations
Built on simple constellations

Then Love’s hand touched me through your heart
And I knew that stars were heaven’s art
No, I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand

But I can’t deny what’s plain to see
Loving you is changing me

Dedicated to Brooke and Her Sister

The Skirt


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You laid your plaited skirt
on the foot of my bed,
neatly folded as though
in doing so you could somehow
retain your virtue.

In the midst of our fleshy thrashing,
I kicked it to the floor, and you began
to cry, deep sobs that rattled
the mattress springs.

I moved, too reluctantly, to retrieve it
but you said, “Why bother? You’ve ruined it.
You’ve ruined me. You’ve ruined everything!”

Making love doesn’t always
mean making sense,
and so I threw my feet to the floor,
pulled on my jeans, and looked back,
although I would never be able to see.

“So that’s it?” you sobbed.
“You bastard!”

I smiled In affirmation, buttoned my shirt,
and turned toward the door,
and as an afterthought, picked up
your once plaited skirt, tossed it
carelessly over my shoulder,

and left.

 


To my wife, Kerri….my eternal muse.

“Love at first sight is grossly underestimated: a single glance can take the whole person.”

Kerri Portrait

WITHOUT YOU

Without you, nothing seems possible.
Every beautiful thing this world has to offer
Revolves around you.
When I am sad, happiness is in your smile.
When I am afraid, your arms calm me.
When I can’t find my way, your eyes lead me.
Without you, I simply drift along.
There is no color in my world, until you come home.
If I am tired, your laughter lifts me and I am whole again.
If I yell at you, you sigh a little.
If I don’t’ come home, you die a little.
If I fail you, you patiently what until I find my way again.
Where are you now?
When I cannot speak, your lips consume me.
When I can no longer stand, your love exhumes me.
You are everything that makes me live.
Every dream begins when I draw near you.
Every hope demands a path clear to you.
Loneliness does not exist when you are in my life.
I am lifted up, drifting up to heaven above you.
When you whisper you love me,
Stand fragile before me,
I am transformed and need to pull you close.
I know you could walk away, but you never do.

Without You

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

 

UNREQUITED LOVE


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Unlucky you, who didn’t come last night…
I took the bed’s hard wood post for a man!
You sit and write all night and I lie here
like a shriveled cornstalk blackened by mold.
Am I too old? I’d rather die than have you lie
that you’re afraid to kiss me. Do you miss me?
Leaving me in my nakedness, sprawled
across the unslept bed, open like a blossom
spreading beneath the sun,
offering her nectar but left to wither on the vine.
The night possesses you,
the unfinished verse obsesses you,
but don’t say I won’t give you a kiss.
I offer all of this, but no, you have your Muse!
That wretched bitch that sucks the passion
from the very air you breath and pours her
empty promises in your goddamned poems!
Do her words comfort you; can you find
your release in her couplet or a metaphor?
Does a well turned phrase caress your face,
or stroke your thigh, send shivers down your spine?
I offer you the whole of me, yet you prefer a simile!
Who am I to you? What am I to do?
Come to me! When the morning’s light
pushes the night away, come to me.
I am the ending you are looking for!

 


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The phases of life, the marking of time;
I lived two weeks, four months,
six months before moving on.
There were no long-term relationships -
one night, maybe a week, perhaps two.

Love was too expensive for a traveler,
much too heavy to carry in a bag or box.
I put my days on paper, ending one story,
another poem filed away, me moving on.
There would always be another day,
another pretty face, a warm body
to hold through another cold night .
True love by the hour or day, I could afford that.

That’s what I thought at the time.

I sold my poems, sad stories, many years ago.
I didn’t sell them for money;
it was always a trade , a fair exchange I thought.
The perfect and ideal love
burning so bright, but not very long.

 

A Poet’s Affection

The Following Two Poems Just Published by Indiana University’s Literary and Arts Journal


I am extremely honored that two of my poems, “Graveyard” and “Corner Bar” have been published in the spring edition of “From the Well House” – Indiana University’s Literary and Arts Journal. Please visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fromthewellhouse  I am reposting the two poems here in honor of my “Followers” who push me to keep writing with their support and encouragement.  These two poems are for you! ~ Thank you….Dennis McHale

GRAVEYARD

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I always found the
taste of Heaven stale,
like coffee three days old.

I prefer to spend my nights
in graveyards with ghosts,
in the company of stone angels
and cemetery cats
whispering my secrets to the dead.

The setting sun casts
dying fingers of soft orange light
through rusting iron gates,
lobbing sharp, offensive shadows
across these cold granite faces.

Above, an unkindness of ravens
caw an unspeakable truth.
Of late, I have been known
to sing with them.

My darkness is a sanctuary,
my voice a broken prayer.
My hope deeply planted
in this field of shattered bones
awaiting a resurrection
that shall never come.

Here among the sleeping dead
I have lain down many times,
and in the stillness of the night
have heard my death composed.

CORNER BAR

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It always felt familiar and safe;
not like home, but filled with that same tragic scent
of failure, futility, and confusion.
In this darkened chapel, night after night,
we feigned brotherhood, but watched our backs.
We found religion in tall tales
and twisted notes floating softly from the jukebox.
The enormity of the lies exchanged was staggering,
yet not once was truth demanded.

Here, we worshiped and blessed ourselves
at the mahogany and brass altar of amber absolution,
our sins washed in a flood of cheap whiskey and stale beer.
Our bottles filled the night with dead words and hungry ashtrays
and all these incessant “maybes”
while shameless calls for “another!” filled the tepid air.

We licked the back of our teeth
and bought rounds for the prostitute sitting there all alone,
hunched over to entice our drunken libidos.
We adored her, this faded Madonna,
with her chipped teeth and sagging breasts,
reeking of a stale alcohol and tragic perfume.
Where once there had been beauty and life
some bastard had beaten it out of her;
taking everything that made a woman good and reduced her to this.
Our prayers were answered
in the way this whore swallowed you whole
in the back room’s secret confessional
where you keep her words tightly knit
in the dark corners of your heart.

This was the flip-side of our saintly home-lives;
our souls consumed in the repetition of it all.
We whispered our hallelujahs as the clock struck two;
last call and a slow retreat into the shameless shadows of wretched existence,
as God soundly closed the doors behind us.