The Winter Years


These are my winter years – when regret and recrimination ravage the soul. Half-remembered memories rattle like marbles in my brain-pan, conspiring against my forward vision. My voice but an opium whisper, offering no defense in the foul darkness of my affliction.

The souls of my feet rest upon cushions of prayer that never took flight, for my appeals were falsely laid; in this moment, I am content to lie upon my prickly bed, rankly scented with the sweat of whores and cheap whiskey. Offering no apology, and upon God’s ear none would surely fall, I hang contorted upon my cross – He has forsaken me to my earthly transfiguration.

The familiar smell of petrichor wafts through my open window; for a moment the abyss before me appears clean, washed, and inviting, stretching out  beneath a crescent moon like the hangman’s noose. My dreams are shards of colored glass laced with the blood of my inequities. The red cold hours of this night unwind slowly, but unwind they do!

My tortured eyes yearn to see Death’s gnarled fingers reach out for me in the gray fog of morning. These are my winter years – when the mirror of my existence reflects the harshest light and my bones rattle in contempt. Free will was never intended for men like me whose eyes grow dim with temptation’s agony. If He had plans for me, He kept them to Himself, so I have chartered my course beneath starless skies.

Awakening a Memory

I have walked a thousand country miles –
watched the falcons pirouette in the summer sky;
lunched upon bitter green apples and fermented mangoes
and napped beneath the hot luminous clock;
quenched my thirst with melodious silver spring water
and skipped stones across frozen lakes.

I’ve immortalized poets against the echoing granite walls of time.
In bare feet I danced in verdant green meadows
that carpet a bottomless valley;
traced my fingertips along the gnarled grooves
of a dying oak and bid it farewell.

I have bathed in babbling brooks that giggled at
my nakedness and dried myself in the wispy autumn winds.
Upon mountaintops, I have squeezed sunsets between
my forefinger and thumb and slowly opened them again to
the shimmering glow of a new moon.

I have slept beneath a canopy of universes and composed
my dreams against shimmering stars;
built wet sandcastles fit for kings on foreign shores
and fed them to the ravenous surf.

Beneath cascading waterfalls were written tumbling
verse, while angelfish nibbled at my dropped metaphors.
In the Mascarene Islands, I flew kites built from
forest reeds and raffia palms until they were swallowed
by drifting winter clouds.

The return to a new day awaits me, and a thousand more
miles beneath my feet before this life is drawn complete.
Awakening a memory, I close my eyes
and the colors of life’s possibilities explode beneath my lids.