The Poet’s Solitude


Image

Solitude whispers a deep and silent story
From the shadowy depths of the heart’s abyss
Where the pitiful quest for either fame or glory
Withers upon the lips like a poisoned kiss

From the shadowy depths of the heart’s abyss
Poet and his quill spin their twisted verse
Words whose understanding and mark are missed
Whose meaning is lost, ne’er to be conversed

Poet and his quill spin their twisted verse
Word trail bleeds upon an empty page
The song of the muse like a dying star burst
Showering phrases full of grief and rage

Word trail bleeds upon an empty page
Passions quenched before a smoldering fire
Poem now dances upon an hollow stage
Then the poet tosses it upon the funeral pyre

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.

A Godly Silence


 

silent god

I speak to God in silent phrase
And offer up my heartfelt praise
Yet silence is His voice to me
He shows no earthly empathy

My prayers are but a silent wind
And I a storm that’s lost within
A body crushed beneath the weight
Of loss, regret, and certain fate

In slow descent, the spirit ebbs
Entombed within this mortal dread
Yet silent still His saving grace
A void I feel within this place

No comfort shall I know this day
My God has simply slipped away
And in His place a dark despair
Hot ashes flowing everywhere

The pain increases even still
All that’s left is my free will
And so, I chose another path
Turning from His vengeful wrath

His Son was slowly crucified
So He might feel more sanctified
Though in the hour of my need
His sacrifice is lost on me

 

 

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Secrets


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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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Heart and Soul


rose

The heart beats strong for what it will
Yet still I seek to master
My thoughts within or outward spilled
Inviting sure disaster
The love I seek, or hope to keep
Isn’t mine to choose
The sweet delights and dreamy nights
Are only mine to lose
Our soul is but an open door
Through which flows passion’s fire
Though oft’ ignored, it stands much more
The beacon of my desire
The heart bestows on those who know
That love is never what it seems
The arrows flung from Cupids bow
Pierce the few and far between
Be still the beating of your heart
And to this verse stay true
The heart and soul both play a part
In bringing love to you

 

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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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Fairy Tales


fairy-tales-l

 

Rainbows are illusions –
There are no pots of gold,
And unicorns have never grazed
In emerald fields of old.

No knight in shining armor
Has ever rode a day
To save a damsel in distress
And carry her away.

Merlin the magician
Was a phony and a fraud –
King Arthur but a fiction tale
That causes one to nod.

Wizards are a special breed
Of fantasy it seems,
And magic castles little more
Than figments of our dreams.

And what of dragons long extolled;
Flying lizards breathing fire?
I do believe the product of
Some pathological liar.

There dwell no trolls beneath the bridge
To thwart it’s passage way –
Belief in goblins, ghouls, and ghosts
Has long since passed away.

Wicked witches have never flown
On gnarled brooms of straw,
And gypsies with their crystal balls
Is truth stretched much too far.

And yet, of all these fairy tales,
The hardest to believe?
This silly notion we call “Love”…
What utter fantasy!

 

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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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IF JUST ONCE MORE by D.L. McHale


 

A heart divided cannot beat for long
An unsung note cannot be called a song
The dancer spins a lonely pirouette
Who dances only with her silhouette

The un-prayed prayer on deaf ears fall
Despite the soul’s relentless call
This crowded world is such an empty place
When from heaven, too, angels fall from grace

The flames of love that burn so bright
Without lips to kiss becomes a dying light
The promise of love that is unreturned
Is the loneliest truth for man to learn

The sun may rise, but each day descends
Like a long, dark night that will never end
The longest path for he who walks alone
Are the shuffled steps toward an empty home

In winter’s grip, luscious gardens shorn
Though the wilted rose still bears its thorns
Yet all these sorrows I would dare embrace
If just once more I could see your face

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Supriya


9

I think a while of Supriya, and while I think,
She’s the reason I write poems with India ink
To make permanent my words, my thoughts, my love
For this beautiful vision sent from heaven above
“Greatly Beloved” is what her name means
Angels whisper her name, or so it seems
She’s the setting of the sun and the rising of the moon
Her grace floods my heart like a summer monsoon
Her poetic heart understands my desire
Her songs and poems do my muse inspire
For she is that link between heaven and earth
She’s the reason for my laughter, my joy, and my mirth
I don’t know from where she draws such beauty and grace
I only know she hides behind a beautiful face
In my heart, in my soul, to the center of my core
And all that I ask is a few minutes more
To have and to hold her in my faraway arms
To protect and to love her and keep her from harm.
She’s the reason I write such words on this day
For she’s entered my life and carried me away.
For if the truth were known, Love cannot speak
But only thinks and does and continually seeks
To lift up my spirit past the stars up above,
Supriya my friend, my hope, and my love.

 

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i never had a plan for you


3

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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The Absence of You


I want you every second,
every minute, every hour of the day

I am flooded by an agony…
a physical longing for you…
brought to my knees by a craving
for your nearness and your touch.

Through tear-clenched eyelids,
I try hard to imagine your lips on mine.
If I could only hear your laughter,
the sound of your voice once more!

Nothing and no one, anywhere or anytime
could kill the love I have and hold  for you.
I have surrendered my individuality,
the very essence of my being to you.

I have surrendered to you my body
time after time to treat as you pleased,
to tear in pieces if such had been your will.

My spirit never seems as joyful
as when I remember the kisses you gave me.
All the hoardings of my imagination
I have laid bare to you…
There isn’t a recess of my soul
into which you haven’t penetrated.

I have clung to you and caressed you and slept with you
and I would like to tell the whole world I exist for you.

What strength have I that I may bear it,
that I may endure the absence of you?
Is my strength the strength of stones
that can wait for your return?

You are my mistress and I am your lover.
Kingdoms and empires and governments have tottered
succumbed before now to that mighty combination:

“I love you” –
the most powerful of sentiment
and words ever uttered in this world.

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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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The Visitation


rose

 

Gray shadows fall upon my face
Here within this sacred place;
The stone so cold, and roughly hewn
Beneath this waning winter moon

The air is thin and so am I
My heart is heavy, I start to cry
Each letter of her chiseled name
Is lit as though with golden flame

My fingers trace the shallow grooves
As though with touch I could disprove
She is no more, and I am less
Without her voice and soft caress

Bereft and full of memories
I rise up from on bended knee
I place a rose upon her grave
Each petal but a kiss I’ve saved

Now, slowly do I turn for home
Only now, I walk alone.

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A Godly Silence


silent-god

 

I speak to God in silent phrase
And offer up my heartfelt praise
Yet silence is His voice to me
He shows no earthly empathy

My prayers are but a silent wind
And I a storm that’s lost within
A body crushed beneath the weight
Of loss, regret, and certain fate

In slow descent, the spirit ebbs
Dead within this mortal dread
Yet silent still His saving grace
A void I feel within this place

No comfort shall I know this day
My God has simply slipped away
And in his place a dark despair
Hot ashes flowing everywhere

The pain increases even still
All that’s left is my free will
And so, I chose another path
Turning from His vengeful wrath

His Son was slowly crucified
So He might feel more sanctified
Though in the hour of my need
His sacrifice is lost on me.

 

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Smoke and Fire


smoke and fire

 

Smoke and fire, my heart’s desire
Stoke the flames a little higher
Dancing in the flickering flame
I find my mind’s gone quite insane

Burning with a fevered pitch
All my thoughts are loosely stitched
Visions scatter like floating embers
Incensed moments I remember

A life consumed by selfish lust
Now reduced to smoldering dust
No regret to stave the heat
My soul’s destruction now complete

My faith is set to flaming torch
Beliefs once held are darkly scorched
Yes, fan the flames, incense the fire
Let this be my funeral pyre

Full of failure, drinks of Gaul
Life has been a tortured haul
Let my bones cremate most slowly
Scatter my flesh, let strong winds blow me

To another time, another life
Full of promise, less in strife
May I rise one day again
More in grace, less in sin

 

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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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Omnipresent Love


Beautiful-Couple-After-Making-Love

If flowers bloom when winter ends, their fragrance rising, too,
These I, on bended knee would give, and even more to you.
Celestial stars and distant moons I’ve gathered up for thee –
And as the angels sweetly sing, profess your love to me.

The tides should rise and surely ebb with every breath you take;
Each heartbeat to mine own entwined a passion full awake!
Softly pressing palm to palm, our fingers tightly laced,
Pulling closer, closer still, a warm and tight embrace.

Each minute to the hour unwinds, and still the night unfolds
Timeless and eternal as we lay in sweet repose.
The morning comes on the rising sun, our love in warm reflection
Whispering low, we are even so lost in introspection.

Such is our love, so tightly stitched, the seams appear transparent –
And to the world our vows are writ in verse now made apparent.

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My Pagoda


pagoda

 

In my next incarnation,
I will dwell in a house
with a roof that curls like a smile.
Nestled in a flush of empurpled trees
and luminous clouds –
paths winding up
the velvety-green mountains
and ninety-nine steps
upward to my teak-carved door.

Shivering, I will rise in the morning,
blow on my hands like coals,
and squat to make tea in the teapot.
Slowly, the aromatic leaves will fill my heart
like a cup, the tea swirling,
knowing more than I know.

In the room’s far corner,
an altar, a few flowers, incense.
Buddha smiling.

My visitors will carry bright offerings
But how little will be necessary!
Like a beggar’s bowl,
each day will be full and empty

 

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Celladora


Celladora,
whose softly curved lips
reveals a smile beneath
my soft-pressed kiss;

she takes me to the place,
exactly where I always meant to go;
outside of time and place,
past flesh to thought –

I dissolve in her radiant reflection.
Her love is an image of the world
made small enough to hold inside my mind;
an exploration of that inward beauty
where the borderlines  of “she” and “I” meet
between the real and the imagined,
the present and the past,
the lost and the found,
the lasting and eternal.

Time seems almost to dissolve.
With her, everything is an
infinite exploration and discovery
of the self and the universal,
and I, the jouncing and jostling
wilderness traveler,
constantly adjusting the gear
on my back, steeling my resolve,
finding my footing and heading off
upon unchartered paths.

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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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We Shall Remember: Ode to a Dying Poet


moon words

Your night has fallen;
the brilliant light
of the new moon
filtering through the
broken mass of clouds,
a brilliant ray reflecting
upon your tongue-kissed works.
Your verse remains standing,
redeeming the world from darkness:
they seem to move and
we are filled with awe.

Your words were mountains;
iron-like masses thrown heavily
against the somber sky –
and as the dark blue deepens
into purple and purple-black
we reflect upon your poems,
which were gurgling streams
of naked visceral truth
cutting through our consciousness.

One never thinks of velvet
when the light is cold and thin;
when snow lies deep
and the intense light dazzles the eye.
But your lines were velvet in their
silver light and inky blackness
and we shall remember.

To Love Once More


kiss

She whispered softly in my ear
such tender words to ease my pain;
soothing verse to calm my fears.
Though, she was gone when morning came,

the essence of her love remains!
Here even in my darkest hour
soft echoes of her song sustains,
which fills me with a lasting power.

Where has she gone? my life unwinds!
If I must die, I’m so resigned,
for dying unites and gently binds
my heart to hers, two souls entwined.

She filled me with a lasting breath;
Once more within my arms I hold
the height of love, its width, its breadth,
spanning dreams that now unfold

So cast me down into death’s abyss,
But allow once more her lips to kiss.
I shall not pray for more than this –
Once more I love…eternal bliss.

 

Love’s Transforming Hand


heart_in_hand_by_warfarelieutenant_thumb3

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 Love’s hand touching me
I feel 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 live, I love, and share 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 kiss
And I knew that stars were more than this.

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.

Half-Measures


razor cuts

I watch in morbid fascination
the quickening pulse of the vein
on the soft underside of my forearm;
each throbbing beat a silent protest
for the living of life, the loss of love,
the failure of faith in the future.

Warm blood trickles
slowly down my naked wrist
and into my loosely cupped open palm;
rivulets of life’s sweet essence
spreading out like the night-seeking
roots of a moon-flower plant.

I am amused that the heart beats unaware
of its complicity in this life-ending act,
this betrayal of self-contempt
and abject surrender.
Blood meanders across the slightly raised
scars from last year’s failed attempt,
and in that moment, I finally realize
what my father meant about the
importance of half-measures,
of keeping commitments.

So, I cut a little deeper.

Before…


calm-before-storm-1

Before the ashes, Vulcan’s vengeful fire.
Before the sex, a deep and burning desire
Before the storm, a dark and restless quiet;
Before the morning, a deep and somber night.

Before the hunt, the frightened fleeing fox,
Before the race, coiled tightly in starter’s blocks.
Before the cut, such soft unblemished skin;
Before the blade, sparks fly, the whetstone spins.

Before new love, the queasy, nauseous start;
Before the kiss, a young and hopeful heart.
Before rejection, all things possible, bright, and new;
Before enlightenment, faith in what we say and do.

Before Sun’s rays, dark clouds enshroud the planet
Before the sculptor, Creation locked in blocks of granite.
Before the fall, transcendence true and boldly rising;
Before the gasp, in silent awe, a sweet surprising.

Before the rose arises first the lowly bloom –
Before the family, a dark and empty room.
Before old age comes the child full of life!
Before victory, the pain of loss and bitter strife.

Before the Universe, a bright and solitary star
Before the nearness, a cold and distant far
Before the night, a day of brilliant cerulean blue
Before the “Us,” a prayer for joining “Me” to “You”

Fade to Heaven


images

Time comforts me, though the clock winds down
And I’m driven to the ticking of another sound
My heart beats so softly, in erratic measure
Comes now an end to this life I have deeply  treasured

I have done my best, or so shall I plead
As the Book of Life will surely read
When comfort was asked, I held out my hand
I shared what I had without a demand

Solace I gave to those deep in sorrow
Lived for today, and prayed for tomorrow
The sick I did comfort, the hungry I fed
If needed I fought, and oftentimes bled

For the weak and the child with no one to care
To fill them with love and crush their despair
My joys and my sorrows, both equally scattered
Like dying fall leaves that no longer  matter

Now days turn to hours, and hours to minutes
Now comes to a close this life with me in it
Softly my prayers in last utterance fall
“Grace be upon me, I’ve given my all.”

Secondhand Love


I'm stuck here in this life I didn't ask for. There must be something more.
I’m stuck here in this life I didn’t ask for. There must be something more.

Walked away and I won’t look back
Can’t be bothered now by the love you lack
Saw my reflection in your cold, dark eyes
You heart was closed , but that’s no surprise

Can you tell me, was I just another man
Filling a void in your selfish plan?
Will the love I felt simply fade away
Like a clear blue sky on a cloudy day?

My life is passing like a babbling brook
Devoid of substance because of all you took
Did you think I’d surrender? Did you think I’d die?
Like a worn out book that’s been tossed aside?

I’ll Just say goodbye and be  on my way
You’ve had you fun, now simply drift away
I won’t be played like a child’s broken toy
Your second-hand love is devoid of joy

I Am Ready


Old Man

The years have swept my face
carving time in deep crevices
thinning my skin with relentless cold
Like a child pushing milk teeth
my smile is likewise gapped
though my innocence lays broken
like this child’s backyard toys

These days, I pretend that I’m busy
that I’m working, that I’m writing
but I’m not doing anything
I just wanted not to look too artificial
in these my final fading days

I have known my moments of fame
where my words stroked the hearts of man
and my poems filled a woman’s soul
but all these things mean very little to me
I am so much into the finality of the now
the past is such a strange thing for me

Oh, loving her was an incredible journey
a wonderful everlasting treasure hunt
I found emeralds in her eyes
and sparkling diamonds in her smile
golden coins tinkling in her laughter
but like all treasure, she lies buried now
and I am castaway upon these lonely shores

My life is a dead space, a dead time
if you describe it in colors, a grayness
The seasons no longer cut by
snow and rain and sun and falling leaves
but rather, like clouds pushing darkly
against one another in a stormy sky
my days blend beneath a blotted sun

I know the number of my evenings are few
and my remaining mornings fewer by one
but I am tired, and I am alone,
and I am ready