Officially published! Here’s the link to my poem in the Fredericksburg Literary Review.
head heavy-hung in restless rest
late night blue light filters my mind for me
glazed eyes tune the world outside
into others’ human lives
and their picture window plights
mothers imploring plead mercy
as they cry for blood-soaked children they fear
a discarded sacrificed feast
for hungry tyranny
ever breeds corpses and war
I hide my heart to keep my mind
in cold vigil I chase Sandman’s cover
wide awake in soul-breaking shame
my own apathy
creates dreams of self-reproach
just outside the have and hold
I’m taunted with a wicked grin
jangled keys for my release
my gaoler from within
fingers raw and clawing
heavy oak and iron door
slams fast across a tendered soul
bars entry evermore
streaking bloodstains gather here
mark days of no escape
numbered on cold stone-heart walls
your endured, repeated rape
you’ll earn your spurs on me today
no honor shall remain
for I have sentenced myself to
a dungeon of disdain
a treasonous confinement
for us I did commit
but this weeping plight troth prison
is a crime I’ll not admit
I need you
strong and steady like wood and flame
enveloped in air.
Fast, and furious, and instant,
vapors touched off by a spark
or the strike of a match.
And sometimes we find ourselves
just settling down to keep it at an ember,
warm and slow after a long intense blaze.
We feed off of each other and it’s consuming.
As long as we are connected, united,
in some way put together,
we will always melt the insidious frost when it comes for us.
Promise me the fuel you are for me
will never exhaust.
Promise me you’ll never leave me alone
on a frigid night.
And I promise you,
I’ll always tickle you with tongues of flame,
spark you to believe the unbelievable,
achieve the unachievable,
And burn for something.
I promise to be that touch to kindling,
the catalyst for inferno,
and the ignition you can’t fire without.
I promise because
I need you
Escaping the tragedy of moral poverty,
I remove myself from humanity,
and run headlong into the ancient primal wood.
Slowing to breathe,
my mind begins to wander,
lost with my feet, like an uninhibited child.
The silence of the forest is only challenged
by the life that teems around me.
A scent of earth and trees seems to roll on,
forever filling me,
as I make my way down the path into my all alone.
I’ve carried with me a heavy, gnawing thirst
that begs to be purged.
Yielding, I bend to drink from purity
and savor the clarity of the quenching, conscious, stream.
I’m granted pause to continue on.
Freedom from darkness surrounds me,
and dappled in a sunlit shade of new growth,
I’m suddenly aware of sanctity.
The eye-stinging nature of beauty overcomes me,
and I’m prompted to fall to my knees and weep unrestrained,
I’ve found my way home.
I wake early contemplating at dawn
so I walk the daybreak.
Silver streams of chill air
rush in and catch around my heart
as I look out over the familiar mountains
I’ll miss so dearly.
And as I do, something warm begins to rise in my chest.
The emergence of an emboldened blaze.
Like poppies that shoot up,
reaching toward the the rising sun, it grows.
As first-light strengthens,
my feet find themselves warming a beautiful carpet
of glowing emerald shoots,
and only now do I turn to see the path I have made for myself.
Nothing more than shattered dewdrops
and flattened blades behind me.
Facing east and my future with you,
I pray for some familiar something of me to take,
but not to make me feel home
because I am going home.
Simply something to remind me of this day I lived,
my last without you.
I would never before have been this grateful
for just a day.
Your courage pushes me toward the sky like the oak,
just a little at a time and with unwavering strength.
You give me the faith to easily slip up
and over mountains
In the way of the clouds,
simply dropping a bit of rain and moving on.
So I say goodbye to my last day without you
And welcome the unknown
as the moon and stars fall away from daybreak,
and move to light up someone else’s night.
She knows he is going.
For days now,
he has slowly leached the hues of the living,
gained the pallor of withdrawal.
He holds fast to her.
Desperate and unable
to shake the frigid, shattering ground that awaits.
He alone must face the fall.
Grasping, he begins to fade and slip.
With his last he cries out in vain, her name,
despairing of their long, cold, sleep apart.
She knows what it is to watch a part of her leave,
and he is not to be kept.
She loosens her purchase in love and lets go.
Dropping, spinning, gaining speed,
he hits the ground.
Rent from her and life, he curls up to rest.
Here I am again at the end of one less day with you
watching shadows from the restless outside night
wash down across your fast asleep form.
I revere this day I was given you,
in no greater peace and terror.
Smiling, I remember your confounded attempts
just moments before,
to pluck shining jewel-drops from the far side of the window glass before us.
Rolling out of a furious sky they eluded you.
As if you could collect them in a basket,
as if they were yours to give away.
Finally exhausted, you dropped like a rock into a well of sleep,
right there on the sill.
I can only breathe in this moment and hold you,
fighting as it dissipates against my will.
I am left swirling and scattered in a storm of my own.
So like the curve of a tiny liquid lense you’ve sharpened me.
The gravity of every second
more pointed, potent, and focused in time.
Suspended like rain, reflecting me,
I’m completely swept away.
It’s humbling to at last hold a dream,
more fickle than a falling leaf deciding where to land,
in my hands.
I need you to survive.
You cling to me the way fresh fallen snow holds a tree,
melting and strengthening while you dream.
Your tangibility washes over me and
I unabashedly shed my soul and weep.
Drowning, I’ve loved you a lifetime already.
For you can only be explained in the silver-hued mother-tears that fall
now knowing this will one day end.
Hard beneath the concrete her essence stands, still.
In decay she feeds Mother Earth
with rough-climbing branches that will never kiss the sun.
I watched her bloom late and root shallow
in a craggy urban foothold.
She taught me to fight the rain,
collect due with outstretched limbs,
snap without bending,
and scrape dust in drought.
She all but shut down to survive
and never went deep enough to hold.
Shoots absorbed with blight,
produced fruit that was untouchable.
Her friends were fences and we, the children
who played around her just outside.
In spring she could light up the sky.
Beautiful, buzzing, humming with promise of growth.
But as time moved
we watched her face fall in anticipated dormancy.
When that bitter winter came,
her hollow rotted structure gave
and I saw her wither, withdraw, and leave.
Now, I must tend this bitter seed that grows in me.
(art credit: Bare Tree Behind A Fence by Egon Schiele)