(Without Reward)

That broken heart has gone to waste,
Too dull the pain to spur my haste.
On guttered flames the forge lays cold,
And hurt alone can earn no gold.

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Gone to Rot

Bare are the woods splaying out in the frost
Shallow-dug graves full to burst from the loss,
Haunted old farmhouses, Century barns,
Their ghouls, gone to slaughter, can do no more harm

Needles have dug far too deep in the land
Thickened the blood that once surged to our hands,
Overripe Melrose are crowding the tree
Waiting to drop, to rot and be free.

Poem for ArccTheLad

I was nine and you were thirteen
just green text across a CRT screen
we spoke of hope, we spoke of dreams,
you said I’d forget you before fourteen,
and I’m so sorry,
I’m so sorry you were right.

I was just a yellow sprout,
scarred too young, desperate to shout,
playing the game ’til 3 a.m,
I never said you were my best friend,
and I’m so sorry,
I’m so sorry I never told you.

The kids at school beat you at times,
stole your nickels, poached your dimes,
you wished they’d answer for their crimes,
but we knew that would never happen,
you’re never quite too young to know
that sometimes, that’s the way things go,
and I’m so sorry,
I’m so sorry life is like that.

And I hated all your inward spite,
imagined fangs flashing white-
said you were thin as matchsticks,
no way to fight back against those pricks,
and all the curses you could spew,
were aimed at me, but meant for you,
and I’m so sorry,
I’m so sorry I forgot you.

The High Cost of Loving You

Some wounds do not make us stronger.
When I cornered my better self,
he had such a look on his face-
such horror in his eyes-
to see what we’d become,
were becoming,
while the rope was strung around him, hoisted
high into the pines and left for vermin, left
even longer, until bones fell freely and
all that remained was a sickly,
wretched creature, desperate to please,
unaware of worth beyond what you assign.
and when you left, that creature remained,
trying to mend the scattered bones,
aware of what he’d done,
who he’d become,
and desperate
to pay
the price
once more

Bruiser

He opened every door with the flat of his fists
slammed heads into lockers with a flick of the wrist
and stomped like a snake anyone who dared fall –
Some people sure did get it all.

His dad was renowned as a hotshot detective
his mom couldn’t dream of her darling’s electives
and when he slipped a knife in study hall –
Some people sure did get it all.

Cabbage & Candy-canes

Life is sometimes candy-canes-
those sweet moments we wish to hang upon
a tree, so soon out-of-season, so soon
discounted in aisle three.

But, more often, it is cabbage-
the excruciating seeding,
the prayers for growth,
the rain that falls too hard,
(or not at all)
until bitter heads peek over the weeds –
but a body can’t live on candy-canes alone

Valentine’s Day 2/14/19

To you:
men, women,
inbetween and uncharted,
dwelling alone on the day of lovers
thinking of a misshapen thing, wet and
wretched in the deepest crevasse of the past,
with a feeling of revulsion – a twinge of longing,
hoping for an impossible message or a long-late call…

Know.
know that the day was long although
the night is longer, and the dawn is brightest
when the cool air of the morning does not chill,
but fills tired limbs with vigor; the spearmint tingle
of slow-spreading realization, like a lost sailor,
far removed from the drowning dozens,
watching ships come in
from the horizon.