The Empty Poet

He searched the floor of his life for more words,

but there were none.

In his day, he waxed quite elegant, his inimitable style admired

by all who attended the readings full of smells of coffee, sweat,

and too much perfume in close quarters.

The applause, while not thunderous, was engaged.

The conversations, while not stimulating, were polite.

“I liked that poem.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. I just did.”

“Thank you.” Sips coffee to indicate

the conversation’s over.

The microphone was no longer a beacon, but a flickering ghost light

in a dark theater.

The notebook paper and computer screens were all test patterns; nothing to see.

Nothing in them. Nothing on them.

My life isn’t over, but it seems to have run dry.

Was there really nothing left to say? Nothing that moved him? Touched his heart? Enraged him? Set him laughing hysterically?

Desperately, he mined for it, memories in black, oily sludge best left buried slipping in stringy fragments through his finger.

Feelings unrequited. Longings unfulfilled.

And now, the words have flown as well.

No feathers to fly, unfettered, they flee.

The skin dries as the words evaporate,

and the poet is now a husk of man.

Desiccated and empty, seeming all of a man, but containing nothing of him.

The pen slips from his fingers; the battery in the digital thing no longer holds a charge.

Change is forthcoming, but he will stand and remain, no regrets.

The memories are old, unrelenting, full of sharp rebuke.

He rises from kneeling in the sludge of his art,

As his husk dries slowly in the morning sun,

as the poet’s soul slips free.

An Eloquent Quiet

When there are

no words,

the eloquent quiet

speaks to a deeper space

of meaning within us,

where there is no hiding

from that which forms

the core of us.

Buffeted like harvest scarecrows

by winds from every corner

in the open field,

will you stand,

though you rot from the inside,

or be pecked apart

by scavengers

posing as pretty distractions,

making unlikely alliances?

When the colors

of the new moon

form your corona,

aligning with a deeper darkness,

and your voice is your only

weapon,

scream into the eloquent quiet

and let it amplify

the beating of your heart.

 

The Summit of Self

 

You’ve traveled far to see me, child,

and never told me why.

Am I supposed to love you, hate you,

live with you, or die?

 

You’ve traveled far to see me, child,

but I don’t know your name.

Am I to solve a riddle or to

play a guessing game?

 

You’ve traveled far to see me

following some long dead star.

And now you stand before me here,

so I’ll know who you are.

 

No longer sentient, my child.

Not able to inquire.

I can no longer see or hear

your circumstances dire.

 

I’ve no advice or wisdom.

You must learn them on your own.

The maggots feasted long ago,

and sharp fangs cracked the bone.

 

I’ll say your name to you, my child,

and I will speak it true.

The skeleton you gaze at on this mountaintop

is you.

 

Descend now from this mountain, child.

There’s nothing for you here.

Death’s but a silent, endless dream

and so you mustn’t fear.

 

You weep, my child, but foolishly.

The fate of all is this:

the gods who see us war and play

betray us with a kiss.

 

 

Too Old to Dream, Too Young to Know

They say ‘You grow too old to dream’

They say that ‘You’re too young to know’

Yet say  ‘You can do anything.’

So do I stay or do I grow?

For if I am too old to dream

my time here is already done.

And if I am too young to know

then teach me, so the rising sun

will never find me void of thought

as I look at the world through eyes

of what I’ve learned of love and wonder,

cynicism and surprise.

A jaded innocence possesses

all the years I’ve been alive;

still taking people at their word

though most of them are talking jive.

I’ll never get too old to dream.

I’ll never be too young to know.

I’ll keep exploring although it may seem

there’s nowhere left to go.

 

Prey Tell

What is it that keeps

your heart in chains

of darkness, graves,

voids, abysses,

and things

that cut and kill and burn?

 

Do not your

sleep-filled eyes

behold the sun?

the clouds?

the stars?

 

What calls your mind

to embrace

the gibbering shadows

that dance in

ever-tightening circles,

venturing up

to block your view of heaven,

laying waste to your

body and mind?

 

Yet in you

is the seed of song,

of love,

creativity.

 

Work the fire.

Forge the axe

that sunders darkness

with light

and sets you free.

 

Prey,

tell us you

are game.

 

 

All My Everything

There’s reason to go on, they say.

Just take it slow and day by day.

But see, I know I’ve lost my way.

And no, my friend, it’s not okay.

Good intentions, noble hearts.

No avail, my life’s in parts.

Some are missing, some are old.

Tarnished is the burnished gold.

With a rueful smile I see

There’s no getting back to me.

So with what remains, I’ll go,

Hat in hand, a so-and-so.

What’s that, friend?

You’ll say a prayer?

Does my heart good

that you care.

Thank you for that.

Leaving now.

God don’t answer

why or how.

Still, I won’t say no.

You pray.

Say it as I

walk away.

Love you too friend,

don’t you cry.

Don’t think I’ll be back

to try

starting over,

learning new.

Time is short,

and days are few.

Gonna watch the sun go set.

Come with me, and pray, and let us

share that moment,

knowing why .

And when the sun sets.

So will I.

 

Sifting Shifting Sand

All my duties come to naught,

and as for all the things I bought,

I place the high-def screens in

front of things that really matter,

 

And put the things that really matter

inside the screen.

 

Pictures of family

Pictures of memories

Pictures of successes

Pictures of loss and regret

Pictures of friends who lost

the battle to live forever…

 

And today,

here I stand

utterly alone,

wrapped in sullen silence,

chilled by cold thoughts and

ironic imaginings

of what might have been

after all this time.

 

Sifting shifting sand,

unable to find what I deemed insignificant

and buried,

only to realize all that

ever matters

is the life you’re living

 

Now.