Heart of Steel, Soul of Stone

The heart of the city

is made of steel.

Its soul is made of stone.

It gives no mercy, and has no pity.

It eats the unprotected innocent and spits out

runaways, junkies, whores, and thieves.

It gleams like a glass eye, but like a glass eye,

doesn’t see the harm it causes.

Some write upon its heart to make their presence known,

their absence felt.

The city makes it a crime, and begins its slow erosion

of the anguish of your screaming soul.

It will not remember your name.

It will not care.

It may pay you in cash,

or redeem you in blood.

The choice is yours,

but not really.

 

*Photo by Loes ten Den at Unsplash

Be True

She is leaving now, but perhaps not forever.

Her desire was for better,

but nothing improved.

Life itself eluded her, and the wrong things

occupied her time and body.

There was no longer

anything or anyone

to keep her bound,

and in the incorporeal realm

of her wishes,

not a one came true.

She was not true to herself,

and she would make that right.

It would be today.

It would be right now.

But maybe, just maybe,

not forever.

Land of Dreams, Sea of Reality

It is here where The Land of Dreams blends in with the Sea of Reality.

I scoop the earth-blackened waters of its banks, only to see it slip through my fingers.

In the distance of my fantasy worlds,

Castles crumble.

Palaces burn.

and things that aren’t pretentious about

their brutality

break the spine of humanity

over their knees.

 

The crack of shattered, severed bone sounds like an

exclamation mark on the period of life.

 

No escape.

See? The gift abandons you, as a

faithless priest

his calling.

The candles in the temple are extinguished,

And canticles and prayers rise in supplication,

Only to get trapped in the webs and rooks of

defiled, unholy rubble, and desecrating doubt.

 

The hand trembles with pain,

wrinkles with age.

 

The fight is all-encompassing now,

and strength is leeching, leaking, leaving…

 

The Sea of Reality has the remnants of

wasted time, missed chances, lost loves

in your wake,

even as mines of potential and buoys of pleasure

come into view.

 

The sun perpetually sets on the horizon.

Fog will coat the water’s surface,

and the stars change position and darken

as you navigate.

 

The rudder of the pen skips,

The oar of the pencil splinters and cracks

even as it shrinks.

The laptop lighthouse can no longer illuminate

the safe harbor of your hopes.

 

Mortality and eternity mix and war,

the storm clouds full of nightmares realized,

the cirrus clouds of curried wisps of daydreams

fading to mist in the mind’s ever-changing weather.

 

A dark and silent bay awaits,

with no guiding stars,

no turning of the hourglass,

no sailing with the tide.

 

So then, captain, it comes to this:

Do you run aground, leaping safely to shore?

Do you founder and break on the coral and stone,

clinging to what remains?

Do you let go of the wheel of your life,

drifting into nothingness?

 

Or do you smooth out one last piece of parchment

like a billowing sail,

and once more

take up the stout and stubby oar

for the last voyage?

 

Poetess in the Park

I stopped because she was absolutely riveting.

She actually wore a beret, had fully bought in to the whole scene.

Everything came together as I watched her perform,

as I watched her play the crowd.

I wanted her to hesitate when she looked at me, to stumble over her words, and come to a stop.

But she didn’t.

I understood: The poem was all to her, everything to her.

But to me,

she was the poem,

the art of something so out of the ordinary

it could never fit in.

I wanted to be that vibrant to someone,

for someone to know me so well they’d anticipate

what I’d improvise.

I wished she was my all and everything.

But I never asked her name.

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.

 

Dappled Shadows

In the shade, the sun through leaves

dapples the ground with spotted light.

And in the pleasing breeze,

the butterflies and dragonflies

dance

in fluttering, staggered, hovering

grace.

Seagulls skim the slate gray bay waters,

and the white clouds smile

in the open blue of a late summer sky.

There is no contemplation

of darkness here, for that will come

unbidden, inevitable as a

change of season.

There is only the pleasant moment,

recorded in meager words on a

quiet afternoon.

For now, I will fade into the dappled shadows

and just

be.

No Quiet Silence

There is no quiet silence.

there’s the turning of the page,

a peal of laughter,

a snatch of conversation, innocuous and inane,

the rush of wind over the ears,

the rustling sway of wind-dancer branches,

the susurration of the sea,

the cracking of the baking soil,

the buzz and click and hum of droning insects,

the sizzle of fires

the churning core of the world birthing mountains

the hiss and patter of the blizzard’s snowfall

the wail of the newborn,

the dying sigh of the old.

And death itself is only sleep,

as restless spirits manifest to tell us all:

There is no quiet silence.