Proverbial

“Nice guys finish last.”

I’m poured out like a libation,

but not unconsumed.

On the short side of life,

now in the

emerging shadow

of my sunset years.

The bell’s final toll remains

unseen, unknown, and left to hide.

The cold aspect of

the Reaper’s featureless face

gives me a sage nod.

Captured now by my choices,

I live the life I do,

a life forged of heart and mind,

iron will and querulous wavering.

It is not the life envisioned or imagined,

and time turns its back on my recriminations,

moving ever-forward,

taking the vision with it.

And so…

the life I have.

“Nice guys finish last.”

The words sound bitter in the darkness.

And yet, for all the times of hardship and failure,

and getting back up to fight once more

because

it was the only thing left to do,

those words don’t ring quite true.

Blending

It seems an unremarkable thing,

this blending of lines,

of sky, mountain, and earth.

Today, we probe their mysteries,

dissect their compounds,

speculate on origins,

and calculate lifespans.

What lies beneath,

what lay behind,

is given over to

imagination, superstition,

and fear.

Old warrior gods, healing goddesses,

mythic creatures drawn

to vices and virgins.

Givers and takers,

enhancers, diminishers,

fire, blood, steel, and stone.

The cryptic, capricious constellations

telling different tales for different tribes, and

the arcane angles of the sun.

All for a price, all of a piece,

said to be fanciful and fake.

Yet their stories have not died.

The legacy of legends

are still in the recesses of the human mind,

given rebirth through human lips.

Slowly, they are returning

in the candles and crystals,

in the gems and crafts,

in the runes and ink,

and adding of souls.

And as behind the unremarkable blending

of sea and sky and mountain,

the angels and demons make war,

hear the magic call to you

in all its lost, forgotten glory,

and rekindle your wonder.

Lovers Quarrels

I see the wall you start to build,

so I build mine.

I see anger and pain in your eyes,

and so I fill my own,

but yours leaks down your face,

and mine does not,

for I am the better warrior.

And whereas your pain is fresh and new,

whenever inflicted,

my wounds have long scarred over,

and the pain within is dulled beyond sensing.

You quickly clutch your handful of quarrels,

and I slowly gather mine,

and we dip them in the poisons

of our tongues, and memories,

place them in our quivers of rage,

and loose.

They are barbed and painful

these quarrels,

meant to shatter and break,

meant to defeat the love that yet might

burn in the heart,

and smother it.

We try our best to find new flesh to pierce,

but we have only hit the old marks again,

rebuilt the chasm, and destroyed the bridge.

The peace of our home is in pieces.

The security of our love is set aflame.

The silence of our emotions is a dry wind.

And the quarrels are exhausted.

We retreat within the walls,

and pull them out, one by one, ruminating over each,

wondering why we still share the same space,

and little else.

It is a war we’ll never win,

a victory denied,

a constant obstacle of overcoming,

frenetically undermined.

So, my former darling,

we raise our white flags

into the light of a setting sun,

as you go your way,

and I go mine.

Dust on the Gold

Cursed be the one who plucked this rock

of captured sun and moon

from the river’s silt, and called it

gold,

good and worthy of pursuit.

Cursed be the demon jester

that blinded me and spun me round

until I believed it.

Given over to my desire,

abandoned by all who cared for me,

I dove deep, and dug deeper still,

until I gained all I desired,

then stole from other men.

In this hell-hallowed hovel,

now covered in ice and snow,

surrounded by dulled senses

and barren woods,

my status symbols decayed and decrepit,

daily mocking my misspent youth,

the wind howls outside and

echoes the cries of my soul’s solitude.

The hearth is lit, but the logs are thin.

And all around, the hissing of white snowfall

heralds the cold blackness of the grave.

Before I die,

I sit before the meager fire,

and take the dregs of my life,

and the ashes of future dreams,

and polish away

the dust on the gold.

The Sound of Your Soul

Your words now:

harsh, dry, sere…

searing.

These words, O poet,

do not want to reach out and touch you,

they do not want to connect with anyone.

They want to

slam and slay the broken spirit,

and rip the weary soul apart.

These words, ultimately triumphant

over your largesse and ennui,

burn and swat

at you like roasting,

wind-driven

desert sand

until you crack and shatter,

and they are free to heal your mind

and bind your brokeness,

to start anew.

My Black is not a Burden

My Black is not a burden

And I am not a beast.

I’m sealed inside the cosmos

and seated at the feast.

My Black is for rejoicing

in all my history.

My Black is for enhancing

the hint of mystery

that lies around creation,

the story of mankind.

The Black man’s contributions

improvement to the mind.

My Black is not a burden,

and I am not a ‘thing.’

My ancestors are smiling.

Can you not hear them sing?

I am a force of nature,

grown rooted in the soil,

and rolled by grassland breezes,

and mountain thunder’s roil.

You brought us here for labor,

then told us we were free.

But seems free Black’s a burden,

a load you didn’t see.

My Black is not a burden,

though some would make it so.

And facing all the evil,

we fight and thrive and grow.

My Black is not a burden.

I’ll hold my Queen and smile,

and we will raise Black children,

and we’ll be here awhile.

My Black is not a burden,

no matter what you say.

We’ll keep on moving forward,

and go about our way.

My Black is not a burden.

You’ve told yourself a lie.

We’ll keep on moving upward,

and integrate the sky.

My. Black. Is. Not. A. Burden.

When You Finally Begin to Understand

When you finally begin to understand

that your image of me

is not my reflection,

we will have truth between us.

When you finally begin to understand

alleviating your fear of me

is not my responsibility,

we can have an honest conversation.

When you finally begin to understand

you are not, in fact, supreme over anything,

(least of all me,)

we can go forward and farther

together

than we can apart.

When you finally begin to understand

you have no power over me,

(and stop trying to assert it),

we can work side by side in peace to

our mutual satisfaction.

Until then, sit quietly, and out of the way,

and watch me move forward and up,

and over your obstacles,

and around your barriers,

and through you, if need be,

until

you finally begin to understand.

Drain

The words grow strained and rusty now.

They’re murky and unclear.

Is there no need for writing now?

I’ll read them, if you’d hear.

So much to read, so little time.

The shelves of shelves are full.

We need to know our better selves,

the tug becomes a pull.

The words are circling the drain,

no washing them away.

Our better selves do not exist.

Let’s finish out the day.

Within This Pit of Poems

Within this pit of poems I am abandoned,

bereft of thought, and will.

The images that once assailed my senses

grow faint and blurry,

leeched of color and pleasure,

fading to sepia,

to black and white,

to black and void.

Once, they clamored for attention,

but now they only scratch at the walls,

more from reflex than any desire to flee.

I long to escape as well,

but here, among that which I also cast aside,

I realize there are storms in the world above me,

and blood and fire and stone

surround me on the surface.

And so I clear a space to curl in on myself,’

content to sigh and dream,

unfinished,

cast down,

and left to fade

in this pit of poems.

Pushing Off

And so I set myself adrift

on a capricious sea,

prone to unpatterned winds and

uncharted currents.

The danger of being caught between

two symbiotic, warring gods

is less dangerous and painful

than what I leave behind.

Whether my new home will be a bright new shore,

or the briny ocean’s silted bed, is for them to say.

As I push off, there is no one there on shore to share a kiss,

and mourn and say farewell, no one to witness the wake I leave save for the

dull grey gulls, and the cirrus clouds suffused with color by the rising sun.

And yet I travel on with hope in my heart,

to fill the lonely days by a loving hearth,

as the cold of Time draws close, and

all I am and was called to be,

is complete.