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.

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.

Words Like Seeds

You turn your back on

the futility of letters.

‘Try,’ they keep saying.

‘You must keep trying.’

So I cut back, and set fire,

not to plant,  but purge,

yet the seedlings land

inside the spongy soil.

With sustenance unseen,

they wait their seasons,

testing the moments.

Heart and mind,

Soul and spirit,

are made verdant.

Pods of ideas,

Sprouts of imagination

flourish, rising and twisting

through the lattices.

They pollinate on paper,

and pluck pixels from our fingers,

working the pages of trees,

buzzing among the LED bulbs.

The pencil is the silvered scythe,

the poem reaped in harvest,

and placed on your table,

steaming and new

before your eyes.

Savor it, for it is one of a kind.

 

 

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.

 

Sentinel Serapeum

It is said that when Julius Caesar burned the Egyptian fleet, the fire spread and consumed the Great Library, but it was not so.
We found these creatures, these humans, a boundless source of fascination.
They were small, but endowed with something that drove them to great heights in mind and spirit, and great depths in destruction of themselves and their homelands.
We studied them, watched them grow and fight, love their families, conquer and rule over their enemies, worship their gods, and unlock new knowledge that, to us, had been eons old.
The earth was not large; it was a pretty runt, a bright blue fledgling in the obsidian nest of the universe, but these men were voracious in their desire to learn of its mysteries, as were we.
To that end, the smaller dragons among us visited. Some stayed to help men with their battles, but their memory was wiped from the pages of books not ascribed to myth. The voices of the faithful who proclaimed our reality were said to be insane, or possessed of the demonic; they were summarily dismissed, condemned, exiled, or put to death.
And so it was we thrived, and thrive still, for above all, we learned that men are killers of that which they fear, and determined in their hunting. With enough numbers, gnats can drive an army from the battlefield.
I saw the fleet burn. The fire made the ships dance on the waves, even as they listed, even as they slipped into the ocean’s cold embrace.
My King was saddened, but told me to go claim what was there, as the building of such a repository of man’s answers to his own questions would not be undertaken on such a scale again.
Concealed by the roiling smoke, I landed on the palace grounds, and engulfed the Great Library in flame. To the eyes of men, it burned and was no more, but it dwells now in the world of dragons, resplendent in our Grand Cave.
And now I watch the single narrow path that leads there, waiting for the one who seeks to rekindle the flame of the intricacies of their world’s knowledge, of its achievements and downfalls, its perfect balance tipped by human hands, its consuming cycles of death and rebirth.
I watch for a seeker’s lantern, a lone star shining low over a high hill.
But the path has long been empty, and my own flame, long unused, dims within me.
The books, parchments, scrolls, and treasures of the human mind are yet here, yet waiting, but time is an inexorable, incremental crucible, and eternity is yet to be.
And now the winds are rising, blowing sand across the path that I may not disturb. It is a slower, cooler form of destruction, but no less a ruin; the more so for remaining undiscovered. Though I long to know it will not become a wasteland, it is not up to me.
I am but a sentinel whose sight is dimming, watching for light upon a disappearing path that leads to a world starved for wisdom and knowledge, but slowly dying, mortal as the flames of Caesar.

 

*Art by pandiivan.deviantart.com

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.