These Vaunted Halls

The history

of the world

decays within

these vaunted halls.

 

Bones of men

whose legacies

have long passed into dust,

now scattered,

or drifted into drains

to swirl and sink

amid the sewage

 

These vaunted halls

of vainglorious scholars

and savage soldiers,

 

This labyrinthine lair

of painted women

and holy mothers,

running children

and feral dogs

 

This ornate gauntlet of

open secrets and

private trysts,

 

This once- proud venue,

where learned men

hammered out their thoughts and beliefs,

vociferous in their ferocity,

gesticulating like tribal dancers

 

This enviable marketplace,

with its bright colors, shady deals,

and the rush of winning a well-wrought

haggling session,

 

Is now the place I skulk,

and stalk, and catch the rats

that bite me in my sleep,

and take the bodies and coin

of unwary travelers.

 

My kingdom,

a silenced ruin of

damp and crumbling marble,

dim sunlight,

and solitude.

 

These vaunted halls

will return to their glory,

stone by stone, page by page,

man by man.

 

But for now,

I feast.

 

 

 

When There’s No One Left to Cry

In the empty room,

she sits alone.

The snow pats at the window,

and the wind bumps against its panes,

but she ignores pristine whiteness.

There were snowballs, sleds and snow angels, long ago.

 

In the park she sits amidst

singing birds, solo saxophones,

and new blossoms full of hope

and virgin fragrance, budding with the

hum of the earth in their stems,

but she ignores the music.

There were picnics, finding robin’s eggs and holding hands, long ago.

 

Along the rainy path she walks in the evening,

when people are home, drinking coffee

and kisses from lips, warm and safe and dry.

The broken umbrella hides her face, and the

rhythm of the raindrops beats to the

racing of her heart.

She ignores the water.

There was jumping in puddles, closing her eyes to listen,

and sticking out her tongue to taste the water, long ago.

 

Standing at the bridge, alone in the misty twilight,

she stares at the red leaves clustering on the riverbank,

as if the tree bled its branches bare.

Vibrant with their true color, she ignores the fallen foliage.

There were bonfires under the stars, the admiring of

deep colors, holding them up to the gold and crimson fire

to see through gold and crimson filters,

and sipping hot chocolate, long ago.

 

And now there’s

no one left to cry,

to cry with,

to cry for,

to cry to.

And so,

she cries

for them all.

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.

 

You Are Most Welcome Here

Approach in reverence,

my friend.

You are most welcome here.

The fires will light your way

to me

and calm your doubt and fear.

Long years have we been waiting for

your soul

to bring its light.

And patience is its own reward.

Now welcome

to the night.

For when the doors are opened

friend,

there will be no return.

And hidden from

celestial sight

you’ll burn

and burn

and

burn.

 

Do the Bones of Men Remember?

Do the

bones of men

remember days

of brave and

daring deeds?

Do they long for

love and battle

when they rode their

noble steeds?

Do they mourn

the silent rhythm

of a strong and

beating heart?

Do they miss the

lilt of melody

and master works

of art?

Do they once recall

the clamor and the clanging

of their toil?

And the scent of

perfumed women

and the seasons

and the soil?

Do the

bones of men

remember night

and moon and sea

and star?

Do they contemplate

the faulted flesh that made them

what they are?

Do the bones remember

holding onto children, home

and wife?

Do the bones remember

anything at all of

loving life?

When we return to dust

I pray our bones will only sleep,

instead of dreaming

of the things of life

we couldn’t keep.

 

No Glory Here

There is no glory here for me

The victory flame is quenched

No more the striving, driving fight,

in perspiration drenched

No more the laurel crown

that wreathes the winner’s fevered brow

The tender flesh of virgin maids

press not against me now

No more the cheering of the crowds

resounding in my head

No smiles or chants or accolades

No rivals full of dread

In this arena here I stand

though weary, sad and worn

But not til death’s hand pulps my heart

this sword from hand be torn

Dead Affections

I come again by the light of a sickle, sickly moon

to an old, cracked and mossy stone. In front of it, a

tarnished vase of long-decayed flowers, liquified

with rot and mold

Cold mist covers me like a tattered prayer shawl,

and the wolves stand still and watch from the pines.

I go down to one knee, and brush the lichen off the letters,

now almost level with the stone.

I sigh, searching my heart for the kernel of it once again,

hoping against hope, knowing it is no longer there,

and just not willing to concede.

Its leaving was painful, and it almost

severed my fingers

as I tried to keep it close.

The pain was so great, I could only beg in silence.

The thought of the looming, yawning chasm

of its absence paralyzed me, and my trembling fingers, unable to

take any more,

released it.

On my first visit here, the memories were like the flowers:

fresh, vibrant, full of color, fragrant with life.

But just as the flowers would make no new petals,

we would make no new memories,

and in time, these I cherished turned to sepia,

now tinged an ashy gray.

You made me feel life was worth living.

You lied.

And yet, still, the letters of your name

can be seen,

and I whisper it to the

black, eternal sky.

“Love.”