An Evening Walk

They walk

hand in hand

along the river

of a mid summer evening

escaping the heat

of the city streets

talking,

planning,

future,

family,

children,

a life 

of promise

filled with

youthful hope

they never heard

or even felt

what was called

a stray

not intended 

for them

yet finding 

a home

in the tender flesh

breaking bone

and severing arteries

as they bled out

on the summer eve

just another casualty

on the midnight news.

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Third Grade Teacher

Her voice was hot,

a heat that blistered

the fragile skin

deep into the dermis

where it festers 

to this day

as I sit here,

wondering

if I would ever live

to know the truth

of what I’m to become,

long since burned

on that day

slowly emerging

from the blackened depths,

reaching out

a tentative hand

that will heal the burn

that runs deep.

The Headache of Zeus

I’m looking for that perfect sentence

the one that will open this poem

the perfect metaphor never used

so that you will read my poetry.

I even bought a book or two

to help me on my quest

to find the right combinations

of those words that I seek.

Poetry for Dummies is one

that claims to help demystify poetry

only will it help demystify me.

I dream, dreams of words aligned

all in perfect poetic order

then when I sit to write they are a jumble.

Outside the sun shines bright

and I hear the birds singing

the world is slowly waking up 

as I emerge from the dreams.

Now I sit here writing once again

looking at the blinking cursor

on the blank screen of the iPad

trying to remember what I dreamed

in the midnight hours

because what I saw was that sentence

all pretty and perfect

just waiting to be birthed

a sleeping fetus

enclosed in a darkened womb

of my mind

the headache of Zeus

that refuses to be born.

Foxhole Prayers, Talisman’s and Lucky Charms

Foxhole prayers,

those prayers that come

when we’re stuck in the mud

when the slime and grime

of the world has worn us down,

we pull out our talismans

that special rabbits foot

the four-leaf clover

reciting that charm

we learned so many years ago.

We pray without words

to some unseen deity 

even when we don’t believe, 

when all is crashing down

suddenly finding ourselves

seeking that miracle 

when all along that miracle

is well within our reach

if only we open our eyes

to see that we were never alone

even in the darkest part of the tunnel.

There are those who bluster

claiming they have all the answers

they don’t need any prayers

their answers lie in their facts

until that moment when it fails

their certainty eludes them

as they stand knee deep in their foxhole

looking out on a no man’s land 

of their own making

cursing that which they don’t believe 

wanting that which they don’t believe

to come down and save them

in their moment of need.

The Harrowing

Oh, to write an ode or poem

to set down in words

the deep love within

showing the scars

on the landscape of the heart

left by travelers along the way.

Oh, to write of my life

in all of its intricacies,

the threads I have weaved

in the grand fabric of my world,

some tattered and worn

others new and complete,

each a different color

each a different texture

the complexities of the human soul,

upon which he bore the wooden beam

whose love carried the weight of grief

high above the city gate,

as the veil is torn

to reveal the grace

of loves true light

upon the darkened landscapes

that dwell in the depths

as he harrows the hardened heart

bringing peace to the wearied 

and life to the dead.

Interior Thoughts

Don’t make any noise

don’t yell or run

be quiet, be silent

they might hear you

and then it will be worse

for all of us,

don’t make a scene

hide in the corner

crawl into the deepest hole

don’t make eye contact

or reach out to anyone

hide within yourself

it’s safer there,

no one to love

no one to hurt

no one to touch

the pain you feel

is an illusion

of what will happen

when you reach out

your books are the escape

the stories your path

on a journey within

discovering what’s outside,

you cannot stay hidden

you cannot remain quiet

you need to write

you need to love

you need poetry

her warm flesh

and soft kisses

her sweet smile

on a darkened day

your body wants her

your soul desires her

you cannot hide away

only surrender to her

in the night watches

dreaming of perfect love.