A Touch Away From Dust

Its all falling apart
Like slow cooked rib meat,
Sliding off the bone like butter,
Leaving it naked and exposed.
Once strong protector of heart and lungs
Grown dry and brittle,
A touch away from dust,
Under the noon day sun.



Isolated and Alone

Isolated: Alone.
Solitary confinement
In a crowded room.
Avoiding eye contact,
Yearning for a touch.
Afraid of contact,
Of judgment
When they realize
What you really are.


The Cold

Thick clouds and fog,
The color of sun bleached prison walls,
stretch from street to sky,
An unbroken blanket blockading
Sun, Moon, and stars,
Flashes of electric light
Randomly illuminating darkness and dusk.

Cold bites flesh
Like a swarm of ravenous
Blood starved mosquitoes in summertime.
Ice encrusted trees sparkle diamond skins,
Under twilight skies at noon
Frigid frozen bones wonder
If summer warm will ever come again.


Laying Awake in the Darkness

I’ve felt old and ancient
Since I was 12 years old,
Worn out, road weary,
For reasons unexplained
Living in the Cleaver household
In an idyllic isolated Oregon valley.

It made me want to believe in reincarnation,
The only explanation for the
Spread thin butter feeling
That started in the 3rd grade
When I reasoned out
That death meant oblivion
Not fluffy clouds and angels,
Training myself not to think of it,
To fend off the icy black hole
Opening under my sternum,
Crushing everything within its event horizon.

I lay in bed, tears streaming cheeks,
meaninglesness pressing down; suffocating
I start to scream,
Pretending to have had a nightmare,
So my mother will come, hold, and console.
Unable to articulate the existential crisis
Of an 8 year old boy.


Reflection (Senryu)

Hollow haunted eyes
Looking back from the mirror
A ghost wrapped in flesh.


This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Tuesday Challenge No. 54: GHOST & HAUNT.


I paint on a smile
And play the game
My make-up is always perfect
But never quite the same.

I’m Mr. Bad Guy
I’ll spit in your face for a laugh,
For laughter hides the pain
That tore my world in half.

I’m pleased when you’re happy
And indifferent when you cry,
All the time concealing
A secret wish to die.

I’m the angry young man,
I stand alone with my pain
And I’m constantly fighting
Just to keep myself sane.

But the fighting is useless,
Its a battle I cannot win,
I’ll die with my fist clenched
Clutching a bottle of gin.

I’m the great pretender
Pretending that nothing’s wrong,
I please everyone but me,
By pretending that I belong.

My act is never ending
As I try to find the perfect part
The one that hides away forever
This pitiful broken heart

But I can’t go on like this forever
I won’t survive for long
By living other people’s lives
And singing someone else’s song

My make-up is wearing this now
I mustn’t let anyone know
As I try to find the will
To go on with the show

24 March-19 April 1993, Gießen, Germany

A old piece from my files, which was inspired in part by the music and lyrics of Freddie Mercury and Queen.

Reflections, Part I

There’s nothing left to say
There’s nothing left to feel

There’s no one left to save
There’s no one left to heal

There’s no reason left to cry
There’s nothing left to write

There’s no reason left to die
That’s really worth the fight.

4 January 1993, Gießen, Germany

This is another old piece from my files. It has a companion poem called Reflections, Part II.

The Last Secret

Your dog was left in her living room,
Still on his leash.
This the only note you left,
The only sign that something
Was horribly wrong.

Alone you walked,
The salty breeze blown
From the Pacific.

How long did you sit
Listening to the rhythm of the waves—
Your thoughts totally and forever your own?
Your last secret,
Under the stars, among the waves.

Why? Why didn’t you pick up the phone
Instead of picking up the gun?


Survival Skills

In the chasm between dreams and reality
Falls pain and disappointment,
Bridged by madness and hope,
Holding off the suffocating
Black blanket of eternal night.


Reoccurring Dreams

The dreams return,
Can’t stop them from coming,
Dreams of the past,
Relived like a robot,
Unable to deviate from programming.

Dreams of things that never happened
–that never could–
But I that know to be true:
On stage alone,
Ukulele-playing Tangled Up In Blue,
Won’t Get Fooled Again,
Sharing a backstage drink with
Early ’80s Pete Townshend,
Toasting a fallen friend,
Fidgeting for a fix.

Dreams of the future,
Not flying-car Flash Gordon future,
No Starships or monoliths.
The real future, my future:
The coming darkness,
Depression and death.
Standing on the beach
Feeling old and tired,
Isolated; alone,
Ready for the end.
But I’m wrong.


Adapted from Chapter II of Summer of a Doormouse.