Candles candles everywhere,
And not a one to light.
Not the smallest halo
To chase away the night.
Do not fear. Do not fret.
Under the covers. Into bed.
Do not fret. Have no fear.
I’ll sit with you and smooth your hair.
Don’t despair though things seem bleak.
I’ll be with you, when you can’t speak.
Even though the night is dark,
We might just find a spark.
I won’t tattoo your sins across my heart,
Or bear the guilt and shame of what you do.
The ones inscribed inside my arms,
I wear for me and not for you.
They speak of truth and freedom sweet.
It’s not for you, that my skin bleeds.
I won’t tattoo your crimes across my heart.
These are words
I can’t take back.
Into the fray.
Into the storm.
This fabric can’t be mended
Once it is torn.
So I’ll bite my tongue
And choke on my words.
Even though it’s like
I’ll let you be who you want to be.
But you do not define me.
I’ll find my substance someplace else,
And leave you to go screw yourself.
Never mind. It’s really my call.
I don’t really care to swallow the sword
Was I wrong to cut you off
So many months ago,
To leave it with a simple text
That said “I told you so”?
Was I wrong to drive away
Before you’d made your peace?
Although, when you had been found out,
You didn’t even try.
Sitting in this quiet place,
With buzzing in my ears,
Has given me much clarity;
It’s also raised some fears.
What if I stay all alone
With none to share my joy?
But you were not a man full grown,
Only just a boy.
I imagined things as better
Even when we were at war.
If I ever feel my doubt,
I’ll remember who you are.
start out on foot.
the snow’s too thick to drive.
leaving footprints on the walk,
I watch the pigeons as they dive
from wires hanging overhead,
suspended from a sky of lead.
I pass the brave ones bearing sleds.
stinging pink and snow-kissed cheeks.
cover up the mouth and nose,
we’re all becoming Eskimos.
down, down the hill through whipping wind.
giggle whirlwind going down.
then…heavy silent sky above;
muffled sounds on powdered ground.
frosty fingers, frosty toes.
we’re all becoming Eskimos.
originally written on Feb 9, 2013
Thoughts that tumble in my head
Would go down like a lead
Balloon, in the silent room
Of things denied
And feelings fried
And all that’s left unspoken.
They’ve only just awoken.
The time’s not right
To give them flight.
They’ve settled on the floor
Next to a locked blocked door,
Waiting to be popped and stomped.
I’ll wait awhile more.
The only thing outweighing rage
Is the pity I feel for you.
No, wait…I take it back.
That part’s not really true.
Sorrow’s reserved for those who knelt
Before your lap, as you dealt
The slap that left a bruise unseen
Delivered by a two-faced fiend.
My concern for you is only this:
For those you robbed of innocence,
Who trembled under weighty kiss
Heavy with self-righteousness.
I’m done with you.
This part’s for them:
Far better things are at the end.
He might have used you as a toy,
But he cannot steal your joy.
No more words
Once the wielding of our swords
And we have gotten off the fence
Of apathy. Ambivalence
Was always our peacemaker,
The trusted arbitrator.
Our silent pledge to not engage
With thoughts that might enrage.
Sat with hands pressed over eyes,
And deaf ear turned to cries
And pleas from those who have no voice.
Now we have a choice.
Our swords were always there,
But fell to disrepair,
Not from virtuous ideals;
We’d chosen not to care.
turn it off:
the sound and the fury
of upraised fists,
words spoken in hurry
without a thought for how they cut,
or tear and bruise and even maim.
change the channel
to a gentle response,
of kindness repaid for insult given.
turn it off:
the static of rage
that glows in the heart
when passion ignites;
bingeing on fear
and vomiting hate.
turn it off,
before it’s too late.
toss and turn. clammy sheets.
trembling hands and frigid feet.
creatures of the wildest kind
existing only in the mind,
hovering neither here nor there;
trudging through with weighty cares.
I know not if they’re bad or good
or simply the misunderstood.
they call, I come.
they chase, I run.
they seem as friends
but quickly lend
a mocking to my misery.
yet when they call each night, I’ll go,
afraid of where they’re leading me.
they speak of all that’s terrible
beyond the dusky shore of sleep.
*originally written on Aug 16, 2012 and recently published in the poetry anthology Ground Zero by Nicholas Gagnier of Retcon Poet