struggle

Poem – Beast

Do each of us have a monster inside
a beast we strive to hide from the
world, those close we love, and from our self?

At the end of each day
what are we truly running from?

What shadows lurk in the forest
and what shadows do we carry?

Across the fields with scattered snow
mountains rise from the earth

in spires of solid granite,
nearly featureless – how will

this barrier be overcome?

Standing at the base of the mountains
what hope I brought here

disperses on the cold wind
scouring the surface of the empty fields,
those fields I left behind years ago
when the beast chased me away.

Poem – The Border Kingdom

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We drive the dusty road
east from the mountains toward
the flat land not divulging
any secrets from this distance.

Still morning the intense sun
withers fallen vegetation and
quickly dissipates dew clinging to
cactus needles.

We have not spoken since the pass
where we studied the horizon
surveying what we left behind
and the road leading into the unknown.

(2)

Thousands of acres on both sides with
open fields fenced yet empty,
arid, harsh wind blows dirt, small
stones, and tumbleweed across the road.

I turn to say anything, to comment
on the traffic, and I think you are
asleep, at least drifted beyond the
shared space – I decide to remain quiet.

The morning sun has become the afternoon
companion we now follow as the road
veered west and rises toward the
cloud-free sky.

Mile 418. Unfolded, stained, torn map
found in the dumpster at the
last gas station says there is a town
and a river near. I see only tar and dirt.

(3)

I remember watching grayish skeleton limbs
against milky blue backdrop through
quarter sliced windows blocking
winter wind and snow

while you slept near the fire
on the black leather couch
you brought with
next to the dog you desired.

Your struggle became
more apparent to fit
two separate lives
until I relented.

(4)

I imagine not God’s kingdom
behind pearled gates transcended from mortal forms
meshed with forward singular time
wrapped in fear and repentance

but a kingdom earth bound
free of time, free of the wind
torn sands. Here dreams flow
spherically with no sense of direction.

(5)

And in the last dream I remember
the river flowed beneath skipping feet
chasing prophecies and false prophets,
spoken words and brutal lies.

I saw life fading away, fading into vastness
I tried to pull the visible strings together.
I saw a painted face in the sky above,
one of the many angry gods of war.

(6)

I see fire building
across the open field
and briefly invent an
overgrown empty field burning.

Before the shift
rumors crept into conversations
of the border kingdom
high in the mountains

a city of mist and rain
immune to desert wind.

Even the name gives birth
to images of purity and salvation.

A place to find and enter
leaving behind and never looking back.

(7)

In the dark days
darkened further by doubt
time slows, lengthens
pause between beats,

the space pulls strings
emerging from the mind
and eventually each pore
turning you inside out

until you do not know
you. Who is that in the mirror
and why are you staring at me?
What is this you are showing me?

That is not real, that is not me.
In your eyes you have one truth,
in mine I have another. What separates us
besides the glass mirror?

(8)

My faith began to waver
when grandpa passed.

Years spent building a foundation
enforced by dreams of winter
laying nuclear ash upon the
ground, vanished
when the vessel
released the soul.

We have become God’s of
individual domains defined by the
things acquired, captured, and scored.

I listen to words of peers and words of teachers.
The shaman speaks of reality and no reality, of mind control,
of the matrix infiltrating mind and spirit and becoming sleep,
unaware, lost, wandering that dark black path
through an empty field yet not realizing the empty field
is empty, the reasons for being empty, is the true path,
is our own creation.

Sigh…

When did this, this life
become this hard?

I listen to these words and in
the same breath know there is no
one way through the everlasting shift,
searching for my own salvation.

Like fragments
I choose the pieces that make sense
that ease the deep fire burning within.

This fire I must learn to harness,
to control, to bend, to shape

until I become the shape shifter
able to take back control.

(9)

We approach the border –
a wide river moving swift and cold –
and stop. Both looking through the
bug-encrusted windshield and our hands finally touch
to remember this last speck of civilization.

(10)

I used to dream day and night
of flying above the clouds into
upper reaches of the atmosphere closer
to other borders, other layers
of various gases, closer to the burning
sun and becoming cold and frozen
without direction, spinning,
until a different light skewed
my vision and stripped everything away
and I was able to fly unburdened and free.

(11)

I pause briefly just before
the bridge, a final thought
to be discarded, one less
burden we must bring with us.

We cross the border under
the new moon with shadows locked
safely away, to be revealed
when reaching the kingdom.

Poem – Fragmented Days

The more we hear the more we turn
away from the voices carried from
beyond the horizon on broken winds
as each day chips away at the armor.

Thoughts scatter through the empty field
past the tree line and I stop at the border.

What inhabits the forest I cannot see or hear?

Days broken.

Trees hold the evening sky on fraying leaves.

Birds fill empty branches and the valley is alive.

As the sun falls into the horizon I am reminded that
each day comes to an end before beginning.

What took place today, what struggles we endured, force a reflection, a chance
to take a fragment of the day, a glimmer of hope, to carry into tomorrow.

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Poem – The Foundation of Each Day

Like a drone on autopilot
I rise when the alarm cuts through the night
with no thought or question.

I drive the long road through
the sleeping city
past windows and doors leading
to lives I do not know.

I, like them, struggle with
the burdens, expectations, roadblocks,
doubt, and the surprises life throws
each day and the emotional toll.

Another day at the office
pushing paper and pen
saving files, filing reports
and trying to catch a breath.

Back onto that road so familiar heading
home for a respite
to the foundation you have built
the life I would not have without you.

Poem – Continue

Knocked down,
blown off the mountain,
buried and struggling,
yet we continue forward
as the human spirit
is resilient and true
at the core when
the best of us surfaces.

Poem – Word

The very moment you prepared for,
going through each detail,
emotions and movement,
finally finds you,
the actors in their place,
face to face with what has been consuming
your thoughts – and the words have left.

Poem – How Many

Each day rolls into the next
nothing has changed except
the distance between the
smile and the struggle within
the person becoming more of a
shell…

How many more days can
I keep this going? Inside
I am me, but fear it
has to be repressed, kept
quiet and hidden, exposed
through what others want
me to be.

Poem – Coffee and Cigarettes

From a series of poems and prose about Joline


Cigarette smoke settles between us
a soft crackle with each hit
between each sip of coffee.

An ash falls from yours
while we discuss literature,
Chaucer, and final exams.

Looking back, we were just kids
racing toward adults
from one credit to the next.

Concerned with grades, beer,
and pleasure – tomorrow did not exist
and our relationship was fuzzy,
undefined, messy, and hurtful.

But we cared little, and made up
often – lost into ourselves we left
everyone behind closed doors,
swirling in whiskey and Djarums.

Months became years and we
both changed, became more aware
of direction, other pursuits and the
terrible couple we were.

Fights became more frequent
angry outbursts more violent
and still we tried, even through
slit wrists and copious pills
we came back for reasons I forgot.

But I do not know this yet
as we share coffee and cigarettes.

Poem – Coffee and Cigarettes

From a series of poems and prose about Joline


Cigarette smoke settles between us
a soft crackle with each hit
between each sip of coffee.

An ash falls from yours
while we discuss literature,
Chaucer, and final exams.

Looking back, we were just kids
racing toward adults
from one credit to the next.

Concerned with grades, beer,
and pleasure – tomorrow did not exist
and our relationship was fuzzy,
undefined, messy, and hurtful.

But we cared little, and made up
often – lost into ourselves we left
everyone behind closed doors,
swirling in whiskey and Djarums.

Months became years and we
both changed, became more aware
of direction, other pursuits and the
terrible couple we were.

Fights became more frequent
angry outbursts more violent
and still we tried, even through
slit wrists and copious pills
we came back for reasons I forgot.

But I do not know this yet
as we share coffee and cigarettes.

Coffee and Cigarettes

Coffee and Cigarettes

New Art Project – Beneath the Remains

I have some new poetry posted over at Beneath the Remains.

Beneath the Remains is about:

“Here we focus on raw images and words from the ruins, from the real world that is often swept away, hidden, talked about in whispers and secrets. We want to uncover and bring to light the real path taken each day, the reality people face and struggle with.”