dark waters

07/31/2009

shipwrecked with no land in sight
the waters are cold and salty
blackness below swallows your feet
energy to stay in breathing territory
warmth sapped without osmosis
panicked thoughts calling for an end
two ways out, the easy way or tired
scared to take the first, you fight on
light breaks night and still you float
kicking the growing blue
not thinking of what hungers beneath
parched for a drink muscles cramp
ironically dying of thirst while drowning
angry at a broken promise that
you would not be given more than you can handle
this one must have slipped by unnoticed
so you usher in the night

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the interview

07/30/2009

Are you ready to be judge?
a selection of your betters
has gathered with stones
guilty until proven innocent
why should we not pelt you?
pull your weight or be gone
prove you have weight or
feel the wrath of exile in oblivion
now, what say you for yourself?

he sat at the table
the cards had better be good
there was no covering up
she knew all of his tells
in just two short years
ante by increased ante
his end of the table grew naked
chips floating fluidly like a
newly made millionaire lotto winner’s funds
into the pile in front of her
the more he invested
the more she gained
good thing the chips were only for show
in a barren room needing decor
their bed in the next room
defeated, he happily lets her celebrate
a victory in defeat, his all-in win

changing habitats

07/29/2009

one mundane item at a time
they nestle in like puzzle pieces
one wrapped, another bare
all of differing values
utility, monetary, nostalgic
each goes into their box or bag
ready to explore new surroundings
pictures and mirrors hung on fresh walls
a wardrobe fitting in with new neighbors
mingling suites with dresses they’d met before
potted plants finding new sunny sills to adorn
her bed, my mattress now becomes ours
the pillows make small talk
macerating tokens from different lives
taking on new flavors from this strange location
leaving the new settlers to  barrel forward
with the intriguing nuances of cohabitation

the climb

07/28/2009

years ago I brimmed with ambition
surrounded by my peers, each had a plan
from this basecamp to the heights of the world
we began the efforts of ascension
one and all took separate paths

some followed in the steps of others’ successes
thrown lifelines and advice on how to go
while others traversed almost horizontally risking little
yet some faced steep incline and began the freeclimb
people considered those exploring the lowlands to be fools
as they watched each fail or ascend along each way
none of us were guaranteed to summit attempt

oh, how the climate would affect the trip
but we were young and set forth anyway
ill equipped, lacking strength and know-how
mistakes and inaction, apathy and disillusionment
plagues which hindered, like ravines and icy ground
even worse were hubris and arrogance
these made others mislead those to harder climbs
still some fell off, never to be seen again

they say that there is a summit
and all logic leads us to believe
or else we are all fools to be chasing after it
but there are few who have been there
and yet fewer who have the proof
but, still we climb in hopes
of standing on the top of the world

when we slip, we pick ourselves up
it’s more a matter of survival that perseverance
then there are times when we think we’re through
and just then another climber offers a helping hand
but somehow when we think we haven’t gone far
we look down to dizzying heights
proving how hard and far we’ve climbed
the gear we’ve collected and the expertise
scars and stories, collectives of climbing peers
all the marks of seasoned aplinists

should I fall on today’s hike, never to get up again
my thoughts in my final moments will not be
on where the summit was or what was missed
but on what I’ve seen and by whom I’ll be missed
from the vistas and quiet times after a hard climb
to people who’ve been there to help me and
the tales of my own humble valor in desperate times
and I will fade happily into the abyss
finally summiting in my own way

my visitor

07/27/2009

One day this strange bird
landed on by my window
I stood still to stare while it was there
thinking it would fly quickly away
its beautiful beak and colorful plumage
were new and alien to me
it bobbed its head as if in curtsy
cooing a song as foreign as she
must be the spirit of love revived

when I finally did move
it was not afraid
what a bizarre bird this was indeed!

It stayed a while, bobbing her head
watching my life in my box
doing my chores in my apartment
seemed to amuse the watcher

since she was staying
I gave it some thought
and offered up a conversation
at the sound of my voice
as if she found it alarming
spread her wings and disappeared

I was saddened by the thought
of the creature’s departure
though it made no real difference to me
going about the rest of my day
it seemed to be just too lackluster

the next day I woke to an avian surprise
alongside the window there she was
I kept my thoughts to myself
and began my day
elated to have her company again

when curiosity bubbled
and boiled over in question
my voice disrupting the quiet
startled her away once again

what consequence is it to me
if she should not return?
it offered me nothing
it was only a bird

this rationale was a lie to myself
for even a moment with her
was better in silence
than a million just like it

so the next day she came
and I asked her no questions
she stayed through the night, unafraid
together in peace
content in our worlds
peeking at lives we don’t understand

so is my life, a compromise of sorts
keeping beauty and awe in my sight
inspiration stays by me both day and night
as long as I don’t chase her away

face of the damned

07/27/2009

a was a legionnaire
in the ranks of Rome’s finest
expanding dominion an inheritance
blood sharpened my senses
as a wet stone did my blade

there was always a mission
purpose set forth from Caesar
central command to our grand reign
never wavering in wisdom
as I was steadfast in obedience

then new blood joined this world
one who’s life stained my hands
through my spear’s shaft
my guilt conducted the curse’s current
he promised life everlasting, a blessing
this immortality has become my blight

I have been known by many names
mostly feared as what has escaped me
“death” my only lasting companion
shrouded by life’s pains and misery
my craft is to deal out the peace
sins have condemned me not to have

once I believed in the purpose
for which Rome called for blood
I grew rich along with my superiors
never questioning dictum, bar none
until I was forced to face my humanity
being thwarted for not growing old
my choices of sin, claiming my rest

now these lives quaffed by my sword’s thirst
are of a different dimension
life’s spring dried up by new purpose
bringing justice to those who have been wronged
no government or emperor pulling my strings
now those who fear me know why

I still have my sword, as she is my reminder
a harbinger of lifelessness, snuffing vanity
dispatching men to meet their fates
tearing sinew and bloodlines to leak life
with a personal push of my trained hand
collecting my ransom of life and gold
a mercenary for good, choosing my targets
purging the blood of innocents from my hands

today there are new means to dispatch evil men
paying their tickets to the gates of judgment
leveraging the scales of higher laws
be it pauper swindler or corrupt statesman
until I have weighed my hand for the less fortunate
and righted my transgressions against god and man
I will find no rest and must toil to tear them down

this never ending task haunts my existence
forging on until the end of days when I will take a knee
before he who’s blood damned me to life
surviving my heirs and my countries
for which I served and earned my soul’s stain
I will hunt in hopes of reconciliation
before the arrival of the white horse of
the apocalypse

desperado

07/24/2009

My steed was tired
we’ve been on the run
the horizon proved the law was close
a dust cloud rose that wanted my guns

the border was a two day ride
and the way unforgiving
water and rations running low
this, a small price to pay for living

the sheriff and his men also would have to brave
these treacherous desert ravines
and their rations were hastily put together
so they’d be soon shaking out their canteens

I ride through the night
they can’t track what they can’t see
perhaps I can throw them off
forsaking my course to the South, now headed East

after a few hours in this new direction
I found the mouth to a cave
offering the appearance of protection
and now much needed rest

taking a bottle from my pack
drained the last gulps of whiskey
not that I needed the help
to have sleep engulf me

I woke to the thunder and
the horses scared brays
the storm would wash away tracks
had the Lord forgiven how far I’d strayed?

it seems I’d escaped the law’s pursuit
I could now safely head South
saddled up my ride
and lead him to the cave’s mouth

as I stepped into the rain
awe had me leg go of the reins
I had escaped the gallows
but the Lord now would ice my veins

as the flash flood’s waters
swept my feet from the ground
I knew I was getting what I deserved
the devil’s lasso on my soul pulling me hell bound

unfair trade

07/23/2009

I feel like I should apologize
this was supposed to be a fair trade
an exchange of equals or
at least some weighted balance
but you chose, like a white elephant gift
some cheap yet handsome and simple toy

myself for you, a bargain people can see
people see us together and wonder
as you would a homeless man with new shoes
I am the ragged but smiling face
knowing that I could never offer more
yet the best was given to me
for the little that I have

So I’ll sing your praises
and show you about
I won’t leave your side for
fear of revoking my good fortune
’til the wheels fall off and
my life’s light dims
I will give you my all
trying in vain to pay for my end

lazy hound

07/21/2009

One time grandpa used
his hound to come find me
when I was lost and needed help
now that I’ve grown
my dog is of no use
I’ve lost my job
and he won’t play find it

He’ll play fetch when
I throw him a stick
but the wood is worth little
and so I throw it again
if he loses that one
it brings another back
why can’t he fetch me work?

If a man’s got to do something
he’d better do it himself
so I lace up my boots
call in the team
roll up my sleeves
and get ready to get dirty
as I climb down the well
of inspiration by myself