Cesspool Poetry

…having been awake, having said a prayer, now what am I to do?

Poetry has its way of pouring from the cesspool of drained sores…

The quiet smoke in the dawn

The rustle of the birds in the tree

The silence of the sky

Turbulent as the sea

So you gape open, as do I

This is what it is to be a part,

Oozing as it is, of humanity

I Cannot Raise the Gun…

I cannot raise the gun with you. I cannot shoot down the wicked. There, they stamp, tall busts bellowing, a holler against some imagined injustice. Yet, I cannot raise the gun with you. I cannot shoot them down. Like splintered roots, the weeds, they rise, they rise. For every fallen, five rise. 

Have you seen the blood upon me? 

My face is torn open. I’ve the skull inside, the flesh giving way to its hardness. Inside, I’m alive & dying. My eyes have seen the lamp shade skins of the dead. I’ve seen that the hatchet can dive in & yet Death, that fickle friend, may leave you crawling to the grave. I’ve seen such spitting hate, spewing as the bath bares the soul to Sheol. 

My skin, every so slightly raised to golden from the sun, warm & beckoning, but never dark enough, it glows. Ghostly. Or ghastly. All in stunned aching silence but for this: let them scream. 

Let them raise their anger. Let them spit. Let them holler. 

…and this, the forest of me, does not hear. 

Inside, peace came washing over me. Inside, the young girl, brown & curled hair, & lips whispering in prayer, I heard none of it. My ears have refused to hear. Inside, the young girl, pale & blonde, grabbed the other’s hand, and we walked, souls as they are, complex & intwined, we are one little girl, & neither of us will listen. 

…and when you raise the gun I will ask why—fortitude is a passive courage, despite the possibility of rage. Rage leads to rage. I must resist the hunger & the pain, the cold. Against that, what is there to oppose? 

You raise the gun. The shot, I did not hear, but felt. It lays, lodged in my chest & I’m asking, what of my silence has offended you? Was my refusal to feed this fire your fuel? Fight your evil! Fight it then! Watch, as it consumes your heart & soul. Watch as it creeps from the justice within you to become the administer of what you hate. Watch as you shoot down, bleed out, fall, & rot all the heathens as the emerge, one by one, millions upon millions. How heavy the toil, the toll, the tumult. Fight it and become it. 

I sank…my lips still so silent, but for the gasp of surprise. My eyes, they will stay locked, and they will haunt you. I promise. You will see them when you die. 

Lost In Translation

here i am, lost in
the murmuring translations upon these prairies—
the hard english glazed in sharp french, a drizzled bitter of
distain & broken tongues & backs
there, fresh off history’s bloom
raw with rape-red & bruise-blue
a meandering river of tears
that tinkle with light that scorches unending

there, the tangy berries of despair unleash themselves against hearts
that wander the rolling—what was it you’ve been looking for?

all the shadows crawl free across the scarred landscape, downs & meadows, rigor mortis trees with sharp nails stretching high against my prairie sky, drawing the blood from the sunrise, in long, flowing ribbons

…and then the storm, heavy & booming, drumroll upon drumroll, that can never wash
everything clean

i sit there, smoke of muskets & the sharp sound of both the arrow & the plunging thud of axes, digging deep, swift to the grey
drawing forth vast oceans of blood & misery & turmoil, i feel the women, pushing forth spawn after spawn on the land—
these aching children full of rage

there, the ground, hungry again after the digestion of so much gluttonous misery, it’s howling,
tongue lolling out, dry but salivating
you, your perfect face, shining in the rise of the sun, small lines, fresh sun-scorch, a small streak of dirt where all tragedy lies, just under the temple, deep inside the brain, heart pounding—there,
in the hardened earth, you feel deep below, the mantle crack, the core, swell to tide, all the fires burning, all of history repeating
there, i, small & silent, so trembling in imperfections i glow white & crimson, i sit so quiet, watching the quaking prairie storm

the low growl inside me rises, gutteral, small flecks of timid
falling way to force until it is strong, sure, loudening against time’s awkward push upon me
i’ve a small scar, one deep but small on the outside, tingling with a dulled memory of this excrutiating pain, & now its aching, both to be left & to be touched, these bruises & their oxymoronic pleadings
the silver line tingles in the last rays before the clouds & there it is, glowering in sad silence

the starlings, rise & fall, sacred tribal dances upon the sky—warm, mixing with the cool

i hear the grass shiver, scratching upon the bare of my leg as if a child, begging, UP!

but all must face the wind & become either tame, or so very very wild


What it once was—the black root worming, a snug grub

Skinned from the inner lump of my heart, coal black & whining with sorrow & regret, a childhood agony

I dropped free~freedom came rushing at me

Soul & mind & blood, slick & smooth & flowing river-fast & aching cold, refreshing

How long I wallowed, in the warmth of my own mud, it’s stench restful in its uneasiness 

Then, the freed sparrow of my throat, a small warble, rising in the wind, clean in the sunrise—how sweet, how sweet

Despite all the woes, to rise, finally free. 

Not Once Was I…

Let me linger a moment, there in the pain of you; your lips trembled with a deep torture; your eyes fighting but losing the battle of loosing tears; your heart, I could literally see it dripping out of you, coming up your throat, sputtering & choking; the skin of you was heaving, barely remaining upon your bones; your mind had become a loud roaring hum of near obliteration; and not once was I healed by your pain. Not once was I skillfully, miraculously cured of my own agonies or my own sadnesses. Never have your tragedies made me triumphant.


watching this light—it is mine, this quality of ownership invades me & spirals out, encompassing 

I’ve no interest in this is your & this is mine & im foreign & you are native & this was theirs & then I stole it & then they lost & then we won, & ive no interest in stars or stripes or leaves or colours or ownership beyond a moment, the one now, where the trees have this particular sway, in this particular light, & this moment here, in this place, this is mine, this is mine, forever, this. is. mine. 


The subtleness of the man he is, 

Gazing out upon the world

Not knowing where he goes, or in fact,

From what he came, but 

To have touched what soul is mine

And breathe with it, the hints

Of grey upon us both, yet still,

I feel this—

We are young & we are Love

Gradient Shifts

i feel the tonal greys, the gradient shifts
the cool of how snow falls
& misinterprets the rocks
into staggered abstract masterpieces
how blood can slow, running veins
with a slither more than
a rage
how the trees hold tight
the buds of spring awaiting
a grey that bubbles up into
a slatey blue, that bursts
open into indigos & fine wines
a sunrise that tips open
cycling in phases of green
ripping the buds from the clutch
of the greedy grey
& suddenly we’re all flying
& suddenly we’re all dreaming
& i’m just broken
& i’m just fine
& i’m just hovering in the warm
& i’m just a bird
& i’ve just got this sky
& i’m just enraptured with a sunset
& that is just
the smallest, most whispered
of gradient shifts
& night falls & falls

Moments in Midlife

I feel the roughed powder of snow still on my skin blowing with the wind as at whips past the building edges. I look beyond these walls of time & still I wonder, will I ever feel summer soaked down into me as I do the winter? Summer, with all its temporary heat & the agony of burnt light & my lips chapped & red, sweating, stinging & caked in madness, it has a ring of winter’s torture juxtaposed & just as merciless. But, I can’t feel it to my bones. 

Inside, I hear my heart crack off it’s icy sheath, a little glassy snap, as it breathes & beats. It’s a little blue tinged & the blood, thick & globular shuffling through my chilled inner world, it’s all got a echoey hum, not the buzzing warm whir of summer-sweet. 

The night sky that lives inside my dreams is dark with navy & bright with the northern lights skipping about, everything is heavy & light is a sharpness, always coming or going but never fully there. 

I have craved summer like a starved dog wasted & shivering, spattered in the roadside muck on the highway, everything speeding beyond, never stopping. I have thought the light & the warmth would soothe me & refresh this deep tiredness that inhabits my core. But as the light lengthens & summer slowly creaks open, the ground greening ever so slightly, the buds pushing beyond the stem to swell, I am still so weak. The muscles of my soul atrophied & aching, just aching, with waste & exhaustion & misery & I lay, soaking up light like water, letting it wash over & heaven help me, to pick up these weary fragments of skin & spirit & not plummet down into the graves of the masses, forgotten & consumed by Time’s gnashing teeth. 

…and I sit, very still, & very quiet, & think, this is the full bodied knowledge of halfway through this strange long walk of life or, it is the last agonizing steps of the old life & the new one will be long & sweet & unending.