the quick and the perfect (20170930)

only the dead are perfect
perfect in silence

you say
oh, so-and-so is at peace
and you are not wrong

but the dead
keep moving
like a handful of
shining white teeth
into a still pond
ghostly white
descend out of sight
while above
ripples ring
and crest

you measure the
depth of each trough
as it slices through you

the silence of the dead
is the roar of the furnace
only the perfect dead
move without moving

the illusion of memory (20170614)

what is this place–
some kind of dorm
prep school, college?

filled with debris of an old life
this place is unfamiliar in ways that
reveal the lie
of the illusion of memory

here, a set of tibetan prayer flags
piles of books without titles
and so many toys
all things i have never
specifically handled
touched or

the room buzzes with people
a handful of them long dead
every one interested
in helping me clean
scavenging things they want
from my old life
in a rush to get this room ready
for the next inhabitant
dragging objects packed or not
down concrete stairs
to where a moving truck
already stuffed full

shoppers draw near the scene
–a cosmic garage sale–
offering money
or just taking what they want

impossibly in the room
and on the ground
at the same time
the more i pack the more i discover
items still unclaimed
a box full of glass eyes
coins from foreign lands
an old handheld game

i should feel some kind
of attachment
yet only the dead give me pause

an overwhelming sense
of futility mixed with exhaustion
washes over me

i peel back carpet
and find a rotted wood floor
i have never seen

the life you save (20170606)

approach from behind
place your arms
around their torso
under their arms
[if you can manage it]

if they’re flailing
and their eyes are
rolling up
staring backwards at
frontal lobes
just go ahead
and encircle their arms
as well
[since it probably won’t
make much difference now]

bracing with your left
make a fist of your right hand
and a stone of your heart
drive one or the other
forcefully into
their diaphragm

force those lies
they’re choking on
up and out

clean their face liberally with
water and allow
to air dry


dVerse ~ Poets Pub
Poetics: Poems that could save your life

the tools of fulfillment (20170320)

when i read that he had died
i was surprised more than anything
not that he had died
but that he had lived

he learned
when he was handed
that death sentence
knowing the next red light
would be the last stop
on the drive

so he threw himself
completely into his life
without the cushion of
random how
left with only when
as the remaining question

twists and turns (20160914)

it twists and turns
this road
and not easy to traverse by
any means
avoiding the infinite
fall into footsteps
of behemoths and other
rough beasts who have
trod this way before
fellow travelers
blindfolded all
led by sense of smell
and is it lilies or
the rot of decay
eye-closed pilgrims
don’t see the road
for what is is, a knife
sliding between the ribs as
it twists and turns


Jane Doughtery Writes
Poetry challenge #48: Circles and cycles

the eternal hum (20160622)

everyone tells you
that after this life
there is another life

but no one warns you
that death waits
also for you there

and after that ending
there’s another
paler incarnation

again and again
each life more diluted
than the last
until you can’t tell yourself
apart from the sea of white noise

a revenger follows his hate
knife bloody from one life
to the next
so eager to re-enact he gladly
sheds his flesh and bones
until he and the despised

become one

and there are no more screams
only the emptiness
of the eternal hum


The Daily Post
Daily Prompt: Empty

whisper (20160527)

what is the meaning of a whisper
purred by a lover?
the message cannot be heard
within the constraints
of normal conversation
consciousness must be forcibly shunned
the message a secret
to both life and death
you will have to step into that
shadow between them
the threshold of here and there
and even then you will only ever
repeat what you have learned
in a whisper

Poem 20160127

silence steals
between all our words
–like a sponge
it expands
filling up the space between
what we say and don’t

quieting even
the slow sounds of our breathing
–where to rest our eyes
our lives are made of silence
we don’t look at each other

our hearts drum drum drum
beating beneath the silence
a silent rhythm
(shadorma, tanka, haiku)

The Secret Keeper Weekly Writing Prompt