Waterways

she had plummeted

swept under

Acheron’s raging currents

drowning in the depths

she stagnated

in foul brackish pools

toxins pervading every pore

she slithered

on scaled snakebelly

from immersion in noxious lagoon

crawled through mud and muck

briar patch scratched

stench of her debasement

malodorous effluvium

perpetual leaching

skin and soul

keening for renewal

she stumbled upon

crystalline pools

burbling

springs of amnesty

stripped to the bone

she tiptoed trepidatious

into waters of absolution

parched dermis

quenched in soothing amity

reconstitutes

whole

she stands erect

poised

to dive again

into rivers of life

Warrior Weary

this breastplate

ironclad cover o’er

ferociously beating

scarred and mending heart

grows burdensome

weighting my wending ways

my shield

hammered protector

fending off thrusts

of javelin or sword

forged in blood and tears

curtails lacerations

bows burdened shoulders

this sword

forged in fires

of smelted self

brandishes fortitude

in mortal offensives

wards off assaults

strains tender limbs

I long to lay down

my nicked chainmail

dented armor

lighten heavy heart

saunter undefended

bare of foot and limb

lift my face to the sun

forward through my days

 

Phlegethon

it started a whispering trickle

faintest rustle of a wind-tossed

death fraught crispy leaf

blowing loose a notion

faltering

crunchy gusted start

 

her words dripped

bloodied tears

upon pages

ripped stillborn

from dynamic life

 

under chinooks’ tutelage

words breathed

reconstituted essence

burning meaning

scorched upon each leaf

 

the stream gathered speed

enlivened by whirling gales

fed by tributaries

unleashed fomentation

tongues of flames

crept from cautious banks

leapt amidst swirling verbiage

the fiery monologue

tangoed with cyclones

incinerating convention

surged up waterfalls

 

word river now raging

torrent irreversibly unleashed

tumultuous fire-water cocktail

the landscape is revived

My Bones Intoned

 

(Inspired by a post by Oldepunk/Ramjet Poetry. Many thanks for the inspiration!)

carved into my bones

imprints of every stone

thrown

unknown

from eyes that spew cyclones

who claim to be blown

by my deeds sown

as they disown

laying of flagstones

paved on my backbone

 

as every bone

does crack and groan

in judgement’s zone

they clone

condone

cackling crones

hone the drone

stomping on me, prone

my evils they bemoan

steeped in hell’s cologne

roan perfidy shown

never in peace alone

 

they nibble scones

baked of guilted crushed skull pone

while blazing fires shone

reflected in Styx overflown

rejecting deeds to atone

 

incinerated in fire and brimstone

ashes hot and glow’n

coalesce in piercing moan

scarred reknitted bones

chime the ascending tone

rising Phoenix flown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Year in the Life of a Felon, Post-Release

twin towering lessons

shattered, burning

imploding catastrophically

emblazoning indelibly

on consciousness

as those other

twin towers

we all watched fall

the teachings of the

Cerberus

erroneously labeled “justice”

 

labels do not capture

complexities of past or present

yet barcode futures

for perpetual scanning

 

of those I walk among

oblivious to my status

I would be last picked

from that hypothetical lineup

“she with a number,

wearing orange

in a shady past”

bearing and demeanor

broadcast professional

confident if reserved

diligent and focused

I fit none of the

jumpsuited stereotypes

 

in the company of those

privy to my felonious rankness

I am congratulated

on my success

one year post-release

I have two jobs

only one of which

is menial

woefully underpaid

I have an apartment

decent neighborhood

of my choosing

I am told it is inspiring

how I carry myself

in productive

forward motion

diligent and focused

I fit none of the

felon stereotypes

 

I am practicing walking

upright and courageous

in these post-conviction

shower shoes

where I am forever

a felon

where every open door

to career, housing

or relationships

trembles with

potential slamming

upon revelation

where upstanding citizens

including, but not limited to

former dear friends

justify harsh judgments

founded upon

flawed logic

systemic adjudications

diligent and focused

I refuse to abdicate

my journey forward

I just wish I knew

where I was going

 

 

 

 

 

Cocooning

deemed creepy-crawly

she was confined

in no self-spun silk

chrysalis

captive

she deliquesced

consuming herself

until she is

no longer

more than

mucilaginous goo

you will transform

they told her

you will fly free

beautiful to behold

inside her shell

pulsating gunk and muck

all she knows

is insensate ooze

 

one morning

she twitches

involuntarily

sludge coalesces

in directable movement

pounding the horns

of her head

rhythmic

repeating

she cracks the shell

shivers in the air

while slime

dribbles off

she thrusts forward

seared in dawn

unfurls

Internal Debate, Heated

 

in this culture of never enough

my thoughts get squashed

on thumping superhighways

clumped and bloody, crossing lanes

never good enough

thinks she’s too good for prison

we’ll all pay for this for the rest of our lives

too smart for her own good

it’s all your own fault

 

maggots feeding on road kill

worm and squirm cortically

insinuate my trauma isn’t

absent fractures or abscesses

arrested at gunpoint

officer shouting orders

terrified to unbuckle

 that gun in my face

wasn’t that trauma?

my mental committee

are buzzards circling, relentless

overshadowing a survival

unworthy of the name

my everything ended

I got up every day, in prison and out

I smile on purpose, repeatedly

I remember how to laugh, spontaneously

isn’t that surviving?

 

I find a message, mine,

insistent and daring

quixotically poetic

a wake of vultures feeds

on judgement’s carnage

poems unmetered or ill-rhymed

lacking classical references

off-center, gutsy or ill-timed

shout intrinsic authenticity

isn’t that my voice?

 

(image: Warren Criswell)

Bearable Lightness

I have been weighted down

under burdens

stooping my posture

self- shouldered

or world-imposed

the leadenness

has dulled my spirits

blunted the sparkle

in my eyes

cramped the scintillation

of my wit

 

the twinkle in your eyes

sprinkles stardust

beneath my feet

your smile

crinkle-eyed and intimate

envelopes me

excludes the impinging world

your wink reminds me

that living

involves laughing

and life

though deadly

must not always

be serious

 

we run

barefoot and tipsy

skirting the scuttling

hermit crabs

dodging moonbeams

flirting cirrusly

fomenting joy

into the spray

balmy and foaming

of the welcoming sea

 

fingertip fused

we dance disinhibited

I twirl delirious

under our canopied arms

spinning, five

and carefree again

as the stars

revolve around

this moment

 

we collapse

entangled

in the membranes

of the shadows

absolved and salty

in the curative embrace

of each other

the night

and the surf