Monday, March 6, 2023

Ethereal Considerations

I’ve taken too long, passing beyond

My understanding.  I’ve inched up on

An elbow, watching the ax-wielding

Assassin.  My left side throbbed.

My bullet-proof vest took the brunt

But I was broken.   I fell face 

Down on the floor and watched

His boots as he stomped about

Viewing his work.  Satisfied,

He turned and swung the ax over

His shoulder, drenching my face

With the blood of all the others.

A long time later I struggled up

And made my way through the

Carnage.  Cleaning the blood

From my eyes I touched the

Badge on my belt, the gun

In my holster.  I stood

Unsteadily considering my

Obligations.  Should I retire or

Go out seeking my assassin?

On Stepping Back

        “You need to come forward!”

Brushing the dust from my

Writing pad I take a step

And then another.  Why

Send me, Oh Lord?  I am

Old and weak of heart?

I know the mantra

About your strength

Being all I need, and

Yet I stumble, and 

That’s no metaphor.

Would you have your

Servant on the ground

In some far land,

Where bullets fly, not able

to do more than stand

There smiling?  “Look

They’ll say.  He stands 

There unafraid!”  And I’ll

Say “take this burden from

Off my back and let me die.”


        It isn’t that I’m forgetful –

Not remembering whether

I’ve checked the mail, as

It is that I no longer think

It worth recalling.  I

Should, finding myself going

Out again and again as though

I’d forgotten.  Sometimes I 

Find mail and feel justified.

Sometimes I find myself

Rummaging through my trash

Looking for evidence.  Last 

Night I dreamt I was homeless,

Pushing a cart filled with mail,

And not knowing if it was all 

Mine, furtively thinking I might

Be asked to explain myself

And lacking explanations

Save the name on the

Cart and the time,

I kept on pushing.

Interstitial Innocence

        Standing here in the middle

O nothing, I suck in air

That seems clean, but

Has adiments that cause

Cancer and limits

Life.  From what I

Wonder?  There are no 

Guarantees at birth.

Except “return to sender”

However long

That takes.  Each of us

Being a narrative unless

One becomes an historian

Who leads an uneventful

Life in the first

Person. I Googled

“Afterlife” and received

Words wrought round

About with doubt, aware

Of the aerie nothing

On which we stand.

At the Bottom of the Stairs

To have come this far,

Back up then, and 

On again down longer

Than any I’ve known,

Or seen die.  In my 

DNA, further back

Some went further down,

Some few.  The mystique

Escaped me.  I lost something

In the fall.  I wasn’t there as

I would have been in the past

looking down from bridge-railings,

And from oil-derricks’ summits.

Sure then of a steady hand

And an early taste for climbing.

Once more seemed more at

First than I could manage;

Yet I did and sat up there

Staring down, and they 

Stood clear of the bottom

Step with nothing beyond.

Engineering considerations

         Moving across the field eyes

Down, looking for FOD, I

Found a pair of glasses and

Tried them on.  This wasn’t 

What I wanted – having skill

But no desire. I looked back

At the building where

The planes were built.

I had arranged my classes

To emphasize literature

Yet here I was, marching

Onward, looking down.

Stretching and waving 

My arms.  No one

Would fly ‘till the

Design was verified.

My own intentions

Remained eluded.

I pocketed the glasses

And performed

An about face.


Night Sounds

A horn sobs

In the night. Closer-

In a dog barks. The

Horn’s diminishing

Hides its voice in a

Series of cars successively

Passing.   One winds up,

Someone young and glad.

And from a bike snarls

Growls upon Expressway to

The North.  I’ve shriven

My shaggy head with it all

Too many times – Waking

As I still do to see Susan

Sitting in a chair nearby,

Reading Agatha Christie whose

Hercule Poirot would see me

As having dwindled these past

Few years, never completely

Distinguishing myself from she

Who passed beyond my keeping.