A handful of poems written for my poetry class during my senior year at Westminster College. I believe each of these were developed in response to some kind of prompt, although the specifics of each now elude me.
It sounds both threatening and friendly. It begins like an infant, untested yet with endless potential. Buhh. It ends solidly, but in the back of my throat, as if it has entered me and stuck. Khh. It sounds quiet but wise. It sounds patient and stable. It smells musty, like something untouched for ages. It smells like summer afternoons laying in the sun.
Infantile you seem, so friendly.
Your potential scares and attracts me.
You are quiet, patient, stable,
but with wisdom to impart.
You are musty, avoided, abused,
but I love the smell of time lost.
Your pages fling dust as I flip through.
Light splits your ink into red and blue.
Light from the sun, high in the sky
on a balmy summer afternoon.
We travel to places far away;
Lay on the fiery slopes of
Mt Doom in the depths of despondence,
tramp the brambly woods of
ancient England in luminous hope.
An excursion of emotions with
every anxious turn of the page.
I finish but you stay for a while.
A vessel barrels through space
at nine hundred thousand times
the speed of sound.
Time can not be bound
with so hasty a pace; the craft is
unbridled by size shape and mass.
None watch the ship pass
stars planets and particles unrestrained
by the invisible forces
Sir Newton maintained.
Hybrid polymers separate its passengers
from a vacuum and the magnetic
forces of wormholes that loom.
At fore things are bustling
Captain shouts orders from his chair.
Midshipmen are hustling
From station to concourse to lair.
One man has a mission, an order to deliver
He strikes out on a journey,
the ship spans a mile.
With twisting corridors and anterooms;
a labyrinth of tile.
It’s a jaunt of a week, or a day if he’s lucky.
But his stay will be short; consign and flee.
Aft things are secret, and brutalities
commence. Poor men pour lives
into indentures of servitude in the luxury
ship, hoping to get ahead, hoping
for cheap transport hence. Few survive
the journey. The engine rooms spell danger.
Virulent radiation pours out of gray
engine housings onto the
impoverished and needful.
They draw straws for the next
to perish. Attempts at escape are
met with sanguinary vengeance.
The area smells of blood,
of sweat, of foul flesh.
Up in the control room the Captain grabs his mic…
The Andromedous Nebula is coming up soon.
All passengers look out to starboard if you like.
He leans back in a plush chair and smiles as he thinks,
Ah, to be civilized…
Thank god for Science.
Dancing plant, did
you drink too much?
At the party last
night I watched
you guzzle a beer
and now you droop
and dance lazily
in the wind;
A decadent devourer,
a gregarious green.
Your leaves are tattered;
I think you got in a
fight with a Venus Flytrap.
Silly plant, you were
Yet, you move joyfully;
in daze of the days.
Did you meet a pretty
female and spread your
spores last night?
Did you sow your seeds wildly?
Should I be worried that your
children are already sprouting?
Why do you dance?
I think you have a problem.
It’s the fourth wall I care about;
not the third, with constant
ramblings about character or
the first, the initial, the self
so often lost.
Or the second, beautiful
though it may be, with
crystal lakes and pristine
peaks to match the cracked,
dry desert land and the
smoggy valleys of the
The judge, the high
gavel-tossing pallid persona.
The fourth wall.
My lids droop and my back
aches with the pain of another
sleepless night split
frequently with starts.
Groaning, I turn and flip
my pillow for another
restless journey marked
by artificial loss.
To spiders, something
with less leggers, and
more leggers than eight leggers. Scary.
They wish for some and nothing and display
Whole thoughts and brain synapses and so
your condition of life is the reality
for Pittsburgh and someone in Peru
always this show
is the me and the you. You have come home.
Snow caps the mountaintops
Beyond a field I didn’t know.
And I wander aimlessly among
long reeds, stomping into
sulphuric water; my mind
distracted by the quarrel of
two squirrels and a baboon.
Their location doesn’t concern
- I only wonder, what would
a squirrel want with a banana?
and how could it win? My thoughts
soon drowned out by fear of
The dragon flying overhead.
Dragonfly, I realize. It is silly
to be scared unless I am allergic.
With a wheeze I press on, finding
the foot of the hillsides, where
a small dark cave hides my
secret journal. It is wet when
I reach for it. Soon my words
will spider and nothing left
but smudges of black, blue,
and never read. It is too harsh.
I use it to express, to think;
to put my thoughts finally into
words, but it abandons me
And now I use words to avoid
My demon. My bane.
Worn marble steps, covered
in dry, tan dirt ascend repeatedly
before me. The steps rise feet
at a time, but each is a platform
carefully placed by the ancients.
They must have been in good
shape, to move all of these stones,
and clamber over such tall plateaus.
Finally, I reach the gate, and walk
through into the deep past, yet
present will not leave. Scaffolding
mars the side of Nike, and I wonder,
Would they have wanted it rebuilt?
I think I would want to know how
long it endured the forces of the
life-giver before returning to dust.
It will not be. They love the past,
will not let it fail. I continue onward.
The famous ionic columns still
stand tall, majestic in unwavering
solidarity, among pollution, unrest.
My heart is suddenly stricken.
Looking down at my belt,
I find my camera is lost. All that I
possess is my sword. And my thin
shoulders are now weighed down by
thick leather. I am a Centurion.
Raising my blade to the clear
blue sky, I look out upon the
city below, and let loose
my lungs with the
thunder of the gods.
Trying to catch my breath,
I realize it can not be caught.
The dry air here is acrid. The
vibrant city turns to gray.
Maybe they are right to rebuild.
Maybe it was better before.
I want to be with you.
I want to be with you.
I deeply want to be with you.
I’m not sure what stands in the way.
But I know the reasons feel fey.
I know when we are together
it seems as if everything else
dies away. And pains long
untouched fly today. It’s
here we stand to decide
the choices which may let
us confide. In each other!
My God, what a statement.
But here we are, decisions latent
and I reluctantly feel impatient.
I don’t want to force any decisions,
just to plan no further incisions
in my Heart, the delicate organ,
stressed too far, cant-contrive
of an option to find a sleep,
a rest without some form of
commitment, a rest from my
head, like a gun.
College is the falling torrent
students pass through, drift
and wade through information
flows over their heads
doused with knowledge
though not always wise
some reach the end of the
journey downward but many
slip awkwardly aside
and paint the cliff briefly
before evaporating away
others mingle together in
the fall before the frightening
crash, the moment of truth
when they are churned
into the stagnant depths
or they surge on into
some for lakes, others
devoting their lives
to the growth of trees but
all eventually find the starlit
shores of the sea.