Following Another Fire, Following Another Rain – Poems for January

The sky: greyed into this moment
Carried by an eye. Few-days-rain
Still nestled in the roads, pavement
Heavy with stormy memory. Further,
And there are the blackened trees
Shivering above blackened dirt.
People walking, chatting next
To the resting char, where fire
Settled and dissolved itself
Into the latest earth. Walking.
Other side of the road: old woman,
Masked, and squinting against
The sudden gust. Two crows
Mealing over a half-recognizable
Thing. Can a crow gather
Recognition in the remains
Of another; if that were to happen
Would the crow be able
To crow, to be able to move
Within itself? They cock
Their darkened gaze, mildly
Scatter as I step onto the road
Nearby. Another presence.
Each step hustles a thought,
And i wonder if i can hitch
These moments to a useful thing.
I wear the greys in my eye
And the sounds of steps
Cling, and i can still sense
The cool, dead tokens of now-
Silent and anonymous wildfire.


This about wraps it up for “Poems for January.” I spent this month writing and posting a poem each day. Don’t know if I truly learned anything, but I’m starting to get a sharper sense of what my strengths and weaknesses are as a writer.

As I was writing this poem I was listening to a playlist provided by Quickly. I’ve never really listened to folk music, but these songs helped the writing process.

The Martyr – Poems for January

I cannot wait to be used.
It seems to be inevitable,
That once a man has been
Reduced to soil, that the reduction
Is furthered, a lessening
More akin to change.

A bright menace, fiery
Throat, etc., etc. A hatred
That speaks the words
That the mass simply cannot.
But a man is too much.
A man cannot be contained
Entirely. Unless the man is
Changed. But the best change,
The most manageable,
The most useful change,
Comes when the man
Is sealed into mud.
Now the man can be changed.
The man can be used.
The man and his words can be
Utilized to our benefit.
Without the worrisome fires,
Without the demands,
Without the responsibility
For our own change.

I cannot wait to be used
For that’s when you know
I’ve made it. But i am not
A man. I can be changed
During my lifetime
And become totally useless
As a drone with marble counters,
Stone tile offices. A short-term
Adornment that speaks,
But no, that’s not what is
Wanted. I have to be dead.
Dead, but with a fiery skull
Undampened by the wind,
Or else i am just mass
Softer than mud or soil.

Placement – Poems for January

I will never be here
Entirely. Even to myself.
I will never know my own
Secrets. Maybe some
Will dim into glow,
Slowly, but there will always be
A shuffling in the corner.

I will never be here
Entirely. Some face might
Bend into glass as i walk
To the grocery store,
Light might find a place
For me. But i will never
Gather sight.

I will never be here
Entirely when you are not
Here, even if for a day or
For a greater loss.
A petal of grey travels
Through the light, merges
With the then.

Old Man – Poems for January

It was a shame
That day
When they decided
To let go of the sun.

I’m sure there were reasons,
Tense deliberation,
Calculations, words
Drawn from purer minds,
But my heart still shrinks
Thinking about that day
When skies became no longer
Ours, when the air became
A black passage.

Sooner or later, my grandchildren
Will come to me, ask
What the sun was like.
But my words will mean little
To me. I can never do anything
With justice. But I’m still sure,
With my now-tiny throb of a heart,
That the sun was let go
For very good reasons.

A Question – Poems for January

A distortion in the fish’s eye.
A heavy splotch pressed against the world
Of corners.
Vibrations. The presence
Rattling the walls.
At least the fish knows something
Is there.
But if some other shadow
Emerged above the sky
And prodded our sun…
Of course we would notice.
It would be an unavoidable occurrence.
But how long it would take
For us to get acclimated, to forget
The other race, the other world
Pressing beyond intelligence?

No More – Poems for January

Though peace has now been grasped,
My heart sits there, beating its war-drum.
Decorated, adorned with various medals,
It fought valiantly on the fields of Love.
Valiantly. Now there’s a silent window.
Its gaze blurred across the glow of leaves,
Across the voiceless gardens. Ash and dust
No longer cling to the sun. This is what
Has been achieved. Yet, my heart
Beats its war-drum from its hidden room,
From its tranquil shadow.

Target – Poems for January

I had a talk
With the thought,
Asked why
It was doing this,
But it evaporated
Into skin. The day
Puddled into dark
Where I became
A minor reflection.

Later: it came back,
Didn’t even need
A door, pushed away
My food and laid
On the kitchen counter.
Why, why, why.
This time it decided
To stay with its own
Silence. And I had
To forget hunger
As it spread
Into a new room.

A few moments passed
And now I’m 83.
The thought became
Its own door as I froze
In white blankets,
Sterile lights, colorless
Walls blanking starely.
All things converged,
Including me,
To the thought
As it sauntered over
To my side.
Why…Why…
An answer hissed
Through its teeth,
But it wasn’t there.
Smiled as the light
Stepped through
The window.

Years and years later
And I’m still alive
And so is something else.
The sky is cement
Against my back
As I struggle to walk
To the grocer.
There are no more
Faces, a few memories
Left rattling in the pockets,
And the thought
Waiting at the curb
Waiting in delight
For me to turn around.

Inspiration – Poems for January

The world’s greatest poet
Decided to go for a walk.
Birds swirled with the clouds,
The sun curled inside
The pavement as he stepped
Through the morning.
“Are you working on another
Masterpiece?” But the poet
Did not answer, only smiled
And continued on. Through
The park, the grass rose
To meet him. “Excuse me,”
The tiniest blade asked,
“What is it going to be about?
Love, death, breakfast?”
But the poet did not answer
And smiled, and left the grass
Behind. The sun slid
Into red, shadows curled
Between the buildings,
And the poet was still
Walking. Walking. “Hey,”
A voice popped-up from
The garbage bags.
“Where’s your poem,”
Asked one of the racoons.
“Where is it?” But the poet
Did not look and moved
Down the alleyway until
He found a hidden entryway
To a shady den donned
With graffiti and foul scents.
A shadowy face emerged
Before him with a faded glare.
“Well, hello again,” said
The face. The poet gulped.
“What do you need?” The poet
Struggled for his words.
“I need a line,” he said. “Or,
Just a few words. A phrase.
Anything!” The face twisted
A grin. “Aw, but a man
Of your talent? Tsk. Tsk.”
The poet’s eyes cast down
And the face continued
To grin and led him down
A hallway.

The creature in the corner,
Pile of flesh, an eye
Opening as the two entered.
The poet stared as the small
Creature sighed.
The poet approached it
Slowly, placed a hand
On the soft yellow flesh.
The creature moaned
And the poet’s eyes fell
Backward and everything dropped
Into a pit.

The poet woke-up
On damp ground.
The creature’s eye closed,
Drained once again,
Wheezing.
The poet rose-up
And led out of the darkened room,
Out of the shady den, paid
The grinning face and stepped
Through the night. Foul.
Foul. But as he walked
He noticed the stars hovering
Above the rooves and soon
A few words seeped
Into his mind. He continued
And a poem started to glow
Before him. He got home
And the poem raced across
The page. Perhaps,
He thought, this would be
Another classic. He nodded
To himself and went to bed
And the day gazed its light
In his room, satisfied once more.

Somewhat Truthful – Poems for January

Today i only have a limited amount of time
To describe the barren and beastly fixtures
That cloister this mind. That is all these poems
Have really amounted to. They’re not really here
To communicate an idea, but to convey
The same wretched state the world
Is already witness to. But it’s a good thing
That this is the path i’ve been nudged;
I could have been dropped into a rich estate,
Groomed for statesmanship, another
Well-constructed senator with reverie
For a voice, using a lofty position
To deal with some inner-wants
Regardless of benefit. Fortunately,
For you and i, i’m just an innocent
Without a nugget of power, whose tools
Consist of pens, notepads and cheap
Black tea, writing poems i hope no one sees.


Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday/Just Jot it January, Word of the Day Challenge, and Fandango’s One Word Challenge. For SoCS, I picked-up Hermann Hesse’s “Strange News from Another Star,” closed my eyes and my finger landed on the word “ignoble.”