Heart-Fire

This meager-bosomed flame has died
upon the midnight mountainside
and all below the valley lay:
shadowful, deep, a darksome bay.
Above me stars flare and shimmer,
but they are far-flung, faint, dimmer
than the fire which erstwhile I fed
with flighty fancies from my head,
and the world has grown darker now
with that looming doubt-beclad brow
of the mountain I once bethought
myself the conqueror, thus brought
by such talents and suchlike skills
as made such mountains not but hills,
in the meantime leading astray
upon a path my pride did stay
as does the Fool in Tarot deck
who walks beside both bluff and beck.
My heart-fire flickered to fade soon
with the new-risen harvest moon
and Autumn’s acorn-bells shall call
while Summer’s splendors wilt and fall
and cold winds sweep them unto piles
that feed no fires except denials,
cold, rustling, leaf-shod winds oft wail
and trace futility’s trail
that I dared to climb for so long;
what a mournful, tenebrous song.
The moon is gone, the stars are dim—
was my journey passion or whim?
The mount is dark, the wind is cold,
doubt is a sickness taking hold.
No light at all, no light to guide
along this ruthless mountainside.
The fire is snuffed, the fire is gone—
should I relent or carry on?
The night sky is but black ashes
within which no heart-fire flashes
and not yet halfway to the peak
nor it half to the height I seek.

How foolish to travel so far,
thinking my fire could be a star.

Dreams Deferred II

Truly, I should like to have a word
with those latecomers, my dreams deferred,
not to harangue them or make a fuss,
but to see them on the express bus
and sooner upon their hastened way
long before the traffic-jammed midday,
and not so idle in friendly talk
nor wasting time on a winding walk—
look, I have laid out the welcome mat
and I just wonder where they are at
because the hour is growing so late
and I would rather they made this date
to come, promptly, to the open door;
the truth is I can’t endure much more.
I think I have been patient enough
with the overtime, the stress, the stuff
that a man must do to set things right
before the curtain call, the spotlight,
and the theater should be packed well
since the tickets were sent through the mail
at no cost to the masses, the crowd,
since I am not really overproud
and would not charge for what came so free
to my mind, without surcharge or fee.
I need reassurance, some regard
after working for so long, so hard,
but the venue is a bust, it seems,
and no one cares, not even my dreams.
They are out and about, in the park,
or in a cab elsewhere, on a lark,
or taking the subway to a street
away from me and my meet-and-greet.
I am the pariah from a group
that I introduced, kept from the loop
while they go bar-hopping like frat-boys
and parade like divas to the noise
of downtown’s pageantry and pizzazz,
welcome with the pop razzamatazz
that sells so well among Plebians,
yet respected by Bohemians,
while I wait, in exile, from afar,
thinking that I should hop in my car
and chase them down, maybe hit-and-run
to avenge myself for what they’ve done,
and what they’ve not done, these damn dead-ends
who are worse than mere fairweather friends.
My dreams are why I am full of doubt—
to hell with it, I am going out!
I have some body-bags in my trunk
and my dreams all need a place to bunk…

Disappointment

Was it a dream, this wilted bud
wasted among the trodden mud?

Was it a hope, this crumpled page
discarded near an empty stage?

Was it a wish, this broken quill,
nib splintered so the ink would spill?

Was it desire, this flint-struck flash
extinguished unto lightless ash?

Is it despair, this fatal sigh
when longlived aspirations die?

The Nihilist’s Delusion

Pardon my breaststroke
over oblivion,
but the undertow will take me
inevitably
in time,
not with my eager acceptance, thank you,
but with mortal fatigue,
meanwhile your undead body
bloat-floats complacently
over oblivion,
coming eventually
to ashen shores
so you may make
ash angels
after having razed the world
and all of its myriad “illusions”,
attempting to delight in the
ruination
of the
joys to be had
rather than throwing yourselves
upon the pyres
and giving resolution
where your philosophy’s resolution is due.
You wish to beat us down
with the bones of the departed,
striking our hopes with a cruel
tattoo of
“You too! You too!”
as if we were not aware
that even headstones crumble,
given time;
and, yes, we know that
we ride determinism’s
compulsive waves
along the continuum of life—
it is no hollowing revelation.
Excuse me,
but while you numbly nestle
into the shoreline’s ashes
after you have smote all meaning
in your estimation,
and while you stubbornly mutter
your mantra of “malignant uselessness”,
I cannot help but note the irony
of your continued existence;
for while you champion mass extinction,
the puppet does not burn himself
to cinders
to rescue himself from the supposed
“conspiracy against the human race”.
Actions speak louder than words,
and you seem quite disingenuous
while you gleefully lob
Molotov cocktails into the sea
like bottled letters
meant to reach distant shores.
It is an ironic joke, you know—
the one about the
self-professed nihilist
who refuted his own thesis
by showing up
in person
for the book signing.
Yes,
we are meat puppets
tangled up in our own strings,
but only you seem to be
high-strung about it.
Then again,
strumming other people’s
heart-strings
has always been lucrative,
even if money and ambition and
etcetera
further the delusion
you decry.
Perhaps you should use the ashes
as eyeliner
for your late-term
Emo phase?
Meanwhile,
I will make my sand castles
as I please.
Somehow I doubt your
ash castles will last long,
and, besides, wet ash
burns the hands
which shape it,
yet will never clean the hands
of the hypocrisy
that stain them.

Loneliness

Loneliness is the
wounded howling of a soul
unheard beyond the dusty halls of a
necropolis heart;
it is the
silence and stillness of
downcast eyes,
of an inert tongue,
of a weary face
hidden by a sculptured mask
and veiled in the shadow
of an isolated crypt
while the bright world around it
moves and resounds and lives
beyond the deadness;
Loneliness means being
buried alive in your own
tight-lipped sarcophagus of
awkwardness, diffidence,
each faux pas a fatal blow
to your ego as you convince,
and convict,
yourself with a death sentence
of self-exile; embalming yourself in the
saltiness of your own self-loathing,
removing needful organs of
love and connection and friendship
in denial of your humanity
and setting them aside in canopic jars
while filling your body with
natron, that salty crystal remaining
after all of your tears have dried.
Loneliness is when you have
mummified yourself
with the ancient desert ritual
of crying yourself dry
in a tomb of your own making.
Loneliness is
being stuck between the
world of the living
and the land of the dead,
unable to pass on
and unwilling to return back,
your ka circling like a vulture,
yet never ascending,
never descending;
ever circling without end,
unwilling to abandon the corpse
and unwilling to find new lands
to call home.