Poets' Pages: HeinzS
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Forum Name: HeinzS

Real Name: Heinz Scheuenstuhl

Website: http://www.heinzs.org

Poems 1-25
(Strange Tales - part one)

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Table of Contents

Flight 253
Fog Revisited
Black Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole Redux
Rabbit Hole (the final chapter)
Palm Reader
Exploring the Weird I
Exploring the Weird II
Exploring the Weird III
Exploring the Weird IV
Timid Shade
The Ancient Wurm Predicts
Deliver Us From Evil
Weird Science
Lady in the Green Dress
Ma’s Ghost
Green Man Dream #1: Cold Fire
(In)Sanity Clause
Inner Child
Conversations With Myself: (1: the age thing)
Conversations With Myself: (2: the diet)
Near Lethal Trajectory
Red Death 2000
White Powder

These first three poems are a rough "trilogy".

Flight 253

In the darkness of the night,
city lights, like myriad stars
in some earth-bound constellation,
mark the passage of the airbus.
At 30,000 feet, in flight,
the wings warp and shake -
their shuddering felt in the seat
as dense clouds finally
obscure the window's view.
The engines roar primeval might -
bringing sleepy passengers home
from diverse adventures.

While aloft the world seems removed -
almost a distant memory
nagging at the back of the mind
like something left as yet undone.
Reality returns soon enough - too soon,
as the plane begins its final approach.
A screech of tires and a bump -
once again aground - gravity bound.
The interminable terminal teems
with tourists - haggling over luggage
like shoppers at a Turkish bazaar.
Thank God for carry-on!

Taxi! The stale smell of tobacco smoke
permeates the cab interior.
The driver's toothless unwashed grin -
a face from some foreign land -
asks "Where to, miss?" in an accent
that instills little confidence.
Without incident she arrives at last,
tips generously and walks up the path.
In the dark the garden scowls
its disapproval. The walkway stones
try to trip her by catching her heels.
She stumbles, but recovers well.

Brushing her skirt down, she climbs the stoop
and rings the bell. Waiting, at 1:00 a.m.,
for an answer that will never come.
She comes to her senses, takes the key
from her purse and unlocks the door.
No one is there to greet her.
"I'm very sorry, ma'am!" the officer had said.
"He died instantly. He never felt a thing."
Now she must feel the pain alone.

In the darkened room she sits,
staring at nothing on the wall,
waiting for the tardy flood of tears.
Why? She asks, but there is no answer.
Love's life in an instant lost,
forevermore gone, but grief remains.
She drinks deeply of its bitterness
and ponders her own mortality.

Early morning finds her standing,
unable to bear the sorrow,
before the medicine cabinet.
Could pills become a welcome friend,
her pain at once bring to an end?
Sanity, at the final moment, returns.
Sobbing uncontrollably she sits
alone in the waning dark,
but she will live another day.
One day at a time normalcy will strive
to re-establish a foothold in her life,
and years from now, when her true time comes,
she will be ready to join him
and take, then, that final flight.


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Thick grey misty blanket,
imbued with a damp chill
that seeks out and clings to bones,
the fog obscures the oncoming day.
A dank laziness pervades
morning's usual routine.
Each step, each action taken
as if in a somnambulant trance
expends reluctant energy
desperately seeking the snooze alarm.
One red sock and one blue -
dressing in the dark again -
doomed to another day's ridicule
from lesser minds that people the world.
Trapped and struggling in a mental haze
that somehow feels heavier than
the external physical phenomenon,
attention suffers an irreparable lapse.

"I don't know, officer. He came
through the red light - never even
tried to stop. Like he musta
fallen asleep behind the wheel.
Guess someone'll hafta tell his folks.
Ther' ain't much left - poor sap."


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Fog Revisited

A sea of faces,
familiar and stranger alike,
milling endlessly through the room.
Subdued quiet... is it respect
for the dead, or just a mixture of
fear and relief?
Condolences come from all sides
and she murmurs her acceptance.
Her mind is deep in the fog,
detached and unable as yet
to accept the inevitable reality.
Her son... gone!
One instant vibrant and alive,
the next, a statistic on the evening news.
Tomorrow she would re-enact
this final moment in her mind,
and every tomorrow after that.
Did he suffer?
What were his final thoughts?
What if she hadn't called him
the night before
with that stupid accusation?
Was the argument
his last memory of her?

Later she sat alone on the edge of the bed,
tears her only companions.
Two years before her husband
had lost his life on the ski slopes.
And now her son.
She had never felt so alone before...
there had always been someone in her life.
At last she sleeps...
fitful, troubled... dark dreams
invade her soul to add insult to injury.

"Mrs. Jones... we're all so sorry."
The little one came up to her desk.
"We got together and got you these."
He handed her a bunch of deep-red roses,
the thorns stained with his own child-blood
from holding the stems so desperately hard.
"Thank you, Jimmy!"
And she knew that she still had a purpose,
and she was still needed in this world.


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This next set is a formal trilogy.

Black Rabbit Hole

with feet of clay,
has taken her destined leap.
The rabbit hole,
black hole in truth,
swallows her whole.
transcended, she emerges...
aware of her confusion.
Obfuscation of reality,
emotion sublimated,
Alice is born at last
without prior death.
Where is the purpose?
The audience applauds,
their seal flippers waggling...
protoplasm dissolves
once again
into the primordial soup.


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Rabbit Hole Redux

Once again, Alice,
with feet of clay,
stands at the brink -
a decision to be made.
Leap blindly forward
into the dark unknown,
or remain comfortably safe
in her familiar Hell.

Progress, change, adventure beckon,
but fear cloys the pulsing veins.
Anxious knots deny courage
like stones weighing down the soul.
In indecision lost,
doomed to failed potential,
drowns her sorrow in drink
while opiates dull her mind.

Break this vicious cycle -
inaction is the bane.
Take charge of Destiny's whip
and loose self-pity's fetters.
Take the plunge!
The water, though cold,
will buoy you on high
with the salt from all our tears.


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Rabbit Hole (the final chapter)

At long last the decision made,
Alice turns her back on change
to quietly join the mainstream.
Deny opportunity, defy fate -
marry the boy next door
and live the 'normal' life.

Years pass in quiet suburbia.
Alice leads the PTA
and the school band boosters.
Three children, two cars and a cat.
Idyllic it seems, but somehow
all is not sublime in Smallville.

From the depths of the rabbit hole
the darkness wells up.
Dank mist spreads over land
and seeps through cracks in walls.
Reclaiming what is rightfully his,
the daemon touches Alice in her sleep.

Her mind snaps and all logic
escapes the broken cage.
Dementia takes hold
of the now blackened soul.
In the dead of night the deed is done -
her family lies bludgeoned in their beds.

Cackling madly, naked Alice
races through the streets
towards her final destiny.
The rabbit hole looms before her,
beckoning, engulfing her as she leaps.
At last she has returned home.



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Palm Reader

"Cross my palm with silver."
I did so.
Her gaze was unsettling.
Her eyes kept changing -
sometimes gray, then green,
or the deepest blue
miniature oceans -
cold and uninviting.

She held my hand
in her dry, withered one,
tracing my heart line
with a clawed finger.
I caught my breath
from a sudden palpitation.
An eerie chill swept over me
as she touched my life line,
and my hand froze
in a paralytic rigor.

"Your life has been
a constant struggle."
I winced silently
as she touched the old scar
on my extended wrist.
For a brief moment
she reminded me of my mother
a long time gone.
Her talon explored
every cranny of my psyche
as it traversed my cold flesh.

"Why have you come to me?
There is nothing here
you do not already know."
She was right, of course.
I knew my past...
and I have no future.
The doctors had made that
painfully clear.
A small ray of hope
would have been nice to hear,
fantasy though it were.

"You cannot control
your own destiny."
She closed my hand
and wrapped it in both of hers.
It glowed with a warmth
I have not hitherto felt.
I gazed once more
into the dark bottomless pools
that were her eyes
as the warmth spread
a feeling of peace
throughout my body.

I had come on the chance
prediction would contradict
what had been written,
but instead of a questionable "future"
I found, in her eyes,
that I had a real
and substantial "now".
Carpe diem...
for today is all we really have.


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Exploring the Weird -
(1) incite insight

The three-fingered man
with no legs
stared up at me
from his palette.
"You're a waste," said he
"of a good pair.
Sittin' on your ass
while the world around you
self destructs
makes you part of the problem."
I felt rather put upon -
what gave HIM the right
to accuse me,
abuse me?
"What am I to do?"
"Do nothing,
and the world will change around you.
Do something,
and it will still change,
but maybe,
just maybe,
its direction might be influenced
by your participation.
Do something,
and your soul will know
you didn't just sit idly
to be steamrollered
by your own fate.
Do something!"


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Exploring the Weird -
(2) peace piece

"Become a peacemonger.
Make peace and keep it,
live in it, or rest in it."
The legless man
lifted himself from his palette
and walked on his palms
over to the dumpster -
reminding me of R2D2
in Star Wars.
He shifted his weight
onto his three-fingered hand,
unzipped his fly
and urinated.
"The thing about land mines,
once they're in the ground
they don't know who you are
or when the war is over.
The one with my name on it
waited seven years for me."
He settled back onto his cushion.
"War doesn't end
when the fighting stops.
Better not to start it
in the first place."


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Exploring the Weird -
(3) sole soul

Depressed and feeling alone
I sought him out,
the legless philosopher.
He had this uncanny knack
of pointing out the obvious
and making a revelation of it.
but his usual haunts
failed to produce contact.
I feared the worst -
knowing how precarious
life on the streets could be.
None of the regulars
had seen him today,
neither was there
any scuttlebutt floating around.
At last one fellow
produced a scrawled note
left for me.
I thanked him (with cash)
and read:
"As long as you are alive
you are never alone.
Your sould intersects all others,
and that great web
is the collective consciousness
that makes existence possible.
Learn to tap into it
during your darkest hours
and you will be uplifted
beyond time and space.
The dead pay little attention
to this dimension,
but I'll wait to greet you
on the other side.
I felt momentarily
even more alone than before -
but then the great weight lifted
from my heart
as his words sank into my mind.
Even if I never saw him again
I would know if he was alive
and if he was not.
His words are my legacy.


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Exploring the Weird -
(4) right write

It had been several months
since I had last seen him,
the three-fingered man
with no legs
who regaled me with
his remarkable Zen wisdom.
I thought of him daily
as I traveled the cold, lonely streets.
This day the bartender at Philo's
handed me a ragged envelope
--- from John!
I took it and my JD
to a table with some light
and read:
"Just when you think
you've got life figured out
it hits you between the eyes.
Complacency is the mother
of disaster...
her bastard son.
I've stopped reading
the headline news -
90% of it is fiction
and the other 90%
is propaganda."
I laughed at the sarcasm.
"I'm going to travel the country -
maybe I'll write
from wherever I stop...
which'll be whenever
I need to work for some cash.
I'm in a small town outside Sonora -
got a job as a bell ringer
for the local church.
Use your imagination."
I laughed again
at the vision of him
dangling by one arm
from the bell rope -
like a deranged ornament
on a giant watch fob.
He signed it: "---John,
For whom the Bell tolls."


Timid Shade

Awake in the nighttime dark
listening to the walls talk
telling each other the day's tales.
Bedmate snores in blissful sleep
resting for the coming morrow.
Agile, furtive shadow hides
in plain view - disguised
as spiderweb or dust trail.
Long have I known of it,
but fear it not in familiarity
for it always flees direct sight.
My son would giggle at its antics
among the iron arms of the chandelier
and it would melt in a corner
where no true shade fell
as I entered the room.
Once I think I heard it cry out
in fearful surprise - but never more.
I know not its name nor age,
but suspect youth from its demeanor.
Perhaps it is an elemental sprite
driven to remain forever elusive,
but it seems attached to my household.
It followed during our last move,
hiding away in a crate of books
while I pretended not to notice.
It makes its home above the mantel
or behind the upright piano
and still feigns fear at my approach,
but does not run as far away
into the darker shadows.
It watches television from a vantage
perched in the ceiling corner.
The dog is curious but barks not,
and the cats ignore it altogether.
I have tried speaking to it,
but though it does not recoil
from my voice, neither does it
respond in any other way.
I think I'll just give it a name,
and count it among the members
of the household.


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The Ancient Wurm Predicts

Arthur and his knights... I knew them all.
Merlyn was my one true friend,
but that was long before the fall.
Camelot has met its destined end.

I am weary in my old age.
I can well remember freedom's glory.
The changing times I can presage,
and tell ahead man's desperate story.

My kind are gone... I am the last.
Too old to fly... my fires no longer burn.
I live secluded in the past,
yet for the future do I dearly yearn.

I can name them all, the kings of man,
and all the legends born of yore.
The beauty I have seen... the span
of aeons on this lonely shore.

I am cursed with second sight,
and see man's final destiny...
but cannot share this sorry plight
alone - trapped by the briny sea.

Fire from the morning sky
shall strike this fertile ground,
and all the Earthbound souls shall cry
when Nemesis makes his round.

I will hie me to my cave
to rest my ancient scales,
my memory of all the brave
in holocaust now pales.

The end of days anon will come,
this aged dragon knows,
my island home shall, too, succumb,
to Earth's last dying throes.

But I'll be gone long ere that day,
my time to cease is nigh...
I take my weary bones and lay
me down at last to die.


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Deliver Us From Evil

'Tis the dark of the moon
and in this night
the spirits dance -
while mortals cower in fright.

The Demon speaks -
the spell is cast
from their graves the souls emerge
in great profusion joined at last.

The gathering throngs
as if in supplication
to the Lord of Darkness
who basks in their adulation.

But one brave soul
denies the evil will.
Standing tall he spreads his hands -
the scars upon them still.

The Demon takes pause
as the lone figure does rise
a path clears before him
amidst the multitude's cries.

The glittering presence -
the shimmering wraith -
soothes the tormented
and restores their faith.

Once more defeated,
Satan takes his bow -
eternally to battle
is his solemn vow.

Quietly the host of spirits
return to their respective rest
while the guardian angel rises,
once more He's passed the test.


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Weird Science

The moon once more passed behind the clouds,
like a switch darkening the misty night yet more.
My shoes slosh in the soggy marsh...
I am wet up to my knees, and it is cold.

My heart pounds within my chest...
I have been running through these dark woods...
from what?
I know not why my mind seems as foggy
as the dark landscape surrounding me.

Then a hideous screech echoes behind me...
and I remember it all!

"Harold, what have you done?" I asked him.
"You, of all scientists, should know better!"
The thing in the cage stares at me
with evil bottomless black eyes.
Genetically altered, information fused,
an ungodly creature he has created.

That night it escaped...
of Harold all I found was his left shoe
with his foot still in it.
The double doors were sprung from their hinges
and the creature was out in the dark.

I grabbed the tranquilizer gun
and followed the spoor into the night.
I was not prepared for its immense strength
nor its evil intelligence.

I had not gone more than twenty yards
but found to my chagrin that it had lain in wait
for anyone who dared to follow.
One flick of its tail and the gun was gone.
Another and blood coursed into my left eye
from the gash on my forehead.
I turned and ran.

Like a cat playing with its prey
it stalked me... not yet hungry enough
to make a meal, yet game
to tease me as it wished.

Several times I fell between its gigantic paws,
but each time it simply glared at me and drooled
and stepped back to let me go.

Now I felt it was at last hungry again.
I summoned the last of my strength and ran...
but I had picked the wrong direction.
Like a trapped rat I was at the edge of
a precipice... the cliff edge upon which
Harold's laboratory had been built.

Another screech behind me, coming closer.
I could almost feel its fetid breath
warm upon the back of my neck.
I turned, and there it was.
It looked from side to side
to see where I might run.
Satisfied that I had nowhere to go, it closed in

Without hesitation,
I turned and leaped from the cliff...


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Lady in the Green Dress

She walked into the room
and I sensed a sudden,
imperceptible lull in conversation.
My gaze was drawn to her,
and for a brief moment
my eyes met hers,
and then she turned away.
Wherever she walked
a path opened up before her -
like Moses parting the Red Sea.

I remained transfixed
as she sat at the bar
and ordered her drink.
Gimlet on the rocks -
I could see the onion in the glass.
She sat with regal stature
and deliberately sipped,
gently caressing the glass
with both hands
as if it were some precious object.
She laughed suddenly
at some joke told by the bartender,
as he leaned into the counter
to be nearer to her.
She set the glass down
and he took it and gave her another.

I lost all sense of time
while mesmerized with her view.
Momentarily I gazed down,
and when I raised my eyes
back to feast once more
on the object of my fantasies
she was gone -
vanished without a trace!
Astonished I came to the bar...
"What happened
to the lady in the green dress?
She was here a second ago."
The bartender gave me a blank stare
and I noticed that the stool
upon which she had sat
was the only one at the counter
with a broken seat -
unusable in its present condition.

Had I dreamed it all
in some alcoholic stupor?
The experience was too vivid -
I could not believe it a fantasy.
I came back every night
for a whole month
but I never saw her again.

I fear whate'er it was
that happened to me
shall ever remain
an unsolved mystery.


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Ma’s Ghost

Her shape stands
at the top of the stairs –
looking down.
Three years dead,
yet she lingers in the house
that remembers her well.
Everything here
is touched by her spirit,
from her favorite chair
to the painting on the wall.
I live a scene
from the “Twilight Zone”
as her presence
passes through the kitchen
on its way to the porch.
There, the old rocking chair
suddenly begins to move
in the wind-still evening.
I tell her she must move on –
the house is sold
and will soon be razed
for a new development.
She smiles, in her old way,
and nods assent.
I was able to claim
the rocking chair
and every so often
it still moves
of its own accord –
and the cats
stay away from it
at those times.


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Green Man Dream #1: Cold Fire

The spirit of the wood
follows my every move
as I traverse the narrow path
through the verdant growth.

With warmth it touches my face
as I pass the exposed stone,
and its cool breath fluffs my hair
but does not move the leaves.

I have come here to commune
with that primal force
that binds the ancient trees
through time immemorable.

The towering Methuselahs
wear the legacy of life
like a green mantle
of honor and long-suffering.

Interspersed along the trail
are dense thickets of undergrowth
and small open glades
where once some forest giant stood.

At last, my destination -
the clearing is a perfect circle
and the rounded conical stone
stands erect at its center.

Imposing, it would be
a sinister black obelisk
were it not for the loose covering
of emerald green moss.

I can almost feel the pulse
of the very Earth itself
as I approach the nexus
convergence of ley lines.

Solemnly I invoke Cernunnos
to do my bidding this day -
I call up the energy of the Maro
to heal our badly wounded land.

A blazing salamander appears -
but its flames are soothing and cool.
I hold it aloft in outstretched arms,
knowing only grace keeps injury at bay.

Its dark eyes glisten like wet coals,
and I scry into their depths
for a sign from the forest patron
or an inkling of developed purpose.

The sky darkens as I concentrate,
until all I can see is the reflection
of the flames in the black mirrors
that draw my attention inward.

I realize the flames surround me
in a great conflagration -
the trees scream as they die
and blistering heat carries away their souls.

Blackened ruin is all that remains -
the forests scorched to gray ash,
the rivers and lakes desiccated,
the seas murky with rotting flesh.

The salamander blinks
and I am transported back to now -
still standing in the clearing
surrounded by life's quiet vigor.

The message is quite clear -
that we live in a fragile film
of living matter clinging to
our planetary orbiting rock.

Man has the power to care for
or destroy that precious resource
and in so doing affect his destiny
to his benefit or detriment.

The land can and must be healed -
but nature's forces are already
at full strength in that effort -
but they are slowly losing ground.

It is up to man to add his will
and intensity of passion
to the ultimate resurrection
of the Garden of Eden.


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(In)Sanity Clause

Twilight gone,
darkness closes in
a cold blanket of fear.
Soon the demons will arise
again to seek prey
and fill their maws
with succulent terror.
Theirs a bloodless lust
the more evil it is
feeding on that frenzied awe
and leaving a wake of despair.
Hope withers
in the face of such
and the soul freezes
in the stark bleakness.
Cowering in the dark
another sleepless night
spent shivering
awaiting dawn.
Finally, the eastern glow
brings peace
and welcome rest.
A few hours stolen
before day's chores must due
and comrades wonder
at the anergy replete.
The cycle continues
broken only by a
drug-induced stupor
as a final resort -
a chemical suicide
that leaves a nattering mass
to join its fellow inmates
in the asylum.


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Inner Child

I looked into the mirror
and saw you
staring out through my eyes.
with that mischievous glint
unable to disguise the pain
and longing.
"Soon..." I promised
yet one more time,
but you have long since
relinquished hope
resigned to the occasional outburst.
"Without you I cannot survive"
I said
and you returned my smile.

(conversations with myself)

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Conversations with myself:
#1, the Age "Thing"

Once I was young and gay -
before that meant anything
besides being happy -
but it didn't last.
Then I finally realized
that nothing does!

Now I'm no longer so young
(How did that happen?)
but I still have periods of being gay -
No - I haven't changed
the meaning of that -
not that it's any of your business!

(So - what's it all about, anyway?)
Lately everything has become
an obsession...
food, sex, poetry...
there aren't enough hours in a day
to fit it all in.
(there's that "sex" thing again -
you sure there's not something
you're not telling me?)

Oh, shut up already!
(Hey! It's a "free" country -
I can say whatever I want!)
I'm just trying to figure this out -
what are these "changes"
I'm going through?
(I'll bet its "male menopause"...
you old fart!
Just "go with the flow"
and enjoy yourself!)


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Conversations with myself:
#2, the Diet

Dammit, I'm hungry!
(Of course you are -
you're on a "diet"... fool!)
Yeah, but they said I shouldn't
feel "deprived"
and I could "eat anything - in moderation".
(Hey - I've got some
"bottom land" in Florida...)

I'm hungry,
and you're pissing me off!
(Oh - now we're "talking back"
to the "inner voice", are we?
what'd you think when you
cut your daily caloric intake
by 75%? And the 8
glasses of water...
talk about "pissing"...)
Ok, ok...
sometimes I just wanna cry.
(Go ahead... I won't tell.)


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Near Lethal Trajectory

Laughter from the next room
thin walls conceal little.
I sit alone on bed's edge
contemplating the end of days.
Gideon rests on the nightstand
next to the loaded .45.
I watch the news one last time
but nothing there inspires me.
I caress the dark steel
cold metal solid reassurance.
Mouth or forehead? I ponder...
in the end choose temple and fire.

That was years ago.
Life has not been easy since.
One-eyed hemiplegics
with steel plates in their skulls
tend to set off the metal detectors
at airports and amusement parks.
The security risk long gone
aftermath lingers on.
Near fatal trajectory
not good enough,
and I don't have the guts
to try it one more time.


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Red Death 2000

The shaman shakes his rattle...
a gourd and seed rhythm
like Mexican maracas...
The sound meant to draw attention
of spirits invading the host...
Wake them, break their concentration
and persuade them with his song
to vacate their chosen abode.

Smoke and feathers...
the heartbeat of the drum
accents the shaman's dance.
He places the small medicine bag
upon the sleeping boy's chest...
it is bright red from the fever
and glistens with sweat
in the flickering firelight.

In the early morning light
the women of the village
will wail the funereal song
as death takes one more child
unto his cold eternal bosom.
The shaman collapses
in an exhausted heap...
to repeat the dance tomorrow.

Smallpox... the red death...
brought by invading Europeans,
along with syphilis and alcoholism
decimated the great Indian nations.
The innocent pay the price
of the conquistador's progress...
as it was then, so it is still...
on an ever greater global scale.

Corporate greed is the new invader,
pollution and environmental decay
the new most deadly diseases...
destroying not only the innocent
but, in the end, the whole planet.
It is not yet too late ~
our own ecology we must master
to prevent this ultimate disaster!


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White Powder

empty rooms
dark corners
ear-splitting silence
my body aches
my mind reels
white powder solace
for such a short while
before the pain takes hold again
and nothing else matters


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Poems 26-50

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Table of Contents (poems 26-50)

Wee Hours
Fringe Existence
Solitary Together

This poem describes a moment of deep introspective depression related to the drowning death of my 18 month old son in 1982.


In the darkness I sit,
sobbing uncontrollably,
My back against the bed,
my knees tight
against my chest.
I rock with each sob,
punctuating the dreadful pain.
I see his naked form,
bobbing on the pool surface
like a rubber toy.
I know he is gone -
nevermore to romp and frolic
in carefree childish joy.
Never again shall I hold him
tightly to my heart
as I now hug my knees.
In the midst of my family
I am alone
and lost.
Grief and memory
are all that remain.
Despair clouds my mind
and I consider ending it -
the truth is unbearable.
But something stays my hand,
and now, after twenty years,
the pain no longer stabs
quite so sharply.
At long last it is time
to let this aged scar
rest upon my soul.
I must forge ahead
towards life!
Too long ignored,
too many others hurt
in the process.
I must heal myself
before I can heal
my family.

he never called me

by Heinzs

Return to Table of Contents (poems 26-50)


Ensconced once again
safely behind glass
peering from my cage
bereft of longing
I’m numb and resigned.

Riding on fate’s wings
buffeted by wind
hanging on for life
as it slips on by
I shed silent tears.

Always observing
knee jerk responses
finding it senseless
but do it again
from force of habit.

I cry with the pain
in depths of despair
yet I hold the keys
to my own shackles
but fear to use them.

No way to escape
without that first step
but few have the guts
to take that blind leap
into the unknown.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 26-50)


It's always the wings
beating at the air
feathers struggling for lift
or just to fend off a tooth...
but the jaws cannot be escaped
and it ever ends so...
a lifeless toy on the doorstep.

My soul fares thus,
fluttering prey
held captive by a predatory whim...
desperate for freedom
but destined to lie limp
in a pool of my own blood.

I am a gift, a token -
just something
the cat dragged in...


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Wee Hours

Still awake
senses on edge
trying to relax enough
to drop off into sleep
hours past retiring
and only a few to go
before morning's ritual
once more demands attendance.
Eyes stare into the dark
as visions trick
perception's grasp on reality.

of a quieter, more subtle sort
set in -
still attention grabbers
without the adrenalin rush.
It's obvious now
that sleep is a lost cause.
So is 3 a.m. T.V.
Even the all night weather channel
isn't boring enough
to induce slumber.

The walls begin to whisper,
sharing secrets with each other.
Turning the lights on
doesn't silence them
or quell the shadows
flitting from one to another.
Can't quite make out the words,
but now it's an obsession.
Ear against the wallpaper -
paranoia is a great motivator
for self destruction.

The gun,
the razor,
the pills...
the voices seem to know it all,
like they've been there
the whole time
in the darkest corners of my soul.
The alarm goes off -
the rest of this day
isn't going to be much fun.


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Fringe Existence

I have spent my life
not a part
of the "inner circle".
Even here,
where I feel most at home,
I make only brief incursions
into the mainstream melee
but spend most of my time
on the outer fringes
like a detached observer.
I have embraced
my kindred souls
and in that touching
made many friends -
some closer
than any personally met,
or even relatives.
Yet I find myself
perpetually on the outer spiral
of life's galaxy -
like a comet -
blazing bright when near the sun
but coldly invisible
the greater part of time.
No matter how much
or how often
I am validated
I fear I am destined
ever to feel alone
amid a teeming populace.
I am a denizen of the darkness
inexorably drawn to the light
yet I lurk
in the relative safety
of the circumscribing shadows.
I weary of this sameness,
as comforting as it has become,
and long for that spark of passion
that is my birthright.
I will become Tristan
or Arthur
and will find my bliss
as I plunge headlong
into the blazing sun.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 26-50)


The glass reflects
both ways.
See the image presented
and fear to search its depths
for the underlying truth
known to be there.
The eyes try to speak
so glance away
concentrating instead
on that mole
or wayward whisker.
Breath fogs the glass,
at once reassuring
and annoying.
Furtive shadows
flit in the corners,
always just out of eyeshot -
the signal that it's time
to leave the mirror
and return to the outer world
before falling in


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Solitary Together

Alone in a room full of people,
observing from behind spectacles,
two worlds meet at this location
separated only by my mind.

Thought and feeling on one side
of the intangible barrier,
word and action on the other,
each groping to touch across the void.

Scattered through space, the isolated souls
stagnate in their solitude -
rarely does one encounter another
and rarer still should they connect.

The teeming billions jostle,
struggling for a spot in the sunlight;
validation of individual worth;
seeking the meaning of humanity.

And yet in another dimension -
the electromagnetic cyberworld -
amid flashes of brilliant genius
the solitary are united in spirit.

Here, removed from physical reality,
the void becomes tissue-thin
and the eager minds commune
in an ecstatic feeding frenzy.

In poetry and dialogue they join
as friends continents apart.
In a world of greed and demagogues
they express true freedom and love.

I, too, am among the solitary
inhabitants of this space,
this electronic refuge.
I am at home and not alone.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 26-50)


The dark, steel-cold fingers
once again grip my heart -
palpitating - like a captive bird.
The pain infuses me
with a sinister familiarity
I would sooner avoid,
but it is clear, as always,
that it will not be ignored.

My mind clouds and I tremble,
not knowing the source
of this current attack -
though life's cumulative flotsam
may be a contributing factor.

I walk between dark pillars -
the path strewn with rotting corpses
and o'ershadowed by despair.
Fear is the greatest of evils,
striking at all with disregard.

Where is the inner light -
that spark kindled at birth?
At times its glow seems quite dim -
it flickers and threatens
to extinguish altogether
as the pervasive darkness looms
ever nearer the spirit's core.

As desperate as things may seem,
as long as breath flows
then hope, too, may still
rear its gentle head
and fan the waning ember
into a recognizable flame.

Even in the depth of evil's grasp
the light may shine
with a beacon's strength -
driving back the darkness
that obscures the soul's path.

Lock your sights on that ray
and ever follow where it may lead,
though dark and tortuous the trail,
for such is the spirit's journey -
may hope ever be the guide.


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Poems 51-75
(The Lighter Side)

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Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog

Warm companion
at my side
unbridled trust
He woofs gently
in his dream
chasing some toy
or a wayward cat.
I move slightly
and a brown eye watches
suddenly alert.
Not so deep in slumber
after all.
He catches my furtive glance
toward the waiting door
and is already there
by the time I have leash in hand.
He wags assent
and we're off
exploring the sidewalk's edge
and every blade of grass
along the way.
His animal magnetism,
greater than mine at 54,
draws the fair ones to him.
In droves they stoop
or squat to pet his hairy head.
"Nice puppy! He's soooo cute!"
I'd wag my tail, too
and loll my tongue
to get a touch.
Home again, sated -
full of admiration
and eye candy...
can hardly wait until summer's
shorts and halter tops.
It's a dog's life,
after all.


Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

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Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Table of Contents (poems 51-75)

Poems 76-100
(Adult Themes)

Poems 76-100
(Adult Themes)

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Table of Contents (poems 76-100)

Macular Degeneration
The Big "O"


nothing stirred
I felt I was on my back
a soft cushioning pressure
not unpleasant
the warm air
gently caressed me
my limbs heavy
I could not move them
yet felt no restraints
suddenly a fleeting touch
then again nothing
There! A hand on my thigh -
I could feel the fingers
touching - almost touching
lightly, featherlike
... gone
another touch on my torso
joined by a second
a third
caressing the line from rib to hips
I could feel my back arch
in reflex response
my breath gasping
... they must be lips
soft, moist
on my hips, my thigh,
my breast, my navel
I wanted to cry out
but could not
again multiple soft,
electrifying touches
my being engorged
pulsating heat
the flurry of sensation
a crescendo assault
on my tactile sense
I could bear it no longer
but gave in
to total release
as I drifted into unconsciousness

I awoke as usual
to the morning alarm
my sheets and pillow
rumpled and damp
I stumbled to the mirror
bleary eyed and wan
with a self-satisfied grin
looking forward
to the coming night.


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)



a touch along my side
gentle, electric
every muscle tries to twitch
anticipating the next
the journey of fingers
against bare skin
breath gasps
heart flutters
I feel your weight upon my chest
nipple to nipple
my thighs quiver
your moist warmth engulfs me
‘till I am lost
waiting to come again


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)

Macular Degeneration (a love story)

Slowly thickening fog,
the veil obscures sight.
Camera iris closing,
field of vision ever smaller,
darkness becomes my way of life.
While I can still distinguish
light from dark -
night from day -
I strive to experience
the full optical potential
Soon enough my memories
will have to suffice
as I grope my way through space
and waken other senses to the task.
The final sunset -
the most beautiful sight -
will stay in my mind's eye
until my dying day.

My lover's gentle smile
I carefully store away,
and glory in the sense of touch.
Skin on skin -
fingers exploring your exquisite form -
creating a mental image -
a delicious sculpture.
You do not seem to mind my touch.
You giggle as my roving fingers
locate a ticklish spot.
I tease you with my caress
and I feel your form tense
and heave with passion.
Now I, too, am aroused
and determined to continue
with my willing partner.

My lips find yours in a deep kiss
and then travel their way softly
down your cheek and neck.
Your shoulders, smooth and round,
are their next target
and my tongue revels
in titillating your nipples.
Breathing heavily
you moan with pleasure.
You tense as I kiss your navel
and I can feel your eagerness
and urgency.
I do not torture you any longer
but come directly to the point.
My lips take over
for my caressing fingers
and my tongue tastes avidly
of your love juices.

Tomorrow I will return
to my world of dark.
Tonight I need no sight
to ignite love's spark.


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)

The big 'O' (Adult theme)

Where passion abounds
Hearts in unison sing songs
Reveling in love

Lovers duets sing
Feeling mutual heartstrings
Plucking every note

Emotions soar high
Lust adds steaming heat to all
Music crescendoes

Bodies intertwine
Lost in sweet embrace

Orgasmic shudders
Peacefully recline again
In each other's arms


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


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Table of Contents (poems 76-100)


Table of Contents (poems 76-100)

Poems 101-125
(Strange Tales - part 2)

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Poems 126-150

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Table of Contents (poems 126-150)

Out of the Bottle
Making of a Martyr
Cycle of Life
Blessed Be
Silent Gulls
Quo Vadis?
Mornings after
Passion's Song
One Nation
Ramble Jamble
Chasing Tomorrow
Smoke and Mirrors
Out of Sync
Word Painting
Gently Savage
Fringe Lunatic
Autumnal Equinox
It's a Gamble

Out of the Bottle

The tempest brews
Sometimes contained within my mind
Ofttimes escaped and ranging free.
How it will play itself out
None may fortell.
I stride forward
Yet each step I take is deeply scrutinized
Rationalized, hybridized, analyzed
'Till I no longer know whether it was taken
Or only dreamt.

Hamlet speaks to himself or a ghost
While fair Ophelia drowns in her own sorrows
Or are they indeed hers alone?
The tragedy lies therein
For all the world being a play
And we but puppets
Dancing for some unseen audience's amusement.
Crickets in a jar practising cannibalism for survival
Death not an end but a constant presence
Feeding renewed vitality.

It is time to reach up and take hold
Pull mightily upon the puppetstrings
And sunder that stranglehold they represent.
Stand upon each other's shoulders
While life yet flows in our collective veins
And climb out of the geni's bottle.
The world awaits to be discovered anew
And in that awakening to be rebuilt.
We have that capacity, man
To make ourselves the best we can.


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Who shall be my brothers’ keeper?
Maintain trust and harm none
... ideas expunged from today’s lexicon
replaced by self service, profit and greed.
Govern the nation
by and for the corporation.
In this plasma of souls
all are swayed by the one
who controls magnet and switch.
Uncercurrents constantly stalled –
diverted, mislead –quashed.
Truth a rare commodity
obscured at every turn.
The bell tolls
a daily knell heard
on the 6:00 news.


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Making of a Martyr

Zion has struck
and the evil feeble old man
joins his wheelchair fragments –
destined now to everlasting life
in joyful martyrdom.

Peace steps back once more
and the abyss widens
as more territory plunges
over the brink.

Targets fall and others
take their place
for terror reigns supreme
and Mammon prospers.

Humanity is sold and bartered
in the cloisters of power,
and the unwitting continue to slave
to pay for yesterday’s bread.


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Cycle of Life

We work today
to pay for yesterday
while tomorrow
is already spent.


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Blessed Be

the paschal season is upon us
when children bedizen hard-boiled eggs
and the seven-armed menorah stands ready.

Remembering Pilate's denunciation
and the shenanigans of Judas
that initiated the new order...
got the ball rolling...
got my mojo working.
To me it's as pearls before swine.

I've been told "Keep your nose to the grindstone"...
but my Pastor didn't have the answers.
"Don't change horses in midstream!"
But I left the Church anyway...
found Nature...
the Wiccan Rede.

I still color the eggs
and light the menorah
and shed a tear for the man on the cross
and the multitude at his feet.

If it harm none,
then do as you will...
"Blessed be!" is my message for April.


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Silent Gulls

Daylight through glass
mixes with neon’s rays
to brighten the filtered air.
Soft, invisible breeze
moves leaves and fronds
but cannot caress
my sequestered face.
Yearning for simplicity
and past innocence
time’s burden gains weight
bowing shoulders even more.

Gentle waves reach out
to touch my flesh
rinsing away grains of sand
not sticky enough to resist.
The wonder of blue vastness
thunders between gulls’ cries
warm and cool at the same time.
The red speck tethered
to the long end of the string
responds to tugging
with graceful dips and swirls.
On the blanket, skin browns
where brastraps would meet –
temporarily cast aside
for the solar massage.

Reverie breaks –
"Code blue! Code blue!"
The turmoil of bustle
reaffirms its control,
rushing to a bedside
of frenzied activity –
an effort to prolong life
of one resigned to fate.
"D.N.R." I say to the attending,
and the chaos subsides.
Your peaceful smile is the reward,
reflecting that long-ago sun
as your eyes darken
to mimic that sea.
The breath of your passing
cools my moist cheek
and I can almost hear
the crying of the gulls.


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Quo Vadis?

Where are you going
in such a hurry
to get through life?
The rose awaits your nose
and the sunset wears
her finest garb
to please your eyes.
Children’s laughter
strives to assail your ears
and the gentle vernal zephyr
caresses the down of your cheek.
A lover’s lips
make way for your tongue
as all your senses cry out
for the taste of passion.
Eat heartily of the fruit
and bide a while in gentle bliss
for only the moment exists
in the temporal maelstrom.
The vortex will claim all in the end
so grasp joy now as you draw breath
hold it tightly to your breast
and allow the sensations
to course through your being.


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Mornings after

In the light of day
it all seems surreal
belief dwindles into apathy
as the images fade
yet the terror remains
just beneath the surface
to be re-awakened to full force
at the drop of an eyelid
or a passing shadow.
It will not be denied
collecting its dues
in sleeplessness
and mournful sorrow.
Madrid weeps
and commerce plods on
its juggernaut course
worshipping the Euro
as the last drops of blood
recede beneath the rails.
Innocents lost
perdition’s henchmen lead
at either extreme –
reaffirming the chaos
of status quo.


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Passion's Song (a villanelle)

Love's labors passion's song sustain
Notes both clear and charmingly sweet
The clarity enhances the refrain

Music that warms my heart's depths again
You lay in supplication at my feet
Love's labors passion's song sustain

In emotion's grasp my tears like rain
The sweet notes with moisture greet
The clarity enhances the refrain

With fumbling embrace I seek to maintain
The chords where our two verses meet
Love's labors passion's song sustain

Harmonious we merge in twain
Our chorus tunefully repeat
The clarity enhances the refrain

And thus we sing the last quatrain
Our souls writhing with one heartbeat
Love's labors passion's song sustain
The clarity enhances the refrain


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One Nation

The economy shudders...
taking colateral damage
from each MOAB dropped
and every body bag brought home.
The sons and daughters
will not know them
but through mothers' tears.
Each generation culls its young -
the cream, skimmed on foreign turf,
forever lost and mourned.
America's spacious skies
look down on white cross seas.
It seems a constant stream
of blood must flow
this nation to endure.
So now it bleeds again
as mortar shells and rockets fall
on distant marbled halls.
In a media-induced panic
stores are stripped of stock -
duct tape becomes precious and rare
and the land of the free
becomes a self-imposed
patriot act prison.
The brave sit glued
as the fireworks light up
the Baghdad sky.
No one speaks for the Iraqi child
caught in the crossfire
where Jihad meets Crusade
on the sandy fields of oil.


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Ramble Jamble

nothing is a leadpipe cinch
ego blasting fairy tale success story.
come down from your cloud nine pedestal
better than thou in your face attitude.
get with the in the dirt humdrum
feet on the ground work a day reality.
life sucks and then you die.


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Chasing Tomorrow

Will it ever come,
that legendary tomorrow
so fervently spoken of
Doomed to repeat history
generation after generation
--perhaps because
we venerate it so --
bygone days blend
nauseatingly nostalgic
into the elusive present.
Technology alone advances
while humanity recedes
into the new dark age.


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Sliding into the shadow,
the shining disc darkens
until all that remains
is the faint glow of red
long waves surviving the journey
through the atmosphere.
The even darker maria
are still visible
leaving Lady Luna's visage
At last
the bright crescent unfolds
like a peony opening at dawn
until once more she shines
down full upon her sister.


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Smoke and Mirrors

Media blitz
homeland insecurity
it's a smoke and mirrors
abracadabra conspiracy.
Can't believe what you hear,
can't believe what you see -
what's left?
Sift through the daily barrage
pick and choose
beware the slight-of-hand
In plain sight
with a straight face
they steal dignity
and boldly lie -
convincing with fervor and fear -
a means to their own ends.


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A comely lass
the maiden smiles
the angle of her cheek
reflects dawn's glow.
Memories bring feelings fore
that I had long sublimated.
My fingers long to caress
the shapely chin
and linger
in the coppertone locks
that flow
to the nape of her neck.
But time's intervention
has long since left its mark.
Fifty years ago, maybe...
but not now.
I return her smile
as she fluffs the pillow
and places the remote
within easy reach
next to the call button.


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Thoughts and feelings
Hopes and fears
Anguish and pain
All painted in words
To share
With other hearts.

Love and madness
Sorrow and joy
Souls merge on the page
And for a brief moment
Become as one
Then go their separate ways.


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Out of Sync

Godzilla has taken down
the high tension lines.
Flames flare,
sirens scream...
the dubbed dialog fails to match
word with action.
Too bad I can't lip-read Japanese.
But then, what's the point?
The rockets will fly,
the bombs will fall
and the monster will be vanquished
but not understood.
Next week they'll resurrect him
and do it all over again.


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Word Painting

Images in colors
reader defined,
the poet's brushstrokes,
black on white,
paint a rainbow-hued
portrait in words.

Threads of emotion
warp through the tapestry
as the bard weaves
with substance and song
the story of man's plight.

Painting with words,
weaving thought
with rhythm and rhyme,
the arts condense
and distill into one
brief experience
on a page.


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Gently Savage
(a sonnet)

What is the nature of the savage beast
that sways the heart and mind to emulate
the spirit wild attracted to the feast
and gentle soul to tempt the hand of fate?

A life of dull and civil attitude
becomes us not - adventure do we seek!
A respite from the quiet interlude
to redefine ourselves other than meek.

A spark of rage or touch of abject fear
does wonders for the blood lest it stagnate -
the roller-coaster ride does make it clear
that never should enjoyment be too late.

So seek the joy, the heart's contented peace,
and strive to gain the inner child's release.


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Fringe Lunatic

Spread my brain
with a butter knife
on dark rye.
Moonlight glistens on steel
hidden among the trees -
snipe hunting in reverse.
Napalm exfoliation -
lifelong painfully scarred
and crippled.
Paraded like some prize
on the evening news.
Legless, armless, necklace
of kerosene-soaked rags -
the images invade serenity.
How now the corporate mandate -
manifest destiny.
Bhopal's toxic gas
in the valley of death.
Petroleum on water -
staining tundra's snow.
Infant formula
to replace nature's own -
chemical dependency.
On the fringe -
lunatic as it may seem -
it is the only sanity.
World gone mad…
so make lemonade.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)

Autumnal Equinox

Summer wanes
leaving a final impression
with its hottest days.
One last glorious excursion
into triple-digit Fahrenheit
and panting dog-like for relief.

This time around
the moon will still be full -
a rare coincidence
of monthly lunar opposition
on the solar cycle.

Perhaps the added gravitation
affects the social mood,
or the anticipation
of climatic change.
The electricity runs high -
almost tangible; invigorating.

I feel at peace
within the chaotic turmoil
having found a quiet
personal backwater eddy
in the daily maelstrom's
ravenous vortex.

All about me the flotsam swirls -
relics of shattered lives
and terror's victims -
but within me
calm has taken root
and reigns... for the moment.

The sweetest summer fruit
melts deliciously
on my eager palate
as I judiciously avoid
the bitter or rotting flesh
that is my usual fare.

I have long hoped for such a time -
an eon's struggle
through the valley of death -
at last climbing up
from the dark depths of depression
to the welcoming light of day.

I can only strive
to make the moment last
ere I once again succumb
to the relentless abyss.
Perhaps, just perhaps,
it is not inevitable.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)

(a sonnet)

Resplendent in a garb of white so pure
I almost envy death's becoming grace.
If only I could be ever so sure
no evil lurks behind the smiling face.

The visage beckons softly to my soul
and I am drawn relentless to my fate,
two coins I carry for to pay my toll
across the river to the pearly gate.

The guardian stands unmoved by my plight
and checks his book against the ferry's list.
A howl of sorrow echoes through the night
and I once more am standing in the mist.

It seems my time to die has not yet come -
a chance to make my life a better sum.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)

It's a Gamble

Eagerly I play life's lottery -
hoping against hope
that my number will be drawn
and effortless fortune rain down.

We are dealt all our cards at birth
but play each day with a new hand.
The odds, though, are with the house
and the deck is marked and stacked.

We must take our chances
in the great crapshoot
and risk the roll of the dice
to make our destined progress.

Fate is a fickle mistress -
enticing with her sweet virtues
but vindictively vengeful
and unforgiving in retribution.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)


August past -
twelve months -
anniversary of my rebirth.
Learning to crawl,
walk, run - anew.

An unaccustomed lightness
invests my stride
even though dark feelings
continue to surge
within my soul.

I have learned to cope with them -
let them bounce around
in their dark dungeon
while I, free,
dance on the midday grass.

Often I fall into the deep pits
that pockmark this landscape,
but I carry my silver ladder
and my lantern
and refuse to be imprisoned.

As long as I breathe
and cling to hope
I will climb out of the abyss
to thrive in the glow
of my renewed spirit.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)


staring straight ahead
neither right nor left

didn't see the cat
didn't see the roses
didn't see the woman
standing stately at the ATM
didn't look

life seems bleak
didn't see the children playing
didn't care

the varied texture of life
must be felt
the exquisite flavors
must be tasted
and experienced

self-doomed to ignorance
through apathy
awaken to life
and participate
or remain oblivious


Return to Table of Contents (poems 126-150)

Poems 151-175

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Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Pathetic Excursion in Pentameter
The Curmudgeon Speaks
The Word
Time Bomb
Poetic Portent
Molecular Overload
Cold Shoulder
The Muse Strikes
Invoking the Muse
Anima Mundi
Of Longing
Independence Day
Spring Equinox
Dungeons and Dragons
Never-ending Battle
Memorial Day, 2002


The sound of mortar shells
barely invades my consciousness.
I walk the trench
on morning patrol,
stepping over the corpses
of last night's unfortunates.
Tracers zip by overhead
like annoying fireflies.
My mind is blank -
an untuned instrument
waiting for the maestro's touch
to turn the slack strings
into objects of creativity.

Here's the upper half of Harold -
we went to school together...
millennia ago.
A mine or a grenade -
nasty handiwork.
I should write his mum tonight -
he won't mind me taking his fags.

Another siren - mustard gas again.
I look and feel like
an alien from Mars
in my heavy bug-eyed mask.
Jerry's really on the offensive
this morning - Christmas Eve -
by the Sergeant's calendar...
Christmas in Hell by mine.

I'm holding on by sheer will alone -
blanking out the world around me,
for if I should
acknowledge its reality
I would be mad...
maybe I already am.

"In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row."

After evening mess
a deathly stillness falls.
We all look about in anticipation -
waiting for the "big one" to go off.
... nothing.
From across the blackened field,
like wisps of smoke
through the barbed wire spirals,
a snatch of song... music!

"Stille nacht, heilige nacht..."
so out of place in the Devil's kitchen.
As a man the platoon chimes in -
"All is calm, all is bright..."

I cannot hold back the tears any longer
but add their moisture
to Harold's bloody scarf.
Sobbing, I wrack with the pain.
Is this that single shred of hope
that manifests true humanity?
Then the artillery starts up again,
and I return to my mindless state -
concentrating only on survival.

Thirty years later the shells
once again would fly
and blast the flowers
with fire from the sky -
but they would grow again,
keeping their secret eternal.
Silently the poppies
turn their heads toward the sun,
as they will when man's time
on Earth at last is done.


Quote from:
"In Flanders Fields", by John McCree, 1915

Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Pathetic Excursion in Pentameter

Gray is the color
of my true love's hair.
Brown are her bright eyes,
and her skin quite fair.

Crimsom are the lips
I long so to kiss -
through time and distance
their joys I do miss.

Lonely my feelings -
my thoughts ever blue,
for I don't know how
to speak my love true.

Shall I forever
these longings endure
or can I at last
your loving ensure?

My mind is a blank
and my heart, bleeding,
for without your love
joy is receding.

Lift up my spirit,
let life take its toll -
the virtues of love
I'll always extol.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

The Curmudgeon Speaks

I'll see you on our way to hell -
let's grab a cuppa java
and we'll sit and chat a spell.

There's nothin' goin' on but razzmatazz -
just some hoopla and crapola
disguised as honest jazz.

Been there, done that - so what?
There's nothing new within this shit
for which I give a swat.

"Life sucks - and then you die."
I've heard it all before,
so let's just live this blatant lie.

The rich stay rich, the poor stay poor -
there's no way in or out
while someone else guards the door.

So… what's the point of staying
on the "straight and narrow" -
what is this game we're playing?

We seem naught but blind fools
stumbling along in blithe disregard -
unable to fathom the unwritten rules.

Pay the fiddler and innkeeper
if you wish to dance and drink your health…
all will be reconciled by the reaper.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

The Word
(a call to arms)

If science and reason
be the mind of man,
then poetry is
the heart and soul.

The body's frail flesh
survives nine decades at best,
yet we still read Homer
and Plato who predecede Christ.

True power is in the Word
and intangible concepts
that survive with life their own
the many human holocausts.

The ages and eons past
weigh heavily on the spirit,
while those without vision
wage bloody war in its name.

Poets unite! Arise!
Take on society's reins
and stop the headlong charge
into chaotic oblivion.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Time Bomb

Poised on the last second
before destruction
the count-down timer blinks
a sinister 1:, 1:, 1:...

How can we reverse the clock
or, better yet,
dismantle the bomb
while the ticking is paused?

We've been rushing blindly, headlong
into the seeming
of Armageddon.

We're reminded daily
of life's frail nature
and our impending,
approaching mortality.

But time has not yet run out,
and hope stirs strongly
though overwhelmingly beseiged
by despair's dark minions.

Each of us has little power
beyond word and action's limits,
yet combined as a unified front
that strength becomes a force of reckoning.

So, the big question
remains to be answered -
which wire shall we cut -
red or green?


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Poetic Portent

Blood moon and blood-red sun
in the hazy evening sky -
the mists of destruction
lending pigment to the palette
as darkness ever encroaches
on the quick-receding light.

The end of days is nigh,
as oft o'erprophesied,
but the harbingers and seers
have failed to fully realize
the depths of chaos's gullet
into which the light must fall.

Take up the bloody crown of thorns
and follow them that went before
through the Devil's open gate
to lead the blind along the path
between the pillars of fire and ice
along the raging river of tears.

The landscape may seem bleak
and featureless - unformed -
yet it throbs with the lifeblood
of a universe as yet unborn -
waiting only for the spark of spirit
carried deep within every soul.

The time has passed -
the sleeper must awake
lest chaos reign supreme
and order be forever rent -
the fabric of the firmament
awaits the weaver's healing touch.

We are the sleeper,
we are the weaver,
we are the leaders
and we are the blind to be led -
ours is the spark of spirit
that will bring the universe to life.

The poets' tears and words will rage
and bring about the golden age,
for in our hearts the spirit pure
through Armageddon will endure.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Molecular Overload
(a message to my son)

THC, amphetamine, LSD,
psilocidin, nicotine, alcohol,
the list grows ever longer -
chemical dependance,
despite abject denial,
is an indisputable truth.

Years washed away -
for yourself as well -
the family shattered
by the addictive panoply
of abused substances
you so readily embrace.

Self-delusion supercedes
any presentation of fact -
you refuse to see or hear
anything but what you will,
and that skews perception
of stark, simple reality.

The "bottom" looms ever closer,
and you will hit hard -
there is no cushioning
this final fall...
you have used up
your last "second chance".

The potential remains unexplored,
stifled by vapid disregard,
and at some (rapidly approaching) point
all remaining support stays
will be eroded away
by your own vacuous dry rot.

Call it another relapse,
if you wish,
but this willful self-destruction
is simply another step
in the ongoing ritual
of denial and abuse.

The power is (and always has been) yours
to rebuild and rectify
this crumbling edifice
and make of your life
that productive (and rewarding) experience
you so richly deserve.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Cold Shoulder

"What's wrong?"
A scowl is my answer,
and thumping around the room.
The silent treatment -
body language says it all.

Even after all these years
whatever I do is faulty.
For a long time I retreated
from the pain of disapproval
by doing nothing.

I have reaped the bitter harvest
of that flawed strategy,
for it accomplished
exactly nothing -
to well-deserved criticism.

That was then.
I've learned something
these last few years -
I don't need approval,
and I can't do nothing.

So from now on
I'm going to do the best I can
with or without an ok,
and it will be fine
because it is something.

I must first validate myself
before I can expect
or even hope for
that elusive external affirmation
I once thought I needed.

I can survive the cold shoulder,
but, gee, it would be nice
every once in a while -
or even just once -
to get a hearty pat on the back.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)


what is the measure
of a man?

these are what make him
who he is.

time to stop looking
at the face
or stature -
only character
can be judged.

in the end
the Final Arbiter
will make the decision -
salvation must be earned,
it cannot be bought.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

The Muse Strikes

When the muse strikes
she hits hard -
between the eyes -
in the ribs -
pain goads the words
and coerces them onto paper
where they flow like inky tears
and streaks of reason.

When the muse strikes
the world comes to a standstill -
trash piles up
and clogs the back alleys
and the market's shelves are bare.
Ideas stagnate and fester
and the poet seethes his rage,
unable to express himself.

So sign the contract already
and give her that 25-cent raise!
Better she should strike
than go out on strike.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Invoking the Muse

Each morning, once again awake,
my pen to paper's blankness take --
invoke the poet's muse to write
the clear thoughts of the passing night.
What subject shall it be today?
The flight of birds? A child at play?
Some days the muse's echoes dark
recesses of the soul does spark.
Other times it sings with laughter
or ponders on the ever after.
Each day a psalm to paper set
before the inspired thoughts forget.
With couplets rhyming, or blank verse,
the words flow forth and then disperse.
Where they come from, where they go,
I am sure I do not know.
To write the words I can't refuse...
what poet could deny his muse?

An audience these verses seek,
so come on in and take a peek!


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)


A day like others –
endless cycle…
yet still unique.
Isn’t every day

They do seem
to run together
like one contiguous
roll of film –
the images blending,
by virtue of their passage,
into a single animation.

Highlights remain,
to be etched
in long-term memory
for future reference,
like yesterday,
and the day before that…
it is all one
in the end.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Anima Mundi

The ever-present force
permeates each layer,
each realm of existence.
The very stones carry it
and it is particularly strong
in the sea's dark depths.
The sphere of life -
that thin organic film -
vigorously expresses it.
It is the spirit of the world -
the soul, the life-force -
anima mundi.

Strong and powerful,
yet remarkably fragile,
the energy ebbs and flows.
For every high point
a corresponding low
in ever-repeating cycles.
Explosive fecund divergence
balanced by mass extinction -
life and death in global fashion.
Bacteria, plants, fish, reptiles -
each has had its golden age -
how much longer do we mammals have?

In geologic time
our reign is short,
but ours is a unique case.
We alter the earth's face -
change the course of rivers
and make deserts of lush forests.
We transport and transplant species
and modify them to our will
so neither they nor we can survive alone.
Have we harnessed the spirit
and thereby lost touch with it,
or are we yet at its deep bidding?

We are one small part
of this planetary rock -
a blemish in space and time.
The universe will hardly mark
our passage through its bounds,
and fewer yet will read this little rhyme.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Of Longing

The soft, clear light of harvest moon does shine
and shimmer brightly on the sleeping sea -
a moment brief in universal time
yet long it seems as wrapped in my ennui.

My reverie is broke by dawn's ascent -
the shadows chased by sun's revealing rays -
the light is cast upon the firmament
so now as ever through eternal days.

Yet once again the daily grind I take -
routine the master, I, its willing slave,
adventure not, for every chance does make
an option for our wayward souls to save.

So briefly put the wand'ring heart to rest
till once again its freedom we would test.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Independence Day

“The rockets’ red glare,
the bombs bursting in air…”
Born of war, glorified,
what other way could we know?
When global conflict’s not enough,
we bring the battles home
to fight amongst ourselves.
Living by the gun
as the nation was created –
was there ever more
than a decade of peace?

So once again commemorate
our violent birth
with skyrockets
and explosions
and the Boston Pops
“1812 Overture” cannonade.
How patriotic it is
to glorify war
and shed bitter tears
for the fallen heroes –
mothers’ sons all.
Tombstones their legacy
in this world
without peace.

So I, too, unfurl my flag –
forever may it wave,
and may we someday
truly be free.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Spring Equinox

Moving in circles,
plummeting through space,
all the while spinning on an axis,
the Earth marks the seasons
on the universe's clock.
Millennia pass,
and the great stones of the henge
still stand - the Druids' calendar.
Spring comes again,
the time of verdant renewal,
bringing to an end
the bitter winter cold.
Blooms festoon bare trees
and birdsong fills the air.

As it was, so shall it ever be -
springtime beckons to you and me.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)


I look upon his form
in white marbled purity...
his blemish-free visage
and softness of line.
The ease of his stance
arouses strange thoughts
and feelings I do not understand.
Each line, each muscle
defined in his smooth, cold skin.
His hands, regal, angled just so.
Shoulders round, abdomen tensed,
thighs long and supple.
This ideal, this übermensch
I have no hope of emulating.
My own paltry attributes
must always be found wanting
in his shadow.
And yet, I can dream,
and in my private fantasy
I become one with the ancient stone
and for that brief moment
I, too, achieve perfection.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Dungeons and Dragons

Imagination draws us
to realms of fantasy -
where dragons fly
and heroes fight
the noble battle.
Good versus evil -
the outcome not always clear.

Our own mundane existence
so dulls our senses
escape from this dreary reality
pervades consciousness.
At every opportunity
we tune out -
to join the paladin's quest.

Books and film
and electronic media
reflect our hearts' yearnings.
Fantasy and reality
collide daily
on the small screen
to which our umbilici are attached.

Visually and aurally
we plug in our senses
and become an audience,
or a role-playing character
in some action-packed game.
For some desperate souls
this borders on obsession.

I, too, an inexorably drawn
into the dungeonmasters' world.
Life's stresses fade away
in the glorious heat of battle.
Elf versus orc,
dice versus dice -
the element of chance brings excitement.

In this ethereal world
of non-existence
the mind can play
and vicariously live the dream.
Back in Mundania
the bills are due
and the faucet leaks.

For a brief time
I wear mithril plate
and win the hand of fair maiden.
My honor is served
in pools of demons' blood
and my accumulated experience
brings me to the next level.

Then, once again, I return
to the daily grind.
Ride the commuter bus,
work nine to five
to pay the bills.
Baby needs new shoes
and mama a new dress.

Without the break of fantasy
life would seem so bleak.
We survive the daily stresses
that make our mundane week,
for Friday will come at last -
when once again we'll seek
the gold within the dungeon keep.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Never-ending Battle
(a history of America 1776-2002)

Darkness and black clouds -
storm's portent -
whyfor this day
above any other?
Call forth militia's throng -
the salty tea steeps
while tempest brews.
Silversmith rides
to hearken all
the lantern's message
and the musket's ball.
Set the wheels in motion -
Liberty doth peal
the nascent Nation
as it draws first breath.
Life and joy pursue
and declare by preamble
conscious intent -
unaware that four score
and seven hence
the test of faith would come again.
Brother against brother,
the nation torn asunder
leaving permanent scars
visible yet today.
The dark time rolls on
in shades of blue and grey
or black and white.
The quiet space short,
in global conflict
join the fray.
Not just once, but twice,
ending in a nanosecond heartbeat
as the man-made suns
sear the emperor's domain.
A multiplicity of holocausts
the innocent endure
while Ares' madness
feeds on their burning flesh.
Not done yet?
Again to the orient with fire
while ice rules the western front.
Stalemate between the tricky one
and the sound of one shoe clapping.
So on and so forth -
our Bas-mizvah'd protege has learned
to emulate us well
and carries genocide
to her unhappy neighbors.
At last, the millennium -
harbinger of doom
or enlightenment?
Perhaps both...
but only time will tell.
Once more pricked at home,
swift vengeance carries
to the enemy overseas.
So the nation mourns again
while only the scope changes
with each generation.
The centuries march by;
18th - fighting off the yoke of tyranny;
19th - the bloody internal strife;
20th - twice global seeming endless battle;
21st - just barely begun
with internecine turmoil.
Are we doomed
in this land that so loves peace
to constant war
and struggle without cease?


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)


I am obsessed
with time and its passing.
The relationship of dream
to mundane reality
consumes me.
The ephemeral nature of existence
torments my waking thoughts
while a dark omnipresence
populates my nightmares.
The creative muse
exudes her fertile perfume
and I am intoxicated
and at her mercy.
What force drives this
rampant preoccupation?
I find my energies drained,
my strength sapped -
I have difficulty coping
with the day-to-day.
I envision a tropical paradise -
warm surf, white sand,
and the sounds of nature
instead of "easy listening" muzak.
Would that I could take a refreshing pause
from this rat race -
escape into a simpler world
for even a short while.
Absent this possibility,
I must make my own alternative.
Starkly clear, the dream cannot be -
so I must cultivate paradise within me.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)


I have seen the face of God.
I wasn't looking for it.
It just suddenly appeared
and winked at me.
Oh, I know it was His face.
He smiled at me from a cloud
framed in sunset gold.
He stared out from the twinkle
in the baby's eyes.
His breath cooled me
on a warm summer's day.
His visage is everywhere -
you just have to see it.


Return to Table of Contents (poems 151-175)

Memorial Day, 2002

Black on white,
dark on light
words dance upon the page
to the funereal dirge.
Skeletons' lipless grin
and vacant stare -
playing the fife and drum.
The bagpipe's sonorous tone
"Amazing Grace" does blast
while flags in gay profusion
sway and furl half mast.

Honors for dead heroes
fallen far from home
in battles ill remembered
even where they once did roam.
The D-Day beachhead
red with blood
now innocent sand
washed clean by time.
Only the sea of crosses
marks their silent bed
and the living dwindle
as the memories wane.

They died for life
and for the great cause
the tyrant's might
to eternally pause.
Lest we forget
the lessons dearly bought
invest the time
to honor them in thought.

On this Memorial Day
as we go out to play
remember those who've passed
so in our hearts they'll stay.


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Poems 176-200

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Poems 201-225

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Poems 226-250

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Dream 419

Flat mirrored panes
create the angular maze
where multiple reflections of myself
gather like images
in a fly's faceted eye.
Disoriented and directionless
I stumble into the glass
that shakes and reverberates
like distant thunder.

Gingerly I feel my way
along the walls
where they meet the floor.
Something seems to draw me on,
though I may be circling back
upon my path
for lack of stable landmark.
Frustration grows
and so, too, fear.
Seeming hours pass
and at last, in desperation,
I rush headlong into the panes.

There is an explosion of sound
and before my eyes
the maze shatters into tiny, shiny shards.
The slivers rush through me,
rending flesh with razor sharpness,
and at last I stand, silent,
a bloody skeletal effigy
of my own fragmented persona.


Poems 251-275

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Poems 276-300

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Poetry Copyright Heinz Scheuenstuhl (HeinzS) 2001-2005 - All Rights Reserved