Restless Nightmares

"The morning after the battle of Waterloo", by John Heaviside Clarke, 1816. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

For the final One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry, and the grand opening of the dVerse Poets Pub, I would like to bring back a classic – the poem with which I introduced myself at the first One Shot Wednesday, in July last year, when One Stop was still just a glitter and a gleam in the eyes of a few good poets.

It is dark, and due to its age not the style of mine to which you may have become accustomed, but I hope you enjoy it all the same – and if you’d like to see the piece with which I more officially gave my ending salute to that wonderful art community, check out last week’s contribution: One Winter Morning.

– – –

Restless nightmares break,

From wretched slumber do I wake

To a world of endless night—

Thunderous choirs make me crouch in fright.

High above us wraiths now soar,

Men clasp their ears to deafen their roar.

Over hills and shattered streets,

The bands come marching to woeful beats.

A hundred thousand voices cry,

Then all the singers die.

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Colosseum

Image care of: Photobucket.com.

Windows on the world

Of this eternal light, this city brimming

With memory of massacre and masochistic

Delight, windows on a soul of fire

Brimming in the depths of those saluted,

Stirring in the sweat of the backs stretched forth in greeting,

These limbs, outstretched beneath your crumbling walls,

Drew cloth and steel against the flesh, your stone

Prison and theater, the spotlighted cell,

All eyes alive with the flames of your passion,

Round and round they circled, and still you writhe

With the congress of madness given yet delight

In all those souls who looked within and without

Your shudderless windows.

* Another poem for the wonderful Monday Poetry Potluck, as hosted by Jingle Poetry, and those lovely poets Amanda and Kavita! This week’s theme: Buildings, Landmarks and Monuments–for which I obviously chose the Roman Colosseum.

I Still Have a Voice

Just because I cannot hear

Does not mean I have no voice.

My hands are my words

Flowing out like rivers

And these eyes,

They see

Though you look at me as a man blind—

Blind enough to see

Your hands in motion

Signing off my rights

Signing off the hope

That brought me here today.

I am not silent

But you silence me

Bury me in paperwork

Another numerical nonentity

Less a face than a dollar sign—

Black ink rain down

And you break my world

With a pen for a sword—

How can you look at us this way

Hear our pleas, hear our cries

And still sit, as statues

Unmoved, unbroken

Drowning us

With care.

This Wednesday’s post has several dedications. It is first and foremost dedicated to the Deaf Education and American Sign Language students at MSU, who this year, as part of budget cuts, had their programs completely cut from the academia here. I also dedicate this to the deaf community at large, who all have felt the pain of this loss. Eastern Michigan University is the only other University in Michigan to offer such programs to the community.

As usual, it is also for the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays–once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Photos by myself, Chris Galford, from the final MSU Board of Trustees meeting last school year. The alphabet presented below is the alphabet of American Sign Language–a language certain board members previously claimed was “not a real language.”

Ride on

I will ride you down.

Weather the weather,

Gnash tooth and claw

This spear, your arm

Outstretched to meet me

Like a wall of flesh

No more, no more

Come dust and earth

On bitter wind blow

I am vengeance

Ride on, ride on

And I will bear you down

Ride on, ride on

My lance, my passion

My steed, my life

Put up your steel

And dig your feet

I ride and ride for thee

Ride on, ride on

This barren waste is wasted

Ride on, ride on

Cracked and peel and broke asunder

Torn hoof and heel

I soar, as an eagle on the wind

Above the mountain heights

As both sink lower to the earth

Scarlet memory flow

Here falls, here rides

The mad man dead upon the field

And I am here, and staggering on

Ride on, ride on

A breath, a life, a broken soul

Ride on, ride on.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! If you happen to notice a correlation of theme, or at least, imagery, between this and last week’s submission, though, you’d be right. Congratulations. I’ve had this whole cavalry sort of notion stuck in my head for a bit now, and both of these were a result of that. Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Desolation Life

This cavalry ride,

This noble stride,

Stretch wide upon the earth—

Trembling thunder underfoot

Amidst the shadows lightening fall.

Death rides before the tip,

Death roars beneath the arrow scorn

And in the quailing devastation

Moves the seeds of their creation.

Bodies bloom like spattered roses

But from the agony of annihilation

Stirs the flowers–flourish,

Such color rises from silent gray

The mass is fallen

The light arise

Entangled limbs stretch toward the warm embrace

Soothed into the slumber

Of revival.

Ask not the ends

Ask the means—

What comes, shall come again

In one form or the next.

My latest contribution to the wonderful One Shot Poetry Wednesdays! Once you’ve had a look, check out some of the other One Shot Poets as well– they’re a skilled bunch of poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Dead Mementos

Statistics say that Death

came on in great demand–

and all the reels roll on

into the grim decree–

such madness in the flames,

the ponderous flight of man and steel

bidden, but unbound

could never be contained

by evil deep as soul was black–

but paper burns in fires bright

and names reduced to numbers

are lost beneath the ashes.

Memory is sifting through the dust

for dignity forgotten

by madder men than we.

The Dogs of War

can never be forgotten–

but the blood of the fallen

may never yet be found.

Screams echo through the halls

of history befouled

for all the lives we lost

and all the identities

we never may regain.

Restless Nightmares Break…

A significantly darker piece than what most of my recent work has been, just in time for the first One Shot Poetry Wednesday. Once you’ve had a look, check out One Shot Poetry, too–a bunch of great poets, looking to form a community and support one another.  Enjoy!

Restless nightmares break,

From wretched slumber do I wake

To a world of endless night—

Thunderous choirs make me crouch in fright.

High above us wraiths now soar,

Men clasp their ears to deafen their roar.

Over hills and shattered streets,

The bands come marching to woeful beats.

A hundred thousand voices cry,

Then all the singers die.