Tag Archives: isolation

This Place

Everything about this place just tends to bring me down;
I look into the mirror and see one more hopeless clown.
The people on the street have a sad tendency to frown
and no one wants to be the only soul left hanging ’round
this little bit of nowhere that some joker named a town,
who’s happier to be long gone and six feet under ground.

Everything about this place was meant to be just so:
straight white picket fences and fake shutters in a row,
with people shut up inside watching television shows.
Nobody wants to be outside and watch the flowers grow
along the winding street that follows where the river flows
but still seems to get nowhere, and why, no one really knows.

Everything about this place is waiting to expire;
folks waiting for apocalypse or when they can retire.
The people on the street seem unimpressed and uninspired;
nobody wants to tell the truth or cross beyond the wire.
It doesn’t seem to matter much who’s honest or a liar —
either way you’re wasting air trying to light a fire.

Everything about this place is tied up in the past,
secured in little boxes tied with string and stitched up fast,
going through the motions like bad actors in the cast
of a show still in re-runs, like a flag flown at half mast
in praise of some great compromise that ends the war at last
with an uneasy silence interrupting the broadcast.

Everything about this place falls down around my ears
in echoes of an irony that will not disappear:
sad people on the street seem to accept heartache and fear;
nobody wants to be the only one left when it clears
and leaves each of us naked with our ledgers in arrears
as the sad charade is ending and the day of judgment nears.

Everything about this place just makes me more depressed.
I look into the mirror and admit I’m not impressed:
can’t stand my sad expression and can’t stand the way I’m dressed,
but thinking about changing only gives me added stress;
and anyway, it really doesn’t matter, I confess,
’cause everywhere is nowhere in it’s own way, more or less.

06 NOV 2007

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There’s nothing much that’s happening
here in Undertown
since they closed the old refinery
and sent those pink slips ’round;
Down at Cheaters they’re still drinking,
but the jukebox plays the sound of old frustrations.

It’s been fourteen years and odd days
I’ve been working here;
no advancement but the worry
and lost time etched in mirror,
watching everything around me
but my memories disappear down at the station.

And all the boys still thinking of winning,
but the girls just want to dance;
we’re all waiting for the times to change
so we can take our chance.
Me, I’m holding on to nothing
and it keeps bringing me down
See, there’s quite a lot of nothing to go round
here in Undertown.

Before the cops cracked down
on heavy drinking in the square
You could sit watching the girls
pretending that you weren’t there
With a sixer and a dime bag
and a half a pack of Kools, what did you care?

But Billy Dean got himself married
and you won’t see him around
And Carlton Healy got religion
when a crusade came to town

Me, I’ve got a wife and daughter
and just look like some old clown hanging down there

And all the boys think they’re important,
but the girls don’t go for that
We’re all waiting for some action,
sitting here and getting fat
Me, I’m holding out for something
and it keeps me coming ’round
Trying to get something from nothing in this town.

There’s nothing much that goes on
here in Undertown
Since they closed the swimming pool
when Eddie Franklin went and drowned
Down at Cheater’s they’re still drinking,
cursing fate but too far gone to try to blame it

It’s been fourteen years since I came back
and found another rut
The façade keeps getting older
while it’s holding in its gut
And the paint is cracked and peeling,
but there’s still no telling what is going to change it

Yeah, all the boys think they mean business
but the girls know it’s a lie
We’re all wanting firewater
but the well has long run dry
Me, I’m holding on to anything
to keep from going down
See, there’s lot’s of time to lose it in this town.


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Hallows 1997

a remembrance

The flames lick against the side of a rusted drum;
Something rustles behind the apple trees,
And a dog runs barking into the lowering dark,
Joyously fierce as its sound echoes against
The walnut stand along the creek.
I flick a cigarette ash into the diesel stained air
And suppress a shiver from the night –
Another frost settling down on this October twilight.

A lamp inside the storm plastic window by the door
Glows incandescent warm and inviting;
I can hear the soft murmur of the evening news
As it rises and falls against the whisper of the furnace.
In the windbreak of the shed I watch the fire
Flash and caress the falling blackness,
Feel its heat flicker against my face in patterns
Of Hallowe’en orange and ebony.

The whine of the all-night combines reaches out
Across the half-barren land, exciting the young puppies
With its strange roar and threshing; while the Harvest moon
Bathes the rooftops with its slowing rising amber.
What dreams have found their way across this silent sky
To slip unnoticed into the great horizon of grain?
My shadow, cast against the peeled and graying barn
Rocks back and forth in quiet contemplation.

I lost my childhood on this spot, this faded hill of green,
And buried it among the weeds that grow unchecked
While my endless struggle wanes and wretches,
Shouting pleas to ancient timbers; when it wakes
Will I remember, once or twice more, the grasping cold
Ground and fight, desperate, its bitter memory?
Or will I turn, again, away, and looking back, forget
My lonely cries of summer tossed against this wind?

19 OCT 1997

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Gray Days #4

She’s waiting on the deputy, but he never comes;
got her finger on the trigger, sucking silent on her thumb;
and the ninety ninth caller has just been struck dumb:
like an old pair of stockings he just turned to run.

She’s waiting on the postman, but he’s just got advice;
got her hands on the counter, stirring tea in her spice;
and the TV show hostess is colder than ice:
like an old pair of shoes, she tries everything twice.

She’s waiting on the milkman, but he’s running late;
got her lips on the coffee cup, dripping stains on her plate;
and the radio spokesman has just sealed his fate:
like an old book of matches, he scratches the slate.

She’s waiting on the savior, but he never calls;
got her mind turned to worry, her eyes on the walls;
and the Jehovah’s Witness  sounds just like Lou Rawls:
like an old rusted needle, the pressure just falls.

She’s waiting on the preacher, but he’s been sent home;
got her hair in her fingers, pressing it to the phone;
and the roving reporter is standing alone:
like an old saint at twilight he’s trying to get stoned.


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At the far end of the canyon

At the far end of the canyon
where the road fades into dust,
and the remnants of old wagon trains
have dissolved into rust,

where the touch of high society
has left no lasting mark,
and no streetlight marks your way
if you’re out walking in the dark,

where there’s no hum from the engines
far off on the interstate,
and there’s not much use for fences,
iron bars or cement grates,

where the flowers bloom through summer,
their scent filling the night air,
if you come when dusk is falling
chances are you’ll find me there.

09 JUN 2005

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Goodnight for Gonzo

for Hunter S. Thompson

A life in isolation breeds its own brand of malaise,
that the respected classes just ignore
and seek instead on worthless causes to heap shame or praise,
with their good sense, naming such moods a bore.

The paranoia of the underdog they call a sham,
not worthy of their time, a waste of ink;
the causes that disturb the peace are just not worth a damn,
or dangerous, if they make people think.

And who would dare innoculate the tough, unfeeling side
of such a beast, except a man possessed
with his own brand of madness and a sense of civic pride,
when noticing the emperor’s undress?

Beyond the limits of good sense, and often at great risk
(where reputations are built on mere whim)
who is to say where genius crosses into wild hubris?
The line between the two is faint, and slim.

But madmen are the world’s redemption; there amidst the cracks
in grand facades, under its public face,
they toil to bring to our ennui the honesty it lacks,
and see beyond our masks, to our disgrace.

When leaders bend reality to disguise or deceive,
cloak their ill intentions with a winning smile,
despite volumes of evidence they cannot be believed,
are any sane who hold back on their bile?

Too many sane, respected souls stand silent and do naught,
while freedom, trust and liberty are sold.
It is the madmen, in these times, whose minds cannot be bought,
that shock us into breaking from the fold.

They ask why should such things take place, in language coarse and rough,
and whisper their dissension in our ear.
What’s more, they make us wonder if we’re paranoid enough,
or numbed by false pretense and hollow fear.

Truth lies somewhere past the lines that we’ve been taught to see,
those boundaries of someone else’s dreams.
Too often, we accept as gospel such insanity
that even madness is not what it seems.

21 FEB 2005

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A Pathless Land

I have not found the answers seeking truth,
nor even formed the questions halfway right;
the mysteries that tempted me in youth
are still in shrouded mists hidden from sight.

The path under my feet begins and ends
a single step from where my legs touch ground;
and sacred destinations? Well, my friends,
not more than a few moments rest I’ve found.

And yet, I would not trade the journey made
for any great reward from gods, or king.
I have become a very different man
than had I come here leading some parade.

It seems that fumbling, half-sure wandering brings
experience beyond all dreams and plans.

11 JAN 2005

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