New Poem: “Masquerade”

This is a new poem I’ve been playing around with this weekend–it’ll probably change a bit as I’m not entirely satisfied with some stanza breaks and general organization, but seeing as how today is Memorial Day, I figured the poem was somewhat fitting; granted, I didn’t write this poem for this holiday and it isn’t really about soldiers in that sense. Anyways, you’ll see, and please let me know what you think!

“Masquerade”

Calling all shapes, all sizes,
Preferably in disguises,
March your mantle in parade,
It’s time for the masquerade.

300 men
Not Spartans
Brand an “S”
On latex chests
So a war
Won’t start again.

300 men risk all
In courageous ignorance.

300 men inspire
The cast out and
Bring them in again.

300 men
With beaten banners
And broken battle standards
Patrol ‘til dawn
With their masks on.

Shall we accept
This invitation
When there’s no time
For contemplation?
When consequences
Of future action hides
In its own guise
With masked “avengeance”
And blackened eyes
Only see the night’s
Evil smile
Streaking crooked
From mile to mile,
When demons
Prey in
Secret sermons
And Hell has cooked
In every soup kitchen,
Who answers
The call?
Who answers
For us all?

300 men may
No longer walk
The streets one day

300 empty dreamers
Sleep in
Crimson streamers.

300 played
With wet
And weary matches.

300 lay
In the corpse
Pumpkin patches.

300 men
No longer walk
The streets today.

And when
300 men died
That day
Who gave us the right
To sit and pray
For the lives lost
In shrouds and tossed
At bay?
Who at last
Will answer
For us all?
But a pathetic poet
Who ignored
The call.

“Dents”

I was upset.
Lots of people in the room.
I left.
That smell in the air.
I’m sure it was on her breath.
Bad memories.
Wrong memories.

I should have been there—
In the passenger seat.
I wasn’t—I’m here.
Someone special
Should be here
But isn’t—she was there.

I was upset.
I left.
I didn’t think.
I punched the wall.
It left a dent.
Dents are left when
You don’t think.
Big dents.
Like the one in her car.

Fall 2009

“Masked”

I walk through the panels
Of comic books I grew up with
Before I realize
In front of my very eyes
I’m sliding passed
Fun house mirrors
Of the life I grew up in
             And you tell me not to dream?

Look at Batman, look at Superman
They look at me
Though I assumed mockingly
So I turned my cheek away from D.C.
To marvel, to Wolverine
Soon after shredding
My dreams to smithereens
             Would you fight for one?

Then I grew up
I read Huck Finn and
To Kill a Mockingbird
Learned the Bildungsroman philosophy
Read Steinbeck, and Bronte—
All except young Annie—
And even the father and daughter, Shelley
Where I got caught up in the supernatural
Melville’s muddled allegories
Then a comic book
Lay loosely open on my bedroom floor
Curiosity peaked of past dreams
So I glanced once more
             Would you ever let them go?
I saw Batman and Superman
Who looked at me
And said I’m the man
They said follow my dreams
             Never let it go
Look at me, I’m the one
Wearing the mask now, you see
So how delusional
Must I really be?
Don’t worry, if I don the cape
You can commit me to therapy
And if I become a vigilante
Asylum’s where I should be
Though I don’t fight crime on the streets
I’m here right now on your computer screens
My panels, my mirrors, my fantasy!
I choose to represent the hero
Inside of us fighting internally
Yes, it’s there, it’s in you
             Next time you wake up
Believe me
             To sunrise’s harlequin face
Believe yourself
             Fluff a pillow
Stand up
             Reality can wait
When you fight for your dreams

“Unidentified”

A mangled body lies fifteen feet
from a two car collision,
one leaking gasoline,
caught in a liminal position
before fire’s ignition,
the other leaking booze
from the lips of a loose
man luckily living
a life lost with another,
seven years the least of his worries
after mirrors shattered at impact.

Bruised, bloodied, and battered,
none of it seems to matter
for the breathless black-ashed
bag of bones
in a better place
with or without a heavenly body.

A gnarled mask of plastic peace
tells its own story
two feet further from the scene;
it isn’t Halloween.

John Doe didn’t seem to fit the description.