Tag: aging

What Peace I Know/Cynicism

It is my understanding that the
world does not very
much care about
which is all right, for
I do
not very
care about the

This is a certain sort of
peace at which I arrived
upon the wings of
of what I’d known
to be pain
beyond reckoning,
or pain which
at least to me alone is
It makes no difference.
So I wish with all the sincerity I’ve got left
no more pain, not for anyone, not ever again
and I ask you, please listen if only to this
I’m begging you, hear me, please
when I promise this:
this peace is dear to me and
I will defend it.

And so know I will burn your
skyward pulpit of paper
while you shout screaming slurred
still perched up on its summit—
it’s a righteous flame perhaps
that you’ll burn in,
but burn in it you will
to the whirling ashwhite
echo of time’s passage,
without shape or pretension;
if you aim to take from me my personal peace
making room for your hollow high
holy hegemony—
then I will with
all of my force
and my fury
drive you
to the wastes
of eternity.

A Smart Man

I’ll concede that this poem is likely
little more than an
exercise in arrogance
but I’d call myself
a fairly smart man
and I’ve been so told for
a long time
and I’ve been told, too
about the great things I’d do and be
because I’m a smart man.
Well, I haven’t seen much of that
in spite of their best standardized predictors
and I guess I must’ve been
a bit of a
when I ended up being a little
less smart
than they’d insisted I was
but I have myself discovered one aspect
of intelligence
that nobody ever told me about
so don’t let anyone tell you
that these things come
without cost.
I’ll admit, I might be wrong
but I doubt it—
see, I’ve found that there’s just one guarantee
with intelligence
and that guarantee is that
it’s pretty

I Do Wish

I wish I had held myself together.
I wish I’d done better,
done more, been better.
Wished I could try,
now wishing I had.
Sure wish I’d spent less time
trying to wish away the bad.
I might’ve been something
had I been anything
to begin with,
but if there’s a God
his concerns are more
than I am.
He didn’t stack chips
upon any
of my plans
and I don’t blame him—
he’d have lost them.
I wouldn’t have placed
that bet
God doesn’t, can’t help those
who help themselves
to repeated glasses of
bourbon and gin
and out from open windows, shout
slurred shouts, swearing skyward, said

“Well, goddamn! I never once wished for this!”


I don’t think time can kill it off completely, that emotion, I mean, but the years do dull it. Maybe it’s like a blade: you can grind that edge down flat in time, but the steel—the thing itself, however impotent—still exists, and a lifetime of effort couldn’t send it into oblivion.

Of Shadows and Trees

Sometimes I think back
to when I was a kid
and I firmly believed
evil hid between the trees
and behind every shadow
waiting to drag me screaming
to wherever evil lived.
But way back then
evil was pretty rare
and good appeared to be
nearly everywhere
so I took comfort in that
and I solemnly chose
to avoid the shadows and the trees
in favor of company and light.
But when I grew older
I ventured out between the trees
and I found no evil there
just branches and leaves.
I lit up the shadows
as I became bolder
but there was no evil there
It turns out that evil
makes no effort
to hide from me
at all.
It smiles at me
and laughs with me
and I call it my friend.
It lives like I do
and looks like I do
and speaks like I do
The monsters were never monsters
they were human beings.
They never lived in the shadows
or the trees.
The monsters all along
were plain to see.
I often find myself
among the shadows
and between the trees
hiding from the evil
that lives
in light
and company.