Take measure of your soul

The way inward and outward are the same,
it is common to all,
it is contained in our past and our present;
all of our time is a perpetual memory,
point to one end or another- an echo,
our thoughts are echoes in a world
of speculation.
To what purpose shall we follow them?
Are they no more than dead leaves-
the deception of trees
falling into the earthenware of our souls.

Look down into your drained pools of thought,
fill it with water from inside your head,
quickly, quickly;
and then a cloud passes and your
pool is empty again,
we cannot bear much reality-
what might have been,
what has been;
it is much like clots of mud in the saucers
of your veins,
circulate them, the scars which you carry;
they are neither flesh nor fleshness-
reconcile them with stitches.

We are still at the point, but do not call it
a fixity, it is more like a suffering relief,
a motion made explicit protecting us from
damnation (a weakness of our ever changing bodies);
it can be endured, but only in time.
A particular moment that allows us a
little consciousness-
the beat of rain on the tin of our bodies;
the cleansing of our souls.
Our bits of paper we carry around
like unwholesome lungs,
time before and time after.

The end and the beginning- lead us not into temptation,
only our cause can end its movement;
quick now, here, always-
shake the wainscot
of emotion, the loosened panes of doubt;
lean against a loved one in a warm haze.
Lift your feet from those clumsy shores of stimulants,
risk enchantment, stay away from the facades
of the unconscious.
What you own is not what you own,
your health is not a disease deteriorating
like a soundless wail.
Fruition, fulfillment, disown your past-
enfold into a new life.

@Take measure of your soul

The hollow man

Crazed scientist — he died with a serum.

Pennies in empty sockets for a cause.

He was a stuffed man with bandages, wrapped together,
headpiece filled with gauze;
a dried, cynical voice — all around him whispered,
like cold wind in night jars.

Those who denounced him, till death do they part,
unremembered, rigamortis in Jehovah’s kingdom;
wooden crosses staved in a field — coffins nailed shut.

His eyes you did not meet, not in your sleep,
not in your dreams; he would appear to hacksaw
your broken column between dying and reality;
noose in a dead tree swinging,
more distant, more solemn; such a deliberate disguise.

He moved as darkness moved —
a shadowy image with a dead man’s hand,
trembling with an awkward hatred.

In a moment there was time, beneath the formula;
love smoothed with long fingers,
stretched for a minute, wept and lingered;
black wreathed in a window where a candle burned.

His eyes were not there behind thick glassed goggles —
in the hollow valley of a lost kingdom;
they groped together and avoided speech; sightless
unless there was hope in an empty vein.

Black ink of morning, he searched for an anecdote —
between the idea and reality;
between the motion and the act befalls
the shell of a former self;
between the conception and the creation
and the world’s response;
life is not very long;
between the desire and the spasms
and the descent to Hell; for thine is the kingdom;
tin white like arsenic and the atrocity of death.

The hollow man

An Apostasy in verse…

The incarnate

Never until her making
Deity or spirit of evil
Did she mother a child like a debilitating darkness
Within her bones, elbow and foot,
Would go from sane to mad
Slowly dying on a synagogue rack
In the shadow of a valley of sackcloth
Anointed by a water bead (unmourning),
Dark veined after the first death
(there would be others trudging on her womb),
Manwaged, tapping like the holy ghost
And riddled with stones by pompous priests.

It chose this virgin mother on a drunken shore,
A riddled sea stronghold, yet the waves
Scolded—cannoned her with the tide; groped
Her soul. The tombstone told where she would
Be laid to rest, resurrected… she
Cried as her white-dressed limbs tore in a
Groping wind—the incarnate silenced her mouth
With its numberless tongues; nostrilled her
With a dull, evil sense—a thief of innocence.
In a taken body, it was a trespasser, blaspheme
In a brain. Now she is but sand grains in a
Seabed. Tarnished, dissolving under a salted veil.

The incarnate

The trouble with Mr. Otterhole

Between his index finger and his thumb
The crinkled paper rests; snug as a wish.

From his mouth, a clean rasping sound much
Like a spade sinking into graveled ground;

But in a glance, he takes flight, a stones throw
Down a described route: his next appearance

Perhaps in an hour; others, many have been
Glimpsed and avoided, feeling neglected.

Yet, without any warning they feel a barb in
Their pulse, and to death they do part caused

By erratic breathing; what did I do, they ask?
Draft of a funeral, circular grave, below in a hole.

Oil gray skin, clutching at dirt as a blind person
Does their cane; some neglected the roots,

The headstone tells where and when; Mr. Otterhole
With his jagged fingers hands you the paper as

Recompense: there will be others full of language,
(when? he is rather forgetful); have you left him

Nothing, not even your soul? He gropes for you
In the afterlife; four beat time for a signature.

The trouble with Mr. Otterhole

Published back in the day…

Sorrow of the row


Now the solitary one, I find no grace

for myself-
the mercy of the morning
the mercy of the deceased,
trying to pull me back into the sea.

Although disheartened,
I must for a long time
lay motionless on
sand along a
barren shore,
along an ice cold ocean
and tread the path of exile;

events always go as they must.

So speaks the sorrow of the row,
mindful of hardships
of corners cut
and the downfall
of the Starred owner.

Often, or always I had alone
to speak of the disaster
each morning before dawn;

there are not any living
to whom I dare clearly
speak of my innermost thoughts.

I know it truly that it was in
the ship building, several flaws
kept secret, a
as it were;

the sickening terror
the deafening impact
the moment of panic;

could not withstand its fate
nor did a pitiful mind
do any good.

Thus, those eager for glory now
keep secure dreaded thoughts
in their feeble minds.

So, I, the sorrow of the row
often wretched and ashamed
bereft of my duty far from the
have had to bind in fetters my true feelings
since the sinking long ago;

I hid in the loneliness
of the dark,
weak and weary;

from there, traveled sorrowfully
over frozen waves;

I sought to be
sad of the lack
of any passengers,
a giver of life;

indeed now, I can no longer think
why my spirit does not darken;

when I ponder
on the lifeless bodies
that no longer grabbed
at my sides,
their cries silenced by the freezing air;

losing sight
as the lights
sank beneath the Atlantic surface;

I was blown by the wind,
covered with the
frost from stilled voices;

then my oars touched
the ocean
with a deafening silence
and carried me away,
my seats eerily creaked-
no one was inside to quiet them;

I had chosen to
save myself.

Copyright © 04/15/2013 lance sheridan®

The sorrow of the row

Love poems…

Love flashed on and off

He had a wound record,
A rite of passage
Two fingers of gin
And all sweet hell;
Out of his handgun’s sight
A naked night stood straight,
He let his victims squeal
Then the red velvet blood
Inched its way out;
Not of grief or mourning,
Vagueness was enough from
A smoking revolver.

Big private detectives are mostly
Little men with dark, shadowy
Offices, yet he had knack for
Smelling out the taste of the
Stupidest part of his clients,
Especially the ones he fell in
Love with, especially if the color
Of their eyes were lapis-lazuli
Blue; their hair the color of
Red, fiery dust; tall with lots
Of rouge makeup in the right
Places, and a look that stabbed

Him in the heart like a dirk. He
Never had to look hard to find
Them, they always seemed to
Be in the right place—standing
By his window sipping in the
Groundswell of traffic in a big
Angry city, feeding him all the
Answers like pennies being fed
Into a gum ball machine; and
Constantly getting the same
Color. One, however, had a
Score to settle—and she was

Hungry for revenge. Finishing
The drink she had been offered,
And being slightly tipsy, drew a
Rather pointed knife from her
Clutch. You must be congratulated,
My dear, how deceitfully clever,
He said with a certain hollowness,
As he stuffed his cigarette into
An already smoldering ashtray.
But not clever enough as he fired
Off one round from his gun
Which was neatly available in

His desk’s top drawer. The spill
Of her blood was slightly halted
By her quivering hand held over
The entrance wound in her stomach,
He mistook playing luck far too
Long. Handcuffed and arrested,
Was sent up a muddled river
By his nemesis, a judge on the take.
You won’t like most of the cons
In the joint, and they won’t like you
Too well, his raspy voice clamored.
And the coffin velvet inched out.

Love flashed on and off


I struggled towards the light

Only when
as a water shade I touch your memory;
I touch you with my

Bands, bands, bands of time
away the hours of you,
and un-pulse forever, grasping
beneath your skin
until time dries you out,
whiter and whiter.

I am helpless and desperate
in a nightmare-
I meet the apparition of you;
I feel you
one more time,
your smoky hair curtains your

Flecks of your skin
like whitewash,
I am parched for your
I am in a dead walk
in a dream.

I smell the sea holding you up,
I wonder,
is this the beginning
and shall
I be with you, my love.

I struggle towards the light
in the barren,
stormy existence
of you;
pulse and pulse
in the bag
of night-
brush your lips with mine;
a moment for
our souls.

I struggled towards the light

Poems flowing to the sea…

A song of water

When the sea was waking and the
Waves yawned loose,
He prayed on bent knees in a muted house
(this old decrepit man lived his days blind,
veined in poor, three sheets to the wind,
dreaded being sober; fished for his supper)
Prayed for a meal in a sea of calm.

And the gulls perched on his nets,
The slaughtered skiff floor with bait
(too proud to die among the flocks of fish);
The old man braved running the gambit
Of waves, hooks in his hands, salted wounds;
The wind choired and cloistered, brawled
With the sea, banged guilt on the skiff’s rudder.

Of darkening clouds, a shudder of rain
(heaven’s crier, aspiring for a storm),
Monstrous or immoral, living flesh to a
Watery grave; fate not telling, death in the
Waves. Never shall the old man’s chant
Be heard, carved forever in brine; yet his
Fate got lucky, washed half-dead on a beach
(endless breviary turned by his aged hands).

A song of water

Ballad of the Agnes Jack

Her bow glided down into the sea
Covered thinly with waves at first;
And the bird coast blackened,
Thrashing rain trodded down,
Rang the cobbles, clanged the bell.

Then good-bye to the sailing barque
With its canvas torn and free
As an albatross hooked over the sea,
High and forlorn by the top of the mast.

Blew the wind, a long wailing sound,
And the bulwarks creaked and quailed;
For my sake iron nail, hold us to the gale
Said the seafaring brig-rigged vessel.

Her sails gulped the wind
And in waves black as night
She sped into the drinking dark;
The morn, shipwrecked on a shoal
As the moon swam out of its hulk.

Timber and masts splintered in a whirl;
Good-bye the sailor on the sea-legged deck,
To the fish gut that sings on his heel
To the drowned that stalk out of the sack.

Good-bye to homes chimney stacks,
Burdened wives that spin in the smoke,
Men are blind to the eyes of candles
In praying windows of waves and tide.

Ship’s anchor swings like a pendulum
In its fuming bow, rakes along the shoal;
A squall of birds bellowed and fell,
A cloud blew the rain from its throat.

And nothing shone on the water’s face,
Not Jesu’s stream, not an oar in its lock;
The Agnes Jack plunged like a humpbacked
Ton, lured to its final resting place.

Upon the whitecap waves, the laid veils,
The black nooses tied round their lungs;
Strike and smooth, the decks their drums,
That drifting sound, that drifting death.

One by one in dust and shawl, wives clung
To the hand of the sea; goodbye always
For their prayers are cast like echoes into the
Prophets of dunes; the headstones of sand.

Ballad of the Agnes Jack

Beyond the breakwater

On a balcony of rocks, clouds with their
Crutches walk stiffened and folded;
Washed sheets of waves engrave themselves
In the barnacles;
The long coffins of shipwrecks anchored like
Moles in the sand
Stretch for miles, clanging the death toll-
The sea is sick with what
It has swallowed:
Limbs, images, shrieks;
It cannot bandage its terrible faults.

How superior it is, like a touched saint-
Its pallors of sea mist
Veined into glassfuls of holy water;
It is consumed by silent fishermen, then
Hung by a tided cord,
Drowned in a wet tomb; the toeless foot of
This saint plumbs their souls.
And the onlookers- obscene on a shore,
Their tongues, coffins of ash.
Their sorrow, empty benches of memory.
Their faces turning, wordless and slow.

I, standing in the sea sand, watching
Mock those who deride the dead;
My heart’s blood still as a tidal pool.
A dry wind blows, pushed up by the hairs of
The sea; it steers through salt,
Rooted wave and roe. It is a time unraveller,
Its scissors oiled,
Cuts the invisible, clocking tides-
They shall not be latched to the faith of those
Who have perished fulfilling a dream.

Beyond the breakwater

How long can you run

In the white light of a candle, sainted Jesuits open the scripture book:
They lash out at the long tongue liars-
The Ignatius man
The holy ghost
The big grave digger
A secular cleric in a church house shuffles on his angel feet
pelts these sinners with his dark milk speech:
how long can you run
run for a short time
whistles out his hounds to chase you down
His shovel with bullet-headed steel shoots the ground
a layman in the hole asks
how do you live here.

Walk in the dark and grab the iron gate
pull out your cards
and play the spades
God in the burial yard shouts, my hand is full of death
slams his hammer
down on your sacred earth
whistles out his hounds to chase you down
how long can you run
run for a short time
He summons up a Jesuit priest
shuffles on over on his angel feet
stones your heads with his dark milk speech:
Be damned you long tongue liars-
The Ignatius man
The holy ghost
The big grave digger
God’s going to strike you down
come nightfall you will be
in the dark hole ground.

What did you do? Desecrated the bible-
Seminated the night
The Jesus plight
The holy scriptures
Purloined and plucked the man born blind’s bread
drunk away his blessed red wine
Black, like a memory wound, stole the jewels
from the Curia crown land
gave seed to the catholic diocese
Rolled the day blind dice, the bones of your followers
rolled them into dead-end lives
In anger, the wrath of God hounds away your temptations
puts you in the dungeon of earth
And the pope soft-shoed on his angel feet
stoned you with his dark milk speech:
how long can you run
run for a short time.

How long can you run