The night creeper

His footprints always meet, not here, but only

In your mind’s eye;

Night’s horizons a dream when you embark

Into the womb of the full moon.


In a dark suit, in an old trench coat,

He unleashes nightmares from his

Satchel, a full-tilt unholy night wrecked sleep,

Lulled into a darkened oblivion.


Tossed and turned around in doom-struck slumber,

Bone shank thoughts will blunder you into a wet drench;

Rave on in a quicksand nemesis lullaby

While the clock hands tick in shaded ambivalence.


The moon leans down hard like a brazen harlequin

Mocking you, flicking light on and off,

Black and white, much as a ranting jackanape

Fluting a stiff march into a deaf.


The paradox is that the nightmare’s the thing,

Though this primadonna won’t leave a trace, knows

How to lacerate a sleep wound,

Withers dreams into a hell surrender.


Then the awakening, pay the piper

With tears; rationed through a kaleidoscope

Of shapes and absolutes;

Congealed into a knowing, a polemic scattering


Into the narrow crack of sleeplessness;

Cradled deep in a suspense, defenseless as a

Sitting duck, knocked down by a blind shot;

All your senses carol for a respite.


Copyright © 06/17/18 lance sheridan®

The night creeper




You will not do anymore, worn shoes
In which I have lived in like holey socks,
Dirty and poor for twenty years,
Barely the strength to breathe or eat,
A ghastly statue of skin and bones.

My friends all died before their time,
Carrying to a grave a bagful of religion,
Ragged clothes scraped from white bodies,
Tossed into a fire — pacing up and down in an alley;
I use to pray for you until my eyes went blind.

Trying to pick worms off of me,
I have always been scared of insects,
Like a death boot in the face as they burrow in;
Through the uncut grass of a cemetery I stumble,
In search of the holy ghost, looking to repent.

Crossing and recrossing, my aging fingers
Trespassing on sacred ground;
An unmarked headstone — I was still warm
When society shoved me in an earth crypt;
I no longer trespass stupidly among the black hearts.

Copyright © 06/08/18 lance sheridan®


Dark water

This is dark water, wide and muddy.
Tree roots along banks, haven for fish;
River people shake a path from an oar,
Watching for a snag in a morning, silence the color of dawn.

Breeze licking a water flow, wiggling warm and slow,
The river’s belly stirring mud and silt,
Filters through the bowels of a dam,
Its breath cascading into a fall, twisting in a new flow.

Yet, when a storm brews, the dark water chews at the land,
Oozing a flood into quiet corners steeped in soil,
Like a mole, it tunnels in earth cellars, creeping, creeping;
Flat, expressionless, delving town after town.

Any day it may recede, its old bones creaking and bending
Like a twig snap. And the pots of mud living in a bottom
Bearding clear water with dark advice- O slow the color of rust;
Elbowing its way down a course, open to a sea.

Copyright © 06/03/18 lance sheridan®

Dark water

Scarecrow on a moor

Stalemated armies rest beneath the bog
With tattered banners;
Broadswords swung in a mire
Still ringing the anguish, langets dripping with death

From a battle,
Glowering tartan colors, a last taunt.
They did not surrender

They did not budge, protected a homeland,
A doorstep
With beheaded bilberry, grouse and hare,

And the carrion flight warned to keep away
From a landscape
By a hasted scarecrow,

Stark, tattered by a cold wind from a
North Sea blow,
Driven by ghosts of Viking ships

Across the moors
Pocked by moss and rabbit track; the weltering mist
Brings it to its knees.

Time nurses a rage at the white edge
Called a hell,
Subdued unruly warriors

Lack a siege,
Blurting taunts with forked tongues
Down a grisly, wet mired death;

Ambushed black birds worse,
Dangling on a wired fence
Sheaved skulls mournfully cawing their guilt;
Trophies for a time:

All throned in the thick of a muskeg,
Crumbled to a demise;
Bones bent homeward, brimful of repent.

Copyright © 05/25/18 lance sheridan®

Scarecrow on a moor

Water descends the steeple of a vein

There is a wood plank wall, above, a blistering sun-
Clouds and sky swim in it, and the mud below indifferent,
Looking for a water fist for a thirst;
Worshiping a mood. And a drop descends, garlands a grass blade,
Moves in a hurry for a baptism, a sainted reign.

It will cover a dynasty of a lawn, jeweled by the sun
In a fluted christening. And the jangled hymns sung in a papal garden.
Weeds unload their griefs- dandelions white as knuckles,
Murmuring affirmations about a Resurrection.
A yew tree makes the sign of the cross, gentled by a soberly garment of wind.

A drop of water has fallen a long way. Wet and mystical from a church spigot.
Floating on the delicate hands of a prayer; twice on a Sunday.
Church bells startling a sky; a preacher’s tongue walks among the headstones
In search of a sign, an effigy, but not a blade of grass.
His hands and face are stiff from a thirst- parishioners see nothing of this
Until a blackness in a cloud unloosens a rain. It drags away a drought. A silence.

Copyright © 05/19/18 lance sheridan®

Water descends the steeple of the vein

Bay memories

The sun glosses over a morning’s dew
Sailboat clotted at the low-tide, the wrecked wave,
I remember forty years between age and youth.

I profited a memory, but the scenery changed,
Now patched with dwarfed lumps of sand
The bay’s idyll, worn out by time, it’s in a bastard state.

It gave me good use in a ship white, shrunk to a wind.
Colored sales flapping in a draft;
Waves beautiful in the formlessness of the bay,

Cliffs edged the land’s end, stony shores grudging
Under saltwater, I walked among them
And stuffed my camera with photos of a still horizon.

Now views are boarded up with summer homes,
The sun dwindles behind stockade fences;
A grain of sand is all that’s left; and that is that.

Seagulls once in a ceiling without a blackness,
Now scavenging in a traffic of planes,
Circling under shadows of metal flights, close to a death.

The bay waters no longer running clean
As factories run on and on, squatting in a shank of profit;
The fish are gone, filleted in a cannery, bones under

A tent of starving gulls. My shadow is black.
Filtering away from the past; I probe for a fractured image,
Cold and final, resting in the attic of my skull.

Copyright © 05/12/18 lance sheridan®

Bay memories


Feel it: like stitches on tattered clothing,

Shadows shaped in a mind,
Touched by a hand, empty, empty, hole
In an old coat; hanging on a hook,
Pawing at the wind, stiff and naked.

Flickering light a hope in a single file,
Trespassing blindly, dissolving into sorrow,
Scratching at a door. Elsewhere a memory,
Might please, might bring a tear.

A smile like a moon, flattened to a face,
Stiff, but not a bad fit. Now your eyes,
Crying, crying, then empty as a cloud, the
Air stirs in a temper, happiness, anger.

The obsolete yesterday, please a collector,
Blindly into an old pocket, quietly,
Leave it alone now. You have a hole,
You have an image, no one will look there.

Copyright © 05/09/18 lance sheridan®