Body’s raw wound

The dark moon shadow stalks me down,
Its dust bags of light scar me;
In a touch, flesh, bone, blood quickens,
I pick off the worms, drunk from a lick.
I walk the night, haggard through the
White street lamps, singeing filaments
Cataract my eyes. Obscure vision

Corkscrewing down storm drains. And the
Shadow, like a black wolf, each paw on
Me a brier; my doom consummates a bodily need;
It snares me, hungry, hungry. It eats
To satisfy a need, I am gutted to an undertaker.
Blood floods to a spot, purple; the rest of me
Is whitewash board, stiff as I crawl down a sidewalk.

Its tread is a weighted enemy, my heart shuts,
It peels me like linen; its breath anesthetizes and shoves
Me into a bad dream. It feels like hell;
Charred and ravened in snarled thickets of ash.
I disappoint them, I pray for a heaven,
To a god. This earth I rise from, let my soul writhe in like dew.
I am stepping from this skin, featureless into eternity.

Copyright © 08/14/18 lance sheridan®

Body's raw wound


Of bone and flesh

There are two of me: one of bone, one of flesh;
And the flesh is slowly dying, doesn’t need food,
Just lay in a bed till a real saint takes me.
The bone has no personality, and I hate her; the
Flesh never speaks, a true pacifist—
The bone is dead like bad behavior,
Like living in my own coffin, quite limp, regretfully.

I am not in a position to get rid of her, a black light
Filtering over a pale face, disgruntled soul.
I should put up a wall— made from mud and whitewash;
Two gray papery bag colors, mummified
And rigid as a coffin. Cover me entirely with its emptiness;
And the rain and the lilies, I do see its advantages.
My skin is itching and flaking away like a half-corpse.

I shall well manage without flesh, no time for tidiness
Say my bones. They humor my weakness like a nurse;
Trying to hold everything in place with gauze,
I am offended in some way even though I look so badly.
The cold world awaits with its dirt and roots;
I wince continually, tears down a bone.
No talk of immortality— death moves in a hurry.

Copyright © 08/13/18 lance sheridan®

Of bone and flesh

Woman among the lilies

A woman wondering how they came to be lying
In upholstered dirt, under the eyes of a red-crowned crane,
The heart-shaped lily pads of a leapfrog size
All set in a wilderness of wet, of a diminutive size—
With its prim borders and luminous crescent moon;
The consistent currents, the fashionable koi fish
Flattened to rice paper in a tapestry of lanterns, flames
Bright against a stubborn wind— couched clouds persistent
With a shower. She, dreaming of her lover in a water-elved boudoir;
Petaled flowers floating round the bed, marveling numbered in
Shades of red, possessed by their glowing hearts,
Drowsed by their sexuality— the liquor of indulgence.
The sheets grow heavy, three days, three nights;
Her body as pure as Japanese paper, delicate as
Moonlight, glowing and coming and going.
A virgin attended by roses— he left. Betrayed her
As one betrays the world; infinitely beaten, infinitely hurt.

Copyright © 08/12/18 lance sheridan®

Woman among the lilies

White sea, salted throat

Quiet sea, sand, salt and the bones of an old
Barnacled corpse, a pitiful anchored relic
Waiting for the pallbearers from the stone church;
The voice of the priest, fatness to a burial,
Behind the pulpit, white suited,
Eyelids and lips storming the pews;
Salt in his throat, and the tongue, burning like an ash can.

As the pallors gather, of neighborly faces and hands,
The widow pallor is gathering stones
Off the land-spit and the mouth-plugged tidal pools;
Poultice for her wounds, the lines of her eyes
Scalded by the sun. Her limbs, shadow shrieks
At an onlooker, trembling, drawn like old material,
Things, things— a wooden crutch, toeless foot;

A naked mouth, sun-bleached and awkward for a word.
Did I escape, I wonder?
Tremulous breath like fishing line— his water rod
No longer touching a wave, no longer sucking
A depth. I called you. I called you.
Waves pushing him to a rip tide, curve of water
Leaping into glassfuls of sea, rolling the notes of a dead bell.

Then, from the breakwater, his face turning, slowly, slowly,
I saw you— plumbed in the well of the good book, praying.
I rose from under glued sheets of waves,
Folded body, staggering with thoughts of my wife.
I have two legs and I moved smilingly, across the stretch
Of the beach. An empty touch, propped up by the wind.
Folded hands shaking, goodbye, as the sea reclaimed him.

Copyright © 08/11/18 lance sheridan®


White sea, salted throat

Reflections at a picnic

They are always with us, the small, thin children,
And the meager, old folks from a bygone era;

Like celluloid film graying on a big screen. They
Would say we are only a movie headline,

A time gone, a time forgotten. Walking
About on their stalky legs over the mud huts

Of tiny crabs, empty of complaints, wading through
The skin of waves deposited on the shoreline.

Small, thin children persist with sandcastles and the
Thin-lipped sea; bastions against the plump bellies

Of breakers. I can smell the salt at my feet, sowing
The earth like a spectacled farmer. My hat brim

Deflects a brisk wind and a brief summer shower.
And we picnic listening to the pulse of water

Bleached under a hot August sun. Whatever I see,
I think it is a part of my heart, how generous a life.

The world comes clear and fills it with magical colors,
Unmisted by flickers of dark, lit by candles of hope.

Copyright © 08/05/18 lance sheridan®

Reflections at a picnic


A first step, and they walk among the sleepers
Through the narrow cracks, the mud
With the onionskin; their nostrils breathing
Heavy in the dark thickets of internment camps;
Faces pale as death in a white mist of hate.
And they turn in a cold bed sweat,
Casting their bodies, their masks like amputations
Into silver buckets, poured down a drain
In a morgue littered with puppets.

The old, the young separated from families,
No maps to trace a face shoved into
The white spit crawling like a flattened snake,
Skins and a slide in a slimy trail,
Poisoning immigrants like Eden’s navel
Twisting a mind; and the green apple water
Choking a throat to nothing
In a swallow. Stiffens a body and their
Color bleeds brown, dead in a flow.

Their captors have nothing to be sad about,
Staring at victims with hoods of bone;
Every immigrant coiled, folded into a profit.
Litter the pliable banks with vermilion green;
Elected officials whose mouth’s unhinge with the
Odor of racketeering— white maggots coil
Thin as knives in the dark bruises
Of innocent lives. Their belly-scales fat as tongues
In a lecher’s kiss; forked and devilish.

Copyright © 07/28/18 lance sheridan®


i am vertical

I would much rather be on Terra firma.
I am not a hedge with my roots running hither
In earthen soil, sucking up Artesian well water
With mineral derivatives and cemetery remnants—
So that each Spring I may gleam as a green leaf;
Nor am I the embodiment of a garden plowed
Attracting my fair share of grubs and crows,
Knowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a hedge is immortal,
And a vegetable-head’s shorter but more deserving,
I do insist on having one’s long life and the other’s bearing.

This night, in the infinitesimal bright of the neighbor’s light,
The hedge has gone to sleep
Yet, I stand aloft on this wooden ladder strewing sniffles and a cough—
I look rather pitiful, but no one seems to notice.
In between shivers, I dream of a nice warm bed,
Out here, in the cold, sleeping is rather difficult,
I rather resemble a large raccoon with dark circles under my eyes;
My thought processes are growing dim.
It is not natural to me being vertical on a ladder at quarter to three in the p.m.
I have even taken to striking up a conversation with a celestial owl.
So, for heaven’s sake, would someone come and throw me a lasso!

Copyright © 07/21/18 lance sheridan®

i am vertical