Trilogy of Faith


Childlike in white gauze bandages bent
around my head, my hands,
under the bell of full metal clasps
tucked in like twelve discipled verses-
I am a snail that walks a black line along the
holy house, in search of water wound
like a ball of rain, thirsting for an
existence; a priest condemns me with his
rosary cross, his hoisted bible- who in
this labyrinth of hymns can save me.

Who killed my life with a blunt scythe?
Time shall not murder you, he said; who
could hack out my heart- am I unborn
and undead? I felt as though time had
murdered me. Before it knocked out my
flesh, my liquid hands tapped on the womb;
my male figure fathered me like a worm-
I was deaf to spring and summer; I did not
know the moon and sun by name; my
flesh’s armor was pounded by a rainy
hammer wielded by clouds; sleep and
dreams were racks to my lily skin.

I bow down at the altar of trees in search
of new flesh and bone, where water
and earth make a mixture, a cocoon of
skin and vein till the blood runs. My heart
knows love. I drift down to the sea to
touch the shore, the tumbling waves.
I am richer by sipping on the vine of life,
christened with the milk of earth and sky,
the lifting hands of the four winds; singing
of the heavens in the synagogue of clouds.


The dust which is God

A holy stream where the Jesus fish ran
clear and cold
and the sabbath bell rang slowly
and the hymnal folks sang loudly
and the collection plates filled poorly
while the sermon was of Adam
and maiden
in the newly made earth
below the dingle sky starry.

All church goers had a natural piety to feel:
a creed written in
chapter and verse;
all crouched bare waiting for a baptismal
and a mother figure waited in the shadows
and a new church steeple endowed
the heavens
and the midwives of miracles spoke of
a name- God.

Her dust, thin as sparrows bones,
writhes down like thorns
over the Holy Ghost
over the spuming cyclone of the
black silence melt
over the black plumed reaper,
down the dumbfounded stream to the
Dead Sea- burial waves for
the holy fish.

Brethren for joy, in the name of the mother
pray with the innermost marrow of
your heart bone,
rejoice on the Noah mountain
kneel before a burning bush
and the cross of his wounds;
I am wholly to that lamenting.
Sing a hymnal to sinners whose tongues
I tolled. That bores for all mankind.

The dust which is God

The shape of the journey

His pious eye was staring beneath the
hair of clouds. When I took off
my clothes for internment, there
was only one shoe left for the dance,
the pinch of where.

Mother Mary me out of here.
Time for the flat-headed St. Peter man;
I recognize that listener.
Him with his sanctitude and bent knees:
a varicose horror.

I have come on the church bus with the
holy water dispenser and paper cups;
windows down, wind and rain
like a spray of buckshot. The driver is
the last watcher outdoors,

Moving the card players closer. The sun
eases itself beneath the horizon; the
night collapses into the sky. We all depart.
Our muscles move like jittery water
into the gully of heaven, dank as a ditch.

Up the roadbed Roman stone we strain,
past the bibles in mildewed crates;
we keep breathing a small breath.
A hellhound is sniffing for sinners; an
ill wind sharpens itself on a whetstone.

Hello, hello, says St. Peter, I am the
assistant keeper of the mollusks- let
me see the pits of your tongues, just
a formality. You cannot enter until
his holiness turns on the green light.

We slipped into the silver city, stretched
over sand grain fields, the sun glinted
its sides; we crept cautiously, trying to
shake loose eyes peering. Oh, don’t
mind them, said St. Peter, they’re

Purists- watch out for their beacon swing,
it travels like a snake on a slippery plank. We
slept all night despite the core and pith of
that ugly worm. Come morn, his worship’s words
comforted. The bus departed with a lewd whisper.

The smoke of its breath hung on like the
dearly departed; its right rear fender scraped
by a bolt of lightning- a warning from Jehovah.
God bless good old heavenly terra firma, I quipped.
He said, lovely; learn by going where to go, my son.

The shape of the journey

Reboot- 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®

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