The disquieting man

Mother, what ill breeding of me
Or what disfigured my life unsightly
Poor did I go unwisely kept?
Unasked of my church christening,
That a priest sent black and white
Dressed women with nodding heads
And bilious eyes, to cast me to a street.

A fate properly sealed, a promise
Seasoned to poverty, a vow stamped
With threadbare scruples? Perhaps.
I may never be immaculately clean, I
But hold my soul erect. I will wear my
Deeds behind tattered clothing; sharp
Is my mind- a voice to arise from the

Dankness. At a yes, to write without
Fame- on a journey that I may tease
Out thoughts from an aging mind, to
Navigate words with callous fingers;
But never to grovel a fee from the
Buffoonery of others, nor seek a
Reputation on a poem; to my own

Heart say, be satisfied with my
Unmistakable self, to walk in my way
Alone, free in the occasion to speak,
To proclaim my spirit and imagination;
So, if by chance, I win in some triumph,
I will render no share on cloistered steps.
I stand, not high it may be, but alone.

Copyright © 03/11/17 lance sheridan®


Letters of an ash

I made a fire of white ash and ember
It licked and
melted the cold; grain by grain of wood
rolled up the
smoke-stack into a night as gray as
stray pack dogs-
Dully colored as old letters and licked
postage cement
Words inside of love and how tired he
was, draining through
my fingers like sand. And my eyes
straining like a
dumb fish’s eyes on a sandy shore.

So, I poked at the carbon heat in my
paisley dress-
between one feeling and another
Flakes of
envelopes bending and cringing,
splitting open
like ripped bags; dying thoughts,
blackened edges
rising choking on sooted smoke
A tear, then
a tear wilting at my feet. Blue flame
shredding a
log with a blind eye, it consoles me.

Copyright © 03/05/17 lance sheridan®


A violin drips its music down

Summer garden of moth wings. Dusk gown of
violet, blue-
specks of black.
Night encroaches, circle moon, breathe the
in a mouthing.
A violinist in a frock coat, maestro of the dark.
He plays the music,
sister of
a song- dripping down a rabbit warren,
kneeling down
among the grass, dew dripping like a candle’s wax.

And the maestro, well past aging, and his fingers
grown milky,
yet with the bow bounces the flesh of the strings.
Their notes
plumb into the hollows, stoop over and kiss the
of shadows. Dare into the root of the soil of
a flower petal.
He walks in the music, but the night isn’t noticing,
thinks he’s
asleep in longevity. Lying down. And the voice of
nothing, tin white
(a bone white light, silence in a song).

Copyright © 03/01/17 lance sheridan®


Farm in a place, once

Compost compost piles.
Sold for a cent
Eggs to the takers
Rose for a hen.
Crop field a hindering
Push plow push plow push plow
How old is a farmer
Who is a wife.

That is the way they were.
Now without turning around
Time is and time does
A cunning
They would have like a thousand
Ten and twenty seconds.

Weeds grow nevertheless.
Resting cow
Resting bull
Next to an old frame brick
What is a size
Pause in a mortar.

Noisy wind noisy wind a coat.
Opposite it
Opposite it
A hand in earth
A finger in a porcelain cup handle.

Both next to a hurry.
Cousin to an end
Next to a farm empty
Pinned to a shirt.

Apron on a clothesline.
Cold seams
Begging to begging to begging to

Once so great so great.
Do both believe
Weigh the pieces in aged steps
Wheel turn
A little song so very very little
Place in an empty.



Just summer so

The hotel.
Just summer so.
He walked in, partly for the
Clocks in suggestion, minutes
a habit.
Having a room soon,
partly for a
romance. He bought her
flowers, makes older often.
He thought merry,
she without
pleasure on a Saturday.

Noise in or because.
To have
And to have just as
they were
Do they come then.
Join and just and join
and just

Just why they do so.
Their just
an assume
Dovetailed with
a would.

Just shown.
Love which
Which love to love
with, “My dear
how are you.”

They went.
And they left the
Very much better.





Not a beggar

A sun in a dried lake, in a Sunday
In a mud stow’s lope
in a water well- not a beggar
though, nor not of
a long beat echoing oar on a lock.

Pull a rope for an anchor- supper bell
for a dead fish,
bait in a rusted can; bounce a worm
on a clay spot, on a
sun day. Rain a negligence on a dry

Plate, scent of a drop not a mend
In between, heat in
a wade some here, hand dip like a
stone bending
No more people to swim in a stretch.

Copyright © 02/18/17 lance sheridan®




Life and bits of paper

Time today and time tomorrow
All time travels through
a gate into a garden of dust
where your thoughts are
echoing quietly, quietly; the minutes
of clouds ticking, ticking
disturbing the sky.

Disturbing the dust in a drained
pool where water
once flourished, thirsty flowers
looking down for a drink
and roses quietly, quietly
and shadows of birds circling
in your mind.

Their wings echoing quietly, quietly
like air over dried leaves
and the leaves were full of
memories of your childhood-
hidden excitedly in bits of paper
Remembered in the time
before and the time after.

Remembered in a dim light,
but not daylight
The stillness mocks the darkness-
woven into the silence
Solemn like dead secrets peering
through moments in a
garden of dust, echoing quietly, quietly.

Copyright © 01/29/17 lance sheridan®