The eyes of the blind

She remembered the cold clouds,
The black statements
In a country no longer heard of;
Voices once like a long needle in an arm,
Tattooed over with government ink.

She might be white, she might be shy,
But she never stooled;
Rather, played deaf and dumb on a stringless harp,
Empty and ignored.

Her fingers wagged, her mind went blank,
Yet, she survived awhile;
Once a dream girl, now an engraving in a mirror,
It knows nothing. Like a vacuous sheet on a clothesline.

She remembered the men, their fingers arranging her life,
Their pallor white as a marriage dress,
Surgeons implanting the silver disk in her head,
She doesn’t speak;
Her hands are full of words, yet muzzled by her tongue.

But what about her eyes? Tortured, now dark
Funnels covered and blind, hedged into a silence.
Empty shell of her old self, she sleeps.
Dreams pierced by a crying; she is guilty of nothing.

Copyright © 04/28/18 lance sheridan®

Hope 1886 by George Frederic Watts 1817-1904


The mist-wraith wound

Mud-like, her keel struck
A bottom, echoing sound from the sea street,
Tacking a sail in the crook of night;
Wood built from a yard, she heard her timbers
Ignite in a listing, twisted canvas dwindling,
Displaced into a wet blue color.

Crew’s voices echoing from a wind wall
Into the darkness, dwarfed figures
Shoulder high, dwindling into a salt material
Of thoughts, thinning into nothing;
Fringe of a wound to a knot, thin to a nothing.

Wakened heads of waves ignore, incessant
To a drowning; the ship’s drowsed,
Displaced in a sinking. Far from a cloud land,
A lifeboat in a hurried row; goodbye to
A wooden grail, a pirateer with black bones.

Sea trailed to a port, hung by a yardarm,
Footsoles of ghosts displaced,
Cusped towards another sail; knelt down
In a broadside. Loomed absolute in the sway
Of the dreaming skull.

Copyright © 04/21/18 lance sheridan®

The mist-wraith wound




The princess and the troll

From an artesian well the pure water
Trickling beneath a bridge,
Blunt stones cocked askew,
Sprigs of ivy clamor and yawp
Rather impromptu in a fantasy land.

Hocus-pocus clutched in a wizard’s hand,
Suddenly a princess from a nymph
(Confined within); now gaily dancing,
She turns trolls into stone hordes;
But later frees one and turns him into a prince.

Hand in hand abracadabra, once a mountain
Now a castle with a tower or two,
Steeple ravening toward the height of a sky;
And of blunt lances sprigged with daisies,
‘Tis my fantasy, bragged the princess.

From my sweet soul spurns an opulent life for all;
Fields green, finned seas, golden eggs,
Staircases to the stars studded with diamonds;
Alas, she still had a beggar’s brain,
Sleight-of-hand wanting more.

The wizard wrenched the works,
Jilted her squandering, fortunes no more.
Now amongst the trees in the forest,
A half-princess, half-nymph
Happily ever after with a troll of stone.

Copyright © 04/14/18 lance sheridan®

The princess and the troll

Panned out

Gold nugget cry from the greenhorn certainty
of an aging prospector
remembering seventy autumns in a city
and how the brightly colored leaves
once upon came sliding down on his youth
persuaded by his feverish traveling notion.
He ignored the doom of others
who panned for gold in a metal season.
Even the deceased laughed among the gravestones.

This city slicker’s hands stood wrist deep in time,
and never mourned,
remembering seventy autumns,
with the bright sun of seventy years parched upon his lips
and his eyes half blind with memories.

But someone came shooting to a claim jump,
a dull death in a Sunday stream.
Jealousy opened a sluice,
watered the black roses.
The shell of a city man lay face
down in trickling water.

In the guild of greed, dark clouds, dark clouds.
So came the gold rush swarm,
locusts of men.
So dumb they used the gun sound,
haunched like pack dogs
grinning over the bones of gold.

They aged and swallowed the sparkling dust,
streams shrunk to a clay pot.
The swarm were knocked into a cocked survival,
worming themselves into poverty’s niches,
city alleys, a crotch street.
Beggars panhandling for a morsel.

Copyright © 04/08/18 lance sheridan®

Panned out

The prison

From wind howling through a black brick prison
The iron bars are rusting, shadows of voices
Bickering under a sea’s collapse,
Salt cakes and corrosion. Sentences tossed
Into gritted waves leaping
The stonewalls, leaving empty cells
Tin white like arsenic; wet mortar,
Milk steadily for a tide,
Washes over a salt marsh, haven for a bier.

Black gulls dive where a black sea runs,
They know the bottom, they know the
Squall waves dancing
Through cellar windows, drowning inmates.
Their bodies snapped and froze,
Lanced by a cold wind;
Bodies and wintering left behind
To the filled-in sea sand,
Shipwreck planks as headstones.

Gray waves mulish, tossed at
A failed institution;
What a sluttish system could do.
Humans so battered, spewed relics massed
Into a dark prison, littered into
A rutted sea. Planked-up coffins rotted in a salt,
Shark jaws obstinate to a meal.
Such collusion with contemptible guards;
The red sea ran to the cell door knob.

Copyright © 04/04/18 lance sheridan®

The prison

Soliloquy of the earthen woman

Of clay and earth
All alone;
Walk the soil street
My eyes closed,
Dreaming under a dense lid cloud,
Leafing through volumes of poetry: free
From all bullying. The rough boys,
Fit nowhere in my sleep,
Like unwanted pages on a bookshelf.

Under the moon’s onion shape
Am unaware of how
The marionettes dangle,
Expressionless and getting drunk,
Soon will seize a prize
Will take me hostage and waken my nerves;
Blenched, as one shaped into a
Death mood.
Crypted into a drear headstone.

No place it seemed
To laugh, kiss, seize a living,
The simulacrum of a breath too tough
For an ending;
To forbid a sullen ash heap fitting into
A thick foliage of hate.
Yet, despite my tears, my praying,
A rendering evil in a blink;
My mood like an unforbidden flower.

No longer claiming a feeling,
In my flesh the sling of arrows
Quite clear.
Maltreated my body, outrageous blood,
Collapsing into a dwindle;
Glowering over me,
My mouth silted with flowers
In a shocking wise.
All my beauty, my wit, descant for a pyre.

Copyright © 04/01/18 lance sheridan®

Soliloquy of the earthen woman

With smoking breath

Against crackling ash and timber,
What fire runs, what craving wakes
The flesh of man; smoke haggard through
Their lungs — insatiated, they bulldoze
The jaguar land; flatten the monkey vine.

A super highway awaits the asphalt, awaits
The smog, seals off the breathing;
First peoples threading back deeper, looking
For the pure — the old trees, the river,
Now a morgue of old logs and vanishing water.

Rare species litter cracked mud with bones,
Unload their grief on the heels of progress,
Canopies creak and ache draining into a burning;
Poisonous frogs in a rending: blood, crying,
Howlers charred, starving for a body.

Spawning shade, midnight cloaks — marauders
Gutted to a reflection in a footprint pool;
Light, a sunder, crunch of indefatigable life,
Spikes the heat in a vacuous white;
Filament by filament, ravens with a merciless claw.

The voice of heavy machinery quickens a road,
North bound, south bound motorcars vein a forest;
A doom consummates a parking lot — waylays
A new growth. Halts a pace of greenness; souls dying
For a breath. They collapse into a grave like a lung.

Copyright © 03/30/18 lance sheridan®

With smoking breath