Bardo Mind [Free Verse]

lost in a disembodied
Bardo state

fantastical happenings
mainlined into consciousness

with a side of swirling 
phantasm

and all the angry demons

and all the faceless gods

churn around the periphery

The War Mangled [Free Verse]

I heard the dead children,
their voices lilting on the wind.

The war-torn twice born
came crawling in under the wire,
bloody and shell-shocked,
but among the living, 

but the rest floated away:
their words
becoming both milder 
& more raucous,
never fully drowned out by
bombs or crossfire chaos.

BOOK REVIEW: Karmen by Guillem March

KarmenKarmen by Guillem March
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon.in Page

Out: May 17, 2022

My tagline for this book would be: Neil Gaiman’s “Death” [i.e. from “The Sandman”] meets Paulo Coelho’s “Veronika Decides to Die.” For those unfamiliar with either of those points of comparison, the former is a character that subverts the traditional scary Grim Reaper, replacing the faceless hood with a personable and endearing lass, and the latter is the story of a young woman whose actions force her to learn the lesson of that old chestnut: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

While it’s convenient for me to present the book in this “X meets Y” summation, it’s a unique story, diverging from both of those tagline references in many important ways. For example, the model of the afterlife is not Judeo-Christian like Gaiman’s, but is more Buddhism meets bureaucracy. [There I go again with the X meets Y.] I found the story captivating, and thought the character development was skillfully presented, particularly as regards the character of Cata.

I struggled with whether I liked the tone of the ending, but I’ll say no more about that to avoid spoilers — except to say that it grew on me. The art was beautiful and I found it to be an all-around entertaining read. Highly recommended.

View all my reviews

Midnight Circus [Free Verse]

The Midnight Circus
was not as it seemed.

It was bright colors:
motion-blurred.

It was the tinny monotony 
of music box-style 
tinkling tunes
&
organ tones.

One could even make
out the scent of fried foods
and cotton candy,
among the many other
[uncircus-like]
odors.

But there was also the story
a mind wrote to
dance sensory facts 
into sensory fictions;
that was where the falsity lie.

If one opened one's eyes,
letting them focus:
there'd be sparking wires,
&
 flames licking ever closer.

The shrill organ tones would 
become screams.

The summer night's 
humid heat would become 
third degree burns.

The circus smells would
become dust and death 
and acrid burnt combustibles.

So, he didn't open his eyes
to war or his impending demise,
but let his mind march
into that big musty, canvas tent,
surrendering to its irreality.

DAILY PHOTO: Mausoleums, Atlanta

Taken in November of 2021 in Oakland Cemetery, Atlanta
Taken in Westview Cemetery of Atlanta, November 2019
Oakland Cemetery

Cemetery Walk [Free Verse]

And in the end,
the dead are still
and the graveyard's quiet
is not so bad.

The monuments weather;
in due time,
letters become less crisp
&
dates become debatable.

A clean read means
there maybe someone 
left to mourn.

And fresh flowers mean that someone
has tracked their melancholy 
through the place,
and the air feels heavier,
and my mind feels heavier.

And I read names:
familiar & not,
popular & not.

I read names to distract me
from thoughts of my own dead --
to avoid tracking my own melancholy
through the place.

For, you see,
I've brought no flowers.

Jacob’s Ladder [Free Verse]

I'm dripping into midnight --
my world has disappeared.

My eyes crack to light and life,
but I forgot to hear --
remembering, 
the silence is broken 
& I hear a rhythmic clack.

But I can't help but wonder,
where it is that I'm at?

I'm at the bottom of a wooden staircase,
too steep to be sound,
looking up until perspective
makes the case vanishingly thin.

Should I climb the staircase?

What else can I do?

Will I wake
half way up,
and find myself
in the blue?

The laws of dreams force my hand,
I can't stand paralyzed,
and I'm halfway to infinity
by means that I know not. 

And I'm thinking of the line from that 
children's prayer:
"If I should die before I 'wake,"
and I think:

"What the hell is wrong with parents?"
that's the thought upon which you're going
to leave with your child
to "go to sleep?"

And you're wondering why the 
kid is up all night?

Because dying in one's sleep
doesn't start to seem
like a fine prospect
until one is an octogenarian. 

And so I sleep...

Quick to Dead [Couplets]

I gasp in my last minute living loud,
I'd dreamt of being carried on a cloud.
But,
My body 's too heavy, my mind too light,
and nothing remains once I'm failed by sight.

Just a pile of death stacked before the door,
as carrion feeders squawk out for more.

In eternal darkness, that endless void,
I was once created, & now once destroyed.