Poetry

‘Smoke signals’ and other poems

By: Jack Henry

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

the ‘i’m still here’ days

i hear people talking about them good ole days,
back in high school,
back at the quad or in the gym,
at a pep rally before the big game.
how those might have been the best days,
them good ole days.

and i remember my days,
my good ole days.
scoring speed from rich kids,
kids who shared connections with absentee parents,
lived with absentee landlords,
snorting endless lines through borrowed $100 dollar bills,
stealing expensive trinkets that no one missed.

and i think,
i prefer these days,
despite fascist overlords,
despite armed desperados riding in lifted pick-up trucks,
despite a government that left any sense of decency
in the Rose Garden at the White House.

these days -where i’m still here, still breathing,
moving, fucking, screaming.

are much better than six feet under days
a place where a number of those rich kids
from their good ole days
now call home.

###

deep blue sea

standing at the ebb of an incoming sea
i stare into the deep blue sea and think,
there are monsters here.

they wash ashore, rise from the ooze,
with shiny new arms and legs,
new skin, new eyes,
wearing flashy suits and smart shoes,
hair combed into high castles atop
mountains of dissimilitude.

###

smoke signals

it’s one of those days
where focus is not
available and i cannot
turn the volume down.

postcards from tropical
destinations cover
my tabletop and the milk
in fridge has gone bad.

morning is just a bad reminder
of yesterday afternoon.

you didn’t send me any
information, no smoke
signals from your foreign shores.

and now,
i wait for winter, long nights,
and trying to remember how
to be alone.

###

sanity

i want to slow down the sky,
creep along a flailing stream,
weave through tall grass
filled with bugs and long dead
dreams of salvation.

winter nears and black nights grow long,
the earth is cold and stale,
morning aches up
through aspen and pine.

he is not with me now,
nothing but ash in a glass jar
sitting up on a shelf
in a living room i no longer know.

the roar of a highway,
three miles south,
the only reminder of reality.

some days i go to town,
park in front of a diner,
watch people come and go.
a few might wave,
one says hello,
none will stop to inquire.
there’s mail and groceries
and other details to be
attended, but i see his
face in every step i take
on concrete or asphalt.

only when i find shelter
in amongst tall trees and
alpine meadows,
along the mewing shores
of a dead still lake,
will i find the calming moments
that keep me alive.

and memories of a gun
locked far away.

###

a cut that never stops bleeding

i’m distracted,
alone in my room
lights off, curtains
drawn tight; a bare
sliver of light
left for illumination;

a married couple upstairs,
one apartment over, fight nightly;
you could set time by their consistency;

glass shatters, furniture smashed,
yell, scream, shout;
and then the damning squeak
of their bed, headboard slams

bam, bam, bam;

sometimes i listen; sometimes
i leave, wander off
to a local bar or bodega, or
somewhere out of
reach of the

bam, bam, bam;

i see her, in the basement laundry room,
covered in scrapes and bruises;
she is beautiful, smart, occasionally funny;
when i ask, why don’t you leave?
she says, i dunno:

i should leave too
but i dunno why i stay:
it’s like a theme,
like insanity,
like a cut that never stops bleeding –

Categories: Poetry

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