“You There”

“You There”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

I can only bleed so much
but it’s never enough
to satisfy you, is it
nevermind my shattered soul
and flesh flayed wide
no secrets left
no shadowed clefts
to hide what’s left of me
just the cold glare of reality
and the medicinal stench
of silent eternity

you there
who wields the hammer
of sanity
whose blood-caked hands
crush worlds
whose vacuous eyes
speak of
distant crimson suns
and blue corpse-light
you there
who rends flesh from bone
blackens sun and moon
you there
whose wretched grin
devours universes
vaporizes souls

you there

what is it you want from me

my essence torn
cell from cell
bones a useless armature
not even a sigh left
in my lungs
all that remains is my mind
and that’s what you want
isn’t it

I have known you
all my life
your honeyed lies
and soothing growls
drain existence of
hue and humor
your breath upon my neck
fetid and abominable
your raging roars
shake my skull numb

but you shall not have
my quicksilver trees
and lavender skies
my sickle moon dozing
above autumn wheat fields
my green silence
in konara copses
my humming leas
of flea bane and lupine
and forest-carpet ferns
these are mine
forever

you there

you will destroy me
in the end
but my world
will live on
free of your rage and
blight and bluster
and that is
all that matters

“A Few Haiku (40)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#235)

so much damage done
by such delicate fingers
and a blackened heart

…..

(#236)

how soothing the words
whispered to a shattered heart
by her serpent’s tongue

…..

(#237)

days of green silence
heart fern-bound in oak shadows
dreaming with the trees

…..

(#238)

I have not yet reached
terminal velocity
my life in free-fall

…..

(#239)

carved into the bark
of my heart, her initials
overgrown with grief

…..

(#240)

bright sun hurts my eyes
just as hope singes my soul
best to stay inside

“A Few Haiku (39)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#229)

snap-beans in a wooden bowl
and tears on her cheeks
my mother’s sorrow

…..

(#230)

pre-dawn mourning
her eyes on the horizon
searching for the light

…..

(#231)

in konara copse
my soul seeks solace
in the still shadows

…..

(#232)

my reflection gone
even the stream forsakes me
as I drift away

…..

(#233)

these numb fingers
I can’t feel the difference
between hope and despair

…..

(#234)–(for Eivor and Pearl)

beneath verdant trees
joy and peace walk side by side
on the dappled path

“A Few Haiku (38)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#223)

sorrow begets joy
from the ashes of my soul
a columbine

…..

(#224)

what can harsh words rend
that kind words cannot assuage
the healing rain

…..

(#225)

under starless skies
my heart sings a silent dirge
night wind in the trees

…..

(#226)

my regrets are mine
my shame wears my haggard face
my soul weeps alone

…..

(#227)

vagaries of life
my heart’s buoyancy in doubt
on my soulless sea

…..

(#228)

what my heart demands
my mind cannot comprehend
and my soul rejects

“A Few Haiku (37)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#217)

clarity sundered
in the swelter and the din
of scorched memories

…..

(#218)

fitting denouement
thoughtless birds and bitter breeze
signify the end

…..

(#219)

I behold the stars
through the blurred prisms of tears
hope is beyond reach

…..

(#220)

holes in the pockets
of my soul; I lost myself
somewhere on the way

…..

(#221)

aloof stars shine on
while constellations of lives
perish on the earth

…..

(#222)

take my hand, my friend
do not cry, do not despair
you are not alone

“A Few Haiku (36)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#211)

the empty cistern
my poetry garden dies
in this wordless drought

…..

(#212)

that cur depression
skulks on the periphery
hyper-vigilant

…..

(#213)

thoughts bereft of words
prisoners inside my head
silent penitence

…..

(#214)

desiccated soul
slakes its thirst from murky meres
roams my sunless mind

…..

(#215)

mental exhaustion
I can no longer pretend
everything is fine

…..

(#216)

parts of me have died
that no one will ever know
nor will ever mourn

“Sea of Trees”

“Sea of Trees”
(c) 2019 by Michael L. Utley

To slake my thirst
With dew from leaves that never see the light
Arboreal the tears that fall and quench
The darkest dreams

To fill my bowels
With loam whose cloying scent bespeaks of death
Arboreal the taste of living earth
My hunger begs

To see the gleam
‘Neath tenebrous shadows and rayless groves
Arboreal the blackest night in day
Below the boughs

To run rough hands
O’er scabrous bark and hardened boles and moss
Arboreal the pillars scrape the sky
In breezes weep

The silence holds
Forbidden knowledge
The silence holds
The universe
The silence holds
The truth

The path wends through
This living thing, this thing that sighs and cries
And dies and eats itself a cannibal
Whose roots betray sorrowful sentience
Whose trunks hold back the sky with anguished might
Whose limbs strain forth in melancholy pleas
A beckoning

A reckoning
The path into the gloom is just a path
With littered leaves and lichen on the rocks
And overhead the canopy to keep
The sky from falling down under the weight
Of lifetimes filled with torment and regret
It’s just a path

No need to fear
The forest welcomes me it knows my name
Envelops me in arms of somber green
It sings to me a song of silent peace
It pulls me down the path on wings of leaves
It whispers of a place where I may rest
And leads me there

There are others
Herein among the endless sea of trees
Herein among the caverns and the gulfs
Herein among the secrets and the cries
Which echo faintly in sepulchral voids
Herein where many come and none return
There are others

These are my kin
These shades that linger far beyond their time
And welcome me with soundless empty stares
And follow me along the darkling path
And shimmer as mirages in the air
And fade away as if they’d never been
Into the trees

The silence holds
Everything

Arboreal
My personal Aokigahara
My sea of trees my jade remembrance
There is a place just off the path ahead
A place of sodden leaves and broken twigs
And bitter cold that numbs away all pain
A resting place

I am not that boy who saw the sun
I have never seen the sun nor shall
I see only trees

“Air/Water/Air”

“Air/Water/Air”
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
 
There is no air
Down there
Down in the dark
Where I choke
On my life
Nature abhors
A vacuum
But rage
Thrives
Therein
 
Emptied
Gutted
A carcass
Rotting
Under a red
Alien sun
Gasping a mere
Reflex
I am a fish
Cast upon the shore
Drowning on nothing
Dried eyes
Blind
Bulging
I see nothing
So nothing exists
The calm susurrus of the waves
Is the great deception
I cannot reach
The water
I am not fit for the
Fisherman’s net
The cry of the gull
The sigh of sea grass in the breeze
The languid flap of my tail
The hard hot stones of the beach
The stench of all things
The sea
 
I try to scream
But there is no
Air