“A Few Haiku (50)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#295)

in konara copse
ferns beckon
with come-hither fingers

…..

(#296)

white chrysanthemum
she sleeps in the cool embrace
of oak shadows

…..

(#297)

in the garden
corn silk and laughter
my mother’s memories

…..

(#298)

her impression left
on hand-made rice cakes
and my heart

…..

(#299)

I’ll cross the footbridge
soon enough but for now
let me enjoy the stream

…..

(#300)

live long enough
even the mountain will betray you
the forked path

“A Few Haiku (46)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#271)

blurred images and
a smudge of words on a page
is this all I am

…..

(#272)

puddle of cold wax
where my candle burned out
waiting for the light

…..

(#273)

thirty-six hours
between my tears and your death
a lifetime since then

…..

(#274)

fallow fields, dry ponds
fences in disrepair
long-dead memories

…..

(#275)

hope stretched thin and taut
across brittle bones of time
a dry husk of life

…..

(#276)

sorrow’s bedrock or
hope’s aquifer; either way
naught left but to dig

“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

“Anchor”

“Anchor”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

she sat there
9,000 miles away
on the edge of her bed
or the ledge of her building
I never knew which
and talked about anchors
and the black depths
of depression
and what it would feel like
to fly

“You’re my only reason
for being,”
she said
and was she laughing
or crying?
it’s hard to tell while
text-chatting
(damn my deaf ears)
“You’re the only anchor
I have left,”
she said
and there was a long

pause

and I thought I heard the
wind whipping past
my ears
and felt my heart
in my throat

“I’ll always love you,” she said
smiley face / crying face
emojis

my fingers wouldn’t work
my keyboard was mute
my mind as blank
as the empty miles
between us

“I had the dream again,” she said
I squeezed my eyes shut
while she typed
I didn’t want to read it again
but I was helpless against
the machinations of my own heart
and she pried them open
from across the sea

we walked hand-in-hand
in a flower-burst
mountain meadow
the colors like something
out of a kaleidoscopic acid trip
the sky the hue of ancient oceans
the capricious breeze
flirting with her obsidian hair
her caramel eyes closed
her face
enraptured
turned up to the sun
and we passed
through columbines
lupine fire-weed
monkshood sun flowers
while conifers and aspens
susurrated, whispering secretively
in the language of the trees
amid strange atonal birdsong

then the wind arose
intensified
and her feet left the ground

panic smudged the smile
from her face
and she looked at me
wide-eyed
horrified
as she floated up
toward the howling sky
as though she were
being drawn by some
anomalous gravity
and she cried out in terror
her eyes bulging
her hand crushing mine
in a death-vise
and she screamed
“Don’t let me go!”
over and over
as she was wrenched
from my grip
and sucked up
into the sun

I turned my head
her text a saline blur
my heart pounding
ears ringing

and a string of
crying face emojis
snaked across my screen

a few moments passed

“I’ll always love you…”
she repeated
and ended the chat

and I felt the dead weight
of a severed anchor
crush my heart

“A Few Haiku (43)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#253)

your shadow remains
in the nest of my heart
long since you took wing

…..

(#254)

let me rest my soul
in the cool shadows of the
north side of your heart

…..

(#255)

thoughtless koi in lotus pond
I hover above, god-like
and go unnoticed

…..

(#256)

take the dappled path
through the green konara copse
there I’ll find my way

…..

(#257)

evening mourning doves
will never let me forget
day’s death and night’s tears

…..

(#258)

I arrange the stones
into cairns of memories
lest I lose my way

“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 (30)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#175)

the burning earth
raging sea and starless sky
nature’s broken heart

…..

(#176)

the blowing snow
winter’s children play hopscotch
on frozen fields

…..

(#177)

nine thousand miles
and years of pain lie between
my heart and my soul

…..

(#178)

does she remember
in her tropical winter
my world of snow

…..

(#179)

drafts have stilled the hearth
killed the fire in my soul
endless winter night

…..

(#180)

ice in wash basin
fingers too frigid to wash
cold thoughts from my mind

“A Few Haiku (26)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#151)

drifting blizzard snow
not deep enough to inter
all the world’s sins

…..

(#152)

fallow field
without love and compassion
there can be no hope

…..

(#153)

the thresher’s flail
I am not yet able to
leave my past behind

…..

(#154)

iced boughs bend in shame
winter’s woe too bitter for
weeping willow’s tears

…..

(#155)

silent winter night
sound of my heart’s muffled cries
bereft of echoes

…..

(#156)

bitter reckoning
seeds of love in time shall meet
the harvester’s scythe

“A Few Haiku (25)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#145)

whispers of the dead
desiccated teasel stalks
haunt the winter field

…..

(#146)

fuyu no shika
scornful mountains echo
mournful stag’s lament

…..

(#147)

in the end
my heart gropes in darkness
on life’s lonely path

…..

(#148)

jade remembrance
the hitch in my chest
as my heart shatters

…..

(#149)

barren winter field
this heart of mine
bereft of yours

…..

(#150)

in silence in shadows
cold earth trembles beneath
blanket of regrets