“Shinrin-yoku” published at MasticadoresIndia

I’m pleased and honored to announce that my poem “Shinrin-yoku” has been published at MasticadoresIndia. Many thanks to Terveen Gill and her staff for their kindness and support in accepting my poem for publication. Terveen’s wonderful encouragement knows no bounds, and I’m delighted to have my poetry included at MasticadoresIndia. Thanks so much, Terveen!


I have bathed in forest’s em’rald essence
I have nestled, secreted away, in
Jade konara copse
I have placed my palms
Soft upon the scabrous skin of giants
Whose slowly beating hearts have shattered stone
Whose deeply delving fingers grip the earth
In lover’s embrace
Eternity is far too brief a time
For such a love as this, for such a love
Trees have for the earth
I have for the trees…

I’d be grateful if you would check out the rest of my poem by following this link. Also, be sure to follow/subscribe to MasticadoresIndia—it’s a wonderful place for those who love writing.

“A Few Haiku (46)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


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



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



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



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



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



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

“It’s Not Lost” chosen for collaborative Poetry Partners project at The Skeptic’s Kaddish

I’m pleased and honored to let you know my poem “It’s Not Lost” has been chosen for a Poetry Partners collaboration on The Skeptic’s Kaddish website. Many thanks to David Bogomolny for including my poem in his collaborative project. Please check out David’s blog to read the collaboration here. David is a prolific and amazingly talented poet whose work I admire, and I’m sure you will, too. Thanks, David! 🙂

“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

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

“Koto no Yume” published at MasticadoresIndia

I’m honored and humbled to share with you that my poem “Koto no Yume” has been published at MasticadoresIndia. This is the fulfillment of a life-long dream for me—to be a published writer—and I’m deeply grateful to Terveen Gill for her unwavering support and encouragement. Thank you, Terveen, and everyone at MasticadoresIndia, for your kindness in making this happen.

“Koto no Yume”

In dreamland forests of my soul I hear
What deafened ears in waking cannot know
A yearning in konara groves
That lilts in silent soft-edged shadows calls

The stream conversing with the hart has hushed
Its liquid-silver voice now mute…

I’d be delighted if you would check out the rest of my poem here. Also, be sure to follow/subscribe to MasticadoresIndia–it’s a wonderful place for those who love writing.

“A Few Haiku (45)”

(c) Michael L. Utley


scrub my memories
hang them on the line to dry
before the storm comes



summer thunderheads
the past tears a swath across
the plains of my soul



post-rain gloaming
ghost-light from an unseen sun
sorrow’s harbinger



in this endless night
even eternity flees
from my broken soul



sepulchral silence
as the stars spin overhead
in the dead of night



when my soul awakes
will I see the dawn of hope
or hope’s dying light

“A Few Haiku (44)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


fallow fields
granary of memories
not fit for planting



mackerel scale clouds
and silver shark fin moon
eventide rolls in



cool moist predawn air
condensation in my heart
stillness in my soul



evening rain
I break bread alone
in the dim stillness



memory garden
I hoe every living thing
just to kill the weeds



summer zephyrs sail
the green grain ocean
wheat waves


(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
(damn my deaf ears)
“You’re the only anchor
I have left,”
she said
and there was a long


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

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
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
and her feet left the ground

panic smudged the smile
from her face
and she looked at me
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


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



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



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



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



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



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

“A Few Haiku (42)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


barren apple trees
culled from orchards without thought
so many regrets



in the desert
all pretense is stripped away
only truth survives



wooden ladle and tin cup
and a bone-dry well
life’s futility



take the empty cup
drink my fill of nothingness
let me live in peace



dragging the river
somewhere in the murky depths
I may find myself



leave the stones unturned
let the clouds drift where they may
live in harmony