(c) 2017 by Michael L. Utley

There are no ripples
On this frozen pond
The puk-puk-puk of
The pebble
Skittering on iced skin
Dampened by
Frost-thick air
Breath caught short
In lung-numbed gasps
Silent words
In wintry sighs
Eyes pools of
Frigid tear-prisms
Bitter empty gelid rainbows
Where are you

You missed our flight to Tokyo
The cherry blossoms whispered your name
As Fuji, incurious and remote
Gazed white-helmed
At my solitary shadow
My empty hand
Holding more of you
Than my heart could bear
We did not walk
Beneath flicker-flamed
Paper lanterns
On blood-red bridges
Spanning koi ponds
Under the spring moon
The rising sun
Sought to kiss your cheek
But was denied
As I was denied

You missed auroras
Over Iceland
The Arctic colder
In your absence
The night sky draped
In shimmering iridescent
The emerald musings of some distant god
Snagged in dark desolation
My own thoughts of you
Caught in my own

You missed the candent sands
Of Morocco
Capricious zephyrs
Erasing my footprints
In a desert bereft of
Your footprints
We did not dance
In the summer swelter
Beneath date palms
And stars that sought
To light your way
But failed
Your body absent
In my arms
The scent of your hair
A distant memory which
Hot breezes scatter
In the night

You missed our train
To the Rockies
Where larkspur and columbine
Awaited you with open arms
And later mourned in silence
My singular form without you
By my side
We did not hold hands in
Flower-burst mountain meadows
Azure lakes reflected only
My lone countenance
As conifers murmured
Demurely in cool breezes
Wondering if you
Would ever arrive

You missed our drive
Through New England hills
Autumn maple and hemlock
A conflagration burning for you
Yearning for you
The birches and beeches smoldering
In my heart
Red-orange-gold leaves
Suiciding in silent sadness
Loneliness wearing my face
Stalks these woods
You are nowhere to be found

You missed my arrival
In Singapore
The airport a swarm
Of faces
A blur of oceanic humanity
As I searched for one safe harbor
One stormless island
In this storm of chaos
Your face
A lighthouse to guide me home
Your beacon never appearing
No fog horn guiding me safely
Through treacherous surf
Your bottomless brown eyes
Your smile cut roughly from this mural
A ragged hole where you should be
In my life

Perhaps you were a
All along

No ripples on this frozen pond
Not enough pebbles remain
To last until springtime thaw
One ripple is all I ask
One ripple to finally reach you
I’ll save a pebble
Just in case

(for Lizzy)

“The Thing on the Corner”

“The Thing on the Corner”
© 2013 by Michael L. Utley

The thing on the corner
That squalid revenant
That only I could see
As my daily peregrination
Took me through the city
Past vulgar monuments
To capitalism and greed
Through roiling seas of
Soulless apathetic drones
The mindless rhythm of
The ebb and flow of futility

The thing on the corner
That filthy phantom
That caught my eye
And no one else’s
A sort of uncanny gravity
About him
That caused my pace to slacken
As if I were being lured into
Some kind of anomalous orbit
Around this peculiar specter
Just a tug and then I was free
To continue along my way
In my daylight world of
Noise and glare and stench

The thing on the corner
That wretched eidolon
That haunted my dreams
That stood in judgment of
All who passed before him
On this unremarkable corner
In this forgotten city of despair
The bastard kin of
Minos, Aeacus and Rhadamanthus
His throne a decrepit cardboard box
His shroud a blanket that reeked of
Age and disease
His crown a greasy scarecrow of gray hair

The thing on the corner
That defiled shade
That I can barely see as
I approach him
He is a mirage
A flicker and a shimmer
I squint my eyes as I stand before him
There is static, a signal dying
Over the expanse of eternity
An imperceptible howl from
Another universe
I reach out a tentative hand
And touch him
For an instant he is there before me
Vital and filled with the
Energy of supernovas
His eyes are alive and
Radiate truth the brightness
Of a hundred suns
He is real
He does not speak but
Only looks at me
For a moment
For a lifetime
Then turns away
And fades to

And the oblivious masses mill
Through the city streets like cattle
To the slaughter
And the city sighs
As anesthetic night descends