denial of mortality ceases at undeniable news

we screamed against the coming of the night
our howls blending into a chorus of life
righteous beauty rained on and sparkling bright
in the failing light of waning afternoon
and then the gloaming the sunset the song
sung sad of day dead at night’s glorious
hand . . . sudden came the darkness though only
perhaps seeming sudden from the dying light

agog we stared as the distant stars took up
our song to sing night alive. fear assuaged
we took up the halting dance of one seeing
only vaguely and vaguely understanding
until jubilant faith replaced fear and we
came to accept transition as a gift.

david m pitchford
26 feb 2014

Kentucky February Snowfall

deep blue rhythm of arctic winter grasps
in chill fingers southern haven belies
comforts, jails them in frosted winter world
when to end? when to end? for warmth they pray
though to whom none can certain say, they pray
and curse and burn more fuel, wood, gas, coal
smoke and steam escaping impotent to heat
the world and its arctic sky snowing slow.

just weeks from vernal equinox they cry
against cold nights and bitter frost as robins
chatter of seeds and plenty and coming
pleasance under skies of promise — flowers
soon to triumph over latency and frost
filling the vernal world with truth and beauty.

david m pitchford
26 feb 2014

What Their Son Saw

theirs was a marriage of perfect hatred
refusing to leave lest the other cease
to suffer the shared hell they had so long
labored mindless, heedless, ruthless to build
on a bedrock of resentments taken
from the past and shared between them as though
it were some poison edenic fruit fate
had determined they must partake and die
that most painful and enduring of hells:
workaday life in bad relationship
till bitterness welds them into single
symmetry just in time for death to part
leaving one to cold comfort tasting of dirt
and the other empty-smug satisfaction

david m pitchford
26 feb 2014

Not For Temptation

craig got out of rehab about a month ago
was doing so well until a coworker
brought up a horse named wildcatter — the name
somehow made it all real again, the tracks
the horses gate-to-wire and wagers won
once in a while just enough one more gods
grant me luck today . . . and how can normies
live without those highs? without the lows, live?
but, no , craig coaches himself, he has a higher
power now and steps against that seduction.
an hour later and craig is sweating bullets
though still at work, the quitting bell is set
to ring him home and no overtime in sight
somehow, some way, he’ll manage the beast this time.

David M Pitchford
19 Feb 2014

At the Finish

such a simple goal it seemed: write a thousand
poems. twenty-nine months it took to write
them, and that is the surprise. so much time,
so much life come and gone rivers flooded
droughts come and gone ice storms and ice fog nights
summer with tornadoes and storms of past
resurrected to haunt the now such love
gained and lost lovers won and tossed aside
not for lack of love, never that, but for
incompatibilities love not over-
comes . . . the dog euthanized . . . landslide crumbled
to dust returned the father leagues of life
traversed and each mile unmarked is a poem
failed or captured matters nothing in the end. . . .

David M Pitchford
11 Feb 2014

Bobby Prays

small town nebraska 1972

young boy severed of his fond affections
prays to a concept he not understands
—God, be God—
he prays tears burn streaking his dirty face
—we all need you sometimes
be real oh, God, be real
and if not, if not, God,
create Yourself, God
because You are God, God
and can do anything! be real—

his heaven shakes
lash-bruised body quakes
as he draws yet another
pain-wracked breath
in a life short but filled
with oxygen-starved breaths
and some natural tenderness
he cannot name
mother’s love . . .

God, be real
or create Yourself, God
he prays on bruised knees

David M Pitchford
11 Feb 2014

For the Love

in the basement of a colorado bungalow
in drywall plaster sculpted
with a cheapass trowel from home depot
my honorific oblige to van Gough
*starry night* in relief
not simply to his opus
but to the life the man the mania
art for art and beauties’ sake
because life is light flung against
dark nothing and the light will out
it finds a way through leonard cohen cracks
through pinholes and brush strokes
through seams dissected by poets
sculptors architects composers
fueled ever by love
love of the art, of the self, of light and life
love of a woman all women
love of a man all men
love of humanity and being
human . . . .

David M Pitchford
11 Feb 2014

Melancholia Retrograde

sitting alone in empty
this room ghosts full and memory
all retrograde
with mercury and all their eyes
and hearts       loves of other lifetimes     gone
gone     gone     never to forgotten go
into oblivion do we know     feel?     see
blue eyes forgiving baptized in tears hot streaming?

to that poison question,     love,
departure was the only answer
question of forever crawling
on zombie knees to scrape doors
into dark dreams and its contagion
brings us all to rancid dust
down to dust   gone to dust
dust to dust retrograde
in mercury days of nuclear
sun flares washing clean
nothing but open space-time
time time past gone too far
for nostalgia to intervene   .  .  .  .

David M Pitchford
10 Feb 2014