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

Just Another Dave at the Yella Dove

we should have known by his halo of ill
luck . . . another dave.     he and june kissing
over shots and taking shots at each other
between beer chasers and the next song playing
on yella dove’s new jukebox,   all cd
and mostly seedy  —  such mélange of rock
ballads heavy with big hair and faggoty
guys in earrings and retro-future fits
of mtv fashion   . . .   and june just off
her meds after her twelve-round bout with
eddie and cocaine;   that poor dave hadn’t
a geisha’s chance in a baptist judgement day
and none of us decent enough to warn
a piteous stranger of scorpion stings   . . .

david m pitchford
3 August 2013

Saved by Moonlight

days like these my tongue sticks to my cheek and teeth
hiding from every banal word, every clichéd
thought, every remonstrance against a stingy
universe overheated with summer
and stifled with ubiquitous stupid
doing, done, potential and realized   .  .  .
but then some unuttered thought springs forward
begging audience and expression,   not
a great thought, deep or philosophical,
but a thought as real as moonlight on water   —
something true if simple in its beauty,
and my heart surges, eyes alight with stars,
hand reaches for stylus as my voice frees
itself from clenched silence to say and sing.

Waking Shaking Cold Sweat

overwhelming,     this desire to throw myself
headlong into some romance that glistens
like stars reflected from gently lapping pools
under dim moonlight and the haze of night.
her cerulean eyes speak of Gemini
dreams filled with traditional homemaking
to the beat of a little drummer boy
before the Child’s manger temple,     angels
serenading the world with good will and peace
on earth   .  .  .   but suddenly I’m running headlong
into the desert to find the lion
roaring in streets of fire whence temptation
accusation and damnation pounded
on pulpits in joyless Beethoven beat.

Thin Lines and High Roads

it’s all candlelight against infinite
darkness           deadfall into oblivion   .  .  .
a kiss in gethsemane’s back alley
one betrayal on the way to martyrdom
roman lash across the shoulders     salted
venom rubbed to wound the wounded     insult
to injury all in the name of wasted
passion sinking like blood into time’s sands.

yet who can refuse the next breath of life
given its mysterious alternative
terrifying in the face of aspirations
dreams and longings and gloried ambitions
even the love of the moment of sunshine
or the joy of drenching in a soft spring rain   .  .  .