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

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Moonlight in a Gone Garden

you once were the moonlight

in a garden gone to seed

now a sweet opal of memory

friend no more distant than my heart

all those meteor nights we gazed

dreamily skyward long past

but our friendship still temperate

and passions mature with passing years

this is the real life

after fantasy fades

Anonymous Reunion

hey how are you      ya look good old buddy
eyes are bright but a wee bit bloodshot     clear
though    not bleary      lost some weight I see   slimmed
quite a bit and lost that beer gut          face is lean
too     without that washed out look I recall
are you still on the wagon       on again
on again     goes that way trying to get
sober after so long livin in bottles

me        yeah been drinkin too much coffee same
as ever since my first meeting and   .  .  .   well
you remember how that went and now I’m
sponsor to them sponsored me those years ago
but that’s the program and it sticks with you
if you stick with it   —   how much time ya got?

Crossroads Staircase

that glass cross atop the mirror?     you ask.
there’s a story . . . given me by a glass
artisan at a meeting,     convention
or rally,     call it what you will,     of folks
prone to meetings if you take my meaning.

I recall only his bright eyes and genuine
disposition,     his eagerness toward earnest
and devotion to the steps   —   his gift an
act of the twelfth as I lingered somewhere
near the fifth,   soul as hollow as hungover

eyes   .  .  .   my road to sobriety one of
potholes and suffering infrastructure   .  .  .
the cross is to remind of higher powers;
mirror to remind:   lonely is not alone.

David M Pitchford
2 September 2012

War Stories #79

without cindy here day in and day out,
I don’t know     .      .     .      but without the program, I
sure as hell wouldn’t be around to share
these stories of courage without strength, these
forlorn tales of those caught under the bus,
run over in life’s sideway paths lost be-
tween the cracks     .     .     .      without this hope, without
wisdom shared and bullets bitten within
fellowship, how could I hope to arti-
culate these dramas faced and unfaced drunk
sober and drunk again, now sober to
remain, twelve steps out of hell and walking
hand-in-hand with the unlikely love of my life,
my once and forever partner, cindy.

David M Pitchford
27 Oct 2011            *final of this project to be posted

War Stories #47

maybe two weeks after donna’s funeral,
julie looked me up, dragged me from a meeting
to share some bad news. she had contracted
h.i.v. from somewhere, unsure whether
from a john or from a dirty needle.
either way, it was not to worry me,
as I had never shared her or her spikes.
but then she had to tell me that somehow
that gang from saint louis had gotten our
names and were on the hunt for all of us.
a banger I knew from meetings confirmed
this, and said I could buy my way free of it
for the right price . . . that’s what got me downstate,
and, by God, somehow it’s all for the good.

David M Pitchford
24 Oct 2011

War Stories #19

god knows what georgy was doing on top
of absinthe that night. all jacked up he got
it in his head that he was a turnip
or some such shit, and took a wire brush to
himself. billy told him a paring knife
might work better, and then we all watched dazed
and mortified while georgy started cutting
chunks out of his own torso with a dull
hunk of steel from the kitchen. back then,
roxanne, a trauma nurse, was hanging out
with us and helping find us fixes—she
clocked him with the absinthe bottle, strapped him
down and stitched him up with fishing line well
enough to keep us from repercussions.

David M Pitchford
23 Oct 2011