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

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

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

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   .  .  .