The Evil Thing

Photo by null xtract from Pexels

I don’t know where it came from
Somehow it’s always been there
Watching, taunting, mocking me
Blinkless eyes and empty stare

I must’ve thrown it out
A thousand times before
To find it back again
And watching me once more

I locked it in the attic
In shadows black and deep
For once I felt so peaceful
For once my fears could sleep

I went about my life
The evil thing was gone
And yet it lurked above
Its moment yet to come

And come it did one day
When feeling battered, living,
I found it waiting for me
Familiar comfort giving

Slowly I succumbed
And falling at its perch
Delivered to it offerings
With reverence besmirched

As the world outside grew colder
The evil was an ally
My confidante and succor
On whom I could rely

But it was I grown cold
My own eyes grown dim
The evil wore me down
I ushered in the grim

I’ve woke up to the truth
I know it’s not my friend
I know it wants to kill me
It wants to see my end

I want to throw it out again
Remove it from my midst
But I can feel it watching me
Its blinkless eyes affixed

I made a home for evil
And turned my back to all
Alone with the empty eyes
Of a simple kewpie doll

Split the Page

It’s been a minute since I posted anything here. “Life’s what happens,” etc. My wife and I have been slowing moving into our new house, so I’ve been otherwise preoccupied.

The good news is, the packing process has turned up a bunch of random scribblings. This is a poem fragment I wrote in 2018 (I think).

Unfocused eyes split the page
I rub them into alignment
Too many thoughts are lost
As the eyes wander away

Wrist protests the motion
Of scratching ink onto the page
Which is, again, split
I rotate the wrist
I close the eyes

So many thoughts are wasted
I can’t pour them out fast enough
Can’t scratch enough ink
Across fractured pages

Hi, My Name is Gerund

Hi, My Name is Gerund

I am aging
My hair graying, thinning
My waist expanding
My clock is ticking
My past extending
My time is fleeting
My heart is beating
My lungs are breathing
And my body moving
If somewhat slowing
And also aching

But at least I’m present
Not yet present perfect
And far from perfect
Far enough along
To see the end and the beginning
And always beginning
As if to forestall the end

And so I’m running
Ever striving
Goddammit! Trying
But I would be lying
If I were saying
I wasn’t fretting
The day my gerunds
Stop

Bela

Elegant deceiver,
What monsters lurked inside
To turn you to the needle,
Such a wicked place to hide?

What voices in the dark
Shook your soul so fierce
As creeping fingers found
A coursing vein to pierce?

Did you draw the blood to verify
The vein you found was ripe?
Did you lick your lips as poison slipped
Beneath your skin so white?

What horrific visions
Around you madly spun?
How soft and slow your heartbeat
As you sat there, stoned and numb?

And then to find your savior
Was the beast that would destroy
How panicked and betrayed you
Must have felt, the monster’s toy

Your power once commanding
Withered, corpse-like, old and gray;
No more fear for virgin hearts,
Your instrument betrayed

No more the Count but Renfield,
Starving, raving mad
Clutching at the memories
Of the life you used to have

And by your hand ‘twas done.
The killer and the slain.
Oh, elegant deceiver,
Your loss, a mortal shame

Playing Possum

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Image by csbonawitz from Pixabay

Note: I was digging through old drafts last night, and found these song lyrics in an untitled document from January 2014. I’m not sure what exactly inspired these words, but at that time I was in my third month of unemployment after being laid off from a dream job. Safe to say I wasn’t feeling great about the world.

Moon is high, mercury low
Cars fly by the end of my nose
I’m playing possum in the middle of the road

Heard a noise somebody made
Nowhere to hide, feeling afraid
I’m playing possum in the middle of the road

I only look like roadkill
In fact I’m feeling quite well
But I’m gonna stay oh so very still
While hoping you go along to hell

Biding my time, biting my tongue
Don’t want to fight, no strength to run
I’m playing possum in the middle of the road

Second Cherry Revision

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Photo by Min An from Pexels

The boring, unglamorous work of screenwriting
Seems, to me, a fitting metaphor for being human.
The bits and pieces of ideas, snippets of dialogue,
Coalesce into a rough draft. Notes from trusted eyes
Clean up the zealous, adolescent narrative
And over time we’re ready to present the “White Draft.”

Decisive black letters on crisp white paper.

But as the demands of production come in,
As roles are cast and locations secured,
As the dialogue between writer and director continues,
Pages are rewritten.

To make things easier, only the edited pages are replaced.
As this process continues, if you follow the WGA pattern,
You wind up with a sheaf of rainbow-colored pages
(At least metaphorically, since no one prints on cherry-red paper)

Clunky dialogue is replaced.
Leaps of logic, cleaned up.
Plot holes, filled.
Extraneous nonsense, removed, replaced by all-caps OMITTED.
But many early words are retained. The heart of the story, retained.

Every now and then, you see a finished movie
That clearly needed another draft.
Every now and then, a page-one rewrite is called for.
Sometimes a screenplay goes into turnaround,
And new partners are found to work with.

But here’s where the metaphor breaks down:
Most screenplays don’t benefit from change.
They gather dust in a pile of other abandoned screenplays
Or worse, are tossed in the trash, forgotten, irrelevant.
While the ones that get made are forever fixed in one form.

That’s not you. That’s not me.
There are further revisions to be made.
Further revisions are being made, all the time.
What pages are you on?

Looking Back

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photo by Eric Dekker

When you look back along
The road from which you came
To glance back at the fork
Where once you made a choice
And then continued on
What do you hope to see?

An echo of yourself
A distant shadow there
Or just your footprints etched
Silent, stopped in place
As once you were yourself
Considering your choice

Perhaps there’s nothing there
The fork lost in the mist
As lost as you feel now
But didn’t feel back then
As you made up your mind
And onward, took a step

Constant Dark Companion

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Image CC0 Public Domain, via pxhere

It follows me, a reeking shadow full of blight
I feel it as it skirts around just out of sight
Its disconcerting footfalls echo without rest
In syncopation with the pounding ‘neath my chest
Forever taunting, haunting me, close in its chase
I try to face it but I cannot see its face

When darkness comes and I retire to my room
In shadowed corners, lingering, I feel it loom
A quiv’ring fear gives way to reckless courage drawn
My eyes spring open–turn to face it–find it gone
Its shallow, rattled breathing I can still discern
And lay awake all night lamenting its return

My constant dark companion gives me no reprieve
Refusing to be seen, persistently to cleave
I cannot know its true form nor can trace its frame
I know nothing about it but its wicked name
And ‘til it leaves me terror-stricken, lying prone
What endless horror stalks me so, but the UNKNOWN