Monday, September 22, 2014

Bill Barone- Three Poems

Holy Thursday in Hell
For souls who have not done their duty,
the onset of spring
is particularly galling.
Then comes the choice
that should be easy but never is:
Now or Eternity?
I am sitting on the couch
at the end
of the afternoon
head in hands                                                                            
heart pounding blood to eyes.                  
The latest supper is on the stove,
but who is there to eat it?
Anything is better
than to spend another hour
doing this.
The heart runs wild.
Good God,
you should know.
Whatever the choice,                                                                            
it is bound to end badly.
Lord, hear my cry.
If you know me,
say my name.                                                          

One Hundred Afternoons
Flat beer in a tall glass,
warm gin in a coffee cup.
Something's not right.

Cigar smoke haunts the airwaves
where my best friend and used car dealer
is steaming in hot summer blowouts.
I burn these hours like lambs,
but the ashtray's not full.

I could shoot cool glances
through the brown leaves of the rhododendron
at cars with bad mufflers or taste in music,
or pull another jigger of sweat
with a napkin from my eyebrow
but don’t bother.
The white sun bleaches leaves,
sucks stalks and limps roots.
I don't care.
I can wait.

When rain falls
it does its work


All Hallow’s Eve
Autumn’s brilliance died days ago
and now lies rotting on the hard bones
of gasping October.
The flat moon hangs in the dead sky,
a mockery of lovers offering the wasted light
of a derelict night.
It is a senseless journey
to feel the cold black mud
suck at your feet
and drag you back
and beckon you in
so that each labored step feels like your last.
A vagrant dog howls
submission to a hollow moon and
the cold breeze escapes
another deflated soul.
The air sinks heavy with fragile wisps,
hauntingly absent,
yet seeming to sway behind each dying weed,
shiver below each molding leaf,
scatter like spiders beneath your soles
to hint of Death’s secret touch.
Hot breath cannot pierce the dark,
but only steam and rise upward
to be swallowed by the gray skull of moon
that bores its hungry eyes downward
and grinds its crusting teeth
and cracks its ragged jaw in warning:
“Die now!
Prepare yourselves for morning.”
Bill Barone earned his B.A. in English from Penn State and his M.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio. He has taught at several colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and Ohio and is currently teaching English courses online. His poems have appeared in a number of publications, most recently in Dark Matter Journal. He lives in suburban Cleveland with his wife.

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