FOREST OF HELL

Colorless leaf crackle beneath sole-less feet.

The smell of death lingers sweet.

Bramble thick draws blood on paper skin,

digging more deeply the deeper within.

 *

Then starlight fades to the darkness I fear,

moonlight shadows disappear.

Columns abound supporting endless night,

numbers multiply consuming the light.

 *

Welcome dew hangs heavy in unseen air,

to drink deep I do not dare.

Outstretched hands replace teary useless eyes.

Senses heightened, alert of endless cries.

 *

Vibrations of night; soft, loud, far and near,

distant from all that we all hold dear.

Wanting now only to curl-up and weep,

my soul is still for the sickle to reap.

 *

Return to the path I lost yesterday,

blackness turns slowly to gray.

Long nights journey in the forest of hell,

surviving unscathed except for my shell.

 *

The End

*

 SKittell c.2014

April Fools

I knew one day the time would come.
I knew one day my mind would numb.
This world it seems has gone awry.
Opinions flourish and people die.
~
Violence consumes and tears are shed.
Words are spoken but nothing’s said.
Charts are made to show us why.
Colors obscure the pictures’ lie.
~
Don’t be fooled this April day.
For one and all is what I say.
Numbers are tricky and often sly.
So think more equal so less will die.

~*~
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The Color of Life

Still I wake knowing not what to do.
Will I be happy or some shade of blue.
I’ve seen birth and I’ve seen death.
I shared my loves very last breath.
~
With time comes change, like it or not.
The good remembered, bad mostly forgot.
With each hue an infinite tone.
The play of light’s what we’re shown.
~
The sun’s journey across the sky,
alters our visions subtly and sly.
In the dark we see the colors of day.
Shadows forever lurk either way.
~
Given the choice all would be bright,
a life coddled in the warmth of light.
Tho the dawn missed and sunset yearned.
Questions unanswered, nothing’s learned.
~
Tomorrows lessons tested today,
all’s pass or fail either way.
And the change must be or not to see.
The cost high but the time’s free.

~*~
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Left Behind

Lost in a wandering state of mind,
returning to memories I thought left behind.
A campground awaits from decades of yore,
There’s a lake nearby and nature galore.

Summers there filled with family and friends,
as the specter of youth unknowingly ends.
The journey’s now short to a time long past.
My cabin soon appears while the sun fades fast.

The sky was clear, blues deepened to black.
The stars shone bright, they welcomed me back.
I relaxed on the porch and sipped iced tea,
my friends due tomorrow the night was for me.

With waning moon the damp mist rose,
crickets serenaded, eyes started to close.
Blissful sensations then the start of dreams,
when startled was I by familiar screams.

Dolly, Dolly, Dolly! was all she ever said,
her childhood taunts now flooding my head.
She’s the ghostly remains of horrors we’d share.
The truth is haunting when better a nightmare.

She would scratch at the screen above my bed.
I’d shriek and shiver and cower with dread.
Mornings would come, I’d report of my fright,
“that little girl’s ghost came to take me last night”.

My brothers would tease and mom consoled,
dad says they’re figments of tales I’ve been told.
But when evenings cool and crescent moon high,
dense fog rose and that child would cry.

Dolly, dolly, dolly is all she would say,
Her bony hand summoned and pointed the way.
Never dared I answer her mournful request.
Silently I’d wait, ignoring my guest.

It’s been many years since last we met.
Time I’ve tried hard, but to never forget.
Now I’ve matured and conscience will decide.
Am I to seek or again shall I hide?

I know not what of this phantoms despair.
Yet together there’s grief we seemingly share.
Her woe is death while mine’s the living.
Each is assured though neither forgiving.

Our paths have crossed, all have an end.
My choice is made by this spirited friend.
With eyes open wide follow I must,
forsaking not, that lost child’s trust.

I rose and leaned forward, held out my hand.
Our fate’s to obey and to command.
We dashed through the field and into the woods.
A moment imagined of pleasant childhoods.

Each step echoes with brittle twig snap.
Till the shadows of trees soon overlap.
To guide my way mere slivers of light,
pursuing my phantom into the night.

Thicket and bramble claw at my skin,
bleeding the courage from deep within.
The worn paths end at fresh fallen leaf,
this forest beyond, beyond my belief.

Spirits roam free where the living don’t tread.
My friend had returned to her life of the dead.
I wished again to hide safe behind closed eyes,
trading this vision for dreams of blue skies.

The girl then pointed at boulders stacked high,
interwoven with brush to hide from the eye.
All layers of shadow, grays deepened to black,
foretelling the depth of crevice and crack.

Her hazy glow grew brighter, eyes more intense,
repeated cries for dolly now making sense.
She’s lost a dear friend and I’m chosen to find.
To abandon now this child was beyond unkind.

Exited are we, our quest’s nearly done.
‘Twas a test of persistence, both surely won.
My mind’s now a flutter, heart beating proud,
grasping in darkness through thick thorny shroud.

Our search going well till that last step was taken,
the ground then vanished, I was tumbled and shaken.
I awoke sometime later to whispers, mumbles and cries.
My new friend stood close as I opened my eyes.

I saw Dolly held tightly and a bustle nearby.
Mourners had grouped where a still body lie.
A lifeless figure with a familiar shape and size.
The live too are familiar, all saying goodbyes.

The little girl thanked me for my many good deeds.
As slowly she faded having found what she needs.
I begged to be taken for I’ve been truly kind.
When last she said “You need first find needs left behind.”

.
Sck021616

Forgotten Peace

Peace is free but war is not.
Values burn and soon forgot.
Life’s the goal or so is told.
But talk’s cheap and death is gold.
~
Peace is free, fingers crossed.
Once caught worries tossed.
Savings saved and tucked away.
But safety ensured by others sway.
~
Peace is free so why not?
Prides delusion never forgot.
Hands of few guide the masses.
Feet of all climb the classes.
~
Peace is free, what’s the cost.
Friends made and pennies lost.
Keys are many, eyes in the slot.
Peace is free but we forgot.

~*~
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What the Schmuck

With icy fingers and hidden hands,
an unseen face footless stands.
Awaiting the cough of their next guest,
no’s no answer for their request.
~
“Follow me; your time has come,
the path is short, the feeling’s numb.
Two packs a day gives you early admission.
Your time with me is but a transition.”
~
The reaper laughed at their instructions,
fearing not their many abductions.
They said the pain would fade away,
but how long they wouldn’t say.
~
I gasped for breath, not wanting to go.
Why must it be now I didn’t know.
I said I quit the smokes a few weeks back.
“I’ve only a cold so please cut me some slack.”
~
They laughed again at my poor excuse.
Saying my line was long but I choose the noose.
I begged and pleaded to be set free.
They replied that they had a deal for me.
~
I said “that’s great”, not having a clue.
They then told me all the things I must do.
Their list was long but I happily agreed.
I’d now do anything, if to only be freed.
~
They said they’d go but they’d leave a scar.
Then a loud scary cry was heard from afar.
The reaper then vanished and I lay alone,
reflecting on the habits I’m prone.
~
A new day’s begun and life’s the more dear.
The clock’s still ticking but the ends not so near.
I bargained with death but won’t press my luck.
And my future’s now brighter, no longer a schmuck.

~*~
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Rest in Peace

The feeling was eerie and the air was cold.
And luck’s the reason this story’s told.
A misty moon mourned the starless night.
Finger-like branches obscured my sight.
~
A wrong turn made while homeward bound.
The path was new through unknown ground.
The fog grew thicker until all was black.
One misstep and I fell with a whack.
~
I tripped on a stone surrounded by more,
each a marker for a one-way door.
I’m surely welcomed but my time not right.
My eyes then drawn toward the light.
~
In the sky a lone star shone,
in a sea of billions we’re all alone.
Minutes in awe I lay there still,
but to soar with them I never will.
~
Thoughts of freedom filled my head,
but first to my feet amongst the dead.
A hand reached out to aid my rise.
My star consumed to my surprise.
~
A faceless figure was now my guide.
With a yank I was by their side.
My fate’s now held in arms unknown,
tip-toeing through that field of stone.
~
Iron gates clanged for us to follow.
An end perceived I did wallow.
The wind then howled its piercing felt.
Hale was next with ice to pelt.
~
Each breath shorter, each step less,
each second longer with greater the stress.
Suddenly my companion then mysteriously vanished.
Blindly I pawed for the safety I’d banished.
~
I yelled for help with no one to hear.
To die alone my biggest fear.
A tug at my ankle then sent me running.
Slipping on ice, the fall was stunning.
~
Blurry snowflakes covered my face.
Would I be found here frozen in place?
With one last breath I let out a scream.
And lucky was I to awake from that dream.

~*~
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The Half Full Hourglass

The night was black and eerily still,
sensations naught but for the chill.
The fog then quickly settles in.
It is death but for the din.
~
With nowhere left to run or go.
A silence welcomes from far below.
Or follow the sounds of mournful screams,
awakened to a life of no one’s dreams.
~
Nightmares seep with a shuttered mind.
Yet sweetly we rest when freedom we find.
Tomorrows beat within our hearts.
Open eyes see bright, new starts.
~
But it is sleep where we all do dwell,
our futures told of heaven and hell.
We’ll meet the many never to know.
Then in a blink it’s the end of our show.
~
When we wake a dimension’s gone.
Feeling flat upward we’re drawn.
We rise to heights imagined by one.
The world awaits, our day begun
~
Tread the paths, both waning and worn.
Use your sharpness when you’re torn.
And sleep will guide us to our core.
But time awake always one third more.

~*~
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Broken

The switch broke, lights went out.
Now I sit alone in doubt.
Morning comes, eyes stay shut.
The feeling’s gone in my gut.
~
Hours pass with no refrain.
Only mush fills my brain.
My body’s weak, pain is strong.
Life is short, death is long.
~
Lips parched, breathing slows.
Numbness reminds of fingers and toes.
Into the light my soul roams.
Blood consumes yesterday’s poems.
~
Silence heard with no heartbeat.
Time knows no defeat.
If tomorrow I shall see,
a better person I will be.
~
If a poet when I rise,
this world anew before my eyes.
Nothing lost is nothing gained,
only regrets leave us stained.
~
Second chances are often rare.
Today’s success is meant to share.
The past gone, ends unknown,
cherish all you have grown.

~*~
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Posthumous Futures

~

To all the writers never known
To the few from which we’ve grown
From their words the future’s sown
Rearranged to call our own

~

To all of those that do it now
From palette pure to graven brow
Investing all we dare allow
Divesting that we can’t avow

~

Time records in poem and prose
Imagined journeys no one knows
From euphoric highs to deadly lows
The tide of emotion forever flows

~

Looking back at history
Or hypothesizing infinity
Sensations felt we can’t see
Ink bled sets us free

~

Where to start, that depends
Our time alone shared with friends
Yet all stories must have ends
Well submerged is where life blends

~

Write the dark to see the light
Time always wins the fight
And when you lay awake tonight
Rest assured our future’s bright

~*~

Sck112315

Forest of Hell

Colorless leaf crackle beneath sole-less feet.

The smell of death lingers sweet.

Bramble thick draws blood on paper skin,

digging more deeply the deeper within.

 *

Then starlight fades to the darkness I fear,

moonlight shadows disappear.

Columns abound supporting endless night,

numbers multiply consuming the light.

 *

Welcome dew hangs heavy in unseen air,

to drink deep I do not dare.

Outstretched hands replace teary useless eyes.

Senses heightened, alert of endless cries.

 *

Vibrations of night; soft, loud, far and near,

distant from all, we all hold dear.

Wanting now only to curl-up and weep,

my soul is still for the sickle to reap.

 *

Return to the path I lost yesterday,

blackness turns slowly to gray.

Long nights journey in the forest of hell,

surviving again, except for my shell.

 *

The End

*

sck~ c.2014

Dead Tired

.
Finally, the end of the longest day of my life was over. The tears of the past months now free to flow yet strangely absent. This old house quieter than ever, the door closing behind me and the true sense of emptiness was now being felt as I never thought possible.

Leading up to my wife’s death, friends, family and of course my daughter were always close by and the grief shared by all. Now the house is dark as I stand in the hallway not wanting to turn on the light for fear of seeing the reality of finally being alone.

The hall was brighter just this morning as the sun rose and my daughter and I went off to the funeral parlor for Liz, my wife’s final service before our trip to the cemetery. The morning was crisp and clear, a distant smell of lilac hung in the air as the cars lined up for the procession.

The route chosen was considerably longer than necessary but a twisty country road in full spring bloom is a sight to be enjoyed, even if it to be the last. The funeral itself was as beautiful as anyone could expect, the morning mist lingered in the new day and the birds serenaded in the background as hundreds of mourners passed to show love, friendship and respect for a truly remarkable person. A woman whom I loved deeply for many, many years but now feeling I never fully acknowledged as a person or professional and was regretting having not expressed it more when she was alive. I hoped she knew of my love and respect for her as a mother and friend, as a physician, scientist and teacher and of course as a very lucky man’s wife.

The next few days a similar sad and hazy blur, I just roamed from one room to the next recalling all the little things that happened in each one over the thirty years living here. Each had a story, a laugh or tear, all where ours, our colors, our furniture, our books and our clutter. Each and every piece a memory and all memories of an instant in time to never be repeated. A life time that was a life’s time in the making and yet gone in an instant.

Life goes on I’m told and I would like to believe that. I’m sure for many it does. For some however it’s just not meant to be. I realized this when the crumpled remains of my car was dumped in my driveway minutes ago. And I never got to say goodbye.

The End

sck061817 / dft

Haunting

The sun’s rising yet I’ve no rest,
another day a gruesome test.
The Reaper lurks on their quest,
spirits chide full of zest.
~
The nightmare over now the pain,
screams and howls fill my brain.
The constant fright drives me insane.
Ghosts taunt with no refrain.
~
The hour’s burn like gasoline,
agony fills the time between.
The past haunts a future unseen.
Is this life or Halloween?

~*~
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Waves, Hello, Goodbye

Reminiscing of my younger days,
the bad forgotten, the good stays.
The bumps and bruises now long mended.
Lessons learned but youth had ended.
~
Reflecting time the ripples soften.
The pebbles tossed returning often.
The image felt fades with age.
Clarity welcomes another stage.
~
Twilight glistens upon the swells.
The shoreline’s endless bearing shells.
Footsteps crisscross in the sand.
The past and present now hand in hand.
~
Sun’s set and tides rise.
Horizons curve to meet my eyes.
The future’s now a step away.
If a choice would I stay?
~
Yesterday’s echo to the unknowns call.
Adventures await when not to stall.
Tomorrows are whatever I guess.
Live or die, the answer’s yes.

~*~
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The Seed

~

Colors of autumn, death’s in bloom.

Return to the earth, the seeds’ final tomb,

nourishing yet another season.

We’re all guests of earth for this reason.

~

And thus the surety of life;

prosperity, mediocrity or strife.

All to return to where once came,

regardless of misfortune or fame.

~

For life is but a lesson –

throughout our mortal existence.

A test of our bodies, minds

and hearts persistence.

~

We’re all creatures of the same seed.

Return to the earth, our souls freed.

So let us not perceive death an end –

simply a new life to transcend.

~

For death is the exploration

of dimensions unknown.

And thus the destiny of the seed-

Grown

~

Sck2014/84

Unveiled

On a canvas our lives are drawn,
born of purity, thrust into dawn.
Colors seduce, every stroke another day,
our every action a shade of gray.
~
Hardships endured many tears ago,
the pain forgotten, losses to forever show.
With each scar we’re sculpted, our hands bear the tools.
Minds write the stories of masters and fools.
~
Covers ever changing as we choose,
pages between paid our dues.
Lines filled in, some hues gone astray.
Upon our death the frame we’ll display.

~*~
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Morning Triku #169 ~ Haiku Theoreticallish

haiku theoreticallish

~*~
Our Wrinkle in Time

Work is what we do,
when not doing what we want.
Like death but with pay.

~
Constant Ripples

Time is space between.
Between matters and doesn’t.
Distance less with light.

~
Perpetual Emotion

Love is energy.
Hearts, minds and bodies unite.
Time accelerates.

~*~
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Salute

Memorial Day’s a solemn day,
we honor lives who’ve slipped away.
On distant soil they did roam,
defending our country and our home.
~
A salute to those wrapped in glory,
a salute to those who told their story.
Thanks to all that proudly served.
This day of memorial is much deserved.
~
Perhaps in the future wars won’t exist.
Peace can be found if we persist.
Today may hold tomorrow’s key.
But it’s our past that has made us free.
~
Battles lost and battles won,
we can never forget the good they’ve done.
They sacrificed all so that we may thrive.
And in our memories they will forever survive.

~*~
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Time

Time’s now free ahead but paths now less long.
Choices now still many but chances fewer to be wrong.
Though wrong turns will inevitably crash,
the time is now for another splash.
~
Playing it safe will always be good.
And being reckless we never should.
Should I sit quietly and wither happily away?
Or awake with zeal to conquer the day?
~
Questions are hard and answers are cheap.
Actions we’ve made are what we’ll keep.
But time will come when time won’t matter.
We’ll lay alone, our bodies in tatter.
~
Our minds will wander to what was known.
Our eyes will close to see we’re grown.
Points beyond are for us to decide.
The end’s the same, but for the ride.

~*~
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Dreaming Tomorrows

Another day of quitting to quit,
another day to feel like a twit.
My morning had started pretty well,
but as the day warmed so did my hell.
~
So I jumped in my car to cool my head,
but took a wrong turn and to the store I sped.
I bought some milk and tobacco too.
Then I limped home and smoked till blue.
~
Tomorrow’s gladly another day.
I’ll rise optimistic with demons at bay.
Boiling water the urges will swell.
The heat will be on then back to hell.
~
Will I submit or stand and fight?
The battle lost the end’s in sight.
But now it’s to bed to dream as I do.
Will there be many or be just a few?

~*~
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