1990 -    
Life is a journey.
Life is a journey.

No more long, slow days
of pushing through
fatigue and boredom,
we've stagnated long enough
they say.

Now the wind kicks up a renewed warmth
that greets us in the morning over the white-capped mountains.
Now the sun sets and shrouds a cloudless sky in gold.

We hear voices, whispers
saying someday soon we'll go out
to kill
or be killed.

And it's scary how much it excites us
to fantasize about death;
about our role in catastrophe
and the empty glory.

Sometimes death hurtles through the beautiful
high, azure sky. And leaves
not a mark, not even a cool shadow on the ground
as it flutters harmlessly to the earth
bemusing us. underwhelming us.

Some weeks are so quiet
that we touch the nuts and bolts
of true nothing
too much.
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feel too little and lose sight
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of our purpose. Lose sight
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of the need
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for one. Lose sight
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of memories of fucking by the fire.
Lose sight of what there is
to guard inside of us, to keep
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whole and untouched
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.
Lose sight
of why we're
guarding it, why
we're trying to, need to. Lose sight
of what the air tasted like back home.
We just lose.

Sandstorms kick up giant tornados
of dust, pebbles and sand
cutting silently across the burning concrete.

We stand
in their way,
constantly.

To keep busy
we tell
the same stories
so many times.

Now they dive out
of our mouths dropping weightlessly,
not even the strength to carry a wingbeat.

We barely believe ourselves anymore,
that's what we say.

The graying home.

The graying home,
night to dawn, dawn to hazed day,
back to dusk, to murky night.

The air is rife with the stench
of burning trash, pungent as a just-opened orange,
just as spicy, heavy as cigar smoke,
but dim, imperceptible.

The world turning, while we notice,
from our thrones in the shacks
where our discontentment brews.

Backyard brawls
and sunflower gardens.

Bezzled nights,
twinkling jeweled fireflies,
musky, humid air,
the tickle of rain on your cheeks.

Washed away,
down
the
drain,
youth,
gone and can't be recaptured.

Fistfights
in high school hallways,
tumbling in stairwells
with the beasts of our fear,
and the rolling thunder
of adulthood smashing
against our minds
like tropical waves against
arctic icebergs.

Youth, again;
mother's warm body
cuddling together
in the morning replenishment
on a spring mattress
that is continually sinking down abyssally
where boy and mother
cope with the aftermath
of the brokenness
shrouding their home.

Weed drifting up to the ceiling
as we drank our full
of Everclear,
bought by fathers
who's lives had been beaten
down to a depressed mattress
in the corner
of
a garage
speckled by oil slicks
and draped by fiberglass
falling in curtains from the ceiling.

The absent smell of crack in the air.

Sunday breakfasts,
grandma in the kitchen,
mom in the basement,
kids farting around in their rooms.

Mom's curdling yells ripping the house to shreds,
as she sought peace,
in a quiet, and moldy sarcogophous.

There is a place where bombs
and mortars fly,
where a smile is as hard to find
as a mosquito in a desert,
and self-hatred is easy to come by
when regret blankets your mind
with every sand-choked breath.
And in this place, time crawls
by only springing to life when happiness
blooms, and idling when emotions
are sautered, and the search for feeling
is like waiting to get bitten.

But in this place,
there is a garden,
where youth and adulthood
collide, where the sunflowers bloom
once more, and the blood spilt
before the war began, gives life
to the seedlings,
and the soil is not so rotten
as it has grown older and tired.

The mind, finally centered
among the chaos, finding
its concrete horizon in the oasis
of a centered self,
centered finally,
in the midst of this brutal
and beautiful disaster.

Marshall Ellis
Marshall Ellis
Nov 9, 2015

What's left in the world
For the woman in the burning house
Except pain and sorrow?

She meanders through life,
Picking things up
Here and there
Where
Here is darkness,
There is nothing,
And tomorrow never comes,
And each new thing
Is something to hold
For just awhile.

She must watch
The house burn down,
While still inside.

First the drapes.

She clutches onto the past,
In the falling ashes and huffing heat,
And can't let go,
Even as her skin peels away.

Black tears stream down her face,
And the inner workings of her own soul
Become even more confusing to her.

The walls crackle,
The windows shiver and burst,
And the world rushes in upon her.

On the braided rug in the living room she kneels,
Holding her things underneath her breasts,
Praying that everyone will see
And that no one will see.

Her life,
Ruined.

Her family,
Gone,
Long ago.

Her hope,
The match that lit the trashcan.

And now, flames all around her,
Her black tears a residue,
And the world watching,
She knows nothing.

She has nothing.

but
Pain and sorrow.

Marshall Ellis
Marshall Ellis
Nov 7, 2015

After falling
Off the wagon,
I pissed blood.

And woke up worse
Than hemorrhage
Suffering from a pain
I couldn't
Explain.

Pain troubling
Me thru the day
Knowing there were
Things I couldn't fix
Or understand.

Waiting for nightfall,
The shroud of darkness
And
Foggy light,
Knowing understanding
Would never come,
But searching for its source
In the sky.

While soldiers died,
Under a Syrian night.

Marshall Ellis
Marshall Ellis
Sep 6, 2015

I'm sorry, I'm such a sorry man,
regrettably, I thought of our old love,
remembering nights of amorous hugging,
bending you over, spreading your legs,
entering your body, finding a place
to reside, though not deep inside,
not where the creature of love casts
his gaze at me, from his light
with a shadowed eye, seeing through you and I,
to the future cast in the die, I fall
hard you said, quietly, so quiet and
hushed, without weight.

When you talked about your dreams, they always escaped
your mouth in a mote of smoke,
into the spackled ceiling it snaked,
wisping, serpentine, through all the fiberglass,
into the atmosphere, into the solar system,
not yet burned away, into the stars,
where all of you resides, all your dreams.

Back on earth, my eyes fixed on your escaping self,
I imagined no happy endings, no good way
to say a sad goodbye, a burning lullaby.

No way,  even naked,
in the bed we shared, did we share a single shred of truth.

Curled up in my arms, naked bodies sweating from the fucking,
not just not knowing each other anymore, not just not listening, but so close to the singularity when we were fucking,
so close to zero gain,
that when you said we may be having a baby,
I didn't know enough about you to say yes,
only knew enough about fucking,
to say no to yes.

I'm sorry I turned out to be such a sorry ass man.

Marshall Ellis
Marshall Ellis
May 16, 2015

He drinks, he forgets
Where he is and why he is there.

He begins to lose himself in his darkness,
Begins to erupt from within.

He stops caring,
Or begins to care too much.

He wishes himself born again
in the purifying sunlight of dappled spring mornings, because he wishes to start over again.

He starts to do things harder than ever,
He gives himself over to the mercury of the moment,
He bathes in his own sin,
Finds the wash of it freezingly refreshing
And repulsive all at once.

He stops talking,
Starts wishing to enjoy the ornateness of youth.

Feels he's old at 25,
Starts to change his mind.

Forgets everything he's learned over a quarter century
And goes back to rudderless childhood,
Even worse in adulthood.

 
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