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Mar 2021 · 109
An Ode to E. E. Cummings
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
oh naught is a child taught.  patriot.  hating it.  standing for the silver bells.  scream upon the idiot box until the blind deaf dumb - unfounded in your belief.  whosoever holds the sword is sworn to the hoard and sits above board as you swing for your lord.
deafening is the caw of crows
a grave upon to plant rose
in rows of swaying circles
as the world comes back around

and you sit silently and cough as they turn off the camera.  finally alone
I have loved the work of E. E. Cummings and used to read 'next to of course god america i' when I was in the military, to look at the just and unjust nature of each mission.  I think he firmly encompasses the duality of fighting for something you believe in and having the fortitude to evaluate if what you believe in is right.  And that does not just apply to war but all forms of conflict you engage in.  Think about each keystroke you make.  Cheers to you, Mr. Cummings!
Mar 2021 · 96
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
Where on person can spin gold from straw,
Another squeeze silver into clutter
A positive attitude will always determine;
Who makes precious metal,
And who swims in seas of *******
Just a musing on perspective and the power of positivity
Mar 2021 · 118
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
I pray for thunder
A loud clap
Preceded by bright light

Just a little thing
To break the silence

Something to cut
Through our quiet lives
To break the monotony
To break the status quo

I pray for thunder
Loud enough to topple
Every broken institution
And each and every
Person who stands
Crooked like a bending line

I pray for thunder
To snap us from our stupor
Crumbling our closed
And placid attention span

Like a gavel from the sky
To beat the courtroom table
A judgement on the wicked
A call for introspection
A chorus of forgotten
And the poor that we ignore

I pray for thunder
I pray for thunder
I pray for revolution
#freedom #equality #dontbeasheep #bethechange #ourworld

That's right, I used hashtags this time :P
Mar 2021 · 525
The Artful Truth
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
We do not make art,
Art makes us

Every word, every note, every brush-stroke

And every joy,
Every wonder,
Every tear,
And every pain,

Is part of us
Mar 2021 · 80
Unforgivable Sin
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
Woe be to the person
So callous in their decisions
Who makes the conscious choice
To reheat fish sticks
In an office microwave

May you forever be condemned
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.  I was laughing so hard as I thought of this.  Hope you enjoy!
Mar 2021 · 116
A Lesson in Introspection
Michael Stefan Mar 2021
I eat, sleep, breath a self rendition
A puppet acting what should be,
The greatest work of art;

Yet, arms and legs
Are bound in fallow strings;
Like earth-binding vines,
meant to drag the angels down

Never hold tight;
Gripping all our mistakes,
Like a life-raft,
In a churning sea, we have yet to understand

All footsteps,
Disturb the gravel ground,
As we lead them,
Or they lead us,
Towards whatever goal we choose
Just a musing on how we can forge our own destiny, but sometimes play the role of the casual onlooker to our own lives.  Wake up and do the thing you are too afraid to do.
Feb 2021 · 142
Heartfelt Assassin
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
You held all the putty knives
Twisted-time arrows made of 40 oz dreams
Silken ropes used for belts
Just to hang me where I stand

I saw your popsicle stick ****** rifle
A ****** scout wearing a sandstorm veil
I can hear you whisper in the wind
As you crept into my heart

I hope your pink-haired clown mask fit
Never reveal your true identity
Never let them see your true intention
As you cut out my heart for feasts

Just because you bring flowers
Doesn't mean they can't turn
Into blood-covered razor blades
As you made all your decisions
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
She spoke in tones of innocence,
The heart makes you defenseless,
Her anodyne smile,
Could stick around awhile,
As we bask in our reticence

She spoke in a soft tongue so foreign,
A place I could not determine origin,
Her words, they killed my pain,
Driven from madness to sane,
Listening to her covert chorus
Here's the word challenge of the day.  This one was a little difficult, but I think it's nice when someone is able to lull us from aggressive posturing, dulling the war we weave in our head.
Feb 2021 · 59
Desiccation Delicatessen
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
Vans come and vans go
Through godless streets of violence
Through angry crowds who thirst
For blood

Eat the weak on Easter
And feast upon the poster
Children in the garden of Eden
Or maybe rest upon the rock
In Babylon

Freedom isn't free
As we line up, cattle feed
Imbibing of the hate machine
A big blue F that desiccates
Human experience
And makes it bite-size
To represent the life-size
For our ******* pint-size
Pea-brained attempts
At *******

We all stand alone
Atop the heap of corpses
Left in our wake
And smile for the cameras
In our pajamas
Like those who came before
Feb 2021 · 51
My Anthology
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
I grew up so poor,
Ketchup sandwiches,
And never much more

Papa always said,
"I'm coming home late"
Today, tomorrow, every day;
Since now until
The future,
He still works the long shift,
27 years later

From high school,
It's elementary, dear Watson
I'd kept my grades up,
Until I noticed the girls,
Or more accurate,
When they noticed me

Basketball was all I had,
A tall white boy,
With good hands,
I always timed the rebound,
Just so...
3-point at the buzzer

When no recruiters came,
And the buzzer,
Had long been silent,
I joined...

And man, the Army
What can you say about that?
I walked through hell,
And high waters,
For people who will,
Never appreciate the sacrifice,
Who will never know the truth,
Rolling up conspiracies,
To smoke,
Placid in their stupidity

I was already long,
In the tooth,
And salted in my pepper,
Before I hit the books

College is the hardest,
How do you learn,
What others deem appropriate?
But I love the challenge,
I love the people,
And I love the work

I broke my back,
In faraway deserts,
And raising two girls,
The most beautiful kids
They're the only girls,
That look at me now,
Full of irritation,
At how fast I finish the waffles

But they're the only ones I need,
I won't let them,
Climb the same,
Pile of garbage,
That I climbed

I smile at them,
Every day,
And say,
"Daddies gonna be home tonight"
Every failure will eventually lead to triumph.  This one is for my two beautiful girls.  13 and 8 are magical ages.
Feb 2021 · 119
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
What is there
To expect
Of a man
Who's bred with thieves

And desperate

Left behind
A cruel legacy
Of bloodstains
Empty pockets

I sleep
With one eye
On the door
You used
To walk through

I can't
Another shack
For you
To burn down

Feb 2021 · 137
The Big 300
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
I did it
I finally filled the halls
300 soldiers of word, standing by
300 birds, let out of the cramped cage
300 thoughts, marching down the street
A soft fire flickering
With 300 feet of smoke

I poured everything
Of myself, of my fears
All my hopes and love
Everything I've dreamt
And all the beats,
Of my sometimes mechanical heart
Into these poems

300 poems like a small kingdom
Each one, catharsis
Each one, a frustration
Each one, a gift
Like the old sweaters;
Grandma gives each Christmas

And on this day,
I ***** a pinnacle
To each moment of anger,
Each feeling of love,
Each pain that echoes,
Each sign of creativity,
And look over the pain of life

I want to read your poems
I want to know I'm not alone
Take everything of yourself;
And melt it into a colorful pen
Write until your fingers bleed
And share of yourself
Never be afraid
We are your peers,
We are your lovers,
We are your friends,

And just as your have been,
for me
We will always be here,
For you.
This is my 300th poem.  Almost everything since mid-2020 has been original and recent work, while everything before is dated from my childhood and on.  I cry with joy at each piece of work that I have shared.  Putting my thoughts on paper have made a lot of dark times more manageable.  And each encouraging word from all of you made me believe, and know, that we are truly a community.  Love you HP!  And thanks for all the encouragement up to now.  I think I'm going to take the day to provide that encouragement back and read through some of your older poems :)
Feb 2021 · 72
Ooh That Thump
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
A smoky bar
Dimly lit, and extra dingy
Not the ma' and pop place
You'd want your kids to go

Those barstools
They always knew me
The way I liked to lean
And listen to that thump

That baseline
On an old Rickenbacker bass
She was tuned way low
Low like she meant business

With a chunky fuzz
Through a B-52
As it rattled each empty glass

And boy, the ones not empty
Whisky waving
Like a ******* T-Rex
Was walking to your Jeep

It's only music that
Will ever thump to the beat
Of your heart
Memories of my old haunts and the sweet sound of a ****** band.  There's something truly cathartic about it.
Feb 2021 · 103
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
It all just went...
Can't walk forward
Can't walk back
On spinning
A tightrope
Filled with slack

A blindfold
Made of glass
And some nails
Made of grass
And the empty bottles
Filling up the dump
Too fast

A one-armed scissor
Salted candy
Skinless fruit
A beach too sandy
And we'd all
Be feeling dandy
But this world
Just went...
Life doesn't always seem to be what it should be.
Feb 2021 · 375
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
Your strength
Is indissoluble
And absolute
Like the weather

It may change
And fade away
But it will
Always return

Its shape
Is indeterminable
Its weight
Is unmeasurable
Its power
Is invaluable
Its presence
Is indissoluble
Here's my try at BLT's word challenge.  I thought about doing a complex poem about chemistry...  but I figured we could all be reminded or our own strength from time to time.  Cheers, BLT!
Feb 2021 · 92
A Blissful Destruction
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
That city never saw it coming

They sat upon the highest ledges,
Watching the storm rage below

That old deli on the corner of Main,
It always had a little arcade machine,
Street Fighter I think

Even Johnnie's tattoo shop,
Got swept away with gutter water,
And the tire store near Nick's

We couldn't do nothing,
Just watch the raging waters,
Tearing away my childhood;
All that beautiful
And ugly graffiti paint,
A backdrop of my memories

And when it was done,
Most everyone cheered

They cheered the coffee shops,
Applauded the free range grocers,
And kissed every brick;
Building a wall,
Around my memories

Who knew the river,
That same Cheyenne I loved,
Ran through barefoot,
Drank the runoff water,
And laughed in the warm swirls,
Would **** it all

I will mourn,
Each and every brown stone,
Chalk-stained sidewalk,
And homeless man,
Who would buy a fifth,
In exchange for a dime of ****

No one ever looked twice,
When my McDonald's cup,
Turned blue;
The bottom dropping out,
As alcohol eats all the edges

The city that was once mine,
Is now to be yours,
And someone else's,
Right as you get comfortable

True destruction,
Ain't got no target,
Nor does progress,
Far as I can tell.
Just a narrative poem with me musing and mourning my blissful childhood and the changes our world will always undergo.  For better or worse.  Sometimes building is the same as tearing down.
Feb 2021 · 294
If Only I Knew You Then
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
If only I knew you then,
Maybe I wouldn't have made so many mistakes,
Maybe I'd make even more,
Maybe I'd never have left,
If only it was you, at my door

Maybe I would have been much greater,
Maybe I'd have been worse off,
Maybe I'd have known true love,
Or maybe I'd have grown too soft

Maybe life would be so different,
Maybe it would just be the same,
Maybe I'd have never lost myself,
If only I'd known your name

Maybe this exercise is failing,
Maybe I should accept what's here,
'Maybe' doesn't change a thing,
And I'm happy, now that you're near
I just wanted to share this Valentine's poem I wrote for my girlfriend, Amy.  It truly is nice to be with someone stable, that balances my sad moments with nights of wonderful snuggling, and appreciates how hard I try to make her smile.  Happy late Valentine's Day, Hello Poetry!!
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
A faceless crowd,
With madness abound,
To gather strength,
And pull you down

A faceless man,
With wicked hands,
Will hold a candle,
And make last stands

A broken law,
Will hem and haw,
Locked in the cellar,
The last you saw

An ugly thought,
That time forgot,
Will bleed it's ink,
To skin that's sought

A cheery smile,
After life's hard mile,
Would stick much finer,
Than your witch trials

A heart that's gray,
Still beats the same,
But one that's nurtured,
Loves more each day
A small six stanza basic rhyme poem meant to remind us of the viral nature of our actions.  We, like oil tankers, will sometimes bleed into the sea.  Perhaps a petroleum covered seal is not the best end to our emotional flow.  Or as the band, Modest Mouse once said, "You were spitting venom at most everyone you know."  Lets aim for something sweeter.
Feb 2021 · 51
Sexy Sweetness
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
Explicit......  uh....  sort of*

I have wanted you all day,
Dreamt of you all night,
As my skin is flush,
And smells of hard days' work,
Sawdust, sweat, and leather,
My hands rough against you,
I yearn and you give way,
Slightly melting at my touch,
As I tear aside your covering,
Exposing you,
To the warm afternoon air,
You glisten,
As I lean in,
The heat of my tongue,
Caressing you softly,
And you fully melt away,
I will never love,
Another rocket pop,
The way I loved you,
A cold treat after a long day.
Sorry, I was feeling mischievous with this last one.  It made me snicker as I thought of it.  Hope you enjoyed and remember the seductive power of icecream.
Feb 2021 · 66
The Queen of Pain
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
We danced through gardens of lilac and cinnamon,
Intoxicated, unburdened, and unbowed,
Lights danced on midnight trains,
One bound north, the other headed south

I walked the weft as you tiptoed the warp,
Two threads bound together,
A collision that left a messy tangle,
Never to be undone

I opened my mouth for you,
Breath life into my dying form, I cried-
You teased me at the edges,
Flirting with the idea of my eternal fade

I fell right into the seductive trap,
Like so many flies,
To carefully constructed webs,
Left to twist in sickly summer heat

I tasted your lips,
But never felt your fangs
Sometimes, we look back on our previous relationships...  with wisdom and regret.  Share your stories and always make sure your heart is headed in the right direction.
Feb 2021 · 68
This Vivid Emptiness
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
I swallow deeply
Standing at the gaping maw-
One eternity, infinite, and expanding

We all stand upon this violent ocean,
As sweet words crash like purple waves
Too great to comprehend,
Too nagging to ever let go

The black sands curl beneath pink toes-
****** from the journey we must walk,
Devoid of fear and trembling with terror,
Alone on this crowded beach,
As silence splits the night

Wrapped in our softest linens,
Like children dressed for warm baptisms,
And wrapped like mummies for the tomb

The warm breeze chills our soft sorrows-
Magnifying emotions,
Echoes of the days we let slip,
Like ocean waves returning to a long-forgotten past

Our skin is feverish,
Hot to the touch,
With a sickly radiance,
We hide from each other,
So poorly,
And always caught by the crowd's periphery

No description stands
No law holds truth here
None will reign-
Except for the sadness
To which we give ultimate primacy
On this beach of desolate depression
Sorry this poem is such a ******.  I have struggled with depression my whole life.  Trying to describe it is neigh impossible for those that have never looked out over those murky waters.  I hope each of you has the support you need.  We all need a cruise off of this beach, from time to time.  Much love, HP Community!
Feb 2021 · 77
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
2 drops at dawn,
To wake me up,
And mixed right in,
My coffee cup

2 drops for lunch,
To keep the haze,
As we each go,
Our separate ways

2 drops at dusk,
In my evening snack,
To chase away,
My heart attack

2 drops at night,
The serum's thick,
I'll take the fog,
Over being sick
A simple 4x4 verse alternating rhyme scheme.  Nothing overly clever, just a place for me to store my morose.
Feb 2021 · 141
Barring Gates
Michael Stefan Feb 2021
Sweeping grains of endless sandy beaches
And painting blue the azure sea
To occupy your hollow mind
And keep you from the open gates exit from your pain
Jan 2021 · 59
A Heartless Retribution
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
You squeezed
every drop of blood
from my veins

Left drained
and without
solid ground

My cadaver
almost sensuous
in its gutter

To never mutter
one more word
on this earth

It slid
like black snakes
through distant ponds

And broken bonds
compress me
into a seed

Against your will
I will grow

and spite your trend
of ending
anyone else
Sometimes you just feel bad and need to put the feelings into words.  Hope everyone else is feeling good today.
Jan 2021 · 278
From Whence We Came
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
Muddy boots and snow thawing
Next to central fireplace
A heat that bakes the ***** floor
A floor to which we all walk
Day in and day out
As leaves fall from trees
Until the day
We lay face-up
With hands folded
As we return back to
This dark baked clay
Jan 2021 · 82
A Self Critique
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
My words are broken,
While others choose theirs wisely,
Mine flow without filter
Free as a bird...
And ugly as the pit,
A well from which they're borne
I'll never shake this view
Which haunts me like a scent,
Sweet honeysuckle,
Drifting through open windows;
A poisoned tipped blade
Whose hilt I find
Buried in mine own chest
Jan 2021 · 84
what shouldn't go outside
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
i'm your cat
who's lived a life of comfort
and once you open your door
i bolt and i am gone

i'm your brand new painting
meant to be protected
as i move from door to door
but as the weather changes
i bleed upon the street

and i'm all of your problems
held in you so tightly
never let them see me
or they're sure-
to lock you up
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
Do you ever think the neighbors shout,
"See them there, through open window yonder?"
As we stand, threadbare and proud
No worldly inhibitions betwixt us
A stunning glory of aging pale flesh-
Moving with the rhythm of primal desire
And the fiercest of loyalties

Let the neighbors avert their eyes
As our combined gasps come crashing-
A tidal wave of passion-
Set to annoy these quiet streets

I wish the neighbors knew the truth,
I don't feel a drop of shame
For the things, I do with you
As you arch your back
Against my chest-
My fingers tangled through your hair
A beast both achingly hungry-
And filled with contentment

I hope the neighbors see,
When they shout to one another,
"See them there, through open window yonder"
The burning heat of our desire,
Manifests as growing steam-
A collapsing view on foggy surface
Punctuated by your clenching palms
And my big shoulders-
As love demands, we switch positions
*** as the physical expression of love and desire are key parts of a healthy relationship.  When you find the right person, your inhibitions begin to fade.  Those moments when you are truly ****; mind, body, and soul are truly freeing to the human spirit and truly wondrous in their effects on a relationship.  Find your partner in crime.
Jan 2021 · 57
Just a Taste
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
You're a ******* fool
If you bite a lemon
And pray for the taste-
Of rosemary and sage
So...  Uh...  Yeah.  Just my thoughts on the subject.
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
you're told
to wake up
get moving
pick that up
put that down
don't be late
best be early
best be quick
best be strong
go that way
stop right there
take that hill
stop that man
see that flag
tear it down
but which direction
do you run
when no one
holds the key?
can I run
if no one
told me to?
Integration is *******.  A loss of schedule and purpose is cited as the leading cause of suicide in military Veterans'.  Hug a Veteran that you know and tell them, "You march to the beat of your own drum.  Now and forever.  And I'll always be your running partner."
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
We all stood at battlements,
And frontline racetracks
Preparing for the longest night
When we would kiss our mothers
And say our prayers,
Hoping to be ushered
Into a brilliant light,
So bright it cleans the soul

Taut muscles and furrowed brows,
Aching with the weight,
And slick with burning sweat-
Bourne under my burden
We all stared hard-
Into the face of hate
For a government that told us nothing
And said, "You gotta fight."

Brothers and sisters stood strong-
Strongest thing you ever saw
Each of them made
Of sterner stuff
They draped that uniform
On mountains made of duty
And jawlines set-
Of utter determination

And yet,
I buckle-
Praying for the support
Of my sisters and brothers,
The comfort of the desert sands-
Whilst I wither beneath the gaze
Of a woman who's coffee order
Did not contain almond milk-
Like the end of the world rested on the edge of her cup...
I did want this to be a little humorous but still speak to the camaraderie and sacrifice that each person in the military makes.  We go through so many hard situations that we never prepare for the simple frustrations of a normal life.  Then BAM!  You are hit in the face by situations you never thought you would see.  Situations the average person doesn't bat an eye at.
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
She plunged it in, alright
A tight twist to a tiny hand,
With no solemn apology...
Such harsh and hard steel-
Such hard and harsh cuts-
To such soft flesh,
Now marred by red ruts

She never whimpered,
She never groaned,
She never smiled,
She never moaned.
She stood in one place,
As she let the blade slide,
And felt not a thing
As the knife slid inside

She remained like a statue-
So still like the steel,
Examining the accurate
Lines she had made.
And in one brief moment
She stole a glance from her place
To check the oxygen mask
Secured to my face
First, sorry if the beginning triggered anyone.  I wanted this to be a little misleading.  This is the first installment of the experiences I had exiting the military.  I had some severe spinal surgeries, ultimately leading to my medical discharge.  Please read the poems to follow this one.
Jan 2021 · 60
This Broken Toy
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
For all the lies you told
          While laying in an empty bed-
          You were never so good
          As you were,
          The night you floated away

                    You were like a stone,
                    Hit upon another stone,
                    Echoing through an empty hallway-
                    Your broken soul
                    Was only good
                    For breaking souls
                                              ­              You hurled glass-heavy bricks
                                                          ­  Through my empty windows,
                                                        ­    Tied on with love-notes,
                                                     ­       Penned foul with fetid ink
                                                            A­nd left-
                                                           ­ Only to confuse the masses
                                                          ­       Of sad, stupid, people

                                        You built a paper-tiger army-
                                        Made to rush through flames,
                                        At the Chicago Fire battlefield
                                        You set in my heart,
                                        While children sold a solemn pitcher
                                        Of kerosene-laced gasoline-
                                        For every thirsty watcher

You bled out oxygen,
And complained,
When you nor I
Could breathe.
My bandage never had a hope,
Or chance to adhere

                                                         ­                You spoke a tragic song
                                                            ­             Like a caged bird-
                                                           ­              Beating wings ******
                                                          ­               Against a solid freedom
                                                         ­                That you would rob from me

                                           You swung away from truth-
                                           Only the harshest reality
                                           Was a gift worth giving to me
                                           Much like an orphaned child,
                                           Handed a tattered box,
                                           Unwrapped to find a broken toy
                                           Who would never find a use
Sometimes, pulling the thread on a failed relationship to expose all the parts we didn't know leads to a myriad of emotion that's hard to sort through.  Hopefully, this poem helps each of you as you ride that tidal wave of anger, sadness, mania, catatonia, relief, and disbelief...  Take care and always lean on a friend that you trust.
Jan 2021 · 103
Screaming Melodies
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
Your shores lie within my clever reach

But still, my raft floats so far away

All the community in the world

Is never enough to patch a broken ship

Whose edges are lined in broken glass

And weeping of a festered wound

All that's left of me will be

A man who floats on indignant water

Held afloat on broken trees

With an off-key voice and wracking cough

Screaming old-fashioned melodies
Even when someone doesn't want to be saved, it's up to us to try and show them a path ahead.  You cannot limit free-will, but you can expand perspective.  R I P to a broken friendship and choices I could never make you see.
Jan 2021 · 343
Enter Perspectivism
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
Trouillot once said,
"We all serve as actors and narrators
That compose the truth of history"

Your 'now' is tomorrow's history,
Your decisions will echo and ripple,
Will you act a courageous scene?
And speak truth,
To cut through pools of lies?

Never let anyone silence you,
And that includes yourself
Just a belief I have and a chance to mention a tremendous historian.  Grab history by it's (insert appropriate body part here) and make your life count.
Jan 2021 · 98
Tasteful Praise
Michael Stefan Jan 2021
If I were to give,
But a single complimentary
Expression of appreciation,
To describe your rakish charm,
Crooked smile,
Thoughtful presence,
And belief in others,
It would be not of honeyed words,
Streaming forth to nurture
A supple vanity or growing ego,
I would not mention your dextrous
Use of complex lexicons,
Nor your stunning beauty,
As observed in glittering sunlight
Not even a mention
Of your soft kind eyes,
glowing with a gentle warmth

If I would be so inclined,
As to compliment you
As best I could,
I would have to lean upon
The 'G's of modern dictionary
And say you're pretty good
I felt like being a little playful and mischievous with this particular poem.  Sometimes it's hard to find the words to describe the person(s) that you care about.  And sometimes it's hard to know if others care about you.  Look into the depths of a single word and know there is an ocean of praise just below.
Dec 2020 · 118
Michael Stefan Dec 2020
I wish, on days of blue, to dream of you, to dream of anything, as I am ****** into eternal sky, with jagged frost that nips, and winds that spiral, tumbling from endless, into a spiteful roar, and sounds of wicked winter, tearing clothes from aging flesh, to expose the beauty, the heartbreak, and the ageless tenacity, buried beneath our flesh, and burned into our souls.  I dream of falling into another...  To share and heal these scars.
Sometimes, I have incomplete and run-on sentences that march across my vision.  Sometimes they sound alright.  Hope you enjoy this one :)
Dec 2020 · 150
Black-Handled Axe
Michael Stefan Dec 2020
16 axes sit along
A wall of stone and red
15 all had wooden handles,
But one had black instead
15 cut down wooden trees,
The other made wounds that bled
If only we could give respect,
We'd get to keep our heads.
This poem refers to the lack of civil discourse in our country and our lives.  Politics, media, online interactions, and so many other forms of communications are slathered in anger and a failure to understand another person from their perspective.  But as the old saying goes, "Work as a team or die as an individual."  I hope we all learn to communicate with a little more respect and kindness before there isn't a 'we' anymore.
Nov 2020 · 225
A Guide to Fame
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
If you want to be respected
You must simply craft some clever words
To give a frame to rampant emotion
To give a *** for public sentiment
To grow and twist and tangle
To be the balanced arrow
Fired at the heart of everyone's nameless fears
If you want to be famous
Simply take the words
That everyone is screaming
And scream them the loudest
Eh, I got nothing to say on this one.  Just philosophical musings and making words to place my feelings.
Nov 2020 · 192
The Knife Boy
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
If you were a knife,
I couldn't cut through -
Warm butter or soft bread,
As your wit is so dull
Sorry, sometimes you just have to find an outlet after reading buffoonish comments on Facebook from people that barely understand the topic of which they speak.
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
shave and a haircut, two bits
two packs of cigarettes, fourteen dollars
a college education, around 60K
...unless you got that graduate itch
a two-bedroom house in a good school district?
...140,000 monies...
but you could always live in a ditch
the average cost of retirement?
between one million to two
and the average amount of hourly wages?
sits at about eleven bucks fifty-two
Sorry, I get wrapped up in the wage gap and economic disparity statistics from time to time.
Nov 2020 · 83
She wore a winter velvet
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
A purple thing of thick and soft
A velvet lace at wrists and knees
A rebellious lock of crimson hair
Fluttering in the winter's breeze
Held aloft on freckled cheeks
And billowing in all-seen breath
As wicked flakes began to gather
And bury her beneath their depth

A lambskin glove on flushing fingers
Helped to keep the heat within
As bitter winter-whitened landscapes
Hid away the Autumn's sins
And in this path towards the cabin
Her leather boots began to trod
And once again the cruel curl
Swung about with every nod

Her head was swaying with each footstep
Her heart was beating with each sigh
Her purple winter velvet doublet
Would keep her warm through winter's night
She closed the door as winds would howl
And scratch at cracks to get inside
As the fire spread through her face
She cracked a bone-white smile, wide

Another jaunt into the forest
Another scrape with nature too
Another night of simple pleasures
Of reading Proust and cooking stew
Her traps were set
Her ax was sharp
Her bow laid by the door
She had healed from the pain of Summer
And she hoped she'd see the Spring no more
This simple poetic rhyme scheme was inspired by a friend who picked herself up after some terrible issues with work and a failed relationship.  She had always been soft and loving.  But now she's tough, boisterous, and not going to take s**t from anyone again.  This poem is meant to tell you that no matter the harsh environment you face, you too will thrive one day.
Nov 2020 · 60
black umbrellas
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
fussin' over bow-tied manacles
and pleather braided belts
on midnight suits and bone-white shirts
as flags are hangin' high
on the right-hand side of silver Cadillacs
and rust-patched Ford trucks
stirring limply in heavy breeze
from thick thunderclouds
that always visit on lonely days
whilst we fall behind in convoy
of flashing red and screaming blue
towards that muddy earth patch of death
raising high our black umbrella
keeping rain from washing tears
off so many placid sad faces
from memories held dearest
to chance encounters
of even slightest recollection
we all hold black umbrellas
over single person lost to life
and condemned to earth herself
but what cosmic crowd
grips cheaply crafted plastic hilt
over the grave of earth herself, condemned
Sorry if this was such a ******.  I have been having a lot of difficulties looking to a hopeful future for society when we seem to continue to splinter and fracture further and further.  Allow yourself polite discourse with those you disagree with.  And allow them the room to speak their thoughts and yourself the time to assess the information before you condemn a person for their ideals.  And always know the topic you speak of, from research and not from cherry-picking single sources of news media.
Nov 2020 · 125
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
half a cup of coffee,
with two-thirds left in a day,
one-thousandth the satisfaction,
when I chose this fractured way,
only a quarter of my attention,
as I rifle through it with my hand,
no longer pain and only numb,
now I'm only half a man
Just a sad little ditty I thought up when I was looking through old Stoichiometric chemistry homework that ended up in the burn pile before moving.  Fractional coefficients get me sad, but so do other portions of this thing we call life.
Nov 2020 · 64
Black Hearts and Bedlight
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
Oh, sweet monsters,
filling pages
of infinite minds
left to wander

We of blissful comfort
wrapped in nightlight cloak
and blanketed fortune
hide from fiction
and dark reality

Never could it happen
"never to us"
we think in quiet reverie
of those missing,
and lost

But my precious,
monsters of man and woman
with blackest heart
and deadest eyes
do walk among us

Stay basked in bedlight
and wrapped in crocheted armor
and pray we stay
the lucky ones
This poem was inspired by my recent obsession with true crime podcasts and my continued deep dive into abnormal psychology for my licensure.  It is terrifying and fascinating what horrors have happened around the corner from us without our knowledge.  We never know until it is televised on the evening news.  Stay safe, stay warm, and stay smart.  You decisions keep you happy and home.
Nov 2020 · 164
The Cat Came Back
Michael Stefan Nov 2020
A long lost moment of fear and dread,
A long lost friend comes to the end,
A broken lock, and wind-swept door,
And now he's gone forevermore

My life went on, I aged and grew,
My heart was calloused after you,
I never got another pet,
Another thing over which I'd fret

But then one day through open door,
You crawled back in across my floor,
Your eyes were blind, your teeth were dull,
Your face was worn, skin-tight to skull

You left a little trail of blood,
Your paws were covered in blackened mud,
I knew you'd seen an ugly mile,
But it was you, with that crooked smile
Hello again HP community.  I was gone for a long time due to a divorce, a move, and some inpatient medical treatment due to my spinal issues and PTSD.  I have missed you guys a lot and have continued my journey into my graduate's degree.  Please, feel free to message me and chat.  I could use the company during the quarantine as I'm sure each of you could as well.  Expect a lot more in my feed very soon.
Jun 2020 · 142
River Wild
Michael Stefan Jun 2020
Bent like broken branches,
And always in a rage

She speaks in subtle platitudes,
That confine you in a cage

She's wild like raging waters,
Terrifying to be sure

No man with picks or shovels
Will ever contain her
I think all humans need to strive for freedom, accept their flaws, and resist the urge to control another.
Jun 2020 · 146
Empty Symmetry
Michael Stefan Jun 2020
Unbridled love set free, in Calgary
A young couple beneath a weeping willow tree,
Sad omens of two people to be,
Opposite and exact in their symmetry

Each passing day of warmer wet tears,
As measured steps were taken to walk away,
A belief in success is defense against fear,
And nothing but a thing they both say

They screamed silence from their corners,
Both blue and black with bruised hearts,
The same through equal alienation,
And sweet sorrowful apologies, unheard

Both walked the long walk to the pub,
Each, in turn, to drink the other away,
Both want the other to make the first move,
A shared relationship fades to dust
This is such a downer of a poem, but I was thinking about those moments when people seem so perfect for each other and it slowly fades into nothingness as you watch both parties do the same thing, want the same thing.  It begs the question if you both do and want the same thing, how does it fail?  Symmetry is supposed to be beauty in nature but I have seen so many couples mirror each other's misery.
Jun 2020 · 97
click, snap, twang
Michael Stefan Jun 2020
The mountains of Colorado,
Are tall and lightning jagged,
With high passes of ice and snow,
Broken glass breath run ragged,
When I happened upon a snag,
A slip and slide and ankle pang,
Losing bearing and losing bag,
I heard a sharp click, snap, twang

On my back in heap of snow,
With burning ache of broken bone,
Crimson pool began to grow,
And with my pain, I was alone,
But a greater pain was coming through,
A sorrowful knell, my heart sang,
Fear sunk in of not seeing you,
My heart then broke-
With a click, snap, twang
I guess I'm just feeling romantic today.  Some days the sun just seems to shine a little brighter than others.
Jun 2020 · 241
She is Beautiful
Michael Stefan Jun 2020
Her smile glimmered like gold,
With satin hair and porcelain skin,
Radiant in the morning-
And starlight at sunset

Brown eyes like liquid warmth,
Inviting me out to dinner,
An offer I would be daft to refuse-
And now she makes me smile
For those of you who have read most of my work, I know you were expecting a dark turn.  But I am feeling pretty happy today and wanted to concisely highlight how I view a person that is beautiful to me.
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