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Dan Schell Nov 2011
You lack character as a man,
unable to forgive and forget
dysfunction and anxiety,
white-knuckle memories
that root down deep,
clinging steady and strong
in the garrison of your mind.

Avoid the victim’s passion play;
we are all abused,
all exploited,
all broken gifts undelivered;
giving us humanity
in this comedy of error
and regret for words unsaid,
actions undone,
consequences unleashed.

We shall meet again,
when I have learned from my mistakes
and you retain them bitterly,
skeptical and aloof,
my beloved historian of bad judgment,
plowing your own path
through the debris of experience,
to make your own mistakes
your own.
Published October, 2011Heavy Hands Ink, Vol. VII
© 2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Nov 2011
This concrete cube
serves as a cold anchor
to future’s coming frost,
working cheaper than a ticket
to hockey game, circus or
Jehovah’s Witness convention,
prone in the crowd
to the patrons’ weary gaze,
a nail waiting for a hammer.

The boss orders me outside
like a bad dog in the yard;
the wind’s bitter fingers
cut through winter coat
faster than a bursting secret.
I shiver for bitter dollars
in a shriveling search
for balanced books.

I leap into uncertainty’s abyss
where no wind blows,
no snow piles higher than the exit,
no boss on new boss power trips;
as the darkness of my shrinking city
unfolds with the river’s every ripple,
I find more hope in the rubble
of tomorrow than today’s
crumbling concrete block.
Published October, 2011Heavy Hands Ink, Vol. VII
© 2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Oct 2011
Deep in the bottle,
where even the strongest minds fizzle,
perspective sways softly
and judgment is cutting
deep into submission
of stupor and stumble,
a profound lack of commitment
nodded off in the chair.

Wishing away
today and tomorrow,
but shadows can be patient
and wait for the dark.
The lump on the couch,
he bristles with anger,
fed whiskey and Winston’s
to dull those sharp cravings
for death ever-lasting,
for abyssal release.

You left the lump breathing,
withdrew your attention
to his core care and feeding;
you’ve taken to singing
serenades to the sleeping,
but memories keep bleeding,
that puncture your tincture;
for that lump is your fixture
of regret and remorse.

The lump does not whimper
until shadows are long,
the reruns on TV run into
the screaming of your song;
the drum solo hammers
on tomb-like front door;
a concert, just for husband and you;
the social worker’s knocking;
whatever will you do?
Published in the August, 2011 issue of Midwest Literary Magazine.
© 2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Oct 2011
When you blow from the North,
the mercury shivers,
piling your snow drifts
high before my door;
we skate on roadways
and reclaim our trash cans
blown down the block;
you shift all my shoveling
back to where there is none.

Oh, Michigan wind,
you blow god’s breath,
your roar drowns out
the game on the radio;
you send summer leaves to spinning
and pages to flipping,
blowing the sugar-beet stink
from the cool, humid air,
showering the rooftops
with broken brown sticks,
making the branches above
click like tap shoes
and drop seeds into my glass
of lukewarm beer.

When the silence is set
and the darkness is met
with uncertain regard,
your winds steady the nerve
like a quick shot of whisky
stinging the throat.
I weigh myself down
with concrete resolve
hoping to stay grounded
and not blown around
with the leaves, the trash,
the sound.
Published 9/1/2011 – FortyOunceBachelors, Vol. 1, Issue 4(
© 2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Oct 2011
Early-morning quiet time,
I puff secret cigarettes
in a damp basement,
the webby side of the furnace
where only the cat dares to tread;
every move I make a thunderclap
from a storm coming off the bay,
every board-creak a snapped twig
under the foot of the Skull Island savage.

The children still sleep,
wild in suspended abandon;
arms flailing above their heads
in frozen unconsciousness.
They need their rest
before time takes away
summer’s gift to the child.

They are not mine,
to keep, to hold;
they are not my blood,
but blood is blood
and love is love.
Published in The Front Porch Review, April, 2011
©2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Oct 2011
It is hard to see him now,
frail body confined to the bed,
a doll drained of stuffing
beneath his blanket,
topped with graying head.

I cast aside the memory of a man
I once knew:
the man who wore his liver
on his sleeve,
the bottle before
any woman, any job, any law;
the man who told his young son
they could drive anywhere
as long as they spent no money;
gas flowed from pumps like water;
the town unfolding as we drive,
an endless archive of stories untold
before wide child eyes.

The man who rose from bartender
to janitor to professional,
back to the bar and then,
in a flash, this hospice bed;
cruel arc of a careless life,
a life unforgiving of mistakes,
disease, and the great, great
imperfections of men.

I am too ingrained for him to forget,
culled from the years erased,
a memory plucked from the sea of fog;
implanted too deep in his heart
to dissolve into dementia’s ether;
but too many memories
have become unmoored,
ropes dangling, anchor lost,
drifting along the tides of time,
listing with the waves
in a silent good-bye.
Published in “deuce coupe,” Jan., 2011
©2011 – Dan Schell
Dan Schell Oct 2011
Open your arms,
open your eyes
but do not always believe
the touch, the sight,
truth’s flame cornered by the night,
we tread down our paths
with care, with fright.

Our monitors burn bright
with toys and guns,
to plastic banks we run
for that rush in our minds
leaving reason behind; while
admen conjure more ads,
more signs.

Every spark painted-on CGI
every brand-name trademark
displayed before the eye,
bowing deep into receipts
piled haystack-high,
we’re not quite tall enough
for that one last ride,
to ebay we bid good-bye.
Published Nov. 2010, National Gallery of Writing, National Council of Teachers of English
©2010 – Dan Schell
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