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Every time I fell in love
    my heart became more fragile.
    The snow fell beautifully into
    love's yawning massive grave
    where all true loves go to die.
    Tears of my soul drip upon pages
    and I scratch my stories for you.
    Read and understand my journey.
Dad, you made me
doubt every part of me
flags at half mast
hope for the future
despair for my past
I'm in a hobo bag
chase a freight train
sleep out of the rain
can of beans my dinner
I miss your hard heart.
She lived in a big house with her sister.
  They'd been there all their lives in Glendale,
  Ohio.  She was a dear woman who thought of us
  as her own children.  They were spinster Aunts.

  She spoiled me. She had a wicked sense of humor.
  She seemed to understand men's weakness for lust.
  She always welcomed me, even with my ***** wife.
  My kids went to an orphanage. I went to a nuthouse.

  My shadow demands the thrill of fangs and claws.
  My beast going wild after a lifetime on the leash.
  I betray all my dear loves for carnal pleasures.
  I starve for youth's smell and taste and innocence.
After all it's just a hollow conceit.
Spill my guts upon a page to muster
some semblance of brilliance.
Shine a spotlight on me and gasp.
When all's said and done I'm the
lonely poet in the garret reading
pencil scratches on old envelopes
wishing they were in Anthologies.
perfect life torn asunder
death in rain and thunder
webs of cancer grow
in silence you never know
until you see in her eyes
the love of your life dies.
Alarms beep and buzz and click.
   Morphine. Blood Pressure. Heartbeat.
   We chant prayers and despairs.
   Sirens scream outside and choirs
   of saviors sing orders to ICU.
   A quiet hymn calls time of death.
  Dec 2020 Marcin Strugalski
John Wiley
It's gone.
I've checked.
I know.

But then,
it never was
much.

Made mostly of scraps;
A rough frame of old bush lumber;
Walls of flattened fuel cans
and lime coated hessian;
A roof of corrugated iron,
battered and rusting.

Scorched by searing summer heat;
Blasted by dust storms;
Chilled by winter frost.

Insubstantial
against the vastness of desert
that stretched in every direction
from the tiny bush town.

But it was home.
Within its walls
were love and care.
At its table
were sustenance and conversation.

For three years
we lived there
when I was a boy.

I'd rise early
and sit on the edge
of the gibber plain
with our dog
watching the sunrise.

One morning
I heard
the jangling of hobbled camels
returning to town
from a night
in the desert.

On another,
there were herds of cattle,
walked in from
an outlying station
for drafting and yarding,
then transport southward
in a train
hauled by a small steam engine.

At the stock-yard
we'd pretend to be cowboys,
prodding the cattle in the loading race
with sticks,
revelling in the dust and noise,
caring little for their terror
or their destination.

One day we hiked
out past the stock cemetery,
of carcasses leering sightless,
scavenged by crows.
We trudged
to the red sand hills,
then back to the rail-line
for a ride home
with the fettlers.

We went barefoot often -
foot-soles like leather
from the searing sand.
In the heat of the day
we'd pause in the scant shadow of a bush,
to choose the next meagre patch of shade,
then run like the wind
to roll on our backs,
waving scorched feet
in the air.

It's still all there in my memory.
Every few years
I take the old track north,
just to check,
to experience again,
to remember.

Other than the vastness of the desert,
it all seems smaller now -
one tiny settlement
within the compass
of an unbroken horizon.

The old house
is just a memory.

It's gone.
I've checked.
I know.

But then,
it never was
much.
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