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Jun 1 · 504
Just For An Instant
Ah, once more a day in vacant rays
A webbed window, cracked gently to let the breeze by.
a minute an hour,
a bee lands on a flower
succumbing to desire,
a move with a purpose
It’s assuredness I admit breaks a chunk from my confidence

What is what isn’t what could what couldn’t
Is of no concern to a bee, imagine how free that would be
A beetle crawling up the bark of a tree,
Oh, just for an instant
I wish I could see the life that you see!
May 21 · 479
A guess
Nick Stiltner May 21
The wind felt different on my neck today,
Slightly colder, unfamiliar,
It was not a feeling I was used to.

But this breeze hasn’t changed at all
There was a spark on the nerves of the cuticles where hair stands ensnaired there had sounds of foundation rock breaking and cracking a lump of clay stepping out of the mold under its own power it’s own fruition at first its unseemly bordering on crude then your curiosity strikes like what will this lump of clay do? will he crash off the table damp too much water tear himself in two brand new asunder asunder asunder I see a rock we have to peek under I have to keep searching but my search has all been for naught but then again looking on those days in the rays I couldn’t wait to find shade is this really the only way yes she says with a sigh so I position my head so my eyes meet sky i guess it’s time to retry so here I go again and again and again and again and again so many times I’ve tried to take flight and sometimes I can’t be but filled with spite but I know The Wheel she spins goes back and goes forth
So it’s on to the next and the next and the next this life is only a quest but that is only a guess
Mar 8 · 441
Be Gone!
When is when is when is
The next moment I will stand on this shore, looking out into the bay?
Who will I be and how will I see this same scene then?

How will I see again, the morning rising illuminating the tide, it’s misted glow refracting in all directions?

How will I hear again, the gull’s cry, a higher song hovering over the soft sway of the water, it’s lapping connection to the shore, gone now but always on its reverberating journey back?

How will the water feel on my feet, in early spring and then in ebbing twilight? Will I stand strong and blooming, or will I hunch and wither in decay, in memories of a long forgotten brighter day?

Will the salt spray still fill my nose, will its memory be etched in me always?

There is no sure way to know, no sure path we can follow, I say to myself.
When I return I will be him and he will have came from me, formed in the bubbling foam of my memories of this swaying sea.
But in my melancholy daze upon departure,
a vision appears to me as if a dream:

“Be gone!”
A mirage of the goddess Brizo comes to me, sitting alone in a galley bobbing along with the waves.
“Be gone! Hold not your journey in contempt, be scared not of the changing tides!
You have your vessel as I have mine, the sea is strong but not impassible!
Adjust your sails, redirect your mind, the wisdom of the sea follows, to any height you can climb!
The power is you, shed light on what you know to be true, look in the water and be calmed, know that you are you!

Be gone! Go from me, away from this fading part of your journey,
There is still much of the world to see!
Do not linger, do not hesitate,
Do not be contented, with a hazy view of the sea from your seat on the shore!”
Jan 9 · 48
Sea Breeze
Dance on wind,
Elope with sky.
Breathe in mind,
Unfold, open
as the gulls fly.

Coastal breeze,
I close my eyes
Feel the cool on my face,
Untether, let it take me where it may
With a smile sprouting upon each gust.
Nov 2020 · 101
The Other Days
Nick Stiltner Nov 2020
I circle around a seething pit,
rimmed in despair,
as a vulture hungrily around it’s edge.
Vainly I look up, to the sun
And some days it’s there,
My reasons to be seem firm,
I can smile into the light
But on others it hides and I grow unsure.

On dreary days I can’t help but glance,
A quick sideways shoot, into the pit.
Another look, this time longer,
And I see it’s familiar form beckoning to me.
I see the swirls
Of Tartarus, the awing black,
And now it grabs my full attention.

Ward it off, I say to myself,
Be strong!
Some days this works, much to my delight
On Others the words ring hollow and I am pulled in,
A rope tied in my chest
To the side of the pit,
and I sit, head down in defeat,
on its edge.

It takes everything in me not to go slack,
Relax and fall, fall, fall
Deeper into the apathetic darkness,
Into the grips of senselessness,
The liberation of nothing meaning anything
Of life being a tortured, laborious dream.
Oct 2020 · 127
Nick Stiltner Oct 2020
Whose to say that the dreams
I have just roused from,
Are any less real
Then the waking dream
I find myself in now?
Oct 2020 · 56
Ode to Mother Nature
Nick Stiltner Oct 2020
Mother Nature grabbed my hand,
And Guided me when I did not have a path myself.
I followed my nose, the scents of honey suckle dragged at me
I followed my eyes, watched the damselflies glide
I reached my hand out and brushed the bark of a grizzled oak,
I learned what it meant to be strong.
My ears caught the soft reverberations of the babbling brook,
When I caught myself dreading a new dawn.

Oh sweet and awing mother,
You brought the rain and lightning
When I had a storm raging inside of me.
You crashed a tree in my way,
When I needed to learn to climb.

Snakes and spiders may scare some others,
But they remind me that we all have our places in your world.
You made the clouds move west,
When I needed a sign to move on.

When the path forked and diverged
And a queasy indecision rose into my spirit
You sent a single bee,
Who hovered in front of me
And lead the way through the forest.
Jul 2020 · 78
Becoming Brings Pain
Nick Stiltner Jul 2020
Touch tone Speech disabled
Truth relabeled, Fantasy Endured
Story book fable world
watch as pages they turn
(It All Passes)

Rip fall far from the book, paper back
Held loosely, ruined by constant rain
The muddy side of a forgotten river.
(Isolated Inspiration)

Ink bleeds to puddles, swirls down the drains
Be be be I must remind myself
Just be
(Becoming Brings Pain)

Fiend life, Up under the Moon and Starlight searching
For anything, fleeting symbols of the thrill,
Lust to set out, before the dust settles
Before the sun rises,
The sweet taste of the next to offset
The bitter taste of Before.
(Distractions Never Work)

Under a hex, encased in shimmering shields
Of my own sight and experience
My own processed thoughts
And left wherever the puddle dries up,

I dance in a field of honey Lilac
A giddy laugh escapes behind my smile
Like the Fool, on top of the mountain
One foot on solid rock
the other suspended in the air
Leaning forward,
my eyes lost in the sights
Of an ever illusion skyline.
(Chase In Vain, You Stubborn Fool.)
May 2020 · 238
Smiling alone in the Rain
Nick Stiltner May 2020
Ephemeral Dust, Primordial Soup
Essence in swirl,
Conscious of Unconscious
Thoughtless, Sway like a Leaf.
Under sunlight, Rejuvenation
Under moonlight, Exhalation
Vacant Plane, I wonder in Circles
Gnosis, I have to break these Chains  
Realization drenches over me
Smiling alone in the Rain.
May 2020 · 239
Gaze Deeper
Nick Stiltner May 2020
The illusion is shifting again
The columns melting stone to blurred sand
Kiss the River bed, saturated nutrient flow
Estuary, opposites mixing like friends

Meeting our ends, meeting our ends
The Compost heap rots and withers,
In preparation to add to the cycle again
The moment is fleeting
Gather, pull the light close to your Chin
Hold it on the sides of its head
And gaze, gaze deeper and deeper again
May 2020 · 74
Painted Windows
Nick Stiltner May 2020
Sails set with west Wind
Ears locked to capture essence
Ebbing waves, it comes and goes
Gaze through Painted windows
A mind of my design,
Don’t resign, don’t neglect
Your views you visions your mind
Map chart plot set sails to wind
It doesn’t matter where you begin
Or where it ends
Only that it happens.

The only way to a good death
Is a life worth looking back on
In your final moments.
May 2020 · 366
Beyond this
Nick Stiltner May 2020
Coastline yellow dawn,
Overflowing fountain
Untrimmed garden,
Left to Decay
Rot in the sun

Bluebonnet field,
Honey suckle sweet breeze
Left to flourish,
Their petals reach to the sky

Light step, on the untreded
Birdbath with feathers flashing about it
Dawning spring, swallowing following
Enchanted breeze, dew on the leaves

Break the cycle of the illusion
Never ending we march along
One step higher another step closer
At the end, Door Closer locksmith
I have to see beyond this
Apr 2020 · 59
Nick Stiltner Apr 2020
infinite cycle of the Moment
Break it, shake off the gears
moon hanging Low, a winding wander between stars
move concussed bemused, hollow tunes and hues
of blue acrylic mixed with black,
darkened substrate, Sewn from different cloth
The seamstress Knits and unties
All of your how’s and why’s, just give her time

Decline Rewind Desire Chasing Decay
Inspired the head Voices they laugh
And snicker, under a light that grows dimmer
yet the stars continue to shimmer and the moon
Wanders aimlessly onwards no matter your Ego
take a respite from being the one who knows

wind blows the streams flows, it’s course carved
Effervescent illusion it fades flows, makes room for the next
a bird In flight between two clasped hands,
that crumble away, now feel the night flow in
Feel the tremors remember to breath
but don’t run, look the void into form and grin
the fluttering bird knows when it’s time has come
it begins to fall fall fall in spiral, flutter in dismay
we all crumble in decay, it’s okay

Hold too tight and you will damage the image
Past nights last flights viewed from a different vantage
Produce differing feelings differing lessons
Building and bubbling tension just let it all go
Give yourself to the flow and feel your chest beginning to glow
It’s okay, it’s okay
Apr 2020 · 69
Nick Stiltner Apr 2020
movement motions blurred enchanted
Surplanted, ideas sprouts plucked
displaced, renewed in the vacant vase
i wander throughout this vacant plane

transparent encasing, thought plucked
replaced by the soft tones of her voice
her words casting a spell on me,
rearranging life to my eyes,
Light to edge of the river
as the water laps to shore.
Apr 2020 · 74
Nick Stiltner Apr 2020
You control your eyes
You control your sight
You control where your mind
goes each and every night

Stars realign, searching reading signs
Walk along the borderline
exit life, I got bored of mine
Molasses’ slow drip,
Lost in the Divine mind

Shoreline shoreline
Ego Bleed to the ocean
Sap myself away,
Searching for yellow rays
through the drowning gray

Count the days, count the days
Tightrope over the borderline,
Exit life I got bored of mine
Told the truth and I heard them sigh.
Apr 2020 · 161
Nick Stiltner Apr 2020
Blossom Blossom
Spring is Dawn
Blossom, petals open my palm
went too deep, In for too long
the image fades and then shifts
fizzing And purpling smoke
boils Over the edge
blow a kiss to the wind but I choke
what did I mix, why am I mixing again
the wind shifts
and it goes Missing again

Bliss field Bliss field
walls all Falling down
hidden grove They do not make a sound
dreams Make sense when you’re in them
(I Guesss) Eerie, how I see it so clearly
held in my palm like a Bubble
fissiOn fusion Cracking asphalt
one day one day one instant

you Make too much sense
why do that to yourself and to me
why exist Coexist cross lights with Anyone
im Vain do not look for me
dont watch me fade fade
dreAm lotus field it all Made sense to me

Hide from fate but it keeps finding me
Hide from fate but it keeps finding me
Hide from fate but it keeps finding me
Mar 2020 · 120
Nick Stiltner Mar 2020
Outside of the walls of safety, cynicism and past experience
Sits an open sea, colored turquoise green
Where inspiration and love can fly,
Like gulls circling in the wind
Mar 2020 · 155
Nick Stiltner Mar 2020
Seas of swaying green reduced to gray city skylines (the triumphant results of our modern enlightenment)
Slicked oil waters pulse from the refineries, defeated heads held down against the cold winds walk the streets.
Malaise grips the populace,
our attention at every turn deftly averted to the trivial.
Welcome one, welcome all, to the Anthropocene.

Smoke stacks bellowing, pockets full of printed greenbacks thickening,
the overwhelming scents of greed and gluttony bleed into everything.
Throw your trash to the streets, stomp the last embers and smear ash on the wall,
Look around and you will see humanities closing scenes.
Welcome one, welcome all, to the Anthropocene.

It seems in the end truth has left us,
hope has evacuated,
it’s speakers replaced with puppets
That dance and masquerade on taught strings.
Come in my friends, take your seats in the audience,
The show has already begun!
The lights are dimming and the pieces well set,
Welcome one, welcoming all, to the Anthropocene.

Continents ablaze, reduced to decayed black.
The streets of your home flooded,
Mother Nature holding on by a trembling thread,
And in all of our brightest intellect,
We do not reknit the thread.
Instead of reversing our own mistakes, instead of adjusting our sails to the changing winds,
we hold the scissors to that trembling string and begin to cut with a smile.
Manicured life,
Monocultured lawns perfectly maintained through the drought, appearances kept up through the drowning monsoon winds.

Welcome, my dearest friends, to the end of our days, whether you agree to them or not,
Welcome to the first conscious mass extinction, brought to you by the height of human innovation
Welcome, my brothers and sisters, to the Anthropocene.
Feb 2020 · 155
Nick Stiltner Feb 2020
winter’s chilled stillness,
atoms in ice bundling tightly together
senesced trees, rotted flowers
songless birds, misted sunlight
crushed leaf step, a coat tightened

memories or dreams
What is the difference to me
light or illusion
it all seems the same to me
lie in the shade,
count gray clouds and decayed petals

page turn page turn
the pictures keep flipping
damp moisture dripping insistently
consistency, mortality
totality and ending
happen time and again
true end, broken wheel
flickering sparks jump from the ash pile

yellow daisy river sways in the breeze
blonde beauty white dress she runs her fingers over the petals
cicada song, buzz on lilac tongue

Blue skies sun peaked over head
No clouds a kiss of wind
Direction, arrows on a compass
Point to where and why
Startled doves rise divides the mind eye
Motion and stillness
Control and fluidity
Nov 2019 · 310
It’s okay
Nick Stiltner Nov 2019
White jet stream splits the blue sky
Serenity, I ignore what they say to me
Maybe daying be’s, laying fading beneath swaying trees
Dawning years a tease, burn away the grease
Wipe the grime away, I’m searching for signs today
Pried myself outside the lines, you stayed behind it’s okay
Thought grenade, cicadas and bees serenade,
Peeling back layers, the sour tang of marmalade
Garments handmade, dip my toes in the bluing lake
Vibrations I feel a wake, a dip in the curve
Butterfly stomach I can’t help but squirm
Serenity, I saw a white jet stream split the sky
As I wandered, I wondered why
Nov 2019 · 131
Nick Stiltner Nov 2019
You read my poem and said you liked it,
Your eyes glowed and you read it twice
It was no surprise when it
became my favorite.
So I wrote another, with the thought of you in mind
But to you it was never shown
And now I can’t help but wonder
if you would like this one too.
Oct 2019 · 80
Every Step
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
Every step I take
Is to escape the latching chains
Of human utility and efficacy
The working man comes home worn
Sore and hungry (emptiness is the source of vice, sin, and cruelty)

All minds and thus eyes are divine
When when when
Will we realize the limits of our hands and mouths and functions

Please don’t ask because I don’t know
Most are on the corner begging,
Peddling their wares
To the hoarder who retreats back
To a gilded lare

Blank stare blank stare
I know he is not fully there
Divide my mind
Wind up and hurl it into
The open, unresponsive sky
And hope it catches wild
On wings spread wide
And flies flies
Far away from here
Oct 2019 · 141
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
new light yellow dawn dew on leaves
crease in seams torn sow sow them back
glow through black glow into the night
yellow light white light bird flight owls hoo
at the party I took something that made the stars dance for me
that made the wind speak
that made my heart leap to meet my mind a stiffening spinal column
avert my gaze I’m shy I cannot hold
the connection the link of pupil to pupil dilation
annihilation the end, atoms spreading up the wall
until it’s pulled back to black to white light
plug in my night light and tuck my bed right
and sleep snooze snore softly floating into void, ceaseless night
Oct 2019 · 71
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
the same the same the days the same
loops in twirls in rounds and rounds
the same the same
the game played the same in shame
the same the same it’s quite the same
as it was and as it wasn’t untamed
the same the same in flames in ash
the same the same in frost in love
the same the same the nights the same
the sane insane same lane blue days
accept the days the same the same
it rains it shines it pours they snore
the same the same the lines the same
at shores in reefs on mountains in sheets
the same the same the effortless same
in heat in frost in bliss in loss
the same the same it goes on the same
play the game the rules you know
the same the same the days the same
in shame with a kiss indeed I insist
the same the same we all bleed the same
Oct 2019 · 55
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
To the show to the show
My darling my beloved wants to dance
And sing and let go in the crowd at the show

river flow water evaporates
under pulsing beating heat waves
occilations the fruit decays
in the hands of a mans whose mind
is caught in occupations, speculations
scepticilizations denials of ripeness
the wrongness hesitations
chiseling with shaking hands
crack and splits face decay,
taste away it’s a prize fruit we hold
take a bite, love your life
or with fright watch love mold and decay

my beloved wants to go to the show today
and dance and sing and get lost in the flow Today
Oct 2019 · 96
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
breathe in, breathe out
breathe in, breathe out
rising heartbeat, panting breath
the ***** echoing off the walls
building in volume,
block by block
note by note
the weighted hands with heavy fingers
slamming the keys in discordant rhythm,
hitting just the wrong keys at the right time
making me wince.

Pressure building buildingbuilding
Is what I tell myself,
In gasping breaths
While gripping grasping my chest
filled with lungs that can’t fill,
In a mind that cannot think.

The conductor looses control of the orchestra,
The instruments screech horribly
As he waves his arms vainly,
Jumping and begging for a stop,
louder and louder the instruments soar.

Breathe in, breathe out
My head falls into my hands
Breathe in breathe out
when will this ever end?
Oct 2019 · 181
Nick Stiltner Oct 2019
top brain forward eyes severed diluted
down mind feared essence ignored
star gaze rays smogged polluted
connect connect widen the gap
flow flow hand meets ice-water
growing numbness crackling bones
crack sip sigh Relax

unattended, withering, left to rot
chime chime signs direct where
why lark fly vines hide
the corner
beads dangle I move them
and they fall back into
they fall back into
their places
stages lights tread lightly across
and bow be sure to bow they like that
humming bird wings on twilight canvas
blurs blurs the paints and hues
dreams and views dreams and views
severed sinews, unabled motion
crack sip sigh Relax
lean back rising tide blanket and jaw slack
May 2019 · 77
Nick Stiltner May 2019
Tottering at the cusp on the brink
Floorboards in the night hear the creaks
A *** overfilled and it’s constant leak,
Minds connecting, a dangling link
Blinking blinking light shrinking shrinking

Line splitter the vultures pecking at my liver
Time quitter satellite eyes swimming above the river,
Lit by moonlight, desert sand dunes and their silver shimmer

Wind on the Sahara and behind the sky
Sits the great tailor plucking at the seams
Knocking and shaking the supporting beams
And sending bricks falling and smashing
Into the floorboards of the empty room
With a porch overlooking the swaying ocean
Nick Stiltner Apr 2019
The lotus, I choose the lotus!
The ebb and flow the shore it goads us
Static focus, a layer peeled off and cast aside
The tide it whispered it spoke to me
but I turned I looked the other way
Upwards roads and downwards roads
Set the rock aside Sisyphus,
Bear the weight no more
Stare in lost, in vacant eyes at a boatless shore
The lotus, I choose the lotus

Wayward streams, down and around it floats us
And spits us out,
Our isolated Elysium or tortured chamber
It’s a matter of where you spend your days, in or out
On what you rest your eyes upon,
The whirlwind, the spinning cannon
Fates bolt it shoots us in twirling spiral
And all along from the corner lit dim
Float the soft tunes of a harpist,
Deft fingers pluck the taught strings,
And her eyes overcast, cloudy grey
Stare vacantly out like person drowned

The lotus, I choose the lotus!
The sweet nectar it covers it soothes me
Puzzled pieces glue me, paste me together
Pluck me, toss me, say that I flew
Let’s play who knows who
Be honest who really knows you
Reflection from the lake,
a familiar face it greets me
Whirlpool tides, how they rip they pull us
Oh the lotus, give me the lotus!
Apr 2019 · 73
Nick Stiltner Apr 2019
Man is made by the void pressed tightly around him
A silhouette with an outline flickering on gusts, in flux,
Do you see does anyone see
The mirage behind eyes and hands from behind
That grip and shift the sky

The freedom to fly to fly
but also to lie and wither,
a copperhead on dead leaves
slowly slithering
its venom dripping teeth and flickering tongue
sliced by knife wrung quick,
as i fill my glass and take a diluted sip
fade fade to fade a crossing

Man is made by the weight
that props up a fading outline
of borrowed understandings
which binds us which holds us
and releases as the tension grows slack
and in bleeds the black, filling its glass
inside the outline where breath and fire once
passed and flowed,

Will I hear a scream at the beginning
of the ceaseless dream,
or will the taught string be cut in a slash
delivering me back from where i was brought?
Jan 2019 · 78
Nick Stiltner Jan 2019
Shattered glass
The Fallen, the other path
Gathered moss
It’s overdue
Slippery and slimey
But coated, wined in
Shining shining
shimmering substance
But they know me
It has to look like this
I keep moving forward
With mushed moss
And over growth
At my boots
And treetop
Clouded lights
For my eyes
Dec 2018 · 106
who knows where
Nick Stiltner Dec 2018
in the abandoned palace sits an empty Seat
an arching Hall left empty after the retreat,
grab my hand grab my hand
let us depart the hallowed land!

rising Star a tangerine sky
mourning dove's calls echoed across the pond,
dew on blades of grass wove
and filled the endless plain.

I woke up I don't know where today
my exhaled breath fogged and dissipated
into mist, caught on the breeze
gone to who knows where
i haven't heard from one
who goes there.

who knows where
light and life go to hide
as the sun reaches higher into the sky,
a sky that doesn't look the same
from this side of the line

who can know
where the white streams of jets go
as their cutting lines dart across
the light blue canvas and fade away

to be one or the other
a choice like a ripple from a rock
tossed into the tranquil pond
an oasis where the animals come to drink
in the swirling scene of a tangerine sky.
Nov 2018 · 843
hear me out
Nick Stiltner Nov 2018
You see I was I was
reading this book right
this real great book
and i had it in my hands
and im seeing this scene
that its describing
im not gonna go into the details
right now per se but im seeing it
in my head, you know
you know like how when
youre reading the words
but not really because they
are becoming blurred
and the picture just
kinda appears
in your brain
like you are living it,
like you are actually there
but you can't be
its just something that you see
without eyes
it blooms and engulfs the inside
of your mind
it opens the door and enters calmly
and makes it self at home, like a
painting on the wall
or or
like a number youve been meaning to call
do you see what im saying?

so that got me thinking, hear me out
you can imagine anything, yes i know duh
the pictures can sprout and bloom
become overgrown and be trimmed
maintained or treated with disdain
or with some good ole TLC,
really anything you want
a home a gnome a crystal phone
in Rome trapped on the wrong end of a honed
pearly white bone,
what does it mean oh let me tell you
i havent got a clue not one
but what about
a light you were shown when you were
younger but somehow still aware
that what you really need is somewhere
out there
or in there I should say,
does that mean something or does it
only hold significance because its your memory
of what you did when you were young
because right now you arent moving you arent seeing
anything you are just there with a blank stare
and if you measured the time that was lost
in this state it would be sad it would be
disappointing yeah if you watched it from the side
but from my view its fantastic i see lights
in different colors and see crystal worlds and
different others, thoughts borne of differing
mothers from different places
but all the same
down the same path
from the same origin,
its all really a walk down the map
to find your own x
but thats a discussion for another day
but as i was saying it could lead
to so many different places
filled with beautiful faces and cases
left shattered and broken on the ground
and everything is sound and safe
but then there is a clap or a pop
and bam you are awake, aware
that you were stuck staring into thin air
trying to see shapes  
awake awake awake
and then its all gone like an old song
that youve forgotten the words too
but sounds so so so so
you know?
Oct 2018 · 1.4k
Nick Stiltner Oct 2018
The leaves dance for the breeze,
birds hop and glide from tree to tree.
Cicadas throaty song and the crickets cracking chirps,
the vibrations sent into my ear
in a humming tornado swirl.
Life moves with ease, if you let it.

A memory recalled and the scene brought back
found in the sleek motion of a pouncing cat.
Shown to forethought, brought under the light
a recollection lost to the wind
lit in hollow tones of hazy purple.

Nuzzled between the layers in those forgotten days,
Life will pass with ease, if you let it.

Turn turn turn,
the globe on it's rotating limb it turns.
Light shines, line fades,
time aches but quickens its pace.

The flame it should burn the blurred heat
rises in mist all around,
I can't i can't i can't
feel the flame forming, lashing at my feet.

The shoreline night breeze sends my bones
shivering and knocking and aching,
can someone tell me why
the horizon will not stop shaking?

A look above,
breath found within the shining eye
of the crowded moon, behind a blooming star
their retreating dance in tempo with the lights
as they shake and dim.

Clear and vacant eyes,
Cleared out and left to rot
in the twisting tumbling weeds
of memories you thought you had forgot.
Oct 2018 · 601
Halfway House
Nick Stiltner Oct 2018
Home is a bus station
A byway between,
A place to rest my head
Before the next departure.

I’ve seen rain through the windows,
I’ve sat through cool midnights.
The station fills and empties,
People with their luggage arrive
And wait for the next bus out,
Standing in a line at the door.

Home is the next station,
The nearest side of the road
With a view of the stars.
It’s an x on the map,
A hazy line connecting the dots
Between me and you.

My ticket is stamped
My bag tightly packed,
And with time I’ve come to know
That where I’m truly at,
A map can never show.

Life is a bus station,
With its comings and goings
Its periods of waiting and of rushing.
Charon, the perpetually impatient,
Drives his bus into the loading bay
And checks tickets at the folding doors.
With teared eyes I wave,
At the back of a bus as it drives
Into the dreary autumn sun set,
Down the interstate and out of the city.

Life is a bus station,
The place between
Where the crooked lights are on
Through the windows they shine
a lighthouse’s winking eye to a captain
Trapped in the tumulting waves
Of a wrecking sea storm.

The bus honks at it leaves,
And we wave to the driver
Who bravely heads down the road
That we all walk down in the end
Oct 2018 · 384
Nick Stiltner Oct 2018
A soundtrack from behind the blinds,
fleeting and skittering steps into the rocking water,
crossing the ebbing tide's line in the sand.

I cross the barrier between,
I open my eyes and I see
the castle standing on an arching hill
over the snaking river.
The tower reaches high,
stretching to meet the clouds
and the bricks of the walls sit in piles
of rubble, left to the mosses
and vines that drape their faces.

My vision fades to black and it forms again,
the gray sea and shimmering light appear
as i wade deeper, now up to my knees
in the lifeless water.

Up the spiraling staircase,
a glance through the hole in the wall
as the valley shrinks below
and the hazy purple sky
envelopes the whole of my sight.

The water reaches my chest now,
my steps scraping the rocky bottom
and the white moon lighting the path
forward, reflecting in a white sparkle
on the top of the slow moving wake.

The crumbled roof at the top of the tower
gives way to the dark and starry night.
A hazy mist surrounds,
of a cloud slowly drifting through
like an ambling specter,
on the long march home.

I crouch at the edge,
at the edge of the hole at the bottom.
I fill my lungs with a last breath
and dive downwards,
the gray sea covering me
and pushing me into the lightless cavern.

The mist of the cloud passes
and the view of the valley
is cleared.
I sit at the edge of the tower,
with my feet dangling over the side.

Lost in the stars,
once again my vision fades
But the gray waves do not return,
the white moonlight dimmed and extinguished
as I sigh and sit at the top of my conquest
and remember the days i've lost
in the traceless place,
with its tranquil waves.
Oct 2018 · 266
Nick Stiltner Oct 2018
Have you ever tried to draw a picture
without lifting the pencil from the paper?

One line, uninterrupted and looping
in on itself, swerving in arcs and switching
directions at sharp points.

The line grows at a constant rate
but the vectors change, how the wind is blowing
and the wobbling arrow of the compass.

A head hanging closely over the paper
and a hand pressing the pencil with trembling
force against the desk.

Eyes squinted, focused intently on the next
angle as the lead begins to tremble and crack.
Just a little more, just one more turn
the piece hasn't come together yet.

The timer beeps its descending count
10 to 9 and 8 to 7.
Sweat condenses on the brow
and the lead shatters
as it lets out its electronic shriek.

Now lift your head, trace the line with your finger
where it loops and why,
and when the work is done you will realize
where the line drifted away
from the hazy picture you had in your mind.

A scribble dons the paper,
the line intersecting randomly
and turning when it reached the edge,
influenced by the frame, not your whim.
Oct 2018 · 103
Dreary Lane
Nick Stiltner Oct 2018
A crowning flame,
the man with the beaming gaze
still wanders down the dreary lane,
with the sky crimsoned by the yawning
sigh of the Sun
as it waves its hand in goodbye.

Medals on the chest, stripes on the collar
are garnish on an ever crumbling tower.
The height once reached,
at the apex he stood
the forest engulfing him
and the chill air flowing around him.

But as he reached his arms high,
at the very apex of his climb
why, why, why
did he still close his eyes?
Sep 2018 · 481
Nick Stiltner Sep 2018
Why does the morning pass by so quickly?
The grey light fades steadily away
as the sun reaches the top of its ascent.
Empty coffee cups, the bottom layered with grounds,
sit on the desk by the window.

Sewn into the fabric, intricately woven,
the multi colored threads begin to overlap
and are tightened, pulled through by the sure hand
of the passing hours.

The outline blurs,
the voice of memory begin to dissolve.
The faded face mouths the words
but I cannot remember the sound,
lost to the piling sands
at the bottom of the hourglass.
Aug 2018 · 2.0k
A Dawning Sun Rises
Nick Stiltner Aug 2018
Horns of triumph sound,
showering the day with a golden glow!
Apollo in his blazing chariot rises from the east horizon, reigns in hand as he flies towards the stars with the morning light tethered tightly behind
his shining carriage.

Eyes long blinded ache from the coming morning,
the dew on the grass shines in radiance
and an emerging smile escapes from lips tightly held together.

A laugh escapes!
The head rolls back, the eyes begin to water!
A gasp for air, a friend held tightly to your chest!

The mournful songs of the lasting night fade to blurred memory, drowned in new light.
The flicker behind a smile that was lost in the white moonlight cracks open again, one that was forgotten deep within the darkened cave.

The first time come again!
A child’s giddy laugh tolls from a mouth set in stone.
A stomach full of nervousness, a mind that will not rest.
I exist on a single beam of light in between two oceans of stretching, black infinity, and I walk the line as a tight rope, balancing deftly with my eyes in the clouds, and a pen held tightly in my hand.

Shades of blue, the morning doves throaty coo,
each second leaps and bounds, elastic stretching and it’s twanging rebound.
The tension in the rope that can’t help but reverberate, and love in exasperation, shiver as the chills come once again.

Eyes met twice, a joy to be now with no questions asked, no thoughts but what the others thoughts are, and how long a moment can actually last.

Nostalgic tones of youths throaty chords ring through the dreary sea, sending the still waves tumbling and crashing, setting a tranquil man into motion once again, releasing the tension in a brow long furrowed, in shoulders tightly hunched, and ending the silence of a tongue held once too many times.

The Sun Gods booming laugh echos down the valley,
a reverberating sound that even the soaring eagle must stop and perk his ears too, losing sight of the mouse he had planned for breakfast, forgetting all but that musical tone.

When the light comes, when the dawning sun rises again, let your eyes water and overflow, let your heart swell and stomach twist, let the chills flow like the white capped river, feel the rapids of emotion that erode even the strongest rocks in the way of the current.

Now I am and I am now,
I bathe in the light and let a smile touch my lips, with my arms spread softly apart.
I take a deep breath of the cool morning air, filling empty lungs to the straining brim,
Oh, the first time come again!
Aug 2018 · 489
Nick Stiltner Aug 2018
The poles have shifted, the tide retreats from the shore!
Shanty lines revised and rehearsed
upon a crumpled paper covered with speckled dirt,
to make a lasting impact at the foot of the blackened hearse.

Does she hear me, this woman trapped in portrait?
The frame it yields and shakes mid rotation,
teetering back and forth as a compass without
magnetism, in circles as a ship lost to the starless night.

The painted woman with her knowing smile bores
her eyes into mine, her flashing irises projecting
from her world into ours, from her reality into mine.

My eyes blur and a vision dances for me,
a water color flow, with daisy tunes lost
in a shimmering and shifting mist,
swirling colors bear together, mixing and connecting,
rubbing and repelling, crossing my eyes in its intoxicating motion.

My mouth slacks and my shoulders sag,
lost in the trance of this melting scene,
and it’s dragging pull.

Excited I ran to show them, to show what I saw,
but they didn’t listen, to them I speak in gibberish.
I smirk and feel my face begin to melt, my ears drooping and my nose falling, the drops fall
and a puddle begins to form under my feet,
before dribbling slowly down the drain on the floor,
In a watercolor swirl.
Aug 2018 · 105
Nick Stiltner Aug 2018
A stirring breeze, the cracking of twigs
A cup full of wine, overflowing to the brim
Passed around the circle, with my happily chatting friends.

The pops of logs sing ablaze,
As the orange flames slowly fade away.
The friends scatter, each take their leave and bow their heads,
And so begins the inevitable bleed of today
into the coming sunrise of tomorrow.

In the flames flickering shadows I lay,
With the chirping insects I mingle.
Allow me to catch up with my mind,
Become closer to the baton, extend my hand in reach
If even just a little.

They hummed to the tune of Hallelujah,
While passing tools along the rafters.
No harness worn, no rope in sight,
They sing and dance and spit and shout,
On two foot wide boards,
On the side of a concrete mount.

Arms around shoulders, a creaking smile covers my face, a camera with a flash
And stamp on the envelope,
I watch as the colors of now fade into the past.

A shimmering fountain, the water runs over the sides
And the bottom is lined with copper coins.
The water reverses, falling upwards,
A dream I saw once of a haunting tune but in reverse.

Lay down my friend, I pat the dirt beside me
Give me a tether point to grasp, a rope to hold,
Something to catch, to pull me from the trail that never ceases to wind, In on itself in spiraling descent.
I can feel the one beside me start to give me slack.

And down I go, jerking at first, in intervals
And then I am let loose, the spiraling of the coil
As the rope rages between the mechanism
And a final snap as it breaks from my momentum.

The entrance to the maze opens in front of me,
I try to turn my head, my heart pleads and it begs,
But I cannot stop my legs from pushing forward again.
Into the labyrinth, my first few steps echo against the stone walls, as I turn my head and it begins to shift, tossing me to the side and on my back and rolling and sliding, as it laughs
At my vane struggles to find a grip on the smoothed stones.

Oh Janus, oh Choice, the gamblers dumb luck
Which door to choose, which life to live
Which riddle to pick, which answer to find!

A tragic heroine, I watch as the dice they roll
I see it unfold and I know with sighing regret my tale will be told.
A quiet bow and an exit to the right,
I take the steps off the stage and out of the light,
Making my way to the auditorium seats, all packed to the brim, but with space enough for me, and one more after that.
Jul 2018 · 119
Nick Stiltner Jul 2018
I once heard someone say that
Life is like being aboard a slowly sinking ship
Or trapped in burning building, I cannot remember,
But I believe it is a body left to rot
On the forest floor, steadily feasted on
By maggots and the other feeders,
Decomposed till all that remains
Is an ivory skull with vines growing
Through hollow eye sockets.
Jul 2018 · 552
Wind Chimes
Nick Stiltner Jul 2018
They sing from along the path,
lined like torches would, evenly spaced.
A hazy wood surrounds me,
swirling trees and melting hues
of a late summer afternoon,
fiery colors dancing and melding together,
flowing to the next,
cream in a Sunday morning roast.

The colors, the chimes
they illuminate my stumbling journey,
my tottering travel.
I stop and catch a gaping breath,
bent over, panting, and begin to listen.

The wind pushes the trees,
it sounds the chimes colliding ring,
it exists in flux,
rising in singing ascent
and exhaling in a comforting sigh.

Drifting down the path,
I separate and regenerate
With each glitching step forward
my face distorts, rearranges.

What is the source of verse, of thought?
Rehearsal, a precursor who holds us like
a ventriloquist through time, or is it just
a keen ear for your minds own
singing wind chimes?
Jun 2018 · 329
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
I peek out my window and see her,
Lady Twilight in her shimmering black gown,
walking up my cobblestone path.
She walks slowly, at ease, looking from side to side
and moving in her flowing stride, up to my doorstep.

I creak open the door and her eyes rise to meet mine
and she grins, a soft smile etching her smooth face.
Her head tilts ever so slightly to the side, her raven hair
hanging from behind.

The warm rays of the day have given way to the enveloping gray,
a hanging light clings to her outline, lit by a hidden source.
Hues of deep blue and violet shades mingle through the air,
suppressed to black as the sun makes it steady retreat.

She takes a step to me and raises her arm slowly,
placing her softly on my shoulder.
I break contact with her eyes and look down,
trying not to see as Lady Twilight quietly fades away.
Jun 2018 · 528
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
I lay in the center of a meadow,
My eyes trail the drifting clouds above,
tracing their paths and drawing sketches on the blue canvas.

Towering evergreen trees surround the meadow,
their leaves creating a ornamental border,
A frame for the flowing sky.

The clouds drift past, into and out of the frame,
a slow parade of shapes
shifting and changing, coming and passing.

This slide show of white swirls dances for me,
in drawn out motions like molasses ebbing from a tree.
They envelope my sight, roots spread from the
back of my head into the meadow floor,
connecting and expanding,
melding me to the ground.

I lay for hours, the clouds morphing to the clear
nights sky, bathing me in moonlight.
Shining stars vibrate, shake in their molds,
and I listen closely to their hushed advice.
Jun 2018 · 253
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
Upon Death my thoughts have been anchored
much to the dismay of my creaking ship.
The precious drops of life's morphine drip
siphoned away by the gathering storm clouds
of my coming decay.

Move forward I shout, go past even the veil!
Pull up the anchor, wind it tight and toss it
out of sight, to be used when the time is ripe.
Each passing second, hoard together and hold
give a soft kiss and then mold.
Mold it, as putty in the hands of a child
or wood and whittling knife in the
hands of the wizened man rocking in his chair.

See the seconds, laugh loud and clear,
let the echoing chorus reverberate off
the imagined walls at the limits of you,
shaking them, loosening the containing
mortar and bricks, reduce them to ruble.

This all should not have been
the crisp morning air, the damp thunderous nights,
my ears perk up at each just to see,
for just the chance to be.

Do not bargain the waking seconds as they tick away,
do not auction them to the impatient void,
it will feast on them and demand evermore.
Run to the skies, drown in golden light!
Cross red stained eyes with your other,
clasp hands and rejoice
for we are all in this together.

Remember the hues at the edge of the forest,
memorized and lost in them my eyes once again
catch the flashing greens of wind blown leaves,
surrounded by flies heavy with maggots to breed.

The cracks begin to show, I pull back the battering ram
once more and push, crashing it into the barrier,
chiseling away the limits of the barricade,
the limits of an anchored ship,
and prepare my stock for the open sea.
Jun 2018 · 271
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
I’m st st st st stuttering
In the corner I’m muttering
I tap my feet I dance my dance
All for the courtesy of a passing glance.

S s s s s sorry
The words jumble and tumble
Out of my mouth and onto the floor
Meeting the ground, gathering and mixing,
Melted hues congealing into gray.

W w w w why are you here
Why do you sit where sit,
Love where you love?
I I I can’t take it anymore
I can no longer fake it

T t t the light it terrifies me
The single bulb glares at me,
St st st staring, burning my pupil
Until my vision is full of
The blinding light
And my lungs full of a
releasing sigh.
Jun 2018 · 379
Flavor Flav
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
Time has its hands around my neck, strangling me.
A diamond clock around my neck like Flavor Flav,
hanging off me, pulling my head down to the dirt.

The tortuous second, an arduous minute
I grind my teeth at the passing hour.
I squeeze each passing day, holding tightly,
but it always escapes between my fingers,
liquefying and dripping through, evaporating.

Wake and pace,
I wake and begin to pace.
Weaving a trail through the leaves at my feet,
the meadow floor becoming my revolving door
with only one exit, a blinking red sign
flashes, its arrow pointing directly down
imprinting itself in my pupil.

Sing the song of the day!
Whether it be swaying morning Jazz
or a night owls rhythmic hoots,
sing it loud and let it ring,
for you never know the last song you will sing.

Walk in circles, hum the tone,
whatever it takes to get you past that
glaring sun high in the sky at each passing noon.
Jun 2018 · 141
Stick Man
Nick Stiltner Jun 2018
I relate to the bottom more than the top
the underside, the ***** and brushed aside,
A pencil broken under a writers heavy hand
as he schemes a way to **** his favorite

I never saw eye to eye with the top.
They move in unfamiliar patterns,
talking in gibberish and doing
the tap dance of jesters.

I relate to the stick man
the half hearted attempt to cure
what we are sick with, or of.
Half shaded in,
eyes different shapes,
A toothless smile on my face.

A scribble of hair, a crooked nose
in a 2D rendition of my own design
drawn on a piece of paper
crumbled up and tossed in the trash.
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