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Aug 2016 · 1.0k
Everyone Else's Home
Marty S Dalton Aug 2016
last winter
at a downtown coffee shop
I sat on the bar stool near the window

I watched the people on the sidewalk
pulling their coats and scarves around their necks
keeping the wind out

I sipped a peppermint tea, a temporary comfort,
and watched
as they entered their apartment towers
moments later, high up, a window would light up with a yellow glow

a far away
warm, bright, home

and I’m looking at them, and I know, that I should go on
to wherever it is that hearts go on to
that it’s not doing me any good to sit here
wishing for a brightness of my own


what’s hope for if not this?
I’m not sorry
I can’t be sorry
I won’t be sorry
that I’m going to stay awhile
looking at the lights in the windows
of everyone else’s home
Aug 2016 · 556
paper heart
Marty S Dalton Aug 2016
it's okay, Paper Heart,
after enough holes are poked
after enough rips are torn
the light can finally get through
Jan 2014 · 1.0k
Pretending There's Glass
Marty S Dalton Jan 2014
you don’t try to hide your breath on
a winter morning—it’s written into the air
I suppose, some things just are
so why hide this?
it’s okay, I can see,
your heart broke like a window
and you’re still pretending there’s glass
it’s okay
step on out, it’s not as cold as you may think
it’s not as cold as you may think
Dec 2013 · 2.1k
Quality Material…ism
Marty S Dalton Dec 2013
I call it a paradox
because my ego is too
sensitive and marked up
for higher margins
to use a cheap word like

I realized that I’m jealous
your wrist watch cost more
than my car and, frankly,
I feel like I’m losing

not that I want to win
some blue ribbon
first prize in the rat race
—I’m not an animal

it all seems so trivial

I want to say:
the difference
between style
clothing is not appearance
but, rather, selfishness

but it’s not that simple
even if, some places, it is
true enough to
burn like salt

in the end, I’m not doing
anything to help
I’m simply not doing anything
less elaborately than you are
Thinking of doing an audio version of this one.
Sep 2013 · 823
like love, in a way
Marty S Dalton Sep 2013
Your smile was green
like a hint.
How a bud signals spring
you waved a flag
of familiar kindness and
my heart saluted
Which is
like love,
in a way
Second poem in this format. Syllables count up on alternating lines. 5,6,7 and 3,4,5 and the last three lines have a total of 7.
Sep 2013 · 861
Marty S Dalton Sep 2013
How many poems
does it take
until ubiquity
stops sounding like
an echo off the walls of
an empty, dim cave?
Here I am
I am
I am
Syllables count up on alternating lines. 5,6,7 and 3,4,5 and the last three lines have a total of 7.
Marty S Dalton Sep 2013
you knew
what you were
with all that
slinking around
lingerie and
it didn’t matter
to you
that I was

you kissed
my childlike eyes
with an
open mouth
until I adjusted
to the
light in the
of your
tongue and
teeth and
you hot, ****

in high-heels
you were
on a primetime
turned sideways
for show

breaks were
the 75 cent
that couldn’t

are you as
proud of
my glorious
as you are of
good you
with the right

my gaze is
to the bedpost
of death
and light-
****** mysteries

because it’s
so what, if
it is pretty
after all?
it is
it is

sure, I’ll
out of it
or get
over it
if I don’t
into it
or get
under it

like I got
under your
“all the better
to snipe you
with, my dear”

I haven’t felt
any of it
Sep 2013 · 1.0k
Marty S Dalton Sep 2013
it is a warm November
night on a delta in India
and at restaurant there
with hand-carved
wood balconies
a person leans over
the railing as their
hand wraps around the
etching of an elephant
they stare into the dark,
reflective water of
a small tributary of
some unnamed river
while behind them
there’s a fan turning
circles on the ceiling
in metronome to
a chorus of insects
I find the word "envisage" to be a beautiful synonym for imagine. This poem's meaning is open to interpretation, but I hope its visuals are vivid enough to set a thoughtful tone that doesn't need an explanation.
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
Our Facebook, who art online
Hashtag be thy name
Thy fan-page grow
Thy tweets be pinned
On blogs as they are on Reddit
Give us this day, our subscription e-mail
And forgive us for our down thumbs
As we forgive those who down thumb against us
Lead us not into MySpace
But deliver us from false avatars
For thine is the internet and our time
And our souls
Forever and ever
I know the Lord's Prayer often receives this kind of re-treatment, but permit me to add to that long list.
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
You don’t know the first half of it
Cause there’s nothing here to fix
And I’ve seen the end of this
And it turns out fine
It turns out fine

I think it means something when it’s over
And every time it happens, I’m sad
Worse every year, and on the last day
We all know it’s here
We can feel it on the sides of our tongues
This bittersweetness
But I still want to roll the windows down
Turn the music up
And drive all night just to hold your hand
Quickly, while everything still looks golden
I want it to stay this way in my memories
So next summer we can start with stories
Do you want to chase the wind
Or do you wanna chase the wind?
Or do you wanna chase the wind with me?

Hold on and try not to miss
Any magic in the summer bliss
And I’ve seen the end of this
And it turns out fine
It turns out fine

How many summer nights have I forgotten?
And what does it mean to be in Fall again?
Why is one sort of weather so accommodating to joy
And why does it feel so important not to waste
If we go to the beach we can start a bonfire
And maybe it’ll stave off the end
And if it does I’ll tell the rest of the world that we found a trick
A loophole in the knot of our lives
Where the colors stay bright and the nights stay warm
Where it’s all happening and we haven’t missed anything
It’s out there if you’ll go
Or it’s out there if you’ll go
Or it’s out there if you’ll go with me

So, hold on and try not to miss
Cause there’s nothing here to fix
And the sunset is part of it
So, it’ll be alright
It’ll be alright
There's an accompanying photo on my website: that I really like. But I think it gets the message across without it.
Aug 2013 · 1.1k
Anna Karenina
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
she gave advice and
didn’t attend parties
strangers have more
interesting lives, she said
like a veil makes a bride
but when she went
she was cold air
across the floorboards

seen, yet dangerous
as the unseen undertow
she floated
in blue silk from
trio to trio
kissing hello
as the small of
her back waved
every spare hand
to touch
and gently pull her closer
to whisper secrets into
her jeweled ears

the red politicians
swore honesty
the bankers forgot loans
even the musicians
lost key
yet a soldier won
the Battle of Temptations

then, just past
midnight she was
haunting the fringes
of the room
like she belonged
there, on the edge
as if placement was
secondary to the art
of her movement
why shouldn’t it be?
everything else was

her eyes went wide
she looked dark
if they didn’t love her
at least they talked
when she left, it
got rather boring, so
we watched the kitty
and tried on a new coat
Inspired by Leo Tolstoy's classic book. Read it a few years ago, yet woke up today thinking about Anna.
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
you kissed
my childlike eyes
until I adjusted
to the
light in the
of your mouth
you hot, ****
in high-heels

on a primetime
turned sideways
for show

breaks are
the 75 cent
that couldn’t
Commentary on innocence, mainstream portrayal of violence, etcetera etcetera.
Aug 2013 · 690
An Exit is Not...
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
There aren’t always easy answers
or answers at all

And we know
an exit is not necessarily an escape

But where were
we headed anyway?

Away is such an undefined place
isn’t it?              But it’s
                           always better
than where we are, I think we’re
talking about the
same thing now

If you find a way out, shine a light
back here, I’ll keep
an eye out for it
Inspired by the photography of Melanie Bobay submitted for a little contest thingy I did on my website. You can see the photo at:
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
Oh, what an anomaly it is
To be naught but a lonely bridge

To have to hold the hands between
Two sides where I have never been

And if appear a friend or foe
I watch them go which way they go

Some days I ponder where they stop
As I do hold my beams aloft

But, if the journey is what counts
Permit me then this small account

I did my part to wish them well
And spare them from the river’s swell

So, on they cross and on I stand
A lonely bridge between the land

Do not be sad, I’m quite serene
For all the wonders that I’ve seen

Could not be found on any tour
In truth I could not ask for more
Inspired by the photography of Adrienne Nelson submitted for a little contest thingy I did on my website. You can see the photo at:
Aug 2013 · 2.9k
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
Unless your bucket list is in pencil
Unless you’re content in front of your television
And your eyes see better than your heart does
If you heard on the radio that intellect killed hope
And read on the message board that we never needed hope in the first place
Unless you see unfiltered
And the light in your eyes is not a reflection of anywhere you’ve been
If there is nothing out there
And you’ve seen it before anyway
Take note:

When every metaphor ever built
Has fallen apart
Love will be a voice saying, here I am
Saying fight to take that deep breath one more time
Find me up ahead and run to me
The horizon isn’t as far away as you made it out to be
And looking over the edge will be the sweetest thing you have ever done

When every metaphor ever built
Has fallen apart
Love will still be saying: “get out there and find me” as directly as it can
Pleading with you to be a part of something bigger
Something lasting and dangerous
And hard to believe
The evidence is the beauty that you’ve seen
Miracles are not so different than dappled light through the canopy of trees
And that judging by the way it dances down the creek bed, water must hear music that no one else seems to believe
But there is a peace in that music
And a whisper in that dance
And if you listen long enough
You will feel some of your coarseness wash away
And that refinement is love
Look, even the stones lose their edge
Here’s to saying: “Look!”
To saying “You have to see this!”
To: “Come with me!”
“Let’s go!”
“Don’t miss this!”
“We’re explorers!”
“Let’s get out there!”
Adventure is only half going
The other half is who goes with you
The eighth wonder of the world is being together
And while all stories will end they can be shared forever
No paradise is complete alone
But love is an eternal home

When all metaphors ever built
Have fallen apart
Love will still be saying
Get out there
Find me
This poem was actually inspired by a photo submitted to my website as part of a little contest I held. Thanks to Jolene OBrien for the photo, which you can see at
Aug 2013 · 593
Poetic Fame
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
Everyone loves a poem
But much more when its sung

If you want to be remembered
Better to hum than flick your tongue
Aug 2013 · 1.6k
The Calendar
Marty S Dalton Aug 2013
The days pass and
The dated squares
Accept their crosses and

It is not a relief to me
To finish another day
To check it off, as if

I were somehow
Impacting their passing—
Killing them with pink highlighter—

I am terrified of them
And I’m running away
From the wasted, twice-slashed
Jun 2013 · 534
A Seed Grows Where It Falls
Marty S Dalton Jun 2013
A seed grows
Where it falls

And at a
Ripe age

With leaves
It looks out

Sees other
Beds of earth

Where it might’ve
Taken root

But didn’t

It weeps autumn
Sighs through winter

And dreams of
Other soil again
I was thinking the other night over a cigarette about how I sometimes wish I would've ended up somewhere else. Dan said, "We all wanna be somewhere else than where we live, but that's not reality it's just point of view." And as I smoked, I looked at the old maple tree across the path, and put two and two together. And by pitying the tree, being stuck where it is, I found a metaphor to pity myself.
Jun 2013 · 981
Drinking and Music
Marty S Dalton Jun 2013
Against the bar,
Wired up to electric blues

The somber not sober
Intoxication of music
Lands like a dragon, wings
Folding around the curve
Of a whiskey glass

Like lips in a drunk,
Drunk kiss getting
Some tongue between
A melody and liquor

This ugly habit—
Such a beautiful affair
It always enchants me when a good song and a good drink are symbiotic. Like they snuck out of the bar, made love in the alley, and then came back in blushing and trying to seem innocent. It's irresistible to watch them, and makes not drinking as hard as not listening to music.
May 2013 · 889
Marty S Dalton May 2013
Flying is easy
My dad used to say

Just, throw yourself at the ground
And miss

The math is:
Many times many

Times we’ve missed the mark

Well, Father, by now,
We should all be pilots
May 2013 · 2.0k
Marty S Dalton May 2013
As I fidget with the paperclip
My eyes run away from perception

I am spacing out, outer space
Holds a universe of things

It has no lines or bends
Like a paperclip has

Or like a sharp knife has,
A universe is before my eyes

And the lines of a paperclip
In an office somewhere

Are whirling like razor comets
Cutting apart everything that

Might have been in front of me
Had I not run from dream-like worlds

That no one else can see
May 2013 · 1.6k
Inventoree (Inventory)
Marty S Dalton May 2013
Take a deep breath inventory
Of yourself
Do not count your hands or feet
Not your wandering legs or
Wavering arms
Do not take inventory of your clothes
Not of your favorite shoes or
Your special hat—not even your
Coat that you save for those cold,
Cold nights
Ignore your car—payments or paid off
Your home—apartment, trailer, mansion
Your work uniform—whatever that may be

Make emergency stops only
You are still several miles from
The intersection of contentment and identity
And you have not been there
In far too long
Do not take inventory of how you look
In a summer dress or a tuxedo and bowtie
Don’t count your history with
Drugs and alcohol
Don’t count your computer, your television
Or that collection of movies
Or albums
Or books that you’ve been working on
Don’t take account of your ability to curl
Dead weight
It’s just curling dead weight
Don’t count the number of visible abs
You have
Or your BMI

You are so much more than a body
You are so much more than possessions
Your body and belongings have not
Done you well to feel like you belong

Instead take inventory of your joy
You have some joy don’t you?

Count your friends
Count your love letters
Count the moments when it rains
And you have an umbrella
Count the last time you had strawberries
Count the start of every kiss
Count the paid off credit cards
Actually, count those twice
Because freedom counts for twice as much
Account for all of your freedoms
Take inventory of playing catch with your dad
Your last home-cooked meal
Account for the last time you rode a bike
When you didn’t think about exercise, you just felt the wind
Count the times you wrapped birthday presents
Count the smell of the last bouquet of flowers you were given
Count the last time you went to the zoo
And you swore, nobody ever fell in love with the
Animals quite like you did
Cause you have an eye for beauty
And you’re seeing it everywhere
Take a deep breath inventory of the beauty you have seen

And when you can’t seem to find anything that matters
To take inventory of
Count those dark moments where you still
Have the hope to rack your brain
To try to find a memory where you had joy
If you still have hope to try to find it
That is joyful
All on its own
Because I know they can be hard to find sometimes
Those things worth taking inventory of
But I have found the greatest of these things is love
Not the way I love Pulp Fiction and Casablanca
But the way I love my wife
And my father and my mother
And a good rescue
Cause that is what I’ve had—a good rescue
And life is sweet like honey
Not because it’s easy
And certainly not because I feel good all the time
But because I have found joy in a rescued life that I can hope in
When I take a deep breath inventory
I have to realize all I have is love
The rest will go away someday
But not my hope and joy and love
May 2013 · 1.3k
Some Beasts
Marty S Dalton May 2013
It came quickly, roots
broke through marbled concrete

And vines draped off
balconies of skyscrapers

Floor to ceiling windows
disappeared behind ivy

Some beasts melted into shadows
around the corner as their
barks were adopted
by the wind and pushed
in strollers by the howl
and the cold bite

In the air, you could hear
unattended car alarms

And neon signs flickering
on and off as they hum like
a deathbed, EKG flat-line

Hanged stoplights
swayed back and forth
off streetlight arms
bent like telekinetic spoons
spinning like criminals
left on olive trees to die

And the drab color seemed
strangely magnetic and
I can swallow a pretty big storm
How much can you expect anyone to understand apocalyptic depression?
Apr 2013 · 644
For the Moment
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
Crisp air blows through the car window
The boulevard opens under electric light
A favorite old song plays over the radio
As our hearts find a magic in the night
We’re alive and we know it, because
Oh, for the moment, we’re alive and we know it
Thank God, we’re alive and we know it

(c) Marty Schoenleber III 2013
Apr 2013 · 433
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
max was a good dog
and it doesn’t mean
Apr 2013 · 3.3k
Arrogant Coffee
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
There are not enough
   poems about manatees
If you are interested in human
   rights being kicked like a dog
   and justice being dragged
   through mud, you can find it
If you are interested in love
   that aches with a “burning
   heart” or a “bleeding soul”
   you can find it
If you are interested in death
   that holds out its hand
   to you like relief, or takes
   one too early, you can find it
But where, I ask, do you find
   a badger in a turtleneck?
Or a cup of coffee that doesn’t
   sound so self important?    
If you’re interested in the
   ocean or the sea or maybe
   a single “crushing wave
   of emotion,” you can find it
If you’re interested in God
  dying to save you, or God
  abandoning you to the darkness
  you can find it
If you’re interested in athletics—
   especially running towards
   dreams and horizons—and
   losing and winning, you can find it
But where, I ask, do you find
   a good left-handed centipede?
Or a wonderful, ice cold beer that
   doesn’t turn into alcoholism?
If you want to find a poem about
   how the “gray rain spills from
   the clouds like the pain”
   you can find it
If you don’t want to find a poem
   about rain you’ll still find it
   (cause those rain poems
   are everywhere)
If you’re looking for a poem
   about regret and forgiveness
   and cruel mercy making false    
   promises, you can find it
But where, I ask, do you find
   a barbarian ballerina?
Or a cigarette whose smoke doesn’t
   outline the shadows of a lost soul?  
Show me these things, show me
   a fat manatee, and I will finally
   take a deep breath and smile
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
I don’t care if you did arrive
In a gray palace of clouds
Or if your bartender
Is lightning and your house band
Only accepts thunder claps
As applause
I’m not one of those
Cliché poets
Chanting your name
To play one more song
Believe me, I’ll be happy
When you’re gone
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
He is not so drunk after all, the bars have closed, the streetlights glow orange above the sidewalks, a man is staggering towards the corner, swinging like a desperate orangutan from post to post on the iron gates that line the front porches, his shoes untied, he is mumbling, he is incoherent, he is wearing his finest shirt, I understand his every word
"Judge not, that you be not judged." Matt 7:1  Today, I'm trying to remember that self-destruction is at turns both a reasonable relief and a foolish, temporary escape. Trying to remember that we are better served to withhold our judgements for pains that we do not understand. And most importantly, to love in spite of them.
Apr 2013 · 1.0k
The Apartment
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
The basketball says thump thump thump to the concrete
Two black kids play a hoopless game. The rules? Intuitive.
The top stair railing of the apartment is a three pointer
Both of the walls along the side are an approved backboard
The grass is out of bounds, the door opening is a time out
The constant rattle of the railing assures without doubt
That they’re draining those shots like Ray Allen
It is the first day over 60 degrees all year and the boys
Smile like the sun granted permission for happiness
They are young and carefree and pulsing with life
But they will grow out of that fickle, temperamental joy
And they’ll rent a room or two in a brick apartment
With a red railing on the third floor, so they can listen
At times annoyed, at other times enchanted, I know this,
Because I am in a brick apartment, and I know the rules

(c) Marty Schoenleber III 2013
For the moments we feel older than we should.
Apr 2013 · 725
Sounding Naked
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
My spine makes a flimsy quill
When I first penned this poem
It meant          and               of me
Now I just hope it sounds naked
While I recite it with clothes on
As if I could turn a dial to show
The part of my heart it lands on
Here feigning an emotion so well
While in real life, I fight like hell
To hide it
Apr 2013 · 490
Your Portrait
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
The truth has fewer blacks
and blues than the finished canvas
The truth is
I learned how to paint
So I could do your portrait
Apr 2013 · 983
Peese and Prehfase
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
We are always running
These streets holding us
As we hold hands
Your hand in mine,

We are running
We are running,
Not following anyone
Not following anything
We are unique
We are pioneers heading west
Not chased but willingly chasing the sunset
Where the horizon and the sky meet with a seamless kiss
We are hoping that they aren‘t the only things that love
          each other so much they can be together without
          leaving a mark

Not tearing or wounding or cutting or finding any cracks
          and fault lines, perfectly matched
One falling into the sea
One rising into the clouds
And on and on and on forever
Dripping off the edge of the known world

Who can know our world
Who could have chased us this far

We are alone in the wild
This rushing and running
Running from the streetlights falling away far behind us
Our hands tight like a taut rope from our shipwrecks
We are pulling one another from the depths
Neither an anchor
But both anchored together

Storming seas of sidewalk puddles and pavement bleeding
No edges
No seams
No feet
No legs
No bodies
All running heart first shoulders back, eyes closed
Winds whirling around us

Running not following
Holding not falling
Chasing and ending somewhere in that kiss of sky and sea

Finally finding rest
Wrapped in a peaceful footstep folded-up asphalt blanket of
          each other‘s peace and preface
The only unstitched and perfect seam is the horizon that
          God wakes up and puts to bed where we find our
          heads were tucked in
But our hearts weren‘t allowed to end

(c) Marty Schoenleber III 2012
A poem from my book, "Oh, Sleepur!" published last year, about falling in love with my wife, not once, but over and over and over again, until we're one.
Apr 2013 · 897
Hold on Beleaguered Artist
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
Hold on beleaguered artist
Though your ebullience is fleeting
Do not linger for that leisure you’ve been seeking

Now hunt down your horizon
Dare to impel your hurting heart
Before this onyx evening tears it all apart

It is no mirage you chase
No voyage lost on empty sea
So, if their curses rip your sails, know I believed in thee

(C) Marty Schoenleber III 2013
Apr 2013 · 742
Empty Dark
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
Most days I feel like nothing
Old Uncle Walt sings the song of himself
But my voice cracks at that octave

I’m still fighting the same demons
The same anger and depressions
That grab round my ankles at night
And drag behind each step during the day

If I wake up in a storm, I try not to get swept away
But I don’t make myself promises
So it’s all I can do when the smoke rolls in
To get alone and try not to choke myself or flood you

The biting wind swirling in my skull
Escapes out of my mouth in curses
It’s no wonder they’re hurtful
My apology is an echo out of the empty dark

But I am sorry

It’s not about you
It’s not your fault
But when all I have is frustration,
What then am I to share?
Apr 2013 · 809
A Little Man
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
I once knew a little man
Who kept at a job he did not understand
And day after day
He’d go off to work and he’d say:
Today I’ll learn who I am

But Monday came
And then it went
And Tuesday came
And it too was spent
Like Wednesday and Thursday
And then at last Friday
While he sat in a confused lament

And week after week
His office chair squeaked
Until finally he made up his mind
He’d quit, he decided, and just in time
For that very night he died in his sleep

(C) Marty Schoenleber III 2013
Apr 2013 · 1.3k
Ribbons to Driftwood
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
The crumbs of my bones
Get scattered on the waves
And they come washing home
On the cold back of gray foam
   Surfing the tide

You stood on the beach and waited
Waited and waited
And the crest of that wave
Folded and crashed like a grave
    Taking one last breath

Before it struck the cliff face at your feet
Like my throat opening
To let out your name
This poetry is the same
   Smashed to pieces by the wind

As it has always been the same
The same as it has always been
While you hope for salt air
While you tie your ribbons to driftwood
   While you watch shells break against the shore

I know, I’m still disappointing you
I may not be able to conquer
I might be lost at sea forever
   But I will be throwing open my sails

That I could yet float into your arms again
I’ll be pouring my apology until you say when

And if I become the captain I promised to be
I will leave all the sadness at the bottom of the sea
Until there is nothing left
   And there is nothing coming back but me
Apr 2013 · 1.1k
Where It Stops
Marty S Dalton Apr 2013
sitting in the dark long enough, your eyes adjust u

ntil shadows and outlines, the edges of things, be

come tangible. hard as metal, cold as ice. a body f

rozen in a lake. this is the edge of things. a photo

graph in gray. a sigh. a pen drawing circles until t

he page rips. ink bleeding through everything. an

abyss. abysmal. looking at a reflection, seeing thro

ugh it instead. hollow still has a shell at least. this

is the edge of things, where it stops. it stops…….

— The End —