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Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

Alone again as evening falls,
I join gaunt shadows and we crawl
up and down my room's dark walls.

Up and down and up and down,
against starlight—strange, mirthless clowns—
we merge, emerge, submerge . . . then drown.

We drown in shadows starker still,
shadows of the somber hills,
shadows of sad selves we spill,

tumbling, to the ground below.
There, caked in grimy, clinging snow,
we flutter feebly, moaning low

for days dreamed once an age ago
when we weren't shadows, but were men . . .
when we were men, or almost so.

Published by Homespun and Mind in Motion. This poem was written either in high school or my first two years of college because it appeared in the 1979 issue of my college literary journal, Homespun. Keywords/Tags: shadows, dark, walls, evening, starlight, moonlight, men, souls, drowning, phantoms, shades
Photographs
by Michael R. Burch

Here are the effects of a life
and they might tell us a tale
(if only we had time to listen)
of how each imperiled tear would glisten,
remembered as brightness in her eyes,
and how each dawn’s dramatic skies
could never match such pale azure.

Like dreams of her, these ghosts endure:
they tell us a tale of impatient glory . . .
till a line appears—a trace of worry?—
or the wayward track of a wandering smile
which even now can charm, beguile?

We might find good cause at last to wonder
as we see her pause (to frown?, to ponder?):
what vexed her in her loveliness . . .
what weight, what crushing heaviness
turned her lustrous hair a frazzled gray,
and stole her youth before her day?

We might ask ourselves: did Time devour
the passion with the ravaged flower?
But here and there a smile will bloom
to light the leaden, shadowed gloom
that always seems to linger near . . .

And here we find a single tear:
its shimmers like translucent dew
and tells us Anguish touched her too,
and did not spare her for her hair
of copper, or her eyes so blue.

Published in Tucumcari Literary Review (the first poem in its issue). Keywords/Tags: photos, photographs, pictures, album, keepsakes, mementos, ghosts, phantoms, past, memories, recollections, tears, grief, anguish, glory
Jake Welsh Apr 2
reassuring taps of gentle footsteps upon marble
lightly echo through the clean air and fluorescent lights

a step past one door, warmth encompasses me
comfortable space, people in this town are few and far between

stop a moment, think
before another door. enter

to a ceiling much too low
so much i have to tilt my head to avoid it
there are urinals along the right-side wall
Eve is standing before one, just to look
a shifting glance, attention is brought to me

my angled eyes set at Eve’s level

maybe this way i can see
why the fleeting phantoms stay just long enough for our eyes to meet
now here's a topical poem about distance between people
Mark Toney Oct 2019
Startled at night, I awake,
frozen, motionless, immobilized,
eyes straining into the black void,
phantoms darting about me,
springing from every direction,
heart racing, rapidly breathing,

fantasy and fear running amok
10/16/2019 - Poetry form: Demi-Sonnet - -Demi-sonnets include seven lines of varying length and tend to be aphoristic in nature. The form was invented in 2009 by American poet Erin Murphy whose fourth book of poetry, Word Problems, is a collection of demi-sonnets. - Copyright © Mark Toney | Year Posted 2019
Io Jul 2019
The silence behind every sound.
Felt, not heard.

It weighs on me,
stronger than gravity.

A constant background silence,
radiating;
permeating
from somewhere behind the
noise.

Perhaps,
not silence.
Hollow noise,
dead sounds,
phantom whispers.

Haunting me,
if you’re real
Hauntingly,
what came before?
In a semi-secluded corner of his garden lay a small wendy house
Amanda Mar 2019
A moment was all it took for my heart
To violently shatter and painfully fall apart
Will I ever halt these frustrated tears?
At this rate I will be sobbing for years
You let this relationship crumble; you can't deny
Smashed my heart completely; watched it suddenly die
My home now haunted by ghosts without names
Is it a graveyard for both of our shames?
Abandonment I attempted but failed
Every goal they followed and veiled
It seems impossible to shake
Apparitions my mind creates
The best part of being the last one to move on
Hearing you are better with me gone
I drain my pen of daily sorrow
It took being empty to fill with hope for tomorrow
It's getting easier to close wounds and mend
Write the damage to better defend
I hate I so easily let you back under my skin
Beaten into submission finally say you win
Sometimes the ghosts win.
Andrew Rueter May 2017
Somebody call Ben Affleck
We got phantoms in this *****
This endless haunted mansion
Their presence pervades
No company
In this lonely labyrinth
Only phantoms
The only figures resembling humanity
Are the corpses of those before
Who couldn't navigate this torturous structure
And of course, the masquerading phantoms
My soul they aim to puncture

I tried closing my eyes
But I just kept running into walls
I tried sleeping through it
But I just sank deeper into the basement
When I attempted to join the phantoms
You were there
You waited until I was hanging there
On the rope
And eviscerated everything
Lycanthrope
The rope in shreds
Your heart then fled
Leaving me alone again
Lying in my exhausted blood
The phantoms sensed my desperation
And took advantage of my disorientation
So I ran to the darkest recesses of the basement
To retrieve my blindfold and sledgehammer
But is my hammer powerful enough?
Will visual impairment abstain the trickery of ghosts?

I put Sisyphus to shame
With the determination I utilize to demolish these walls
But the phantoms are devious
They ***** new facades
Thicker, sturdier, with odder textures
I destroy them all the same
It just takes a bit more time
And time means nothing
To a man who's sole purpose is knocking down walls
And cowering from apparitions
Yet a man means nothing
To a time ruled by phantoms
Can be found in my self published poetry book “Icy”.
https://www.amazon.com/Icy-Andrew-Rueter-ebook/dp/B07VDLZT9Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Icy+Andrew+Rueter&qid=1572980151&sr=8-1
Sobriquet May 2017
My new lover is an old ghost,
who picked apart armour
left bereft by rust and rain,
to sit inside my ribcage
once more throwing pebbles at my heart

I did not welcome them
to my table
or to my bed
but this ghost holds me close inside my bones,
and each morning,
I entertain a phantom
that clamours to be fed.
Rafael Melendez Jun 2016
Phantoms burnt prints into his bones, left behind marks and indications to let the world know of the vacant vessel he was abandoned with. A hushed physical being that never spouted a murmur of spirit. A vessel in need of a soul to split.
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