insomnia finds me well, just past 1 a.m.
wellness is a state of being
not a safe haven
it is not held in secret in some trove of wonders
protected by ancient guardians of immeasurable wisdom
it exists only within
and can be found as easily as lost

this town was once familiar
it should be, as I’ve spent the majority of my years
watching from behind my curtained window
as it grew, changed, evolved
such is the manner of things
they grow
or fail and are soon forgotten
much like the youths I see
laughing loudly, as observed by others who
must be lead to believe that they are missing something
some joke, some bit of fun
some rung of social hierarchy to which they must aspire

though they would not believe it to be true
my dreams
like theirs now
were once so small
my fears, then
would not be unknown to them, now
as with all things
I grew

I became
more unlike them, and thus isolated
loneliness is not harmful, lest you allow it to haunt you
solace can be found in the quiet of loneliness
as can truth

it will be some time
until these young minds free themselves to imagine
that which exists beyond
for now, they ride, immortals
in the backs of pickup truck chariots
dashing shadows beneath a summer moon
racing to glory, to conquest, to bad decisions
champions of eternal youth
for now

but in time
the streetlights will watch them grow
they will move on
for career, for love, for worse decisions, or better
and the moon will watch
as each year brings to this town
a new crop of immortal youths
ready to seek their misfortunes
on these old, tired streets

as for me, I’ll allow the curtains to fall
and document my findings
to no one in particular
for posterity
for purpose
for the lack thereof
for I have grown, yes
but I am, beneath the stars, beneath even this young oak
quite small

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.


one seeks
that which cannot be compelled
nor purchased
nor gained by ill pursuit
one seeks
that which is
beyond all else

the warmth of flesh to flesh
a kindness offered with only hope
for mutual reciprocation
when hands touch mine and I am lost
lost to whims of fantastic notion, I am whole
complete as physical melds seamlessly
mind, bursting with creativity
an eruption of idea, limited not by tangibility
nor by expectance, nor fear
but free

this is your gift
and mine, to you
that we may
ease the wounds wrought by societal banality
that we may
laugh until we’ve forgotten tears of sorrow
that we may love


© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.


this is the most uncomfortable of chairs
poorly crafted, with a protruding knob that somehow
always seems to find the tailbone
cat scratches mark the varnish
the back leans at unexpected angle,
and yet
for twenty years I’ve toted this chair
from state to state and house to house
acquiring new dings and other scrapes
‘personality’ some would call it
‘ruined’ would say others
I’ve difficulty letting go
of this wooden torture device
not because my great-grandfather crafted it
nor because my grandmother would be dismayed
to hear of its abandonment
but because it makes me think
and after this many years
so few people have offered the same courtesy
but been permitted acceptance for far longer
sometimes I think this chair,
this ill-conceived, well-intended bit of construction
must have more understanding of things
than most people I will ever meet
perhaps if I sit, and suffer silently
it will whisper secrets to me
and we will smile together, knowing
that both of us serve little purpose
and we often fail to serve that purpose well
but we know something great and terrible
useful is a relative word
I’m certain my chiropractor would agree

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“With Toes Firmly Planted in Anthills”

the fire ants have come early this year
a staple of every southern summer yard
my grandmother used to tell us
they existed to remind us to watch our feet
a reason to keep our heads from the clouds
our minds trapped within our flesh
never to dream too big
my grandmother never saw the stars
and found beauty in their light
why would God create something beautiful
if not for His own glory
what a vain God He must be
there is no wonder in her mind
no mystery to life
no beauty that she cannot degrade
with three simple words
“God is good”

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“Acceptance of the Meat”

my meat and I have come to terms
one, with the other
with our mutual need
our inability to live, one
without the other
together we came before the mirror
to see, to know, to become
speckles of red and freckles of brown
mar skin that once held no flaw
came the whisper
yes, said I, we know
it said
yes, said I, we know
it warned
yes, said I, we know
time waits not, nor does age, nor health
“they remember”
it said
yes, said I
they remember what we do not
who we are not
and who we were, when we were busy
being anyone but ourself
being anywhere but in the flesh that binds us
it begged
else one will fail
leaving the other to follow
it cried
yes, the vessel is mine, and I am hers
thirty years too long of fighting
the losing battle of self
thirty years too long believing
that I could escape my own skin
by escaping into the mind, the truest of self
“we told you”
it hissed
and I was left with sadness, for
too little always comes too late

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“Suffering Stupidity”

the idea of you attempting to think
simultaneously amuses and terrifies me
often I imagine that you and another
of equally staggering intellect
bang your heads together, which
makes a sound reminiscent of two coconuts colliding
my current theory is
somewhere you heard the word osmosis
and you’ve yet to determine what that means
however, you’ve also heard that two heads
are better than one, and
hence, you and your fellow potato-person
are attempting to join your intellectual prowess
to amplify the output
perhaps it was this act
which has deprived you of the cellular activity required
to speak anything but notions that seem remarkably,
intentionally, lacking in any semblance of thought
or perhaps I am, again, making excuses
for your otherwise painfully dull processor.
You’ll forgive me for trying
we all cope in different ways.

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.

“Please Refrain from Licking the Fish Tank”

There’s an old couple at the bar
who seem insistent upon staring
at anyone who doesn’t notice
those that do
return one intense gaze with another
passive aggression is acceptable
because it’s quiet
but I wonder how easily one might
provoke further response
retired guy keeps failing at amateur sleight of hand
in a country bar
aside from loneliness, I can’t imagine why
but at least the bartender is kind enough to feign interest
somewhere I swear I can hear Ricky Jay crying into a deck of cards
heavyset mother has forgotten to mind her child
who is presently licking sticky palm prints from the glass
poor fish looks terrified
and I realize
that fish is likely the most active brain in the room

© M. Black, 2017 All rights reserved.