Tuesday, May 24, 2011

humid morning haze

Crickets scrape humid songs
in between the railroad tracks,
the hazy morning waking in
the faces of morning commuters.

On the train, I read emergency
instructions and decipher the map
of exits: windows, doors, aisles.
The days grow shorter, they say,
with the years, so I must know
my options when the time comes.

I still see attics bathed in dust and light,
the pictures and letters once read,
hear absent breaths forsaking words
and shadows conversing with a broom
that sweeps the ceiling clean
of derelict webs strung between
the rafters as the sun ripens on the sill.

I hear more clearly now the rhythms of silence,
the spaces between acts that sign
more than what I touch or taste or see.
I wanted to live in unclaimed
territory, remaking history
so that finding me would prove
a chance event, work
in progress without end, accident
on the verge of transforming
the moment in undeserved miracle.
little did I know that the exit is the way in.

In the dream, I'm on a road
that leads to purgatory or hell.
I meet humbly clothed fishers
just in from the sea. A woman
opens my dog's jaws like a fish
and pulls out a pestilent breath.
They point to the heavy load that I must haul
on my back to reach my destination.
I hurry after my friend who's gone ahead.

copyright 2011 Charles David Miller


  1. Thats right Charles... Hurry it up bro!...
    i ve bought a Keg and some Chips! :D

    great build up and lead in exploring the edges,
    skirting the peripheral train and fanning out the delirium in the finale... which of course was may favourite stanza...

    cheers Charles

  2. This is wonderful poetry...and I much like the idea of clearing away the clutter in our minds that holds us back....it's too heavy a load to carry....great job! :)

  3. Almost mystical poetry. Fine writing indeed.

  4. I love the meandering nature of the thoughts here, through the everyday, the inner self and beyond even that, a journey that both ends and continues without end across the dreamscape; life, mortality and meaning all hidden, or are they posted like signs on the train--that stanza really hit home as I am a compulsive reader of any print I see, anyplace, and you gave it a sort of significance I hadn't considered. The fourth stanza is my absolute favorite though--a poem in itself, almost.

  5. wow man...nice...some really great lines...i love the crickets int eh opening...as i fall asleep to them all the time...love the train too...here are a few favs...

    I hear more clearly now the rhythms of silence...i find now i do as well...the time between acts...

    that bit of a dream at the end could keep me busy deciphering as well...smiles...

  6. Man...I was THERE with you in this one. you expertly captured those wandering thoughts on that commute, that train... I've been there I swear it....reading whatever falls into your eyes... thinking about other places... spiritual places and escapes but also 'purgatory' or what might lay ahead (anxieties, worries- work?) and then having to run to catch up with...yourself?...excellent writing

  7. On the train to? Purgatory (the Roman Church now says it's a myth) or Hell (I think they're still committed to it, though fearful the clergy may end up there as well). Your journey though is to a kind of twilight zone of the soul as it enters the WAY OUT of the psychic tube station! Well writ sir.

  8. I think this starts and ends well. There's some wandering in the middle that could probably go, since the rest carries your theme well enough without needing all the explication and musing. I agree that the last stanza could even be its own poem, but it works with the thematic journey the whole piece takes.

  9. Wonderful piece--I loved the next to last stanza--spoke to me--and wonderful, wonderful imagery throughout!

  10. I just love this, a wonderful piece!

  11. Oh, i love this... I could see those dust motes... and feel the life spinning past me...

    and that last line, oh my.

    a truly beautiful poem.

  12. Awesome write, Charles! The last stanza is incredible! Powerful stuff!

  13. I don't know if it's what you intended, but your poem made me sad. Don't rush: savour every moment. But you're right about the days getting shorter with old age: I don't know where the days have disappeared to lately.

  14. Great scene setting in the beginning with the cricket & their "humid" songs, nice touch. "little did I know that the exit is the way in." ... powerful, poignant line. I liked this, Charles.

  15. Great scene setting in the beginning with the cricket & their "humid" songs, nice touch. "little did I know that the exit is the way in." ... powerful, poignant line. I liked this, Charles.

  16. Love the way you weave the journey motif throughout. From the train to the road - hurrying after our mortality. This one bears reading and then reading again!

  17. little did I know that the exit is the way in.

    This line really hinges the two halves of the poem - contemplating the end, and then considering how the end is just the beginning of our next journey.

  18. The close is wonderful as is the poem. Great sad archetypical journey that is life. k.

  19. Terrific poem, I loved the opening stanza's the second being my favourite i must say. Shadows conversing with the broom...brilliant! Liked it very much!

  20. Rhythmic ... breathy

  21. i particularly like your ending stanza. bringing it home and pushing it forward, simultaneously. ~jane

  22. 2nd and 3rd stanza's are just awesome, but the whole thing is great.

    Also, got an Italo Calvino Invisible Cities vibe from this. Great write.

  23. Forget the road to purgatory..if you have to carry the heavy haul..think big..straight to heaven:)

  24. Terrific writing from your opening lines down to the journey you wish to follow ~ I like the details of the 3rd and 4th stanza, very rich with imagery ~

  25. You hooked me with the train. Always enjoyed the trip from past to present to future...which is the now. Liked your notion of exit also being the entrance. Altogether, a fine write!

  26. pretty cool dream - pretty cool poem

  27. What a wonderful evocative journey.

    Your poem threw me back to my own dusty barns, the dancing motes of dust on sunbeams, the expectations of life and then?

    The tension of the internal landscape and the external is working well here.

    You evoke a saner Whitman for me.

    A beautiful, haunting poem, Chaz. You are becoming one of my favorite poets.

    Lady Nyo

  28. so much in this charles...so deep...so wonderfully reflective...loved esp. the stanza with studying the emergency instructions on the train...the whole set up is fantastic...you paint the atmosphere masterfully and the closure takes us out of this world into another dimension..very cool write sir

  29. hear absent breaths forsaking words
    and shadows conversing with a broom

    Lots of lines to enjoy in here but these are two lines that jumped out for me.

  30. The exit was the way in. Inward. Loved the mental pix of the attic, the broom, the dog's mouth prized open (sojourners must always have a dog in tow). Lovely stuff! Amy, found you over at dverse.

  31. Ah..to live in unclaimed territoy..very nice. Quite enjoyed this piece, lots of great imagery.

  32. I was captivated with the first quatrain...it really touched my vision so quickly. Wonderful write my friend ~ Rose

  33. Thanks ~ a wonderful piece ~ I loved the day's journey through the sights and sounds of 'silence' ~ wow ~ nature calls us! I loved the sounds of crickets' ~ super relate to your poetry ~ a calming read! ~ spirit abounds in this one

  34. thought I'd commented here Charles as I remember reading - must'nt have taken - wow - what a dream, opening the jaws releasing the putrid breath - and the days journey - from past to present - loved the retropective Charles you have painted here - Lib -