Stephen Fuller *** Poetry, Essays

A Quartet and an Epitaph

Turn your head and...

Some days the past comes
Breaking the fourth wall
Grabbing me by the balls
Telling me to turn my head

And spit. Just like that.
Nothing to censor, just say
What I feel like phlegm spat
On grass to fester and boil.

Some days, triggers are pulled; 
Rounds shooting through every
Lock keeping tight every box
Where grief rests deep and safe
Inside the heart needing tender
Songs of pastoral beauty. Veins
Whose delicate push of blood
Keep my bleeding inside eyes
That now scream tears hidden
Inside the boxes whose lids
Flipped open leave the last
Remaining thing: 
Hope, Pandora, Hope. 

Let me finish this scream,
First, then we’ll box it up again,
Until later, until later, 
until later.
When the dying began

I became untethered as one by one
The guardians fell who stood watch
Protecting the child hid inside keeps
From the war that raged around him

Every day.
A war he didn’t want.
A war that didn’t ask.
A child that didn’t… 

First the old lady. Then a mute snuck
Behind the lines and stole the voice
Of the man whose canoe adventure
Opened up a world. A world opened.

Finally the greatest hero for a boy,
Shot his final rounds into the night
Hoping he’d hit one last target for
The little boy in the keep waiting…

I look into embers, the fire fading finds me
Searching for a story in its patterns;
Glowing words seem blended into morass
And I sort them with the birch branch

Held in my hand to tend to important work;
A fire stick to help me move the flames
Until a story emerges. I will tell it now.
Like a man who wakes from a nightmare

Again. Again. And Again. People in lines,
Like images plucked from black and white
Photos; starving, homeless, suffering
Await their needs be met, ask for help.

I see them. Alone, only I see them.
These individual souls: a suffragette,
A slave woman, a child, a gaunt man.
I see them. Alone, only I see them.

Down the alley I run for help, the streets
Become cleaner, the houses orderly
The men line up and march together
So uniform, so perfect, so clean, cut

Out of a phantasm of supposed to be’s.
Running away, they turn, black eye marbles
Reveal my terror to me. I wake. Weeping
For the little boy who needed me most.
An Epitaph

The past broke the fourth wall
Just like that.
Nothing censored 
Just spat like phlegm.

35 Responses to “A Quartet and an Epitaph”

  1. Lucy

    Oh wow, this is so honestly written and tragic. Each line is powerful and emotional. It takes you on a journey through it all; so evocative and deep.

    Amazing piece.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Annette Kalandros

    So very powerful– so many levels and layers
    It is one that leaves the reader with moments of silence after reading

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ivor20

    I’ve now read this piece 3 times ….. and with words to describe the deep emotions underneath these lines…… the memories I feel are sad and ingrained…. but somehow out of reach….. your poem is stunningly powerful….. I hope you are ok Stephen….🙂🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    • Stephen

      I am slow with WP lately as I am finding greater peace and solace in these crazy times by being outdoors and using my hands and minimizing the opportunities to open electronic devices who want to suck me into their void of bad news and worse division in our country.

      So I am for sure ok.

      I hope this poem set can help you as you manage your own catharsis and grief. My prayers are yours.


      • ivor20

        I understand, I myself have not watched TV, and I’m way behind on my blogging, and have taken doing some art, which I’ve not done for a very long time.
        We have to keep our minds active the best we can
        Stay well and be safe my friend. Cheers. Ivor….

        Liked by 1 person

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