. The Poet's Beat .

. The Poet's Beat .
"A working class citizen is apt to see this country for what it's worth... A miasma of interlocking variations on differing demographics and geographies unlike any other inhabited space in the world. The American Dream. The rolling footloose hills and the upstanding Apache badlands where criminals cut bread with priests and the children of Hollywood. I am no different. Yet I am still brazen enough to think that the world is a playground built by the rugged hands of a hard-working man in order that my fantasies be materialized." -- P.P. Vonnersdale

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Death in the Ghetto

This is from a new set of poems I call The Maryland Letters, written during my time spent in the impoverished, and highly dangerous, back alleys of the low income, forgotten neighborhoods surrounding Washington DC. From the warm interior of my truck, as the windshield wipers kept the snow from the glass, I conjured up this scenario...

I have left the Earth,
Reached a hand into the sky
     and pulled back a fistful of sand,
Constellations sifting through my fingers,
Orion reading the secrets buried
     in the lines of my palm,
Cassiopeia whispering to me my fortune,
Stars stuck beneath my fingernails,

Three black bandits stand over me,
Eclipsing the sun,
Staring down into my eyes,
One with a ski mask,
One wearing a child’s cowboy hat,
One with a red knife,
Left me framed by a puddle of
     my own blood,
An oversized ship on a merlot sea of stilled
My fingers seem too far away
     for me to feel them,
But I know they are drawing dark circles
     on the concrete,
Painting abstract designs in a rusty color
     refreshed from the leaking hole in my side,
The day turns from summer to winter,
And back again,
My teeth taste like metal,
My driver’s license floats past my cheek,
I no longer own anything,
Except my soul,

From the rich shadows of the moon I
     watch a beautiful blue planet spin slowly,
And everything is swimming on its surface,
The cracks climbing through the bricks of
     the old tenement above where I used to lay,
The low-hanging grey clouds
     that hug the roof,
Dead vines holding up an old fence,
My heart getting dryer and dryer,
Obsolete organs in the darkness of space,

The North Star never moves
     so I decide to go there next,
Racing against its light,
To find it as it is now,
To look back into the sky again
     and see who I once was,
When there was once a quiet alley in the ghetto,
Big grey tabby cats mad at one another,
The smell of forgotten trash,
A blind corner,
Around it three bandits caught accidentally
     with a glass pipe and some money in their hands,

I stand at the edge of the Milky Way
     and look out into the distance,
Every point of light now is another galaxy waiting,
I have only to jump,
To leap across that cavern
     and into the darkness,
Leaving behind my fears,
Following my curiosities,
And the winds that blow in the emptiness beyond,
I can carry nothing with me,
Except my soul,
My memories,
And my love for you.



  1. Stars stuck beneath my fingernails......by far my favorite poem of yours.