from Word Literary Magazine ’90

September 28, 2010

Just One Single Poem

by Peter L Richardson, 1990

A poem could strike you down
And make you its slave
As you live by its words

A poem could give you awakening,
Make you understand the pain
And the love
Of life.

A poem could reveal the beauty of the world
Or tell the horror of its lies;
Foretell your death
Or birth.

A poem could place love in your heart,
Love that can make you bleed,
Blind you to death,
Save you.

A poem, though, can destroy a soul
If the poet’s just too wise
For his own mind—
Too bold.

A poem could build a new world,
Change the wrong to right,
If you’ll just listen
And see…

The Adversary
by John Hankins, 1990

Convictions, promises, plans weaved together.
Responsibilities tie you up something short of forever.
Politicians, status symbols, officials: power.
No faces seen in this desperate hour.

You, friends, family, me: the adversary.
Impossible to act as you really may be.
Teachers, cops, society: the complaint.
Ever stop and see the picture you paint?

Trust, love, fun: never used.
Who are you? The abuser or the abused?
My friend, we’ve all been on both ends of that stick.
This life appears as a magician’s trick.

So for all the things we oppose,
Reconcile? Never! Crush your foes.
Uncommon ground eternally enveloped in…
To throw away a chance for a friend is a sin.

Come With Me
by Peter L Richardson, 1990

Come with me, my friend, to the inner depths of my soul.
Strip away the lies, will we find an empty hole?
Would we have made it this far, if not for the Lord above?
Come with me, my friend, let’s find what a man is made of.

Come with me, my love, let us join together.
Baby, please stay with me, at least until forever.
Will our love still be, after we both have gone?
Come with me, my love, let us join as one.

Come with me, my enemy, I’ll take you by the hand.
I’ll walk your mile, if you walk mine, and try to understand.
For our differences won’t matter, when the world is spent.
Come with me, my enemy, and the hate we will forget.

The Day of the Skin
by Peter L Richardson, 1990

It’s October.
It’s hot.
Friday the 13th.
The Indians brought the summer back.
Full moon out tonight.
My back itches so bad.
It’s too hot.
Vultures swoop overhead.
The insects attack.
Protect their homeland.
There’s gas everywhere.
I cannot stop it.
I cannot stop it.
Mind has cracked.
Too much courage.
Too much stupidity.
Luckily, I made it home safe tonight.
The thick fog cools everything down.
Through it all, she came once again,
in the nick of time,
like an angel,
a broken angel.

This one’s for you, Bob.

Waysted Time
by Peter L Richardson, 1990

Lost track of time, staring into space,
Feeling strange emotions that I must embrace.
Stuck with my back up against the wall;
Where was my mistake? Just where did I fall?

Feeling the wrath of love from all too familiar face,
Knowing if I don’t make up my mind, I’ll simply lose this race.
I have a hole to fill, but I don’t know what I lack.
For too long now, my life’s been way off track.

So many worthless mistakes, so much life only to waste,
So many things could fulfill, but those things I cannot taste.
Falling in love—a mystery, I realized, never to be solved,
But I’d like to know the emotion; I’d like to get involved.

I wonder why I bother to try.



by Peter L Richardson, 1990

Darkness settles over the town
as the night of the full moon begins.
My face turns to a wretched frown
as I take possession of immortal sin.

The strong winds chill me to the bone.
My last human thought I scowl:
—I pray there is no one alone—
Mind turns rage, throat caught in a howl.

Find my fair maiden up around the bend.
Hair bristles up my body—I’m ready to attack.
Cut her off in midscream as my claws descend:
Feast on my first meal as she lay in my lap.

The midnight bells of church chime loud.
I desire more blood, I hunt for my prey.
Approach an old barn, slip in without sound,
Enough food here to last me till day.

Light burns my eyes; I feel the relief of day.
Cold sweat soaks my body and I vomit.
Woke up naked in blood soaked hay.
—How did I get this far in the country?—
Where will I be when the next full moon hits?

Life’s A Beach
by Peter L Richardson, 1990

Lost on the lonesome shore,
all alone,
the waves beating down,
hard, warning me.

The seagulls screech in pain,
     “GET OUT!”
I am violating their turf:
Treading on through the badlands.

The sun beats down in hellish heat;
I feel the skin on my back peel and burn.

I must get more than my feet wet from now on…

The water shocks my system,
Tells me to go back from the pain,
     back to safety.

I walk on, the huge waves beating me,
     crash down upon me.
Must not be taken down by the undertow!

     Gotta take it real slow…

I go under
     into the deep blue
          swimming blindly

               through the unknown…

from Word Magazine '90


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