security guard

(From December 2015)

i’d leave work late a lot of days,
he’d greet me by the door;
he worked security, night-shift,
right there on the ground floor

he was a talker, genial;
he’d ask about the day –
and wish us well till next time as
we’d set out on our way

a youngish man of roughly thirty
who’d just had a child;
his temperament was lively
and his disposition mild

he’d left the air force right before
he came to work with us;
his time in combat was the one thing
he would not discuss

the holidays are on us now,
the air grows cold outside;
and i just got the news
that he committed suicide

i do not understand, but feel
the sad and crushing weight –
i didn’t think
i never thought
and now it is
too late

No Matter

(Trigger warning: attempted suicide. – Owen)

The lights in that apartment
Turned every night
Into a lonely night

There were also other lights:
Neon lights a block away,
Where drunken men and women
We’re getting together at the bars
Or on the dance floors

50 yards from them,
65 yards from the ocean,
I discovered:
No matter how much
Companies individually wrapped
Sleeping pills

I could still swallow all of them

(Those were dark times for me. – Owen)


she lived awash in frenzy,
wracked with fear;
i knew her when we both were
locked in here —

i lived, and she did not.
i don’t know why:
some stumble on, while
others stop, and die —

I wept, and watched time stop,
and space get curved:
for neither of us got what we


[For another poem on the same subject, see this. – Owen]

I Should Have Recognized

I thought you lied, but didn’t know right off.
All those fantastic tales of your great past;
I wondered at you, then began to scoff –
Each lie more ludicrous than was the last

I picture now your owlish. blinking eyes,
How lost you were at work before the axe
Came down; you, fired, much to your surprise
But no one else’s who beheld the facts

But I should have known better than I did
For all the signs were there for me to see
I should have recognized what those lies hid
That feeling of inferiority

Today, I heard by your own hand you’d died –
I silent stood in shame
And merely

I Met Her At The Hospital

I met her at the hospital

I remember her
Always in her yellow bathrobe
With matching yellow slippers

She was only a few years older than I was

She told me all about
Their house out in the country
I kind of knew where they lived
I used to drive by their town
When I went out of state to see friends

She said they might have me over
Then she said
Her husband probably wouldn’t like it

I met her at the hospital
During a hot muggy summer

She was sweet and beautiful
Hair turning gray in her late twenties
We talked sometimes in the hall

She seemed afraid to go back home
And I noticed
That he never came to see her there

I said goodbye to her at the hospital
I was still too sick to leave

As she was about to go
Smiling faintly
I saw – somehow –
A search
And a desperation
In her eyes

And not long after

Not very long at all…

He murdered her

They ruled it suicide
But it was him
He did it
Out there in the country
She had no place else to go
No place to escape to
Except the path she took

And her yellow robe hung there
Over her yellow slippers
In a forgotten closet
And they were sold at a yard sale

And I believe she went to a better place
And —
God help me and forgive me
But —
I hope he’s gone straight to hell