Idylls Undone

Darkling sky flashes blue—
Ravens wheel through thunder,
Fleeing terror, shrieking murder.
Hillside blazes red—
I press on through rain and smoke.
A wounded rider passes me, cries
“Camelot the golden has fallen!”

Beyond the ridge, ruin:
Corpses quench earth,
Castle walls broken,
Fields aflame,
At the center of it all, the Old King,
Brought low with all his Knights,
The Red Dragon vanquished by the White.

I watch the Round Table drug out,
Hitched to a team of horses.
The victors hack it apart—
The Dream is dead.

At the lake, unseen,
The Lady sheds her tears
For the passing of an age.
I bear witness to the end of chivalry:
Of all man has conquered in nature,
Man could not conquer himself.
There will be no revival,
No Second Coming of Arthur.

I flee the White Dragon,
Follow the ravens into a dimmer world.

Sanity at the End of the Universe

The world can be too much:
Time ungovernable,
Noise crashing against strained glass,
Faces imperative, immature, idiotic,
Too complex and too unsophisticated,
Death preferable some days.

My room, my fortress:
Solitude at the end of the universe.
Wooly scarlet carpet warm underfoot—
May still find LEGOs buried within.
Single window opposite entryway—
Sun bathes Oxalis on the ledge.
Queen bed at left wall, unmade—
Vessel of dreaming and sex,
Sheets twisted from restless sleep.
Diminished peppermint candle on nightstand
Next to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

Bookshelves from floor to ceiling:
Greek dramatists and philosophers,
Roman politicians, Eastern strategists,
Medieval theologians, Arthurian architects,
British Romantic poets, Irish satirists,
And hundreds more—
The world and its history painted with words.
Film collection too:
Primarily foreign, dramas and dark comedies,
James Bond and Godzilla.

No blank space permitted on white walls:
Flags hang proud—Irish tricolour, Union Jack, Saltire and Red Dragon.
Maps of the world—Eire and Albion, the Arctic Circle, the Constellations.
Posters of bands:
Arctic Monkeys, The Last Shadow Puppets, Counting Crows, Nirvana.
Posters of films:
In Bruges, Pirate Radio, Never Let Me Go, Calvary.
Banners—Ravenclaw, Baratheon, Sinn Féin, Scottish National Party.
Above bed’s headboard:
Framed painting, Dicksee’s La Belle Dame sans Merci.

Flat screen TV, wall-mounted,
Connected to PS3 and N64
(Gaming rare without friends, and never as verbose).
Stereo system nearby
Ushers the uilleann pipes and the bodhrán.

Closet stuffed neatly with dress:
Pea coat, denim jacket, flannel bathrobe,
Polos, sweaters, cardigans, hoodies of solitary colors (burgundy most prominent),
Whole jeans, torn jeans, chinos, cargo shorts, flannel pajama pants,
Belts, ties, scarves, gloves, baseball caps (University of Utah Utes, New England Patriots),
Wool socks, ankle socks, black socks, white socks, holiday socks,
A color wheel of boxer briefs,
Top-Siders, leather shoes, hiking shoes, running shoes, pink flamingo slippers.

Wooden writing desk at right wall a cherished shrine:
Simple cushioned folding chair helps the back,
Crimson HP laptop purring with frequent use,
Drawer filled with assorted treasures—
High school diploma, class ring, photo albums of vacations abroad,
Favorite albums, newspaper articles, academic awards.
Desktop lined with icons—
Alabaster Artemis on the hunt, polished teak Fudō Myōō,
Carved pewter dragon chest full of foreign currency,
Framed photographs of those closest to my heart,
The Happy Prince, the Mad Mentor, the Faithful Cat, the Autumn Queen,
Tennyson’s “Ulysses” taped on the wall over the desk,
Inspiration all, inspiration always.

Back of door covered
With Irish writers calendar and to-do lists,
Memos and humorous snippets.

Out the window, down in makeshift parking lot:
Black ’95 Jeep Grand Cherokee,
License plate UNWRTTN,
Dubbed Samuel L. Jackson—
An extension of sanctuary,
An extension of me,
Stubborn and loud,
A warhorse of the night,
Wobbly zombie stuck on the dash,
Ailing speakers still capable
Of drowning my soul in electronic loops,
It too defiant towards life.

Together, room and vehicle
Guard me from the madness of life.
A dreamer’s palace, a battle station,
Privacy for intimacy with others,
Privacy for internal strife,
Bastion of silence, repose and reflection,
More alive, more whole
Within than without.

Drunk in Paris

I find myself drunk on these Parisian nights,
Overenthusiastic for our departure flights.
Cruel Neptune’s fury persisted to drench,
I’m assaulted by legions of the rude French,
In person, the landmarks are amusingly small,
Lament! Lament for the glory that was Gaul.
But I have my Bordeaux; I need no Paris bar.
I will dull the agony inflicted by the Eurostar.
I think I need help, I can’t seem to find my room,
Please don’t make the hotel dumpster my tomb.
I find myself drunk on these Parisian nights,
I find I’m not fond of the City of Lights.

Reflections on Mykonos

When you broke me, did you ever believe

The pieces could be carried so far away,

Borne eastward, far beyond my home in Appalachia,

To the glistening azure folds of the Aegean?


Seven evenings spent at a café in Mikri Venetia,

Listening to the caress of the waves,

Watching sunsets and the people as I sip my wine and write,

Wanting with every breath to stop time,

And linger on this island for eternity.


Your specter haunts me

Like the remnants of a half-forgotten dream,

The scent of the spiced wine brings me back

To evenings spent with you, entangled in the sheets,

The firelight, the bouzouki chords and the dancing

Conjure memories of our rhythmic bodies, your fiery touch.


Each night I wage war against you

When I retreat to my lonely room overlooking the sea,

I gave too much of myself to you, to us,

All that remains is an infernal wound that heals too slowly

As I travel through a land built on millennia of myth and tragedy.


I know now that our love is like these crumbling stones of antiquity:

Nothing lasts forever.

The Jaguar

On the jungle trail steeped in night,

I saw the king’s sharp eyes alight.

The jaguar stepped out on my path,

I feared at once his holy wrath.


He had a regal face and dappled coat.

No sound escaped his mighty throat.

Ancient eyes bound me with a stare.

To face his judgement was my dare.


The jaguar’s eyes laid bare my soul,

All my secrets they swiftly stole,

And I saw myself within his eyes:

Silent, curious, proud and wise.


What Old Power ordained the law

Of Nature red in tooth and claw?

War and sorrow are now the way,

The Old World gods are now the prey.


I still adhere to the elder creed:

This world is not our own to bleed.

More honor than man in this noble beast.

I was willing to die its midnight feast.


All of this the jaguar did understand,

He bowed his head and gave command.

The king deemed me of noble mind,

A noble beast from ignoble kind.


The jaguar slipped silently away,

Granting me another day,

And inspiration from which to sing,

Of the jungle and its majestic king.

The Dreamer and His Dream

Do you know what ‘tis, to dream a dream,

To travel through a realm agleam

With gardens full of light and dark?

Do I know you? Do you have the spark?


Dreamers are such fragile kings,

From our minds creation sings,

Stronger together but spread apart,

As rare as Artemis’ golden hart.


Dreamers, like sunlit petals unfurled

Craft their dreams to remake the world.

But they are preyed upon and made to bleed,

Their power craved by fools of greed.


I am a dreamer by day and night,

Awakened only by each new sight.

Others sought to tear me down,

I did not yield my autumn crown.


I was proven more than a worthless husk,

Judged by the jaguar’s stare at dusk.

My mind was cleansed in the rains of Eire,

My hungry heart grew full with fire.


So full of passion, so full of love

For every ocean and the stars above.

What dreams may come, what dreams have flown,

I no longer wish to dream alone.


I need a love to match the wanderlust,

A companion in whom my dreams to trust.

Some lucky twist in the celestial blue

Brought me on my path to you.


You understand the growth of things,

Your nature smooths my angry wings.

Your smile blankets the world in light,

And sets my dreams to burning bright.


Will friendship and more between us grow,

Or will connection fade like early snow?

My dreamer’s heart is lost at sea,

Haunting me with what dreams may be.


Are you one to hold my heart,

And embrace the journey we could start?

Tell me now and tell me true:

Are you not a dreamer too?


I never knew true friendship until I met you,

Kindred spirits so rare to come by in the lonesome west,

An equal in every way, in every interest, I never thought I’d meet,

Shared beliefs, shared passions, shared wit and a mutual ambition

To always find the humor in the cruelty and to do anything for a laugh,

An unshakeable bond I had not felt since childhood’s end.


We were loners by nature, yet we stuck together,

Each inspired by the other and craving companionship,

Summers spent biking in the woods and skiing on the lake,

Winters spent by the fire talking about everything and nothing,

Always striving for amusement and mischief and succeeding in our quest,

Your house, the first place I’ve called home since I left my own.


The road trip with you to see our favorite band,

And how we lost ourselves at the concert in the crowd,

While that Sheffield sound was pulsing in our veins,

A moment of ecstasy in the haze of mundane adult life,

That kept us ensnared long after the stars faded and the stage cleared,

We were bodies electric, fluorescent adolescents once again.


You taught me how to live, and I taught you how to dream.

Now, the winds of change begin to push us apart,

I am bound for Ireland, and you, Nova Scotia,

But I have no worries—you are my brother.

We are friends, we are family, and our bond transcends time and distance.


Starburst, firestorm, whirlwind,

These feelings inside me,

As life explodes into jubilation,

A phoenix rising through flame,

A cascade of love and light,

Urgent, glowing, burning—


Become one with me.


Philosopher, traveler, amorous.

I soar through stars and clouds,

Careening with her, goddess of love,

She won’t abandon me,

She won’t close my opened eyes,

Instead, laboring ceaselessly to tame

My unchained heart,

Collected passions of the present,

Faces and places I won’t forget

And never could, no longer living

Among the dead and dreaming.


I love you,

And I will never let you go.


Landslide, maelstrom, tempest.

These thoughts before me,

As life rushes into overdrive,

A train plowing through water,

A stream of time and thought,

Unfixed, changing, evolving—


Save me from me.


Drifter, stranger, anonymous.

I run through storms and dreams,

Chased by myself, bringer of wolves,

He won’t leave me alone,

He won’t open the doors of sleep,

Instead, striving endlessly to repair

The chain of memories,

Broken remnants of the past,

Names and faces I can’t forget

But rather would, instead of living

Among the dead and dreaming.


I haunt me,

And I can’t get myself to go away.


I am not the man I was before I fell to travel’s spell,

Now in the vein of Ulysses in his yearning for the swell.

I have danced along the architecture of ancient Greece

And in many foreign cafés found my smile and my peace.

I have trekked the jungle valleys and beheld the jaguar’s stare.

I kissed a French girl at Moulin Rouge one evening for a dare.

To be back home is to be subjected to an itch that never ends,

Though I am Fortune’s happy fool in the company of my friends.

Even when our glasses clink in our favorite Downtown bars,

I remember nights in Dublin when I burned against the stars.

My youth is a diptych of love and loss, I’ll crown no other queen.

My concern is only for newer worlds and all their sights unseen.

I am not the man I was before this travel worked to mend,

No worries here; in three years’ time my American life will end.