An ancient river, centuries-old shops and restaurants steeped in a 2000-year history and
culture set the scene. The ambiance seemed divinely contrived to facilitate the purposes of
our meeting and the very fodder from which the greatest poets are sustained.
Not newcomers to the area, Kay P. and I were assigned to the Army Security Agency Field
Station in Augsburg, Germany in 1974. We were colleagues in the intelligence community
with no romantic overtures to our relationship, save an appreciation of poetry and profound
philosophical discussions. Kay wanted to spend the evening with a poet, so we planned the
evening to be appropriate for the purpose.
At the time and place, we quickly found ourselves hopelessly immersed in the philosophical
foundations of my writings throughout the evening. It was the first time since Vietnam that
I'd felt worthy as a person. I still recall sipping the red wine and feeling the warmth of the
large hearth inside the Balkan eatery. I still see the swans gliding by on the Lech flowing by
When windowpanes begin to weep with autumn's chilly dew,
I'm taken back through seasons passed to one delight held true,
A rendezvous that time allowed, a gentle evening spent
Amid a time of long discord when days were dreary bent.
I feel the stretch upon my lips, the smile returns once more.
Again, I smell the Balkan fare prepared on Lech's old shore,
The mood is cast in high regard, the wine is tart and dry,
As Augsburg ripples in the wake when swans go gliding by.
The ancient windows frame our view and day begins to wane
As rivulets meander down and streak the dampened panes.
The ambiance of ages passed beseeched us not to leave
And held us in its warm embrace throughout the ebbing eve.
My heart was scarred, without regard and hardened by the war
But her esteem unveiled its worth, while nothing had before.
She saw the child that once was me, I'd long since cast aside,
And bade he climb astride his mount, engage his life and ride.
Now, she is but a memory, whose kindness soothed my heart,
For we embarked upon our lives on paths ordained to part.
Her subtle way escaped my eye till time had made it clear
That her esteem had set me free, that night I hold so dear.
The poetry that filled my soul remains these many years,
Impassioned in my warmest thoughts when autumn first appears,
When windowpanes begin to weep, a-glisten with the dew,
And I return to seasons passed, to one delight held true.
Sometimes on the road of life
Change becomes the norm
When you think, “The sky is true”
The horizon brews a storm
Some storms last but a minute
Like a ship they sail right by
Other storms seem to be
As endless as the sky
Some storms come with a flood
As life gets washed away
Other storms shake the ground
As mountains crumble into clay
Storms come in many sizes
They come in many shapes
Storms come in many forms
Some bless while others rape
As we face the storms of life
They change who we are
Sometimes, we’re the clouds
Other times we’re the stars
Storms have one thing in common
One day they too shall pass
As a car rolls to a stop
Storms run out of gas
After the storm has passed us by
A seed sprouts to a flower
Each petal seems to be
Exuding strength and power
I have weathered many storms
Their lines map my face
In their wake I have found
Love is my saving grace
I don’t know what this poem means
I don’t know if I ever will
All I know is that right now
This poem is how I feel
As you ponder each turn that has landed you here,
taut tempo will quicken and frail futures loom near.
Take one somber moment, step away from the din:
The voyage, the detours, the past and what's been.
You look back behind you to retrace every mile.
It bring tears of regret and the trace of a smile.
Hang on first, then let go, due to whimsy or age.
What you keep in the end is the test of a sage.
Fools still ignore the supreme ticks of the clock,
in each change in fashion, embraced by the flock.
Walk on and ignore them, don't bother to chide,
these pathetic lemmings swept away by the tide.
Peer off in the distance as you fight off the chill.
You must climb still further to the top of the hill.
Play the tailor to time, cut and trim, make it fit.
Find the time in your life. Take time to enjoy it.
He's staring again, standing by his balcony door
The way he did each morning, even when I was there
Writhing in pain after my heart from my chest he tore
And as I walk away, my heart on my sleeve I wear
The emotional abuse was unconscionable
Yet for years I clung to hope he'd appreciate me
But his anger just grew, attacks became physical
Till I'd had enough and desired only to be free
My clothing, my perfume, many things remain behind
I'm standing now an I'm finally walking away
Wondering why for far too long I chose to stay blind
Proud I had the strength to leave, I greet a new spring day
Have you ever listened to the silence?
Alone in the giant trees
Have you ever experienced your soul?
Being totally at ease
Have you ever stood atop a volcano?
Felt its trembling power
Ever smelled the sulfur boiling in the pits
Man that sure is sour
Have you ever loved with all that you are?
Holding nothing back
Have you ever completely lost who you are?
Trying to find your way back
Have you ever stood atop a mountain?
Cursed the Lord above
Have you ever sat alone in a Prison cell?
Accepting his forgiving love
You know I have been an evil man
Every sense of the word
In my memory I remember screams
Tormenting to be heard
So much I wish that I could forget
So much I have to tell
About the emptiness you feel inside
The pure solitude of hell
My life no longer belongs to me
I am on a quest
To show the world a man can be
Beyond any test
My pain is deep and my spirits are high
Eagle gliding in the sky
Brave enough to fight any man
Strong enough to cry
A rock to those who know me well
A leader in the night
A warrior that would never run
God I love the fight
A tender man of true compassion
My wife taught me well
That’s why everything that I can be
I offer to her spell
Angels come with big brown eyes
Strong enough at heart
They encourage you to rise above
Finish what you start
Sometimes when I start to write
I fall into a trance
And the poem becomes a partner
Gliding in a dance
Where the poem goes is with the flow
I just tag along
I try real hard to keep the beat
Swaying with the song
Some parts are good and others bad
Some are in between
But from the first word to the last
The soul in me is seen
I pray before that final curtain call
I will have left my mark
That people will think back and say
The light rose from the dark
Everyone must choose their own way
I am no one to lead
If you wish to make your life a garden
I have some real good seed
Always be totally honest with yourself
The person that you are
Space is a place full of dark matter
Grasp to your own star
Be strong enough to always open up
Let go of what you hide
Because in the overall scheme of things
They’re a nowhere ride
If you wish to hold the one you love
Always let it show
Remember that they must be free
We all need room to grow
Trust in them with all that you are
Never forget to show
That they are the one you will adore
To the ending of the show
Due to the length I joined the four line stanzas together
Erase a word
Mundane and wrought
Of indifferent thought
Pluck a phrase
Wild and untamed
Of random flame
Sing a verse
Naked and free
Of crashing seas
Tell a tale
Endearing and true
Of life’s muse
Ask a heartbeat
Women and men
100 shards of pen
A fleeting still small voice tries to warn me
A sudden overwhelming desire to run
The tell tale taste of metallic flakes
Means my nightmare has begun
Everything around takes on a ghostly pallor
A landscape of anguish and corrosion
A moment of silence before the violence
The flash of light, the brilliant explosion
The sound of the Sun fills my ears
Fear, my throat, though none escapes me
And paralyzed I clench my eyes
As my tormentor prepares to rape me
And it's endeavor is absolute
Consumption is its ultimate goal
It exists to chase me so it can erase me
Whilst feasting on my soul
And then that familiar salty smell
The sudden rush of warmth so stings
Engaging me relentlessly
In vile unspeakable things
Over and over and over again
My limbs stretched and wrought
As it's teeth tear my bones bare
It's mind defiles my thoughts
And still wounds beget wounds beget wounds
As in the mouth of madness I suffer
And with every injury he just seems to be
Rougher and rougher and rougher
Then just as suddenly as it began it ceases
And for a moment I am clearer
And then the true horror of it all
Is revealed in a darkly lit mirror
There in front of me stands my destroyer
Face flush with it's fill of my pain
And I find that it's eyes and mine
My God, they’re one in the same
My white-washed bars surrounded me -
they held me as I slept;
they soothed me when the days were long,
and mother’s blue-eyes wept.
A baby girl, six months or less,
awakened from my sleep -
stood up legs as sure as hope;
as strong as flat is steep.
My hands, my saviors, gripped the rail
so I could peek outside –
the bluest sky I’d ever seen,
As tall as it was wide;
came into view - between the blue,
an airplane gliding by,
its smoky streamer like a flag,
across my memory’s sky...
The memory is a simple one -
a window, sky, and plane -
but in my heart, it's heaven's door
and there it shall remain.
I’ve hung it on my memory’s wall
Between that life and this –
It covers every hole I’ve dug
In sorrow’s vast abyss.
This picture brings the special peace
I knew when I was small –
Where mother’s just beyond the door,
and waiting for my call…
*Inspired by Danielle's Earliest Memory contest. I have blocked out almost every memory
from my childhood, and only a very few gems remain - this is the first. and I will treasure it
Today I sat in silence gently closing my eyes
Saying goodbye to sounds that makes our world alive
Slowly I started to drift, deeper into an unknown black
Where sound has never been heard, where life also lacked
The deeper and further I went, uncharted by any man
Where silenced echoed it's silence, right back to our future plan
In this void of soundless emptiness, dust particles brushed me so
Prompting me to open my eyes, allowing my eyes to glow
So fortunate I think to myself, being present at the beginning of time
Finding the truth of yesterdays tomorrows, now knowing where man has climbed
I watch the particles spinning, over millions and millions of years
Creating planets we know now, aligned are these magnificent spheres
Gradually I work my way back, enlightened at what I had viewed
Knowing that we are only a blip in time, being here is so misunderstood
So many follow their paths, knowing of their yonder
So today I sat in silence, gladly closing my eyes I wandered
I never knew following dreams could be this lonely,
But up on the hill, looking back, thank God I'm not the old me.
If the tears will fall, let them be;
I believe this is God's plan, follow your dreams.
A WORD IN A BOOK
No book is written with one word
No matter how vital it may appear
For that we carefully have to think
Every word, for the book, is so dear
A verb, an adjective, a noun one may be
That describes what we are and do
Or he is a period, a colon or a comma
That emphasis puts and gives us a clue
Each of us a meaningful role plays
In life’s voluminous book sublime
On the chapter titled “Humanity”
In the paragraph of space and time
None of us more significant must feel
From the other words next in line
Regardless how trivial they may seem
It is them that our functions define
Our gratitude to all words around us
At every instance we have to show
For without their valuable presence
We would never be able to glow
What kind of a word “king” would be
What sort that of a “general” of glory
If “subjects” and “soldiers” were not there
To assist them write their story?
© Demetrios Trifiatis
01 NOVEMBER 2013
Marching down life’s highway, my feet became very sore
I then came upon a sign that read “Heaven’s Grocery Store”
When I got closer the doors swung open wide
Next thing I knew I was standing there inside
I saw a flock of angels positioned everywhere
They handed me a basket and said, “Child shop with care.”
Everything a human required was in that grocery store
With many commodities to carry, you could always come back for more
First I acquired some Patience; Love was in that same row
Further down was Understanding, you require that everywhere you go
I grabbed a box of Wisdom and Faith, a bag or two
And obtained Charity of course but more than just a few
And then reached for Courage to help me run this wicked race
My basket was almost full but remembered some loving Grace
I then chose Salvation for it was advertised as free
I tried to collect enough of that for both you and me
Then I started to the counter to pay my grocery bill
For I thought I had everything to do the Master’s will
As I went up the aisle, I saw Prayer and proceeded put that in
For I knew when I stepped outside I was bound to encounter sin
Peace and Joy were plentiful, the last thing on that shelf
Song and Praise were hanging near so I just helped myself
Then I asked an angel, “Now how much do I owe?”
She smiled and said, “Just take them wherever you may go.”
Again I asked, “No really, how much do I owe?”
“My child,” she said, “God paid your bill a long time ago.”
To have lived not being loved at all -
hunchbacked like a question mark-
your soul continuously on parole
imagine beauty in the dark
Perhaps we passed each other in the speed
of different trains colliding with the time
in one - abandoned newborn girl in need
the other - useless vagabond and wine.
Was it your Soul who shook the Jacaranda tree
and made it burst and rain with purple fairies?
Or just a whispered cry within the depth of me -
too much horizon and no space for prairies...
Imagine beauty in the dark
When wings demolish walls of sorrow
I'll die again an injured lark
Reborn in Phoenix bird tomorrow.
The last great snowflake standing
Little snowflakes fell swiftly
All around the house they fell
Eight male flakes_three little girls
House was lively in winter
As they all warmed by the fire
Boys' boistour tales, girls brush long hair
Then silence all rested heads
At four A.M. each morn_chores
Breakfast, lunch packed off to school
Walking that long mile was rule
School was important dad said
Soon the oldest snowflake wed
As life goes all followed him
Leaving the warm hearth behind
Some of them to produce twins
As life goes_death visited
All their humble doors sadness
Some had children die at birth
And some at very young age
What they saw in their lifetime
Changes that took place_cars_planes
Atom bomb that ended war
None their warm family disgraced
Death started visiting doors
One above middle went home first
Then slowly they all went home
But dad was the last snowflake
Hidden from the world
Holding angels ransom
With ivory inked thighs
Legs swallowing purity
Prying pink eyes
With sin studded threats
With pierced pirouettes
Leering from afar
Come out of the corner
My jaded sultry star
My mother starts moaning, with another one due.
She won't live to see, as she struggles to wheeze.
I never knew famine would produce skies so blue.
But no need for toilets, I forget how to squeeze.
Searing sun inflates skulls into baroque balloons.
One whining dog, dying , from a surfeit of fleas.
I squint as my sister beats a roach with a spoon.
She's holding out hope, with a morsel to tease.
My eyes can still water from the feces and trash,
tossed up by vultures to release fresh disease.
I dig up what moist dirt I can pound into mash.
An old man collapses, not a single one grieves.
What passes for corpses- baking black as they pop.
Now the flies feel the heat and retreat to the trees.
My brother keeps wailing and I wish he would stop.
My breathing grows shallow in the oven fed breeze.
If it helps each of you,
I am down on my knees.
I beg you.
Hand me one piece of bread.
Would you, please?
I wish I had the knowledge of
lifes most important things
knew how to end lifes problems
and all the pain it brings.
I don't know much of anything
but I do know how pain feels
and I know this life is filled
with too many bad deals.
I always try to understand
what others say and do
because I may not really know
just what they have been through.
I never want to cause more pain
that doesn't have to be
and pray that someone else in turn
will do the same for me.
I grieve a life that can't exist
for things that could not be
of cherished plans that upped and left
of a girl no longer me
I grieve my dreams that slumber on
that I can not wake from sleep
and as another does drift away
for it's emptiness I weep
I mourn the loss of who I was
of possibilities and more
and wave farewell to a life not had
as she walks out through the door
I sit and ache for what is not
for the girl that can't be me
of things that only might have been
for the she that can not be.
Brian Strand's contest 'A first 50 posting' (July 2011)
The dandelion sat along on the hill
watching the rose's play.
He asked to join the fun and games;
is it all right if I stay?
The rose's said, you can not play,
for you are not one of us.
Go back to your hill to your grassy clump,
and don't you make a fuss.
For we are tall with our beautiful stems
and nicely shaped leaves.
Our petals are grand,
the best in the land,
so stay away you weed.
A beautiful flower, tall and grand,
you are, the dandelion sighed.
Your petals are grand, the best in the land,
but i'd rather be pretty inside.
For the rose's and their beauty so grand,
will fade and wither with time,
but the dandelion's beauty within,
is one thing that will never die.
That was the day we played all day outside
And ride imaginary stick horses around
Shooting and shouting as if our lungs was rawhide
It was in imagination that the fun abound
That was the day the house seemed in disrepair
Furniture and boxes all out of place
Chaos reigned while mama cleaned everywhere
Leaving germ and dirt without a trace.
I thought of mama today as I watched you clean
Remembered how we would wipe our foot
On the little mat, but mostly could not dare go in
As if we were the grime or the cause of soot
Food would only come when mama took a break
But not before dark and howling belly turned
Play into night, and after the yard was swept and raked
Something about you in mama I'd discerned.
What was all that cleaning just to be clean, I ask
Or was it a search for something missing here
What deeper motive had the highly honored task
What coin, or sheep, or son hid behind the tear
What golden fleece or grail to you both have been lost
I know mama cleaning searched for meaning here
As if sin was something we could see like life's dross
As if to seek was the magic bullet for man's despair.
O something about you remind me of mama, my dear
And childhood comes rushing back in floods
Two sparse rooms and five pieces of furniture there
While we chased butterflies from dying buds
You are different though, for you have allowed us in
Watching our eyes to tell you of missing spots
But we just laugh and tell long tales while you clean
Life is too short to search or go connecting dots.
Your life is a journey
Which will never wax or wane
A beacon of bottled moonlight
Anchored waves of radiant rain
There is no demise
Or salvation of plundered plight
Cast into a sea of superstition
In the depths of torrential night
Your life transcends flesh
That sinking vessel which we mourn
It resides in a shipwrecked message
Found on the shores of faith’s forlorn
each grain of sand, every molecule
has rested on Earth since time began
raindrops now fall and dampen my hair
once part of waves rushing through mom's hands
a universal tie binds us all
without exception, we are matter
comprised of resources long existing
our consciousness? part of this batter
our self-destructive mannerisms
serve but to rearrange elements
ashes to ashes and dust to dust
will come to pass in a greater sense
every particle has its own place
in both our todays and tomorrows
for each bridge built, each new life born
from our world's past has something borrowed
I have learned the hard way that people aren't always what they seem,
They look you in the eye, shake your hand, then take you to the cleaners.
It's been many a year that I have thought on this theme,
Ever since I was one of those who got caught by these schemers.
It would not be so bad if we could just open our eyes to see,
That they have no ones interest in anything but their own.
Perhaps that is the way it was and always will be,
At least until we have had that experience in our lives sown.
It is difficult to learn to trust anyone who comes to you,
Since you now look at everyone with a skepticism and mistrust.
But, there is one hope in all of this to take away that jaded view,
A hope that has always lain before us in the dust.
It was preached to us in many a form and style,
The Bible, Koran, other great works of religious zeal.
We have had the words written down for quite a while,
Yet, I wonder if those of us who read them really feel.
The great commandment to love God with your whole being,
Has been a message that comes through the ages.
And to love one's neighbor as you do yourself has more meaning,
Only if we try...for this is the yardstick by which the Lord gauges.
As for those who take advantage of others who cannot see,
I feel sorrow for them...for they have lost touch with life.
They may have great wealth, or possessions, or think they're happy,
But the Lord will meet out His justice to them for causing others strife.
As for me, it seems I have been on a long journey and I'm tired,
Tired of watching these villains prey and profit on the ones with naivete and weakness.
Preying on the young, the old, the sick, and those who aspired...
I was once a victim, but have now can only offer forgiveness.
It has taken a long time for me to reach this end,
As I once was so consumed by the sting of the hurt and anger.
On reflection, the only one who was hurt by my not wanting to mend,
Was me...my loved ones...my family...places where I no longer linger.
I write this now because it seems a necessity for me,
To express my feeling and thoughts on a life that was truly dead.
And to you who read this I have but one plea,
Say a silent prayer for my forgiveness from the Lord, when you bow your head.
Infinity beckons taunting
Beyond the mortal ridge
For time enough to really live
Those longings yet to bridge
I wear your symbol
Pierced in diamonds sharp
On my ears that I may always
Remember to hear you with my heart
Your curve that knows no ending dangles
On sterling chain around my throat
A reminder to fulfill
Solemn promises I have spoke
You rest upon my naval
A charm of infinities tease
As outer beauty gives way to age
Sweet time my youth appeased
Your sign never ending
Like fools upon the earth
Inked in red upon my wrist
Hiding scars when thoughts of life seemed undeserved
What is my obsession O'infinity
Our days so quickly turn to past
Within parameters of death and birth
Experiences just beyond our grasp
If I could overstep your boundaries
Place my toes just over your edge
Calculate your infinite zeros
Owning resources for dreams alleged
My learning curve a continuum
Time to get it right
A touch of love a sacrifice
Those things first missed in darkest night
The caress of your face not given
A smile unreturned
"I love you" remains in silence
In ashes lie bridges burned
Infinity... A dimension utterly unknown
I need you not to fly the sky or mountain's high to climb
This endlessness that immortals own
But to see again those souls Ive lost in time
I hold no comfort of heaven's gate or Hell
Though promises of infinity are all too common there
I just want days and nights unnumbered
For in youth we're completely unprepared
For Infinite choices without wisdom
When of passing days we have no fear
But as the end draws ever nearer
Hearts aching for that which we should have revered
Time becomes a commodity
Too sacred now to waste
Remind me always the quickness of a day
Sweet Infinity, it's why your symbol I embrace
Oh gentle rain
come to me now
please wash this pain from me
in lifes unkindness I'm immersed
and need to be set free
Oh gentle breeze
please breathe new life
into this dying soul
from my travels I am weary
refresh and make me whole
Oh flowers sweet
let me hide
among your beauty fair
touch me with your loveliness
and leave your beauty there
Oh come to me
in kindness please
with your gentle ways
the world it has inflicted me
and darkened all my days
Oh come to me
and touch my heart
please change this dark to light
take away the ugliness
that turned my day to night