Below are the all-time best Stephen Kilmer poems as chosen by PoetrySoup members
It’s raining in the corner
Stripes upon the floor
Bloody knife in a barroom door
From a hollowed out gourd
Full of wasps
That rage in my core
Old man Mason
Got a smile upon his face
He knows the fire
And now I got a taste
Can’t stand up
Can’t lie down
Going round and round
Lipstick so red and thick
Devils eyes are on my hip
Right hand of the devil
Is a handgun son
I’m shooting dice
I’m shooting everyone
Woke up in a Philippine jail
I’ll sail for Hong Kong
Once I make my bail
They’ll never find me
The only evidence to tell
Is a tattoo of a broken heart
And a rusty nail
The wind calls your name
Dark clouds on the plain
Gusty wind in my heart
Blowing us apart
Is it going to rain?
Can you fell my pain?
Is it going to rain?
I think I’m going insane?
Tell me is it going rain?
Calm before the storm
Chance upon a breeze
Whisper in the night
I want to hold you tight?
I can feel the weather
In my bones
It’s telling me
I’ll be alone
Tell me is it going to rain?
Tell me can you feel my pain?
My friend has prepared me
For the final moments
She sits beside me calm
A woman not scared
Or so she says…
But I see the fear
In her eyes
For she is not prepared
For this eventuality
I pass the pipe
Medicinal purposes I tell her
It’s what keeps me hanging on.
She takes a puff
And coughs up a storm
I laugh and cry at her tears
For I will soon be home
She falls back against the chair
Holding her breath for all she’s worth
Then slowly an exhale
She now knows the truth
For I am dead and gone
I cross the river
And sit under a tree
And watch her from beyond
As she begins to see
That death is in my eyes
My chest it’s final heave
For we exhaled together
The only difference between
Life and death
Was that final breath
A second between life and death
That separates us all.
You saw me there in the night
A ghost come back to haunt the light
The blood flowed from my veins
Into the street and down the gutter
You held me and closed my eyes
And settled me down until my last breath
Had left my body, my soul took flight
You promised to love me and said it was alright
Though we were strangers you showed compassion
And so I have come back to visit your love
For I know no other love in this world
You give me hope in the darkness
That I might see the light
And know that I’m alright
Ghostly passion is my might
Something more than candle light
Dripping upon the floor
I love you for now and evermore
Dark and lonely
A cave in my soul
Dripping with emotion
A tidal flood
Encrypted in my heart
An arrow through a lark
And old sousaphones
Honk into the night
I'm a rain dog that bites
I am a rattle snake
That wants to fight
There’s no love here
There never has been
You ask me for my hand
It’s a shaker and a tam
No thank you ma’am
I'll take my chances
On snake eyes
And remove the scales
So don’t come looking
It’s damp and dreary here
For a heart that is closed
This is no place for you dear
The last living light
Twinkles in his dead eyes
Alive a moment ago but now gone
Someone should shut them
A stare so lonely
Into a place that only he knew
He’s lying there on the floor
Bleeding hard from the head
Police don’t even bother
Just pay him his respects
It’s cold and lonely down there
Watching life go on
Knowing your no long part of it
Just a passenger who had made the final stop
It may not be where you are going
But it’s definitely where you will be
Somewhere down the line.
As he bled out no one stopped to care
He was nobody to them just a drifter
But even a drifter has a mother somewhere
His mother would have cared
Take him sweet Jesus and show him the way
He hath walked with the devil and a sawed off shotgun
Wrecked the lives of plenty a poor boy
Down on the wharf along the shore
Somebody cover him till darkness falls
Then we will carry him to Pointe Coupee parish
Across the river
And find his next of kin
Put him deep in that black gumbo
And let the devil do his work
For John Batiste was a man
Who needed no help
They’ll be frying up cracklin’s
At JP’s on Saturday night
Someone will crumble a beer can
And cuss John Batiste.
Well the cows came home
And now I don’t know what to do
Because I have been waiting for them
I thought something magical would happen
But they just kind of sauntered up (only the way a cow can do)
And stood there and mooed.
At first I was dumbstruck
But then I decided to dance
For I had heard from a friend they liked to watch people dance
But I got the same dumbfounded looks from the whole herd
What next…drum solo…of course they would love that
I could see them all swaying and holding lighters in the air
But alas again no fireworks nothing.
So I went to the barn and they all followed me (kind of spooky)
And I got out some hay and spread it around
And they began to eat
So was that why they came home?
I always heard the old timers say “Till the cows come home.”
I just never thought it would be so dang boring.
I think next time I’ll just go see a movie and not wait for them.
Well they are here again
Knocking on my door
Monopolizing my television
Decorating my neighbors homes
Blitzing me at every store
And corner in every city and hamlet
Between here and Buzzard Beak, Idaho.
It’s like a virus
Santa Claus is coming to town
Well I’ve been bad, very bad
And if that bastard shows up at my house
He ain’t getting cookies and milk
I’m been talking to Jesus and he tells me
That Santa is a fake, a sham, a trick on the poor people
He’s just a way to make the rich richer and poor poorer
So I ask Jesus “Why do you let this happen?”
And he smiles and tells me a long story about faith and forgotten dreams.
Then he fades back into the egg nog and I sleep with the devil.
Fitful dreams and reindeer back strap for breakfast
I eat the fake snow and regurgitate the Christmas balls
Burn the tree and bury the trimmings
The fat man can’t intimidate me.
The demons are out tonight.
I can feel them running up and down my spine.
It’s nothing but rag water and blue ruin.
They won’t rest until I hurt something or somebody.
I must vent or die.
Better to do it now than wait.
Waiting only causes more pain to those I love.
The dogs are restless they know I am not right tonight.
I have this razor sadness
That only gets worse when the Southern Pacific pulls out of the world.
There is no place to go and no place to be
Except with this clanging and sorrow that knows no home.
I count the tears on the counter and they don’t mean anything.
Salt and water a sorry excuse for loneliness.
And the demons they keep peeking their ugly heads out
Feels like the whole damn town is ready to blow.
I reach out and tug on someone’s coat and spill over the side.
Then like metal raining down on your shores it stops.
I have transferred the pain.
I am one again.
And you now suffer my sorrow.
The demons are happy and I am sad.
It is life-eating life.
30 minutes that’s all you got
Just 30 minute to live and to die
You have no experience with anything
Except breathing and seeing
What would you save?
What could you save?
Your mind is undeveloped
Your senses just begin to tingle
You can’t communicate except to cry
You have seen maybe 10 faces
Were do you take these when you die
Did Jesus stop by or did he miss you
I certainly hope not
Because then you become inanimate
Did you really live at all.
How do we measure time when it comes to a life?
When did it start and how did it end.
Somehow abort sounds harsh and life seems cruel.
But we the living are prejudice because we did not have to make that choice
Little children in heaven are the same ones you’ll find in hell.