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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Onset of Heartbreak


Do voodoo queens dream of saints,
do they lift their coffin lids, blinking in inky darkness,
fluttering dead eyes, only to watch carrion
open the sky to evening’s weeping?

Does the drowsing grass, heavy with autumn
and as speechless as spirits
call forth the frenzy of Winter’s bite
in order to end it’s own suffering?

I reach for you in my sleep, wanting,
yet feeling only the cold moon burning my fingertips,
dreaming of ale green springtime shoots
and sweaty summer sex, once again.

This is why I sing about morning’s hush,
the soft silk of fog on bare legs,
the sweet dream of cherry lips and bubble gum tongue,
and stars that forget themselves around you.

A body in desire is a spirit encased in a body
which surrounds the spirit within,
loving it the way the razor loves the beard,
the way hunger feels about longing and need.

And if we two are falling, unsocketed by life,
shriveling like leaves withered in woods,
we can only undream our final hours and moments,
name them as the ash which we can taste.

I would love to know what you think of this piece. Please consider leaving a comment below.

Monday, January 27, 2014

You Are My Valentine


How is it that I can fall in love with you again,
far deeper than ever before, when I thought
I had lost my heart to you once already?
How can it be that knowing your strength,
and those places where you need to be held,
can bring me to my knees with desire?

How is it possible that you know so much about me;
the piles of baggage that follow me where I walk,
my crimes, my sins, my cracked and sour soul,
and yet you still want me to fly, to shine like a new penny,
to create and build and put stars in my pockets,
how can you hold me high enough to touch heaven?

How can I celebrate those parts of you, so dear,
so secret, even you have not seen them as I have;
the nape of your neck, soft and silken beneath your hair,
the hollow where your shoulders cup into my hands,
and lower, the curved cream that arches into my passion,
or the spiraled sculpture of your ear and its honeyed taste.

With these few words, let me cover the entire world,
let me decant my silvered shadow to reach everything
in order to fulfill my heart’s commands, my soul’s demands,
let me give you my surrender and my dizzying triumph,
Know deep within your self, that there is at least one soul
Who holds perfection in itself, wearing your shape.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Your Valentine 2014



I lay my soul bare to you and you alone,
my words the distillation of my heart;
Words with the power to crush me with ridiculous ease
or to lift me beyond the scope of the sky.

My eyes can see you as you are,
but it is my beating heart that tells me
you are the gravity that keeps me from running,
and the only prize under the sun worth fighting for.

To hold your heart in my teeth
as lovers do -
I would carve away slices of my honor,
piss on the difference between right and wrong,
sell myself into indentured servitude,
and rage in green-eyed anger.

But what I will not do
is break my faith in what my love has shown me -
that belonging to you has made me who I am meant to be.

I promise to dream of you every night,
from this day until the very last day.

I promise to speak softly to you every night before sleep
whether you are there to hear my words or not.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Up Here In The Night


Way, way up here in the night
we learn secrets;
what goes on in the treetops
or on the forest floor
if no one is looking to see but the wildings.

Bats dance an aerial gavotte
and fears – both fresh and stale -
vanish in the dwindled light.
This mountain top we stride
is surrounded by higher ones yet,
and they play as only mountains can
tossing the lightning between them.

Try to grasp a bit of an earthly thing
if you can, hold onto smoke,
chin held up high to touch the smile of the moon
peeking between scattered leaves.
Question what you hear, not the gun’s bellow,
but the heavy footfall on last year’s leaves,
the war growl of the bobcat, too close at hand
or the warming roll of insistent thunder.

Yet another night of rain, moist love from above,
a review of life, as seen by kites in the air,
very few moments manifest as they touch ground,
what a fine way to be.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Between Extremes


Men receive blow after blow for their beliefs
whether they want them or no.
Soon, sooner than any man wants,
they will pound nails into him
excoriate him
peel the flesh from him
so slowly it will take him days to notice
and toss vinegar into his wounds for good measure.

That is his lesson in perspective
the changing of his viewpoint for him
the collision of two worlds
both of them painful in their birthing.

The first is transgressive, dark & malign
let us call it hyper-real;
a man bearded & bloodied
tied to a column of debts.
He mutters continually to himself,
“I am afraid to fall down,
but I refuse to give in.”

The other world is calm,
monstrously so,
the tranquility of the landscape
marred only by the freakishly soft,
the tender so sweet it causes toothache,
the fragile trust of youth
drifting toward the deviant.

And no matter the man, or the times,
he is always walking
somewhere between one or the other.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

So Far From Me


I cry silently in the deepest part of the night,
knowing that the only ears that hear me
are the cats curled on the foot of the bed,
and my wet eyes watch the twinkling of stars
mock their moist glimmers in the dark.

The moon glares back at me, scabrous and pocked
by the loneliness that reflects my own heart.

What we once shared has changed, grown away from me
and you now want distance more than you want my love,
so I am left not knowing how to love you further.

There is no solace in your promises that this is a good thing,
no joy to be found in the future you spin for my sake.

Though you swear separation will bring us closer,
all I can see is the beginning of the end of us,
so my heart hungers for what it once had and can no longer taste.

I refuse to close my eyes, denying the dreams that wait,
warding off the travel to the place where you should be,
knowing that I would walk alone there, as I walk these halls.

Weeping over wasted time, true love denied, and the power
you have to hold my future hostage with your denial.

But love is not love that will not give of itself, and so I do,
letting you go, willing to abide in misery, so that you may shine,
I forfeit all claim to smiles, and hope, peace or love.

My gift of solitude I give to you, my love,
so that you might find whatever you search for, so far from me.

©2010 Christopher Reilley

This poem has been nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE

I would love to know what you thought about this piece. Please consider leaving a comment.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Cherokee Legend of the Wolves


There is a story told among the Cherokee
A grandfather relates to his grandson
Of the battle that happens inside of you and me
And the way in which it can be won.

Two wolves are fighting inside us all
And they fight until they can fight no more.
To the battle we are all held in thrall
We are both the prize and the source of the war.

The first is Evil, made from anger and greed,
Plus sorrow, regret, arrogance and false pride
With ego and self pity, resentment and need
And all of the foolishness man has inside.

The second is Good, it is joy, faith and love
Hope, humility, kindness and peace.
It is benevolence, serenity, the gifts from above
The humility to cherish the least.

But which wolf wins, the boys asks the man
Which one will ultimately succeed?
The choice is yours, if you do what you can
The winner is wolf that you feed.

Monday, January 13, 2014



Art usually begins in the small space
where imagination and reality intersect,
assuming a prophetic stance,
asserting itself from the present
until it touches the future.

In an age of disbelief, one must believe
that the Arts are compensation
for what has been lost, or misused,
creativity having a power
second only to Faith.

Things we fabricate for their own sake
are the hide-and-seek between
our soul’s illuminating smiles
and the concrete of absolutes
that stream tears from our unruly hearts.

And the truth of Art, the real truth
is its own belief in itself,
in the control over the uncontrollable
coherence wrestled from chaos
and the creation of its own values.

Creating something that did not exist before
is distillation of personal sensation
in an embodiment of meaning, with two faces,
one toward its own time
and one toward the far flung future.

And here, in this place, in this time,
we commit ourselves to Craft,
to showing the future what the past has known
making understood that which
in the form of argument would be incomprehensible.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Vampire Blues


Having Death open doors for you is like making love to someone ugly.
It’s a hell of a lot of fun until your friends find out.
On the one hand, there’s the power, the rush like none in the world,
On the other is the hatred of the religiously devout.

Got the blues of a vampire, got the vampire blues,
Forget what you gain, and grieve what you lose,
Got the blues of a vampire, got the vampire blues.

Got servants, and secrets, and science and séances, too.
Blood-rush wakes me at the first hint of night’s kiss.
Got forty-seven reasons to tell myself I’m better than you.
But I can’t feel you, and I can’t remember what I miss.


I’m an empty vessel on an uncharted and lonely course -
Grasping at the glow of life only to crush it in my cold embrace.
You look but only see the swiftly donned mask of remorse,
My hellish deeds writ large upon my soul, not on my face.


I’d give it all back just to walk under a sunny summer sky,
Return the bloodlust and emotional abyss postage due.
‘Cause I gotta live forever without my reason to want to try,
I gotta walk eternity looking for another one of you.


You lose more than you gain, vampire blues, you lose.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gamble on Me Instead

There is a strong temptation to bolt the doors-
Bar the casements, withdraw the flags,
Shut the world out, using noise or flashing lights,
Or casino’s video screens,

Pile old lovers against intrusion like stacks of cord-wood
Paint over the shuttered, curtained windows,
With old cigar ash and the sweat of frustration.
Hide the secretive soul away, dammit.

Do you recall the taste of old bruises,
Know the name of every slight?
Can you feel the weight of years and acceptance
Can you know the strength you have yet to know?

Lie low, lie slow, breath as shallow as you might
But you must draw breath once more to live,
And tomorrow’s a decent bet, with better odds
Than finding surcease at the tables.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ripping Dreams


There is pain in your leg. Why? Had you fallen? Oh yes, now you remembered. You had fallen and twisted your hip last week-end. That was right. Hurt like the devil. That bitch.

The blessed darkness soon gives way to slate shadows, dim light barely penetrating the fog. The gray cobblestones are slick, but all the rain this gritty sewer of a city had to give could not wash the corruption from its streets. The late summer swelter had given way to evening mists as the roadways cooled.

The stench of Them was everywhere, overpowering the filth in the gutters, the sewage on the road. You walk on, hoping to reach the sanctuary of your rooms without being attacked by one of Them. Pulling the collar of your greatcoat closer you hurry on through the winding streets.

One of Them looks at you, her eyes red with drink, and who knows what else. She steps out, onto the curb. You move away, but she beckons after you like the slattern she is. Her speech is slurred, strong drink or narcotics having robbed her of most of her wits, a mouth full of bad teeth proof of her lack of judgment, and she now seeks to weaken you, rob you of your strength, rip the manly seed from within you, leaving her womanly poison in it’s place. She curls her fingers about the wool collar of your vestment. You flinch in lurching horror, which she conveniently mistakes for shyness.

Her white apron shines like a streetlamp against her coal black dress reminding you of the horrors lurking beneath. The world was certainly gray, but there is nothing gray in the ghastly intent she represents. You can feel her corruption taint your flesh at her touch, skin literally crawling with revulsion.

You try to move away, but she has you by the coat, drawing you closer to her. Like a spider with a fly, you think, she would ensnare you with her wiles, lure you to your everlasting doom. Draw you into her maw, and eat you alive. That's what she wants. Her breath is redolent of bathtub gin, her hand reaches down and probes low upon your person. You jump back, out of her reach, your outrage and humiliation at a fever pitch. Your ears burn with humiliation, as your breath catches in your throat.

She leans back, against the filthy wall, and lifts her petticoats, then her skirt, exposing her fragrant weapon to the night air. Your doom now reveals itself to you, the smell thickening in your nasal cavity, just under the brain.

You have only one chance to survive, only one slim hope of saving yourself from this devil.

So you thrust your hands into her creased throat, catching her off guard. Pinning her to the wall makes her struggles less effective, and with a sharp shove she bangs her head on the brick, the dull thud thrilling you as she ceases her struggles altogether. You turn her head to the left as you slide her to the trash-strewn ground, the blade you always carry in your coat pocket for just such an occasion slicing deeply into her throat, from right to left, so the blood sprays away from you, like always. You swiftly cut through the harlot's garments, exposing her vile weapon, then cut into the peritoneum, exposing the devil’s intestinal tract, and rapidly separated the womb from its fleshly frame. Here was your proof, proof of her dark magics against you. You remove the womb with efficient strokes of your blade, and wrap it in her clean white apron, tucking the grisly bundle beneath your greatcoat in order to get it home.

You seek sanctuary then, and the darkness is your friend. Your rooms are but minutes away, and so you step into the shadows, into the darkness of Whitechapel’s streets.

Sweet darkness.