A Cold Hell

A cold hell,
fear between the neon,
taxicab strangers,
killers in trucks,
the man around the
corner conceals a
knife, like sin.A confrontation,
in the hotel room,
he & his desperation,
battle fatigue,
adrenalin the winner,
no sleep this night.A light shines,
through the blinds,
a sweet cocaine,
morning overcomes,
beast locked away,
soul’s scream buried in
a murmur of clean clothes.   
Morning WatchIn a morning darkened to
rainfall, the boundaries of
the earth are set close in.
Hands heavy as if tied to
drawer handles, booted feet
ache with generated heat,
too long the letter to write,
too short the conversation,
too far the ten horizons.If wattle were transport
& adobe carriage, the
branches arching the roof
would be an arc on the map,
the wind a vehicle.
How the air has turned
alien lately & the earth
unfriendly as if preparing
for fire to come & conquer.The answer to the question
lies in a closed loop, no
manner of entrance or exit,
closing tight enough to
grasp light & to hold it back,
compact a white river into
black dust that comes alive,
alive as the land laid bare
before the parapet.    

Plans to Leave

In the early morning,
I make plans to leave.
Heavy clothes stay behind.
Boots & sandals, two suitcases
& a trench coat go.
Move in with a friend.
Find an undemanding job.
Rent a studio with a view,
settle in to read & write.
Ask for no entanglements.
Make no commitments.
Incur no debts.
Do the real work:
walk the streets, see all,
listen to the encountered.By afternoon,
I have not moved from the desk.
Consider pain & responsibility.
Stare at the bookcase that
my hands built strong & ugly
for the love of books,
colored bindings, lives of
more solid men & women,
the bed behind me, waiting,
scene of more struggles than
months in my years. How
awkward, this, the heaviness of
the ex-piano player, the
one-time hockey player,
the former husband & lover.That night,
the hot bed & damp sheets
seem crowded, thought
restless in its fear of being
read. Back turned, face to
the wall, the suitcases press
down with accusation, still
empty, still dusty on the shelf.
The passport remains in
its usual place while my
pillowed ear twitches with
each heartbeat, familiar sounds,
reminders that another day
has passed as I make plans
to leave, a move that cannot
take me from myself.    

Might Could Work
Might could work with
sentiment &
not much else:
the sudden spew of
words on a page.The writer pulls his
shoulders back,
plays the pride card, &
in an unanimity, says
This is good.Except that it is not.
Needs another touch,
another eye, another
voice to complete it,
so in the drawer it goes.   

About the Author:
Gene Stevenson: I write to make some semblance of order out of disorder, to make sense of the unthinkable, to make still photographs out of daily rushes. My poems have appeared in Chicago Tribune Magazine, DASH Literary Journal, Dime Show Review, Gravel Literary Magazine, The Hudson Review, and Swamp Ape Review. I have lived in several U.S. states, as well as Istanbul and Rome, and currently live in North Carolina.