Modified Google Image


pressed against
a cold window frame
staring into the darkness
recalling those
below ancient decks
with manacled hands
and feet
the smell
of rotting flesh
the sound
of rusted chains
a legacy of pain
and sorrow
wondering now
about the future
of those bound
to tenements
asking if their chains
are not the same
rusted chains
of despair
that still grasp
cut deep
into the skin
of humanity
drawing new blood
that mingles
with the dried blood
of their forefathers
a thought interrupted
by the rattle
of windows
as a train passes
on the edge
of the have
and have

a simple matter of understanding…

any other
fortune teller
i had ever met
no crystal ball
just a mirror
handed to me
while saying
stare into the mirror
at your face
into your eyes
you must go
much deeper
she insisted
to where your soul
you can see
your future
it is
your fate
to change

the vanishing…


 by River Urke and charles wm. martin

in the sands
he waits
a drop of time
but finds only
the dry bones
of yesterday
no future
no present
minute by
finished minute
of past moments
the bones
begin to cry
dry tears
empty of life
and true feelings
another masquerade
for god to see
or was it god
that took tomorrow
noticing people
don’t seem to care
about the future

River Urke and I have entered into a duel poetry challenge and this is the resulting poem.  Duel Poetry:  a prearranged poetry writing challenge  between two people to evolve a new poem where each writer must respond to the other writer’s lines  (4 -5 ) until both parties agree that the poem is complete

off the main drag…


his jazz guitar
seemed to sing
to them
a pied piper
of the neighborhood
they wandered
into his yard
by riffs of music
as foreign
as anything
they knew
they were
and these tunes
were from lost times
times when
folks sat
in garage bars
and their children
went searching for them
when something went wrong
heading down alley ways
looking  and listening
for the music
that released their parents
from the pain of society
and gave to them
a brief belief
that things could be
would be
in the future
but now
the tunes
reminded the children
that things
have not

an unopened box…

in this corner of my mind
i have hidden away a couple of things
more than a couple
but i will share one
with you
in this little cubbyhole
i have placed the dreams
that did not come true
this dusty old box
inlaid with gold gilded tomorrows
holds the dream of
caring for my mother
when she got old
i worked a lifetime
to fulfill this
ignoring times
i could have shared with her
so clear was my purpose
so when she died young
the box was placed upon this shelf
to be covered by the dust
of memories of what she gave to me
the patterns of droplets on the floor
are merely where my tears fell
you need not be concerned with those
but be concerned for this
good intentions for tomorrow
blind you to today’s beauty
offering only a white cane of promises
to cross an invisible street
called the future
which may vanish
in the touch
of a cane’s


but what can i do…

the sand of the sahara
fears no man
nor pay homage
to graven images
on walls of up-scale malls
nor will it listen to your
whimper of
but what can i do
for it is the undefeated army
that marches on your cities
and villages
salting not only the earth of carthage
but every parcel of land in its wake
and it shall not stop
until you wake from your sleep
and see that one man is never alone
there is always another
standing in the shadow of fear
hidden from your view
within the ancient ruins
of political rhetoric
but you
do not hear
the timeless voices of the desert spirits
imploring you to listen
to see the vision of the future
when all that you will know
will be sand
holding the ashes
of every conqueror of this land
and every dreamer
who chose


if a man stands
next to his past
will he know it
does he have
such a keen eye
as to see his past
or will he continue
to look to the future
not seeing today
or yesterday
just the mirage
of an oasis
in the distance