the last sin
  pale ashen sky
a bleary eye
clouds of recurring screams...
i am a zoo
  an octopus leviathan
tentacles into an ocean
of unformed emotions...
syphilis and love  
  syphilitic pall
stifles the clear blue
i contort...
shell and pearl
  amidst highs and lows
in life's ocean flows
a shell peony-mouthed...
i am an unmarried mother
  fed on stings
of barbed milk morality
my child-plankton...
the lovers
  cell upon cell
bridge of their union
hung on the pillars...
  ogre of age
and time cavil
at a warm picture...
the young today
  innocence thaws
at the altar
of ambition...

Folded Shadows

They rise, drawing on narrow, folded
shadows for support against the
cold, unbalanced wind, that seems
most hurried just before morning's

faintest yellow smears slap the cringing
eye of night, driving it into a dusty
corner, there to huddle in the
shaded house at the end of earth's

street, behind blinded windows none
are ever able to peer through. Like
the house where the young girl
with blond hair lives, rides her

pink bike, but never far from her
father's trapping eyes, and she
is not allowed to have friends
over for sleep-overs.

They walk, mother and son, into the
gas-station on the corner that never
sleeps. As he pays for a pack of menthol
cigarettes, he glances at them.

One giant-sized candy-bar goes up
a jacket sleeve, another into the
torn pocket of over-sized, faded
blue-jeans. As he finishes paying the

pimple-faced clerk, he thinks, good, take
what you need, because, "ya can't
always get what ya want..." At
least that's what he remembers Mick

wailing since he was a kid. He watched
them, thought about the time he lived in
a van for a month once. How at night, he
listened to his wife attempt to cry

silently, as she wondered if their children
were crying also, having been startled at
night by a dream and found them not there,
found only a strange room, sad, lost

memories, at a friends house, where
there had been room for their children
but not them, and they understood,
though their children did not. As they

leave, he follows, almost speaks, then
thinks, that for that month,
they spoke only to feel alive, and
at times found themselves wondering why.

© 2002 Michael Ladanyi