Sunday 19 June 2022

Five Poems by RC deWinter



looking down this tunnel unlit by any candle 

any star

i wonder if i'll ever know more than i already own

which is pretty much a ragged rucksack of

not much

i'm tempted to sit down and pray for a train

but the thing with feathers won't shut up

so one step after another i breathe


surely it's the amaranth of the ancients

squash it and it miraculously inflates

a magic balloon self-inflating from an invisible reservoir

of helium hidden somewhere between

the breastbone and the brain

shred it and like fairy dust it swirls

bright dust motes reassemble and lodge in the heart

if you sit very still you can feel its amethystine edges

brushing up against your beating valves

hurl it out the window of your speeding car

and it catches a current tailgating you

when you reach your destination there it is smiling

and when you open your mouth crying oh shit!

it leaps down your throat nestling all cozy

in some unreachable place you can't identify

judging from the suicide rate there are some

who've managed to annihilate hope

lacking any such legerdemain i slog on

resigned to living with a side eye out for

something shining in the dark

as one step after another i breathe



On the night said you loved me
your eyes were full of the truth of you.
I remember thinking how easy
it would have been to say "I love you too,"
but that would’ve been a lie.

Your words tugged at the edges of my heart
like sparrows hunting for seeds on sere and stony ground;
nothing of promise grows there.
You couldn’t know my heart is not my own,
landlorded by a indifferent master.

I won’t offer something I can’t deliver
or act a part in the name of love.
I know the ending of that play; it’s not pretty.
Anything I could summon would be a farce –
second-hand love, not deserving of the name.
So kiss me once and go –
there are fields of wildflowers waiting.


road song

not all songs are meant to be sung
some are made to live in the heart
felt rather than heard
as notes fall off staves
in the silence of contemplation
fluttering butterflies freed from
the cage of memory

soft wings brushing against ribs
as they weave all the beauty and the terror
of what it is to live and feel
love and hate desire and abandon
cherish and regret create and destroy
into the symphony of you

as eyes closed
you dream
wrapped in the music
of your journey


shutting up the medicated choir

reduced to baby steps
by your reserve
(i can feel that flutter
in your heart
wanting to become
a full-fledged flood
but know too much
too soon
will kill the rhythm)

and the medicated choir sings
maybe it's the fever
or maybe you're a dreamer

i lie here
buried under blankets
propped against three pillows
wondering how to tell you
in flat pixels on a screen
that i could talk with you for hours
every day!
and not be wearied
by your words

and the medicated choir sings
maybe it's the fever
or maybe you're a dreamer

who's talking love?
there's not much margin for it
when you've lived as long
as we have
and been pressed into
near madness
by the stones dropped willy-nilly
but with purpose
on your resignation ribcage

and the medicated choir sings
maybe it's the fever
or maybe you're a dreamer

we won't say love or even think
that lousy curseword
there's a reason it's four letters
it's a cheap and gaudy floozy
flashing goodies out of stock
never delivered
we'll just breathe in syncopation
we don't even really need to talk at all

and the medicated choir sings
maybe it's the fever
or maybe you're a dreamer

i sit straight up in bed
and grab a brick -
hey where'd that come from?
and shatter the glass walls
that shelter those damnable cowards
all dressed in polyester
yeah the medicated choir
eat some splinters you fake angels
we be - dare i even say it? - not in love




i undress
in the vague riddle
of time clocks
mean nothing
to me it’s been dark for hours
so it’s probably

okay to
put myself back in
the box and
pretend to
sleep until i really do
  exhausted after

spending the
remains of the night
with the dead
who vanish at first light like
smoke kissed by the sun

  and as birds
begin to chirp i close
my eyes and
wait for the
gift of unconsciousness that
will keep me bedbound

until an hour
most people would call
in the indignation of
the self-righteous who

think they have
a lock on the right
way to live
but i know
there’s no right way for me to
live now that i’ve lost

my anchor
my north star and all
hope of the
life that was
offered then snatched away in
the blink of an eye

so i live
how i live making
the best of
the crumbs on
my table washing them down
with tears and regret

RC deWinter’s poetry is widely anthologized, notably in New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2/2017), easing the edges: a collection of everyday miracles, (Patrick Heath Public Library of Boerne, 11/2021), Lothlorien  Poetry Journal Volume 8 - Echoes Dancing with Shadows (3/2022), The Connecticut Shakespeare Festival Anthology (River Bend Bookshop Press, 12/2021), in print: 2River, Event, Gargoyle Magazine, the minnesota review, Night Picnic Journal, Plainsongs, Prairie Schooner, Southword, The Ogham Stone, Twelve Mile Review,  Variant Literature, York Literary Review among many others and appears in numerous online literary journals. 

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