by Richard Godwin

They were peopled with the glass relics of old saints
and porters with empty cases who came seeking death
in all its dark manifestations
while the midnight moth of memory scattered its fine dust before dawn

For he was no longer among the land of those he knew
and was not part of the skin he touched
he lusted
after dark ventures

Among the coffined
and the tombed
who frequent the lunar alleys
where the rats sate the

Swollen bodies of tramps and fetid whores
who hold a broken compass in their hands
and wonder what architect designed their path
leaning homewards on the arced blade of its lessons

And they come to the final windowless house
and know not how they got there
but it is in stages always in stages
that the blood slows in the broken veins and memories burn like withered leaves

While we attack ourselves and our
lost continent of the soul
and its quarters of pain and misery turning to the grieving sepia of loss
since time first tricked us

With beginnings and the space we occupy
like shadows on the lawn weeping at twilight beneath a dripping tree


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18 Responses to DARK ALLEYS

  1. a more perfect title does not exist

  2. Salvatore Buttaci says:

    Richard, you demonstrate expertise in poetry writing as well as in fiction. The clear images in this poem allow readers to travel line to line in your good company!

  3. Miss Alister says:

    The wisdom of the ages draws dark and heavy drapery around you, Mister. And out from under it come these brilliant, laid bare truths of the mechanism of life.

  4. Just excellent word usuage in this one. Very fine.

  5. AJ Hayes says:

    I agree with Michael, Robert. Perfect title for the subject. The subtle rhyme scheme rocks also. I really, really, like the assonance in stanzas four and five: “whores, hands, path, lessons” matched with “house,there, stages, leaves.” Words playing with each other until they make a symphony. Thanks for the heads up to this finely detailed piece of darkness.

  6. Jodi MacArthur says:

    The words you chose and the succulence they blend is what makes this piece.
    “the midnight moth of memory scattered its fine dust before dawn” Loved this image. And the title is perfect. Great work as always, Richard.

  7. M C Funk says:

    Very enjoyable.

    I liked a lot about this: The moth of memory is appealing not only to my appetite for memory but my appreciation of concision – the metaphor is ideal, as it is so easy to think of the memory as this dumb and fluttering thing that bangs senselessly into the latest bright bulb until, exhausted, it drops and lets itself be entombed by the dust of disuse.

    The same analysis could be applied to several other terms and images: The grieving sepia of loss. Glass relics of old saints. Shadows on the lawn. And, like the coincidentally referenced Lovecraft, you manage to link a description that locates the reader in a setting or narrative of action while conveying the meaning and message of the poem in a lyrical way – “shadows…” being one such example, but “windowless house” another, and “lunar alleys” yet another.

    I got a little lost during the rats and the whores, but the whole product makes it worth a few re-reads to decipher that snarled piece of path. The rest is about as lucid a journey as one would hope for, and with so many splendid and memorable landmarks along the way.

    Your best so far, and by far. Thank you for sharing it.

  8. CJT says:

    Damn, I knew you were one of my favorite writers for a reason, and this has proved it yet again. Fantastic!

  9. Joyce Juzwik says:

    I’m so glad I found this, Richard. The imagery is intense. Literally walking through a dark alley, symbolically walking through our lives…, who can say. ‘…since time first tricked us–with beginnings and the space we occupy…”. Almost makes one seek the existence of purpose. I so look forward to reading more of your poetry.

  10. Rob Cameron says:

    Very powerful Richard

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