A posting, on Viv in France’s excellent blog, mentioned that she was wanting to write a longer poem, something over 50 lines. I have always written short poems for two reasons. One, I’m afraid my drivel couldn’t hold anyone’s attention for more than a few seconds. Two, subjects with enough elements for a long poem elude me. Still, the idea intrigued me until I remembered a short story I wrote before I became serious about poetry. It was a piece in which I created a composite of the many losers, cheats, liars, grifters, cons, thieves, deadbeat dads, drunks and dopers I had worked with over the years, and depicted their destination late in life.
This is a VERY ROUGH DRAFT, and I hope to return and clean it up because I like what it says. I also have enough material to add another three or four stanzas, but it turns out my attention span is about the same as I expect from my readers.
Update, revision number one. 2/20/11
WELCOME TO MY HELL (revision one)
by Mike Patrick
Ah . . . hello. When did you arrive?
Sorry, you rather startled me.
I’m always here, all alone,
No one visits here you see.
Won’t you please take a seat?
You’re welcome in my hell.
I personally laid each damning brick,
Which turned my life into a cell.
The door you entered has no bars,
At least, none you can see,
But they are there, and that’s for sure,
And here, inside, trap me.
My building blocks were made of lies,
And evil deeds beyond compare.
The walls are thick and reach the sky;
A million bricks I had to spare.
Three windows in that outer wall
Are holes, which pierce my life:
The smaller ones, my children,
The larger one my wife.
The bricks around them, large and strong,
Are sins, which placed them there.
Cheating, lying, drugs and booze,
That truth has since laid bare.
The overlooked, forgotten dates
The kids will not forget.
Birthdays, recitals, baseball games,
Are the times I now regret.
The years it took to grind them down,
While they begged for me to stay,
Were finally more than they could take.
They simply turned away.
Their mother’s love was very strong,
As she forgave, forgot and let me be,
Until at last I crossed a line,
Which hurt her more than she loved me.
So now I sit within my cell
And contemplate my doom.
I fear I’m stuck within this place
Until it is my tomb.
One thing, I guess, does give me hope.
A friend came by and left a Bible here.
Each day I read and learn some more.
It says there’s naught to fear.
Since I’ve been reading, hope I’ve found
That something precious lies ahead.
A crack, along that corner, has appeared,
And a brilliant light is shed.
When I kneel down and look outside,
A lovely sight I see.
Someone waits over there,
And says that He can set me free.
Is there a force, which has the strength,
To tear these damning walls apart.
For freedom, I would give my life
And more; to Him I give my heart.