The sky is light gray.
The ground is dark gray.
The trees have no color,
Because there are no trees.
The fields are muted,
in both senses: sound and sight.
The cold’s color would be gray as well,
Though it is colder at night.

Machines run treads into the earth,
Cleaving mounds of mud and grass.
Pressing seeds deep
The farmer hopes to sow.
City dwellers look down their nose
Feigning regality, stuffy mood.
What happens if I tell them,
It’s out here we get our food.

That’s the scene I set;
Drab and uninteresting.
Winter fields as flat
as thoughts of nothing are long.
The pools of shallow water
reflect up, looking like voids.
All you hear is your head,
Because there is no noise.

I lay on my back, at loss and wonder why,
Staring, I look up; underneath an Iowa sky.

The hall of science and study

“Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time” – John Keats

*                                      *                                              *                                                 *

You are abandoned and stuck between two roadways. You are held captive behind waving chain-linked fences and razor wire. You are now not much to look at, with your pits of concrete rubble and grass and weeds. They wack away at every inch of you night and day; crews take turns reducing you to nothing but memories kept in picture frames.

But I’ll remember you. I promise I will. I know you were more than they say in the papers. You were a great hall of science and study. Secret meetings were held in your basement. Scholars and students were published from your offices above. I am a product of your protecting walls. I am a former gazer-out of your grand windows. I snuck in one night and kept a bit of your faux corinthian column. I am a pillar of knowledge now because you wanted to help me learn.

A small group for depressed Christian men

And then I brought the whole group down
With just a few words spoken.
Down to the ground –
The joyful mood, broken.

What if I told you I like to do it
To steal their joy away
Not just on these special group nights,
But each and every day.

The blues are one big infection.
Spreading through the crowd.
They like to be soft and private
But I like to speak them aloud!

I like it when they don’t know where to look:
Shifting, nervous with a frown.
I like it when their temples ache
From only looking down.

Don’t look at me, you supposed friend.
No each wouldn’t dare the thought.
It helps if I look sullen –
So not a smile is caught.

Remind them they should be grateful!
Of their jobs, their cars, their wives
Remind them that you have nothing
But cuts from self-inflicted knives

It’s a depression competition.
Looks like I’ve already won!
Time to leave, they say with hope
But we were having so much fun!

(Written while listening to Drift by Brian Eno)

One note hovers above the orchestra,
A ghost with a sustained voice.

Textures of sound –
mostly a murmuring
rises from the audience.

Your disembodied echo
is like an organ on Halloween.
I’m the kind of person,

who walks through graveyards
for the sake of company. I like
to trace the names etched in stone.

Around this time of year,
the violins like to mimic one sound
you used to make.

When they do, everyone claps.
But yours was far more than that.
It was like death in her coffin.

It was like,
A ghost with a sustained voice.