The Cardinal in my Yard

Tyler R. Martin

The cardinal in my yard won’t sing
He just stares.
He stares blankly at nothing while I stare
Blankly at him.
It’s cold in January in New York
And my grandfather’s grapevine
On which he sits is bare and branches
Shiver in the breeze.
Nothing moves in my backyard today
Aside from an infrequent neck twitch when
The cardinal hears something.
He stays very still but the bright red is
Nothing but a beacon in the dull brown
of the grape vine.
Good for getting laid, I suppose,
But a bad target nevertheless.
He puffs his feathers in the cold
And I watch him and
I think we’re both wondering the same thing,
That is:
When the predator finally comes down on you
Is that day worse than any other?
Simultaneously sicked by this thought
The cardinal flew away and I put my
Boots on to go to work.

Another Cigarette

Tyler R. Martin

Light another cigarette,
The world won’t care in the morning,
Just another butt in the ashtray, another
Glob of flem in your lungs.
Light another cigarette,
The dog’s asleep on your couch,
He watches your house and he won’t mind
If you light another cigarette, and
Light one for your girl too before you wake her up
To smoke one with you and maybe crack two beers,
She’ll enjoy that, you know?
Amazing how she sleeps through the music, dog too,
But they’re used to it and a nocturnal man needs his nicotine,
His muses and his music, all at maximum volume.
Light another cigarette and
Type out a poem at two in the morning,
Two in the morning is undoubtedly a poet’s time,
Its unavailable to the cogs of society, so we snach it up
And light another cigarette without the slightest inclination
To go to sleep in the immediate future.
So you finish your beer…then finish hers…
You light another cigarette and look out the window.
If you’re lucky you’ll see the sky and the smoke looks so pretty
Against the star peppered abyss of heaven.
So light another cigarette and sigh,
“Perhaps, if I am lucky,
I’ll do this every night
Until I die.”

Just…Wreckage

Tyler R. Martin

Life is more a second to second, day to day, drink to drink,
Mood to mood, cigarette to cigarette type of deal with way, way
Too many variables for any kind of long to term plan.
Today I drove up on a car, two cars actually, splintered and savaged
In collision of scattered steel and warped plastic as if the two cars
Were melded into one fiery display of wreckage and carnage and blood.
The passengers, all of whom were burnt to a blazing crisp,
Were being carted away like slaughtered livestock in black body bags.
It was early, the sun was just rising and the sirens stirred the cold,
Crisp morning air. Both sets of vehicles were on their way somewhere
To go do something with some other people. Planning their day
Their week, their year, the rest of their waning lives.
They were moving forward onto the future, willfully blind
To the metaphorical brick wall boldly awaiting interception,
They never would have known it but
Hell
They shoulda just stayed
Home

Madness, So Mundane

Tyler R. Martin

Asking yourself what lies within
Winter fields and all that freezes in the storm, or
Perhaps burns in horrid heat, floods, drowns, or
Withers with age and decays under pain of time, or,
Drinks and smokes and fights over status disputes, or,
Reads to find reason and understand the empty void, or,
Revels in the combat against self and man and nature, or,
Becomes sickened by the gross anomaly of existence, or,
Breaks down in a grand display welled up from years, or,
Gives up and self inflicts a gunshot wound to the head, or,
Chain smokes for days on end without eating anything, or,
Breaks knuckles against the wall in puffs of white plaster, or,
Writes a poem about apathy and contempt for existence, or,
Drives too fast in a rainstorm with road beers and crashes laughing, or,
Admiring winter fields and all that freezes in the storm, or
Learning not only to live with hangovers but to enjoy them, or,
Trying to figure out what it means to really “live”, or,
Trying to figure out what it means to really “die”, or,
To die “nobley” and wondering what that even means, or,
Large swaths of star speckled skies over the desert, and,
Is there still a meaning to things arcane? Or,
Has all madness become mundane?

To Avoid Choas

Tyler R Martin

Smoke screen of a thousand cigarettes,
in a place where tomes of madness fell,
Where silent nights go on forever
And your own thoughts become a hell
In this self imposed abyss of blackness
Where the torrents of dark rum swell.
Through this shroud I cannot see
Imprisoned by my ending…what tragedy
Has God in store for me?

But, by now I should have figured
And deciphered all the plans,
By now I should have noticed
I’m weakened only by my hands.
Engaged with my goliath
I cannot submit to my demands,
For through this shroud I cannot see
Imprisoned by my ending…what tragedy
Has God in store for me?

To gaze upon a dark horizon–
The horizon glows as day becomes alive
And ask yourself the solemn question “why
Was it only the darkness which I derive?
For is day’s illumination always so bitter
That tis only in deep abyss that I survive?”
For through this shroud I cannot see
Imprisoned by my ending…what tragedy
Has God in store for me?

And there’s a comfort in seeing nothing,
Yet, still darkness fails to quell the woes,
And my locked doors still feel so fragile
And it is this I fear life’s horror knows;
So i meditate on each second passing,
As outside a terrible chaos softly flows
For through this shroud I cannot see
Imprisoned by my ending…what tragedy
Has God in store for me?

O Solitaire

Tyler R. Martin

Playing solitaire on my phone,
Red queen resting comfortably
Under black King, black Jack’s below her.
Aces stowed away atop the board
Beside the clock with seconds ticking away.
I’m lost at two minutes thirty six seconds,
There’s no hint button so I restart.
After three minutes ten seconds I win,
My screen throws a little parade with bright lights
And red confetti and the a big:
YOU WIN!!! in the center of it all.
Then another victory after four minutes flat.
The next game, I concede defeat after only
A minute thirty nine.
The next is another crushing victory at
An impressive two minutes ten.
And there it’s is…. added up it comes to
Approximately fifteen minutes of my life
Diving head first down the drain.

High Thrones

Tyler R. Martin

Upon these tomes my mind did grow as upon high thrones I rot!

The knowledge I seek, as I wade through words meek, 

Seem just to be what our world has forgot!

As today, all those long lauded libraries lie in wretched ruin,

Each of their modern bookshelves are beleaguered with lies,

For each great book silently sits, disregarded and abashed,

While the reek of those chaste and contemporary collect flies!

With those tombstones my mind did grow as upon new thrones I rot!

The knowledge I seek, speaking to masses weak,

Seem just to be what our world has forgot!

Like, to be sicked by these vile throes of envy 

Is to be a grand, gorgeous steed sickened by its herd.

Or, for a dusty black crow to begrudge a blue jay,

Is for its own intrinsically noxious nature to be inferred!

While I roam my mind does grow while chained to dead thrones I rot!

The knowledge I seek, absent all thoughts unique, 

Seem just to be what our world has forgot!

For, we all must one day wander in this wild woodland,

To realize what a sane, solemn reflection can readily reveal;

That ponderings upon life’s suffering must be fixed firmly in hand,

And that efforts toward perfection are simply hatred you conceal!

Voyeur by the Shore

Tyler R. Martin

What a brilliant display I witnessed today

As dawn broke in the great sea’s front line.

And what a scene, like from a glorious dream.

Which I had dreamt once upon a time

And so gazing this morning upon murky sea

It seemed conflict had encountered our shore

As shining steel ships faced off in the distance

I prayed for viciousness, bloodshed and gore!

And all at once a gleeful group had gathered;

We, by the shore, with the waves lapping near

To witness the hell rain and the scorn splatter

From the certain safety of this distant pier.

In a moment, cannon blast broke loose in a fiery blaze!

The crowd laughed and shouted in a heated cheer!

While sea rocked and ships swayed in a thrash!

We watched from the safety of this distant pier.

The ship’s explosions echoed in the salty sea air, 

Viciously trading volleys of a thousand hot spheres,    

A cataclysm of chaos, shrapnel, cannon blast and blood

And we watched from the safety of this distant pier.

The ships began to sink, one after one after one;

And yet, we on the pier, felt fevered joy, not fear,

As splintering ships sank in the smoke and flame

And we cheered from the safety of this distant pier.