No Man’s Land

Planes circle on stiff wings.

The airport is a charnel ground where emotions nip at one another’s heels.

Here, massive vultures peck out “I’s” with razor beaks

wolves rip “You’s” apart

and the mind rots itself to pieces

til the sickly-sweet smoke of delusion descends;

a sip from a paper cup, a bite from a plastic tray.

Comfort, lukewarm air conditioning, dim eyes.


I remember a mountain, and freedom;

a white horse on the mountainside

without a bridle or saddle,

an avalanche tearing down in a pale cloud

and a sound of thunder. I remember I’m a traveler; remember friends,

remember the mountain, immovable; remember tired legs. Then I come back.


This is an honest place.

Scuff marks on the tiled floor tell me all will fall with time.

Memories will fade into the rain,

my brain will melt into the soil;

my ego foiled, again.


There’s a dead man sitting across from me with a tangled beard and eyes like lightning.

I hear jackals barking through the air-vents,

and I remember them from the wind that whipped that mountaintop;

those time-tossed rocks, they were headstones for something,

just like these straight-backed benches.

How many times have I been to this graveyard?


I notice the rain, as it turns the runway to a mirror.

I notice the pain.

A tight truth sits in the back of my throat

like wine sipped from a skull cup. It isn’t bitter, and it isn’t sweet.

I almost shout, but the thought is drowned out

by a drumroll within my chest. There is a cremation.

I notice the people here, all going somewhere.

I want to look into their eyes.

I want to point it out to them.




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