Singing the poetic blues.

Another foggy day … I sing the blues.

A Wrist Cutter's Glow (Oil on canvas).
A Wrist Cutter’s Glow (Oil on canvas).


to inner-city true believers,
average is the ugly consequence
of weakness and error —
their idols being tv immortals,
and greatest foe time.
suitably, peer group heroes
inspire the less visible
with eloquently-layered lies —
and not once disassociate
mask from morality.


on dog days,
when nothing goes right,
impatient young men grumble
that the gods are
not on their side.
their pursed lips
may boast indifference
but tell-tale scars
of self-abuse underscore
the misery of defeat.


the rhythmic atonalities
of steely, staccato tears
pelt graying pigmentation
almost senseless.
but the romance of flesh
frozen emotionless by
half-dried ablutions is
the poetry of endings
muting into beginnings.


white roses lay neatly placed
upon the hardened snow —
just centimeters from where
the still-absent tombstone
will one day proudly loom
over wayward leaves, single
blades of grass and stalwart
perennials in rainbow shades.
the first tear drools, then
streams down my wind-burned
cheeks and others quickly
follow suit in search of
the meaning of life and death,
as well as other unanswered
mysteries prompted by your
almost coincidental passing.
friends urge me to go on
with my life and speak of
the treasure of memories and
shared experiences that have
made me the unique human
expression that I have become,
and which will further shape
the lives of others I touch.
but I believe in the worms
which industriously toil at
converting your precious bones
and ashes to fertile soil which
will nourish the flowers my
successors will one day plant
when I, quite coincidentally,
find the answers you now covet.

LE GIBET (The Gibbet).

the stench of five-dollar perfume
and embalming wine wafting
around the barfly’s sunken eyes
and drooping cheeks held a
bizarre mystique that I
couldn’t quite place at first.
but her incessant cackling and
swaying from side-to-side
as she talked to herself
soon set me to thumping
my foot and humming knowingly.
goaded by cat-like fascination,
I slipped into her consciousness
surreptitiously, and together
we conjured sublimely bittersweet
images of Ravelian desolation:
her swinging from the gallows …
and me waiting to cut her down.


I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.
I remember how my psyche could once
dance endless sommersaults back and forth.
and how every now and then I would
laugh mercilessly to myself at how I
astonished and sometimes even
infuriated others with my devilish
dexterity of mind and wit.
but now, having fallen all too often,
I quiver at the sight of both
challengers and supporters; and
look upon success in reaching the
rope’s end as another day’s survival
rather than a demonstration of prowess.
I know a good sport never complains but,
I swear they make this tightrope
thinner each time I attempt to cross.


well hidden behind the portals
of passionless and watery eyes
the incessant carousel of an insomnious
three-legged waltz is revealed with
childlike vision; hypnotically in
syncopation with the murmur
of the inviolate ticking clock.
in this surface-like existence, well
beyond resistance and emotion,
every attempt to break through is
as futile as punching a pillow
or screaming in a dream.
and in the absence of promise we
eventually find solace in our perpetual
state of existentialism and blues –
and pretend not to recognize the
everpresent and bittersweet
scent of lemons exuding from
each and every passerby.


walking the fine line
between glamour and
sobriety … taking care not
to fall between the
cracks … not to believe
in the darkness of the
daylight alone,
away from the glitter
of champagne cocktail nights,
designer jackets,
tastefully-torn jeans
and uncomfortable shoes.
the music must not stop;
shine the camera on me
just a little bit longer. see:
I am setting the pace,
flaunting a fashion statement.
synthetic is but a natural
reaction against reality.
just give me my moment.
a self-made idol;
cliches spat out and
yes, I could be a star.
what … my name?
I am just part of the
rhythm, the lights are
my melody against the
night of glittering glam.
a torn off piece of
average sparkling
against the annals of
history and the


an overturned glass;
red wine rushes
across the tabletop.
I let it run over
the edge and stain
my off-white carpet,
knowing that it will
forever remain a
signature of our
kiss of passion;
a reminder of a
moment of forgetfulness
and a time when
I had you …
under my skin.


crumpled paper.
edges blood-stained
from paper cuts –
ridges of emotion
desperately trying to
conceal the words
of love that were
never meant to be
written for all posterity;
but merely muttered under
my breath in a moment
of mindless passion.


please don’t ask me how I am;
you can’t really expect
me to be any different
than I was yesterday.
we’re all really quite normal —
me, myself and I, and in
spite of our narcotic state can
be up and down simultaneously.
and don’t look at me too long;
I despise those “I know
how you must be feeling
eyes” and concerned tone.
why must you always misconstrue
the way my gaze avoids yours?
my anti-social disposition is
intended to protect you from us.
no — it doesn’t help to
speak slowly, pronouncing
each word with the sweetened
diction of a nun or nurse.
I honestly can’t tell you how to
act, for I have trouble enough
getting us to agree about
how we’ll shield you from me.
it’s really best to let me volunteer,
lest my unbridled demons unleash
their flame-throwing dragons to singe
the delicate threads of your own ego.
and you, so footloose, must avoid looking
back into the darkness whose glittering
maze of mirrors encapture those who poke
their noses where they don’t belong.
go ahead — ask me how I am …



when the moon is in Fresno
and the sun sets a purplish
haze over early-autumn skies,
the cold winds of Hell
breathe heavily against
the hopes of local heroes
and the women who made them.
farmers stare off into the fields
without realizing, and housewives
pull their young close to their
bosoms – suddenly and
without explanation.
intuitively they sense the onset
of a long and severe influence;
a time of hardship and hindrance
when the faith and courage of
more than a few good men
and women are put to test.
the carousel is out-of-control,
and in the whirlwind confusion
crops will fail, loved ones will
pass away, jobs will be lost
and the simplest of dreams will
be stifled by saturn’s blues:
a mocking nursery rhyme telling
of horror and despair, and sung
over and over again with endless
variations on the same cruel theme.



october winds lick at my shirt-tails
like a cat eating ice cream;
but the cold only encourages my oblivion,
for it is emptiness that I seek.
dead to the sirens rushing corpses
to their moment of truth,
and limp to the prey of wayward housewives
shivering on shadowy streets,
I desire only to be alone with my private moments
until the romance of despair numbs
my failed ambitions and consumes my pride.
and like all truly self-sufficient men,
I once again return home … alone …
to celebrate the birth
of winter.


you know — I hardly recognized you
out-of-drag this afternoon!
your clever disguise
enabled you to sit down
before I could run away.
you both surprised and intriqued me
when you lamented the slow
passage of time — for I
have often envied and despised
your freedom and almost fickle
sense of reality.
funny how …
all these years …
I regarded you as crazy.
but now that we share disillusionment
with expectation and time,
I recognize you in myself.


in the spring of our rapture,
you assuaged my hunger
with gallant love-bites and
wept rubescent teardrops
as my own offering
cascaded willingly into the
vessel of your thirst.
enchanting midnight promenades,
serenaded by love-sick werewolves,
inevitably climaxed with
splendiferous candlelit repasts
of aristocratic blood plasma
and the finest port wines.
magically abducted by the ecstasy
of transfusion and reminiscence,
we who are forever young
renewed our vows of
never-ending devotion with
all the certainty and bliss
intrinsic to incipient passion.
so golden were our halcyon days —
yet unblemished by the ravages
of overfamiliarity and diseased blood,
now yielding insomnious forenoons
in separate coffins and
solitary meals under would-be
romantic moonlight.
since our greatest promise
has become your heaviest burden,
I look upon eternity as
the merciless side-effect
of myopic infatuation …
and dream, perhaps,
of growing old.

(all poems and still photography copyrighted by Adam Donaldson Powell.)

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