by Richard Jay Shelton
I lost my life one cold night
Passing from office to home,
I found myself alone.
Down a quiet street
Moving as on a track
Upon a dangerous predictable
The flicker of curtained steady light,
Sheltering obscure lives,
Felt strange and distant,
Familiar yet vile and sickly,
Like upright muddy-yellow specters
Hovering above barren concrete
Sprouting black leafless trees.
The cluttered rhythmic cry of traffic
Filled the air like a deadly gas
Seeping everywhere at once
Of a sudden,
A dog’s rabid bark pierced my being.
Seeping acrid essence, thought loosing air,
The vast organization of all that I am,
The schedules, the roles,
The duties I’ve become
Suddenly went dumb,
Leaving my mind black
As though engulfed in a shroud
Filtering all certainty and clarity
Through its gauze
Leaving on granules of doubt,
Unanswerable questions that shimmer mysteriously
From the fringes of sensation
Vague and deeply felt.
Black and blacker still
Overcame my sight
As the world turned immeasurably dim
And vastly silent,
Of a sudden, unexpected
Between office and home
When I found myself alone.
Richard Jay Shelton is a painter whose writings include poems and
commentary on art and art history. His writing appears in publications
such as Willard & Maple, The Chaffin Journal, and The Eclectic Muse. His
artwork appears in the Smithsonian Art Institutes, Hirshhorn Museum
and other museums in the US.