Three New Poems …
Category Archives: THE LAST CIGARETTE BY R.M. ENGELHARDT
The Silence Falls …
P U R P O S E
Among saints & sinners,
Good & evil
God & Satan
Among books filled with
Words, conformed and
Pressed into a small child’s
Among the shadows,
Self-esteem cut down by
Authority and the egos of
Those who have murdered and
Buried their dreams
Among the opinions & speculations,
Expectations ten long years after
Who is the failure and what
Among the critics and
The sad petty levelers
The damned & the damning
Among the forgotten,
The wild actions of a
Once uncaring, unconscious youth
Among the depressed, the once
Suicidal who couldn’t
Find his place in reality’s schemes
Among the conquests,
Among the losses & unreal lovers,
The young women made love to and the
False makeup queens soul-fucking in the
Aftermath of ruins & chaos and the
And among the love given and
Taken, created & destroyed,
Possessed and disowned
For these words … are my religion,
This voice … is my church,
This poetry … is my existence
And nothing else matters.
I am tired of your self-centered
Bullshit & whining ways
Stop this train, stop it now.
For we shall all remain… Dream.
Into this life,
Or the next.
An ode to the dead world that is poetry, lost and faraway.
The ancient soul of Sappho gone and golden days.
Tear these words, voices away. Now only left with memories.
Let the prophets burn,
And create the visions of what shall be
Under the currents and beyond the sleep of the icons reach…
Speak of that which is human,
Love …this eternal dream
Forget the fools, the mundane
A wild ride,
An action packed extravaganza
With spooky, scary thrills
Coming soon to an idiot near you.
Fuck it… Fuck them.
I’m going out
For a drink &
Kiss my wife & kids
Love thy neighbor
Love thy friends
For this life
Is all too short
“Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s shit.
These are the things all the great philosophers
just won’t tell you flat out about life.
You keep moving, keep living, keep breathing
And you keep writing-creating because that’s what you do
And that’s who you are. There are no magical voices to guide
You except your own. Make it count.
~ R.M. ENGELHARDT
Pushing verses Past Their Limits …
By Lynn Alexander, Full of Crow Magazine
R.M. Engelhardt acknowledges that there is a difference between the passive participant and those who live a passion-driven life, but can often be seen in “Versus” wondering if there is a difference in the end. Passion clearly perpetuates the creative imperative, manifest in poets like Engelhardt as non-negotiable, but to what end? There comes a time in the life of the poet where this question has to be dealt with. It is one thing to accept the terms of “the muse”. It is another to toil in the direction of some outcome, some goal. What, beyond that yielding and succumbing, is the poet desirous of? Fame, significance, appreciation, relevance? The poet succumbs because he or she must, but it doesn’t end there. The poet is driven to more just as the living are driven to interact in this world beyond survival. We do more than eat and breed and sleep, there is something that pushes us. But why? In the years that I have been aware of Engelhardt’s work, it is this willingness to examine these concerns head on and in a surprisingly candid manner that I think captures my interest the most in his work, which often gets into the problematic terrain of ego, and the ways that we relate to one another through not only our life’s work but through love and community. He states rather directly in “Versus” that poetry is dead, he comments on the state of popular culture and asks the obvious questions about the poet’s role in it. Why bother, and why persist? Persistence, I think, is the theme in Engelhardt’s work that prompts people to characterize him as “romantic” as many of the poems convey a sense of pining, portraying people desirous not only of love but of transcendent relationships. “She believes in something unseen”, (8, “Perhaps”) “I’m just sick of passing romances”. (“In Cleopatra’s Eyes”, 9) In ‘Versus”, we see that relationship between the speakers and both issues: wanting to do more than write, wanting to do have more than a date on a Saturday night. (“toys”, 6, “More than just another dance”, 2) This idea of wanting more, wanting to believe in and have faith in that but at the same time considering one’s observations and wanting to be rational. Persistence then is challenged by cynicism, both inner and external: “The time for poets has passed” “And someone once told me that honest people don’t exist anymore in the 21st century” “And someone once told me ‘That love…is dead.” Do we persist, press on anyway? In “Naïve”, Engelhardt describes the urge to avoid the trainwreck. In “Truth” we see people opening boxes, digging through metaphorical “boxes” of expectations mingled with mythology. What happens when people confront truth? Some thrive, some perish, some vanish immediately in the sight of their realizations. This brings us back, again and again, to the questions in “Versus”. What are we after? And can we get there? ‘We all grow older/Still trying to find our way/Like children” (“Any Day Now”, 11) Many poets grapple with a maturing phase not unlike the point around mid-life when one begins to really take stock about where to put energy, what to be concerned with and what to let go of. Some describe it much like finding their way, having gone through what some describe as a period similar to the honeymoon phase of a relationship. There are burdens in the poet’s world, choices about resources and time and energy and in the beginning there can be a sense of eventual payoff that in later years we learn can be quite elusive. There’s no denying that Engelhardt has love for the craft, but he pushes us to consider what that means, and to perhaps distinguish between the love of writing and the expectations. In some instances, the object of love can be easily interchangeable with “the muse” as both are subjects in these poems of that transcendent longing. The love that leaves for the man who promises everything, the “angel” who vanishes, the losses are connected: the poet wants to believe in more, wants to have faith in more, but life can be a series of losses, followed by grief. Engelhardt closes “Versus” with a shout-out to those who persist, who don’t give up, who keep searching and don’t give in, who stay true to the realm of dreams.
Love In The Mid-West
You are a painting by Thomas Hart Benton with luxurious black hair and beautiful pale white skin
An old hillbilly a mid-west aging Pluto attempts to touch you, looks at you from around the corner in awe and sublime wonder and its obvious and plain to see that he is complete and completely in love with you as you lie in a Cinderella-like ecstasy naked in the middle of a rural Kansas field. Persephone he is softly saying, Persephone. But you cannot hear him speak and he cannot bear to take you. into the underground of his place, and his hell. In the back ground there is a wheat thresher and FDRs America, there is a wide open blue & empty sky full of white clouds and depression era beliefs, and you are Beautiful he murmurs Beautiful because Cupid has overtaken him and you have overtaken all his senses and he cannot ever leave.
So in this dream, you are a painting
In this dream. you are the spring and the awakening of all ancient wonders and all ancient things, hidden away among the fears and jealousies of all men who cannot see
The very things that makes you beautiful
I have long since disappeared from these places. Time speaks and all I have left is gone where meaningless gestures from strangers in a foreign land signify nothing, the circle once more revolving and unfolding the mysteries of sleep. And everything, macrocosm and microcosm, has merely become a dream. Dead sonnets and broken memories. Lost words and disintegrated photographs. Here they say it's easy to become "dust"
Tonight I have awakened you alone once more. I walked through you're house and you screamed, you're once beautiful brown hair now white with years, your heart still missing in all the wrong and familiar places. What are you now? 65? 70? You cursed me and swore that you would never let me in again. Was I supposed to be there? After all, you were the one who called me, and all I did was answer. So what's worse than a suicide? I know. To live day after day after day in the misery and pain that you created
~ R.M. Engelhardt
THE DAY GOD BECAME POPULAR
We were hanging out drinking a few shots with
that asshole Mephistopheles.
He (as usual) was trying to boug a few drinks, and (as
usual) we..ignored him. At work as usual it was one
long fucking day. I was stuck putting up the sequoia’s
and disagreed; God liked red, I..liked black. And
somehow the boss (I won’t use her real name) told us
that our work was getting “sloppy’. Too many species,
she said, too many ferns, something like that. You are
always spending way too much time arguing and I’ll
have to let one of you go, the temporal mental bitch
said. “Fine!” I said, “I quit!” Buddha, Muhammad and a
few others were already gone and had decided to start
their own companies. And me, well I was just tired of
all of the insipid & corporate shit where the motto
was “Heaven we care”. And this action left God whom I
always thought to be a pretty decent kid in general,
to run the factory. And for a while we kept in touch.
“How’s it goin?” I’d ask and he’d say “Great, but I’m
really busy” “We’ll get together for a beer sometime,
ok?” Ok. But more & more the silence increased. Never
a reply back, never a how are you and never a word through the
psychic dimensional thought. Eventually I found out
that God had taken over and that he had been bumped
up. It I thought. He always was more of the
corporate type than me.
Its been awhile now and I haven’t heard from him in a
few eons. I heard that he never really recovered from
that incident with his kid. Stay away from beautiful
women, we told him, stop trying to be a hero. But he,
never listened and almost lost everything. Recently I
transformed myself into a man and I caught a glimpse
of him in a bar in NY City. Timothy McVeigh had just
blown up the federal building with children in it and
God was sitting drunk on a bar stool drinking red
wine. He was really fucked up and he had aged
something awful. “Bartender! Give me another fucking
glass!” he said. They kicked him out and he
disappeared stumbling into the night. I was saddened.
The firm is going under and he’s losing control, other
power hungry kids are creating technology & spirit
advances. God’s becoming an antique, but I know he
won’t retire. Me, well don’t worry about me. I’ll be
fine. These days I’m living as a cat owned by a girl
going thru a tough time. I know where I’m needed. And
even though no one remembers all of the work that I’ve
done its alright. The cycles of the universe go on
because love, redemption and faith never stop and
Oh and by the way, do you like coffee? Good!