Before super models
Ruled the earth
There were people.
Before idiots
The government
There were wise men.
The future

Is now

The past.
Desolate faces
Ride subway trains & buses without
Hope. Hoping.

And politics
Has become

A children’s

While going down

On Madison Avenue
The persuaders,

Manipulators & Predators Worship

In churches

Of nothingness.
In churches

Of shit.
The media

Ignoring What is To come

And be.
Because it’s Bad for publicity

And bad

For business.
That these truths

Are self-evident.
That people

Are dying

Over oil reserves

In the Middle East.
That people

Are being denied
Their rights.

That No one has

The balls to
Stop the maniacs

Who’ve taken over

Our lives.

So just accept it.


Buy a coke
And a smile.
As the lights
In your child’s



And go out.


~ R.M. 2005

IN THE ABSENCE OF LIGHTS : Where Noir Meets Verse



Dark-mirrored hallways
a dim precision march
Here we have tread before
Without fear/Well measured
Pagan desires and objective
Study. Pavlov’s dog is still
Breathing, his cigarette falls
To the floor and he dances like
a manic animal. Lost in the
headlights, accidents shall
occur once more. There are
no excuses left for avatars,
no reasons left for men,
only lights in the doorways
flicker and then they slowly


(to grey)

(to grey)

(to grey)






In the dark we rarely see 

Images from movies appear 

Easy to remain the voyeur 

As Bogart stares at Bacall. 

Here, are your vampires 

your child-like apparitions 

Yet true monsters are by far 

better dressed and elusive 

who, when asked to be truthful 

shall lie as they calculate your 

fate, look into your eyes and say 

“Don’t worry, all is well”. 

There is something strange about 

demons, night holds the key, we 

devoured by these realities which 

someone has named the truth. 

And yet, who if asked would pray 

for a parallel universe? Would you? 

Would God do this after listening 

to choirs? So uninspired 

that he would need to cool off? 

This is an impersonation, he is 

wearing old spice, his shirt open 

down to his navel. Disgusted, we 

turn away from this sight, a decaying 

Casanova hiding in the shadows of his youth.

As night approaches, we, much like 

our old ancestors, still stare into the 

fires and wonder about our lives, dream 

of our own private shambalas, forget, 

pass the bottle and survive. 

But is this all we shall amount to? 

When all we know is nothing, 

Except this




And now alas yet another poem from my destructions,

You, witness to and here in new flesh and new skin.

The skin of hero, the skin of snake, the skin of monster, the skin of saint all gradually and eventually shedding piece by piece living and dying and reinventing the world. Poems, photographs, enemies and the catastrophes which perish into the void. Paper, undigested words, mute horses and mad nostalgic whores, all reality deficient and nocturnally deaf to the unpure beating heart of man and muse. Reason-religion-idealism-theory….and shit. The perfect and critical butt-flight of monkeys and the cacophony of idle crows who sit upon the fences of eternity passing judgment upon our souls until we give in…to emptiness. But let them all know this;

That Jesus came unabridged with two fish and a loaf of bread, more a poet than a precise carpenter and he fed multitudes….

“With hope”




When stars fall out of the sky and 
all lights fade into silence.
When you grow cold
Eyes grow old
Touch grows cold
Stars fall out of the sky

And lights still fade.

After years
After hours
After moments
That never mattered

You grow cold
Love grows cold
Eyes grow old

And love fails..falls,
Fucked up and silent
Foolish and waiting

In the corner.

When the universe mo longer
Yields to your commands

When the mirror finally breaks
And all you are left with is glass

You grow old
touch grows cold
eyes grow old

And all of the stars still
Fall out of the sky

It’s time for the last call.





R.M. Engelhardt Copyright 2005.


Every Day …


Everyday we lose a little part of ourselves to the rest of the world.

The only thing we can do is save that part in our hearts, soul, retrieve it daily from the ashes

And write.

~ R.M. Engelhardt





2 shots = happiness

3 shots = love


While 4 shots will

make you Bukowski

or at least you think

so at the bar.


and 5 shots will

make you a genius

as you stumble

towards the mic,

as you mumble

something incredible

and all the other

drunks applaud


(and that none of them will ever remember)


and by 6 shots

you are invincible

and by 7 you are god

and by 9 you are just a poet

writing sonnets to the floor


“oh floor, beneath thy

porcelain sculpture

beautiful, my love,


the world spinning,

swimming around

thy sorry sorry









2 Poems




Your keys were stolen by the devil; she used them to open all the doors of

distortion and sound, to turn out all of the lights living in the waking moment when

all of the young gods had grown old. Club Extinction, where life is blood & pain.

Reality, a new dialect of language & seasons, harmonies of invention. A new

industry of human consumption. Where did you leave those keys? You had

everything to gain and nothing to lose. You had the emptiness of an over

agonized poetry and a religion of your own that served the one. And in the dark

you wept cold bitter tears for a god that never cared or even remembered your

name. It was as if all of the life upon earth had just vanished in a moment or had

suddenly developed an expiration date. Hiroshima Mon Amour. Goodnight &

goodbye. Still hiding behind all of your intellectual armor, still fighting all the

infidels of time, the thought Gestapo and the killers of the sacred word. The

emperor of ignorance and all of his angels of destruction still pretending to be the

heroes, like the dead skin flaking off ourselves to become the new. But you

remained timid, docile. Stood back & behind and watched from up on high while

all the rest of the world attended to their dark responsibilities techno-fucked by

the man to become the last piece in a puzzle of intricate nothingness, the

universe. The dead phallic worship of a ghost who can’t find his own way home.

To be mortal, to be human to eat, to sleep, to shit….to fuck….to love. With your

heart, you’re head and your balls. To feel when within the night maybe you will

think of daylight, a longing for some long forgotten stranger or hope. To want

something that means something, or something that just matters. For somewhere

beyond the sea the singer sings about you and me but leaves out the part where

you became a pain in the ass. And I remember the day that the romantic died

and became the angry man. Was it suicide? Or was it murder? I guess we’ll

never know. Because when you fell the sound came down deafening like some

overpowering pop overture upon your knees and you finally came to the

realization that you are nothing but a moth to the flame in the afterlife, another

peacemaker sent gone bad. A transcendental agent of the temporal wake who

can’t remember even who in the hell he is. Wednesday… your keys were stolen

by the devil who sells real estate on the side and who can suck on a soul like

there’s no tomorrow. Make a note; never do shots with the devil, she’ll get

everyone else killed and will make you question your own existence, not to

mention, she’ll break your heart every time, in every time, if you just give her

half a chance.



“And all the light of the world surrounded her, and in her eyes there was

salvation. As the world and she slowly drifted off to what seemed like a million

miles away. Where all time stopped, streets seemed empty. And the world was

no longer there. And in her eyes there was still beauty, light…salvation”

‘How did you get here?’

I ask.

She smiles politely, and then says,


She had to cross the River Nile & a few other places,

Made a few deals with the Gods, and the Oracles and had to apologize just to

get the night … ‘Off’.

A few past lives & a bottle of wine,

But this time without all the poison.

‘I’m just sick of passing romances’

She cries, then smiles at me like a cat and asks; by the way,

‘You don’t know a guy named Mark Anthony … do you?’

To which I reply ‘No, not at all.’

As she touches my hand and stares into my eyes unwavering.

And then says ‘Thanks’.

Seduces me with all her wiles & and all her false innocence,

Her beauty still there, lasting & full of centuries of lingering pain

And hope.

And then she talks about her job, her life and all of her endless

Responsibilities. Asks me how my day went and wonders if she will ever stop

being so wild, and one day finally settle down

With a couple of kids … and a house.

Tells me about a number of all her failed past relationships.

Not based on love but only on power, appearances & success

That never ever quite work out.

And then we talk about the pyramids, empires and poetry,

Says she likes jewelry and wears a scarab necklace that she tells me that she

bought … at Macy’s.

But all the while I still keep staring in those eyes,

Where all memories and all histories last but all finalize, as they take me off

guard and once more willing to take another chance.

Knowing far better, than I should.

As we walk into the her bedroom, her skin like ivory

A beautiful tattoo above and yet below covering the

Length of her back, and her long black hair that sweeps across my body as all of

my angels watch.

For in Cleopatra’s eyes

I remember all time

Like emeralds

In the darkness

Shining in their light

Where I too tonight

Shall dream of all the mysteries

In this moment that is mine

Stronger than any romance

Or love

Now faded.


 ~ R.M. 


Poet R.M. Engelhardt finds hope in words ~ Times Union 3/14/13


Poet R.M. Engelhardt finds hope in words

Engelhardt expresses hope in power of language

By Amy Biancolli Published 2:11 pm, Wednesday, March 13, 2013


The poems of R.M. Engelhardt don’t assert faith in much. Not religion. Not a society that ignores the plight of the downtrodden while glorifying the rich.

As he writes in “Burn,” a reflection on a homeless man in winter that appears in his 13th book, “The Resurrection Waltz”: “…the george bailey in / this story has no clarence.” “It’s a Wonderful Life” this isn’t.

But the works of this longtime Albany poet holds some faith in a few things. Late-life love, for a start. (“…happiness/That came later/and not sooner“). Smoking, too; he did, after all, title his 2006 book of collected works “The Last Cigarette.” “This is actually part of who I am in general. I’m smoking now as we speak,” he said, chatting on the phone recently.

But he has faith in something else, too: poetry. In “Saint Poem,” he addresses the form itself as a carrier of grace or salvation. “Dear Poem/Saint Poem/I ask you/To please see us through yet another day,” he pleads, coming around to a state of exhausted resignation. Both the faith and the exhaustion pop up throughout “The Resurrection Waltz” (Infinity Publishing), an 82-page tract of succinctly expressed disgruntlement flecked with hope.

“Poetry is very much like a religion. I wouldn’t say my complete religion,” he said. Nevertheless, “It’s the poem that saves you. You write the poem, but it’s catharsis, and what’s what brings you into being — what makes you stable, balanced.”

Engelhardt will read and sign copies of “The Resurrection Waltz,” from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

On April 11, he’ll kick off his School of Night open mic, to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Pearl Street Pub/Dirty Martini Lounge. And then, on April 19, he plans to read at the open mic as part of 2013 Albany Word Fest, set to run from April 14 to 20.

He dates his interest in poetry to childhood, when he composed a myth about a forged Bronze Warrior that wowed his sixth-grade teacher. His appreciation for the power of words never waned. Now a deep-rooted fixture on the poetry landscape, Engelhardt runs open mics, edits a journal (“The Literary Rogue”) and, in 2000, founded the Albany Poets collective ( A year later, he started the Word Fest.

“He’s been around for a long, long time, and he’s the one that took me under my wing when I was in high school almost 20 years ago. And he’s always trying to innovate and come up with ways to get new people involved,” said Thom Francis, current president of Albany Poets. As for Engelhardt’s writing, “It’s very personal, and yet sometimes spiritual. And you know, it runs the gamut.”

Engelhardt is not a fan of slams — open mics with a competitive format. “You have people judging the work of new poets, people who have never read before. So the problem is people are just getting out — they’re discovering their authentic voices, and they’re being judged by people. I don’t believe that poetry should be judged.”

He draws his inspiration from a variety of sources. One is the woman in his life, Kali De La Cruz, the photographer (credited as Lona Cygnus), who designed the cover for “The Resurrection Waltz.”

Another is the city of Albany, where his family goes back six generations. After a stint in the Florida Keys some years back, he returned with a newfound appreciation for Albany’s creative vibe.

“It’s the place itself,” he said. “It has a great poetry and literary scene — a great writing scene — it has a great music scene, a great arts scene. And if you can’t find inspiration in that, well, you’re in the wrong place.”

What about those cigarettes? Can someone be a poet without smoking? “If it’s for them, sure,” he said. Then he clarified: “If they’re a nonsmoking poet.” • 518-454-5439

At a glance R.M. Engelhardt

What: Reading and signing of “Resurrection Waltz,” new book by Albany poet When: 7-9 p.m. today, March 14

Where: The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Ave. Info: 489-4761;

Coming into being


Coming into being
By R.M. Engelhardt

Midnight. Domestic violence and hip hop shaking the
windows free of sleep.
Disturbed creatures laughing & singing in the
hallways with the echoes of drunken stupidity.
Jack’s old angels don’t come here anymore, barren of
all love and jazz, exulting no happiness or
joy but only decay. City televisions blare with
overseas casualties, games of hide and go seek with
terrorists & madmen manifesting themselves as heroes. But would
death answer all of your questions?
Wasting all of your days away trying to figure out a
reason why? Small minds put politics into
everything and steal our most sacred lives over & over
again and throughout time, evolution not withstanding.
But beyond all this is the quiet serenity of coming
into being, a place where they can never touch you, or
your dreams.

A place called “peace”


The Resurrection Waltz – The New Book of Poetry from R.M. Engelhardt, An Interview With Albany Poets


R.M. Engelhardt
R.M. Engelhardt

This coming Thursday, March 14, at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza local poet R.M. Engelhardt will be launching his brand new book, The Resurrection Waltz, with a special reading and a performance by Murrow (Thom Francis and Keith Spencer). R.M. has been a a big part of the local poetry scene for over 20 years. In that time he has hosted many open mics and events including Saint Poem, The School of Night, Ghost in the Machine, VoX, LISTEN, and P.R.O.P.A.G.A.N.D.A.. His works has been published in Retort, Rusty Truck, Sure! The Charles Bukowski Newsletter, Thunder Sandwich, The Boston Literary Review, Full of Crow, Fashion For Collapse, 2nd Avenue Poetry, and right here on

We recently sat down with Rob to talk to him about the book and some upcoming projects …





Such words,

Poetry rare

Exulting reality

Into voice           Expression

Into being

Being       into form.

From out of ashes

Out of seasons

Years time and reason

And from out of every man

Woman born


All truths   shadows   And all loves

Destructions and voices


Complete and thus returning

Like Angels

Like Gods

Again to tell their stories

Or to tell the tale

The myth, the verse or the prayer

The hymn manifested


For here is your


Your villain

And your Goddess renewing

The world

And here is your song:

Their song

Our song

All songs

Beginning &

Then ending again

These poems and these words

A dance     A waltz

These songs remaining, returning

Like every prophecy foretold in

The past   The present  & The future

Born from

Every sun

Every star

Every moon

And every daughter

Within every universe


For this place, world

Is a universe made up

Of dust & words, language

And resurrections






And sorrows


Such words, such voices

Poetry rare

Exulting reality beyond

A human heart

So human, so frail

This song which never ends.



Copyright 2013.