Author Archives: oxrider

About oxrider

Mr. Winter has written novels, books of poetry and short stories, and books on acting. He has written over three dozen plays, winning the S.C. Playwright’s Festival. His inventive theatrical work has been seen in the US and Europe. A.F. Winter has been acting, teaching, and directing, for over 30 years. He created a theatre which worked with at-risk youth giving them positive alternatives in their lives. Please visit his website at AFWinter.com.

Sliver Moon 011019

I was walking my dog

Late last night.

It was cold and clear.

I was in a hurry being

Tired and wanting

The comfort of my bed.

 

It was then I saw her.

Old Mrs. Mulvaney.

Standing on her porch,

Holding on to the bannister,

To steady herself in the frigid air,

Looking at the moon.

 

It was just a sliver of a moon.

A thin smile

Cheshire cat like

With secrets to tell,

If you would share some of your own.

 

Mrs. Mulvaney had shared,

With the moon and the man she loved

For over fifty years.

He had left her long ago,

To make a place for her in heaven.

And now he waited for her,

Quietly, patiently.

She was not ready to go

But she missed him.

 

So she looked to the moon

Like she did with her husband

And thought of the happy times,

Small moments of joy

Which filled her heart,

So full, that there was no room

For sadness.

 

My dog stopped to look at her

For a moment

And so I stopped as well

For a moment.

And I thought

As I continued on my way,

If only someone, someday

Would look at the moon,

And think of me.

 

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Sleeping With Macbeth

Just out, my latest book of poetry, Sleeping With Macbeth.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” There is a lot of blood in this book. There is blood from where we are as a society. There is blood from the courage we all need to get out of bed every morning. and the compromises we must make. And there is blood that has leaked out from our broken hearts.

I was never the kind of writer to cover up the pain with pretty phrases. I hope there is some eloquence here, but not at the expense of honesty. Subjects explored in Sleeping With Macbeth are life, love, writing, Ireland, holidays, and people. This book documents my struggle during a very dark period and the desire to begin again, not with another love, but with life.

Available at my website, http://www.afwinter.com, or on Amazon,

https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Macbeth-F-Winter/dp/1974316831/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1545597129&sr=1-2&keywords=sleeping+with+macbeth

 


A Jar of Macadamia Nuts

“Things aren’t important.

Things are important.

Does that make sense?”

 

She stood before me

In the supermarket.

A friend, I haven’t seen in over a year.

A disease that is slowly melting her cartilage away.

She smiled joyfully at me,

In front of the shredded cheese.

Her happiness had nothing to do with the cheese.

I hope.

 

“I think so.” I replied.

“Big things aren’t important.

Small things are.”

 

Her smile continued.

“Yes last year I couldn’t stand.

I might have to have surgery to fuse my spine.

I won’t be able to move my head ever again.”

 

I said, “Like this?”

Slowly moving my back, neck, and head from side to side as one

Imagining what life would be like,

Like a naive child learning about homeless for the first time.

 

“Yes,” she said.

We stood, for a moment, in silence as the Friday shoppers passed us,

In a frenzied passion,

As if the three for two special

Held the meaning of life

Or the riches of Solomon.

 

“You look well,” I said and I meant it.

In fact, she looked beautiful,

With a knowledge and understanding

That few possess.

 

 

“Thanks,” she smiled again.

Her eyes closed as discomfort from her condition took hold of her.

“I can only get around now for small amounts of time

And I’m about done.”

 

I noticed a jar of Macadamia nuts in her hand

And looked around for her cart.

“Is you cart somewhere?”

 

No, this is all I came for.”

I looked confused

So she continued,

“Last year I couldn’t stand,

I couldn’t clean.

I couldn’t be the mother

I wanted to be.

Everything I thought I once was,

I wasn’t.

I couldn’t even bake.

I love baking.

For now,

At this moment,

I can do things,

Small things,

Simple things.

Today I can bake cookies.”

She looked at the jar in her hand

And smiled sadly.

“Today I can bake,

Silly really.”

 

Not silly at all.


My Sentence

I look at my picture

Taken just a few minutes ago

I don’t recognize myself

Who is this unhappy man?

 

My hair hurts.

I run my fingers

Through my scalp

Grasping and pulling

The tortured, graying strands

 

My eyelids heavy.

I lay down on my cot.

I can’t sleep.

But I can’t move.

Laying there for hours.

Until I feel the devil

Grasping and pulling

Me down where demons dwell.

 

Startled at the reality

Of this living hell.

Can’t escape the reality

Of this living hell.

Resolved to the reality

Locked in my prison cell.

Never again to hold

My sweet, sweet Annabelle.

 


The Glass Top Stove

I clean the house

When I feel helpless.

If I can just clean that little spot

I would have something.

And being able to do something,

Is meaningful

In a world filled with sorrow.

 

A glass top stove

So scorched and black

From months of neglect

Calls for attention.

I stand above it

wondering how it got so worn.

How my life has

Left me

Scorched and black?

Charred remains,

Remaining ever charred.

 

My hand moves clockwise

As I scrub counter-clockwise.

The end result is insignificant.

The scorchedness remains.

 

I wonder why she left

Without a word.

Her pain too strong,

For niceties,

For reconciliation.

 

The grey speckled

Surface of the stove

Peeks through

The darkness.

How many months will

This take to shine?

How many years did

the sorrow mount?

Quiet avoidance

Of simple connections.

Vigorous denials

Of ever increasing distance,

Obscuring even the smallest

Sign of affection.

 

I work an hour,

Then two.

The darkness remains.

The pain remains.

This will not go away

Like my darling girl,

My darling gentle girl.

 


Life Continues

Life continues after the music ceases.

You stand unsure

Of which direction to turn

All paths seem sadly familiar

A solitary violinist

Playing something

Vaguely recognizable

On a busy city’s street.

 

And life continues, after the music ceases.

The actor sits alone facing

The dressing room mirror

After the final curtain

The actors have left

The audience has left

But he remains

Unwilling or unable

To let go

Of the joy he felt

Under brightly beaming stagelights.

 

And life continues, after the music ceases.

With or without you

The moments pass

No longer intriguing

A crumpled smile

In silence.

 


Her Eyes 101418

Her eyes, her eyes, were like her eyes.

Her nose was like her nose

And that is all that I can say,

For that is how it goes.

 

I’ve spent my life, a hollow shell,

No peace from deep inside.

A stranger even to myself

With nowhere left to hide.

 

Her eyes, her eyes, those lovely eyes,

Her smile filled my soul.

No longer was there emptiness.

A temporary shoal.