Category Archives: author

the door         3/12/17

just one more step

just one more step

to see the door

those ten short feet seem like a hundred

through a lurking alligator

snapping snapping filled swamp

 

just one more step

one more step to be a little closer

just one more step

the floor, hot coals

feet, bare

every step burns

smell my burning flesh

just in the mind

that’s truth, that’s true

 

the door, so solid

hearing the street beyond

sounds of clutter

sounds of confusion

so many locks to keep the confusion out

so safe and warm inside

fingers touch the handle but recoils

so cold

weakness overcomes

can’t go on

can’t

 

a minute  passes then another

the bolted locks impassable

the icy handle painful to the touch

 

death is cold

imagined death to be cold

lying on a street in winter

at night all alone

the last image

a streetlight with passing drizzle

will not die today, not today

although it is winter

will not be out long

just to the store

just to the store and back

 

no food

found some beans the other day

but they are gone

and they are gone

 

and so the door

one deep breath to lift the hand

it is so heavy

it doesn’t feel like mine

need concentration and encouragement

can do it

just get to the lock

to the lock

 

finally it is there

does it turn to the right or to the left

what if that is wrong

a wrong decision will double confusion

with each wrong decision

until the gods themselves will wreak havoc

to the left

it must be to the left

oh god why do you torment

why call to him

his back eternally turned to this world

 

a leap of faith

a leap no faith

turn it left

it unlocks

 

panic

only one more lock and the outside will come rushing in

won’t be able to stop the pain and suffering

of the running rushing people

too busy with their distractions

to notice death approaching

 

forehead touches the door

strength has abandoned

close eyes and breathe

just one more lock

one more lock

 

open eyes

and push away from the door

with all the strength left

staring at the bottom lock

to the right or to the left

was it the same or opposite

close eyes

 

can’t go on

must go on

am the unnamable

the hidden ones

behind doors

not wanted

not needed

will not be missed

buried along with my name

 

to the right, to the right

the locks are opposite

yin yang

light dark

good evil

another lock opens

relief

 

then panic

cannot do this

there are crackers

can eat crackers for a day or two

damn it damn it damn it

turns the handle

the cold icy handle

burning burning

the tightly gripping hand

the door opens and abruptly stops

the clank of the unreleased door chain

and the jolt the hand feels as the handle rips free

courage dissipates

 

what is he doing

what is he doing

what was he thinking

tears explode from his eyes

breath has left him

cannot breathe

cannot breathe

sink to the floor

tears continue

they will not stop

they will not ever stop

hear his cries

like from a distant hillside

too far away to be my own

but closer and closer it flies

until it strikes

knocking him over

with the force of a gunshot

 

the floor is safe

the floor is safe

cannot fall any further

will not fall any more

 

bleeding tears until the eyes can bleed no more

and the unheard cries fade into whimpers

as they often do

stay on the protected floor forever

but the door is still open

a little crack for vermin to enter

cannot move

paralyzed with fear and exhaustion

staring at the small ray of daylight coming through the door

waiting for the end

the end does not come

not yet

condemned to suffer longer

just a little longer

and that gives hope

the end will soon come

soon the pain will end

 

an hour quickly passes

before movement is possible

pushing  up

then on to hands and knees

reaching up to the handle of the door

for balance

pulling upright

one foot then the other

uneasy being upright

too high for my shaky legs

 

just balance

just balance a moment more

locks to the left

locks to the right

leaning against the door

no more strength

 

need to get back to bed

covered with warmth and safety

under blanket and blanket and blanket

in that darkened room

it is so far away

down the hall

and to the right

 

a journey of a thousand miles

begins with a single step

a single step

just one more step

just one more step.

 


Where I was 2/18/17

I was a better person with you.

 

A better person than I am now.

In solitude, I dwell in dark places

I’ve constructed with shattered pieces

Of withered memories twisted by distrust

And ancient photos hidden away in boxes never opened.

 

I used to be happier

And less suspicious

And less angry.

Now I am sadder, and more suspicious, and angrier.

 

And the world reflects my feelings back at me,

Magnifying and multiplying

Two mirrors reflecting each other

In an amusement park fun house

As hollow laughter accompanies carnival music,

In a never ending loop.

 

I see conspiracies in passing conversations.

I see anger in the youth,

I see surrender in the old,

I see frustration in my peers,

 

But I do not see that,

They are reflections,

All reflections of myself.

 

And I will never be happy,

Never, ever be happy,

Until I once again see

That joy exists,

Still exists,

When pain and sorrow

Are released

From the prison

I’ve confined them in,

Deep in my bitter heart.


Cinderella’s End – My eighth book

Cinderella’s End: The Revenge of the Witch

By A.F. Winter
 
List Price: $12.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
268 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1514656181 (CreateSpace-Assigned)
ISBN-10: 1514656183
BISAC: Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology

What happens to the characters in a fairy tale after “happily ever after?” Many cultures have a version of Cinderella because it is the ultimate underdog story of a bullied young girl in rags beating the odds and rising to the top. Cinderella’s End is about what happens after the ball and the marriage and asks the question, did Cinderella actually find true love?

Cinderella and Prince John marry but neither is particularly well-suited for marriage. Everyone important to Cinderella has died. She is an emotional wasteland. Prince John was raised to be a leader of the kingdom, not to be emotionally available. When their daughter is abducted by an evil witch, John goes on a quest to bring her home. Cinderella, left at the castle, is forced to play a role she was never comfortable in, a symbol to placate the peasants. After years of being alone, she develops an emotional attachment to a kitchen servant. The remaining royals do not approve of this friendship, accuse him of spying and throw him in the dungeon. The novel explores whether love can survive through distance and time.


inauguration day 1/20/2017

President Trump
Still can’t get my mind around it.
Get over it. Sour grapes. What is done is done.
Driving home from work.
Turning into my neighborhood.
I have been living here for three years.
Usually I wave to the African-American kid playing basketball.
Sinking baskets in his temporary hoop set up in the road.
He was not there today.
Two white kids riding their bikes,
Look suspiciously as they pass me.
Dressed in camouflage gear,
Plastic AK’s slung over their shoulders,
A taste of things to come.


Love is like Christmas 11/16/16

 

Love is like Christmas

The smell of freshly

Baked ginger cookies

From grandma’s kitchen

The brightly lit homes

Filled with welcomes welcome

The beautifully decorated tree

Holding gently

Memories of a lifetime,

Ornaments passed from

Generation to generation,

From friend to friend.

 

I walk down the quiet street,

Listening to the holiday parties

The Laughter,

The stories

Of good times past

And memories of good friend passed.

Their lives continue

In the retelling of traditions

And of recipes recreated.

 

I walk down the happy street

Where tomorrow morning

Children will rise,

Jumping on their parent’s bed

Gleefully yelling,

Santa was here, Santa was here.

The living room will soon be filled with

Mountains of discarded wrapping paper and

The laughter of children

As they test the warranties of their gifts.

 

I stop outside my home.

The darkened rooms.

There is no smell of cookies.

No tree with brightly

Wrapped presents beneath.

 

Love is like Christmas for me.

Never had it, never will.

And the expectation every year,

Of what Santa will bring,

Of what love will bring,

Makes my home a prison,

Sentenced to my gloomy rooms,

Waiting for release.

I walk away from my prison cell

To a darker corner of my town.

 

Mrs. Wilson’s husband passed.

It is the first Christmas without him.

Their only son died in Vietnam

So very long ago.

She sits alone with a scrapbook,

And smiles with tears in her eyes.

 

Mr. Paneer’s wife left him,

Along with the kids.

She always trimmed the tree.

He didn’t buy one this year.

He wouldn’t, he couldn’t.

He drinks another round while

Looking into the empty corner.

 

Mr. Murry died last fall.

His house is dark.

A For Sale sign sits out front.

And that is all that is left of Mr. Murry.

 

I stopped.

A light snow falling down,

Seemed to glisten in the streetlight’s glow.

Dancing, dancing,

Slowly falling.

I held my hand out.

A snowflake landed in my palm

A moment before melting.

Love is like Christmas,

Like Christmas indeed.


I will not tend my garden anymore. 11/19/16

 

I will not tend my garden anymore.

Let it grow. Let it grow.

I cannot contain it anyway.

It will wilt or grow in God’s own way.

 

I remember when I came to this place.

Four stately pines, three in the back, leaning towards each other

Dependent but independent. I thought they were weak.

I thought they would fall, so I cut them.

I cut them down, not letting them live, their lives,

Without my consent.

 

One in the front, I cut down as well

Too close to the house.

Too close to my home.

Too close to me.

So I cut it down.

Four trees, three of the past, one for tomorrow.

 

And then I cut some more,

Pruning and weeding,

Uprooting and cutting

In order to make my garden perfect.

But I have tended too, too aggressively.

Plants like people need space to grow and air to breath.

They cannot blossom in trifled containers.

 

My Gypsy Sues have died, their thorny skeletons catching me when I pass.

My Lodden Blue has wilted but flourishes far away from my tending.

Professor Anton Kippenburg refused to sprout, never wanting to share their bloom.

The winds and the rains came and scattered what was left.

Broken limbs decaying, hiding in unmowed grass.

 

I will not tend my garden anymore.

Let the weeds grow,

The mushrooms appear then fade overnight.

Let the bugs and the beasts find sanctuary.

I will not run them off.

Let the neighbors complain,

As they battle to control their own small plots of earth.

 

I will let God have his way.

I cannot fight what isn’t there.

My opinion is not required.

My approval is not needed.

What will be will be.

What will be will be.


Goodbyes 10/22/16

 

When I was four

They took off Bozo

For the funeral of JFK.

I remember a small boy

Saying goodbye to his father,

A salute, by his mother’s side.

 

When I was six,

I was left with my mother’s friend

As my parents attended the funeral

Of a small boy killed by a handgun.

Francis took me to the beach

And from a distance, I saw myself

Playing alone in the sparkling water.

 

Robert and Martin

Left me a few years later.

My mother crying softly

While watching the news.

The good die young

But so the bad,

Death doesn’t care

He welcomes all.

 

My best friend Solomon

Moved away

No reason was given

That a child could understand.

But watching Batman was no longer fun,

And Major Matt Mason

Was forgotten on the bookshelf.

 

In high school, my best friend

Was killed by a hit and run

On a lonely country road,

All by himself,

Lying on the cold asphalt,

Staring up at a beautiful night’s sky.

I rode to the funeral with his girlfriend,

My secret crush.

She rested her troubled head on my shoulder

But we never really talked again.

Two losses from one death.

I reminded her of him too much

To be around.

 

Death is always here,

Waiting to appear at some inconvenient time.

Faith is only a way to make life bearable,

A lie we force ourselves to believe

So we can get out of bed.

 

As I grew up

People left me in other ways.

Broken relationships and broken hearts

Scattered along life’s bumpy road.

Holding on to another

In a desperate effort to feel safe

To feel love

To feel forever.

 

The results are the same

Sitting alone hoping my broken heart will mend,

So that one day, I’ll find my happily ever after

One day my princess will come.

 

Then suddenly I just stopped,

Believing in forever.

No sudden deaths,

No abrupt departures,

Only the truth of life

That we are mortal

And there is only now.

 

So find someone to love

And accept that nothing is forever.

But moments can be filled with love, and hope, and joy,

As well as separation’s sorrow.