Poetry: Selections from David Reuter
The View at Lord Grace Park
I force my weary, ground-sore legs
to travel to the cascade,
splashing fast into the root-torn floor below.
They stab like fingers where the earth
once lay intact in all its steadfast verve.
The crayfish creep on river feet,
devouring whatever lingers
in the water’s wake.
The mighty pines are crippled in
the remnants of their fleeting lives
while worms and maggots crawl across their trunks
and desecrate what pride they still possess.
I watch the brown-black motion seep
into the hub of an eroding maw
that swallows all into itself.
I check myself against my boulder seat
and force myself to move away,
to leave the jagged path behind.
At any moment, it might tumble down
and we might join the rest among
the worn-down broken fray
and slumber like a bear inside
that constant swirling mouth.
Too much depends on moving forth
to places I have yet to go.
The Eyesore Off the Path
This vile little patch,
putrid in its green against
the gnarled, rotten fallen limbs,
is loitering against the edge,
nagging with its ragged pap.
The ghostly, gauged, and rancid husks
disturb the concrete walk where people move
despite the fetid, wetted stench
where eyesight goes to disappoint.
A cleansing rain that pounded hard
throughout the graveyard of this horrid spot
did nothing much to clear the smell
of carcass shells that haunt this spot.
With every passing cyclic phase,
the blotch bulls on
with all its lifeless nerve,
resisting all renewing starts.
It makes the sterile silence loud
and messy with its constant will
to not recede or to admit
the slightest sign of its defeat.
And still we try to keep along
with every bright and shiny effort made,
pretending not to see what lingers
constant through its endless blight.
I saw it when we stood like soldiers
by the spruce that stood along
the boundary line where we conversed.
The ink, slashed deep and dark within,
suggested places off the path
where others feared to think to tread.
“It’s to remind me,” she explained.
Indeed, her manner seemed to seek,
in furtive, probing glances,
battlefields that sometimes lurk
in wild, secret spots away
from common corners, overlooked.
The mark she’d stained onto her skin
stood out among the sedate lawns
that once were sprawling, grassy plains,
with homes composed in cloddish lumps
to offset traces of the savage lands
that strained inside constraints.
They tramped those lands into that place
where we and others came to dwell
until these pockmarked, tatty fields
became a manicured exhibit,
changing savage symmetry
that separated us just like the tree.
For now, I watch her coexist
in bliss around the edges of
the tough terrain that others quelled
into the garden that we both enjoyed,
though I resist advances from my stable place
I still defend despite the march of time.
So much depended on these crayons
left to loiter, seeking dust
inside the drawer where no one dares to look.
The fairies flew on aqua and magenta wings
and graced below the smiles of the sun.
the trees bequeathed their leaves
onto the beaming lime grass blades below.
The azure streams and honeyed songs
sprung deep within the confines
of their babbling beds.
Her animals and loved ones lazed at will,
their nose-free faces flattened,
beaming forth from all their rounded heads.
the charcoal world lists limp and bleak
amongst its turgid grooves.
The tiny hands that used to sketch
and etch existence with their fancy
flail and toil throughout the chores
they’ve learned they must perform.
And all these waxy instruments of whimsy
that once sounded all her calls across the page
sit idle, resting deep
upon the well-worn grooves
that still persist to testify to
transcendent worlds that they once brought about.
The Vagrant on the Railway Station Platform
He roved before the seated section,
splaying into every space
with tattered fabric teasing through
the whirlwind of his disregard.
His face, hard stuck into a sneer,
and eyes that warred with all the world
kept menacing surrounding space
in beaten, battered, spasmic stares.
That seeing, sightless gaze grazed fast against
the sleek restraints in lacerating waves.
The sound of pounding urine hit my ears
before I saw him spraying there.
I left him there in phantom flights
with foes that only he could see,
a telltale gallop in my step.
I’ll never know the burning thoughts
that raged straight through the peaceful day,
absorbing all the tranquil thoughts I used to own.
But still my stomach swings like from a point,
as if to flee a captive force
that holds me there inside its pull.
I can’t begin to leave my steady mind,
denying every rustle from the pile of rags
he wore that day atop his ragged frame.
David Reuter has been published in The Cape Rock, Courtship of Winds, El Portal, Existere Journal, The Literatus, Neologism Poetry Journal, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Perceptions Magazine, Sandpiper, Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine, Visitant, and Vox Poetica. He has attended William Paterson University’s Writer’s Conference in 2018 and the Rutgers Writers’ Conferences.