Friday, May 27, 2016



Finally the trees have come to leaf.
The damn new street light is mostly blocked.
The shadows of safety grown for the summer months.
I stand quietly in the dark.
Cupping the orange glow from my butt in my hand.
It has become habit to keep the eyes always in motion.
The dog silently sits with me on the concrete.
She is using ears that do not constantly ring to watch.
She will roar at any movement.
I do not care if others sleep is disturbed.
I feel safe in the deadly hours.
I have two guns at the ready.
Safety off, one in each pipe, ready to fire.
Some fear spiders, bears, or death.
I do not.
Not the bites, mauling, accepting or giving.
I have learned from this city that fear is a burden.
I choose to not carry burdens of others.

In the far off I hear that damned train.
It is blowing its horn too long.
Fools must be going around the safety gates.
I curse it for I cannot leave on it.
I’d like to travel away from this place on it.
That will happen only if I ride on the front of the engine.
Bug like crushed on the hood shroud.
Nope, not me, still too damn mean to take that particular journey.
Trains are good for fantasy.
Fantasy is not good for standing in the dark watching.
Same as dreams of better days ahead are distraction.
Reality will not change while those of my generation live.
This odd thought keeps coming to me.
My generation, like all before it, fought a war.
That war has not yet ended.
It is still ongoing without even a truce in sight.
There isn’t any 38th parallel for my generation.
Only the great expanding divide between wealth and poverty.
Wealth and poverty both bring their own crimes against humanity.
Loss of humanity being the greatest crime of my generation.

I think sometimes “I am too old for this shit.”
I am not.
I know the older one gets the more the shit piles on.
I accept that.
I find comfort in my small comforts.
Poetry, others and my own, being one.
The touch of the ones I protect another.
Outliving them who would do harm to another comforts me.
I do not believe in a cold cruel world.
Hell is here, hot and always burning.
Only a hard, granite hard heat is felt here.
I spent my first decades being soft.
Alleyway beatings make the skin leathery, weathered.
I am if nothing else, weathered to hardness.
Same as the bones of long dead cadavers preserved in ice.
Though I do not miss the cold death of weakness.
I know my place in life.
I have planted my flag on it.
It is my place to defend.
I do so willingly.

© M Durfee

Wednesday, May 18, 2016



I am sad for you
who never knew her.
You can bet
she was an old lady
when we first met.
Eighteen years old in 1915
the 12th of 13
in a family where her father
knew he had spit too many daughters
to work the farm easily.
She gave that way of life deftly
the single finger salute and split.
Earned a teacher’s certificate
well before “standardized” became
the bastardized standard.
Taking the deal life handed her
she hied herself off to a cow town
in the era when she should ha’ been married
with baby after baby carried.
Two thousand miles from the farm.
Imagine if you can a single woman
amidst of mist of what she grew up in
but a stranger to strangers needing to learn
all the while making the ranches earn.
Independently free of family,
the best her papa Rowdy could do was write,
a skill he poorly took to—
leap forward and a lifetime later to 1954
when I emerged
through my own mother’s door;
4th of 5. Karma is not always cruel.
Came a day she caught me,
the family fool, with my face pressed
into her white Lilac bush gathering the scent
she smelled in me something different
from themwho scrawled her walls before me.
She read them children’s stories,
to me she gifted poetry.

©M Durfee

I rarely if ever write from a prompt but this one at D’VersePoets Pub caught my eye. I seriously doubt I could have ever had a stronger push to me being me than I got from my grandmother, a fiercely independent Canadian of Irish descent.

Sunday, May 15, 2016



There may be (or not) a heaven I will be sent to
but it won’t be filled with any slot to gamble for
gold(en) virgins or singing cherubs.
No, not for me, that ain’t so kind
of a god damned heaven!
That would destroy my blossomed mind.
That is a place I’d hate, if that be the space,
turn me and my useless ass away at the gate.

If that kind of shit is my eternal fate
then leave me be, let me lie in the dark dirt,
or spread my cold ashes dead forever far
outside of that heaven’s door.
Give me the Elysian,
the place where warriors roam,
long called the honorable home.
I have paid the boatman again and again while I live
so then here and now; fuck it I have no more to give.

If I cannot make it across the Styx by boat
or any other border moat or land
because of my fucked up life
is adjudged built on sand
then leave me be to rot
here in this earth of war and strife.
Let me be for the fertile soil to know
in death I prefer to be a bit of ripening
for the seedling of life where hope may yet grow.
That is a crooked heaven’s gate made straight.

© M Durfee