Poems by Tobin Marks

Of love's and friends

I've left behind

On roads that would not bend

Resolves left shaken

From roads not taken

And quail what might have been

Songs of a Mute

 

I have no eyes

But I must see

I have no voice

But I must sing

 

Unconsoled by the dark

My mind how it seethes

For my forest stands naked

Stripped bare of her trees

 

Chained to these stumps

Blindly groping the wind

Singing testimony in silence

Comes that rage from within

 

But no one can hear

These songs of a mute

For in my guise as a statue

My message cries moot

 

So, I need to escape 

This quiet cacaphone

But I have no feet

And I must run

 

***

 

The Long Walk Back

 

On the long walk back from Eden

On a day much like today

I was banished broke and bleed'n

Not a nickel to my name

 

As I stopped to rest and wonder

About the direction of my path

The clouds began to thunder

As the heavens rent their wrath

 

Left crucified and naked

I pined from whence I came

The past then seemed so sacred

Like that garden at Gethsemane

 

I remembered days of glory

Full of friends and wine and song

Back before my path was buried

By the ashes of bridges gone

 

Oh martyred road of paradise lost

Once paved with pious plans

You took your toll at twice the cost

From whence this trip began

 

Then that multitude of questions

Left pondered in that rain

Read...the rewards of discretion

Are the torments of the sane

 

In my minds secure cognition

From an unreconciled past

Offered one final recognition

That my welcome didn't last

 

So, this self inflicted exile

That seemed so righteous at the fore

Had me marching many miles

With that heavy cross I bore

 

And in all my questions concert

About those reasons that I'd run

Their answers gave no comfort

For their answers numbered: one

 

Thus on this steep and oneway path

Salvations found, but fleeting

That answer is...you can't go back

Once banished broke from Eden

 

***

 

Knowing No Colors

 

Knowing no colors

Nor borders, nor race

Given to blindness

Its license to hate

 

Expelled by the learned

But taught to the young

By the school of the ignorant

Where its anthem is sung

 

In these halls it is praised

By that choir of fear

Whose chorus is unreason

But tonal is clear

 

That man is a beast

Best caged in one place

By the plague of apartheid

And purity of race

 

But that purity is myth

And the bane of mankind

For the blight of the bigot

Is the mote in God's eye

 

For the world melts together

As blood begets brothers

And our only hope...

Is knowing no colors

 

***

 

Bereft of Sight

 

Bereft of sight

My senses took

Their resurrections leave

For blindness is

As blindness was

And shall forever be

 

What length live I?

Eternity

With focus borne obscure

And never knew

True vision quest

Bore naught that blinding cure

 

When viewed in full

Through windows past

Those darkened clouds converged

And closed abrupt

That clouded pane

With light so justly purged

 

So now in black

I contemplate

When time was clearly bright

Before my senses

Took leave and left

Me...bereft of sight

 

***

 

Now and Then

 

Every now and then

When I look within

The mirror of my souls left wanting

What reflections I find

As I meander my mind

Are recollections of ghosts still haunting

 

Why I buried my dead

In the past was to shed

The present of unpleasant recollections

For the mirror masked the lies

When viewed with blind eyes

Reflects the face of false circumspection

 

Chagrin had I known

What bitter harvest I'd sown

Planted deep with addictive carnal pollen

But my real demon seed

Was a shallow selfish need

Buried deep with the corpse of the fallen

 

For the truth will not stop

Until that bitter harvest crop

Grows tall at the tomb of abandonment

But my real ghostly pain

Was my penchant pride for shame

Where the grave paid the price of atonement

 

So, no unabashed repentance

Grants a pardon from this sentence

Guilt is mine for all time, by my hand

And in that malignant mirror I see

A man stares back at me

Wipes his eyes, as he cries, now and then

***

The Wall

I once found a wall

In the shadow of time

And perched on its edge

I protected my find

Built on a bluff

Its strength was its stone

Though its foundation was strong

It stood all alone

Like a Byzantine fortress

With ramparts and gates

I fought all invaders

Who assaulted my fate

As I bolstered my banner

And championed my cause

After every assault

I built stronger walls

From its edge I surveyed

My desolate domain

But my kingdom had crumbled

To just random remains

For so long its withstood

These storms of the stone

But I weathered my prison

On my wall...all alone

***

None But God

In the twilight of a season

One cool October Day

A single leaf departed

Its home since early May

It spiraled down so softly

In lazy arch's of grace

And found in maiden flight

Its final resting place

With a soundless whisper

It lit like Angels breath

Upon a pool of glass

And quivered to its rest

Then tiny silken ripples

That sparkled in twilight

Shimmered towards the shadows

Of the fast approaching night

As with that golden leaf

Those ripples came and went

And noticed none but God

Another Autumn spent

In perfect revolution

The season's axle spins

But season's are but a ripple

In the lives of leaves and men

***

Blood On the Page

All the ages have cried

Bade the bard and the scribe

How the world doth love her a poet

But are unknown are their souls

From Sexton to Thoreau

Even purveyors of prose don't know it

How could we know

The heart of a Poe

Nevermore our understandings not able

Weep the poets haunted mind

Their ghosts are not kind

Like specters these spirits are unstable

From whence it is found

What bridled breeding ground

Are these anthems of answers always seeking

More often than naught

Its the wounds of the heart

That are written from loves helpless bleeding

So, with blood on the page

Dripped from scars of the sage

Flow bemusement and alternate sadness

Beloved poet cried the ages

Grant asylum from our rages

Brief respite with your wisdom and your madness

***

Behind the Village 

Beyond the hills and shadowed wood

Beyond the forest glen

Beyond the breath of consciousness

Lay the village Potemkin

Her houses grand with ornate gates

Her walls washed pearly white

But if you seek her audience

Her doors slam bolted tight

For beyond those doors and ornate gates

Beyond those white washed walls

Lay the truth of peeled veneer

A truth that reveals all

For we marvel at her buildings grace

So grand for all to see

But only from a distance

Lest we know her poverty

So, how we leave this hamlet

Burns that question posed of men

Because the answer lay in ashes

Behind the village Potemkin

***

Thunder Gulf

In a full moon fervor

And a tropical tremor

Thunder rolled over the gulf

Once the moonlight delivered

And calm waters shimmered

Now clouds collide in the dark

Like a sparkling white wine

Fresh from her vine

The moonlight imbibes all her minions

Knowing I am one

With no place to run

A prisoner of Luna's dominions

Like a stone looking out

In silence I shout

My spirit escapes with the breeze

Trapped on this deck

With a castaways net

I fish across endless seas

But my prey is elusive

Its freedom exclusive

I know naught where it is found

Distant seas are my tack

No wind at my back

Sailing ships to nowhere are bound

Anguished tides of regret

Wash over this deck

That lists in lonely self pity

But the seas of the night

Care naught my plight

Their temperance is fleeting and giddy

As humid heat surrounds

My vigilance absconds

Campeche succumbs to a trough

Clouds crash overhead

As I lay in my bed

While thunder rolls over the gulf

***

The Grey Mist of Dawn

In the grey mist of dawn

Near the shoreline of life

A man walked alone

His companion had died

I approached him with caution

With his eyes deep and drawn

When he looked right through me

And then he was gone

As I stood there unmoving

He fled with my soul

Then those waves crashed around me

With my spirit in tow

Then those waves washed his prints

From the sands and from time

And I realized quite suddenly

That those footprints were mine

From up above bled a cloud burst

And it started to rain

On my cloak of concealment

And this dull veil of pain

I began running backwards

Up these sands known too well

Seeking shelter from this storm

And my own living hell

I finally found refuge

Where happiness rings

Heard the songs of my children

Felt the joy that that brings

Through a window I saw them

And I shouted with glee

But they stopped laughing and singing

When they looked back at me

Then that window did shatter

In their eyes so supine

In its place stood a mirror

But the face wasn't mine

Twas the man from the beach

All stoic and stone

Still walking on sand

Still walking alone

I saw a man walking

In the grey mist of dawn

'Life's a beach' he cried out

And then he was gone

All the ages have cried

Bade the bard and the scribes

How the world doth love her a poet

But unknown are their souls

From Sexton to Thoreau

Even purveyors of prose don't know it

 

How could we know

The heart of a Poe

Nevermore our understanding's less able

Weep the poets haunted mind

Their ghosts are not kind

Like specters these spirits are unstable

  

From whence it is found

What bridled breeding ground

Is this anthem of answers always seeking

More often then not

It's the wounds of the heart

That are sliced from loves helpless bleeding

 

So with blood on the page

Dripped from scars of the sage

Flow bemusement and alternate sadness

Beloved poet cried the ages

Grant asylum from our rages

Brief respite with you wisdom and your madness

It spiraled down so softly

In lazy arch's of grace

And found in maiden flight

A final resting placeIt

In

 

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