Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Surroundings formerly innocuous
suddenly sprout sharp edges-
engendering movement, multi-direction,
a slash through skin and muscle.
Legs self-mobilize and tread hallway,
automated to tasks foreordained-
blood-splatter garnishing
virgin surfaces of serrated trek,
en route to the goal.
Left arm hanging- greasy gristle,
right sliced through, still operative-
legs almost reach the end intact-
path-shuffling pain yet persevere-
the Achilles goes, and body falters,
tumbles with right hand on door handle
smudging it with a vulgar stain
that reads: never may thee enter.

Monday, December 18, 2017

on the solstice

On the solstice
my heart is opening,
walk with me and see
the foundation we're building-
this will be where the tower stands
and the walls will open to
a grand gate of wonder,
inviting inside all those we love.

On the solstice
my mind is churning,
blazing with the prospects
for a future together-
a great hall decorated with loving words,
a hearth with fires that summon
the summer in December,
shielding from cold all those we love.

On the solstice
my soul is dancing,
whirling with the fires
of the forge we're tending-
careening through demolition of ruins past, 
through the doorways hammered tight
an ediface of light unbridled,
embracing in wide arms all those we love.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

a look at the dead

On my mantle, 'side my bed
sit the portraits of the dead.
In soundless seconds from the past,
afore the smudged and fragile glass,
I am looking at the dead.

Watch the epoch of a life,
nuptials sweet, assurance rife;
celebrations, jubilees
inert smiles and faded glee,
catch me spying on the dead.

Ethereal moment, childhood spark
ever stagnant, halcyon hark
And in the sanguine, nebulous gleam
with unambiguous esteem
I see the dead peer into me.

On a mantle, 'side a bed
sit the portraits of the dead.
In frozen moments from the past,
behind the thin and dusty glass,
see me standing with the dead.

* * *
Written on Samhain 2017.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

on lost opportunity

Red ribbons around my belly.
olive branch suspended
by my brow, I walk.
Sullenly, measured, like an unwed man
to the alter to capture my bride.
Unencumbered, swishing her train elaborate
Hips wide, voluptuous with a belly like a Madonna with child.
I am allowed to suckle, to nourish from her wondrous milks.
I become full. Obese with will, pretensions
and breasts become shriveled, a corpses unheard scream.
So I weep, corpulent from her.
In desperation and rage, I tear at my ribbons.
In gluttony and yearning I gnaw at the olive branch.
Reeling and weeping, self-fulfilled failure;
I long to propose to another,
force her to fill my enlarged gut.
Hunger cowls my features, emaciated like like her breasts.
scratching for crumbs, once more humble.

And come the ribbons and come the laurels and come the brides

But am I ready?

* * *

Another Ur-Tankersley poetic effort. This one's traveled a great many years

 to get to appear on the front page. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Once I tasted vile strangulation, when 
'round my throat a silken serpent crept. 
Raptured blood in trapped encapsulation 
transfigured notions grand to those inept.

Asphyxiation's patron bade me sprawling 
upon petrifying vale, body swashed. 
A pestilence born of a false calling, 
a mission ineffectual and gauche.

Laid down my sword and shield to the invader, 
and in my suffering, found victory.
New purpose birthed from what should be a nadir:
To rouse my mind from paltry piety.

Then images, they shimmered into vision,
like shrinking violet vespers of a dream. 
Mind and conscience coursing for collision, 
gelled into one coherent stream.

Now I wear same garment as a badge, 
myself reclaiming purpose to proceed. 
A flight from villains after balm I snatch; 
new savior quenching old savior's needs.

* * *

Another piece from the bad old days, can't come up with a better title than this, which is depressing.

like thirty pieces

You pair your justice with untruth. 
Turn ethics sanctified into a spoof.
Tongue-cheeked beliefs manufacture your lies, 
proclamations so contrived;
a broken stake from which you're loosed.

You wear your malice like a shroud; 
burned-up memories and dust settling 'round.
Antique doctrine you'd explode if I said, 
better left rusted and dead
like junked-up heaps at some impound.

You tear the heart out from repose. 
Spurned your wild ideas like yesterday's clothes!
Hand-picked qualities fancied on a lark,
falsely held, surreal and stark;
the thirty pieces which you chose.

I use forgiveness like a broom. 
Attempting surgery to mend my wounds.
Self-licked lacerations make me feel sick, 
my saliva coated thick; 
hymns of agony I croon.

I try to keep compassion live, 
free from speculation, yearning to thrive.
Once-tricked inclination now sees what's real
as my wounds start to congeal; 
your hate's a plank from which you dive.

* * *

To the Boomers and the centrists- you know who you are.

morning glory

Awaken, my color!

Such contrasts to be born
from purple and white.
Wander into vision upon tiptoe, into thoughts
and proclaim this morning, "glory!"
Arouse expression- sleep ended, eyes open,
blossom my flower.
Radiance your mystery,
dewdrops the secrets you whisper
as if spring in frostbite.
Tangle-vines, tendrils speak
intelligence, ground up to sky.
Bring your glory, shine, ever shine!
Smile up to heaven and with a sigh,
reach and stretch perfume.
Stem waver, roots straighten
seeking last rays of the sun,
misty kiss, fore the last light
and close my color, 'till tomorrow.

* * *

Very old piece I found buried in my Facebook notes from years ago. Originally written on one of the yellow-orange colored lined notebooks I started attempting poetry in back in college. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

loose sand on highway

Red sand rises up,

hovering above the rough asphault,
a silken scarf at play about
the wanton fingers of the October breeze.

It is a fluid shimmer, a cobra of color
side-winding down the freeway avoiding cars
and monstrous eighteen-wheelers-
all predators out to do it harm.

An echo of life, shifting, surly and determined.
Not content to concede and confident in its purpose
as it slithers in foreign territory
on an overcast October day.

Now sliding to the right-of-way
for a smooth attack on the grass,
it disperses about the sloth of thick black clay
and is seen no longer.