Daily Archives

9 Articles


by amnicholas 0 Comments

Rain (Reflections, Winter 1994-95)

Driving alone down US 20
in the rain,
the incessant, wind-driven rain,
trying to outrun the emptiness
of a life built on
a marriage with no love,
a job requiring no thought,
and days into weeks into years
of never quite enough money
and never quite enough food for his soul.
Today, he punched the time clock for the last time.
Maybe he’ll head north on I-35
and find a piece of forested land
where he can keep a horse or two,
and write a few poems,
and dream about the woman
he once loved.
He presses the accelerator
and forges into the night,
leaving his demons behind in the rain,
the incessant, wind-driven rain.


by amnicholas 0 Comments

ALESHA (Lyrical Iowa, 2001)

Alesha dresses in white lace.
She copies the words of Byron and Browning
In large, flowery letters
And signs her own name at the bottom.
She tucks the poetry into an envelope
With a love letter to her boyfriend.
She dreams of marriage, children, and becoming a nurse.

Alesha stands in a dark alley
Laughing and smoking pot.
One girl mentions her boyfriend’s name
And Alesha holds a knife to the girl’s throat,
Then orders her not to talk about her man.
Seventy-five miles away, in the state prison,
Alesha’s boyfriend reads Byron and Browning.

Gypsies & Black Stallions

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GYPSIES AND BLACK STALLIONS  (Lyrical Iowa, 1983 and Poet’s Review, 1995)

When she was eight years old
She rocked for hours on her wooden horse.
For she was a wild free Gypsy
Racing across the tall-grass prairie
On a half-tamed stallion
Black as a night with no stars.

Now she is grown up
And sits for hours in an office,
Wondering why there is so
Little room in the world
For Gypsies and black stallions.


by amnicholas 0 Comments

TOMORROW   (Lyrical Iowa 2012)

I lie face-up in the grass.
In the waning light of day,
the sky fills with
a flurry of barn swallows soaring and diving.
Far to the west, the first edge of a storm front
appears, hinting at fury to come.
In the east, oblivious to the warning,
rises a sliver of a moon,
a mere strip of silver
nestled in wispy pink cirrus.
I release my soul
to fly with the swallows.

Now, I remember tomorrow.
City squalor.
Kids with guns.
Stinking air.
Boss’s orders.
My soul crashes
into the hot, cracked concrete.

Big T

by amnicholas 0 Comments

BIG T (Poet’s Review, Dec. 1995)

Big T strides out in the damp morning air
to the schoolbus stop on the corner.
His Wellington boots gleam,
his jeans are tight,
and there’s a pack of Marlboros
rolled up in the sleeve
of his black t-shirt.
They don’t come any tougher than Big T.
The other boys step aside
and whisper behind his back
that he won’t be around much longer
once his case comes up in court.

But I hear the yelling in his house at night,
and I see the whiskey bottles
his daddy throws out in the yard.
Once I heard Big T crying
under the honeysuckles back of my house.
His little sister told me that their daddy
had cracked his belt across Big T’s face
one more time than he could take.

So I know why
he hot-wired that red Corvette
parked in the street by a big brick house.
For a few minutes on the highway,
at ninety miles an hour,
until he careened off
into a newly-plowed cornfield
in that shiny red car,
Big T was free.

I Love You Like I Love the Ocean

by amnicholas 0 Comments


I love you
Like I love the ocean.
Not having been there
For nine years,
I ache for the sea.
I ache for you.

While I should forget
The sight of a breaker
Welling up on the horizon,
And the smell of salt spray,
The sound of water crashing on the shore,
I remember these things well.
Some black nights
I dream of them
And wake up trembling
With longing to be there.
It is the same with you.
Your voice,
Your eyes,
Haunt my dreams.

I love you
Like I love the ocean;
Even if I don’t see you or her again,
Both of you are
A part of my soul
And I will love you always.



Soul Song

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SOUL SONG (Chicken Soup, December 1996)

You are a dream in the night;
a memory from ancient times;
a vision from the future.
I have known you forever;
our souls have traveled the same paths
through eternal time
and endless places.
We have suffered together the flaming purgatories,
and side-by-side, we’ve been lifted
on the wings of  angels
to airy celestial spaces.
Together, we traveled along secret paths
That I feared to follow alone.
But after we have touched each other
through all infinity,
why have you left me
to walk alone
these paths, so simple and earthly?
Am I to believe you will
never hear my call?

Wedding Day

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WEDDING DAY  (Poets’ Review, 1994)

As on so many nights gone by,
clad in a lacy white gown, I trudge with dread
up stone steps to the door of a vine-covered church.
At the altar awaits a sandy-haired lawyer.
The last time, he was a doctor, or maybe an accountant,
but always respectable, sane, approved by my father.

Now, I feel the presence of the other one;
the dark, brooding one;
the rebel, artist, musician, poet.
And there, as I pass a secluded alcove,
shimmering candlelight reflects off his ebony locks.
I stop.  His eyes search mine;
we know each other’s meanings without speaking words.
I am of him, and he is of me.
I falter, but father whispers: hurry, people are waiting.
My tormented soul screams no!  I turn to run;
the crowd pushes me toward the altar.

I bolt upright in my bed, trembling,
then breathing,
oh … oh…
only a dream.

Time Passage

by amnicholas 0 Comments

I will be an ancient one, weathered and worn.
I’ll scratch a hoe around my tomato plants,
while the summer sun warms my bones.

I am an embryo, cradled in liquid
security and mother love,
a growing mass of pure potential.

I was twenty-five. I looked for love
and found a smooth-talking liar
who left me drowning in his wake.

I will be nineteen. Save the world.
End pollution. Bring the downtrodden to their feet.
Drop government to its knees. Peace on earth; goodwill to all.

I am fifty, still searching for what’s missing.  Hungry,
starving, craving to suck from life’s
marrow all that it might give me.

I will be seven. I’ll lie on my back in the damp grass
and lose myself in the wonder of the stars.

I was sixteen, holed-up in my room, lived in my books.

I was eighty-five when I traveled to the sea for the final time.

I am twelve, a tomboy dribbling a basketball around the driveway.

I will be thirty-three.  I was sixty-one.  I am forty-six.

I am dead.  I am born.  I am young.  I am old. I will be born again.

I am birth, death, and all between.

I am.

Yes, I am.