/s scholl

Stale Peace

The malice of people
boiling beneath kitchen kettles
and jiggling stars

straining for some prize
hidden in the bowels
of commerce.

They get hipped on the idiot box.
A scowl of tweets and fists spark
quick as a track switch.

Rumors, staged asides, and they turn
survivalist on eBay, fighting bids.
Life is a niggling business

of settling scores, a phalanx of old
women lugging their shopping bags
home or big-assed, walleyed

women strangling with kisses
the emcee on a TV game show.
One pill morning and evening

and they’re as sensible
as Einstein.
Enough alcohol and they cease

to be cold.
Perhaps that passes for peace.


Far Side of Styx

They claim it’s blue there
where heavy souls drag through
marshes like insomniacs
smelling the musty perfume
of rot.

One last recessional
full of memories condensed,
the leaden sorrows
joys glittering like tinsel.
A continual thump of dead
souls without anchorage,
floating dandelions.

These cautionary antiphons
are made of seasonal dreads,
unruly nocturnes of disturbed
sleep.  Fantasy’s potent seed
sprung to glistening harvest.

It’s only blue there,
erasure blue, the blue
of disappearance.
Not even a wisp of rueful
laughter, a sigh escaped
from stygian orifices.

Beyond the pale of prayer,
a place of not having to,
a state of nonbeing.
Not even a noun
for designation.


Mention of the Holy Name

Our prayers are tournaments
between mismatched contenders
that foray into weeds and divots,

action with a mean streak
from one grease gray metal soul
chained to indifferent thought.

Holiness has a perverse topspin,
a quaint stiffness
that trails us, dragging,

but ineptitude clings to us
like a scabrous disease.
In our mouths the holy name

flops out and wobbles
into mangy scruff,
the borders of life’s fairways.

Fifty yards on, we’ll resort
to a cramped backswing
that serves for certainty,

fits the rhythm of our ritual,
recalling all our old petitions –
a glottal rattle landing in the rough.


Sharon Scholl is a retired college professor of humanities and several world cultures. Her chapbook Summer’s Child is from Finishing Line Press. Individual poems are current in Marathon Literary Review and inSpirit from Skinner House.