Dispelled Spirits

Handcrafted,
charbroiled barrels
carry my poison
hundreds of miles

fuck the flask,
I want that oak

I want my soul
aged & soaked

sandblasted,
my thoughts are abrasive

I’m burning away
my grievances
one drop at a time

so if you need me,
pull up a splintered
barstool and
join me in distilling
my combustible self

(Co-written with Christopher Rupley. Check out more of his work here.)

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Dead Fingerprints

Torment fills the
creases of my
haggard face as
raised hairs erect
themselves in defense
of an unknown stranger

who has no face,
no skin to speak of,
just dried bones
that clack together
like brittle wind chimes
whispering a tuneless dirge

My limbs shake furiously
from my splintering
four-post,
taunted by the
invisible oblivion
waiting outside the
chamber door

I am tainted
by the fingerprints
of dead gods

There is a window here,
but I did not open it —
an exit,
but I did not take it

With eyes closed,
eternally fastened
to the penumbra
of the lantern’s
shadow,
I fall helplessly
into my self

Death is borne
into me

© Christopher Rupley and Steve Shultz 2015

(This is another collaboration with the talented Christopher. He’s really opened my eyes to the art of collaborative writing. Be sure to check out more of his awesome work here).

Brazenly Anew

It is
never enough
until it is too much –
want more, until passed out on floor.
No more

And your
eyes cradle such
contemptuousness, paired
only with the hypocrisy
you stow

Adrift,
sleep comes to wash away the day;
mistakes make paint for dreams,
coloring in
regrets

Only
then can I rid myself of the
crimson hue and crooked
brush strokes you draw
me with

Because when I’m freed
from your contrasted palette
my mind is at ease,

Now I find myself
staring at this blank canvas,
creating anew

© Steve Shultz and Christopher Rupley

Memoratorium

I pick up the pieces
of the broken frame
ever so carefully.

The shards of glass
and coarse splinters crawl
their way inside my skin,

and I forget the rage
that sent the picture
flying across the room,

as my mind forges
yet another brisk
memory —
one that eats me
whole,

and calls me
a glutton.

Parts of my past —
the hoarse whispers —
crawl their way between
the vestiges of
memory imprisoned
inside me,

and become screams,
drowning out the clouds
of who I used to be,
and in a lightning flash of clarity,

I am free,

no longer framed in glass and wood

© Steve Shultz and Christopher Rupley 2015

(This is a collaborative work with Christopher Rupley. Check out his work here.)

Galactic Icebox

Judge me in orbit
where you are
running out of air,
where my mask is
far too thin
for me to be concerned
with your errant actions

Walking the cold steel
of the bow
reminds me of home,
of the hollow words
that always carried
me to you
like a drifting,
stinging point
burned into my
chest

I am running
out of oxygen,
but all I can think about

is you

I am running on
empty because
that is how you left me

I am running
out of words
for you

the ink is running
in my eyes

in low-Earth orbit
and alone

Tomorrow is
another day
& you’re not here

You’re floating
away from me
in a relative,
distant form,
and the Red Shift
shines on your
conscience like
the blood that runs
down my palms,

reaching toward you,
crimson,
dried and forsaken

I am in a snowdrift
buried
in my own creation

away from the stern
warmth of the Sun,
and into the cold fingers
of empty space

Your eyes
are quicksand,
and I am stuck in place,

like a black hole
that swallows all which
is wandering,
and misplaced at the core
of existence

© Christopher Rupley and Steve Shultz 2015

Tarnished Amendments

Imagine me
mirror image
everything
you do not want to see

Pick on me
schoolyard bully

Everything
you don’t want to be
is hidden in the folds
of your pain,
past the scabs on
your psyche

I was laughing at the urinal.
I was the only one there to
compare to,
but I still found fault in
my inner heart

I still found fault in myself,
and you,
hurting next to our threats,
cowering behind the fools
whose words were molded from such
warped mouths

You talk a lot,
and loud,
but your message
I’m not hearing.
I’m too busy veering
from the left side of you

And into an oasis
that exists separate from
our patterned suffering,

A mosaic of misfortune,
and an exhibit of
a broken bone…

© Christopher Rupley and Steve Shultz 2015

(This is a collaborative poetic work between myself and poet Christopher Rupley. Please check out his other work here.)

Shopping For One

I thought I saw her
reflection
in the frozen food aisle,

In the glass door imagery,
but it was just me
attaching meaning

To processed food & freezer meat

It was just me

The same as it was when
I pretended to argue with
myself instead of listening
to the unusual voice of reason
pouring forth from her

Much like the reason she left
in the first place

The reason I argue with myself

In the frozen food aisle.

It would be much easier to yell
at someone to “please move
your fucking cart”
or to ask “where is the Goddamn
baking soda?”

But, instead, the store clerk
laughs, and calls me
Tyler Durden behind my back

Yet I still see her face in the woman
picking produce

I still see her face when I unpack
my lonely groceries,
walk alone up my somber driveway,
and pour my cup of coffee
every morning –
the one I always let get cold

As cold as my
blue-lipped soul…

By Christopher Rupley and Steve Shultz 2015

(This is a collaborative poetic work between myself and the talented (and prolific!) writer/poet Christopher Rupley. Please check out some of his other work by visiting the link above).