In response to prompt 25, “Paris Postcard”

Photo by Mathias P.R. Reding on Unsplash

It was April then, unseasonably warm,
Twenty-four years ago.
I met a boy at the Café Phares.
He was too unfinished to be called a man.
We sat on the terrace,
Sipping coffee and smoking American cigarettes.
He lolled in a chair,
Desperate to be mistaken
For Alain Delon in his heyday.
A question startled him, and it was only
After his companion translated that
He offered up his lighter.
She spoke beautifully, without a
Trace of an accent,
Raised by a daughter of the Ancien Regime.
Our bill for coffee and cakes
Was two hundred twenty-five francs. …


Exhuming McCarthy

Photo by Marina Kazmirova on Unsplash

Turn left for bear baiting and cock fighting,
Turn right for auto da fe.
Confess your sins, no waiting,
Then fall to your knees and pray
To the god, orthodox, in the church, unreformed,
Built on the rock of our fear, shorn of all reason,
Hate exposed like the basest instincts of
Primitive man, who rose on two feet and now thinks
He possesses the world but mistakes his arrogance
For the easy fit of power held without consent,
Taken by chance in a moment of collective weakness,
When naivety opened the way for the demagogue
To harness common sense…


Photo by Benjamin Jopen on Unsplash

Dark can’t describe what prowls my farm tonight,
When ghosts of buried hate await their play,
It’s fear that dyes the veils of absent light.

There’s grief enough to nourish all the fright,
Whose rising tide has burst the banks of day.
Dark can’t describe what prowls my farm tonight,

Where anger bleeds the hopeful body white,
And, drained of life, is violent dreamers’ prey,
It’s fear that dyes the veils of absent light.

With discontent that eats the soul like blight,
In fields of envy where the standards lay,
Dark can’t describe what prowls my farm tonight,

And sadness gnaws away the appetite,
Consuming self-regard as pure display,
It’s fear that dyes the veils of absent light.

But love is ill-equipped to stay the fight,
Indifference keeps repeating a cliché.
Dark can’t describe what prowls my farm tonight.
It’s fear that dyes the veils of absent light.


We all want to change the world

Photo by Phil Desforges on Unsplash

Yes to all the crazy notions
Out of which you fashion newness
Underneath the clenched-fist banner
Sow the seeds of better futures
Ask a question, bare a falsehood
Yell the names of truth and power
Yell the names of truth and power
Open hearts and stop the lying
Unmake violence, stop the dying
Where have all the hard men hidden?
Acting scared of strong-willed women
Now is not the time to fear them
Take the fire and burn the temple
All the old ways crack and crumble
Raise up new ones from the ruins
Echoes of the past forbidden
Virtues…


The custom is for cash to call the tune

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Just play the music that lives in your heart
You can’t stay sane in any other way
Unleash your soul and break the world apart

Discover tones and feel the fear depart
Will the notes to speak, to have your say
Just play the music that lives in your heart

Invite the Other, watch your life restart
Embrace the risk of healing hearts of clay
Unleash your soul and break the world apart

Beware the doubter like a poison dart
Create a song that warns a changing day
Just play the music that lives in your heart

Refuse to ride…

Michael Madill

Poet. Gardener. Yogi. Enthusiastic eater.

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