Why

I read poetry

in school,

but then I stopped.

Later, much later,

I wrote poetry,

but then I stopped.

Along the way,

I discovered that

good prose is really

poetry in disquise.

And that,

I told myself,

made the poetry,

the reading and

the writing,

worthwhile.

~A.J. Mayfield

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Death, Sin, and Other Trivia

The watchful gaze shone down,
and then the blade, deep and swift…
Made even gentle bloodied sunrise,
too terrifying for my eyes

Days in hiding came to nights where,
sleep superfluous, I slept not…
Until I shed that sacrificial skin,
now poisoned, now unholy, now thin

And seeing it no longer as my own,
I marveled at its hoary creeds, barnacles…
Its gruesome rust of well-intentioned lusts,
turned water swift to clinging mud

Now free of age, of sins partaken,
a naked Adam in a sweet garden…
Timeless, weightless, a sanctity of soul,
natural man, new-made, now whole

~A.J. Mayfield

Senses

He awakened to soft gonging from the guest room at the other end of the upstairs hall, and to intense darkness. It rang four times, but that old clock kept terrible time….

To continue reading, please go to Senses in the Menu

The Belled Gate

An empty urn,
the barren bowl,
a vase awaiting
one pregnant rose

A table barren
of knight’s tableau,
stools surrounding
in retched repose

An earthen mug,
Pan’s pool in spring,
a coin no longer
worth its weight

Each grounded in its
reason, spherically
precluding its sin—
That ringing at the gate

A life-lived-not falters,
yet blindly clings to fate,
blind Themis holds in
balance still, the cup—
She chose too late

~A.J. Mayfield

But a Moment to Grieve

What happens the first instant
after our world’s end
Is everything still, the pendulum
that lost its surly swing

Does the carven clock sit idle,
not quite enough cuck
to manage one more koo—
But still there’s something left

Or is it a different sort of spring,
not then unwinding fate
But coiling tightly, tighter still
until it snaps, breaks free

Destroys the maker’s hand,
rips down the veil of heaven
And damning every prophet,
sheds wild starlight, wand’ring still

~A.J. Mayfield

If You Go

If you should go before me,
I’ll re-read every line you ever wrote to me,
every thought we shared so late at night,
the daily noise of our existence,
condensed to fiery keystrokes by weary fingers

I’ll see, in every moonlit glade,
and every time 
there are no shadows in the trees,
that special light that always made you shine,
like bright little stars suspended in a globe filled with oil,
shimmering with delight and forgiveness,
waiting patiently to climb the wick
and burn my fingers when I strike the match

And I’ll hear your music,
which you never knew I listened to,
not with my ears, but with my heart,
and it will soothe me to dreamless slumber
when tears soak my pillow in endless twilight

I’ll remember every hungered kiss and every time
you found me hiding under our oak and scolded me
for putting off the work I should have been doing
I won’t put it off any longer
There’ll be nothing left for me but work
All the world gone grey, the mists
 of my memories
like a blanket
 smothering my tomorrows

But I won’t leave when you have gone
I will pay the tab for the time you gave,
finish everything we planned that autumn morn,
before I lock the gate behind me,
and follow breadcrumbs scattered on the loam

~A.J. Mayfield