Five Poems

PJ Carmichael

The Days Are Getting Shorter

“The future is fluid.”

Bricks line the city sidewalks
in protest of impending frost,
trees trashing their décor
in anticipation of the coming

Mornings have grown darker,
afternoons fleeting, evening’s
an eternity.

Night has fallen and refuses to

its stars among the dead and dying.
The forests are stifled into silence.

A collective lack
of energy permeates the landscape
and its sleepy populace,

bleeding life dry of its warmth.

Each breath gains visibility
as temperatures plummet,
ponds freezing slowly in plain view,
Days bringing with them

the guaranteed difficulty
of survival and sanity.

Light fades
before tired eyes
can fully open,

yet sleep still escapes
the frigid and weary.

(Each sunset is a struggle.)

Plans are abandoned
to prepare for hibernation,
goals of modest grandeur all put on hold.

(To save the world
or to feed a family?)


Off the Bridge

I walk to South Boston in
the pouring rain,

the waterfront spitting in my face,
angels shedding stillborn tears
that erode the aging bridge.

My shoes are the first victims,
soaked in evening’s sweat,
rainwater and ocean air,

puddles engulfing my feet
at every street corner.

The flood continues as I
cross over the to the other side,
droplets dragging me into
cracks in the asphalt, open
wounds that only deepen with


Skies darken;
the heavens spill their fluids
over pedestrians, grey clouds

dispersed across the firmament.

Cold wind is unapologetic, assaulting
neck, face, cheeks, splashing innocent
passers-by with relentless fury.

Hair on my head: the mane
of a wet dog lost amongst gutters
and alleyways.

Eyes strain to see
through the storm
but to no avail.

Showers blind pedestrians,
the downpour continuing on
with no plans of ever
letting up.

Cars toss waves onto the crowded sidewalk.

The umbrella is of no use,

but I couldn’t care less.
This is the best part of my day.


A Passing Storm

Daydreams disregarded
by modern industry:

millions seek technological salvation.
Christ weeps again.

(We are the unloved neighbors
whose domestic disputes can be heard
through the walls.)

The global village
has been introduced to force
and firepower;

women and children
scour the landscape for sustenance.

Early-morning ghouls
swarm the subways
while worlds away

are torn apart
in a frantic and desperate search

for order and certainty.

Cloud cover provides conversation
at the local street corner,

the entire Earth and its inhabitants
perpetually turning

in a carnival of momentous occasions
and minor inconveniences,

a spectacle whose stories are carried on
by partial observers who believe

they’ve seen it all. The sky signals
rainfall. It darkens beneath rumors

of a benevolent creator.

By the time we can take it all in,
before we can make any sense of it,

the day has passed.

Listen to the requiem.


Rough Start

A slick layer of ice
coats the sidewalks,

innocent bystanders
thrown to the wet, cold concrete

after a single misstep,
an unfortunate lapse in judgment
regarding the next move

towards the semblance of stability.

I manage to avoid such fate
as others curse the Season,
blasphemies flowing like sweet
wine from their lips>

(I, too, have been guilty of this.)

The frozen ground does not respond
to its furious victims,

their expletives evaporating into the ether,
each obscenity as visible

as the breath it travels on.

Witnesses offer hesitant consolation,
the obligatory helping hand
outstretched towards a broken

The asphalt
provides no comfort.

With each collapse,
a shout of frustration,
all too familiar and sadly relatable.

(I, too, cry out for warmth.)

Clothing torn, ruined
by the remnants of the storm.
The day is off to a rough start.

But in the midst of tragedy,
a lesson learned:

a peculiar camaraderie
to be found in each minor misery.


Through the Fire

I will live to see another day.
I will wake in the morning
with passion in the window,

the sun striking my eyes
with light and love,

an honest will
to survive

enveloping the dark days
of this year’s winter.

I’ll bask in the glory of frigid moonlight,

howl at the dying stars,
lungs bursting with frost,

melt the frozen crystals
with the warmth
of an ambitious

I’ll stroll leisurely
into the future,

dive headfirst into every
early evening,

embrace the fleeting
comfort of an ever-
changing landscape,

rejoice in the shelter
of a lifeless forest,

spark a flame amidst
snowfall and barren limbs.

I’ll pass through the fire
of another sullen season,

sulk with satisfaction
through countless inevitable epiphanies,

drive each and every point home
until all notions have nowhere left
to stay.

I’ll welcome the uncertainty of new paths,

float along the wind and waves
in search of fresh views,
hidden treasures to pass the time.

I’ll stumble across discoveries
yet to be realized,

indulge in the unexpected,
savor the unique sensation

that comes with deeply breathing.

Oh yes,
I will live to see another day.


PJ Carmichael is a writer, noise musician, and outdoors enthusiast from Wakefield, Massachusetts. He finds himself alternating between immersion in the forestry of New England and observation of the sights and sounds of its cities. He is currently working on finding the balance between vice and virtue.


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