Category Archives: Poetry



By Susan Carnes

We hum along, know every word
So sad so sweet, and what we’ve heard
Resounds with what we know inside
Like a lustrous moon with the flowing tide.

Alone in a desert of longing.
Ahead shines a blaring Marquee
Hotel California
Satiate on euphoria
All wishes granted for free.

I indulged, ‘n freed inhibitions
Seared senseless in her neon glow
Gorged with broken dreams
Shattered at the seams
Imprisoned, I never can go.

Look Out!

Dark nights with murder and discord
A song about blood, death and gore
As Mac twists his jack knife
Stealing away life
And the bodies, they all hit the floor.

We sing of the noted musicians
All standing in line to go
The gallows are waiting
Life is abating
So dance as the Angel horns blow.

Dance On! Dance Crazy!

See, I like my women wild
I like undignified
Sleazy clothes that fit too tight
Enliven, energize, excite
Like me, a little on the trashy side.

Yeah Babe

Find me sittin’ on the dock o the Bay
Nothin’ left to live for, nothin’ comin’ my way
Life passin’ me by,
Soon enough we all die
So I’m wasting my time away.

But Try To Remember!

See the moonlight thru the pines
an old sweet song I find,
sings of the road back
keeping me on track
to Georgia, Georgia on my mind.

We hum along, know every word
So sad so sweet, and what we’ve heard
Resounds with what we know inside
like a lustrous moon with the flowing tide

So now its a song from the Piano Man
We’ve all shuffled in for some cheer
Sharing that drink we call loneliness
What are we all doing here

We’re stars when we sing Kareoke
Life pulsing along with the beat
Dancing like wind in the willows
Feeling whole and complete.

Feeling Whole and Complete.



The Music



singerAfter a long day of lifting stuff,
yanking, piling, dragging stuff,
shriveled and bent
from carrying the weight of the world
I wander in, set down the load,
and lose myself
to the music.

Look around
Watch the sun-break of song
erase lines of toil
from young again faces
As the master weaves waterfalls
and sounding whales
with threads of footfalls measuring time
for the music.

Memories, like autumn leaves
on the sighs of wind in trees
long ago cut and made into paper,
dance a flurry about.
As the fiddler fancy steps the beat,
his flying fingers
speaking secrets.
Abracadabra, and the curtain of keeping time unlocks,
so we can slip unencumbered into timeless space
with the music.


I defy fear to look over the edge
from my high climb,
Gripped tight by the spell that turns my courage
into a pillar of salt.
A breeze riffles the surface of the drowning pool
below me.
“Listen”, it whispers.
I hear only my wildly beating heart.
“Breathe”, it sighs,
and my legs stop their melting.
Unreasoned fear dissipates,
and I take a step forward
on the balance beam of life.
“Stay with me I cry-hold my hand.”
But like quick silver you are gone even as I try to catch on to you.

Shed joyful tears of knowing,
Gladly given,
Freely flowing,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.

Sweat stings my eyes.
The work is almost more then I can bear:
dirty, tedious, heavy, and cruel.
Til a spring rain comes washing out my winter of “too hard.”
Hear the sun singing in a puddle of snow,
beaming a song I know but can’t recall.
Round rolls the melody with the words,
spinning a memory
just beyond my reach.

Come the tears of joyful knowing,
Gladly given,
Freely Flowing,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.

Sometimes, in a watercolor world of happenstance,
the shapes run together just right,
as if a magic hand was arranging them.
And I know, because I can’t repeat it when I try.
And sometimes, in a wide open smile,
or in the passion of the dance,
there is this flame that flickers,
and I know, because I cannot light it,
nor can I warm myself by its elusive fire,
for it is too uncommon,
like the reflection of stars across the midnight of my aloneness.

Sweet the tears of joyful knowing
Freely given,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.

A Space to Matter

John Chapman, a survivor of World War I, was hired to work on our dairy farm in 1930. He came to grips with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“shell shocked” as it was known in his time)  and wrote about his struggles in a journal found in debris from the dairy barn he had been hired to build. John wanted to hide from memories of war, choosing the barn loft, a cathedral space far removed from the sucking mud of the trenches. My  novel, The Way Back) contains this poem that describes how he stormed heaven’s gate, and emerged victorious. I call it

The Altar

So tired from dragging my memories,
Like heavy stones weighing me down,
I came to hide and warm the small thing I call my self
In the loft of the barn

In this high place I observed life
going on without me
Safe while I tried to bury my secret sack of rocks
dark stones stained with blood and tears
in the sweet hay smelling of my youth.

But like an avalanche, they rolled out unbidden
into the strange light of this cathedral,
to be tumbled into gems,
that I polished into words.
An offering for the tabernacle
on the altar of the barn.

Nothing lasts they tell me.
People move on, boards and beams decay.
But the words I’ve chosen, symbols of my meaning
are released as am I.
Free to create as the winds of change blow through me
And to give it all away again, keeping nothing.
Larger, ever larger as the “I” melts away like a dying ember,
Consumed in living.

gable end of dairy barn