Guilt. Written in bone, not stone.

To survive life, guilt must be pulled from thought,

like a festering rotten tooth.  Negative self image

poisons the brain.

The twisted notion of forgiveness, is often lost,

upon ones own self.

Inside the sparking flesh of the entombed brain,

thoughts dance with dark lightning.

Violations carried out upon humanity

swirl in memories,  like a growling tornado.

Guilt of transgression, becomes the script

on the stage of life,

yelling again the wrongs,

that are already carved in bone,

behind the eyes of the accuser.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W. Gilbert

Brain Fuzz

Bacteria spawning in my mind, formulates an anchor.  I allow it to stay, because I think that dark green moss belongs on my drowning rock of a head.  One day perhaps I will stop being cranky and take my rock out of the dark depths of the soured river.  I may choose to lay it in the sun.  The bacteria’s mossy crown will dry out and fall off.  My ideas could then glisten in the sun like veins of lost gold.  I am afraid of how beautiful it might be.  I want and don’t want people to see it.  I sit on the shore and ponder, “to pull a lodged stone out of a river is most difficult only in the beginning.”  Bending down, I wrap my fingers around my brain, and pull.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert



Devil’s Territory; Word Bullies

The tale of sticks and stones, begins true, and ends in a lie. Words have hurt me.  The words themselves wiggle inside ears, the brain digests the patterns, the mind sparks, and the heart breaks.  But I wonder about the nature of the spirit pulling on the marionette strings of the tongue.  It dances and twists, its silver glint catching the reflection of flame.  The floating black mist of an evil demon, grins under red eyes, and hides laughing behind yellowed teeth.

I was in my grandmothers garage in Fort Collins, my cousin and I were playing on the dusty concrete, when he produced a letter.  He told me that it had been scribes by a demon named the phantom.   At seven years old, those words begged my soul to jump out of the cold standing hairs of my neck.  Because he was my hero and idle, as he was two years older than me, I began to read.  He got up and closed the handmade brown screen door with black metal hook, and eye latch.  “Keep reading,” he whispered.  The demon spoke of all those who would die and be rippled off of the earth.  I cried.  I asked him why the handwriting looked like his.  He said he sent a letter to his friend and the phantom intercepted it.  I beloved him.  His tongue licked a fire into my brain.  My Aunt (his mother) has a bad heart, and she was always sick, she had lost her husband in 1982.  He was in Vietnam when they were spraying the jungle with Agent Orange.  I remember he was always angry, and yelled at me.  He had a beard, wore turquoise, and had permanently tinted thick glasses, he collected comic books, but I was too afraid of him to ask to read any of them.  My cousin Jason, was adopted.  I think his blood parents were 15 and 14 years old.  My moms family would always say, “He’s adopted”, as a justification for any wrong doing.  So the phantom, born of lies, lived on in my mind.  I would never tell my parents, because Jason told me not too.

When I was twelve my mom told me I was going to a church camp.  I was in the desert of Wyoming.  It was dry and windy.  I remember there were weeds that were like spears.  I had a few laughs with my friend Jamie throwing them at unsuspecting peoples shoulders.  We set our tent down by the river, where the boys camp was.  It was dusk, and I thought to myself, “No showers this week,”  as I looked at the garden hose hanging over a picnic bench under a tree.  When you are a twelve year old boy, standing naked in front of a crowd of laughing and jeering boys is something of great terror.   It was getting to be time to get to the main hall for evening services.  I was scared and nervous, and I stood by myself at a door.  Someone had pulled up in a car that had a something in the backseat, that caught the light on its purple glittered surface.  I was staring at it.  A preachers kid with curly hair like a poodle, and thick glasses leaned into my gaze and said, “What are you doing?”  I sheepishly replied, “I was just staring at this car, it looks like it found pieces of crashed alien space ship, I wonder what they are going to do with them?”  He pulled away with a look a surprised disgust.  Then he lean back toward me and yelled, “Its a Drum! Duh!”  Words will never hurt me?  I thought I must not be a normal kid, because they did.  Later that night, he was at the podium, talking about the mercy of God and how he had a seizure and almost drown in a river.   His angry words were burning in my mind.  I was crying, because I was hurt and angry.  My tongue flicked words in the air like a fiery whip when I whispered to Jamie,  “I wished he would have died.

In the early 90’s Bill Reed Middle School was getting remolded.  The city of Loveland had just changed from a Junior High to a middle school format.  Instead of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders at a Junior High, they sent the ninth grades to high school, and brought the sixths graders in from elementary school.  Since Bill Reed was going to be remolded, there was only seventh and eighth grade there.  My seventh grade year, we had class in the old side, while they remolded the new side.   The wooden steps had grooves warn into them.  There was a concrete bunker in the basement just in case there was a nuclear war.  Mr. C. told us on a tour that the banging pipes was a disrespectful kid that they buried in the concrete back in the 50’s.  I believed him.  I told everyone it was true.  I got laughed at a lot.  I didn’t master sarcasm until I was in my 20’s.  On the third floor of that beautiful brick building I was in an English class, it was a period just after lunch.  Ms. R. came to the door and asked for me.  I said, “Alright, and energetically walked to the door”.  She was a short fat liberal teacher that was going to change the world, and I was somewhere on that list to get that done.  “I just spoke to your cousin Stacie,” she whispered, “She said you were mean to her last night.”  I turned red and took a step back.  I was angry and embarrassed.  “Yeah, Ms. Rogers, after two hours of basketball practice, I was looking forward to a slice of black chocolate cake,”  She quickly stopped me, “I am talking about Stacie crying, and you are talking about cake…”  I held my ground, I was 6 inches taller than her, and yet I was embarrassed by my size, “Look, there was half a cake,” I interrupted her, “Stacie, and my sister at half of it!  There was nothing left when I got home, and I called them a couple of fat pigs!”  She smiled, and looked me right in the eye, “You can’t talk to people that way, you need to be nicer to your cousin, she is adopted.”  I ended up telling my mom that story when I was twenty five, she just looked at the floor and cried.

I was at the Wendy’s drive through in Longmont on a cold in windy February day in 2002, I was on my way from Denver to Livermoore Colorado, it was funny because I the preacher from the church I was trying to go to was in the drive through in front of me.  He didn’t take much notice of me.  Back then everyone had aqua green four door Pontiac grand AM’s.  I felt bad because I lied to him a few months ago.  They was a nasty dent in my passenger rear quarter panel.  I had a fight with my mom, and in rage I jump kicked it with my heel.  I told him it was vandals.  I felt bad, because he was genuinely sad for me.  As my thoughts danced around my stupidity my cell phone rang.  It was my little sister calling from Denver.  “Where are you?  Do you want to carpool to the wedding?”  I paused, because I knew my answer would go over well, “Sarah, I am going to to the Ranch to help Dad install window wells on the house, he hired an excavator.”  Sarah never got the guilt trip my mom would lay down for manual labor, so it may have been a waste of time to give her the technical details.  The phone was silent for a moment, then she said in an angry exhale, “I hope nobody comes to your wedding!”  I hung up, it was time to pay for my food.  I cried, because I thought I would likely never get married, and if I did, she was right, who would want to show up.  In 2008 as my little sister got married, I cried, because cancer took our mom early that year, and she wasn’t at the wedding.

The tongue is a weapon.  I think, perhaps that God’s intention, was to give a gift of writing, public speaking, and a sharp minds.  Those gifts have been fouled and made a flame throwers burn peoples souls.  A Christian, blasts an orange flame. Burning words tear though souls like burning grease on wet paper. Afterwords, suffocating smoke kills relationships.   Cowards throw arms in the air, and say in a sarcastic giggle, “What?  I was just kidding.” then they smirk and say “Based on A, B, and C you are going to hell!”  Why not tell them how to get to heaven, and beg God to open their hearts to the path.

Behind words, there is darkness or light.  Words are fueled by the glow of heaven, or the fiery burn of hell.  Perhaps focus must be shifted on the listener.   Consider caring about how they are going to feel, then maybe cool the fire the hell fire imbued on foolish tongues.  The flame thrower can only be dismantled by a surrendered sinner who calls upon the strength of his Creator.

The Sticks and Stones, were at least honest.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert



Heavy Silver Circles

The silver coins are heavy, and cold on my fingers.  They make a light pinging sound as I count them in my sweaty palm.  I drop them in a cloth sac like feeding pain pills into the mouth of a monster.  28, 29, 30, they are all there.  The back of my neck is hot, the mob is restless, I lead them out into the garden.

Black night holds silver clouds aloft, they float above, watching.  I know the place, I know the man, we find him easily.  The mob is watching.  I call him teacher, and kiss his cheek.  They take him.  The cold silver coins in my pocket are red hot.  My neck grows cold as a rippling chill falls from my neck, down my back.

I learn, that my friend, my teacher, that I betrayed is going to be killed.  It is early morning, I haven’t slept.  When I find the group of leaders, they are angry and proud.  The man I sold out is going to die.   I tell them I made a mistake.  They growl at me when they like a pack of wolves.  Yet it is not me they want to devour, their bellies are full with the satisfaction of the lamb they caught, my teacher, my friend.  I tell them I made a mistake, they don’t care.  I throw the silver coins at them, in a burdened toss, yet my burden remains.  The coins ping, and pling on the hard stone floor, as hard hearts laugh at my torment.

I am in sorrow, heavy black, sorrow.  It feel like I swallowed a barrel of mud.  I deserve to die!  After three years, I am a fool, and a failure.  I climb a tall tree, I fasten the rope around my neck, my face is red and hot with tears and snot.  I don’t hesitate, I let myself fall of the branch.  I think, “Dear God, please…” as I fall.  Crack!  My neck breaks, my breath is stolen from my mouth and locked in my chest.   My mouth opens and closes, like a fish pulled from the water.  In a moment I pass out.  Darkness doesn’t have far to look to find me.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

Perhaps only a woman may know…


(The Bereavement of Sweetness. Oil on canvas  17x12in)

by Shannon Soldner

Perhaps only a woman may know…

Her vast emotions, live safe,

in a fortified city, their cherished relationship.

For years, nestled warm under his heart.


In a painful moment,

her life is besieged by green fire.

Her man, her love, that saboteur,

reveals his villainous tale.

Stories bite bitterly into burning ears,

while her throat swells shut,

Rhythmic heavy words ripple the air,

shaking the foundation, of her heart,

causing a mighty pressure in her chest.

Her breath becomes rapid, hot tears stream,

trust is leveled in seconds, like a wounded building.

Choking gray dust and crushing heavy concrete,

pummel her soul, and entomb her heart,

in rhythmic cruelty.

Her emotions pop like a blister,

under the jagged cut of his news.

Yet, a reddish glow, a rhythmic pulse,

warms the deep rubble.

Her heart is lost,

in love, though wounded, its lives,

in the ice cold silence.

She hates him, and loves him,

within the same heartbeat.

She condemns him, and forgives him,

in the same breath.

In this moment,

she will endure,

and she will be lost.

His fate, their fate,

rests within the moment.

The relationship;

Will it be sewn up with black stitches?

A love enduring under thick scars?

Or buried in the cold brown dirt, cried for,

then forever.

a burden to be forgotten?

Perhaps only a woman may know.


Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert

Sorrow’s Hideout

Dirty water dripped on my head from a moldy wooden basement beam.  Light spilled into the room from the cracks in the ceiling.  I was trapped in a deep stone hole.  My wrist was clasped with a 10 centimeter iron cuff, it rubbed the skin underneath into a blistery rot.  I pulled against in, a 3 meter rusty chain that was bolted into solid rock.  Every time I woke up, in the hideout a man sat across from me.  He looked angry, he wore ratty clothes, and smell like clean water and soap had not hit his body for months.  I waved my hands at him, he would mock my gestures.  I asked when he would let me out of this prison.  He never answered.

I found a loose stone in the floor.  I pushed away the gray dust that shrouded it.  I cracked and broke my fingernails clawing at the buried stone.  When I finally uprooted the rock, warm red blood fell from my fingers into the dry dust.  There was a note, handwritten in ink.  It was on a cut piece of soft tan leather.  It simply read…

Confess to me, all of your wrongs…

Call upon my ear, I want to hear from you…

You can’t see me, buy I am watching you,

I am upstairs.

If you speak, I will hear you.

I will heal you, if you would but simply,


I sat in silence, in my own pile of deification and filth.  I was too proud, and too embarrassed, to try.  I was hungry, and ashamed.  I saw the filthy man return.  He sat there in silence looking at me.  I hated him.  I finally broke.  I looked up to the ceiling, I said, “I don’t know who you are, but I found your note, would you be willing to help me?”

A basement light came on.  I saw the stone room had a large archway, with a giant mirror beside it.  The keys to my chains hung from a rusted nail on the wall.

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert