Poetry By Herb Stevenson (page 1)


The Angst of Awareness

The angst1 of awareness

chokes my soul

beholds my whole

extols2 a toll

while extanting3 why I am in the world.


The angst of awareness

pierces the disdain

shreds me with pain

detects the insane

while proclaiming how I am in the world.


The angst of awareness

screams for freedom

belies4 my real-dom

reveals the heal-done

while personifying who I am in the world.


March 7, 2001


1Angst....to impair or destroy the composure of

2Extols...to honor (a deity) in religious worship; to pay tribute or homage to

3Extant...Still in existence; not destroyed, lost, or extinct: Standing out; projecting, having existence or life; occurring or existing in act or fact

4Belies...to prove or show to be false; to give an inaccurate view of or by representing falsely or misleadingly.


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It is Cold and Lonely


It is cold and lonely

inside my body. I

shiver a lot. Mostly

from the coolness of

feeling empty, like an

old house that has lost

its right to provide shelter

for someone, anyone.


It is cold and lonely

inside my head. I quiver

most days as I search

for some place, any place,

not this place, that is

safe and warm like

a puppy cuddled up

against its mother.


It is cold and lonely

inside my heart. I deliver

each day, a part of me

that can stand the light

without too much fright,

while knowing the right

to life was short-circuited

along time ago.


It is cold and lonely

inside my hands. I

tremble from the bones

outward having never

been grounded in flesh,

my flesh, sufficiently

to feel the power

of gripping life, my life.


It is cold and lonely.


March 14, 2001 (5:08pm)


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Like an old friend,

you come in the night

as a wisp of cool air

that awakens my soul,

lifts my spirit,

and chills my body.


I find comfort in your presence,

knowing it is chance that you bring

in the lifeless parts of myself

that are unfamiliar

and uncomfortable in any form.


Your curiosity surprises me

as you scan my body,

my thoughts,

the bursting goose bumps on my skin,

and my sense that you are not here to take me.


You prod me with reminders

that shoot icy stilettos of fear

through every cell of my existence,

imploding my sense of self

into a thundering knowing silence.


I grapple to understand

the knowing that keeps

slipping off the tips of my awareness

sending me shivering back into the darkness

wondering what have I lost, again.


As my old friend,

you come in the night

as a wisp of cool air

that awakens my soul,

lifts my spirit,

and chills my body.


January 3, 2 010


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With an archaic regard,

I stand before you

curious and with great awe.

All around and deep within

feels like the touch of darkness

at the bottom of a naked well,

where, life has drug me

to this place of utter despair,

where, waves of desperation

roll over and over and over,

where, the coldness

makes even my soul shiver.


“I have been here before”

filters through my mind

less comforting

than a memory and

more matter of fact

than a thought.


“I wonder” crosses my lips

more like a plea than

a curiosity and floats away

like a leaf dancing in the air

as it falls from the tree on

its only journey,

returning to the earth.


Twirl, float, twirl, twirl,

float, twirl, float, float,

the words know

where they are going

and yet dance

with total disregard

like a ballerina lost

in the flow of life.


“I wonder” begins to simmer

like a black-hole of the soul

wherein nothing matters

but this moment,

this moment

where all that has been

vanishes into dense



Get Real

startles even the gods

as the thunderous

voice of the naked darkness

reminds me

that I am not

a guest nor even

an innocent bystander.



fear explodes from my pores like cold sweat burning from a fever until

I drop into the eternal depths

and forthrightly bow

surrendering to the starkness,

yielding to what is,

knowing that in this single act

I acknowledge that which has always been and take my place within the darkness.




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It is Easier to Be Alone


It is easier to be alone

when no one is home

so please pack your bags

and move on.


I look into your eyes

and see no one is home

I wonder where I went

and realized it’s you that’s gone.



I listen to your words

and hear they’re not for me.

I wonder who they are for

and would rather not know



I feel your body next to mine

and touch the hardness of time

remembering what was once soft

has turned cold and unkind.



I smell the perfume of yearnings

and the scent of what you seek

as I realize the desire for me

is parched and gone dry.



I taste your tongue’s search

and savor what won’t be mine

as you dream of something or

someone other than me.


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The Space Between


I have many faces.

Faces for work,

faces for play,

faces for whatever

I think that I

might need one.

Do not be confused,

for these are not masks.

Masks are surreal,

whereas my faces are not.

They are me

in all

of my facets,

until one day I no

longer need it.

Then, it becomes a mask

that served me well.


April 29, 2002


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Fact of Life

I am here.
Not there
in my memory
or imaginations
or fears.

I am here
in my body
in my soul,
as a single whole.

I am here.
I am here.
I am here.

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