A poetry collection – by Charles Stobaugh

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I will not shrink
To my fears
As I traverse
This forest of nerves,
Where the silk lining
Of night
And hangs
Its confusion
The skeletal trees.
I no longer trust
The moonlight.
It has tricked me
Too many times
With its illusions
Of opening paths
That only turned out
To be
Sly shadows
Cast upon
The ground.
I know what it is
Like to be lost,
Clawing blind
Through the curtains
As they fell
Down around me,
Creating a trap
Built of frustration
And rage.
I have learned
To journey
This wood
Paying attention
To the ground,
Searching my memories
For the fallen
Trunks and limbs
Of lofty nightmares,
And decayed.
For as they rest
In their funereal state
They make their apologies,
As they succumb
To the unforgiving growth
Of spore born life
And light my way
To see.


I have ventured
Past the rusted gate,
Through the tall grass,
And stepped inside
The weathered gray
House of dreams.
The dreams were
Not mine.
I kicked up the years
Of dust
Gathered on the floor
As I crossed the threshold
And smelled the rot
Of decayed sanity
Lingering in the
Long undisturbed darkness.
I was horrified
At what I found.
I imagined the oil lamps
Burning in the night
Reflecting their distortions
In the displays
Of carnival glass lining
The shelves
And the echoes
Of fluttering ghosts
Rasping desiccate
And forlorn,
The shards of lost beauty
Perceived in silence
Upon the lifeless wings
Of dead things.
I saw the stains left
By shadows of depravity,
The stand of mannequins
Rendered alive,
Altered with putty,
Paint and hair,
Made real for lonely eyes
And a malign heart,
Draped in lingerie,
Ready to waltz through fire
In the parlor
Of this clapboard hell
On the still, cold prairie.
I felt the air
Envelop me,
An invitation to behold
And revere
This collection of pain,
The treasures
Of a cracked soul
Festering miserly and bitter,
Miles away.
I declined.
There are those
Who find delight
In portraying madness
As a fanciful whim
Of a misunderstood mind,
But I know better
Than to be amused.
I walked out shaken,
But whole,
Fortunate for the sun
To shine
In my eyes
Once again.


My mind is wet
With gasoline.
The promise
Of empty glasses,
Empty words,
Empty far away eyes
I can no longer bear.
Oh to feel,
To be the movement
Beneath the rubble,
Not in pain,
But from the ecstasy
Of being discovered
Recognized again.
My thoughts
Can be set alight,
A beacon eternal,
But my imagination
Smothers the air
With the stench
Of rot.
Though my nose
Is full of dust,
I remember
The sweet scent
Of petals
Covered in dew.
Bring the fire,
Burn it all away,
Let it burn
White hot
Reveal my darkest
And watch
The wisps of doubt
Melt in the rising


Charles is a poet who writes based upon real-life experience, which has provided weird and wonderful inspirations along the way.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Southern Illinois University. He enjoys observing nature, listening to punk rock, discovering art and playing original music. He resides in Central IL with his wife and two children. They lovingly put up with him.

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