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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Images of Parrish

you don’t come in night dreams   instead your image flashes 
in bright light as I walk the dog around the pond
you pedal past gleaming sweat   feet a blur   head lowered  
against the wind   your demons in close pursuit 
you never had a neutral gear

i lift a banana pudding from the oven and 
you appear   wielding a spoon to reach around me   
stab at the meringue   shovel hot sweetness into your mouth
turn the spoon on me   paint my lips with sticky
confection as my arms fly up in surrender
the taste lingers as you fade away like so much mist

at the bistro by the sea i glance up to see your
handsome face lined with lightening bolts of the storms that rage
in your beautiful head   you smile   flirt with the pretty
brunette who sets down your perrier
you wink and call her darlin’   i study the menu   
and  look up to see only the surf slapping the pier

in the sunroom you sit   ankle over knee   in the 
yellow chair across from mine   heel pumping the floor as
you swipe a hand through tight brown curls   
pale green eyes   the color of mine   fix a question 
that hangs in the air between us   what will happen next?

the answer comes at your deathbed when your heart slows   stops   
and nothing remains but the artificial rise and fall of your chest

© 2016 cj Schlottman

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer 2014 - Happy Birthday, Parrish

I stand at the end of the pier
the sound stretching out between me
& the suspension bridge & a
fiery sunset of clouds purpled by
exhaust spewed from stacks at 
the chemical plant   the pulp mill.

I turn & it’s last summer when
desite the seagull droppings
you fixed your elbows on the rail  
adjusted your sunglasses & cap 
studied the horizon for the yellow
pilot boat bringing your father
back through choppy waters.

Faces hidden behind dark shades 
& floppy hats   unfortunates  
from Nebraska where there is 
no ocean or salt air to breathe
ambled to the rail. 
Chest puffed out you pointed to the craft
as the boatman worked it snugly 
against the pier’s metal ladder.

Your father fixed his hands on it   
his head popped under the guard chain
& he stood as you pulled him 
into a man hug.

The unfortunates stepped in to shake  
hands with the famous bar pilot
snap photos & drift down the dock
to see what the crabbers were catching.  

It’s today again & and I shift 
my gaze back to the fiery sunset
now slipping over the edge
of the earth   it splays rays of pink
& fuchsia & orange into 
the purple haze   settles into
the horizon & a tear gleams
on my cheek in its last light. 

Copyright 2015 cj Schlottman

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Once More - A Valentine for Clint

warm me with one more kiss
soft lips  sweet breath of dying 
trace your fingers on my face  
& shoulders  wash my back 
dissolve my fear with water warm  
& lie with me naked in
perfumed sheets  your legs pulled up
to fit into mine as tears 
flow down my cheeks & you 
take the air from the room saying 
darling  it’s been a great ride.

© cj 2014 cj Schlottman

Monday, May 27, 2013

Worms in Your Head

(On life with an adult child who is plagued with bipolar type 1).

worms in your head   demons 
bore holes in your soul   blind you 
to dangers that trip you  
hurl you into the gutter 
of drunkenness 

mania overcomes you
expansive gestures slice into 
the air   your voice ascends to 
a shout   strident sounds crowd the air
& you think you can 
walk through the wall

sleep settles in   a sunset 
into the arms of Morpheus   
you moan   work your legs against
the sheets & dream

night terrors rage   you leap
from the bed   a primal scream
in your throat spills over       
trembling lips   fills the air
with static & fear

pills & two hours see 
you in bed   sedated   calm
breaths quiet   a soft snore
the only sound from your room 

© 2013 cj Schlottman


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Any Monday Night

(Baby Boom n.  a sudden, large, sustained increase in the birthrate, especially the one in the United States and Canada from the later 1940s through the early 1960s)

Lined up at the bar like crows on a fence

our conversation is muffled by the din
of others talking.  We are baby boomers at the 
neighborhood bar, single every one of us, avoiding 
another meal alone.

There is comfort in familiar faces, bustling servers, 
the smiling barkeep, clanging sounds from the kitchen, 
the smell of grease.  We nuzzle our drinks, sip slowly, 
roll the taste around in our mouthes - and sigh.

One watches “Jeopardy” with closed captioning and 
shouts out the answers.  Another bemoans the stupidness 
of others while yet another talks to the air.  Two slip 
outside to smoke.  Left to our own devices, we eat 
fried food and have another drink.

Conversation lags and we climb off our stools, deal 
with our coats and start for the door.  Along the way, 
we stop to speak to other boomers we recognize but 
cannot name.  We smile and wish each other good night 
and walk to our cars and drive home.

© 2013 cjschlottman

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Unknown Ocean

vivid colors drip from
your brush, paint my dreams bold
orange and yellow

bedclothes roll, waves on
an unknown ocean 
splash, flash rainbows
on the ceiling, walls

domino dots carpet 
the floor, drip off
the edge of my room
as i drift through space

i see light, feel warmth
against my naked flesh as 
my personal black hole
sweeps me down its cold shaft

© 2013 cjschlottman

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday Dirge

outside chimes sing   driven
by blasts of bitter wind
echo their song of summer
steered by gusts of august
five hundred miles away 
doors open & close as bells 
chirp their tinny tune 
and my son leaves for nowhere
a blizzard blows in my heart
pumping glaciers of blood
to frigid fingers   toes
its only song   a dirge
© 2011 cj schlottman

Monday, October 31, 2011

For Ruth

she lies on her bed    eyes closed
covers folded neatly across
her chest   white hair smooth & splayed 
against her pillow 
her hands quiet & folded
across her heaving chest
eyes shifting behind her lids
the hint of a flinch as I
inject her with morphine 
tell me she is there   aware
i take her cold hand   fold it
into both of mine   lean in
to coo into her ear   say 
peace will soon override 
her torment   breath come easily  
the whisper of movement 
in her frail fingers
tells me she hears   believes
her body descends into 
the arms of Morpheus   
silently calling back
to me that she is safe
i stroke her hair   kiss her cheek
await her next soundless plea
© 2011 cj Schlottman

Linked to Poetry Palace

Thursday, October 27, 2011


heavy blocks   cubes of concrete
line the streets   block after block
they show my way home   a block 
of ice waits   between my poem 
and me   shows no sign of melting
obscures my view of words blocked
by its shine
wooden lettered blocks tumble
in my head & i am one
the one with the C just blocked
by the Q   i am a blockhead

© 2100 cj Schlottman

LInked to dVersed 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank You, Mr. Martini, Whoever You Are

martinis are my drug of choice  
made with tanqueray   frosty cold 
straight up   garnished with two olives
not three  not fancy ones   green ones 
stuffed with pimiento   served on a 
charger   no paper napkin for 
my elegant libation
the masterpiece arrives in a 
shiny silver shaker on a 
black enamel tray   the waiter
shakes it and in a display that 
leaves me breathless   pours the elixir 
into my glass   crystal   of course
when the icy rim touches my
lips   i close my eyes and exhale
a sigh as big as montana
i caress the rim of the glass
with my finger   stir the contents
with olives speared on sterling 
silver mini-swords
i swirl a second sip around
my teeth   taste it on my gums 
my tongue   swallow slowly   savor 
the essence of juniper as 
it finishes in my nose   
© cjschlottman  2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Bubble Stuff

Bubble Stuff

a gentle storm of glistening 
glowing gossamer orbs
sprays into the air   
shiny tiny spheres mixed 
with larger circles float for the 
moment    evaporate 
amid child-giggles and squeals
small hands grab at luminescent
globes drifting just beyond their reach   
as sunlight sparkles over the 
round rainbows they pursue

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Over A Cliff

I am unable to 
connect the dots that form
a whole picture of
this mess who is my son.
Stories conflict   plans are 
made   then unmade   maybe
never made at all   just
fabricated in his
quest to manipulate
my world   insinuate
himself back into a
position of power
from which his illness will
infect me   bring me once
more into the cyclone 
of co-dependant craziness
he so craves and that would
drive my life like a run-
away bus straight over
the edge of a steep cliff.
© cj Schlottman - 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011


Bruised   broken   bound by our
own sinew   traps & tie-downs   
we share souvenirs   sores
of love lost twisted with
spikes of hope.
We circle this thing between us
poke it with sticks   prod it
test it’s toughness   measure
it’s mettle.
Scarlet stains of sadness
tattooed on our hearts   we step
back   stumble forward   gauge
the heat of the bonfire.
Its flames in turn rage and
smolder   reflect yellow-blue
in our eyes   warm our faces
as we leap into the blaze.

© cj Schlottman  2011

LInked to Gooseberry Garden

Friday, September 9, 2011

Your Crooked Smile

There are times when I am 
moved to tears   cannot hold back
the sadness or joy that
catches in my throat   steals
my breath   chokes the words I
intend to say out loud.
The sound of your Texan’s
brogue   your bourbon laced breath
move me to open my 
heart   spill it over you
in kisses   caresses
I save for you alone.
Memories of loss move
me to the edge of
sanity   only to 
loosen their grip when you 
appear in dreams   wake
me with your crooked smile.
© cj Schlottman
September 09, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011



I see my world through gauze curtains 
wafted by fog tumbling over 
itself into the corners of my brain.
Behind my eyes a carousel 
of blurred images swirl
to organ music piped into my ears.
Hints of smoke filter through my nose
riding on the memory of a 
skirt aflame   engulfing my leg.
Thunder rattles my drowse   winds blow
through the curtains   snatching them down
   their remnants strewn across my bed.
I drift from sleep to consciousness
   nausea strikes from within   pain
emerges from behind the screen 
of Lortab.
Attacked by unseen torches    my 
wounds reignite   scorch my flesh anew
   send tears sliding down my face.
I taste their salt   reach for the bottle
   wait for opaque curtains to once more
surround me   hide me from my pain.    
© cj Schlottman
August 30, 2001