Poems by Stephen R. Killeen


grey ward phantoms rise and fall
to the melancholy drums of Do-Re-Madness–
contempt for the structure, fear
for the citadel, and immemorial confusion
for the citizen all mingle like anarch steel
till annealed into one;
one collective annihilation existence,
one mad ashen God above presiding.

I slept with the writings of Antonin Artaud
for months, hoping the purity of his terrible
genius would seep into my dreams somehow,
desirous of veins he wrote with, the pain
and cruelty he spoke into theatre,
all the difference his surreal pen writ.

Natives of the Metropolis disturb
the falling colours of the ethereal sunset,
past chain link fences and red brick,
past the faceless psychiatrist, nameless nurse,
into the midnight that won’t perish,
not even in my mind.

Artaud, unforgiven man of virtual reality
I speak to you born decades later…
mechanical Time gone electronic,
even the dawn assimilated into terror:
Millennial men are all yesterday
and today’s still.

Godless Gods wander silly halls, corridors
full of tears; illusions, visions, nothing saddens
like the bandaged ear van Gogh hospital smell
on the Sunday without hope of release–
Music is messiah in here;
I prattle the walls with words,
machine gunning the mind as desperate bodies
fall to rest.

Vincent’s Convulsions.

In a duel with Time
the artist stepped through
miscreants, slashed out legacies
of beauty, of fiery light,
apparitions of navel colours
Wheatfields suddenly rise
rhythmic like seas
Cafés to invite the night
Mad Irises and madder stars
his consciousness exploding
forth beyond his sunflower grave
a century later crows make us
seem nightmarishly dim
make us listen with pause
to a divine ear
brilliantly tuned in
to this world unturned
a world never before expressed
We imagine the mystic for whom
the spiritual Imagination

carries sailboats into seascapes
astonishes, tremors sensations
memories of larks and gardens
white roses, harvests, asylums
straw houses, walls of Haphephobia
purple-faced churches beating blue
wonder in ruins of empires
build heart’s pressures, birth
the intraocular musician
enrage great provocations
of colours dangerous,
visions brave, risking
Truths unspoken by coffins
buried by past painters of death
Written by fevered eyes
of his seeing canvases
Beauty stalking Suns and stars
all spectrums impassioned
impulses visually sounding

by the disease, light and dark
extremities found natural
Life is the crises of being
as a bruised Universe suffers
supersedes ‘reality’ and all
its many sensory forms
of mirrorism, blanks of realism
Instead, van Gogh waged a war
for the soul of everything
uncounted, whispered or screamed
into the wilderness undisturbed
Depths of faces unexplored
till the emotions of his portraits
possessed their true expressions
beyond paints, beyond language
writhing Cypresses, inescapable
reaching for those lunatic skies
that lay in wait for us all
Thoroughly perilous conversations
We’re meant to hear


I love you
I have always loved you
in ways inseparable
from the Universe
its glory, its beauty
If you are mad you are mine
for only ‘Sanity’ can I despise
with any ill rejection
You reveal yourself
when I admit my guilt
when I think beyond my Self
I am a convict
I have my convictions
We are connected
You cannot be destroyed
or mercilessly undone by Time
I feel you the way I experience
I dream you into being nightly
and awaken you softly
I can never sleep you away
I love you
I have always loved you.


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