Marc Darnell

Marc Darnell is a custodian and online tutor in Omaha, Nebraska, and received his MFA from the University of Iowa.  He has published poems in The Lyric, Shot Glass Journal, Blue Unicorn, DASH, Stickman Review, The Poet, and elsewhere.


My fear of living is genetic--
father all hammer on the roof, afraid
to even laugh with us beneath, and mother frantic
to keep his bed aligned and made,
always staring at neighbors while she talked
in short, complaining sentences, but questioning
nothing.  Their long gone passivity still marks
all my life's unfurling
hesitations-- a branding that's prodded me toward
bouts of ironclad seclusion,
each day guarding my crystalline heart,
but never learning that isolation
gives partial protection from everything,
but promises the passing down of nothing.

Losing Season

I'm losing.
My niece sent a card how much she loves me.
I felt nothing,
my heart receding,
dying quietly
from betrayals, cold shoulders, losing
lovers one too many times, wanting
to just go missing.  You, boy,
said my father, are nothing
if you can't take the everyday prodding and using
by pinheads who think they
are anything but losing.
Maybe hell is other people, talking
down, causing nightmares till I gladly
want to be nothing,
and I hope my niece in all her love will be something,
not pared down, curled up the way
I am right now-- losing,
feeling nothing.

Hopes And Preyers                                

Some un-cage the itch inside
by sinking into children's cheeks--
men who lie before they speak
and smile as if there's nothing wrong.
Layered clothes won't shield the young
from serpents fond of skin, and drunk
on disappointments, satisfied
by black and blue and household rank.
The cowardly prefer to hide,
then pull the shades and clip the boys
flown above the fringe of fright.
The shiest and naive deliver
pleasure sought without a noise.
The weakest hurt the most, forever.


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