Keith E. Sparks Jr.

Keith E. Sparks Jr. has been writing from a young age. He has had his work published in various literary journals and magazines and has been nominated for the Pushcart Poetry Prize. More recently he has published multiple collections of poetry including a Compilation Collection of four separate book releases gathered together titled “Gathering Dust”  with his most recent release being “Shadowfall,” a collection of Dark Shakespearian Sonnets. Keith is the creator and former editor of Open Skies Quarterly, digital and print publications dedicated to poetic voices. Keith resides in West Virginia with his wife and three children whom are the epicenter of his existence.

Debtor’s Depths

In obscure depths we drown
and gaze upon a surface out of reach
as moonlit skies reflect the waters 
we can't tread.

Where ripples grant a somber dance 
to stars that dwell in rhythmic time 
to the pounding in our heads...

As darkness creeps upon our sight
to paint the fading world in black
through fire's pain within our chest
as straining Will reacts
to pulmonary distress...

Until the bubbling muffled screams
that flee the lungs of air deprived. 
To draw in water without breath 

as pallid hands release their grip
and in a frantic surge of hope—
We reach to Heaven's wishing stars
and break the surface blessed with air
that seeps between a gurgled choke...

To keep afloat but barely breathe.
While in the quiet sea, we tread
and drift from one hand to the next
to patter out our hard-earned gains
and still, the chilling grip remains...

To slowly strangle our resolve 
as darkness strips the moon of light
and every wave instills demands
as taloned hands wrapped round our feet
return us to our debtor's depths 
of torture till we drown...

**First appeared in the chapbook Time and Tide by Keith E. Sparks Jr.**

No One Will Remember—Well, They Might…

To feel the sting of knowing this will fade
when all the gloss they’ve lain upon you dries
while keeping colored patterns on your frame
from fading with the color of your eyes—
And hiding behind smiles that you show—
to lend a false reflection that deceives—
you let the lonely shadows start to grow
and wonder if a broken mirror bleeds…
with every reaching line that slowly spreads
to lend a jagged edge that kills the light
behind the subtle grin that sees the end
where no one will remember—well, they might…
If shattered whispers linger in their minds
a piece of who we are might conquer time…

**First Appeared in Shadowfall by Keith E. Sparks Jr.**

The Jester’s Cap

For you, who color sanity in lies
and place a jester's crown upon their heads
to whisper subtle platitudes disguised
as golden filigree in place of lead...

To lift them high and seat them on a throne
and cast a sidelong glance at weakened legs...
To snicker at the thought of broken bones
when legs collapse and take them down a peg...

I know the friendly demon that you are,
You'll praise the world no matter what we say
and spread your rancid plaster on the scars
to keep us blind and passive in our ways.

You falsify his Lordship's shallow reach
and build a house of cards and shattered glass...
Encouraged by the lies spread, each to each,
and wonder why the truth then kicks his ass...

In negligence you offer shallow praise--
While knowing that you've never truly read--
Through rubber stamping comments day by day--
you laugh away the things you should have said

As fledglings leave the nest to spread their wings
and find the world you've hidden from their view--
Where fragile voices learn that what they sing
will make them doubt their worth was ever truth...

For you, who colored sanity in lies--
To build a house of cards and shattered glass--
and whisper subtle platitudes disguised--
Still wonder why the truth has kicked his ass..

I know the friendly demon that you are,
You'll place a jester's crown upon their heads
and spread your rancid plaster on the scars
and laugh away the things you should have said...

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