My Valley Is the Street

Charles Bastille


Photo by Dimi Katsavaris on Unsplash


I knock on the store window
hoping nobody’s within
my feet in flames if they are
my mouth as my cudgel
I’ll roar like a beast hoping they’ll run


Cold food nestled within
the putrid discards of more fashionable lives
the discovery of some old bread
I peel open like old citrus
digging past the moldy crust


No dreams tonight, or any night,
just the silent, blank winds of an alcoholic storm
no reminders of better days
no interludes into sweetened memories
interceding with my immutable empty tomorrows


I rub my grizzled filthy face
wondering why the gods didn’t take me
astonished, really, my eyelids crispy
as if caked with glue
the chilling morning air damp and frozen


The sun glimmers off the edge of the city
if it rises for my tomorrow
the sounds changing as the night shifts to light
interludes of muted boisterous music ceding
to birdsong and the whispers of morning


And then the days blend as if united
a week becomes a month becomes a year
and sometimes, just a day out of it all,
I hear your voice, and I remember the why of it
the reason I once thrilled to live


Remembering how you left me stranded with my mistakes
these daily cold blasts of air such a reminder
the whispering notions that fall upon each former time
mere cogs in the motionless discourse
of your hatred


But sometimes, when the dew clings
like living matter to its host
when birds converse and chatter
while a calming fog rolls into the bridge
I can find delight in one more tomorrow


Will there be better days?
I cannot imagine those
when my frozen fingers touch no warm food
when my feet ache but must carry me forward
on the streets of my forsaken valley

Author’s note: This is my first real attempt at poetry. I’ve never thought I’m particularly good at it.



Charles Bastille

Author of MagicLand & Psalm of Vampires. Follow me on BlueSky: https://bsky.app/profile/charlesbastille.bsky.social. All stories © 2020-24 by Charles Bastille