Mithridates, He Died Old…

mithridates kingdom
The cool redundant columns. Echo’s bark
From hills above the ruins. Shepherd’s call
Still further up the dusty slopes. The stark
Reply of time to history’s rise and fall.

So love is nothing if not temporary
And shadows have our hands behind them –
We push them hard and dig the scenery,
Dialogue’s own ad hoc mausoleum.

I take your eyes for granite. Watch me switch
Out clocks for more notorious emblems –
The rings upon our fingers. Watch us clutch
At minutes, hours – pride’s failed museums.

The glassy crack of marble. Rust at play
With iron’s age. Collected skulls, a gloss
On bones that counted. Killing time this way,
The finger taps within its golden compass.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    A Rolex crystal will not crack
    Its finish, here in glossy black
    Will never yield to russet rust
    Life is brief, but buy we must.

    • It’s funny, I actually wrote this before you posted your Rolex piece – and I was going to leave it alone for a while to gestate – but it seemed to fit so well with your theme I couldn’t leave well enough alone…

      Great minds drink alike, I guess.


  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Rub it in why don’t you. Great poem. You are the greatest living poet in the Midwest.

    • And you, sir, are the greatest living short story writer with a wicked curve ball that always breaks before the plate!


  3. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Joseph, this is super stuff.

  4. Yep, I like this one a lot. Put it in Groundwork. Or maybe Groundwork II

  5. Jonathan Potter says

    Sublimely timely.

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