For You – N. E. Skull



I don’t want to write about him.

He doesn’t inspire me like you used to.

There were sonnets in the arch of your back.

Your lips have been written about a thousand times before.

Damocles’ blade was in your shoulder,

And Samson in your hair.

If you are a painting,

He is negative space.

In him, I see only your absence.

In me, he sees it, too.


Wine – N. E. Skull



Let’s get drunk and kiss each other,

Let’s be empty wine glass lovers,

And when we look down at the cars

Let’s pretend they’re shooting stars.

The Artist – N. E. Skull


Picture 52

I waded through heavy air on way to the post office that morning.

I took the scenic route, which was only worth taking on a day like that.

The heat was a welcome stranger for the time of year,

but even the most unusual weather feels primordial after a day or two,

and glistening brows had already started praying for restoration.

The sun saw me intermittently as the leaves overhead drew back with the soft breeze,

casting shadows which made the pathway below ripple like the surface of a lake.

The woodland was painted with flowers whose names I will probably never know,

and there was an unspoken amity between the wildlife and I.

For miles each way we were alone,

and I believed this wholeheartedly,

until, in the corner of my eye,

perched on a byway,

I saw an easel.

Meeting Place – N. E. Skull


Picture 47

Let us get our stories straight,
I saw you there across the bar.
I dared to ask you on a date,
And six weeks later, here we are.

I met you at the driving range.
You marveled at my swing technique.
You said you found it rather strange
And now we play four times a week.

Or maybe on a busy train?
I stood so you could have my seat.
We both stepped out into the rain.
Such a romantic place to meet.

When people ask us how we met.
we won’t say “on the internet.”

Poetry 101 – N. E. Skull


Picture 170

A lecture hall filled with eager ears,

And fingers rushing pens across pages

Like inkwell olympians.

The professor tells his students what the poem is about.

And what it is not about.

And what to think.

And what to feel.

And what the right answers are

For when those thoughts and feelings will be graded.

The ghosts of Keats and Shakespeare

Are in the front row,

Rolling their eyes.

First Draft – N. E. Skull


Picture 168


Or is it draught?
No, it’s definitely draft.
There’s a draught in here,
Better close the window.
I should close the curtains, too,
So as not to get distracted by the waves outside.
Is that a boat?
It’s surrounded by seagulls –
Must be a fishing boat.
I wonder how far out the boat must go
In order to yield such an impressive catch?
I wonder what kind of fish they are.
I should know, I’ve lived here long enough.
First Draught, first draft, first raft…
I wonder if I could build a raft,
If circumstances needed me to.
I doubt it. For some reason this worries me.
I’ve never been much of a craftsman.
I search “How to build a raft”.
It feels important to me now.
More important than this first draft.

The Church Of Saint Margaret Of Cortona – N. E. Skull


Picture 167

Our Father, who art in heaven,
The sacraments – why only seven?
I could think of three or four
To even out that sacred score.

Lipstick on his Roman collar,
Befitting of a holy scholar,
Three years since her last confession,
“Forgive me for my indiscretion.”

Bum implants beneath her habit,
Should Father Whitely think to grab it.
Thank you, Lord, for life’s sweet splendours,
Thigh high boots and lace suspenders.