The Beach House

The Beach House

His new West Florida beach house survived
the last category four hurricane.
Others around him had fallen,
inferior things built by inferior people
who succumbed to beach-dwellers’ Darwinism.

They would come knocking
asking for donations;
hyenas howling and whining
for a piece of the fruit of his savvy.
Yes, it was time to be away for a while.

He grasped the handle
of his Henk suitcase
and looked out the window one last time.
The crashing waves soothed him
and masked the erosion
of the subterranean limestone.

With a contented sigh
he strode along his Koa floor
to his exit,
his steps tracing
the cracking stone
so far beneath him.

© Howard Slacum
May 17, 2010




My blessed miracle
today you’re crawling
and I’m on my knees with you.
You’ll touch anything
because your world is so brand new.

Your eyes are so full of wonder
and your innocent light shines through.
Your world’s as big as forever;
my world’s as big as you.

Even now I know

someday your world will outgrow this

and I’ll have to set you free.

I’ll be so proud of you

and I hope you’ll be proud of me.

My joyous miracle
you take your first step
and I’m standing next to you.
You can’t wait to run
because your world’s waiting for you.

Your steps are unsteady and slow
but your strength and courage shine through.
You won’t quit until you’ve made it;
I’ll never quit on you.

Even now I know

someday you’ll want to run from home

and I’ll have to set you free.

I’ll be so proud of you

and I hope you’ll be proud of me.

My precious miracle
you lay in gentle dreams
and I’m dreaming next to you.
You hide next to me
because you know I’ll protect you.

You breathe lightly against my chest;
the softness in your heart shines through.
Your dream’s as sweet as confections;
My dream’s as sweet as you.

Even now I know

someday you’ll have to chase your dreams.

And even now I know

that I’m going to have to set you free.

And I want you to know

I want all of your dreams to come true.

But you can never imagine the sweetest dream

until the sweetest dream comes true.

To feel one soul within another

is a dream that requires two.

And the sweetest dream I never dreamed

is the miracle of you.

-© Howard Slacum

April 6th, 2010

Dreams for the Despised

I dream,
You’re crawling through tacks on your knees
one-thousand miles for each time
that I’ve thought that you’re a disease
and I’ve longed to be the cure.

I watch acid eat your skin
toe up to neck and then eye
while you confess all of your sins
I confess I wish for more time.

I wish you to know how I feel.
I wish that my wishes were real,
as real as my hate and disdain.
’cause I wish you,
I wish you
I wish you

I dream
that each time you fall asleep
brings sweat and pure agony
that waking only makes you weep
alone in a cage where you die.

You’re watching me sharpen my knife
wondering just where I’ll start.
You’re begging for your wretched life;
I’m begging you won’t get to faint.

I wish you had never been born.
I wish that the weight of my scorn
could crush you again and again,
’cause I wish you,
I wish you
I wish you

I dream
You’ll spend forever with me
enslaved to the whims of my mind.
You scream hoping I’ll set you free;
but I scream for those who can not.

You hurt those whom you should spare.
I don’t believe in even;
for even is so far from fair.
Fair’s when your pain’s not my pleasure.

I wish you a lifetime of fear,
of hearing my hate in your ear.
I’ll make you a forgotten stain
And I wish you,
I wish you
I wish you

© Howard Slacum
March 19th, 2010

Dreams for Friends

Dreams for Friends

Sometimes it seems you’re crumbling
under the weight of the world.
There’s one more crack in your armor
and there’s one more hole in your wall.

And it just keeps on raining
hail upon your head.
It just keeps on piling up on you
til you come crashing down.

But I would take it from you,
bear it all
and carry it all away.

I dream all your dreams come true;
I see you smile
and I’m so happy for you.

Some toss trash from the window
and it always lands on you.
Piece by piece doesn’t seem so much
until piece by piece your buried.

You’re bearing wilted flowers,
scents of what you’ve lost.
Their pretty vases are now just shards
cutting wounds in your soul.

I would lift the trash from you,
bury it deep
then grow a field of flowers.

I dream you dance in roses,
scents are delights
and I’m so happy for you.

I know more bad days will come,
days to test the strongest heart.
More hail and trash and wilted dreams;
it’s all too much for one to bear.

But you won’t bear it alone;
that’s what I’m here for.
So rain hell on me ’cause I can see
a friend who needs a friend.

I would lift the pain from you,
replace tears
with peace and joy and laughter.

I dream you waken to dreams;
you love your life
and I’m so happy for you.

© Howard Slacum
March 19th, 2010

When you walked away
with so much left to say
and the door open
to the cold…

I didn’t know what to do
with all those thoughts of you.
So I,
I decided to take a trip.

Cause it’s ok if I get stoned,
it’s ok cause I’m all alone.
And it’s ok if I get high.
It’s just a way
to pass good bye.

You dream of the end
while standing on the ledge
needing a friend and
afraid to jump

You’re too scared to follow through;
no one’s coming for you
but you,
you can’t come down.

So it’s ok if you get stoned,
it’s ok cause you’re all alone.
And it’s ok if you get high.
It’s just a way
to stay alive.

We watched the news now
and it makes no sense how
we just keep doing
what we do…

We can’t make a difference here
no matter how we try.
So we’re,
we’re gonna take a long slow ride.

Cause it’s ok if we get stoned,
it’s ok cause we’re all alone.
And it’s ok if we get high.
It’s just a way
to forget time.

©Howard Slacum
Dec. 8, 2009

Some people who will read this in its entirety may be quite surprised.  Among even my closest and most trusted friends, only two know how truly dark my vision has become over recent months.  I have walked in an emotional chasm amid the relentless dark of night and breathed sulphuric dust.  Too often in recent days my emotional muscles have seized in cramps and I have fallen, exhausted and lost.  In those moments, I wanted nothing more than to never move again.  When I did lurch forward, it seemed only a few steps before I fell once more.  Bruises added to the cramps.


A dear friend once referred to chronically negative people as “energy suckers”.  I have been Lord of the energy-sucking vampires.  Knowing that, like a vampire, my need to feed could exceed my control of my hunger, I decided to spend this Thanksgiving alone instead of surrounded by friends.  When I decided this, I knew I was taking a risk by isolating myself.  The incessant maelstrom of negativity in my head routinely blocked any light that might try to pierce the darkness.  Friends had helped me stand and steadied me long enough to take a few more steps.  But I knew my disgust with myself for needing their help would be too great for me to mar the pleasure of their Thanksgiving by reaching out to them. I would cling to some shred of pride.  I would give them at least that small gift.


And so I forced myself to go to work last night despite knowing how tenuous my grasp of my wildly intense emotions was.  Knowing that when I left I would return to a long period of isolation on a day when others would be sharing laughter, camaraderie and making memories with friends and family and loved ones.  I dreaded the misery that this most wonderful time of the year would bring.  I wished that I could extend the 14 or more hours I spent hidden in bed each day to a sleep that lasted past New Year’s Day.


Instead, nine hours later, I smiled at coworkers as I walked from my job into the day’s early morning sun.


For a moment, I sat in my car and contemplated my mood.  I was neither jubilant nor euphoric but I did feel good–and that was no small change of mood. Why the change?  I still faced the long day and evening alone.  I walked out the door carrying the exact same problems I walked into it with:  I still do not know if I will be able to pay my bills; dear friends that I love and have driven away are still distant; I still fear poisoning every dream I have; the aches still ache and the void within me is still a gaping emptiness.  Yet I felt genuinely thankful.  Thankful on a Thanksgiving I dreaded?  Why?


Because friends have willingly sacrificed their positive energy to restore some of mine–and they did so without asking me to sacrifice my privacy.


Because while I fear losing beloved friends, I have profound evidence that shows me that the ties that bind true friends are greater than time.  That when a friendship is true, what today may seem lost is merely hidden beneath the clutter of circumstances and emotions.  That the power of true friendship will push through the seemingly impossible-to-crack surface like magma through miles of rock.  True friendship can not destroy itself; it can not be destroyed.


Because kindness can come from the most unexpected people when you most need it:  the supervisor who I once told I dreaded coming to work when I knew she would be there who not only unexpectedly listened but took action to help; the co-worker with whom my relationship had not long ago been so adversarial who selflessly decides to give me many of his guests so that I can earn more tips and have the most successful night I have ever had at work.


Because although every sunrise reminds me of a greater Beauty that I may never embrace, the beauty of the sunrise is still a gift I should enjoy instead of hiding from it.


There are many more reasons, of course.  And as I write this people dear to me are gathering and sharing what they are grateful for.  They are making memories, smiling, bonding and laughing.  I am thankful for their happiness.  I am thankful that I am not diminishing their joy today.


I know that I am still in the chasm.  I know that the climb out will take weeks.  I will inevitably slip and slide back toward the bottom though I doubt I will see those depths again.  I know there may again come moments when I lose the light.  But for now, the soft glow breaches the darkness and makes the climb less precarious.  I appreciate it.


I am thankful.

Howard Slacum
November 26, 2009