Call It Courage

I wrote this in high school or soon thereafter.  I found a story I started in college that I may be able to weave this into.  It is not my favorite poem, but I like the rythmn…and I wrote a sequel to it some years later.  I will share that next…


Call It Courage

a poem by db mcneill


This has been my only sin,

I am the killing violin.

All the nights have tumbled down.

All the flesh has turned to sand.

Beneath the sweet and trembling flesh

I’m spinning here inside your hand

and she says….


I am the killing violin.

I am the fire that burns within.

The child moaned.

A man has grown

here within my hand.

Walking westward in the rain

I find new ways to speak my pain.

I’m never coming home.


In the darkness I awoke.

A single fear,

the words we spoke.

So much more we have to share.

I am shaking, never dared

to take this moment in.

I can sense a danger.

I could not bear the loss

 if you spiraled down to die

within this violin.


Years ago I had a dream.

A precious hope and not so far.

In darkness, you played your guitar.

In blackness, your tears blessed my skin.

The skein of souls that tumbled in

could not have sung their hearts in vain.

You put a bullet through your brain.


And so, in time, the truth is clear.

Despite the fire, I live in fear.

Too many eyes have died through this.

Your light could die within my kiss.

Become entangled in my strings.

In a moment hear the scream

spinning in my hand.


I cannot live without the dream

or live within the truth, it seems.

I only have the strength to kill.

Something this child must not feel.

The child has grown into a man.

I hold his offer in my hand.

Still I cannot let him in.

This has been my only sin.

I am the killing violin.




Another old one…circa 1992.  All of this is actually happened…



a poem by d.b. mcneill


I am on your doorstep

in my dream


if you can

disappoint me in the right direction


Under here


There is still more

but wordless


The magician spins

diamonds from her eyes

It’s only rain


Thunder breaks

I awake



there is a man

shouting shut up

at the sky



The Boxer

I think I’ll keep the poetry flowing for a bit.   This is a favorite, circa 1996.  And yes, an itty bitty beat poet does live in my brain. 


The Boxer

a poem by d.b. mcneill


It is the difference between having and wanting.

It is the difference between water and light.

It is the difference between sleeping and waking

to scream in eternal night.


There is an angel who’s fallen to human.

He’s pushing his way through the crowd.

He’s come to tell you that you should be drinking.

You should be drinking and thinking aloud.


He has the face of a pugilist

but ah, you could drown in those eyes.

He’s come to tell you the things you believe

that were born in the light

and the things you believe that are lies.



Man In A Bottle

I recently came across this in a cleaning frenzy.  I wrote it in 1996.  It made me smile, because I wrote poetry then.  And now I write prose.


Man in a Bottle

a poem by db mcneill


He will find her there

pressed between the pages

like a forgotten photo

or a postcard

rich with rhyme.

Her poetry is spinning, spinning

spinning into prose,

unlike anything imagined or pecked out in his smoky room.

Her blood stains

will never wash from his sheets

nor the wine from his floor.

She knocked it there

with her laughing hands

when she still believed

she was heavy in his heart.