Ode to an Ark

This one is still a little rough….

Ode to an Ark

My son walks a path both familiar and foreign.

I lay out the golden stones then watch him vanish.

Gone in a yawning, swampy place, dark with peril.

And then

Noah builds an ark.

And two by two by four by four by five by five by OCD by Asperger’s by ADHD by GHD by genius IQ,

it lifts my son with love.

That love that is a balm for the loneliness of oddness, the pain of childhood’s shifting loyalties, that tidal swell that lifts me too.

And no one needs a mushroom boat to reach this island where

teen love says

you’re like normal people when they’re on drugs

and typico neuro

mushroom boats alight to sit on hotel floors watching Pee Wee Herman, asking Are you seeing what I’m seeing?


It’s where we live.

With talking trees and brownies no one else can see.

And I can spy a child from where I stand,

more sensible than most.

She is not alone, and

also built this ark.

This ark of families, of Pauls, of summer’s riding a swelling

wave of love that lifts us from the swamp,

that steadies my son’s journey,

that steers us to the Vast Blue Ocean –

It’s big enough a place for

all of us to



This one is at least 20 years old. That’s all I remember.




This is the death that walks.

This is the void that talks.

This is the stone that bleeds.

This is the soul that needs.

This is the dark that sees.

This is the bond that frees.

These are our hopes and dreams.

This is our life.

Mason Jar

This one is old and appears to have been meant to be a song.  I don’t remember anything more.


Mason Jar


Billy was the kind of man that reason couldn’t reach

Billy was the kind that all the schools could never teach

And he spent his time asking ‘why’ but no one ever cared

a partner full of combat but no one ever dared

so he shut his mouth and shut his mind

and got into the car

one day he put his life away

into a Mason Jar


He sat alone with his disease

sitting at the bar

He told me sadly of his life

in its Mason Jar


Every night he turned out the lights

so the neighbors couldn’t see

Mostly he talked to himself

But he sometimes talked to me


He sat alone with his disease

sitting at the bar

He told me sadly of his life

in its Mason Jar


The Hunter

This is another one that was meant to be a song.  I almost certainly wrote this in highschool.  It is rewritten here, with apologies to Brian Hunter, who taught me how to love my brain.  This, rather peripherally, reflects a philosophy we’ve both long since outgrown, but it still has a few familiar echoes.


The Hunter


They’ve made up your mind for  you, they’ve set up all your rules.

You can make your own creation if you do it with their tools,

So you turn within yourself but know there is no peace.

You let them bind you with their standards and now there’s no release,

So you sit staring inward and you see what you have done.

You let them rearrange your soul and now you are no one.


Find yourself within yourself,

Face your fate undaunted.

Blow your brother’s mind away,

Death’s all he ever wanted.


And the hunter is the hunted

in the annals of your mind.

I can’t teach you how to see;

you’re already blind.

Don’t search for true reality;

it’s something you can’t find.


What was born within you, you long ago let die

You did it to be normal but you’re living out a lie.

You let yourself be limited because they said you were.

You’d fill yourself with cyanide if they told you it would cure

the empty hole inside you but you did on your own.

You changed to fit society; you’ve never been so all alone.


When you lose your own uniqueness

to walk where sane men tread.

You’ve joined our fine society;

you’re already dead.


And the hunter is the hunted

in the annals of your mind.

I can’t teach you how to see;

you’re already blind.

Don’t search for true reality;

it’s something you can’t find.


Just came across this. It was written in the mid-80s.

Adult langauge ahead. My apologies in advance to any offended readers; I couldn’t revise it and still express the rage this poem contained. It is not about a woman.




She can hear

the rain sing

to the Sun Kings.

She can see

the Silence

through the haze.

She can dance

in Darkness

throwing shadows,

and reach within you,

touch your blood –

tiny dancing dizzy flood.


She is bouncing in your scream.

She leaves you lost

within a dream.

She takes your eyes,

leaves you blind.

And then your heart.

And then your mind.

Stumble, nodding rhythm.

Exploding time.

Is she so fucking fine?

(Is she so fine?)



I have no idea when I wrote this.  Could have been early 90s.  Could have been late 90s.  I can be a slow learner.



Some level of irrepressible


bouncing bouncing

never stopping

never thinking

laughing, mindless

boundless, blinking



fun fun



but the wonderful thing about him

is he’s the only one



This is the sequel to Call It Courage.  It was written years later.  As I read it, I can see the influence of college on the content. 

It was quite a serious poem at the time, but it amuses me now.  I take myself far less seriously these days.  Yet I am also void of poetry now.  Perhaps I’ll find a cure for that soon.  I wonder if Bushmills would still work for that?  If not, at least the prose still overtakes me.



a poem d.b. mcneill



It’s been years since I was whole.

  He put his finger through my soul.

I am caught beneath the wheel

  never knowing what to feel.

Still walking westward with the rain,

  I seek new ways to speak my pain.

The Earth sucks muscles down my bones.

  I suspect I’ll be alone

when I die.


All my life and lives before

  the rich could always eat the poor.

Unable to break the silence screaming,

   unable to wake the world from dreaming,

velvet here, he waits within.

  He has crawled beneath my skin.


No claws or knife can dig him out.

  So greet the dawn with strangled shout.

The howling light, the colors streaming,

  all the world will still lay dreaming.

Never having strength for peace

  A man can only seek release.

I watched the orgasm of his death,

  heard music in his dying breath

and it’s been years since I was whole.

  He put his finger through my soul.



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