The Haunted and the Hunted
Shadows dance across the room
as I walk upon this dusty floor,
mere specters that come too soon
and make soft noises on the door.
In my eyes there are now reflected
the elusive images of another lover
and the reality of love deflected,
with nothing left for me to discover.
I am everyone, I am the haunted,
knowing truths that were never spoken;
I do not need what I’ve always wanted,
with faith not shattered, just broken.
Mere silence is better than any lie,
it only damages you and you alone;
death comes not only to those who die,
it is life that is the great unknown.
Black on black, those eyes of yours,
drawing in the body with the soul:
eyes that have closed a thousand doors
and threaten to consume me whole.
You are the hunted, you are everyone,
pursued only by your words, your past;
if I can separate the doer from the deed,
the future will be more infinite, more vast.
The haunted and the hunted are we,
now inheriting our own sad legacy;
change the ending before the ink dries,
let love live, not experience its demise;
and if love can take away the eternal night,
I will lift you up to touch the forever light.
The Jailor and the Jailed
A man’s mind can be but a prison
and he both jailor and the jailed;
we can only begin to find success
when we accept where we failed.
A man’s past is the road behind him,
it is not to be travelled over again;
it lies back of us to shed some light
and to lead us away from more pain.
Be true to yourself and you are the truth,
you are in charge of your own destiny;
the heart will guide you on this quest
so, you’ll be no self-fulfilling prophecy.
For all of us life is but a well-trod road,
it can lead you back home or astray;
it is a tired path but one so true,
falter not, it will show the way.
A man’s mind is his own mansion
and he the one keeper of the key;
turn the lock and open the door
and it is your future you will see.
Walking in the Shadow of Someone’s Soul
All this sadness and all that sorrow,
all those secrets holding off tomorrow;
making this journey without being quite whole,
while walking in the shadow of someone’s soul.
Now give me respite and give me peace,
let unanswered questions now surcease;
we were blind, sightless, without vision,
just two lost souls in near collision.
But wisdom is now so very bittersweet,
cooling down the passion after the heat;
lies soon turn love into a block of ice,
what once allured can no longer entice.
Let it down gently and let it just go,
see which way truth will then flow;
give in to it softly and give it all back,
then seize the moment, plan your attack.
Take no prisoners, make no new demands,
tie down your heart but never your hands;
fortify your soul, make it ever so strong,
and never again let so much be so wrong.
Love is only for the lucky and for the few,
many has it wrestled to the ground and slew;
hear my words: never again will I play the fool,
the only dance I will dance will be to duel.
My heart will be a castle built on so much rock,
love will still have a key but without a lock;
and I will know when the bell begins to toll,
I am walking in the shadow of someone’s soul.
John RC Potter is an international educator and gay man from Canada, who lives in Istanbul. He has experienced a revolution (Indonesia), air strikes (Israel), earthquakes (Turkey), boredom (UAE), and blinding snow blizzards (Canada), the last being the subject of his story, “Snowbound in the House of God” (Memoirist, May 2023). His poems and stories have been published in a range of magazines and journals, most recently in Blank Spaces, (“In Search of Alice Munro”, June 2023) & in Literary Yard (“She Got What She Deserved”, June 2023). John RC Potter – Author Website (author-blog.org)