Cold Nights and the Desert

Tis the soul that is lost in the pillars of sand


Tis the ready acumen of dismantling life,

where we begin the triage of the human soul.

What fragments eradicate themselves with knives?

What ruminations do we piecemeal into wholes?


In dusted dreams, the limpid sun attends the bar,

then the fog collapses the dunes, commencing night.

Across the barren swathe comes a squall of tar

Patrolmen on their midnight watch, in steps finite


The perpetual whip on the old fan above,

Its manacles ringing against an oft used orb,

The mind rapt with resonant clangors of doves

at mercy with a psyche that plots and implores—


The shadows play victim to the clamors of light

in echoes the antipodal thoughts interweave.

Redolent doldrums cleave the spirit with might

What makes you shatterproof is you have to believe


Power out there in the trenches is its own purpose

To share its imperfect cunning is to dilute it

As fear whispers within the skull, without purchase,

the unknown assumes the catalyst to impute it.


The darkness impends, like a minefield full of sand,

The twilight above imposes with fallen prayers

The children with AKs, their forebears unmanned

And tarnished nihilism still holds crown and chair.


The adversary in nebulous ambition

Appears on the intangible coals of vengeance

the bandwidth, inside the morsels of cognition

endeavors unlocking the most baleful menace.


As death was the escort perusing the dark

‘til nigh it spotted another, standing there in wait.

With solemn caprice, it took them apart,

and ebbed into quietness, fulfilling its fate.


We modeled sustenance, like it was a building block

each in consequence to our waning conditions.

And where light blinds, in darkness, clarity mocks,

Impinged only by the curse of indecision


Like a flickering bulb that blames the filament

Each fibril of its being not holding the weight

The night times lonely, the eyes flung precipitants

as though such tears could keep the company of late.


Cast downward in shadows and dignities shed

Exiled from mortal coils and freedoms therein

There are dark places in this world where few will tread

And in those dark places they will find me again


Through metal raindrops the bodies fell all around,

You could hear the screams all the way down to the floor

As the fog engulfs them, and silence filled the sound,

They fell down, until the idea of them is no more.


Tis the soul that is lost in the pillars of sand

madly yearning to be alive and empowered.

But as a wolf hungers to conquer the land,

I hunger to live, or lest be devoured


In seizing the day, you will have the day as planned

But with the right day you will seize entire lifetimes

And don’t let that moment convert back into sand

Or you will be left with nigh but your moral crimes.


The sparseness of waking to nothing is deafening

The desolation is this fractured existence.

What little time I have left will be spent living

as a beast in the silhouettes, in the distance.

Paul Neglia
Latest posts by Paul Neglia (see all)

Paul Neglia

Proud father of 3. Part time writer of poetry and short stories. I want to paint the world in but a few words.

13 thoughts on “Cold Nights and the Desert

  • March 25, 2017 at 4:04 PM

    Wow! This is a very expressive, powerful verse, Paul. It has a deep, dark meaning that I felt to the core. Two of my brothers and a very close friend suffer from PTSD and it is so difficult to live with. It takes a LOT of understanding and love from family and friends to stand with and bear with the bad times. Excellent rendering of the affect of war on the soul. Well done, dear poet.

    • March 27, 2017 at 6:06 AM

      Thank you so much Phyllis. Just from speaking to friends and family members who have been in the middle east, war changes you. Then you get some crazy sickness like ptsd and its a whole different nightmare. In some cases the soldier would rather be in battle than home, some are built that way, need the adrenaline rush, need the smell of war surrounding them. Thank you so much for your review.

  • March 25, 2017 at 4:32 PM

    An expertly rendered piece of verse, Paul. The effects of war on both body and soul can not be taken for granted. For many veterans the war doesn’t end on their return home. Well done.

    • March 27, 2017 at 6:08 AM

      No it doesnt John. Some even come home and would rather be out on the battlefield. They cant fit into normal society. I feel so bad for those who suffer from the pains of war. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • March 25, 2017 at 7:32 PM

    A very powerful and emotive verse, so well penned and phrased creating stark imagery and the very fear of desert war. Excellent work Paul. Kudos.

    • March 27, 2017 at 6:12 AM

      Thank you so much for your kind words Tony. I still dont think i did the battlefield justice, no way to be in their shoes. Its so sad that many of them post war, cant function in a normal society.

  • March 26, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    Fascinating, totally involved write, using language of which I am not familiar. However, the pursuance of a single thought, triangulated with spectacles so brilliantly described, brought me a spectacular piece of your mind. Excellent, and very enjoyable, my dear friend!

    • March 27, 2017 at 6:14 AM

      Thank you dear friend. It is such a sad subject, the pangs of war. How it wears on the troubled soul, how it breaks down the weary mind. Its awful that so many soldiers come back with mental disorders and cant function in normal society. Thank you so much again dear friend.

      • March 29, 2017 at 3:37 AM

        Time and profit as may be, you lax behind in your most appreciated philosophical reproach!

  • March 30, 2017 at 12:08 AM

    What an epic piece – as a former soldier I give it a rousing thumbs up for descriptiveness – metal raindrops…such powerful terminology…wow

    • March 31, 2017 at 1:19 PM

      Thank you so much Ralph, 1 for your service, and 2 for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. I have family in the military, so while this piece is of a fictional fashion, I’ve heard too many war stories from my father and my uncles, so I semi-understand the trials of war. Thank you so much again. ~Paul

  • April 1, 2017 at 11:58 PM

    Awesome piece with such powerful terminology

    • April 4, 2017 at 7:40 PM

      Thank you so much Kurt. Im glad you enjoyed this.


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