Autumnal Cemetery

The Chinese say that evil are the trees
of the cemetery.
This cemetery, my cemetery, is as evil
as it is evergreen.

In amongst the headstones
a carpet of orange, yellow, and red
look to Heaven and see pines
oaks and rosewood.

The dead too dream of the sun
or moon
behind the verdant canopy.

If it is evil to bloom
and stand against time,
then let us all be evil,
if only for autumn.

Ode to the Suburbs (Brighton)

The sun sinks into deep color.
Autumnal wind bites deep
into the wool and cloth.
Alone, one can hear nothing—
no cars
no trains
no people.
Such an illusion of emptiness
presages the apocalypse
just in time for Halloween.

All Saints Day

Soft candle glow
and soft Latin hymns.
The night sky outside is inky black.
One man, a young man, leans to the left
and talks about the afterlife
with a grandmother
who first saw death in 1939.
She won’t reveal the reaper’s shape or shadow
despite the man’s curiosity.
“Focus tonight on death,” she says
“But lust not for the tomb.”

To Disappear

How much blood would you give to disappear—
to melt into the white wall
or fade into the carpet?

There you sit, knees to face
hands to brow.
Berated in a foreign tongue.
Suicide is the chief desire
but impossible.

But to scatter like dust,
to become stitched into the leather
may be the only answer.

But that is too cowardly.
The aggrieved voice hates cowards.
You are not a coward.

But only so much pain,
so much pride
can be swallowed in one early afternoon.

So, before the panic attack comes,
you look outside and wish
to be a dying orange leaf
floating in the silence.

Thirty Summers Past

On the pavement
and in the fresh cut grass
rests memories of thirty summers past.

The public library choked with bikes
and fistfights in the midnight woods.
Cheat Lake, legend-haunted, with swimmers
from the neighborhood.

Sweat, ever-present, on blue camouflage.
Dreams of the Philippines and beautiful girls
driving all night, chasing a moon—
white as pearls.

There, underneath the tree,
are plastic battlefields and wrestling matches.
Blood sometimes splashed on green
from the myriad scratches.

You would enter the Highgate,
land of the vampires; relic out of time.
Sometimes you’d stay home,
picturing the salt and brine

Of other summers,
some in the future, some in the past.
You always knew
that those summers could not last.

Nothing stays—
everything dies and the dead go fast.
Most dreaming about
all those summers past.


“Autumnal Cemetery” and “Thirty Summers Past” are excerpts from Benjamin Welton’s new poetry chapbook, PANIC. You can purchase the book from Terror House Press here.