The Poetry of William Taylor Jr.

The People You Try Not To Look At

I awoke with the terror today
usually it comes and goes
with the night

but this morning it lingered
in the unmade bed
the dirty dishes
the bathroom mirror

and through the day it
dogged me, blooming
into the corners everything

I saw it in the man on the bus
and the woman in the grocery store

and wondered if they saw it
in me

some people you see
how the terror has taken
hold of them

and it will be all they know
for the rest of their days

these are the people
you try not to look at

most everyone knows the terror
more than they will say

at some point we made
a collective decision
not to speak of it

except in books
and poems
and other things we
cast aside

the young know the terror
only through stories
and the faces of the old

they don’t yet believe

the rest of us go about
our lives as best we can

we lose ourselves in crowds
and pray it will not find us

let it take the others
let someone find a way
to save us.


If Only Out of Spite

The afternoon holds us like a prison.
You dust off death’s tired arguments
and once more I’m thrust in the roll
of life’s pale apologist.
You know my case by heart
and will not be dazzled
by my rhetoric.
All I can do is
offer up my eyes
in the chance you’ll take them
and steal a glimpse
of the frail beauty I sometimes see
in the midst of the horror.
And maybe it’s nothing
but that doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful,
doesn’t mean it isn’t reason enough
to struggle through
another dreamless day, another
stupid hour, if only out of spite,
because death thinks it’s already won,
and so what if it has?
Take my hand and we’ll go so deep
into the fucking dark there’ll be nothing
to do but sing.


Alive in the Midst of It

Another Sunday afternoon
in the belly of the city.

My wife, my cat
and myself
in the midst of it.

I’m told one day this
will not be so

but don’t yet quite
believe it.

My wife is in the kitchen
making lunch

the cat and me
are gazing out the bedroom window
at the potted plants arranged
in the space between the buildings.

I love my wife
and I love my cat
and sometimes I even love
the city.

I’m just looking out the window
and thinking how

we suffer through so much
to arrive at these brief moments
of quiet joy


that in spite of everything
I still think
it’s an okay deal.


6 Responses to “The Poetry of William Taylor Jr.”

  1. three well-written poems with powerful and poignant themes.
    thanks, i enjoyed the read. best winnie

  2. Steve Gulvezan Says:

    I’ve been reading through your poetry here at the Rusty Truck archive. You’ve written some damned good poems.

  3. Donal Mahoney Says:

    These are three fine poems but it was the first that got me and sent me through the other two. The first poem sticks like glue. Thanks.

  4. great poems here. I’m glad I followed the link


    THANKS —

  6. Linda Lerner Says:

    very nice–terror and all. I like the understated way you you’re able to express something overwhelming.

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