SPOTLIGHT: ‘I Tried-Prose and Poems by Richard J Cronborg’


I came out soft, pink and fresh.
I was a newborn baby boy, adored by all,
until I entered school
and discovered that boys aren’t mean to be soft
so, I became hard, dark and conventional
following societal rules
seething inside
with anger and hate
protective of myself I wore a thick layer
or macho veneer
until I got sick from working a man’s job
now, I sit alone with pen in hand
until my love enters the room
I’m still soft, pink and fresh, in her estimation
yet, there’s still a spark of rage, deep inside of me
I keep trying to put that fire out, to no avail


Some people work a whole lifetime
In the same factory
on the assembly line, doing the same thing
over-and-over again
eight hours a day or more
just enough to pay for food
and a place to sleep
so that they can keep living
to come back to the assembly line
and slowly their souls are disassembled
as they live this hell on earth
because of the color of their skin
or their lack of education
they do this
until the day they die
never thinking that
something is wrong


When I get to the point where something
doesn’t need fixing
or I’m not pissed off by one thing or another
every damn day
I’ll know that it’s time to sit and just gaze out the window
Slack-jawed, a senile old man
then, it’ll be better to blow my brains out
or take the proverbial black pill
people talk about
to end my life neat, clean and without pain
what bothers me is that I promised this to my friend
and I failed him
I couldn’t look him square in the eye at the end
with him all shriveled up with the cancer
and I could see the hate in his eyes for me as I left him
for the very last time, because he died the next day
and that’s stuck with me all the way to today


I’m scared to be lonely
the loneliest
goddamn man, in the world
settin’ on this bunk bed
greetin’ a red sky morning’
wishin’ my love, wasn’t in the grave
ain’t no sense
in stayin’ sober
no siree
this life done been lived by me
and now
I’m a ghost
not lookin’ for a reflection
in no mirror
‘cause I ain’t there no more
since she been gone


I’ve got that deep sick feeling in my belly
like the time I got out of jail
or rehabilitation for alcohol
and drug abuse
except I’m straight now
or as straight as I’m ever going to be
and though I’m blessed
this dark cloud
came back to me
like I knew it would someday
and I can’t get a shotgun
and kill it away
that’s what makes me
fearful and sad, like seeing soldiers
with tombstone eyes
or the jaundiced ones at AA meetings
knowing, that time wasn’t on their side


Time flies by
and I wish it would drag on
I need to put my heels in the ground
to drag it down
and make it go slower
but instead, it drags me along with it
and shows me no mercy
one day flows
into the next
and I’m not done
that’s the crux of the matter
going to my grave, an unfinished product
it’s not goddamn fair, but neither is life
I can’t seem to accept this reality
best not to think about it
and jump on the merry-go-round
like everyone else


I found my muse again
or, maybe she found me
fear made me pick up my pen
I don’t need
to stay strong
on this page or any other
I can be weak and miserable
while making my confession
to you
I’d rather you, than a cleric
I won’t throw any bills
In his collection basket, anyway
these lines should be good enough
and if they’re not, it’s my fault
don’t feel sorry for me
you’ve read this far
and that’s enough


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