Familiar Faces

David G O'Sullivan

Familiar faces

I have seen, hundreds of miles from home, familiar faces.

I rarely have the courage to speak to them or ask questions.

I would rather let them pass by

and any happy meetings be missed.

It leaves me to wonder,

in the echo of those memories,

Was it them I saw on that distant street?

What is their story? Where are they going? Where have they been?


Memories are a dark room.

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Leather bag

David G O'Sullivan

The leather bag cost $560

The leather was thin but of beautiful design.

She bought it at an exclusive store downtown,

Where they keep the doors locked.

Her dresses all cost thousands of dollars too.

She would leave them on the back of the chairs in her room

Or they would be dropped on the floor

Like dead flowers.

Once, I picked a red dress up and held it to my face

And smelled her scent, then I hung it in the wardrobe

While she lay on a daybed by the window.

She watched me through half closed eyes.

She was tired of loving me, and that meant

I would soon be like an expensive dress, one she had worn to a party.

A dress she could never wear again.

I would sit in the back of her wardrobe


Never to see the light again.

Eventually, I would go…

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The reading room.

David G O'Sullivan

The French doors lie open,

the sun and breeze trip in, like visitors coming for tea.

The books sprawl across the old wicker table,

under them, a crisp white cloth.

The smell of toast dances with the summer morning.

birds, overjoyed by the beauty of life, sing along the branches of huge plane trees.

She has stepped away for a moment, but her perfume stays

like the ghost that fell in love with a queen.

These days of luxury, sun-kissed ease

are marked in difference from the older, darker days.

The money is less now, but she does not miss the abuse of wealth.

Sleep a long deep sleep

and wake with the gentle day,

let the universe provide for now.

Stand on the balcony and look down at the trees and green parkland,

and remember the dirty, city streets that can touch you no more.

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David G O'Sullivan

“He stayed here two years,

before the end.

Did I tell you about Sam?” Mrs. Kubowicz asked me.

“No,” I said, “I don’t know him.”

Mrs. Kubowicz leaned against the wall and looked at me with happy eyes.

“This was his room. He was a very kind, quiet man.

He was six foot seven tall. I called him my gentle giant.

We were very close. We would watch television at night,

do you like to watch detective shows?” She asked me.

“Not much,” I answered. I did not like the look on her face; she looked disappointed.

She held her hand out to the room. I stepped inside and looked about.

“Why did he move out?” I asked.

A cowboy hat hung on the wall next to a picture of cattle on a farm.

The place not only had furniture, but belongings.

Models of trucks sat on a shelf above…

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Thunder on the Mountains

David G O'Sullivan

I have seen the people at the close of day,
dark like the dreams of storm clouds.
In a city on any day, millions of lives unfold,
burning like little candles.

The sad face of life looking in through the windows of laundries,
where people sit, side by side, in yellowing underclothes
watching the spinning of the machines, laughing, detergent frothing machines,
always asking for more money.

Three friends grown up together,
one died young,
the other two moved to different cities.
Took on different lives.

One works hard on her fitness,
running and lifting weights.
but lost a lot of money investing in property
and now works hard to keep off the thoughts of darkness.
The other married and had three kids
and dreams of what might have been
if only, if only things had been different.
And her husband has sex with the secretary three times a week.

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David G O'Sullivan

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Out in the lights, the bars and the cafes with friends,
walk home in the cold of the morning,
see the sun already turning the sky orange and white.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Waking up as birds scream outside
the sun bursts in on you through broken curtains and torn shades.
You wonder why the hours are more like seconds.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Alone in the evening, huddled in your room by the window,
you watch the lights of the bright neons below,
see the lovers disappear into the blue-black, and you wish the sun would hurry up.

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The Lady’s garden.

David G O'Sullivan

Through the day garden walked the knight.

He looked at the beds, heavy with flowers

then glancing up as one might at a bird,

his eyes land on her window.

What softer bed behind those curtains,

what pleasures a visitor to her room might see;

might experience.

The mail-heavy arm against the silk curtains, hard flesh on gossamer skin.

He has seen war

and knows what war brings,

the faithful and faithless both scream when pinned down with steel.

Men, both brown and white, crying in terror at the onrushing machine.

He stops a while beside a lily and considers the soft opening of the blue flower

he sees a bee, heavy with baggage climbing down the flower’s throat.

From habit, his hand grips his sword handle.

He imagines a time when this garden might be his as well as hers.

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David G O'Sullivan

The wind blows for her,

The sun shines for her eyes,

Rivers flow for the softness of her skin.

She, the most beautiful woman in the world,

Does not live like the rest of us,

She exists, as the heavens exist.


No mortal hand can lift the stone of Agamemnon

But if she were just to speak a word

The stone would crumble

Like armies misled and starving,

Like the shore before the sea.

I should think the universe would disappear, if she but whispers the command.

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On finding my tree dead from frost and exposure

David G O'Sullivan


I left her out in the sun,

It was warm and her soil moist

But I forgot her.

Midnight’s garden is different today’s,

the temperature dropped

And froze.

Gentle, gentle, soft fronds of green

Changed to gray and brown,

Curling dead fingers.

The ice, like old men’s beards

Hung from her beautiful face.

Once green, now black.

She did not recover;

But shrank into her red pot,


No more spring breezes

That so excited her into growth

Would ever again dance through 

Her life loving leaves.

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