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Matthew Smith
The Dead Shall Never Walk Among the Living

Tradition places hands in the fire by twos.
There is no room for the old amongst the new.
Friends cast their lots and walk away.
Sacrifice was a word for yesterday.
Children are special because eyes are fresh.
They change the light bulbs in heaven.
They sweep the floors and do not complain.
Children grow old and forever change.
The magic is forced to rearrange.
And the dead shall never walk among the living.

Contemplation seeks a form, holy and real.
All tides rise and break the chill.
Arms grow tighter around the waist.
Love leaves a familiar aftertaste.
A man will never understand a woman’s mind
because she holds riddles securely in a rose
and the rose can’t bloom in the company of men.
Mystery changes the world we know.
Men are forced to walk below.
And the dead shall never walk among the living.

Pride strikes the soul when the work is through.
Twelve hour days and the laborers are few.
It’s never too late to change the day
until midnight turns the heart away.
Apologies will not alter the past.
Wine won’t fill the dark remains.
Yet all the earths glow comes from the sun.
Hell cuts through the muck and washes clean
as the drought-ridden fields all turn green.
And the dead shall never walk among the living.

Warm empty beds in every American city
Cold streets are crowded with all the pity.
Dogs are barking in the hollow night
and memories die as they gain first sight.
You can’t hold an angel in your hands
for all that is good outgrows your form
and all that is bad will shrink like stars in the sky.
Reasons for these truths remain unknown
but this is the time you can call your own.
And the dead shall never walk among the living.
Matthew Smith received his B.S. and M.A. from East Tennessee State University. He teaches Sociology at Big Sandy and is coordinator of the BSCTC Honors Program. In his spare time, he enjoys international travel, spending time with family, and debating world politics with his dachshund, Jack.

 

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