Isolated Days: Part I

(Courtesy of Michael Karpati)


Father and I used to walk in summer, 
footsteps on clean, cracked concrete ground, 
talking around.  

Now my foot forges space in pebbled path, 
grinding ground when weight shifts forward with the pack.  
Breathing hard, step to trooping step, 
Hektor threatening the enemy until Troy falls, 
a man walking in the sky, blue saber in his hand.  
Salty-sweet sweat running down my arm.  

We walked in summer.  
We used to go three, four miles, and never stopped.  
We headed back and sometimes beyond home, 
through parks, leafed-groves, even snow.  
Blocked, we would journey home.  

My father moves beside me, stooping steps, 
pebbles holding court under-foot.  
His focus remains on treading firm, 
and mine on him, grey hair, a strand of time’s turn, 
grey as Priam.  

Father never liked to sit, shifting, restless;
he never could be idle, a knight with words, 
Achilles without his sword.  
I didn’t know his failure
to sit, no crossword on table, pen in hoary hand,
no stories to spell, until later life;

I didn’t understand his failure to watch 
the world goes by, pretending to read.  
He asked me once if I liked walking as much as he.  
He said one day I’d understand the need to be
in the world, that watching doesn’t mean you see.  

We journeyed farther, so time passed us by, 
and I, now I know, must strive, not uttering the kind cry
I would, alone.  He needs strength, and so
do I, to bring him back to home.  
Time gone by, father walked with purpose; 
purpose now forgot; 

vitality has been usurped
unless I fill this spot. 

the zombies only i can see

i can see so many zombies
in the trees
and in the oceans
and in the purple skies
of sunset, 
before the broken moon. 

so many zombies under sky
and over rock
treading over twig
and leaf.  
lost in thought; 
and alone. 

they march, an angry booming, 
a silent roar of self-loathing and
regret, and pause, 
the darkest whisper
of the heart and soul.  
nobody remembers them.  
they lie beneath the hard soil
in deafening death. 

i see them on the roof across
the way, 
a line of corpses ready to fall
to newfound life
on the front page.  
a murderous suicide
where what is gained
is a spotlight, momentary fame
written in bloody ink. 

and nothing happens when they fall.  
no reporters arrive at my door.  
if they did, i didn’t see them, and
i doubt they would have seen me, 
or cared if they had. 

the angry mob presses on.  
the thoughts of the fallen fade.  
if they ever had thoughts, 
they would be here, inside of me, 
ahead, to be seen, and to see.

lovers quarrel at night, 
and lie awake, angry, frightened, 
and alone
they do not know i watch.  
for if they did, they would vomit
cold earth
a silent retching of the heart from the lungs, 
into the air, 
a passionate cry, 
a passionless song. 

there is nothing beautiful in this world, 
nothing that i can see, 
but maybe
there are trees, 
over the walking zombies, 
frost covered ground, 
black trees and
rotting people, pale
and foul. 

the leaves are on the ground, 
beneath the snow, 
and i feel nothing.  

Isolated Days: Part 2

About the Author

By Michael Karpati


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Monica Ospina

Congratulations Michael! One can feel in your words the steps of your walks and the pebbles in the road.

Rob Karpati

Incredible work Michael, really evocative!