We look at the past over our shoulders,
smiling and sighing for the dear old days gone by.
Life was cleaner, we think, less cluttered, simpler, more authentic.
Well, that’s bullshit.
Life was life as it always is, full of beauty and terror
and the inevitability of death.
Yes, I dream of parallel universes, alternate planes of existence;
I have my midnights in Paris
that make it possible for me to get out of bed
to grapple with the plane I inhabit now.
But when I catch myself romanticizing the past
I turn to history and remember
the blood-soaked sand of the Colosseum,
the great scythe of the Black Death,
the rack and the guillotine and the stake,
the sixteen-hour workdays of Victorian servants
and the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.
I think of smallpox and polio,
of children pulling carts in mine tunnels
and soddies and outhouses in winter
and on and on through the catalogue
of cruelty and miseries we have conquered or abandoned.
And even though what I’ve remembered are none of my favorite things,
then I don’t feel so bad.
RC deWinter’s poetry is anthologized in Uno: A Poetry Anthology (Verian Thomas, 2002), New York City Haiku (NY Times, 2017), Cowboys & Cocktails: Poetry from the True Grit Saloon (Brick Street Poetry, April 2019), Havik (Las Positas College, May 2019), Castabout Literature (Dantoin/Hilgart, June 2019), The Flickering Light (Scars Publications, June 2019), Nature In The Now (Tiny Seed Press, August 2019), in print in 2River View, Down in the Dirt, Genre Urban Arts, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, Pink Panther Magazine, Scarlet Leaf Review, The New York Times and in numerous online literary journals.