Monday, April 9, 2018

John Darling


It is the dead of winter,
4:00 a.m.
As I lay in my bed,
My blankets are a cocoon.

A piercing scream closes in,
Joined by the down-beat sound
Of thundering engines.
Dogs howl in the chorus.

Here, in the city,
These sirens never sleep.

Somewhere a man lays spewing life.
The cause is on the run,
Being investigated,
Or destined to remain an act unknown.

In any case,
His death gives life to the sirens.

In another place, a business is ablaze.
An owner is at odds with his damnable associates.
An accumulated lifetime of work is now only fuel
For the sirens.

This is the city,
A place where there are a million ways to die
And only a few ways to live.
A place of anonymity.
Only the sirens know everyone.

The sirens come for us all.

John reads "The Sirens Never Sleep"

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John confesses: "The inspiration for this work is stated in the work. I was lying awake at 4:00 a.m. one morning when two sirens screamed down my busy street. I wondered where they were going, and then thought, 'No matter. Eventually come for us all.' In the morning, I wrote this poem."

Since the 1970s, JOHN DARLING has written and published many short stories, poems, and magazine articles. His first publication was a short story which appeared in the Journal of Mental Health. His lone play, Stage Directions, has been produced in the United States, Canada, and most recently at the Soho Theatre in London, England. He has two books of short stories, one book of nonfiction, and one cookbook available on

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