Michael Fallon

Falling Angel, By Angel
By Angel, down

the ladder of Angels,

past the Angel
of innocence,

past the Angels
of truth, of trust,

down the white hot rungs,
beneath Purgatory,

where we pause,
to pull off her wings,

to murder the Angel
of love

in the name
of her opposites,

the wingless ones
of lust

of greed,
of power,

all the bloody Angels
in the choir of fear

who have led us down,
hand over

hand, soul by soul,
and have persuaded us

that we must,
we must, over

throw the Angels above
to save ourselves;

to live on in the angry hell
we have made of the heart,

and where we shall
at last–

on the altar of peace–

the Merciful.


A Wind of Fire Is Burning Through the Heartland of America.

The Truth does not matter. Everything good
Seems in the hands of its enemies, and what have you done
But write poems, watch clouds drift in and out
Of the light, obscure the moon–a silver boat
Sinking in a turbulent river of sky–listen to the mourning doves’
Complaint, tend the unruly rose, wish the world a better place,
While lies and injustice prevail? No mercy for the disenfranchised,
The poor, the starving, the sick, if only they would disappear
Across the borders of concern. If and when
–In this country you no longer recognize—
The vengeful armies finally arrive, and find you
Disillusioned, frightened, and alone in your walled garden,
They will not even bother to arrest you.


When I am Disillusioned, Frightened and Alone,

Will words ever lead me again to paradise
Where from the other side of beauty,

The face of love looks back at me,
And for a brief eternity

Our eyes meet?


Every Poem Is an Argument with the Angel of Death.

Black wings dark stain
Racing along the ground,
The storm of feathers closing
Over me, as it looks down from
The smothering sky
Inside me and through
The mask of sleep,

You think your poetry
Will save you? Even now, it vanishes,

As if you had never been born.

Let the nightmare take you.
Ride the black horse over
The roaring edge, down

the white



The Gift of Failure

When the nun came to listen to me sing,
I was so afraid, my throat tightened

And I sounded like an angry toad
Being swallowed by a snake as

I croaked out a hymn from last Sunday’s mass.
Naturally, she dismissed my mother’s

Protestations. The child needs a hearing test
He simply cannot find the notes, she said. No,

I don’t blame sister Gerald-Marie,
Who was kind and often funny,

But that was the end of me
As a singer in the choir

Of little angels in their red cassocks
Offering up their high hosannas at Christmas

And Easter for the greater
Glory of God,

But the music
Didn’t, just wouldn’t stop.

The notes, the words,
The phrases sang

On inside me
High in a secret, exalted dome in myself,

Like the song of a thrush flown loose
In the slanting light of a cathedral.

© Michael Fallon

Michael Fallon’s poems have appeared recently in Northeast NarrativeCrosswinds Poetry JournalThe Connecticut River ReviewThe Loch Raven ReviewIlluminationsSouthword, and other magazines. He is the author of 4 collections of poetry, A History of the Color Black, Dolphin-Moon Press, 1991; Since You Have No Body, winner of the Plan B Press Poetry Chapbook Competition, 2011; The Great Before and After, BrickHouse Books, 2011, and Empire of Leaves, Singing Man Press, 2018. Essays have appeared recently in The New England Review, on lit hub-The Best of the Literary InternetThe Concho River ReviewBroad Street Literary ReviewThe RazorThe Northern Virginia Review, and Blood and Thunder. Fallon is Senior Lecturer Emeritus in the English Department at UMBC.

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