The writing of James J. Slattery and his pseudonym, J.S. McInroy

Two Days Past


Solstice, the light creeps back into the darkness of Winter’s night. Another year ends. One begins as worlds turn, stars burn, and life cycles itself around and around as Yeats put it “in a widening gyre.” Does the stone awaken? The rough beast slouch toward Jerusalem or Ramadi or even Berdo? I do not know. Would not say. I walk.

No slouch. I leave my current dwelling and trek past HVCC, home of my heart and soul for almost half a century. I turn down the hill and pass a temporary lodging place from half that time ago. At the bottom lies the Menands bridge across the Hudson.
I am walking the last path of the young man of twenty-one years believed to have traveled this same road on Christmas Day. Halfway across, he abandoned his cell phone, his fingerprints. His life. I could not walk that way. The thoughts of him do evoke memories, however.

A poem I wrote half the way back. Comes a time when we face the void, when the dark water’s call must be answered. The verse is from another time and written by one no longer myself. It is still, however, a part of all I have become. Please read it without too much attention to the externals. It speaks of something the young man may have understood.


Satan’s Slaves and Gypsy Jokers, a pack
Of cards, all colors and all faces
Are deception.
Hippies and freaks, acid and peace, a cloud
Of smoke, brightly colored, amazing
And all gone.

I rode with the best, 7th Cav., Regiment
Of death.

Flesh of all the warriors gone:

An Angel’s grinning skull and I rode down
To Altamont. All color and all Hell
In me.

And Mick and Keith, Sonny and Frank,
A pack of cards, slaves and jokers,
One, an Angel.

You knew it, Billy, bloody hands
Don’t come clean.
Life like sunlight plays
For its time.

Givers, takers are all the same.
Mothers, Mansons, here and gone away
Like a song.

Mothers and lovers smile. They know I lie
Broken and bloody like the hippy
At my feet.
An Angel is no thing to be.
It won’t let go. We don’t dance and
We can’t sing.
Our songs like their lives are all bled

And Mick, I need some shelter
From the storm.
Right and wrong, weak and strong, we all
Go down.
Thinking, feeling, I never did


Living, dying, laughing, crying
Bleeding through my heart in dreams at night.
I ride


Hamlet, you stupid fuck,
Pull the trigger.

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