The sky is bright
These thousands
of holes
arterial blessings
of a foundationless
held together
by strings
of others,
all lovers
in their

How long will we remain in this youth?

The moon is dropping
One single smile
lasts a lifetime,
I ponder
beneath the
twinkling stars
made asunder
by the tide
rolling in,
all across
the places
we've never been.

How long can we remain in this youth?

If ignorance
is bliss,
we've got boatloads
of good times
I'm awakened
by the shock
of tin roofs
preaching freedom
while inside we sin,
empowered by our
visions of immortality
till death.

How long till we die of this youth?


Watch Me

watch me
walk steadily
across the floor.
watch how easy
this is to me.
watch me
keep my cool.

these tiresome facts
aren't really all that
there is
in this life,
in this mind,
in this soul.

watch me
walk readily
straight through the door.
watch how seamless
I seem to be.
watch how
it unfolds.

these tiresome shoes,
in all their noble attributes,
aren't really
what keep me
from leaving
these walls.


Here at Twilight

Here at twilight I sit
And comprehend
The earth turning
Below me
And it's all
I can stand.

The world barreling
Right through me
My end.

My mind sifting
From within.

Here in moonlight I sit
And comprehend
The sun––
A hidden shadow
Till it's found
Once again.

City of Glitter

in this city of glitter
whole peoples live and swindle
under rocks
they hide
while soulsucking televisions
play the actors
they played out
and will tonight

and the evilest of men
smile wider than the good
knives sharpening
laughter echoing
while streets remain dirty
from endless tires screeching
and the holiest of men
die prying and leeching

in stuffy coffeeshops and airless nights
this city moves forward
in fourwall houses and onebedroom apartments
this city hides
this city calls dreamers
and this city lies
this city, an abomination
this city, all right


I scream while eating ice cream:
what is the world
and all its fallacies?

what is the world?
I ask myself
to no avail.
do these objects in motion
serve a purpose
other than to themselves?

do these bodies
seek certainty
in all they touch
with their hands?

                my spoon shakes
                at what I feel––
                is it fake?
                is it real?

what is the world?
everything around?
or each head
hearing its own sound?

I leave my table clean,
grab my jacket,
grab my hat,
leave my seat
and fall into envy
for all the people
with eyes lean.

this is peace.

out here in the still:
the silence overwhelming,
broad as the shoulders
of a woodsman,
I sit and think:
this is peace.

out where there are no bodies––
no talking,
no laughing,
out here with the trees––
never wanting,
never needing,
I think:
this is peace.

out here the silence takes you,
becomes you,
becomes one with you,
and you let it
as if it were a choice,
remain alone with your thoughts
and your self and think:
this is peace.

out here where no one's striving,
driving to new places
with new faces
always wanting something,
you hear the birds finally,
watch the trees sway lightly,
flowers bloom brightly,
and think:
this is peace.

this is peace here.
and you'll return again
when the world wants from you
and does not cease.
you'll come back here,
face drawn,
eyes heavy,
and return to peace.



I cannot speak
of atrocities
or war or peace,
but I can speak
of the children swimming
next to me,
playing mermaids
and wizards,
flicking their fake wands
in the air
to solve every
or despair.

and I want them
to stay there forever,
to never watch the news
with their parents,
and live in fear.

but it’s their parents
that most interest me:
smiling weakly
as World War Three
looms over all of us,
though these children
“Keep Calm,
And Carry On”
like the Israelis,
those poor Israelis,
but let’s not go there.



Amid the fruitful night
I am wishing
For those sorrowful things
To vanish

I cling to the light
Like a moth fluttering––
My heart suddenly

I want to take
All these old towels
And burn them––
                             To watch the shock
                             Of the hallowed smoke rise
                             And find the night

To them, I am small
To them, I am nothing

To them, I speak of high things
To them, I show nothing

And I watch as they
Speak of themselves
So downright holy
So downright knowing
                                                               they are not.

And I watch as their
Mouths smirk,
Their shoulders assert
That they are something.

They are something
In this world.
Call it what you will,
But I kinda like it.

                                                Because inside
                                                A fire’s rising,
                                                A passion intensifying,
                                                To be right
                                                In my eyes.

I just want to say:
“Go to sleep, little child,
For tonight,
You are holy.

                                                         You are everything.”




The ground's still wet,
coating the fallen beer bottles
in a damp crystallization.
That yard, dirty yard,
torn up yard,
where dogs roam free,
spying on the neighbors
and cars all day,
is lined in cigarette butts,
most of them smoked
all the way,
and miscellaneous fruits
from that devilish sangria,
and other trash, waste,
horrors of this generation,
make the memory of last night
idle in the air,
hovering over our aching heads
and somehow still-beating hearts.

                                         I'd help clean up,
                                         but it's all so beautiful
                                                              and lost.

When the rain came,
it drew us all back
into that congested house
like pigs before slaughter.
Our bonfire, washed out,
but the warmth of the evening
continued on
in our laughter
and glorification
of what very well
might have been,
could have been,
should have been
our last night on earth.


The First Time

I swam in a thunderstorm today––
There was no one in the pool,
                                                save me.
The rain hitting the water
causes the pool to get colder,
                                               I noticed
                                               for the first time.

          And, for the first time as well,
          as the lightning broke, and the thunder swelled,

                                            I felt no fear.

          I felt nothing
          for the first time,
          in a long time,
          I felt real.

                            And I knew––
                            that everything around me could change,
                            could become new,

and I could still be happy,
beneath the trees,

                            and I could still smile,
                            as all the while,
                            the rain hits my shoulders––

and the water––

                            And as I entered the air,
                            my whole body
                            felt warmer
                                              for the first time.



Here we are, smoking cigarettes in the rain
Our tobacco's wet,
But our hearts are filled.
For we'll survive this storm.
We'll survive this storm.

I say:
When the rain comes.
You say:
If only disaster
Didn't faze
The innocent.
I say:
God damns
All His children
To live on the earth.
You say:
If heaven were real,
We'd be there now.

If heaven were real,
We'd be there now.
The words they swing,
Around and around.

I say:
If only disaster
Knew the things you did
Were right
At the time
For you, kid.

This rain's for you, kid.


all because empty roses lie idly

all because empty roses lie idly
we strive for perfection
we sit and take it
all alone on the park bench,
watch the sun rise,
the children holler,
we sit and take it
all around the city,
our hearts beating imperfection
we live, laugh, love, carry on
we sit and take it

all because empty roses lie idly
we sing old songs more loudly,
let our mouths do the talking
all washed up and ready
we sit and take it
all shined up and heavy
we sit and take it

we sneak under the moon
do our things,
do our things,
all because empty roses lie idly
we live, laugh, love, and die
and strive
while all around us
and somewhere in eternity
empty roses lie idly.


And the Soft Wind Blows Available 4/20!

Get your copy at www.lanceumenhofer.com starting 4/20 for only $7.99!

And the Soft Wind Blows Release Date and Excerpt

In celebration of the release of And the Soft Wind Blows this Saturday (4/20), I've posted an excerpt!  You can get your copy starting 4/20 at my website, www.lanceumenhofer.com, for only $7.99!

Chapter Three: Friday

       At two a.m. Timmy startled himself awake, thinking it was way past time to get to work.  He had twohours to kill, and he was still a little bit woozy from drinking.  Not to mention, his neck felt like absolute hell, and for some reason, a strong desire grew in him to walk down to the river.
       The river that runs through Ashton City, Tennessee is called the Cumbersome River, and Timmy lived right across the street from one of its banks.  He had only been to the bank a fewtimes before since Mandy never wanted to go outside and do things like that.  Nevertheless, he put on his coat and boots and opened and closed and locked the door behind him, half expecting to see Mandy outside of the door, ready to come in. 
       She wasn’t.   
       He crossed the twolane road without difficulty (there were no cars at two a.m. in Ashton City) and went down to the bank.  The air was cooler coming off the river, and the breeze was headed straight for him.  He didn’t mind, although he was shivering.  Across the bank there were several buildings.  Office buildings, Timmy thought.  Each of them had their lights on, and the reflections lightly grazed the top of the flowing water, rippling, yet staying in the same place.  Timmy watched it for a moment without any thought.  His hands were buried deep in his coat pockets, and his fingers felt like ice.  He was not built for cold weather.  
       A sense of calm overtook him as he watched the steady, slow current.  Sometimes there were speedboats that raced up and down the river, but at this timeofnight there was only calmness.  Timmy thought about Roxie and Mandy and then Roxie again.  He truly hoped he could make things better thatday.  He truly hoped she would say yes to his crazy fantasy.  Was he actually going to ask her that?
Soon enough he got tired of standing, so he crouched down and stuck out his hand to play with the rocks and dirt that were all around him, sometimes picking up a rock and throwing it into the river, causing more ripples.  He found a baseballsizedrock and stood up and threw it as far as he could.  It landed only about fortyfeet in front of him, again splashing, again causing ripples.  He always wished he knew how to skip rocks.
       When he judged it to be around threethirty, he headed back toward the house.  He reached the top of the incline that was the bank to the river, and his stomach churned at the thought that he might see Mandy’s car parked in the driveway.  He imagined it to be so, vividly.
       But that instantly dissipated when he saw that it was only his white pickup.  Upon entering, he again halfexpected Mandy to be there, standing, waiting for him to tell him all about what happened, but she wasn’t.
       His mind returned to the terrible thoughts that had been flickering in the back of his mind, behind those of Roxie.  He walked down the hallway and had the instant thought that Mandy might be asleep in the bedroom; his walk turned into a cautious tiptoe.  His breath turned from a smooth inout to sudden bursts both ways.  His heart pounded as the door gently creaked open; he dared not turn the light on; instead he tiptoed into the bedroom, keeping a keen ear open for sounds of heavy breathing or the rustling of sheets.  Timmy was never that good at seeing in the dark.  
       They had their nice, burgundy sheets on, Timmy remembered.  He loved the way they felt: as soft as silk but not as slippery; he remembered he got a really good deal on them, and Mandy was happy with it.  He remembered he had found them in the back of the rack of sheets; it was him; it was due to him that they got those sheets; and how they matched the comforter so nicely!  His hand was running along the sheets and did not cross over an enormous lump on its way to the headboard.  
       Timmy looked at the clock: threetwentyseven a.m.  His alarm would go off in threeminutes, but he decided to lie down on the bed for those threeminutes, maybe sleep would bless him with a short presence; he closed his eyes and thought about Roxie.
       He thought he fell asleep and jerked up.  It was still dark and the clock read: threetwentynine a.m.  He had dreamt of the freeway as if he was standing on an overpass, watching the semis and cars and trucks and SUVs pass by at seventymilesanhour.  They were headed toward him, disappearing as he looked straight down, going through the tunnel, the underpass, the place where he leaned over the railing to look; he tried to follow with his head a large semi that flew under him; he followed it as long as he could, but it disappeared quickly into the dark, and Timmy jerked up as soon as he felt his weight surge forward, and awoke.
       Wish they all could be California girls…
       It was the radio, his alarm; it had frightened him.  He took a deep breath and wrenched his deadweightbody off of the bed.  


Sleep Sound

At the window he sits
sitting, hands down,
exhaling, into cold air,
taking in, the sights, sounds.

He watches an old lady
walking her small hound around
and can do nothing but smile
at all she's encountered.

In a moment he considers
all she has found
in her long life:
what grace! what an eternal crown!

And the next moment she is gone,
headed off toward town,
and all the people she may encounter!
their lives still above ground!

                In a lonely daze,
                he wishes to sleep sound.
                In a lonely daze,
                he wishes to sleep sound.


See Me Fleeting

see me fleeting
eternally bleeding
alone on the park bench
cloud cover overhead

see me dreaming
introspective seeming
alone on the Greyhound
gray seats all around

see me breathing
meditative beaming
lost in the city
with all old and gritty

see me needing
always heart beating
lost in the country
it took me so long to see

see me bleeding
eternally fleeting
alone in the gray city
clouds covering all gritty

see me seeming
meditative dreaming
alone in the old country
seeing from where I'm sitting

see me beaming
introspective breathing
lost on the park bench
trees and things overhead

see me beating
always in needing
lost on the Greyhound
it took so long to be found


Because My Window Opens (Haiku)

Because my window opens
The sounds of neighbors and the street
Combat the sounds of the stereo.


Young Once

Ugh...you can only be young once.
             To live another day
             (in this youth)
             is a blessing.
                                    Perk up a little.
                                    You young bloods.
                                    You little demons
                                    in the midst of
                                    Widen those eyes,
                                    newlyborn sons and
                                    Take this breath in,
                                    hold it,
                                    taste the age of
                                    the universe on your
                                    young tongues.

It is our time.
You generation of fresh faces,
                                   fresh thoughts,
                                   fresh actions.

                                   Lighten up, you little
                                   monsters of soul
                                   searching. Brighten
                                   those steps and
                                   realize your youth.

This place you can change.


I Might

Maybe if it was raining,
I might write.
I might hide
behind words,
I might.
I might sigh
despite my kind,
I might.
I might light
this night,
I might.


This Poor Soul

Always dreaming,
this pour soul
always conflicting,
this poor soul,
above ground,
this poor soul
always digging
into that same hole
always flooding,
this poor hole
always draining,
this poor hole
into ground,
this poor hole
always feeding
into this poor soul.


Bedroom Haikus

His gray sweater:
in his closet, hanging,
waiting for winter.

His black tuxedo:
Remembering ancient, prom nights,
collecting dust now.

His brown dress shoes:
in need of detailed cleaning
and some attention.

His warm, winter coat:
heating the air around it,
constantly retaining.

His old, beaten up stereo:
aching for music as always
on the ready.

His orange alarm clock:
one, two, three minutes off!
Will it wake him tomorrow?


The Coat Pocket

He's hurrying now.
Grabbing his things.

He grabs:
                his clothes:
                                  shirts, pants, socks, underwear,
                                                       coat with the ripped pockets.

Where were his keys?

                                                       The pockets again?

Things are piling in the suitcase.
He must've stuffed the thing:

                                               six times.

                                                                       And the zipper.
                                                         How hard it was to pull–

                                              pull the fabrics closer.

And it finally zipped.

His keys.

Where were they?
                                                          In the pocket again?

He looked around wildly.
                                                          He didn't want to check.

                                                          The hole led into the rest of the coat;
                                                          they could be anywhere;
                                                          he'd have to shake it.


                                                                                                   Not the coat.

                                     The dresser?
                                     The end table?
                                     The top of the stereo?
                                     Behind the speakers?
                                                           The coat pocket?
                                                                  –He will not yet check.

                                     The bed?
                                     Under the sheets?
                                     The blankets?
                                     Under the suitcase?
                                     Did he stack the clothes
                                     on top of them?
                                            –He checks quick.
                                            –He checks too quick.
                                                                      –Oh well.
                                     On the bookshelf?
                                            –He needs to read more.
                                            –He promises himself
                                              he will read more.
                                            –Reread the classics.
                                            –Relive the past.
                                     Under the bed?
                                     Did he bring them in there?
                                            –Thought so.

The desk!
In the living room!
The tables!
The chairs!
The counters!

                                                                                        The coat pocket.  


                                                                                        The coat pocket.                  


Where is my Mind? (Haiku)

I checked way out in the water
Didn’t see it swimmin’
Where is my mind?