The Dash

The Dash

Empty as a ceiling crack

A crooked hell

with no goodbyes.

Silent as the bead of light

that roams the insides of my eyes

Rocking warm and green

in an ocean heavy sleep

sinking cold and blue

growing dim and falling deep

with just a hollowed name

in bas relief

now carved around

my disbelief.

And only the stonemason

Is keeping me safe

with a name to replace

an anonymous face

as he sweats the delicate

calligraphy of closure

that stalks in the shadow

of aftermath

and the blindness that

Follows the mortal flash

the urge of the push

the sting of the slap

wide eyed and sticky

stark naked and numb

blue and alone

then a sharp shock of breath

was cueing me in

at the start of the

The Dash

I craved

like an opposite season

while I laid on a couch

robbed of all reason

my pupils dilated

for a glimpse of my soul

poking around

in search of the

whole half-spliced

between a singular stroke

of righteous identity

and a swift fatal dose

of hopeless fragility

a mere nanosecond before

being sucked inside

a wriggling wormhole

punching through

the bent fabric of space

(in a mathematical manner only

Stephen Hawking understands

but cannot quite articulate)

The Dash

that cradled all

the serendipitical moments

now emptied of meaning

all the karmic coincidences

and cosmic signs I was reading.

The Dash—

the sleepwalk through the waking dream

the ticking numbered daze between

the elastic of childhood solstice

the sagging equinox of age

the dull throb in the temple

the ball peen hammer jolt of rage

the drag and tumble of time

that ebbs in the hissing foam

and recedes in the slow tide of ends

loosened and frayed

and unraveling fast

as I slip off the edge of

The Dash.

© 2011 susan beck

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Comments 18 comments

Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 4 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks Cyndi- glad you stopped by!! I'll hop over to your page and check you out too!

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 4 years ago from Georgia

If this represents the rest of your work, then you have great talent with the pen. This was such an eloquent summation of the journey through life - the dash between the date. Here and gone too quickly; just a punctuation mark on the fabric of time. Really enjoyed this.

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

You've described the dash with true eloquence! This is a lovely, rhyming and flowing piece with so much feeling. It leads the reader to do a lot of thinking, "And only the stonemason can keep me safe..." That line alone leads to a lot of thinking and searching. Great job! Voted up, interesting and awesome.

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

many a sermon has been written about the Dash. Loved this poem.

Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 4 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks, studentteacher- even your comments are poetic!

studenttoteacher 4 years ago

Great stuff, the rhythm is excellent and hypnotic, like hanging off the edge of surrender.

Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 4 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Saddle! hey old pal! and to my new friends Marty, marcoujor, happyboomer and kenneth- how wonderful to have you read my hubs and enjoy them. I am truly grateful for your support and words of kindness. I got this idea at a funeral (no surprise there!) and it took some time before this one materialized. There was another draft haunting me awhile, until I hit the delete button and pared it down a bit. Anyway, THANK YOU GUYS!!!!

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Came here through Marcoujor's recommendation and am glad I did. This poem was amazing. Am voting it up, awesome and interesting.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Dear Steele Fields, I must say THIS hub blows away, "Losing her," by a country mile. I LOVE THIS HUB!!! So prophetic, nostalgic, and TRUE. The dash. This part:

The Dash—

which was everything between

the ball-peen hammer jolt

of numbered days

the elastic stretch of childhood solstice

hit me square in the heart. You are a great talent, Steele. Take this as a truthful response. Comment. And I invite YOU to check out some of my non-prose works...that will give you a laugh, and I want to ask you as humbly as I can, "Would you be my follower?" That would mean so much to me.

Happy New Year and keep up the great work.

Your Fan, Friend, in an unconditional way,


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

This is an incredible poem, describing the bare indescribable reality in such a way I felt like discovering a truth that was hidden for ages and at last found by me, and I feel like hiding it again because nobody will be able to appreciate it.

Voted up and absolutely awesome. Your choice of words and metaphors are truly impressive.

saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 4 years ago

Nice to see you back scribing, I believe when we fall between the cracks, by leaving for awhile and trying to fill as much time between the dash before it catches up to us and then come back to add another brilliant hub such as this one you scribed it get's less attention due to our absence? Possibly?

However this is not a piece that should go unnoticed. I fell on this only because of seeing the link placed in Hub Hoppers by Maria Jordan. Maria is a godsend as well to the Hubs and she and the Epi man tend to promote many of us in Hub Hoppers. A place you may want to consider joining.

You are a very talented and gifted poet that we all know for sure. I enjoyed commenting on your work when you scribed, then you dropped off for a spell and now are back. If this is the start of your New Year with this wonderful articulation and description from your soul about what a Dash represents in one's life then I say BRAVO and agree with all the comments left below mine here.

You are a brilliant poet and I loved how you described the birth to death allusion. The thin vale of time that is allowed to us humans before we are given our ticket and it's punched to enter the other side of a new beginning. Happy New Year Steele Fields and again, welcome back. Rated UP awesome and beautiful with vigor.

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA


Thank you for finding me because your work moves me with its passion and power. This is worthy of reading several times to thoroughly absorb your thoughtful message. Voted UP and incredibly Beautiful.

I will share with FB and Digg to hopefully raise your traffic to where it so rightfully belongs.

I look forward to reading much more. Peace, Maria

Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 4 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Lol, Deb. I think sending flares on Hubpages is prohibited. But you're here and that's all that matters. Thanks...


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Steele ~ eloquently spoken in this poem about life, which passes way too quickly. How much can we fit into that "dash" like a mad "dash" through time. Blessings into the New Year. Debby

P.S. I agree with Wayne that many great works do not receive the attention they deserve. But, as you know, with so many members of the community writing so many pieces of literature, we all have to wade through so much flying by on the main page. How can we send a signal or light a flare for extra notice here?

Steele Fields profile image

Steele Fields 4 years ago from drexel hill,pa Author

Thanks Wayne and Pearl. As always, your opinions are both valued and appreciated. It's always so nice to hear from you guys. Happy holidays!

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

For most folks there is a lot of space connotated by that simple dash in the date line of birth and death yet the dash is about all that is visible there to represent it. This is a fantastic poem and it has recieved little notice...can't figure that out but maybe it goes along with the logic of the dash. Thanks for sharing it. Up and Awesome. WB

Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 4 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

So nice to see you are back to believing in the power of your words. The sound of your voice is so special, can't you tell like we can? The poster before me agrees with me. Stand back and read your work... amazing! I want you to come write with me... you know that and should know that I will not stop suggesting that until you agree... Such a voice that inspires me, as mine perhaps inspires someone else. Come stand on high hills and yell with me!

This piece is awesome and containers a perfect balance of loss, anger and cynical logic to drive the subject at a pace beyond its predetermined expectation. I love your voice! Have I told you that lately?

Nick 4 years ago

Epic effort to capture the inexpressible. You have such creativity in your choice of subject matter. Hope all is well and that you don't ponder falling off the dash too much when there's so much inside it worth noticing..

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