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In June, “Superior Achievement in Poetry Collection” — Tom Piccirilli

Forgiving Judas by Tom Piccirilli

Forgiving Judas by Tom Piccirilli

Tom Piccirilli won the first Bram Stoker Award for poetry in 2000 for his collection A Student Of Hell. In 2015, he won the most recent Stoker for his collection Forgiving Judas.

To celebrate his most recent win, here are Tom’s favorite poems from Forgiving Judas:

Forgiving Judas
By Tom Piccirilli

I am Lazarus sliding the stone aside,
groping in darkness, mute, choking on the black
Without even the squeaking of rats or bats
to guide me back to the world,
God’s light fails, God’s voice is an immutable breath,
I await the angry angel Azreal to commit me
to the pit, as I sit and patiently await for Lucifer to visit.
I have lost all dreams,
all fantasies, all memories
And given them to the dust,
except for when I write and come alive.
At thirteen I awoke in the morning angry and mean
And stayed that way for twenty years.
Would I have thought so much of suicide if I only knew how hard
I would one day fight for my life?
I remain stolid and solid only because I am stuffed
Full of regrets, fears, cancer, love, and sins.
If only my mother could forgive me for my aimless transgressions,
My ingratitude.  My betrayals.  My lack of a kind word.  My inability
to speak my heart and thankfulness.
Outside the rock are sacrifices left behind.  Oil and lamb and dried fruits
I eat in the moonlight.  I wash with the oil and dream to burn
It’s the only yearning
The finality of my learning.
There is so much drama, theater, posturing, and screaming.
You all need to just calm the fuck down
Like all those nice cool, quiet people in the ground.

I have lived many lives
By Tom Piccirilli

And then the dreams come with tidal force
Where I awaken without knowing where I am,
Who I am,
Who my wife is, or remember how to breathe.
And I live somewhere else, And my wife is someone else,
And I am someone else.
I sweat in fear, in acknowledgement of madness,
The taste of seaweed kisses in my mouth,
In the throes of darkness on my belly.
I have lived many lives at night.
The alternate dimensions of possibilities confront
Each other between midnight and dawn. Perhaps I’m
A boxer, or a chef, or a cop, or a billionaire philanthropist
With a carload of kids.  We’re off to a picnic, a school play,
The choir, a soccer game, sometimes I’m dead, sometimes
I’m somebody named Ted, or Al, or Bill, or Fred.  And when Fred
Goes to bed, he sometimes sees me, peering at him from inside
his head.

For more on Tom Piccirilli: Website:
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TomPiccirilli

Finally, Tom graciously gave me permission to share his most recent poem, which was submitted to the HWA Showcase in 2015:

By Tom Piccirilli

I am protected by the dead I stand at the front window and watch them
Fighting on the lawn– my mother, dad. Dragging the demons off my ass,
Now for all to see in the night. Breathe the moon. Criswell our pug is out
There too, leaping through hellholes of flame. Each year closer to perfect
Love as they recede in darkness. Wavering white figments.

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