The Half-Dead Poet Review – Are You A Human, Poet, Alchemist or Recluse?

R.M. Engelhardt

Some Notes On Life, Peace, Poetry & Dirty Realism


Dirty Realism

Under the festering summer skies
The poor they still dream of love

(And in the suburbs it’s the same)

An ode to nothing real
But that of which remains

But some of us transcend
By drinking from the veins

Of clarity

(This movie is not noir)

So I write you a poem
Full of nothing but truths
I write you a sonnet
About nothing but the
Sadness & desolation
Of humanity … dust
And all the illusions we
All seek

Another city story
Full of gritty scenes
And cheap clichés
Without beauty
Without dreams
And only poverty
Death & disease

Of anger
Of hate
Fight scenes
Wars, drunks
And blue collar
Domestic violence
And violent
Of false bravado
Revenge sex
And lust

But quite frankly
I’m old, and
I’m sick of
All this shit

As we all move
Closer to the truth
As we all move inches
Closer to our
Own demise and
As we all move
Towards the
End of all ends
Sitting on the
Magnetic lines
The chess pieces
Of a forgotten earth

But I?
I just surrender.

I give another
Dollar to the
Panhandler on
The street
And I go home and
Write another
Poem for my wife
Drink some wine
Eat dinner
And smile

And write a poem
About all the shit
And all the life that
Really matters

After all
The dirty realists
Of the world all
The news channels
And the politicians,
Frauds & drama queens
Have ruined the
Happy ending of
Yet another day
Another week

And at night when
Everything is real
All things
All life
Will be truth

And that’s
When you realize
That everything
No matter what
Will be ok.


Alchemy [al-kuh-mee]

Alchemy n. 1. A power or process of transforming something common into something special. 2. An inexplicable or mysterious process by which paradoxical results are achieved with no obvious rational explanation.


So, here above is a poem. A poem written in response to the current conditions of the world, my world my life. It’s not surprising because as writers this is what we do but when you read the words they convey the poet’s views, the poet’s sarcasms’ and in the end who the writer (at least these days) is. Or? What truly matters to an individual and what they identify with at any given moment. Or maybe it’s just really a poem about what’s wrong with America and the fear of what might be coming next. The possibility that our lives are about to change with the chance that Trump or Hillary might be at the helm. It’s frightening. As a civilization we still haven’t beaten poverty, starvation or homelessness. And we still have terrorists and fanatics killing people, acting out and trying to make up for having small dicks through their pathetic violence and hate. But our lives go on in moments and in dreams and that’s how we all survive. Life goes on by fighting all these monsters and simply saying no more and realizing that it’s time we somehow find a way to fix this shit so that our children don’t inherit it.

I admit it.

For quite awhile now I’ve been gone. And it seems that people are always asking me questions :

“Where have you been?”

“Do you still go to readings?”

“Are you still writing?”

I smile and say “Yes” or “Occasionally”. I just put a new book out. Got married last year. Things are good. We’re happy.

But as a human being no matter how good things are I still can’t ignore all the things that are happening around me or who I used to be when I contributed to the big picture and made things happen.

Looking back everybody has their 15 minutes of fame and their moment in the sun and I’ve had mine and many others over the years. I’ve created, I’ve hosted, I’ve published. I’ve won awards, been the subject of articles, written articles, got best of’s and have conquered and left my mark on the Capital District and I’m ok with all of that. I don’t live in the past. It’s a rule. As a writer I still share my work with friends in groups and send out to magazines. I collaborate on projects with my wife and I help people heal, survive and eat on a daily basis through my work for NY State. So I can’t complain. I’ve found purpose, meaning and have settled down and I still love writing & publishing and always will. And the literary rock star, local celebrity days are gone but fondly remembered for what they were.  Days & nights full of friends, readings and amazing experiences. Music, drinking, love, poetry and the spoken word. And when I do get a bit nostalgic looking back I think all our collective efforts made one helluva difference. We, the poets of that era, (Albany Poets) changed things. We made great things happen and that’s our legacy. And although I sound like I’m 80 I know that those times aren’t over yet. There will always be more to do, new ideas to pursue and always more poems/events to create. Not to mention more than likely new monsters to fight come the next election. In the past we have fought AIDS, book banning and censorship, raised money for important causes and have had alot of fun doing it. So maybe it’s time as writers, artists & musicians and as a community that we brought a few of those moments, benefits back and continue to help more people. More animals, the earth.



Rather than face what really is, we prefer to retreat and compare what we’re living through with the way we think it oughta be. Suffering comes from the comparison between the two.Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen


After all, in the end it’s only the words that matter. That and what you stand for.
And the world? No matter who you are?

“It needs you”

Change doesn’t evolve from one person but the many standing together.

Big question is;

What do you stand for?
What do you write about?
Who are you?

Are You A Human, Poet, Alchemist or Recluse?

Keep writing. Keep creating & keep your spirit alive.

See you around Albany.