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Remnants and Shadows

by Eric Bonholtzer

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Eric Bonholtzer

About the Author:

    Eric Bonholtzer’s work has appeared in numerous publications. He is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He is currently working on a Master’s Program and pursuing his craft. An avid writer, Eric has penned more than fifty short stories and is hard at work on a novel. This is his first collection of poetry. More information is available at www.ericbonholtzer.com Eric is also involved in the acting field, having appeared in several television shows and movies. He resides in the Los Angeles area.


For Suzanne Bonholtzer
For being the best mother anyone could possibly ask for.

Section 1: Time and Space

The Stars of Heaven’s Floor

(A Villanelle)

Sometimes time itself only endures,
Silver streams slip by with good intention.
What is lost will be found, a watch, a candle filled cake

A resonance, a clock, a cloaked shadow of before
Latter day knights and birthday candles going unmentioned
It is sometimes only time that endures

The schoolyard sits still, a moon echoing for
The line of children on a path to invention
Sometimes it cannot be found, a sigh, a simple laugh

A blank wall of crayoned scraped murals, abhorred
sands whipping across the face of relation
Dust settled, the wall still, time endured.

Longing for the one forgotten present, wanting more
The one wished for never stolen kiss of aggravation
In the lost and found book, not all lines even out.

While ivory tower hobos contemplate the stars of Heaven’s floor
The tide ebbs flowing forward still, just one rail of the station.
Time is not a synonym for endurance
What is lost is often a memory found.

Scales and Balance

A swirl of dragon’s tail scales lights the night sky
Creating impossible stars, cold, impassive vacuums
Clearing away ephemeral dust
Like a book blown clean by wet lips.

Time falls and folds, chipped away
No one remembers the things forgotten by time
Right is replaced by innovation
And time stands still on a frozen computer.

The stone woman holds the scales, cradles them
The illusion of balance.
It is always this way, every time
Why would you expect any different?

One day they will build a railway to the sky
To the farthest disconnected star
Not to enlighten but to gawk,
And the ride will not be free.

This is the price of not looking around when you can
The television a one way mirror
Oceans swelling even in a storm
And the waves that beat back leering encroachments.

An illusion of balance
Would you expect anything different?

If you stop reading it, it will die.
And want, and plead for an audience
A resurrection. A bird of ashes.
Perhaps just strong enough not to be blown away by the gentle wind
Perhaps You can’t expect anything different
So it will never be

Pyramids stand and crumble beneath the sun and stars
Against vines that constrict rock
Of a foundation built on sand
Always on sand. The titanic mistake forgotten.
You remember a memory but don’t learn:

Balance is an illusion
You expect nothing different.


They gather beneath stars, particles themselves
Among branched trees and crooked paths
Straight stones set standing sentinel, watching the approach.

A wicked bonfire soaks with a cool glow,
A diary meaning, keeping the day
But now it is night beneath the stars as they gather

Amid churches and cafeterias, among school children they huddle
Keeping the world safe from cigarettes,
Cocaine, crack, and inebriation, the pain of remembering and forgetting.

It is communal, like bread passed between lips,
A shrouded moment in which we feel a part of something
No disconnected dots or stars, but a whole, a race, among other things.

The Misconception of Time

Overrated clock hands strike
Holding signs.
A bell whistles
And yet someone else
Amid sounds of muted joy
hopeless white noise and
static lines of alibi spewing liars.
The little hand races the large
To see who can finish the circuit first
. They are tricky little devils.

It slips without even trying to stay, still
Others try to catch up to the white rabbit
Who has long since decided to bury its head in the sand
And hope for the best as it left the race
A pile of bones waiting for new flesh.
Others fit these categories: Out of print books,
never printed manuscripts, a car at the shop
just waiting for that long overdue tune up
A new timer belt or odometer
A speedometer doesn’t really matter that much when you stop to think about it.

High way, free way, low way,
They’re all the same.
Stop again if you want to look, and take pictures.
Of that ticking, ticking of radio and watch both.
Get out.
Emit progress in your walk.
The backward progression
Moving forward again
It’s time.

All at the restless pace of progression.

Looking up

A child, wide eyed, stares at the picture
It immolates quickly as he pierces the night’s sky
Wondering, wondering where, where did you go?

Have you forgotten about me?
Not all of them. Me.
I am not selfish. I wonder.

The alley stretches and clothing hangs,
Limp like heads, bowed in supplication or prayer
or questioning of the whole world.

I wasn’t bad. I wasn’t good
But I wasn’t bad. That should
count for something.

He is only ten. It is not a game
But life, one of questions and a missing manual
That could have told the directions
If anyone would have taken the time to read it anyway.

There are good books people don’t read
They just don’t have the time.

The star shines brighter as the fire burns stronger within,
Carbon smoke twirls upward, twin dragons twine and swallow their own tails
Nostrils flare at the sweet stench, eyes heavenward
Looking, searching. Perhaps the farthest star is it.

Is that where you’ve gone?
That is where you’ve gone.

A cry from the upstairs window breaks the picture
As night’s sweet dessert is done and it’s time to go home
To consume. To fill up with sugary sustenance
And still feel illiterate and empty.


I see through the dragon’s eye.
Timeless viewed scales.
Alleyways with muted hymns of joy
Verandas of profound sorrow
Another stone upon the ageless back.

In another time a woman cries
As a baby laughs.
Dust chokes back mottled tears,
Settling, swirling, bodies of lies.
Clink as the stones clang together among good company

I saw a flower once
As it grew between boards bent in disagreement.
Inside the window an old man tries to scrub his face young,
And now you wash and try to become clean.
A belt of Scripture holds me straight.

All the answers are out there
But sometimes looking at the puzzle too close
Seems to be solving a riddle with cracked glasses.
One that only looks complete when it is turned upside down,
Or at a slant or a distance.
Never right before one’s face.
It’s simply too close.


Sever the chains of time.
Don’t wait. The opportunity is at hand.
Slip sneaking through the chinks and cracks
In your tether, feet sinking, immured
Mired against the precipice
Standing with clawed hand holds
The fettered soles bonded and ironed
Out in the wrinkles of darkness.

It suffocates like feathers down
the gullet, forced projections
against a wall like Plato’s shadows,
shouting, mounds of bones piled skeletons high.
The knot ties, the unchained impassively constricting
And keeping close together like a child’s crayons
still in the box

Some say the body is a prison
A bone, blood, and flesh cell
Everyone a convict, kept in mind.
However, not everyone is right.
And opinions are always subjective.

A caricature against a wall, made with charcoal
from a fresh hot fire, sits becoming prettier while
black and white skies appear in unison, watching over
captors and saviors alike. A striped staircase to climb
Prodded by an invisible hand never letting go.


Lining the skies,
the silent memories sit,
just waiting for an audience
To take the time to listen, and truly hear what the wisps
Of remembrances of times long since past have to say
That remain with us, and stop and stay a while enjoying
Like storytellers by the fire, spinning entrancing yarns
And looming over the horizon, just waiting, a promise
Of a new day
If the past is remembered
And given its chance
To speak.

Section II: Artifacts and Memories


Murals paint the way
Not the kind glimpsed in art museums
Or artist’s studios or even
Collector’s cellars.

No, they are half-glimpsed
caught from the corner of the
eye while speeding seventy
beneath freeway overpasses.

Relics. Remnants of a bygone
age when there was still some
semblance of an instruction manual.
Pictographs. Hieroglyphs.

A man clothed in a loincloth
of tattered rags, begging
for change at the corner of Fountain & Vine
said once, “Life was simple then.”

Modern marvels: age of miracles
of cellular sheets pulled over
eyes that once saw simply
Now muted beneath a gray black shroud.

In the desert somewhere, an arch stands alone,
a bent finger that once pointed
toward the heavens above
now bent, burying its face in the sand
until the winds of change
once again sweep it clean
Until it truly can be seen.

Truth or Consequences

There is a town that straddles the border
of fiction and reality, with desert air and blistering sun
As drifters migrate and lay claim for years
Like seconds, left over by the wayside.

In a place in the middle of nowhere
Where friends lay their heads to rest
And it is easier to watching the highway
Take it slow and observe the difference
Between what is real and what comes from reality

It is a place of dusty roads and bikes spewing fumes
Swirling with riders, running from something or for something
At the same time blending to create this place
Of existence and time out of mind

It can be done in this place,
Where possibility is always possible.
And the bright dry sky whispers
With clouds that drift lazily by, as if to say
Relax and enjoy the moment that is here forever.

As the sand crunches beneath boots that have seen too many roads
And too few safe havens and sleep filled nights. Now they still
Rest as doorways ever swing inward for cowboys and thieves
That if the silence is kept, it is possible to catch a glimpse
Of the evening air whistling, as it slowly passes by.

The Arch in the Desert

Once it was worshiped.
Revered as a temple.
A still obelisk; red sandstone
Wind-whipped but unbroken.

They made their pilgrimage, like
Jerusalem, like Mecca, like
Bethlehem, like the tree of Enlightenment
and time.

Figures fought the sun and wind
To traverse the sand swept plains
Though they could see it, a modern Sinai,
With backs bent with gifts.

For two score days they would wander
Their idol like a needle, pointing onward
Babies cried, the old died,
but when they reached their destination
Their burdens of presents and sacrifices relieved
they find in their salvation
That it was within themselves all along.

Now it stands, bent, succumbed as all must to time.
Its worshipers dead or scattered.
It really doesn’t matter as it waits
A living undead monument
Praying for resurrection
That would someday come
And all that could be done now was wait.

Always Learning

It stands like a silhouette in the distance,
A pinnacle with dark blazing light
Shining amber fire from within
the waves of approaching humanity
Huddled before the shadow and before the flame

Tattered feet bend with white washed soles,
Scrubbed clean for this sacrosanct shrine
Where they can rest as they await the embrace
Of learning, the crisp brightness of volumes of lore
The shadow of waiting, to crest the hill and find release
As all come in their journey blissfully ignorant
Despite all they have learned.

It is a long way to go
traversing sweeping expanses
So long spent
Each speck of dust studied until its features
Become as well known as their own

Ever onward and upward, a progression building
To a crescendo and a climax in a house of light
Like a construction of ideas resting atop a wave
Library of Alexandria, bringing enlightenment
To be swept across sand onto muddy banks
Where happy memories are deposited for rainy days

Remnants and Shadows

you can also view portions of this book as a 5.4 meg

Remnants and Shadows PDF file