The Fire in Jimmy Louis

Wayne Michael DeHart   (June, 1997)

He endures the emptiness of love lost, of dreams forsaken.
His canvas mourns in brooding browns and ashen grays.
Most say his drive and direction were lost
when she exploded out of his life,
shattering his heart, draining his soul.

Once most likely to succeed, they said.
Ambitious and certain with vision and goals.
But youthful daring and reckless confidence
were too soon manifested in acts of courage in conflict
that brought a hail of hot metal rain to nerve and bone.

Dazed and defeated from the dual punches to his gut,
( the loud rolling thunder of her retreat and
the lightning-quick loss of mobility and dignity ),
his memory of her white-hot kisses had faded to black.

But the mortar’s flame and flash and fury had not.

Now, this day, he vows to cast off the shroud that darkens his world,
shelters his apathy and shields his despair – and incite the embers
of the flickering,  lonely flame she left embedded deep within.

He will awaken his canvas with glorious greens and glistening golds,
then lay down his brush and wheel himself
into the night
into her sight
into her light
into her life
into her.

Together, they will
find …
feel …
fuel …
the fire in Jimmy Louis.

his canvas evolved from this …


to this.


Past / Passed in the Night: Next of Kin

Wayne Michael DeHart  (February, 1997) 

His heart expired at sunset with no one at his side.
The hospital bed was slowly stripped of its linen
by the amiable nurse’s aide who had winked at him
and smiled each time she captured his gaze.

Nary a flower nor a card had graced his room.
The young girl wondered how a man so endearing
could be forsaken by family and friends
as he struggled through his final days.

The doctors had prepared him for the coming of his Night.
The news did not surprise him and he shrugged it off
with a simple nod and drifting thoughts about the irony
of having worked his life away to never be retired.

For days thereafter he watched the door through hopeful eyes.
Maybe his brother or a neighbor or someone from work

would stop by and wish him well and remind him
that he had been respected and admired.

But he knew that no one  would come and sit down by his bed.
His had been a private life of unattended needs;
endless hours of solitude and solitaire
and sleepless dreams under unshared covers.

He once gave his heart to an Asian woman who promised him forever.
But she left in the night of their eighty-seventh day
and he realized he would never again find such wonder
in the silent, barren touch of casual lovers.

In his fiftieth year a vicious cancer ravaged his insides.
His restless mind was cluttered in his twilight hours
with what-ifs and should-haves and lifelong regrets
of one who knows he will soon be dead.

He was certain that his passing would hardly be noted.
But while the rest of the staff took the flatline in stride
the nurse’s aide, an Asian girl, sat down where no one had
right next to the empty bed.

She bid him Good Night and wished him stars in his sky.
Eyes closed, she paused for a breath,
remembering his face, embracing his grace –
before rising with a wink and a smile.

She sensed somehow that in passing
he had found what he had missed.
Because the girl who touched the spirit
of the man without a wife
was, unknown to both, 
his only child.