That generation of men

That generation of men


How long did I work with people who were abused?

Thirty eight years of my life

but always meeting that resistance

of silence and absolute denial by that generation of men


Thirty eight years trying to get through a wall

of silence, of intolerance,

it seems ridiculous to me now the ends they’d go

to avoid listening or do anything.


I was known in the United States

my boss shut his door refusing to answer his phone

he was out or in a meeting his secretary said

when I could see his car outside my window


That generation of men who believed children

asked for it in some way

or thought the abusers of children were right

it didn’t do the child harm after all they’re still breathing still alive.


Thirty eight years of listening

and now I worry that nothings really changed

another generation of men

are not talking about what they really think.



Published in I Am Not A Silent Poet October 2017.

Red Poets Magazine 2017


To the muted drum

Of my slow heart beat

One step, two step,

Each step in time.

A headless man,

A fountain of blood,

Walks uninvited

Into my dreams.

One step, two step,

Each step in time

A fountain of blood

That gushes in streams,

Covers my clothes,

Covers my eyes.

Other men standing

Leaden and still,

Faces caught frozen,

Unhinged by the sight.

One step, two step,

Each step in time.

A line of masks,

Wrinkled and creased,

Skin like leather

Painted dim white.

One step, two step,

Each step in time.

A lost ball rolling

To drip red feet,

Spins on the black track,

To show once again

The screaming wide gape

Of still twisted lips.

One step, two step,

Each step in time.

In the low long lean

Of the coal yards rise,

Smooth steel rails

Snake on the flat land

Like silvered blades.

And a raw red sun

Pours tears in the sky,

Pours scorn in the hand,

Pours fear in my eye.

One step, two step,

Each step in time.

A man on his back,

A fountain of blood

Awash in a stretcher

Continues to writhe.

To the muted  drum

Of my cold heart beat.

One step, two step,

Each step in time.




Published Red Poets Magazine 2017.

First published in Rob Cullen’s poetry collection “Uncertain Times” Octavo Press 2016.

SOS from the Frontier

An SOS from the frontier.

This is a message from the borderlands

an endless void a windswept land

it is a desert stripped bare of features.

So I whisper the message – If you could have heard

all that I’ve heard. If you could see all that I’ve seen

if you could have been there, far out there and if you

could have listened to peoples words, listened to those

broken hurting people and that place out there, in here,

in me, in you. The dark frontier, that secret place you know

I know, we know, we all know, but deny its existence.

But for me there is no choice. I cannot deny its imprint

on my mind, my memory is not blind, deaf or unfeeling.

But I wish sometimes that it might be so. Now what do I do

with these memories, the words I do not wish to store,

and hold like some mad treasure trove, archive of horrors

of mankind, of humankind the stories told and told again,

The faces change but the pain and fear, the words remain.

It’s unending, it’s our narrative as long as we survive

this story will evolve and grow for we are humans.

I worked amongst the desolation, fragments,

survivors, of lives that might have flowered.

And that endless unknowing of what might have been

of who would I have been if that had not been done

to me, to who I was, a child, and unsuspecting.

Imagine the innocence and the quiet trust.

And all that time of working to heal – denial.

A total blindness to the reality of the harm

being done to children everywhere you look.

It’s a reality, take a bus or a train, sit in a café

you will be close to someone who has survived.

And then the guaranteed denial that fact is fact

In the face of all that. And then that sound

of wheels within wheels grinding, the noise

of conversations and the deals in closed rooms

to keep silence, to protect the perpetrators

and prevent the door room from being opened

and the truth from being known and shared.

Forty years of denial, obstruction and frustration.

Our lives are brief, a mere fluttering in time.

So open the door wide and let the light in!

From Rob Cullen’s collection “Uncertain Times” published September 2016 Octavo Press.