Living Structures – Nicholas Yandell

1.   Down Below: 

Silver tube speeding, 
Blurs of blues and whites, 
Bricks and dark. 

Open cavernous lairs, 
For seasoned daily travelers, 
Absorbed in ignoring liminal surroundings, 
Minds already docked to destinations, 
Hooking in place that final link. 

With a scream to a stop, 
And a chime to begin, 
Towing them away, 
Through final moments, 
Of humming headphones, 
And worn-out Sudoku books, 
Or staring into smeared mirrors, 
From drugstore makeup containers, 
Recalling daytime ravages, 
Before eyes drifting up, 
To carefully chosen words on the wall. 

Gently idling, 
Thoughts steady, 
Until a surfacing moment, 
The jolt of a stop, 
Where we can silence, 
The waking motor, 
And garble the voice, 
Of the great pretender, 
Pulling breath into consciousness. 


To acknowledge freely, 
That we actually are autonomous, 
From the great moving machinery, 
That barrels through, 
These deepest recesses of night. 

2.   Ground Level: 

I could disappear, 
As just a streak, 
In rivers of clothes and skin, 
But how long have I been walking? 

These straight roads, 
Are the only ways I’ve ever known. 

Growing up, 
With dusty trails as mentors, 
Guiding me past the horizon, 
With an itch to escape, 
The binds of familiarity, 
And unwind the long tether of home. 

Now thrown, 
With the vaguest sense of exposure, 
Traversing the wilderness, 
Of a concrete labyrinth, 
Leaving trepidation stalled, 
In shadow alley, 
To find the motion, 
In the moonlight, 
Of empty parking lots. 

Thrust onward, 
On the cement tracks, 
With the long vertical lines, 
And pulsing commands, 
Floating above, 
My broken mirrored movements, 
Shattering the squares, 
Of programmed civilization, 
Where the through is clear, 
But the purpose is cloudy. 


The rising steam, 
To another world, 
Beckons me, 
Beyond light’s riddled paths, 
And the waning flare, 
Of my odyssey, 
In the surface realm. 

3.   Up Above: 

Lost in the city, 
Except for my imagination, 
As an able architect, 
Scaling monoliths, 
Interacting with imprisoned daylight, 
Between the shadows of giants, 
Grappling with gravity, 
Opening eyes that haunt, 
The stone flesh and steel bones. 

Sculpting air, 
Into restless columns, 
Propping up the clouds, 
Coaxing the breath of civilization, 
Into rhythms of the music, 
Filling the atmosphere. 

Dividing the evening sky, 
Folding up the sheets, 
Of this star-studded canvas, 
Before slipping them, 
Into my pocket. 

Envisioning this scene, 
That existed once, 
As just a spark of ambition, 
By wandering the roads, 
With eyes to the stratosphere, 
And a deep dream, 
Embedded within. 

Nicholas Yandell is a composer, who sometimes creates with words instead of sound. In those cases, he usually ends up with fiction and occasionally poetry. He also paints and draws, and often all these activities become combined, because they’re really not all that different from each other, and it’s all just art right?

When not working on creative projects, Nick works as a bookseller at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, where he enjoys being surrounded by a wealth of knowledge, as well as working and interacting with creatively stimulating people. He has a website where he displays his creations; it’s Check it out!

1 Comment

  1. Well done! So glad to see your poetry again!

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