Bruce Whealton

The September Selected Poet is Bruce Whealton

Please feel free to email Bruce at: brucewhealton@outlook.com



I asked my friend Jean
if I could speak to the Angel of Death.
I wanted to be left alone.

I walk about my days
as if inside a dream
inside another dream.

Yesterday is now.
And I am back from the dead,
with the stench of death
Upon me.

I tried to make it end
back in December
took some pills
after the alcohol.

Three days later,
I was planning it again,
when I got out…

When a girl came out
and asked, “You can’t sleep either?”

You mean I am not alone?

I kept trying to figure out if
this was real.
I asked my roommate
who seemed a bit confused,
along with everyone else.

“Are you seeing or hearing things?”
asked the nurse.

“I wish,” or “Should I be?”

They laugh or just accept my answer.

No, no visions have pierced my darkness…

Across the land, people were going about life
like everything was normal
buying gifts because they think
a man was born to a woman
without her having had sex.

And here I was in a psych hospital. 

Nothing strange about that.
But ask me about why I tried

That’s where things get strange.
It’s like being possessed.
Most times the suicides
do not speak.

Anne Sexton said
“Suicides speak in a secret language,
like carpenters, they do not ask why build,
only which tools.”

If you ask,
no, I didn’t hear a voice.
nothing visionary or hallucinatory
sights or sounds.

Sometimes my world seems
dead. Dark. Cold.
Nothingness echoes
and taunts me.

That’s when “The Angel of Death”
who was conceived
in the mind of my friend,

I listen to other voices—
memories of those who speak
from a place of
those whose love and empathy,
make the world a warmer place,
a safer place
then how it once appeared.

I feel I have a calling, now,
for those who cry out…
for those who know pain.
They need me to live
as much as I need them to live
for me!


It was always you,
from the beginning—
my beginning.
You were the serpent
Tempting me
until I was cursed
back in some ancient
story about a utopian
garden—Eden, it was called.
When my progenitor
gave birth you (or she)
slithered from the womb
Like an umbilical cord
choking me…
pulling me back,
back… yet repulsed
by you (her).
And I knew fear—
fear of losing something
of myself
fear of my desires.
But I’m free now.
I’ve stopped running.
I don’t fear the dirt
beneath my feet—
it has no calling.
I’m free now.

Bruce Whealton is a writer, poet and Clinical Social Worker. He loves to write about his experiences in the mental health field where he spent years healing and bringing hope, joy, compassion, and empathy into the lives of those dealing with emotional and psychological pain and suffering.

Bruce has seen his poetry published in numerous print and online magazines, including The Horror Zine. He began publishing an online poetry magazine called Word Salad Poetry Magazine in 1995 with his then wife Lynn Denise Krupey. This idea of publishing online was new at the time. Later, Jean Arthur Jones, a friend and mentor served as the co-editor for Word Salad Poetry Magazine

Bruce is currently producing a Memoir/Autobiography which is available to read for free HERE