Exposed: A Collection of Poems

Exposed: A Collection of Poems

by John McCarthy

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Who are we? Where do we come from? What is our purpose? These questions have been asked throughout our existence. Ever since the first campfire was lit, we have asked ourselves if we could do better. And we have wondered what lies in the future.

Exposed is a collection of poetry written by John McCarthy, first as therapy and then as an outlet for a vast expanse of emotions. His perspective has been shaped by thirty years of police and investigation experience and by being an avid hunter and nature enthusiast. This collection is the culmination of a four-year journey that begins with despair over a broken marriage and ends in redemption. It’s an honest reflection of life’s experiences and of a search for a higher calling.

This poetic journey begins with “Something’s Wrong,” in which two strangers in a long marriage pass each other as life goes by. They know everything about each other, but they do not really know the things that matter—particularly how to say the things that need to be said. The author’s melancholy path takes us through periods of reflection and self-pity, but it closes on a note of hopefulness.

Exposed reveals the poet’s enlightenment and purpose—his love of the mountains and the sea, and inspiration passing through old, lonely country towns that time has forgotten. Experience the world through McCarthy’s eyes and words: the tragic, the sadness, the lonely, the joy, the redemption, and the beauty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781491707265
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/06/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 110
File size: 679 KB

Read an Excerpt


A Collection of Poems

By John McCarthy

iUniverse, LLC

Copyright © 2013 John McCarthy
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4917-0724-1


    Something's Wrong

    "There's something wrong," she says
    With a sigh.
    Anguished looks with tension-filled stares,
    Troubled glances as they walk by.
    Months turn to years, and years turn
    To stone.
    No talking, just walking to be
    Left alone.

    Children grown, no phone calls or cards.
    Toys all gone, broken bikes in
    Empty yards.
    "There's something missing," she says with a look.
    Uneven sighs with crumpled brows
    Into uncovered books.

    "There's something not right," she says
    With a glance.
    Sleepless bed, romantic dreams have
    No chance.
    Months turn to years, and years turn
    To blank.
    Lonely bags on an uncharted course,
    I don't think she's coming back.

    "There's something wrong," she says
    With a tear.
    All those years together are gone. Memories lost,
    I fear.
    Years dissolved to nothing. And nothing
    Turns to dust.
    All gone. Left alone. Blown away
    By a gust.

    In an Old, Gray Town

    In an old, gray town, darkened by a
    Winter sky,
    Sit lonely, broken people, whose
    Dreams have died.
    Silent and soiled, stained from
    Poverty's hold.
    Passing through life's span,
    Their stories forgotten, and
    Happiness never tried.

    Timeless tales of stories left
    Faces scared with blank stares,
    Shivering in the cold.
    Forgotten people with empty yards
    And empty plates.
    Wrinkled children sketched with
    Faces of old.

    Whispering wind crashing through a
    Broken gate.
    Decaying lives, clinging, and gasping
    At heaven's wait.
    Senseless touch of a cold, heartless
    Doubting dreamers of a
    Futureless state.

    This nameless old town, whose
    Outlook is bleak
    Has nameless old people, whose
    Names we don't speak
    And shutters and gates that
    Rattle and creak.
    An old town with old people, who
    Rattle and creak.

    In the Heart of the County

    There is a county in upstate New York where the fields are
    Green and vast.

    There is a field there, in that county, where the grass grows high
    And the sun lasts.

    And on that field sits a house, old and gray, clapboards worn
    And curtains torn.

    And in that house is a room, where the occupant sits
    And hope was born.

    The occupant of that room is a man, whose name is on a
    Board at the road.

    Inside that man is a heart filled with pain
    And surrounded by cold.

    The heart beats slowly now. The days are short,
    And the nights grow long.

    He thinks about how lonely he is
    And feels he doesn't belong.

    For in that heart of the lonely man who sits inside that old, gray
    In that field
    Is the hope for a better day, unlike today,
    And a promise that
    love may yield.

    Everything You Need

    Everything you need to know is right there
    In front of you.
    The problem with seeing is believing
    What you see.
    Events become tainted and askew.
    People turn out changed, not what
    They ought to be.

    Everything you want to hear is right there
    In front of you.
    The problem with hearing is believing
    What you hear.
    Talk becomes cheap, something that
    Our mouths spew.
    Listening turns out to be a chore, easier to
    Turn out a tear.

    Everything you want to feel is right there
    In front of you.
    The problem with feeling is believing
    What you feel.
    Touch becomes painful, something that our
    Hearts already knew.
    Feelings turn out to be an obstacle. Don't want to feel the
    Pain that is real.

    Everything you need to know is right there
    In front of you.
    The problem with seeing, hearing, and feeling is
    Knowing what is wanted.
    And what is real.
    Logic becomes the shackle when
    Love comes to view.
    Pain fills the heart, tears flow down from swelled eyes
    When true love is squandered.
    And your heart wants to feel.

    Alone in the Dark

    Although the pain has filled
    My heart,
    You will never see a tear on
    My cheek.
    Although the time has come for us
    To part,
    I can never show that I am mortal
    And weak.

    Real men cry alone in the
    Where no one can see their pain fill
    Their eyes.
    Real men weep alone in the
    Where no one can hear the anguish in
    Their sighs.

    They walk away, close the door, and sit in a room
    Filled with black,
    Never revealing the river of emotion streaming down upon
    Their face.
    They say a few words, grunt and mumble, and are strong when
    They come back.
    But they have left themselves in some lonely,
    Dark place.

    The pain and sorrow have killed the fire in
    Their soul.
    The unmentionable abuse and sleepless nights have
    Taken their toll.
    But for the ones who rely on them the most,
    They play the part.
    Real men cry alone, in the

    Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

    Who sits tall in the saddle
    Who protects us when evil lurks, looks out for us, and
    Leads the way?
    Who is there to show us when right is right and
    Wrong is wrong?
    Where have all the cowboys gone?

    When you walk through a door and it
    Slams in your face.
    When a fight and angry words break out
    Over a space.
    When courage calls for his friend, integrity,
    To ride on.
    Where have all the cowboys gone?

    No more tips of the hat and
    "Thank you, ma'am."
    No more "Howdy neighbor, I'll do
    What I can."
    No more "Friend in need, I'll share
    What I own."
    Where have all the cowboys gone?

    Why are there no more heroes
    To call?
    Why are there no more men to
    Stand tall?
    Why are we so used to
    Being alone?
    Where have all the cowboys gone?

    The Unwanted Man

    No calls or faxes, no e-mails
    Or notes.
    No smiles or glances, no comfort
    Or conciliatory votes.
    The loneliness and heartache accompany me;
    I am not alone.
    The feelings of emptiness and solitude,
    That is what I own.

    Empty walls where pictures belong, no nails to hang
    Any hope.
    Vacant hearts where love belongs; no emotion to heal,
    Falling fast down a dangerous,
    Slippery slope.

    The despair can fill your head and cloud your judgment,
    Like Richard Cory.
    The desperate path down the road of pain and emptiness—
    There is no glory.

    The sun will rise one day; I can
    Only hope.
    I know the loneliness and pain will go away; I will learn
    To cope.
    The words I have to speak now, to get through the day, are
    "Yes, I can."
    This is the path I own right now, the journey of
    The unwanted man.

    The Illusions Are Real

    Once, in a moment of despair,
    while grasping for strings,
    Gasping for air,

    I fell down a mountainside.
    Going nowhere fast.
    Struggling to turn the tide,

    Feeling nowhere bound.
    And trying to undead the part of me
    That I knew had died.

    Twice, for a chance at
    Redemption—I climbed
    A slippery slope.
    Both times, I have to meekly mention,
    I was unprepared for adversity.
    I had no rope.

    Three times was not the charm for me.
    I became a casualty of myself,
    Of my misguided rain.

    Tried to climb to the highest peak,
    To find a view of the sea.
    Wishing I had rope, to tie from a limb,
    To hang from my neck,
    To swing free of my pain.

    Finally, I have found my peace
    And an understanding of my place.
    Found the answer in the simple things,
    Such as a banana peel.

    You have to peel back its skin
    To find its true face.
    I had to peel away all that was clouding
    My way—to find
    The illusions are real.

    Soulitary Confinement

    There is a weathered old man with hair of gray
    And a faraway stare.
    He lives in a house made of logs,
    And his soul is bare.
    His house is his prison; his guilt
    Is the bars.
    His heart is empty,
    And the years have been many, and he says he
    Just doesn't care.

    The punishment is long, and there is no
    Chance of parole.
    The warden is his conscience, who hides the
    Key to his soul.
    The screws are his memories,
    The nightmares of his dreams.
    The ideation of suicide is not
    One of his goals.

    There are many ways to imprison a man,
    More than we know.
    Bars and cement are not needed, just
    Shackles around his
    Heart and soul.

    Our guilt and conscience can violate our freedom,
    More than any prison or guard can ever do.
    Forgiveness is the key to those shackles
    Around our heart,
    The only way to
    Let love grow.

    I Come to the Mountains and the Sea

    There is no place I would rather be than in the mountains
    Or by the sea.

    To walk among the pines, smell the fresh air, and climb
    The highest peak,
    No other place could exist or entice me so,
    That I would seek.

    Or to walk barefoot in the sand, smell the salt sea, and feel the
      mist of the ocean,
    No other place could be more real or draw me more near
    Or could offer more devotion.

    What is it about the mountains or the sea that they have this
    Calling just for me?

    Is it the history of who I am
    And where I am from?

    Or is it the quest to find my place, my unique self,
    And the place from where I came?

    A distant past, a chapter in my dreams,
    Where my blood was born.

    I come to the mountains and the sea, not for complicated reasons,
    But just to be.

    The places where I find my most comfort and can empty my mind
    Of the everyday obstacles that incarcerate my body.

    I come to the mountains and the sea for no other reason
    Than just to be

    Echo Bay

    Standing on the jetty, watching the sea
    Hit the rocks.

    Smelling the salt in the air and gazing at seagulls,
    Flying in flocks.

    Feeling the breeze off the sea
    And spotting a sailing boat.

    October sunsets over the bay can be real cool;
    I should be sporting a coat.

    Watching the boats come back to port at the
    End of the day.

    Seeing the sky turn from blue to pink as it sets over
    Echo Bay.

    Feeling the force of nature in its truest form
    Is the key.

    Knowing what I know and who I am.
    Seeing what I see,

    Standing on the jetty with the sea
    In front of me,

    There is no place in the world I'd
    Rather be.

    Autumn in New York

    This is my favorite time of year,
    The days between Christopher and
    The New Year's baby.

    The days after that can be dark and
    Howling winds, trees are bare,
    Chancing outside is just a maybe.

    But this time, in New York, with leaves of gold, red,
    And brown,
    With sunny days and cool nights,
    I dare you to find a better town.

    Walking through the park, feeling the crackle of leaves beneath
      my feet.
    Watching the squirrels scurrying around,
    Burying their treats.
    Piles of leaves, ten feet high, on every block.
    Bands of kids on bikes riding through them
    Like birds in a flock.

    Eager anticipation of all the festive days
    That lie ahead.
    Celebrations with family and friends around the table,
    Breaking bread.

    Autumn in New York,
    There is no better place to be.

    I'd bet it would be a hard search
    To find a Vermonter who would agree.


Excerpted from Exposed by John McCarthy. Copyright © 2013 John McCarthy. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Acknowledgements, vii,

Introduction, ix,

Favorite Quotes, xi,

Something's Wrong, 1,

In an Old, Gray Town, 3,

In the Heart of the County, 5,

Everything You Need, 7,

Alone in the Dark, 9,

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?, 11,

The Unwanted Man, 13,

The Illusions Are Real, 15,

Soulitary Confinement, 17,

I Come to the Mountains and the Sea, 19,

Echo Bay, 21,

Autumn in New York, 23,

Walking through Woods, 25,

I Can Hear the Children Cry, 27,

Apples and Roots, 29,

Killing His Dear, 31,

I Have Fallen, 33,

The Man, the Rope, and the Tree, 35,

Is Me, 37,

Surrender My Love, 39,

Word of the Day, 41,

Forever and Always, 43,

Scrambled, 45,

Nightmare, 47,

I Have Seen the Gate, 49,

The Tiger in the Boat, 53,

I Will Never Forget, 55,

They Were Kings, 57,

We Hold These Truths, 59,

The Ship of Fools, 61,

Sunshine in My Eyes, 63,

The Man on the Corner, 65,

You Are Not Alone, 67,

Jack Doyle, 69,

Under the Locust Tree, 71,

Brother, 73,

I Want to Be, 75,

Dan Striker, 77,

The Lonely Heart, 79,

Key Largo, 83,

Redemption, 85,

The Timekeeper, 87,

Exposed, 89,

Stardust, 91,

Hope Springs, 93,

The Long Road Back Home, 97,

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Exposed: A Collection of Poems 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Honest and very compelling verse. Modern words in a throw back to 19th century style and verse. Regular words that are used in a very descriptive way. Soul searching inspirational poetry.