Herbert Ascherman

Gonna Leave Me Walking on the River Banks

West · Cleveland · Poetry

I was bereft and burning, I was on fire inside
I was vacant and hollow, part of me had died
I walked the endless river, it was dirty and black
Like the nighttime clouds overlooking the Flats
Where the fire of steel mills lights the midnight sky
And the smoke of fortunes falls on passerby’s
Now the nights are cold along the riverbank
I‘ve got no one near me, no one else to thank
For the missing days and the days that aren’t
While the time goes by for a burning heart

Gonna leave me walking at night on the banks of the Cuyahoga
Gonna stare into that endless water
Time just seemed to do what it oughta.

Nothing much I can do except watch the open sky and breath in the lake winds
That come raging down from Canada, slicing cold across the eerie beach

Something always reminds me
Of the life I never lived
I made my choice with no regrets, not one
Just another day like this, another day like this, another day like this
Me and the river just flowing, just flowing to the end

Time on the beach walking on the frozen sand
Time I should be doing, doing what I can
I couldn’t make up my mind
I floated away along the river, along the river
Just walking on the water, along the river

I thought I knew, I thought I knew what was real
It was the water, it was water made me feel
It was the water, it was water made me feel
Burning, with the fire bright, the river lit the Cleveland night

What was it, where it was, that burned so deep inside of me?
Where’s the source and strength in the fires of thought
And the fires within?

It would ever be the constant, be the river’s flow
Be the burning of the moment, that would light my soul
Walk along the river. watching every step
Pockets full of hands, lips with cigarette
Held the match to my face, like the river’s flame
Another hour or day it always seems the same
And the burning inside me never disappears
It’s the glowing of an ember fed by glowing fears.
Ain’t no angel gonna hold my hand.
Ain’t no devil by my side.
Just the barking of a stray dog on the river be my guide

Sundown on the Cuyahoga, watch it fading away.
Gonna leave me on the riverbanks to walk another day…

Burning alone
Burning inside

Herbert Ascherman

Herbert Ascherman is a fourth generation Clevelander. He is a lifelong professional photographer, published author, literary journal editor, educator, historian and collector.


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