Dustin Pickering (Western Voices 2020)

Exclusive: Western Voices, 2020: Edited by Scott Thomas Outlar
Bio: Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press, and founding editor of the literary and arts quarterly Harbinger Asylum. He has several published poetry collections. He was a finalist in the first short story contest at Adelaide Literary Journal, as well as a Pushcart nominee 2019. He received an honorable mention in the Guido Gozzano Award and a Jury Award in Friendswood Ekphrastic Poetry Contest 2019. He was a feature for Public Poetry 2013, and has been on KPFT 90.1's Living Art program as a guest. He was interviewed for Austin Public television. He was a contributor to Huffington Post and has essays and poems published on the web and in print.

Plato’s Grief 

long earth we awaken when looking back to see - what the deserts of our thoughts tell us in blazon imagery - the night encircles and we enter the cave of shadows again - all fire is ghost of our longings and thoughts - we produce prodigy of pretense - making of sound its eager face.


Silence is the dove between us,
a heart or forbidden sanctity.
Laughter folds in the hills
like tension working the body.

What is the Spirit when life thinks
on itself and those encased within?

Silence is spiritual slumber;
it is naught but an eye.
The wind captures your bliss
and disperses it among trees.

You are my season, my friend,
and my fear. The one I love.

Love’s Immortality
When the ocean climbs the sky
and light is directed to find the ship:
I will find you, bashful,
in a sunflower dress.

Because every woman reminds me of you,
my heart is filled to the brim with love
and hope, love’s immortal wind.
When we kiss, the tides will cease to roll.

The sea tells a story of lovers passed,
so do not weep that we are not forever.
Those things which do not seem to last
are immortal properties of earth.

Our energies will not fade because the sun
will rise again, as the tides, and in falling,
will rise again, like my heart in your absence.
When you were born, the world became eternally present.


  1. According to Plato, poetry is nothing but an imitation of an imitation, the original of which rests in heaven.The line in the poem "We produce prodigy of pretense" is in support of the Platonic view. But the poem 'Plato's Grief' is creatively original, as I looked at the it the Aristotelian way. Dustin made unmissable poetic thoughts in a few prose lines!Bravo!

    In the poem "Silence", Dustin metaphorically captures the idea of silence as 'the season, my friend and my fear", which is his spiritual slumber, his love.Thus the forbidden sanctity attains acceptance in the end.

    At the backdrop of the rising ocean, climbing the sky, and the light directed to find the ship, the poet in "Love's Immortality" discovers his in her absence.Thus the romantic is fused with the metaphysical, in the semantic aspect, making it a love poem with a difference in today's times.

    1. It's interesting ho you nailed my intentions exactly with only a few lines. You could very well write a great book of criticism I'm sure. My poetry ranges from philosophical subjects to love. My book The Forever Abode captures love through surrealism and metaphysical poetry. "Plato's Grief" also uncovers the central idea tha truth is hard, and we generally prefer returning to illusion. Thank you for your thoughts.


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