Poetry of Scott Thomas Outlar

Steady in the Storm

Lightning strikes
sirens roar
dogs howl
cats scream
children sleep soundly
and it is beautiful

Fire starts
graves yawn
ants march
wasps sting
children laugh heartily
and it is beautiful

Wars rage
jihadists bomb
cancer comes
bones rot
children play in the streets
and it is beautiful

Men cheat
women lie
marriages crack
love dies
children dance with their imagination
and it is beautiful

Chaos consumes
darkness reigns
world collapses
God resigns
children hold down the fort
and it is beautiful

To and Fro

One step outside
where the wind whistles and howls,
blistering my naked ears –
I’ve not worn headphones today;
I want to hear the agony
along with the ecstasy
of every sound the dying earth makes
as Winter scrapes away the leaves
and creates skeletons all around. 

One step onto the street,
paved in dark asphalt murder
with white lines of ghost blood
running straight as an arrow down the middle –
that’s where I stay, in balance,
in rhythm, with harmonic gestures
guiding each footfall as I dance
through the days of desolation and destruction.

One step onto the main road,
machines of raging thunder
roaring by at a steady clip
upon black rubber bullets to nowhere –
a smog in the air, a gasoline gulp,
a hazy fog of collective consciousness
hanging palpably above the scene
carrying all the lost dreams and remorse
of a million daily commuters
dragging their half-dead carcasses back home
where maybe there’s a lukewarm plate of dinner
waiting on the table for them to scarf down
before hitting the hay and sleeping away the pain.

One step into the park
where the air is fresh and vital,
oxygenating my blood, clearing my mind
and detoxifying my polluted lungs.
Walk by the lake where turtles
bathe in the sun upon rocks
and ducks leisurely paddle along
with orange webbed feet beneath the water.
Birds chirp in the trees
but get drowned out by a plane above
as it pours out trails of toxic whatever –
so much for the fresh oxygen,
soon enough it’ll be laced with heavy metals
for a neuron path lobotomy.

One step into the woods,
escaping under the cover of a tall rise forest.
Shade from the sun
and a brief respite
from the workaday madness and the incessant drumbeat
toward a job, toward a war, toward a drug,
toward a gadget, toward a television screen,
toward an election, toward a sales-pitch savior,
toward whatever new, trendy, topnotch,
fashionable fad has stolen the hearts and minds
of a zombie population this particular week.

One step at a time,
retracing my path
back to where I began –
nothing seems to matter anymore.
I’ve simply seen too much of it all,
time and time again, ad infinitum
through the eternal recurrence
as the cycles of history replay on repeat.
Not ennui or apathy.
Not enlightenment or nirvana.
Just detached observation
of a terrible and awesome existence
moving one step at a time
and going somewhere.


Animal nature,
deprived for too long,
will eventually snap, biting
with teeth black and gnarly,
jagged and hateful,
preternatural, cancerous,
crass, distorted by instinct,
left out of consideration by higher consciousness,
angry, primal,
distrustful, and mad with rage
for no damned discernible reason at all.



We’re all looking
for something better
than what we are;
something deeper
than what we’ve felt;
something stronger
than what we’ve sensed;
something more honest
than what we’ve
been telling ourselves;
something more steady;
something more calm;
something more real
than what we’ve experienced;
something that never
winds up hurting us
in the end;
something sweet
that isn’t addictive;
something alive
that doesn’t die on us;
something powerful
that never loses its grace;
something that never runs dry;
something that never talks back;
something that comforts us
when we are hurt;
something that understands
the existential pain;
something that does not lack
in the moments
when we need it most;
something that is brave
when we are full of fear;
something that fits the bill;
something that naturally
smiles for the camera
without having to fake the cheese;
something rich without pretension;
something high without a kite.


Walking in the Dark

Sometimes life can seem to be
a play
with nothing but bad actors
and a hack writer
that can’t seem to get the lines straight. 

Sometimes the world can seem to be
a stage
with a stockpile
of broken spotlights
that cast shadows over every scene.


Primal Priorities

Elegance and style
whispered from the tongue of divinity
grace the atmosphere
where two blue birds dance
in a synchronized sort of way
which displays a beautiful tribute to their breed.
Once tired,
the creatures drift slowly upon the wind
down to the cold Earth
where they begin to peck into the soil,
digging for fat fleshy worms
that can be guzzled
down their throats
in a type of natural urge
that proves beyond the shadow of a doubt
that elegance and style,
enchanting and marvelous as they may be,
don’t mean a damn thing
if the belly isn’t full.



it is Holy Spirit
and Kingdom of God
and synchronicity
and miraculous happenstance
and higher truth
and deeper meaning
and love, love, love
all the time

it is soil and dirt
and mud and grime
and shit and slime
and filth and flesh
and animal instinct
and preternatural urge
and worms and caskets
and graves and bones
and dust and ash
unto death 

it is metaphors
and abstractions
and allusions
and coded meaning
and beating around the bush
and innuendo
and parables
and fairy tales
and ethics and morality
for the mind

it is straight to the heart
of the core
of the truth
with pinpoint precision
and razor sharp focus
and zeroed in energy
to finish the job


God’s Opera

The ping of one empty bottle
clinking against another
beside my bed
as I pull up the Cabernet
to finish off the last glass
for the night
sounds like a symphony
orchestrated by the celestial stars.
Every empty bottle
is a note.
Every bottle
is an accomplishment.
Every bottle is a poem.
Every bottle is a story.
Every bottle is in my blood,
it’s in my mind,
it’s in my kidneys,
it’s in my liver,
it’s in my words.
Every bottle is in me, is of me,
is for me, is by me, is with me.
Every bottle loves me,
like I love it – simpatico

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, and interviews can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose words have appeared in more than 250 print and/or online publications. Scott's chapbook Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press) was released in 2015 is available here. His poetry collection Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing) was released in August of 2016 and is available here. His poetry collection Chaos Songs (Weasel Press) was released in September of 2016. Scott has been contributing a weekly poem for the Sunday Poetry Page of the Social Justice newsletter Dissident Voice since the Spring of 2014. He is a proud member of The Southern Collective Experience. He also serves as an editor for The Blue Mountain Review, Walking Is Still Honest Press, Novelmasters, and The Peregrine Muse