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  • Anxious Poets Society

Ordeal by Alan Altany

I am no Dostoevsky

breathing deep-darkly

the depths of Heaven

and Hell, evil & good;

just someone lurching

through a semi-surreal

life broadcast in secret

code to no one at all,

a grotesque living

to my olden years

carrying a kaleidoscope

of anxiety addictions

ugly in their fruit,

impervious to cause,

leaving me scarred

forever and a day.

Winter is here

in time’s solitude,

the last season

of a flawed life

crawling on knees

towards the dawn

while still almost

desperately thanking

God for the ordeal

of it all, the grace

of a thousand wounds

with each breath.


Alan Altany, Ph.D., is a septuagenarian college professor of religious studies. He’s been a factory worker, swineherd on a farm, hotel clerk, lawn maintenance worker, small magazine of poetry editor, director of religious education for churches, truck driver, novelist, etc. He published a book of poetry in 2022 entitled A Beautiful Absurdity. His website is

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