I Never Killed Anyone

I wrote this in story form a few days ago for Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday, and knew then it would have to be converted to poem form for dVerse Poets Pub’s Open Link Night #131. Enjoy!

I Never Killed Anyone


Head resting on a burlap sack of feed

Cheeks crisp from the cold

Seeping through unseen cracks

In the gently rocking boxcar

I slept fitfully

Spinning in and out of dreams

Like a man on a ledge


My coat—dirty and worn

Kept my body warm

While faded jeans

Saved my legs from freezing

Expensive walking shoes

Full of holes and slick on the bottom

From too many miles to count

Did nothing but magnify the cold

My feet felt like blocks of ice


Vertigo dreams were soundless

Except for the clacking of wheels

And creaking boxcars

And in the waking moments of the spin

I wondered if the movies in my mind

Were fiction or true crime

Probably some of both


I’d written novels… a lifetime ago

One full of drugs, sex, killing and rock and roll

The other about two homeless men

Who went on a crime spree

One winter in Austin, Texas

Thinking a warm jail cell

Better than a frigid concrete bed

It was cold as hell in Austin that winter

I know… I was there.


A black and white scene

Flashed across the screen of my dream

The woman’s eyes bulging

Mouth open in a silent scream

as rough, calloused hands choked her life away

A string of pearls breaking

 And as they floated to the floor

Of the parking garage

A scream—shrill and grating


The squeal of the train’s brakes

Spun me back to semi-awake

And as I lay there shivering

My wife’s words—God rest her soul

After reading that scene

“Honey, they say writers write about

What they know about

 This scares me.”

My answer

With a no-extra-charge smile

“I never killed anyone.”


Copyright © 2014 C Mashburn

If you’d like to check out my novels (I really did write two of them about 14 years ago) you can see and/or purchase them on Amazon. The Devil’s Dust and Shelter. Autographed copies are also available at Texas Trading Post (a wonderful on-line store that sells EVERYTHING Texas!).

The Devil’s Dust devils dust jacket

The soul of man seethes wicked

Cold sweat reeks of evil lust

Blood runs hot and thin

When spiked with the devil’s dust

Copyright © 2013 C Mashburn

ALSO! Be sure and check out Kellie’s great books of poetry. She is, without doubt, one of the most talented poets of our time! Magic in the Backyard


  1. ha. luckily (for her) you have no experience
    but i imagine you knew loss…and hard times
    and its only a critical leap across from there.

    i have scared my wife with some writes….smiles.

  2. Truedessa said

    Well, they say writer’s leave a bit of residue in their works..but, I’m glad to know you haven’t killed anyone..smiling..

  3. Bodhirose said

    Well I guess that answer probably eased her worried mind…and mine too!

  4. Wow! An incredible set of images wrapped inside a hobo’s dream. Well done!

  5. Great story! Maybe that’s why crime writers are usually such nice people – they put all their demons out on paper…

  6. Ouch… if my short stories are an indicator… hmmm then everyone should have a concern,.. great end

  7. atrm61 said

    Phew-the end was a relief-glad that it was only a character from his book doing all those things and that he was innocent :-)Wonderful writing here Charles!

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