through a trying work hour in the night-time rush,
groped by strangers with dark eyes
the color of neglect and whiskey.
Men with knives under their sleeves,
calling you back and back again,
refills for their poison and pretzels for the table,
don't be a prude, darling.
I only want to feel those hands trembling
All you ever knew were the bruises and the burns.
Gliding closer and closer to
your face, your hands,
inching towards the skin that gleams, exposed
and invokes the shame you feel from
fetid breath on your neck, these
animals with moldering livers.
but another round for the men in the grease and grime.
Green bottles and a smile that said
'I like the taste of your weakness,
You like the abuse.'
My Father was my example. I have a lot of my father's traits. He was a man of few words but his actions of caring carried much weight. Growing up on a farm in Western Nebraska, it seemed that it was a place where sandburs knew no bounds. They were everywhere. My father wore bib overhauls that had big pockets in the back. When I was little, the pockets were just right to fit my feet. When we came to a sandbur patch, he would pick me up and carried me over the sandbur patches. When I was tired after being with him on the farm and hot from the scorching summer heat, he cared for me.
My heavenly Father is my teacher through prayer, his word written and spoken and through the lives of others like my Mother and Father and many others.
Jesus is our example. Growing up and even today, the 4 words that keep me going in the right direction are: What Would Jesus Do. There is no better example to follow.
As a father, I try to follow the example of my heavenly Father. There are times I fail miserably and must ask for forgiveness from my family. My heavenly father never fails me. He carries me through the sandbur patches of life. He loves me unconditionally. Some day I will set foot on the heavenly shore as He carries me over the last of life's sandbur patches on my final journey of life.
Even though I have never heard my earthly father say, "I love you son", I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he loved me. When I would say to him, 'love ya Dad" his reply was always "uhuh". I can't hear my heavenly father audibly say "I love you" but I know from all He does for me His love for me is beyond words. His love transcends the audible and speaks directly to my heart.
I tried hard to not bring shame on my mother and father.
It’s that awkward time between 5 and 6 pm where his eyes are the colour of mocha brown stained novel pages and finger tips callused and crinkled with years of practicing and gripping too tight on a black biro pen.
He turns the corner of the street and we make a narrow escape to the highway where careful mothers have their children strapped to seats wailing with voices so shrill yet so untouched and pure..
And I turn and I look out the window and plaster on a sad look like I’ve been copy pasted out of a sad music video about boys and breakups and lost loves, reminiscent of the paraphernalia of stories and soaps and television shows my mother used to watch.
Slowly I turn and I feel a tap on my shoulder blades and he asks me if I’m ok but secretly I’m wishing and hoping that there’s more to life than this god forsaken city but I still say I’m fine anyway.
"The city looks really nice this time of day" he says and I just don’t see it because everything around me is illuminated in fake fluorescence and wired in with the hands of a man who’s just lost his wife and swears his depression is just a phase.
"Squint and you’ll see it" he insists but I can’t because the world is in monochrome and the concrete of the buildings are the tombstones of chivalry and manners, filled to the brim with office workers hunched over stacks of papers and lists.
He turns left at the third intersection and laughs at a man squabbling drunk cursing the world on the side of the road and I hope he doesn't know that it was what I'd do if he let me grab the bottle of Jack from the trunk.
"Goodnight and godspeed," he laughs and I say "fuck off" in exchange for a hug and so another day passes in the presence of car windows and rolling cityscapes.
She looked at me with cold, black eyes,
Through spec's two inches thick
And asked what I did for Summer,
And I knew it was a trick.
Teachers do that to the kids
Who have to go to class.
So, when she asked again, I said,
"No thanks. I think I'll pass."
"Pass what?" She asked, her eyes like slits
As dark as eyes can be.
"What did you do all summer long?
Just sit at home and watch TV"
"But you're such an intelligent boy,
You should have read a book or two.
I'd have hoped you would have gone somewhere,
Like perhaps the city zoo."
"Or played softball in the local park
With the other kids in town.
It's so sad to see someone just sit at home
When there's so much to do around."
I chewed my lip and looked around.
Was I the only one
Who thought this was one of the
Dumbest things we've ever done?
I shook my head and said,
"I'm really not supposed to tell.
My Uncle Nibb stopped on by
On his way to St. Carmel.
"He was on a secret mission,
For Chef Utterbutterbanks.
And we had the best time ever.
And I forgot to tell him thanks."
But she did not believe me.
She did not believe me one small bit.
She folded her arms and tapped her shoe
And said "We'd love to hear about it..."
Yeah, it was a trap. A big one too!
The biggest trap of all.
She looked at me with her thin, black eyes,
And I felt one half inch tall.
"Come on. Come on. Out with it, boy!
We do not have all day.
Your Uncle came and got you.
What did you do while you were away?"
"First we..." was what came out first.
And my Teacher was not pleased.
Because after that the words
Just seemed to flow with super ease.
I said, "First we went to Switzerland,
Where we tobogganed down a hill.
We ate pizza on the Matterhorn,
And stayed there all day, until
Eleven hundred Police showed up
And we had to get away!
But Uncle Nibb knew what to do,
I watched him good that day.
He has a friend from Portugal
Who owns a zeppelin.
And he picked us up in one quick swoop.
And we flew away, and then...
We went swimming in the Amazon.
We played tennis with a Gnome.
And I'd have had much more to show you
If they had let me bring him home.
When we went to Istanbul
I had my fortune read.
You'd have really been quite impressed
With what the Gypsy said.
In China we had ice cream rice,
Which is better than you'd think.
Though I couldn't find the ice cream,
And all the rice was pink.
We finally got to Paris
At about the noonish hour
And tossed brand new copper pennies
From something called the Eiffel Tower.
We watched the sunset set in India,
Where we saw the Taj Mahal.
It was the biggest mahal I've ever seen,
Almost three billion taj's tall!"
My Teacher shook her head at this.
She was not very happy.
I'd have to think up something fast,
And it better be snappy.
"But I'm just guessing, you know,
Because I've seen it in the books.
But those pictures that they show you
Are nothing like it really looks!"
"We joined a caravan in Egypt
Where we traveled through the night,
And Uncle Nibb explained the mystery
Of nearly every star in sight."
"And when we finally reached St. Carmel,
We were tuckered out a spell.
Uncle Nibb picked up the spices
That Chef Utterbutterbanks knew so well."
"He brought us home last Tuesday
And we slept till Wednesday night.
It was the funnest time I've ever had.
Even Dad says it was all right."
My Teacher scowled a triple scowl,
And shook her boney head.
"I am going to speak with your parents!"
Were the last words to me she said.
I was sent home very early.
My Teacher said I'd told a fib.
"She didn't believe a word I said."
I told my Uncle Nibb.
My Uncle Nibb just grinned, then laughed.
He was gone most of the day.
When he got back he punched my arm
And said, "Go on out and play."
When I went back to school the next day
My Teacher was very nice.
She told the class there really is
Such a thing as Ice Cream Rice.
She also said that everything
That I told to them was true.
Except the part about the Gnome,
But that was okay too.
Then she asked me about Istanbul
Where I had my fortune read,
She was rather curious
With what the Gypsy said.
I shrugged that shrug I always shrug,
Kicked my heels hard at the floor.
"She said my future shined a shine
She'd never seen before."
"She named adventures that would seek me out,
Described the wonders I would see.
She just went on and on about
Those things she saw for me."
And my Teacher seemed quite satisfied,
She grinned a grin that opened wide,
And beamed just like a skittle pin,
About this tale I'd knew I'd never ever
Ever tell again.
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Remler
"Life is uncharted territory. It reveals its
story one moment at a time."
-Leo F. Buscaglia
Every year at Christmas
The tree goes by the wall
I drag the damn thing from downstairs
And I tug it down the hall
The lights go up with tinsel
The ornaments and star
Then I go downstairs and knock one back
Behind my little two tap bar
I've done it now for forty years
Each year, the tree and lights
The tinsel and the ornaments
To brighten up the nights
The cards I get go on the wall
No baking do I do
I go downstairs and have a drink
Sometimes I might have two
The kids, not here, they have their lives
I get a call on Christmas Day
It's far to far to come out here
And there's just no room to stay
The boys have hockey, the girls as well
So they won't be coming soon
They play their first game at three
So I get their phone call right at noon
I put my little Cornish hen
In the oven for my meal
I've got some frozen veggies
And a Christmas Cracker for the "feel"
I sit alone at Christmas
I watch the telly, have a beer
It's not the same with out you
It's not Christmas, you're not here
Still every year the tree comes out
I put it where you'd say
We'd move it at least fifteen times
Until it found a place to stay
I drag the decorations out
I've not yet bought something new
I'm here alone at Christmas
With my memories spent with you.
fury clings to the wrinkled
folds between each of his fingers
the smell of nicotine
after a cigarette binge
he makes fists with
a violent grace
and every time
he grasps a cigarette
ash somehow falls before he lights it
(imagine what he could do to your hand)
his finest quality is his death wish
when his mouth's not
kept busy smoking
from the edge of his gums
out his chapped lips
bitter against soft
soft against bitter
i hope one day
the feel of fire
on your skin
the look of
are no longer
my hands are cold
even in the summer months
and i could
ice your burns
when you grow tired
come play with ice
you can hold my hand
We writers are insane.
All of us.
We revel in our own sad mess
While picking green grapes
Off the wallpaper,
Smecking away like mad
At the wondrous juices
Of the imaginary, judicial
We, like Hemingway,
Take our scotch in the morning
And our gin at night
And try with brutal, lashing effort
To make it through
We have put ourselves in shoes
We will never be able to walk in.
We must walk miles as
AIDS sufferers, as
Brutalizers of women.
We must deal with their pain
As if it were housed in our own entity of being.
J.D. Salinger wrote that
His literary son, Holden,
Wore a “people-shooting” hat and
Made it damn clear that he suffered from wild
And erratic fits of overwhelming depression.
Writing from a bunker
Far from his wife, kids and home,
His stories sparked murder in the hearts
Of already oppressed men
With “people-shooting” hats of their own.
We must toil with language;
Put it in the corner,
Love it, hate it,
Shift it an slave daily with it.
We must lose hours upon hours upon
Days of sleep
Before we find ourselves
Dangerously asleep at the wheel in front of us
In order to make the slightest change in our regular ways.
Our handwriting only becomes sloppier
And our words,
Kaysen, alone in a psych ward
With women who slept around and
Tried to maul each other,
To try to release the the demon
Boiling the very blood inside her veins.
But demons do not disappear easily
Neither do the tortuous memories.
They attempt to label me
With words of the disturbed.
Floods my synapses and neurons.
Happily urinates on my serotonin levels.
I bring myself to write
The effigy of the psycho
Day by dad
As my pen scratches paper
And the doctors expect razor to scratch skin
Though it never has
And never will.
Writers are psychos.
We all are.
We remain the mad, psychotic, literate monsters
Who worm our ways
Into your head.
We nestle beside your dreams and fantasies,
Waiting to strike
And tear them apart or,
If you’re lucky,
Build them up.
A woman writer named Sylvia
Once put her head in the oven
Because the writer-demons were driving her to madness
And they wouldn’t leave her be.
Handling us is a torture
Only the most eloquent and experienced reader