Paul R Mott
I see new growth emerging from an old tree's heart.
A new sapling sapping strength from what would enrich generic soil,
contributes something unknown to an unassigned
Instead this exacting branch emerges to claim the universe for itself.
No longer can this unnoticed, rotting stump contribute to the greater good
but feed instead, a unique life so it may one day
die and have the chance to fill the old soul’s soles.
The unlabeled, non enumerated vagaries of our world
cowardly whinge in the background
while the assertive actions of the flowers
and falcons shout out loud for their own preservation.
Food chains serve as feeding trays for those cells
who have bound together with that joie de vivre
necessary to drive the generic engine of nature
in their direction. This predilection
to protect the potent and powerful
among us is not simple chance
but a predetermined proclamation
from our divine protectorate pushing
the proper paupers forward until they find
themselves ensconced in the holy foliage of nature's glory.
No creation of merit can be created
without first digesting
the written-down genius
of those whose shoulders pad our feet.
The writer is a carnivorous beast
with an eye for talent
It would be a fool’s errand
to venture into a vacuum
in an attempt to find anything
of artistic merit.
The greatest accomplishments recorded
by a collective arthritic hand are merely flawed reflections
of the natural beauty in others’ magnificent work.
A writer puts into words
the common thoughts
of the people who won’t
elaborate upon their own condition.
So it lies with the beleaguered scribe
to illustrate in tomes both engaging
and mundane what the rest of the world
would gladly walk over.
There are no thanks for reminding
the world of it’s shortcomings,
but there is also no rebuke for shining light upon
the sullied truths for which no one wishes
to lay a claim. And therein lies
the writer’s world-
cared for by few and searched for
by those who have already recognized
the societal malaise dripping
all over the front pages of tomorrow’s papers.
A fool sits alone.
Not dumb but naïve
drinking ideals that were both sweet
and biting on the uvula of his thoughts-
thoughts that once resonated
from truth no longer ring true.
This terminus of sentiments that started veritable journeys
in the muck of questionable sources
housed his hopes
while he dared to dream of a day these hopes may be fulfilled.
But over hills and plains filled with grating winds
of inquiring eyes looking for lies so intently
while false truth slips through their gates,
these hopes gained grit.
Grit built in truth,
and to hazier eyes,
grit grained with wisdom.
So our fool finds himself at a
beginning wrought from this inverted journey,
He’s discovered his truths to be soggy
with the living mire of human deception.
No longer does he sit
with starry eyes
hoping for truth,
he has found it by traveling backwards
through experience until he stands upright
amongst the crawling with lies filling his head.
It is in this moment when all he sees is deceit,
that he knows he has found the truth.
No longer does he believe in it,
he understands how ill-fitting that word has come to be.
In the grand cacophony of the human experience,
the sterling ring of truth deafens.
It takes a qualified lie to reach our hearts.
Above our heads exists a vast ether of ideas
and we’re lucky enough
to feel the rain from time to time.
These drops manifest in
So don’t curse the weather man
with the tacky yellow rain jacket.
Rejoice in the coming deluge
and cup your hands to receive
Open your eyes
so these enlightened raindrops
may find their way
through to our souls
so steadfastly guarded
It's not often when a man meets a woman
Who makes him feel better than he'd feel on his own
This woman is a testament to motivations unknown
But a testament nonetheless to feelings kept devoted
to the idea of another to forever kiss and hold
Now these sentiments might sound sappy
to those without a love both sad and happy
But it matters less than little to those who have
endured the peaks and the valleys
in order to reach the ebullient plateaus of contentment
Life’s an upward struggle, and it makes it so much rougher
when the ladder you find yourself climbing is beset by lonely weather.
When every other rung is off doing other things,
the solitude and altitude bring to mind desolation
and the emptiness that brings.
No matter the genius emanating from ivory minds,
the smartest man among us often finds
that brilliance unfiltered clogs up the system,
when others must consume the lonely perfume
of conceits kept alone,
while the common thoughts stay collected
like so many sheep in a pen that’s separated
from self-same lonely thoughts,
that genius oft encounters,
left only amongst the happiness
that fills up life’s happy coffers.
So it goes that lofty ideals become frostbitten
by snowcapped mountains of emptiness.
Others seek the heights together only during pleasant weather,
while those who trounce through snow-packed trails
must brave the climes alone tempted only by fate,
to descend to summits more frequent
than the peaks of accomplishment.
Gangrenous lips cannot utter
the chilled revelations of those left above too long.
So it is left to those below,
not inferior from the altitude,
just more likely acclimated to the difficult, dull journey
of those who spare pristine slopes
for the sullied, muddied slush on the tourist trails below.
It’s the damndest thing when attentions focused
on one thing beget the focus of another
Like the rooster crowing the sunlight
in the cold, ungrateful weather,
My eyes scan the ups and downs
of those digital stand-ins for those I’ve known
Seeing mistakes, my own and in others,
Seeing perfection, in other’s imperfect successes,
wantonly rubbed in my eyes
As I springboard from the travails of those
with whom I may never vocalize my adoration
I drop out of the air of a life far from mine,
I see mention of a passed on spirit
Who I truly adored,
no digital fakery of half-true fables necessary
to express my love for the ideals implanted in me
by such a tongue so supplicant to the truths in that vast ether
where I used to swim in the light,
never thinking of the dark climes below.
What choice do I have on an accidental evening like tonight?
I no longer can mask disinterest for other’s soaring narratives
when my true care has been discovered,
been pried away from that dark corner of the airborne pool so ethereal.
My care, my pride have been torn asunder,
by a mere errant glance on a mere sideways mention
Of a massive, earthly idol, who, if only for a stanza of years
held my full gaze with hopeful smiles and ecstatic promise
for bright futures now gone into grey pastures.
I lay here an imposter in authentic skin
if only for the sight of words on screens,
with scant meaning in between.
Her baby rolls away with her youth
But all the while lengthening her earthly remembrance
For the days and nights to come
Her life will dwindle
While her memory continues to be kindled
As her daughter grows
She will fall
As her daughter succeeds in life
This mom will gain strife
She will lose that bond
And her connection with her baby
But her heart will now jump
If daughter only says maybe
So these two lives split
As one branches and
The other decays
So little room for both to remain
As the mother comes to her end
The daughter finally realizes
Her growth is the reason
For her mother’s late season
But that’s the way it is
And never will it change
The daughter will steal
What her mother gives away
Something so cruel
Can only make sense
In the eyes of a mother
Who gives it all to a daughter
I remember the jelly bean jar
perched next to the owlish librarian
in my school when I was younger.
One lucky soul would win a prize
for pulling the right number of jelly beans
out of an air still filled with fancy.
I can’t remember who won the prize,
and I can’t remember what the prize was.
But I guess as selfish minds are wont to do,
I remember the act of guessing.
It was a childhood of guessing,
and I wonder if any of those guesses were truly wrong?
When the engine of innocence toils away,
any solution, however fanciful,
can’t be false in a world that finds falsity
in far more veritable places.
I digress back to that jelly bean jar,
packed full of sugar,
and to a young mind,
full of promise.
To a mind such as mine,
a mind akin to my classmates
who shared my sugary desire for that jar,
any guess was as good as the other,
as long as any guess was your own.
We clutched ordinary pencils
scribbled on ordinary paper
with our own extraordinary numbers.
In the basket went these figures most accurate.
Days during the week passed
with those store brand jelly beans
mashed against each other,
childhood memories turned ordinary pages
wrote with ordinary pencils
until that singular, self-sure number
mashed against pages turned against it.
However strong that memory of numerology
in a room full of words is etched in my mind; no trace
of the end of the jellybean contest remains in my ledger.
No trace of the disappointment of losing out
on such a treasure trove of tooth decay.
But I guess this is the way of the mind,
it tends to trace out the positives
while it remains filled with youthful levity,
no weight is imbued in innocent minds,
and so tragedy, loss, and disappointment
float away past untroubled eyes.
But time rolls on and much like the crushed growth
under an ever-rolling stone,
our lives start to fall harder on softened memories.
Our lives harden with our heads,
and those days of living out short-lived fantasies
fade with jelly bean guesses.
So as we mature and feign to seek the truth,
a small part of me keeps a singular page earmarked
for a time when the truth no longer weighs
down the air with half-true deceit, and a mind long
will return to grasp fanciful ideas
out of an air that’s still light enough
to evade our youthful fingertips.
Ants crawl across this floor we’ve fallen on before
Crawling away from painful light meant for death
It takes time and height to view this bitter facsimile
Of the life that was when our legs shortened and
We carried righteous angst in disaffected thoraxes
We lived such a life chased by light unrepentant.
So it went with soldiers straying and fraying
Under the stress of the chase by cruel illumination
While those on the scent of something sweeter
Managed to stay out of the heat and find salvation
Truly miraculous things are these
that have no future but cocoon just the same
poor souls that should be outshined by time
find reprieve enough to shield timid bodies
long enough to find their own legs stilting
No feat of glory to any still around
But to those scattered by the wayside
These hulking creatures are visions of
Promise, a promise that one’s own feeble feelers
May one day cast out into oblivion and latch onto
The stuff dreams are made of and close their eyes
With open mouths for serums of wonderland
Such a shame then, when the hopeful
Can’t be afforded the lofty visions
Of their grindstone nose counterparts
And the wayside entraps them in whorish
Promises of paid-for pleasure
But life digresses while the underbelly
Digests the stumblers of chance
So we have you and me, and the world
Feeling inadequate legs stripped bare
So superior parts could be strapped on
This machination of imagination
Is how we get by that heat of life
What once incinerated futures
Inflicts faint unseen blisters--
Reminders of humility rising
At long last our earth-drawn eyes
Draw level with this glass half empty
But magnified with the intention of more,
More, more, more, colors filling prisms across the sky
Gaining beauty and color from the heat of long ago
But who would care about the minute minutes
Of suffering felt by those not bold or quick enough
When compared to this veritable Monet
Blessed with the gift of chasing pasts away
To be replaced with this gilded new day.
So it goes and so it must be in the minds
Still intact, kindled not hindered by the heat
Towering over this glass of possibility,
Our focus is intent, not missing a thing
You and me, and the world all focus
On this contrived concoction of color
Bewitching that betwixt reason and love
All our eyes and all our thoughts
Gather power by the hour
Drawn from this pool of glory
Not a thought dropped into
This wishing well
While we sate our psyches
From this languishing pool
We forget how the same spark
That defined us, as we grew above the fray
Is now returned earthward
Isn’t it entertaining to contemplate
Life in the context of those wretches
Blessed to have the power of immediacy
While we sit serially still, no purpose
But to make these poor ants run.
I sit alone in this connected world,
separated from the selfishness I see spreading
amongst everyone around me
with everything to gain by filling their hands
before filling their hearts,
by silencing their inner voice
and shouting out loud.
It must not be hard to live life in the singular,
letting words and sounds crash against guarded ears and eyes.
The true trouble starts when a mind becomes a collective,
letting in every thought, every notion,
leaving judgment to fend for itself.
It becomes harder to keep your identity in an overflowing sea of mediocrity
from not allowing any idea to rise above.
How does one feel empathy when living life in the former,
cast away on an inner island?
Is it a feigned truth to goad the soul
into cooperation with a strictly selfish mind?
Is it the weight of expectation crowding out viewpoints and virtue?
I can’t tell because for once in my life,
I stand staring at this alien concept
and see no wisp of familiarity floating in our shared air.
So my lungs seize at this ether bereft of merit, and I collapse.
Only to wake in a suspended reality,
one where the naïveté of my mind
rationalizes the incongruity of the external world
long enough for me to delve within.
In these cloistered rooms of society,
I find sparks without kindling,
wasting away into ash,
I find whispers discarded from distracted diaphragms,
but most importantly, I find recognition,
recognition of this middle ground,
neither reached nor acknowledged by that strange outer land.
It is in these discarded thoughts
stowed far beneath consciousness that I seek my own truth.
I’ve faced the pinnacles of darkness
and the depths of Illumination;
but the faces that kept my sight
were always vague but constant.
There’s been dark times of laughter
and saccharine times of sorrow;
but none were so merry as the times
of prolonged grins and short scowls.
When the fires were stoked within
‘twas a friend’s quick gaze pumped the bellows
that quelled the fires so sacrificial
and returned my mind to the mellow.
So forever again ‘twill be those nearest
that will face the hottest flames.
Forever again will those nearest fan
away these flames from a face so fickle.
This breeze will coax the life from dark-
will cull away a smile from lips so grave-
resurrecting life from dead social graces-
until grace finds a perch in a heart once
More time runs away as fast as it can
More lost dreams lie wasted, not part of the plan
If the future could share a warning
It would see our concern growing
A light in the night can’t be so bad
But it kills you if darkness is all you have
The light can take your sight
It can rob you blind tonight
With the light on the horizon getting brighter
The burden on our back isn’t getting lighter
So the hopeless soldier on in vain
And the champions stay out of the rain
Only to find their fulfilled hopes flimsy imitations
Of a life spent unworried of negative connotations
A bad dream never wakes the tired souls
A grim future doesn’t worry those with no goals
When I look within my arms, there’s nobody there.
No head on this shoulder, it doesn’t seem fair
for the chauvinists and players to always have a girl.
While the nice guy sits alone, the only pearl
in an ocean of sharks and poison, waiting
for the unsuspecting to bite on this strange thing
called love, shared between those too drunk
to drive, but still steering their lives into the abyss
where there are no pearls and no lifelines to save them.
But still they plunge deeper, fated to do it again.
Only time will expose the light of day
and they will blink their eyes and say,
what was I thinking? What was the point?
and finally they realize what they really want.
But all that’s left are the sharks with their egos to flaunt.
So they pick one and get used to the bitter ocean.
They keep up this lie in order to go on.
And then when the tide finally rolls in,
they can’t swallow their pride anymore
so they choke on reality and swim to shore.
But there is no pearl necklace to hide their past-
no amount of make-up to hide their last
affair. Its mark will always mar that perfect face.
And when they’re finally ready to find a pearl in this dangerous place
he’s been snatched up, made his own mistakes,
gone places impure, and hard to erase.
So these crimes of adolescence can withstand the waves
and wear away at the innocence sending us closer to our graves
Stealing away the weak and repeating the cycle.
I wish to return to the days long completed
when the strangest fantasies lived only in our dreams.
Now there is no more fantasy within the lidded eye.
Sleep exists only as respite from this cruel life.
We find extravagance and folly in every gilded screen.
What use is there then, for unconscious sconces within the mind,
where we can tuck away originality
until it sprouts and spreads like ivy on a British house.
We cast away any respite from this mundane wonder,
staying eager to see what else there is to see
until nothing is left of our ivy covered minds
except for meager impressions of what once was.
People who wait much further down the road
will one day walk back to this forgotten hideaway.
They will see the traces of what was
but they won’t be able to piece together
our lost lives of slumber.
And so the real unselfish tragedy,
is not our decline-
but the ensuing confusion
caused by impatient minds.
I see a face staring through the pixels and plastic,
a face I recognize, even as I search it for familiarity.
It is a face of a starving child about to die
and in this realization, a tear forms in my eye.
For how can this be fair and how can we accept it,
when earlier this night, I bought food I didn’t need?
After eating far too much and appreciating nothing,
I see this face crying out and I know that the words
coming from his mouth share nothing with what people see
when they think of starving kids who share nothing with you and me.
What is wrong with me, with us
when there are more jokes about these starving kids
than efforts to help fill the spaces between his exposed ribs?
I see wrinkles around his mouth, emphasizing his eternal grimace
and wonder why we face a surplus for those who don’t need it
while the needy and wretched sit waiting and defeated.
A log on the river
Time keeps on flowing
The past comes quicker
Than the future can keep growing
No more retrospective
Only blinders forward
No more fresh perspective
Only preying to an earthly lord
When the future is waiting
Nobody can stay
To maintain your daydream
Again ends the day
A fighter against the current
Gets stuck in time
A victim less prurient
Than the status quo’s kind
No longer is the present
So long is the future
Condemned to be a resident
Of a time so impure
All we do and see
Only a chip in the log
Flowing against our plea
To stop and stare agog
No more wonderment
Desire long gone for us
A race without an end
Slowly approaches the finish
But waves crash even in the river
Divine nature swaying in the balance
Fighting for our lives, we find a giver
Beaten against a timely phalanx
A river runs and grows weary
As our oars are sacrificed
A happy race no longer cheery
Our hopes and dreams put on ice
A beautiful world turns round again
A simple man must meet his end
A bright new baby is born anew
A cycle can do nothing except renew
But no sick cycle is meant for us few
No endless circuit to remove us from the slew
Of public discord raining down from the heavens
We only stay on track to see where it ends
A broken sidewalk is our path to somewhere
To carry us away to a brand new nowhere
But no preformed path can lead us away
Unless we walk forward to find our own feet at play
A brand new day comes to find its own end
What irony arises from the end of a beginning?
When does a fresh start turn stale and still?
Do our new opportunities hover until they fall?
Or do we have to pluck them out of the air
So thick we can’t see, what the future means us to be
Are we failures or successes?
Do the powers that be know that we
Are the next wave of an endless storm
That batters the public consciousness
Leaving it forlorn and ragged
By the dissent of the vocal minority
We will forever be we, and that is a fact
The sullen masses can’t remove our power
An urge to survive will rain down like a shower
On the poor souls without the life of their dreams
The possibilities remain locked inside heads of lead
While those without any move on ahead
A world for the doer but not for the thinker
Can doom the ideas of the intelligent and weaker
People without the urge to move and shout
Living a life of inadequacy is their only way out
A great ending for these is not in the cards
Instead the powerful push down the bards
The dreamers who knew not the hunger
To leap to the top and remove any wonder
As to whom they could be
Must lie at the bottom explaining the lives
Of those successful but simpler spirits
Who lacked the essence but held on to ambition
A world that is just never comes to fruition.
Just a lonely girl
With a heart to share
Just a single boy
Smelling love in the air
She looks to the future
Hoping for a feeling
He looks behind him
The hurt sends him reeling
Time is the playing field
On which they play
Floating towards each other
Getting closer each day
He casts away his mistrust
Of those who might hurt him
She makes the effort to be seen
As someone other than victim
Finally the day comes
And their feet shuffle together
On the crowded street
Their love floats close like a windswept feather
An errant glance is all it takes
For fate to link their hearts
But a commotion on the street
Causes their paths to part
This love is over before it began
Too many distractions to take
Away their future and replace
It with a happiness that’s fake
Over and over repeats the cycle of abandon
The lonely know all about a life spent alone
Too little to escape and change their fate
But just enough to make their tender heart moan
The cry of an empty heart echoes at night
Filling the streets where the happy stroll
Filling their deaf ears with a reminder
Of how sadness left unheard selfishly takes its toll
Take me back to the cool summer mornings
Where the leaves fluttered with the breeze
Best friends, there was never a truer pair
Of better days there were none
Take me back to the sun’s triumphant return
When it’s first rays kiss the tranquil water
And spread the heat of passion to the rising world
Inviting us all to take part in their romance
When the side of the road was a gateway to our fantasies
We were free to dream and free to live
Among the playful rhododendron and the staid oak
Days melted away with the heat of life
If the wind on my face could bear my spirit
I could return once more to this time
And be content with the robins and blue jays of above
And the rabbit and chipmunk contemplating from below
But, it is not to be, wishful thinking is all
For today has its own magic, but no one knows the spell
Only yesterday can be uncovered, tomorrow hides anew
Under a new sun, who has yet to court the tranquil water.