Near his tree, he sat in his chair
Thinking back on his old days,
his mind was weary, but it was always praised.
People around him appreciated his might.
If only they knew that he once took a pure, faultless mind.
Her innocence beheld her, as he stood from a far,
that one morning in May, when her world suddenly dropped.
She ran through the yard with pigtails and bliss.
Around the big tree if only she would have anticipated this.
The old man with his smile, he lured her in,
hard hands enclosing her fantasizing face.
He asked her to follow and inside she went.
His curious little follower did not sense his wretched ways.
He spoke such proper language and beautiful words.
If this were a lover, they’d swallow them whole.
She had never heard them, and upon them she froze.
Her heart beating faster and with it he moaned.
Moving his hand right down, her figure he felt.
Her eyes widened as he whispered her name.
Straightforward and honest without any shame
The room was foul and yellow its paint.
Like the sun in the sky she felt the light with disdain.
A world so bright lied ahead of her that day.
The shining light dried up her face.
He said it belonged to him and went on his way.
The young girl was left, forsaken and aged.
Never again the same, as her dreams mounted away.
He took her innocence and they all watched it fade
The old man sits and grows with his tree
he hides a secret that only she keeps.
It’s the torment that they share,
her young girl disguise, the sun, and pigtails.
One in the morning
haven't slept most the night
feeling like a restless fool
wide awake but still so tired
Wanting to go to a happy frame of mind
a different space in time
I'm stuck in a realm of
and it's cold tonight
The frost glistens and sparkles
and I start to think of your eyes
and my smile
It's cold like my soul
The cherry in my cigarette glows
It burns so bright in the night
It's still tonight
like my heart
The wind blows and it rustles my mind
Thoughts start coming in waves
The world is asleep
but not me
I'm wide awake
trying to get these feelings out
before I explode
I light another cigarette
as I stand in the cold, alone
What am I trying to say?
Do I ever really know?
I need to talk to my best friend
need time to spend
Craving your intellect
and warm touch
I'm missing you so damn much
I need time with you
Need to talk all this through
Need to sleep next to you
The morning is starting to creep
dawn is breaking and I'm still lying awake
No problems solved
just questions still remaining
weighing so heavy on my tired mind
What am I going to do...?
Just keep trying to close my eyes...
Public Prosecutor v Blaise B.
 3 SLR 69
Suit No: CC No 666/2013
Decision Date: 12 December 2013
Court: Court of Appeals
Coram: B. K. Beaudoir J
Counsel: G. Bozo for the Prosecution, Renagaresh Bhulimio S.C. for the Accused
Criminal Law - Offences - Murder - Defence of grave and sudden provocation - Two requirements for defence - Subjective requirement that accused deprived of self-control by provocation - Objective requirement that 'grave and sudden' provocation exists based on 'reasonable man' test
Criminal Law - Offences - Murder - Defence of grave and sudden provocation - Applying the 'reasonable man' test - Whether basis exists for interfering with trial judge's decision that provocation grave and sudden - s 300 Exception 1 Penal Code (Cap 224)
1. Ms Lurveit Ima Ho, aged 25 ('D1') first came to know the Accused, Blaise B., through a personal advertisement which the Accused had posted up on a relatively popular internet website, Craigslist. Though D1 was, at all material times, living with her long-time partner Ms Clitty Li, aged 27 ('D2') in their rented apartment at Block 69 East Coast Road, Singapore ('the premises'), a wild and frenzied love affair between D1 and the Accused ensues.
2. On or about 6 January 2009, sometime between 11.30 pm and midnight, loud gunshots were heard from the apartment both D1 and D2 shared. According to an eyewitness' account, the Accused was seen stumbling out from the apartment soon after the gunshots with his pants around his knees. It was also reported that the Accused had, in his attempt to flee the scene of the crime, 'stumbled around like a headless chicken' as he made his way down the stairs.
3. D1 and D2 were both found dead in the master bedroom with multiple gunshot wounds to their bodies. There was no evidence of a struggle in the apartment. Dr Philly Shiotz, Consultant Forensic Pathologist with the Centre for Forensic Medicine, Health Sciences Authority, performed the autopsy on both D1 and D2 at about 5am the same day . Based on his findings, the cause of D1's and D2's death were certified as follows:
D1 - Acute Haemorrhage due to gunshot wound of the heart
D2 - Severe brain damage due to gunshot wound to the frontal temporal lobe
4. Police investigations led to the arrest of the Accused on Friday, 13 February 2009 and the Accused was charged as follows:
"That you, Blaise B. (aka Niggaz on Parole) on the 6th day of January 2009 between 11.30pm and 12 am, at Blk 69 East Coast Road, Singapore, did commit murder by causing the death of one Lurveit Ima Ho, f/25, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224."
"That you, Blaise B. (aka Niggaz on Parole) on the 6th day of January 2009 between 11.30pm and 12 am, at Blk 69 East Coast Road, Singapore, did commit murder by causing the death of one Clitty Li, f/27, and you have thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Penal Code, Chapter 224.
5. It is undisputed that the Accused had, at the aforesaid premises, produced an illegal firearm and opened fire at both D1 and D2, thereby causing their untimely deaths.
The Prosecution Evidence
5. The prosecution led evidence by way of conditioned statements from 48 witnesses and oral evidence from one witness. There was little debate on the evidence presented by the prosecution and the material aspects thereof can be summarised as follows.
7. According to oral evidence of the prosecution's witness, Ms Zizi, whom we understand was recently gunned down by an unknown assailant in a public toilet situated somewhere in Geylang, the relationship between D1 and the Accused had soured sometime in November 2008. D1 had confided in Ms Zizi that the Accused was no longer able to 'satisfy' her sexual needs. Ms Zizi was further told by D1 that she had, on several occasions, caught the Accused masturbating in front of the fridge with a chicken carcass in hand. Concerned and embarrassed, D1 had confronted the Accused with advice to seek psychiatric help, to which the Accused promptly brushed aside unheeded.
8. It was only until the unusual habits of the Accused, which had by that time, deteriorated to such degree that he was seeking sexual gratification through the use of cabbage leaves, did D1 finally decided to take matters into her own hands.
9. Based on hand phone records obtained by investigating officers, the Accused was called to the apartment sometime around 10.30pm. At 11.15 pm, the Accused arrived at the scene of the crime. It is not known whether D2 was in the apartment at the time of the Accused's arrival. However, according to several eyewitnesses around neighboring blocks, D2 was seen returning to the apartment sometime about 11.30 pm.
10. The cautioned statement as well as the long statement recorded from the Accused were admitted in evidence as being voluntarily made without any objection from the Accused or his counsel. Insofar as is material, the gist of the said cautioned statement as well as the material portions of the long statement are summarised as follows:
(a) D1 had, against the will of the Accused, tethered him to the bed by way of leather straps shortly after he arrived at the apartment. According to the Accused in his statement, D1 had intended to insert a raw carrot into his anus.
(b) D1 was in the act of removing the Accused's pants when D2 stepped into the master bedroom.
(c) A heated argument ensues between D1 and D2 and the Accused, whose presence was momentarily ignored, manages to chew his way through to freedom.
(d) Greatly disturbed by what D1 had intended to do to him, the Accused took his pistol out (which was hidden in the pocket of his jacket) and opened fire, taking D1 down before proceeding to shoot D2.
The Defence Case
11. The evidence given by the Accused was brief and concise. He admitted to the killing of both D1 and D2 but pleaded not guilty to murder in reliance on the defence of provocation and diminished responsibility under Exception 1 of Section 300 of the Penal Code (Chapter 224) insofar as to attribute his loss of self-control on the failings of modern society.
12. Not only has the Accused elected to testify, he has, in the stead of his solicitors, conducted his closing submissions at the trial of this matter.
13. Though belated at this juncture, I find it pertinent to address the issue of the Accused choosing to conduct his closing submissions himself. Whether out of foolhardiness or arrogance on the part of the Accused, it is not my place to say, but it is my duty to express my concerns at such an ill-advised approach. It is rather alarming that the Accused's solicitors have failed to dissuade their client from committing such a folly, considering the gravity of the situation. Mind you, the Accused's life is hanging by a thread, and we are all aware that under the laws of Singapore, more effort is needed to pop a girl's cherry than it does to snap that thread.
14. Be that as it may, as convoluted as it was entertaining, the crux of the Accused's submissions is that his aggression had been the product of the environment he grew up in, amongst other factors and influences fuelled by the failings of modern society, and in consequence a characteristic, of which the Court should take account when assessing his loss of self-control.
15. First off, it is with utmost regret that I admit that this over-debated theory leaves much room for argument. Personally, I do not reject the idea that a person, so exposed to the depravities of his fellow beings and the gradual decline of our moralistic values, may be so conditioned in such matter that it becomes an indelible imprint on that person's character. However, I am persuaded to think that it is ultimately a personal choice to allow this debasement of ethics to be replicated by way of an deviant act.
16. If immorality, along with all other choices, is caused through hereditary and environmental means, might not the same be said for the laws that govern this land, which ultimately serve to protect the rights of its citizens. Unless proven otherwise, the laws of nature, on which our written laws have been established, are quite certainly inherent traits of all humankind. Accordingly, I am inclined to find the Accused's argument that his actions were purely a gross reflection of the unfortunate circumstances of which he had been exposed to, a weak and fallible defence. I am minded to think that the Accused was aware that what he was doing was a wrongful act, and therefore clearly mindful of the possible implications of his actions.
17. I am now invited to consider whether the provocation was sudden and grave enough to make a reasonable man act as the Accused had done so as to excuse his action.
18. As the law has developed, there are two distinct requirements for the provocation defence to apply: first, a ‘subjective’ requirement that the accused was deprived of his self-control by provocation; and secondly, an ‘objective’ requirement that the provocation should have been ‘grave and sudden’. The latter requirement involves the application of the ‘reasonable man’ test accepted in Vijayan v PP  2 MLJ 8 at p 12; [1975-1977] SLR 100 at p 107 and cited in Ithinin bin Kamari v PP  2 SLR 245 at p 250:
In our judgment, under our law, where an accused person charged with murder relies on provocation and claims the benefit of Exception 1 of s 300, the test to be applied is, would the act or acts alleged to constitute provocation have deprived a reasonable man of his self-control and induced him to do the act which caused the death of the deceased and in applying this test it is relevant to look at and compare the act of provocation with the act of retaliation.
19. Whether provocation is ‘grave and sudden’ enough to prevent an offence from amounting to murder is a question of fact, as stated in the Explanation to Exception 1 of s 300; this includes the question of whether the Accused had demonstrated the level of self-control to be expected of an ordinary person. Given the circumstances noted above, the Accused must have been in an emotional, vulnerable state of mind when he was told by D1 that she was going to 'fuck him senseless' with the carrot, which she had warmed up in the microwave oven moments before. Further, considering the fact that the Accused is a music recording artist known for his deplorable attitude towards the female sex, he would have felt emasculated by D1's actions and that would have tipped him over the edge. It is, however, most unfortunate that D2 had been present at the scene at that time. Her life could have been spared if she had not returned to the apartment when she did.
20. Therefore, the Accused is hereby convicted on a reduced charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Final Appeal for the Record (Label):
State of New York
Jefferson Washington Lincoln Carver
Aka: Blaise B/Niggaz on Parole
Docket #: 10098765
Excerpt of certified court transcript (pages 1624-1628):
Jefferson Washington Lincoln Carver addresses the court:
who value the lives of their families
beyond the mere gavel of law, I ask you:
What is innocence?
Do we not all bear the mark of Cain?
Are the sins of the ancestors not visited upon the children?
If I am not my brother’s beeper,
can’t I, at least, be his supplier.
What guilt is there in that?
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury,
‘Twas not I who pulled the trigger.
I was at my Auntie’s playing Grand Theft Auto with my cuz.
For argument’s sake, forget my alibi.
‘Twas society. Yea, she is the nefarious villain you seek!
She is the trigger happy bitch that has brought me before you today.
I swear it upon my loins.
Nay, peeps, I swear it upon my very crotch
that hath launched a thousand quips
and knocked up that be-otch Helen
bareback on her high Trojan horse.
My childhood was not coddled with frills of Fisher-Price
nor with the dulcet tones of Baby Mozart.
My rattle was still attached to a snake.
My music was the wail of police sirens
and the staccato clap of gun fire
arising from domestic disturbances in the hood.
You see…my moms was a crack ho’.
Give me pause, good friends,
as I reflect upon her saintly semblance.
It is misted in memory
like morn beneath the Brooklyn Bridge
or Dian Fossey’s silverback gorillas
playing hide the banana.
My moms hit the pipe
like Mike McGuire hit home runs on the juice
and dragged my ass from trick to trick.
Child Services took me from her diligent care
when I was but a tot in an Armani running suit.
To what end?
I was shuffled through the foster care system,
weaned on neglect and nurtured on abuse.
Today, I wear these childhood wounds as medals.
I am not covetous of bling, but I wear it.
My desire doth not dwell on Nike Airs, I just do it.
Is it not the fashion of a man to be fashionable?
To be arrayed in the silken threads and primped with pimpish hats
Who’s pluck’d feathers would shame the Bird of Paradise
In all its plum’d puffery.
Jurors, my only sin be this…
I covet the attention I was denied as child --
I yearn for the tenderness of a mother’s caress
The slam dunk lessons of a heroic father.
Hath not my wounds given me the merit
To covet no less? If offense be taken,
I, too, shall wear that affront as an honor --
A medal from the frontlines of urban warfare.
In this naked simulacrum of Law and Order
We can no longer speak of perps’ and vics’,
For victims we are all:
Victims of Madison Avenue
Who make us crave
The shit we need not.
Victims of the media
Who elevate celebrity,
Pathetic parrots of rote,
To near divinity.
Victims of Darwinian capitalism,
That makes short-shrift of our humanity.
Victims of ‘the man’,
Yes, you crackers in the robes,
Who sat our black asses
On the back of the bus for so long
It left indelible marks
In the upholstery of our souls.
Who in this courtroom
Is not a victim?
Come forth, I pray thee!
Let them cast the first stone
And beat the soot off my weary soul.
Let him render the eye-for-an-eye justice
That leaves the world blind.
No takers? No volunteers?
That’s because, your Honor, there are no perps.
We live in a perp’less society!
God is dead and our lives are perp’less!
We are all innocent.
“Who is innocent,” I ask you.
And I answer…
All of us!
Every fucking one of us!
Yea, ‘Twas Society who pulled the trigger,
Find society guilty and by this fair construct you will be compelled to bear witness to my innocence.
I pray thee, season thy justice with mercy, for in your zeal to dispense the former, you shall make orphans of all.
In summation, a wise man once said,
‘The quality of mercy is not strain’d.”
I add, Nor can innocence be feign’d.
Behind Justitia’s blindfold it is writ:
‘We are victims all’,
Beethoven was in my mind
As I scrubbed some lipstick off my mirror
From a heart I drew a few years back.
The coldness of the polished tiles under my feet
For an 80 degree January
And I'm not quite sure what the symphony was
Or that it even was a symphony
Or Beethoven, for that matter.
All the same, I continued to work at the heart;
Rather, I rubbed the pigments all over my mirror,
And found myself within a room of misty pink.
All arranged in rose on my mirror.
I stand there alone
wondering if things are ever going to change
I stand there like a statue made of stone
I wait and I wait till your in range
I see you, stood still in thought
You walk near to me, but yet your still to far
I stand there alone
I see you getting into a car
I stand there like a statue made of stone
You think you know me
Truth is you didn't know me
from start to finish.
You see me
basking in my own invulnerability
a taste of blood is what I ask for
I see you coming towards me
I pull out a piece of metal from my pocket
I got on one knee
and I kneel there alone
I kneel there like a statue made of stone.
I see you gasp
you put your hand upon your heart
I take that piece of metal and pull the trigger.
Now you know me from finish to start
I stand there alone
for I am a man
I stand there like a statue made of stone
Then I turned and ran
for now you know me as The Hitman!
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez room. It was not a heavy frost, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.
He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.
"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "Booze and Johnny Cash."
Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.
Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.
Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his ass would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.
Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.
Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.
"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.
Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"
"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.
"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.
"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.
"That's good, that's good."
"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.
"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, dirty dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.
"Take the dogs out to pee," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."
"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.
"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."
Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to pee. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.
"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.
Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.
A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.
On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.
There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.
After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."
He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.
Give me the sweet smell of struggle.
Give me the stark red cry of love.
Everyday, life victories over death in your smile,
memories of old flames become
first coats in the bitter winter.
But you see, I have learned to love the cold.
Especially when I wear your affection,
a heavy cloth, thick as wool.
Everyday, your kindness wraps me more securely inside my world.
The wintry scene becomes welcome-
because there is a warmth in the midst of it
and a warmth to be had at the end of the long walk-
the hands hastened by the fire,
the heart by your eyes.
Oh yes, life should give me a good fight
because I know my prize is you,
tottering sweetly at the end of the road, like a child.
You are my happiness.
Now that I possess your love, there is color in the world,
streaks of red on the white canvas,
the scent of roses in the otherwise sterile winter air.
Life exists where it didn't before.
I live when before I had died painful deaths,
by my own hand, by indifference, by abuse.
Every sentence to you is a poem I never bothered to write down,
because the most important poems are the ones in memory.
The first coats we loved, but they were not practical.
The collars beautiful, the buttons neat.
It is warmth I want.
It is you, because you keep the wind out.
Because you were expensive, and therefore of good quality.
What I mean to say is:
I want to stay inside your love forever,
And not come out of it,
As if you were a welcome fever,
As if your love, and not my sadness
Is the real death, a happy one.
I forget, my love;
After death, life follows.
At a young age I grasped a pen.
Held it tight in my fist to make circles on a page
As if I was enraged,
But at that age it was all in good fun.
Soon enough someone,
I can’t remember who,
taught me how to hold one.
Pencils became cool.
I could make mistakes in school,
Then erase my error forever forgetting
That I may have been a fool
when spelling my own name with a lowercase K…
A school boy error.
But that’s just what I was.
A school boy.
I remember being introduced to crayons.
I thought to myself,
ALL OF THE COLORS ?!
Every color I could not even imagine.
Colors I could not pronounce,
Colors of pride,
Colors of passion,
And when I was asked to use these colors,
at first being young,
I chose to abuse these colors.
I’d put red where it didn't belong,
And orange where you would think it was wrong.
Use pink for people and purple for pants,
Brown for the ground,
And one time,
Just this one time,
I made the grass blue,
And the clouds green.
That made me laugh,
Because this world was that page,
And that page was mine.
I crossed and I scribbled all over the lines.
And when I was finish I’d go running to tell what I’d done.
My father would look and say
“That’s beautiful son.”
And then my exhibit of art
Would hang neatly from the refrigerator door.
I grew older.
And as time passed,
the lines grew to be guidelines and laws.
Rules began to apply, I did abide.
My right to be free was strictly denied.
Each stroke of a color, each stroke of a pen!
When would my hand dance freely again?
I learned of letters from A to Z,
In love with language I won spelling bees,
Put consonants with vowels to make words,
Learned adjectives, verbs, nouns, and adverbs.
I was a proud little nerd,
And I still felt this deep discontentment.
An egg hatched and I was not yet a bird.
Where was the wind beneath my wings,
to give me a feeling fly enough to make me sing?
I began to fall.
Fall fast into the depth of misunderstanding.
If knowledge is power,
Why were my heart and soul disbanding?
In frustration I sat in contemplation,
Pondering thoughts and memories,
of when I was most happy.
Looking through old picture books I found a folded piece of paper with the only solution to my problem.
The page had my name at the bottom.
Lines danced and trapeze from one side of the page to the other.
I understood with a smile,
I hung that picture on my bedroom wall,
I opened a book and held a pen.
On lined paper I put line after line with occasional rhyme.
I used letters to laminate life.
I used words to take flight.
I used sentences to draw dreams.
I used what I knew and what I had seen.
Words are wisdom, what wisdom gains value when not shared with what we know as the world.
So when playing with ink, understand to be free,
understand your responsibility to others when they see what you have created in secrecy, and let there be no limit to what you think is outside that box.
That is how you dabble with ink.
Rotting dog eye
reflects my confusion
leads me through cascading memories of tormented anguish
aids in the recollection of intimate disturbances
and the fumbling of young victims
scared looks scar my heart as I remember the word “no”
children pretend but the smell remains clear
blood and tears speckle a landscape intended for unicorns and rainbows
both roles played and now only hollow self-hate
softly the music takes me away and my surroundings dissolve
oblivion overtakes me and I swim
When you said you didn't care,
My heart broke like glass creations on the shore
Where lightening had struck.
I've been walking around eggshells
for so long with you,
My feet started to bleed.
You took the wind from my lungs and
The rosey in my eyes.
When you told me you didn't care,
I realized who you were.
A crocodile disguised as a lily pad.
And I was prey to you,
You sought only to sink your teeth into my bones.
When you said you didn't care,
It was all for my protection.
You sought to protect Maleficent
By slaying the dragon.
I guess this is good,
For there is no longer passionate compunction.
Or any feeling at all.
When you told me you didn't care,
I repeated the phrase to myself
over and over again,
Until the words lost meaning.
I became careless around you,
You never liked the dark areas of me.
The lurking shadows,
The mindless tactics of reapportioned reality.
When you said you didn't care,
I realized I didn't either.