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You can’t conflate two nothings
Into something of great worth
You cannot have true progeny
Unless you first give birth.

You cannot wear the laurel crown
Unless you win the race
You cannot be a beauty queen
Without a pretty face.

You cannot swell yourself with pride
And call yourself a hero
If all the actions that you laud
Have added up to zero.
      ljm
Another BLT challenge on the word conflate.
At the exact moment when
My shoulders were their weakest
The load I bear was doubled.

In the autumn of my mental skills
The maze I have to navigate
Was rearranged by evil fingers.

While I tried to make some sense of it
The slender options I created
Melted in the blazing heat.

When my tiny flame of hope
Grew almost bright enough to see
It was blown out by reality.

And there is only desert left
Where desperately planted seeds
Will have no chance to grow.

Like a candle left out in the sun
My spirit softens and then slumps
Into waxy pools of hopelessness.
ljm
Written a couple of weeks ago when I was really down.
In a weary last-week world
Crammed with too-much not-enough
and everyone forgot their password

In vast emptiness-es crowded
With everything nobody wants
And someone else is boldly hoarding

In a time that passes in a blur
Of somehow never being able
To find a key to wind the clock

There is a little flower growing
In a most unlikely place
Hoping for an eye to spot it.

There is a tiny four leaf clover
Waiting for someone to find it
And remake a dreary day

There is an end to that beginning
And the band will play again
And then at last we all can dance
                         ljm
I dunno....Sometimes I just have to look away from the gloom.  Surprising what's to be found.
It was 12 months filled with apocalypse
That started at the stroke of the New Year.
The more we tried to make life good
The faster it turned bad and wrong.

A wave of illness washed ashore
Like a flash flood of bacteria.
Even those who laughed at it
Were suddenly mowed down.
We hid like cartoon hermits
In our household caves of safety.

The Grammas and the Grampas died alone,
And soon their grandkids followed them.
The jobs shut down, the schools all closed.
And children could not understand
Why Mommy was their teacher.

The populace was out of work;
Their income disappeared
And folks lined up in endless queues
To get a box of canned goods.

We struggled to avoid the ones
Demanding their God given right
To sneeze and cough from naked faces,
As masks were just for Democrats -
The constitution said so.

All holidays were sacrificed
To the Gods of the Pandemic
Forced to barricade ourselves
Against the breath of others,
We all learned to breathe through paper.

Mother Nature joined the fray -
Mud slides, hurricanes and floods,
Each setting some new record.
        
The West Coast exploded into flames
While the East Coast froze in blizzards
And Tornado Alley blew away.

The sun chased all the rain away
From Arizona’s rocky hills,
For almost two hundred scorching days,
While Mercury reached one-oh-nine
For a blistering ninety-nine of them.

The weather took a slingshot to Nevada
Spring and Fall both disappeared
In unrelenting heat.
Weather played a ping pong game
With thirty degree swings for fun,
And gale force winds for amusement.

The year became an endless Summer
Dog days vaulted over Spring
And every day was August.
Autumn never had a chance
As Winter barged in months too soon.

The weather imitated life
It wasn’t long til politics
Became a quagmire of discord
When an unlikely President
Set out instead to become a King
And join the despots he admired.

As everything went bad and wrong.
Children found themselves in cages
While their parents were sent home
And often lost to them forever.

Around the world they laughed at us
And his parade of sycophants
Who aimed to tear down common sense
And use the bricks to build that wall.

While those with any moral code
Tried vainly to restrain the one
Who claimed to have the biggest brain
Yet startled everyone in charge
With weathervane decisions.

Racism grew with media’s help.
We saw unarmed people die
In graphic form repeatedly.
Black men died in frightful numbers,                                      
Too often with bullets in their back.
And once a knee across the neck
Which proved the final, ugly straw.

That drove the crowds onto the streets,
Where they were joined by Bovver Boys
Who longed to only loot and burn
And turn peaceful protest into riots.

Egotism gone awry
Sent Jack-boots to the Portland streets
With women hustled into vans
While Third ***** vistas came to mind
And Half the city Burned.

Amidst the flailing of his flock,
The Nation’s Shepherd ditched his staff -
Abandoning his sheep, but not his golf.
His only thought, to keep his crown
And stay as King atop the hill.
In desperation to find a way,
He prattled on his fairy tales and
baldfaced, maskless lies.

The righteous folk had had enough
And turned the bully out
In numbers not to be denied,
But he refused to yield his throne
And tried a hundred ways to stay.

Those he danced on Ginsberg’s grave
In order to give candy to

Were supposed to stay his loyal friends
But even they refused the claim
That all his bean bags had been stolen.

He riled the Black Sheep of his flock
To swallow his mendacity
And urged them to stampede for him
And desecrate the country’s home
While he enjoyed it on TV.

Silenced on the air at last
He skulked back to his golden heap
For golfing in the Palm Beach sun
And subterfuge behind the scenes.

Getting past the bile and guile
Will be the next big project.
But we’ve elected one who can,
And normalcy will rule again.

Quiet now, we wait and see
If decency will have a chance
To save us from the boggy swamp
To once again be who we really are.
ljm



Google: Bovver Boots UK
This took months to write and I'm still not satisfied with it but I have to move on.
3
3
Three times nothing is nothing
Why do you keep going back
Haven't you had enough nothing
To last til forever and back.
                          
Sometimes we just never learn
There was a big heart that beat steadily in the name of duty
It beat strongly in the name of love
It beat for years beyond expectations
Until the evil crows descended
First they took a little nibble here and there
It must have tasted good
For they started taking bigger bites
Restricting the rhythm of the beating
A new flight landed to join the feast
And there was a year long frenzy
Soon there was nothing left but scraps
Pulsing weakly, yet refusing to die
So they got the elephant in the room
To stomp across it several times
And that worked just the way they hoped
What was left was scraped up off the floor
And thrown out with the garbage.
ljm
I've just been given notice in the most evil way that the job I love, that has been my whole working career, will be taken away on Jan 1, which also happens to be my birthday. Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to Lori
He gave her the Earth, the Moon and Mars.
Still she said she needed more space.
      So he gave her the air.
   ljm
Just another play on words.
The only child at the Easter Egg Hunt
Lacks a big enough basket
To collect the bounty all laid out
Across the rolling lawn

Those who were not allowed to run
Look sadly from outside the fence
Their empty baskets tossed aside
In hopelessness and envy.

Who painted all those pretty eggs
And who decides who gets to run
Why can’t those other little hands
Collect an egg or two

They can, you say.  Here’s two or three
For each of you, if you applaud
The Golden Child who smiles at all
In sympathy and pride

And tells you you will likely never
Be the one they choose to run
So be content with your two eggs
And never let your green eyes show.
ljm
A treatise on the haves and the have nots.
Sinus headache's
no excuses
Tylenol and water
Suited up
against the cold
laced up loosely
on the wounded toe
zipped up hoodie
time to go
Not too chilly
Little wind
Cloud formations
Promise cotton
candy pink
By the time
I top the hill

Left foot - right arm
Right foot -  left arm
I’ve got rhythm
I’ve got music
Joyful, Joyful
in my mind
playing in
an endless loop
long blocks up
long blocks down
small mountain
in between
to make it
add to
one point
nine-eight miles

Wide cracks
in the blacktop
road
Step across
not on
My mother had
a painful back
almost all
her life
Someone sprayed
black tar
across the gaps
But they got filled
with grit instead
and random
ciggy butts
a sucker stick
from Halloween
and one
blue shiny bead

Left right left right
Left foot - right arm
I take the uphill corner
at speed
and miss a step
Left foot - left arm
the pace is
out of sync
Now the street
goes down hill
Pick up speed
Mustn’t trip
No one’s awake
to help me up

A stretch of
alkali-looking
sidewalk
runs beside me
only on one side
The other side
walks
in the street
I guess

300 elbow lifts
fill 3 dead ended
corners
Time to turn
and climb
the hill
rubble left by
glaciers melting
oh-so-very
long ago

Scarred by
ATV tracks
Steep and crumbly
Caution is my
middle name

Heartbeat up
where it belongs
I stride the
ridge
and wait for
Sunrise
God is
somewhere else
today
No hues if
bubble gum
Dark clouds
stay dark
Til shining gold
behind them
bursts
to mark
another day

I survey
the town
below
and offer up
my thanks
as holy
meditation
then I turn
back down
the hill
for my short
walk to
home.

   ljm
Trying to stay healthy with a daily 3 mph, 2-mi. walk
Fading
Like a beauty queen
Grown old,
Sunrise is too quckly over.
ljm
Sunrise never lasts long enough.  I always want more.
7
7
Seven times seven to the seventh power
Will tell you how much I love you this hour.
If you tripled the stars and a few more could borrow
It would give an idea how I'll love you tomorro  
                                            
There once was a miss from Nevada
Whose job was correcting errata
She did such good work
   Her boss gave her a perk -
In the form of a brand new Sonata.
ljm
Banged out three. This one was the best.
I’m a little short on Joy today-
Got lotsa Pain and too much Duty.
Seem to be totally lacking in Glee
And Overdrawn on Happiness
While overstocked with Misery.
My Contentment check is overdue.
Got too much Little and hardy any Lots.
My Merriment has been recalled,
Leaving only wheels of Gloom.
My Happy Place is in foreclosure
And my Spirit’s locked in Chapter Seven.
My hopefulness is now Maxed Out
And tomorrow is an I.O.U.
ljm
Some days you feel like you just can't win.
P  erhaps it’s time to scribble down a word or two,
E  ven though I have nothing cogent to proclaim.
N  evertheless the urge is one that must be answered to.

O  nce a long, long time ago the words poured forth, but
N  ow the well has seemingly gone dark and dry.

P  ossibly the act of touching pen to empty pages-
A  s an act of penance for strangling the muse of
P  oesy in a knotted, convoluted scarf of dreariness- will
E  nable what was meaningful so long ago to finally
R  ecover and deliver something worthwhile once again.
                                                          ­  ljm
I say it’s cozy - you say it’s cluttered.
I say it’s comfy, you say it’s crowded.
Two hundred miles from what we knew and loved
Those miles have somehow slipped between us.

You say this place must be bewitched
You put down things, they walk away.
I say your mind is occupied-
You’re not living in the moment.

Hamstrung by a phone line waiting for connection
Someone in India has a hand in our lives
And decides who we can talk to,
Limited now to only each other.

The sun gave a hint of blisters to come,
Then cooled by an unexpected deluge
That turned cardboard cartons to sagging mush
And soaked us as we tried to save them.

They said it rained just ten times a year
But our record for the first two weeks:
Two monsoon pours and 4 more others
While thunder and sheet lightning filled the heavens.

The sky lights up like strobes on crack
While thunder rumbles in the distance
Overture to monster downpour
Dried and gone before the sunrise.

No Welcome Wagon rang our bell
No casseroles appeared
Nothing more than a random wave
To welcome us to this new life.

They said there’s no humidity
So the heat is not so bad
My gauge shows that glass half full
And we’ve been lied to once again.

We put our rubber plants outside
They were quickly cooked to mush.
We salvaged only two leaves each                       Small reward for major effort.

Who can live in such a place
The natives always say it’s lovely.
But nothing we were told is true
And somehow we must find a way.

ljm
I wrote this when we first moved here.  I'm not thrilled with it, but it's all I have at the moment. Forgive me.
I thought I might be a musician
Mom couldn’t afford my lessons
My eyesight wasn’t great
I couldn’t read notes fast enough
Practicing annoyed the family
I only managed last chair, 2nd violins
              But still
I got to play in High School concerts
In shiny dresses with glitter in my hair
              However
I haven’t held a violin in years
I loaned mine to a Bluegrass band
The leader died - and it was gone

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I thought I might become a dancer
But my fingers can not touch the floor
I couldn’t kick much higher than my waist
Choreography was hard for me to learn
I had the stamina if not the skill
My partner wanted someone else
                But still
I danced on stage in a college play
And Morris Danced at the Old Globe Theatre
                However
I’ve forgotten how to keep the beat
And all the dance floor moves I made
I’m too self conscious now to try

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I fancied I could be a singer
I knew the words to all the songs
And I could keep the melody in tune
But I had a voice with no vibrato
And the quality was thin
My range was very limited
              But still
I sang Blueberry Hill at a talent show
In a black lame’ dress and surprised a few
              However
I couldn’t get the hang of harmony
And found I fit best in a choir
My family wouldn’t hear my solos

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I thought that I was born an actress
I practically got that one right
I had a lead in an Ibsen play
And toured the state with Macbeth
But Hollywood was one big casting couch
And I could see no way around it
          But still
I got to be on TV  shows
Winning games and merchandise
          However
I sold the Firebird Convertible I won
I needed rent money more than a car
And rules allow you only three shows in a lifetime

≈≈≈≈≈≈≈≈

I always thought I was a poet
I started young and never stopped
But family ignored and scoffed
Then I got trapped inside my mirror
And only wrote when all was beak
Somebody said my stuff was dreary
          But still
I stumbled on the HP website
And found a group who like the words I write
          However
When I read the others’ writes
I realize how limited my skills
And fight the need to run away and hide.
    ∞
It seems I dabbled in all the arts

Looking for the one that fit me
And finding they all needed alteration
And I never had the proper needle
  ∞  
Still, a moment in the sun
Is better than a lifetime in the shade
I had a taste of everything
Though the banquet was not mine.
ljm
I give new meaning to the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none" !
But I've  had an interesting life so far.
Robbed of purpose, I’m bereft.
I’m a hammer without nails.
The castle that I built is far away
Behind iron fences and locked gates.
I’m exiled here with tools still shiny
But no blueprint was sent along
And lumber is in short supply.
I’m a craftsman - I must build,
Or rust along with all my tools.
I feel I’m left out in the cold
And the forecast is for rain.
ljm
Still struggling with being dumped into retirement so very unwillingly and so painfully.
The lights did not go out
The walls did not shake and tumble
There were no clarion horns or cymbals
Streets were not awash with blood
But nevertheless blood did run cold.
Promises wrapped in glints of hope
Made screeching sounds as they were broken
And shattered bits of progress
Littered streets and pathways everywhere.
The rumble of the coming doom
Arrived on Humvees made in China
For the use of United Nations troops.
Everybody saw it coming
In vast Tsunamis of dread and fear
But there were simply not enough
Little Dutch Boys in blue hats
To poke their fingers in the dikes
That shuddered as they slid away
And buried ordinary people in the deluge
There was no way to win that war
The Russians tried, so did the French.
You can’t turn oranges into apples
But the women, oh the women
And their pretty little girls
Having had a taste of freedom
In forms that were once denied
They will now be forced by brutes
To give back everything they gained
And become in sad defeat
Merely property of men
swallowed up in flowing burkas
Black as the intentions of their rulers
             ljm
What is there to say.
A microscopic drop of red
In a place no human eye can see
Erased the blackboard of my mind
Of all the words that make me, me.

I’m left here with chalk in hand
Trying hard to bridge the gaps
Hoping to connect the strands
And find myself again, perhaps.

I reach for words and they don’t come -
Simple words used every day.
I substitute less perfect ones
And laugh embarrassement away.

There is a word for what this is:
Leethalogica it’s called.
I have it written on my arm
In case it needs to be recalled.

Is my new best friend
Where I find the words I need
That are now locked away from me
An unexpected deep brain bleed.

My hand won’t write like it once did
The letters shrink and grow at will
I practice grade school penmanship
But write at third grade level still.

My balance is not what it was
My hands are clumsy paws
Too much saliva wets my chin
And no none knows the cause.

Yet life goes on and I do too
I offer what I can
Perhaps my words will help help someone
To take a braver stand.
ljm
Still trying to recover from a little bitty stroke on New Years Eve.  Slow going.
I think the proof is in the air
For those who love and those who care.
So many things that we don't share
Hallelujah
ljm
The best ever version of that song.  It's on face book under his name. Gives me chills.
You’ve left us in a world that’s ugly and cold
Filled with pain that won’t be assuaged.
Alone in a place with no compassion or grace,
We wait for your sons to come of age.

Our only hope of ever seeing you again
Is hidden deep in William’s smile.
Perhaps he can share all the love that we bear
And make all the sorrow worthwhile.

The profiteers have crawled out of the woodwork-
They infest every conceivable nook.
Hawking Diana-clothes and Queen-of-Hearts prose
Their avarice bleats everywhere you might look.

Am I any different, wanting my words
And those of my peers to be placed on your grave.
As I yield to the tears that will haunt me for years
I mustn’t be one taking more than you gave.

It’s curious watching what was known would occur
Actually unfolding before our eyes.
Any piece of the action gives such satisfaction
That we become subjects to drama and lies.

But we turn our backs on the items they sell
And refuse to play ball with the vultures
Who will not go away thought we weep with dismay
And wonder what happened to culture.

All the words from our pens are no match for our loss
And cannot diminish our sadness
As we plod through the days stretching into the haze,
Searching for some bit of sustainable gladness.

How can you possibly be not in our world?
What’s to become of us now that you’re gone?
Where are we, after the loss of our laughter
And how will we manage to just carry on.

We need your feeling, your beauty, and soul.
We need to share in your living.
You made us better by breaking the fetter
That taught us the value of compassionate giving,

You were the teacher and we avid pupils.
Sometimes we were slow, but eventually learned
That life is for caring and happiness-sharing -
Gifts received are greater returned.

You were the gift of the twentieth century
To a world undeserving of such
With red, weeping eyes, that world now decries
The loss of your magical touch.
ljm
I wrote this (and many more) 20 years ago when Princess Diana died/was murdered. (I'm not sure)  I was fortunate enough to deliver that slim volume to her memorial at Althorp in England.  I'll never forget it.
Another week
Another massacre
Will the flags never fly at full staff again?
                                  ljm
I have no words
AGE
AGE
I PLAN TO DIE AT AGE 45
NO MATTER HOW MANY YEARS I’VE LIVED
-stolen
Don't know who wrote this, but it's  my new mantra.
A futile pen, mortally wounded
By the razor hands of a leering clock
Lies bleeding;
Staining irrevcocably
The snow-white side-ruled shroud
That once was hunger's meal;
Casting low, long shadows
Over unborn, nonexistent lines.
                     << >>
This is the copyrighted title for the book I will eventually publish - if I have to handwrite it myself.  But this piece may not be in it. Not real satisfied with it.
It’s my day at last
To put on a mask
And be someone else.
But who shall I choose.

“The Scream” has been done
The President too
The Ewoks and Yoda
Have used up their moment.

Shall I be avenging
Or Little Bo Peep
Shall I become Gaga
Or Atilla the ***

I’d like to be pretty-
Liz Taylor perhaps
But her day is over
So why not Beyonce.

Pretty gets boring
Just ask Taylor Swift
Maybe I’d rather
Be someone less fancy

Someone who cries
For mistreated dogs
And beautiful sunsets
And other folks love

Someone who laughs
When irony rules
And giggles when
Everything turns upside down

Who is that person
And where is the mask
If I cannot buy it
I’ll just go as me.
        ljm
One of my favorite holidays.
Riddled with regret
I cringe at who I used to be
And who I have become.

Rattled with remorse
I cry out for forgiveness
But I don’t know from whom.

Saddled with sadness
I struggle with the load
That grows heavier with time.

The clock hands can not turn back
There’s just one life to live
And the Piper must be paid.
          ljm
The depression doves are flying again.  But I'm still glad to be back after a month without my mac.
He came to me with the allusion
Of a bump like a contusion.
The circumstances caused confusion.
I thought it just a wild delusion
That would pass with resolution
And a bit of diminution.
When I told him my solution
He declared a revolution.
          ljm
This wrote itself.  Was hard to stop.
I live my life alone with you
You're here, but not with me
You travel in a different orbit
That only sometimes crosses mine.

My cup of joy is not half full
It's cracked and liquid seeps away
To vanish in the same place as my tears
Though it looks pretty at a casual glance.

The things that once beguiled my heart
Now chafe up blisters on my soul
I try to tell you of my pain
But we don't speak a common tongue.

Our eyes don't look at things the same
Our ears perceive two different tunes
When I reach out to take your hand
It feels like 'dead man's finger' -

Childhood game in a grown up world-
A guarantee of shivers
In the eeriness of misperception
That so mirrors all we do.

Now I'm lonely in bed beside you
Back to back with dog  between
The distance that we've slid apart
Measures out in months and  years

And I long for a sharing touch
To tell me I don't live alone
It isn't there although I search
Leaving me empty, lost, and all alone.
                                 ljm
Google "the dead finger" game
I came in the very first
In the race to golden treasures
And was told I had no entry form
And only those who paid that fee
Could carry off the trophy.
            ljm
A day late and a dollar short, as always.
It’s very quiet now
My sobbing has subsided to small gasps.
My face is wet and needs a drying but
I have no tissue and the air's
Too still and close to do the job.
It’s dark outside and even darker inside
Where the corner begs me to come huddle
And the blue screen mocks my efforts
To concoct a riddle that will save me.
I’ve tried every single thing I know
To find a way to change the past
But it remains immutable,
And I am locked inside
The Amber of regret
9/17/20
Never re-read old diaries.
Plunging through the mud and brambles
We chase a butterfly we’ll never catch
Still we cannot stop pursuing
We push ourselves to go a little faster
Even though the tangled vines
Wrap tight around and scratch our legs

The seeping blood becomes a whip
To urge us ever onward
The butterfly with glowing azure wings
Lites long enough to give us hope
Of finally catching up with it
And holding all that beauty in our hands

But then it lifts and floats away
Leaving just it’s siren song behind
To echo in our longing minds
And send a message that tells us
The goal we seek is possible
If only we do not give up

No matter how we spend our strength
With aching legs and burning lungs
No matter all the meadows that we race across
The butterfly continues to float out of reach
And in the end we realize
That we must settle for a moth.
ljm
You don't always get what you might want so badly.
When I joined, I assumed that the name I put on my poetry was
the name I should use here.  So I put Lori Jones McCaffery.
After being here only a few days, I realized many people had
created pen names for themselves and I wished I had done
so too.  Too late to go back and change my name on
everything I've posted, but that's OK.

However, when someone sends me a nice compliment,
they often use the whole name too.Kinda makes me feel like
a school marm or something.  I'm not at all a formal person.
I'm at the other end of the scale, so please one and all, feel
free to call me Lori.  It'll be easier for you to type and make
me feel more like "one of the gang".
Hope posting this isn't out of place.
Why does this site rearrange spacing when you hit the Save button.  Time after time I type something in a certain format and when it comes up on screen, all the spacing is different.  I wrote a thing shaped like an evergreen tree.  Took me forever to get the words to fit the spacing needed.  I hit the save button and it was totally unrecognizable.  I hit the Edit button so that I could manually correct the spacing and what came up was a perfect rendition of the original.  So how was I supposed to correct the posted version from that?  Can't be done.  This is not the first time for this to happen and make my blood boil.  Anybody got a solution?
If you want to see "The Tree", I can e-mail it to you.
#*^#^%# !!
He chopped my head off.
He wanted a son and I gave him a girl
I miscarried twice and one was a boy
It was an unforgivable sin.
So desperate for an heir was he
He evicted the Pope from England
And created his own kind of church
So he could get rid of Catherine,
The mother of his daughter,
And have me, against my own will.
My sister was not enough for him-
A mistress can not be a queen -
And the successor he so keenly longed for
Must be the issue of a queen.

With 2 daughters, Henry needed a son.
Catherine gave him Mary
And I bore him Elizabeth.
He didn’t know - nobody could know
How that rivalry would one day end.
When Henry looked to Jane Seymour,
Something told me I would die.
Hoping for kindness, it was brutality instead,
And Henry fell into a chain of desperation.
With seven murdered wives as links.

He chopped off my head to clear the way
For marriage number three
And buried me in a leaden box
In his ongoing quest for sons.
He thought that was the end of me
But my daughter was made of my same stuff
And through her battles over time
She claimed the throne that once was mine
And the Elizabethan era came to be.
ljm
Another BLT and Thomas W Case challenge.  Best I could do on short notice.
As busy as a cat
  At a mouse convention

    As happy as a dog
     Locked in a bone factory

       As hungry as
        The winner on Survivor

          As dizzy as a pinata
           At a kids party

             As sick as
              A pie-eating contest winner

                As beautiful as
                 Your Grandmother’s smile
                               ljm
A little bit of nothing
One two three
Look at silly me
Try with all my might
Never get it right.
         ljm
“I’ll be fine” she said
“The golden apples are within my reach.
I hear the distant thunder
And the flash of lightning
Lights the sky beyond the hills
But if my steps are ever forward
This muddy ground can’t trap my feet
And keep me from the prize I’m seeking.
I need only to climb up that tree.”

“I’ll be OK” she said
I have a sturdy ladder
And the shining apple tree
Is in a meadow not too far away.
It’s heavy - who will help me carry it
And hold it steady while I climb?”
There are many who raise hands
To offer buckets for the fruit
And shaded sheds to store it in.

“Tomorrow starts today” she said.
And dressed in apple picking clothes
With sturdy ladder climbing shoes
She set out across the fields
Where stood the golden apple tree.
Two fell behind along the way
And one decided to sleep in
So as the morning sun grew warm
She was left with just a step stool.

“I can do this” she proclaimed
I can figure out a way
To reach the apples lower down
And put a few into the basket
That replaced the heavy bucket”.
But the storm is closing in -
The metal stool, a lightning rod.
No longer safe out in the open
And not a single apple picked.                  
“I was over confident” she said
I thought the cheers and smiles all meant
That I could climb that golden tree
And gather apples to sustain me
Through the coming winter’s snows.”
But it appears that smiles and handshakes
Do not morph into a ladder
Tall enough to reach the fruit
That hides amongst the tallest branches.

“I feel despair” she moaned out loud
And flung herself into the brambles
Praying she would find black-berries -
Something to replace the apples
She knew would never be her meal.
But the blooming time was over,
Only withered nubs remained and
All she managed was torn clothing
And bleeding scratches on her fingers.

“I have no hope” she cried
“I’ve wasted all my energy and strength
Chasing visions that can not be mine,
Seeking golden apples I can’t reach.
Trusting hands that tried, but could not help me,
Facing knowledge that the winter will be hungry
And the only safe place is away
Where hands and smiles must be discovered
In a different kind of garden.”
                   ljm
The sure-thing new career proved to be illusive, and didn't materialize,  and finding a different place to do what I did before didn't work either.  Nothing left to do but find a safe place  far away to curl up and lick my wounds.
One more hour in the job I love
Then they ****** it all away
Too many letters in my last name
And I won’t join the games they play

One more hour in my office home
Before it becomes not mine
They took away the reason why
I need a space to spend my time

I’m sitting in a dunking booth
My chair held by a pin
The ***** are going to come my way
Which one will tip me in

Which lame excuse will be the one
They hand me on a plate
Which evil lie will be pronounced
To seal my future fate

Fifty minutes left to carve
The end of my career
Until they push me out to starve
And turn a deafened ear

Or maybe only cut my time
To watch me slowly bleed
And later do the coupe de grace
As they eliminate my need

The time is slowly racing by
My calm is wearing thin
I’ve tried so hard to handle this
To walk out with a grin

But jitterbugs have made their home
In all my quiet places
My throat is learning to seize up
And spoil my placid faces

My mind has owned the coming doom
But my belly missed the memo
I vowed to not succumb to gloom
And ride out in a limo

The hour is up - the hatchet *****
Has done her thing and gone
It hurts much more than I had guessed
I’m not sure I can carry on

What goes around will come around
A saying tried and true
I grab the courage I just found
And know I’ll make it through

ONE HUNDRED HOURS LATER

I’ve found a way to stay afloat
I’ve given it much thought
Perhaps the Gods will smile on me
And I’ll end up on a yacht.

The people I’ve dealt fairly with
Have rallied round my cause
They’re going to help me find a way
To sidestep hunger’s jaws

There is a path that I’d not seen
That leads to greater riches
And I will now begin that walk
And spite those loathsome *******

Who thought that they could throw me out
Like Sunday morning trash
With never a thought of what I’d use
For weekly grocery cash

What goes around has come around
To me - I’ll be just fine
The people that I’ve served so well
Have helped me cross the line

The storm has finally passed me by
I see an end to sadness
I now know I can carry on
Despite their evil badness.

So now my time has ended here
I’m wistful but not crying
I’ve seen a sunrise just ahead
And I’ve new wings for flying

ljm
I'm going to become a Site Rep for various filming locations.  I gained experience at it as part of my past job, and now the location scouts I worked with are banding together to help me find either a location to Rep  or agencies to send me to various locations. It's the part of my old job I liked the best anyway.  A bit nervous, but come Feb. I'm taking a go at it.
Ther IS light at the end of the tunnel.
I sip joy from the tiny crevices
Of a colorless existence.
I search out small pockets
Of contentment in the dolor, and
I patch together ragged moments
Of almost fulfillment
To create an existance
That might resemble happiness.

I wear the smile that says I am OK
And speak the words of fabrication.
I do the things that ape a life worthwhile
And go to the places that back up the lie.
I tear the pages from my calendar
And wonder that there are so many more.
Still able to lift a heavy load,
I guess there’s nothing else for me
To do but carry on, so that is what I must.
ljm
Some days you just wonder what it's all for.  Then the sun comes out and life is good. But the weatherman predicts rain tomorrow.
I’m so sorry, Mrs. Ames.
You saw potential in me that
I didn’t know I had
And found the means to free me
From the cage of my upbringing
And launch me towards
The chance of greatness.  

I apologize, because I could not
Break the shackles of my Mother’s ire.
I set my goal to prove her wrong,
Searching in too many alleys,
Looking for a brighter light.

I know I let you down, Mrs. Ames;
I had a chance to climb a step or two-
But that ended up as not enough
And sideways seemed a better bet.

I was permanently wrong.
I live among the ruins I created,
Grieving for the hearts I  wounded,
Knowing I have no more time
To try to make things right
                 ljm
I am who I am because my HS Art Teacher singlehandedly finageled me a scholarship so I could go to college. I should have accomplished more in my life. I did try.  I'm sorry, Mrs. Ames.
Can I share your Christmas
Mine’s been ****** away
Too busy closing out my job
To have much time to play

No Christmas tree, no mistletoe
No wreath on my front door
No strings of lights across the roof
No “spirit” any more

I promise not to hog your joy
And I will not intrude
I only want to steal a taste
Of all your special day includes

A whiff of loving happiness
And reverence for the season
I want to feel some holiday
And that’s my only reason

So if you’ll let me have a bite
Of what your Christmas means
I’ll be forever in your debt
For sharing happy scenes.

ljm
Still trying to get disconnected from the place I once worked and loved.
No more tears allowed.
There is a Palace at the end of this road,
Which turned out to be long and stony,
Pieces washed out by floods of tears
And avalanches of regrets,
Highwaymen around each corner.

No more sobbing in the night.
The castle walls are within sight
And the drawbridge is slowly coming down.
There is a light in the tower window
And the smell of dinner in the air.
Only one last mile to conquer
And at last I will be safely home.
ljm
We finally found our perfect house. Not a perfect place, but it will do.  Laughlin, Nevada by the Colorado river.  Summer temp 110º and up.
You can't have everything, and as long as the AC works, I'll be OK.  Such a relief that it's going to work.  It's been a tough 8 months.  But in 30 more days it'll give birth to a whole new home and surroundings.Thank you Lord.
There's an old folk song that goes:
"Goin' away, for to stay, a little while…
but I'm comin' back,
though I go ten thousand miles…

That's the theme song of
my ill and wounded Mac.
In an hour
he's going to the hospital for a week.
Gonna get all fixed up and be
healthy and happy.
This will require complete bed rest,
and sorry, no visitors.
Please don't send flowers -
they make him sneeze.

In lieu of flowers and cards,
please make a donation to HP.
                          ljm
Gotta do it - can't afford a new one.  Thank God for friends with sons who are computer geniuses. See ya on the 23rd.
Zinging the zen-zone I was in
A zany request zig-zagged my way.
Princess Zinnia from the Zuider-Zee
Required a zippy line or two
To paint the zeitgeist of our times.

With the strength of a Zamboni-
With the power of a Zeus-
And an uncommon zeal I set out
To zap the doubt that slowed me.

With the flair of a Florenz Ziegfeld
And his zoftig choir of beauties,
I morphed into a zealot
Gamboling in the zephyrs
That wafted in from Zurich and Zaire,
Not to mention Zanzibar.

I felt like a Zacharias
When my zealous work went bust.
The writing turned into a zonk-
The accolades were zilch.
I felt like I’d been zippered up
Like a zebra in a zoo.

I lost my zest for going on
And slopped around in old Zoris,
Listening to zydeco’s beat
And feeling like a zit.

But then the Zodiac-
My zinging-singing sign
Came to my rescue
And I was marching off to Zion.

I was one wowie-zowie-zucchini
As I zipped across the pages
And zoomed from one idea
To an even zippier one.

So here, Sunprincess, is your verse
I’ve used up every letter zee
And gone from very bad to worse
But of this challenge, I am free.
                         ljm
After I posted "The H Words", Sun Princesschallenged me to do one using 'Z' words.  Took me a while to do it, but I only had to resort to the dictionary once.  And here it is.  Please don't give me any more letter choices to work with.  My brain is fried.
Tear stained pages
Tear stained pillows
The legacy of my love for you.
                    ljm
13 words
Aperitif:  need
Appetizer:  hope
Salad:  ability
Main Course:  training
Wine:  promises
Vegetable:  effort
Bread:  patience
Dessert:  disappointment
Brandy:  resignation
ljm
Sometimes you try your hardest and it doesn't work.  It just freaken' doesn't work
BARFLY LIMERICK

There once was a fellow from Lauglin
Who went to the bar once too often
He thought he was cool
‘Til he fell off the stool
And ended up in a pine coffin.
ljm
Standing on the sidewalk
Hearing all the back talk
Watching while they cakewalk
Wonderin’ how I got here.

Step behind the bar table
Fool yourself if you are able
Tell yourself this ain’t no stable
And them ain’t dumb animals.

Start a conversation
End it in frustration
Why the aggravation
You know ******* can’t talk.

Turn into a pill head
Drop ‘em til you see red
Wish that you could be dead
Or anywhere but here.
                   <<>>
Tried this one summer in my youth.  Hated it.
Barmaid in a black bikini
Push up bra and all
Eight hours in an endless shift
Supplying visual accommodation
To fantasies best left unspoken
By the yabbos leering at the bar.

One half a pill at shift’s beginning
The other at hour four
Keeps the chatter ever charming
And the hopelessness at bay
As the clock sits paralyzed
And it’s always nine fifteen.
ljm
Inspired by David's   "I'M"
I once worked as a bikini clad barmaid in a beer bar that catered to auto workers from a nearby factory.  The pay was great but I had to take half a seco-synetan diet pill every 4 hours.  They made me rap and chatter and able to charm the yobbos making lewd suggestions and conjectures.  I lasted only 8 mo. before it was time to move on to something a  little more like who I am.
Seething anger has burned down the barn
Where iniquity wove its amber curtains
On vintage looms of deceit and falsehood
Skylarks can’t nest there anymore
And the creek is poorer for it

The harvester is grounded and
The scythe lies in the ashes and the brambles.

The Almanac forecasted heavy rain
But the wind instead blew from the East
And was impossible to batten down
Now things once wet are very dry and cracking

There’s naught to load and take to market
Where tears won’t buy the milk and butter
And there’s no one left to bake the bread

Hurry up those stumbling feet
Wishing won’t create a cow
And you don’t own a pasture
Or a salt lick anyway

The only thing that you have left
Is an igneous tomorrow and incendiary dreams
                      ..  ljm ..
This started in one direction and went another.  I am not the driver of my own poetic car.
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