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18.7k · May 2018
Threshold
Alex McQuate May 2018
Great tragedy suffered,
Impossible circumstances conquered,
The warrior walks upon the field flanked path.

The wanderer's armor tells a tale,
Battle scarred and partially rent asunder,
A face of stoicism that hides the haggardness underneath,
Peeking out beneath the mask of a hardened soldier.

The clouds clap ahead, preceded by flashes of light brightly illuminating the world,
Accompanied shortly after by the rainfall.

A trickle becomes a downpour,
The battered individual trudging along as the road becomes a bog of mud and slop,
The message firmly planted within their mind.

Coming upon the dark outline of the castle ahead the warrior picks up pace,
Reflecting upon what would happen to those that the Warrior helped.

The pace is now fueled by a different kind of urgency.

The rain is cold upon the faces of those that it falls on,
The torn edges of metal digging in at places,
Some already wounded and tender,
As the final hilltop between them is crested.

The gates are closed,
And this loyal soldier is for the moment shut out,
A fist is raised,
The declaration of allegience given,
An angry detailing of the warriors achievements and adventures shouted,
And a challenge of one's path,
Building in anger and fury as the dam finally breaks and gushes forth,
Threatening to shatter the gate and doors to splinters and twisted metal.

A long ago promised gift to be rewarded,
For all the things endured,
Things that could be considered so cruel,
The storm picks up in force until it's akin to that of a hurricane,
As if brought forth by the warrior's grief and pain finally being released,
For the first and only time.

These things ringing out dispite the storms roaring wind,
Gathering force,
Perhaps in affirmation of the warriors words.

After a pause the gate begins to lift,
It's metal screeching,
The doors groaning as they begin to swing outward, and the embattered soldier is bathed in light,
Taking the weight from the warrior's shoulders,
As the threshold is finally crossed.
1.2k · May 2017
2:37 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
As Billy Joel is pouring out to the listener,
Of a tale of patrons in a bar,
I think of what would happen to my works when I die.
Maybe I get a couple collections printed but they never really sell,
And years after my death,
One such book is found in the piles of books in an antique store.

Maybe it's a curious individual,
Amused by the art embossed on the book,
Or maybe he is an actual fan of poetry.
Maybe it's just a kid who is thinking old books are cool.

Either way the individual would read my works, gets a whole lot of hubub about it,
And years after my death I am talked about as an unsung poet of my time.

Novel idea right?
I really need to get some sleep
1.2k · Apr 2017
The Sauce
Alex McQuate Apr 2017
I sit here,
Nearly at the end of my wit's,
Don McLean is chattering on about how the quartet practiced in the park,
The sauce is 35 minutes from being complete,
A journey that started 5 hours and 25 minutes ago.
All because I wanted to try a recipe,
But I'd be lying if my taste buds didn't enjoy it.
Cooking is exhausting
1.2k · May 2017
1:27 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
It's dark,
Shaun Morgan is bellowing into my ears that he's reliving the same experiences over and over,
That nothing's forever.

The flick of a bic,
The taste of tobacco and ash,
Filling my lungs and giving my brain a buzz,
And in this sleepless night I'm inclined to agree with him,
Nothing lasts forever,
So what are you waiting for?
1.1k · May 2017
Early Punch-Out Time
Alex McQuate May 2017
I tap my index finger on the top of my cigarette,
The pier of ash that was building topples off the end.
The can is at my lips,
A pleasant burn on the throat when swallowed,
Imperial stout,
The warming burn reminds me of good bourbon.
The ***** beer agreeing with my palate.
A hard day started early,
My early ending is it's own reward,
To relax,
Kick back
And let the tunes carry me away.
940 · May 2017
1:33 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
I take a minute to sip some beer,
Miller High Life and Winston's,
Shakey Graves is stomping out through the wires,
Telling the tale of a boy walking to his execution,
His head held high,
Misguided in his actions that evening,
in the waning days of summer.

The song ends, I take out a tin,
Open it up and throw in the last of the dip I had,
After that I'll be done with smokeless tobacco.

Elton John is now waxing poetically about the ideas of roses in Spanish Harlem,
His voice eloquent, nostalgic, and tear-jerkingly honest,
The loss of innocence in an idea,
Ripped asunder by the cruelty of the world at large,
If only there were one Good Samaritan,
If they were to stand up and say enough!

In the album he is but the Master of Ceremonies in the château.
Weaving great tales of happiness and woe.

And isn't that what life is,
Both the ultimate comedy and tragedy?

But what do I know?
I'm just an Average Joe.
647 · Mar 2018
Spring Roadtrip
Alex McQuate Mar 2018
Tearing up I-75 like bats outta ****
The radio jacked up to MAX
to be heard to the roaring of the wind,
Seeing as the top is off of the jeep

Zeppelin and The Who
Van Fleet and The White Stipes
Generations of rock
Shared by the elder and the young
Different problems faced
Yet shared circumstances

The pace is rapidly set
Like invaders they ride
Or gunslinger of the old west
Buying into the legends of their own immortality
Like a final ride  before closing that part of the past for good

Even some of that Seattle sound trickles in
A much younger and angrier Pearl Jam
Sometimes even the garage rock get a turn in the spotlight
Their pace exponentionally increases like a runaway train
It's end destined to be in a glorious and terrible wreck

The road trip is on
These rockers of all ages are on the warpath to a good time

God help us all
532 · May 2017
Sunset
Alex McQuate May 2017
Take a breath,
A deep, lung filling breath,
Exhale,
And realize that you are one breath closer to the end of your time here on this planet.
To some there is a life after this,
At least I hope so,
And to others we are just an ember dying in the air,
Just a second or two of existence in the grand scheme of it all,
And all we have left to mark our time is by the deeds we've committed,
Our mark on history.

I had a dream,
Where I was on top of a mountain,
Staring at the sunset, and its effect on the shadows in the valley,
An older man was there,
We hadn't needed words,
For we already knew what the other had to say.
Don't know where this sprouted from.
The Mercy of the Living - Bear McCreary
434 · May 2017
An ode to the silly sock
Alex McQuate May 2017
It was a new day,
As I suited up for battle,
A new campaign,
Something sure to leave the uninitiated rattled.

A polo shirt to defend against the piercing stares of haughty individuals,
A thermos of coffee,
To brain the sandman with when he arrived with reinforcements mid morning,
Neatly combed hair to camouflage myself as just another drone,
Plucking away and invisible to predators.

As I sit down at my desk
I take a look out the window at the rain,
And imagine I was out in it,
For the rain is much more enjoyable.

But fear not,
I still have my secret weapon,
Devastating to the enemies of fun.
A power so great it will ensure that I will never fully succumb to the forces of drudgery.


I raise my pantleg a bit to take a peek at my crazy socks,
Instantly making my day better
Aren't crazy socks the best?
415 · Apr 2017
1:48 A.M.
Alex McQuate Apr 2017
I sit here in the darkened dining room,
A small light shining in from the kitchen,
Just enough to silhouette the curtain of cigarette smoke that hung about the room,
I've been sitting here,
Smoking all the while,
Listen to Robert Plant croon,
About a woman he loves with all his heart,
But against his wishes,
He has to bid her adieu.

I sit here, smoking, in this warm and comfortable room,
All else is quiet,
Everyone else asleep,
Plant singing my anthem so sad and true.

But eventually the song ends,
And the record must be flipped,
So too the anthem changes,
One more upbeat and slick,
A song of change and travel,
And ever pressing on.
411 · Jan 2018
1:50 A.M.
Alex McQuate Jan 2018
Ellekari Larsson is haunting my radio tonight,

My lungs burn once again,
As the smoke enters and leaves my body,
Floating lazilly upward to form a blanket of roiling grey.

I looked at my bookshelf today,
And realized with a start,
That I had a shelf of momentos,
Of those who were long gone.

A folded flag,
A well worn tie,
A photo of a man and boy both laughing,
A teddy bear and a cross made out of a straw,
All snapshots to help me remember.

Times that were better,
Even some that were worst,
But important all the same,
For aren't the most important lessons those that hurt, even if just a little?

A charcoal rubbing of an inscription,
A Tom Clancy novel with a dog-eared page about halfway through,
It hurts to look at these momentos sometimes,
But it feels like a betrayal to look away.

The piano and cello amble slowly along,
Like pall bearers shouldering a weight upon their shoulders,
Both physical and emotional.

A copper disc embossed with hands held together in prayer,
An antique Mr.Goodbar tin,
Containing an ascot and a box of matches.

The song slowly comes to an end and I can finally look away,
Take a drag from the cigarette,
Nearly burnt down to the filter,
As I get lost in my thoughts again.
Closer-The Tiny
343 · Oct 2018
Sick Day thoughts
Alex McQuate Oct 2018
Jimmy Page and Towns Van Zant sit here,
Strumming out tunes in my living room,
Zant with his unique brand of country,
Page with his acoustic style that's so unique and blue.

Sounds drilling gently into the skulls of the unsuspecting,
Driving deep into the mind,
Defences cast aside at the overwhelming force of the medicine's effect,
Sending one into a journey of the mind,
Unknown depths and introspections dredged up in an unexpected discovery.

Gaining momentum,
Greater and greater,
Only to realize that this shall reach greater heights,
Heights that you will never have enough time to reach it, even if you had an extra 10,000 days.
324 · May 2017
Late night perch.
Alex McQuate May 2017
When I first moved out of my parents place,
And got an apartment with two of my buddies,
They asked why whenever I wanted to relax,
I'd have a beer and listen to music,
Why not play video games or watch TV?

I looked at them and remembered why,
It's what my grandpa would do when my grandparents babysat me ,
He'd be sitting in his chair, chewing some tobacco and listening to the radio,
Big Bands blaring out of the tinny speaker,
Enjoying the shade of the screened-in mud room.
And when I was a little older,
My dad use to sit out on the back porch after a hard day's work doing landscaping,
Nursing a cold beer and be listening to his records, which he had set up right by the backdoor, it's screen door allowing the sound to pass through with ease.
Sometimes Led Zeppelin,
Sometimes Rush,
Sometimes it was a band of some local talent that was all the rage for a week back in 1974.

Now it was my turn, even years after the revelation, that it was their way to decompress,
A reprieve from the days struggles.
For me it's a dining room that has a sliding glass door that opens out into the back yard,
Where I can play songs of my choice,
Either from albums I've gleaned from record shops over the years,
Or CDs burned , a gift from one person or another that everyone seems to collect over the years.

I'm almost out of smokes,
I realize,
This thought halting the ruminations I was just having,
I need to also choose a new record or CD,
Maybe getting a drink wouldn't be too bad either.
321 · May 2017
My smoky little room
Alex McQuate May 2017
What kind of person are you?
Are you the kind of person who pulls the first smoke out of a pack,
Only to put it back into the pack upside down,
Dubbing it the "Lucky Smoke".

Maybe you're the kinda person who says they're into Johnny Cash,
But didn't even know Cash started out singing Gospel.

Could you be the kinda person to be able to have their nose broken,
Only to smile because you've finally come across something that's a challenge?

Perhaps you have a secret talent,
One you think you're not good enough at to show anyone,
But trust me, if people knew about it I know they'd be surprised.

Perhaps you feel like you've been dumped straight into the gutter,
By either those you trusted,
Or by those you never expected to betray you.

Whoever you are,
If you're feeling alone, trapped, or like the walls are closing in,
Come take a seat,
Let me tell you a tale or two,
Let's listen to a record or three,
And maybe I can ease your mind for a little bit,
In this smoky room of mine.

Speaking of the Man in Black,
Cash is playing the role of a dying man,
Who is begging his friend to do something, anything to save him.
His words like weights upon one's shoulders.
Song referenced is "I see a darkness" by Johnny Cash.
320 · May 2017
Brain fart
Alex McQuate May 2017
My brain is suddenly alight like fireworks,
A thousand ideas spawning from thin air,
Things I've forgotten ten times over come back in a flash,
Birthday dates,
Phone numbers of old coworkers,
Names of films.

I need to find paper,
Need to write this down before I forget.
My phone rings,
I answer it,
It's a Telemarketer,
CLICK!

The paper before me lies mostly blank,
The only words written are as follows:
--------------------------------------------------------­-------
                                   Glass stopper
            Canada!      
                                  Pe
      Colin Hay                             black garlic


       ()**()
         /l l/
----------------------------------------------------------------­
          ^ Above is my best text translation of a doodled elephant head.

I'm about to scream,
Because I can't remember for the life for me as to why I wrote them,
It's all dialogue with no context.
A paper of hieroglyphs and me without a Rosetta Stone.
Statesboro Blues by the Allman Brothers is a good listen
Alex McQuate Jun 2017
The anthem ripped out from the Frontman, the Drummer, and the Bassist,
Making a sound larger than should be possible,
Their anthem ripped out through the old amps,
The music revitalizing the old speakers.

The Drummer hammered out powerfully yet precise.
His feet rattling off like machine gun fire,
His bandana tied around his brow.

The Bassist laying down a metronome-like effect to it all,
Notes swaying and dipping to the tune,
Flaring out occasionally to add more gravitas,
Showing he was still his own musician.

The Frontman declaring to the crowd of transgressions committed,
Of battles won and lost,
But also the views from the other side,
That the enemy may be man still.
A story of agony and anger,
Sorrow and Savagery,
With jubilance for the act of violence.
The Frontman's solo soaring high before axe kicking down upon the audience's heads.

The Agent was stunned,
His dropped drink forgotten,
As he reached for the payphone on the wall
The experience in front of him spurring him faster.

The Band continued,
Their sound crescendoing,
Coming to an almighty peak,
Only to begin it's decent to the earth,
Crashing down magnificently,
Down upon a dive bar in the run down part of town.
Act II- Discovery
Scene 4- A dive bar in the run down part of town
310 · May 2017
Explorers
Alex McQuate May 2017
Motivation seemed to be a big issue for me as a kid,
Only what had me interested would get me more actively pay attention,
But when it happened I was like a dog with a bone,
Hard pressed to give it up,
My motivation burning brightly.

But such motivation could be a double edged blade,
For flames that burn the brightest are also those that are very short lived.

It makes me wonder about you, dear reader,
Is your motivation slow and steady?

Or perhaps your like me,
Brilliant but fleeting,
The experience of discovery and newness of an activity being your real drive?

To the former,
Take a chance and be more aggressive in your actions,
May this advice bring more wind into your sails.

To the latter,
Pump the break for a second,
Take in the scenery so to speak,
Be amazed in the factors that went into shaping the events around you,
You may discover something you may have missed otherwise.

And to those I've previously left out,
Don't worry,
And wipe away that pout,
I was saving for the best for last.

You tightrope walkers,
Tiptoeing the razors edge,
Follow your gut,
For it hasn't led you astray yet.

Carry on my fellow travelers,
Your pioneering efforts haven't gone in vain,
Blaze the trails,
Climb the mountains,
And ride the rapids.
Thoughts produced whilst listening to the wind and rain.
Old man- Neil Young
301 · May 2017
12:19 A.M
Alex McQuate May 2017
I sit here,
Fingers aching,
Smudged in ink,
From when I changed the ribbon,
My right knee decides,
At this very moment,
To make its regular bout of grinding pain known to me,
Yay.


Heloise Tunstall-Behrens and Luisa Gerstei are making my heart shatter,
From over 3,700 miles away.
These sirens are begging the listener to Sing them to sleep,
Because they've gone and lost the mindset,
To dream seamlessly.

Their club has swelled by one,
I say to myself as I light a smoke,
It's about to be a long night.

My knee starts complaining once more,
The old injury settling down after I massage the ailment.

Now the trickling of a xylophone is tapping out of the wires,
Gentally accompanied by a guitar and the girls,
They're warning the listener of their past transgressions,
It's gentle tone,
Lulling you into hearing,
Before your brain can register the lyrics,
However,
They're whisked away by the xylophone,
What was a steady trickle has swelled into a quick stream,
They're now telling the listener to use them up,
Because that's what they're expecting anyway.
Seems like a tale of escaping from something bad to me.

Is this why I write?
To escape?

Or is it to bring you into my world,
If only for a bit?
Demons and insomniacs club both by Lulu and the Lampshades
292 · May 2017
Fool Goose Bozo
Alex McQuate May 2017
Robin Williams once said,
"You're only given a little spark of madness, if you lose that, you're nothing."

He'd call it going Full Goose Bozo.
And in it he described it as an awareness, of how vulnerable everything is,
Including yourself,
It's the ideal of being mentally steadfast,
In your own facilities,
To be able to adapt and survive to just about any environment.
That madness is the one thing governments don't know how to tax- let alone handle.
That little spark of madness is what makes you the person that you are,
Your way of adding your mark upon history,
A brush ****** with every interaction.
And if you let it fade you will be forgotten over time.
But it can be rekindled.
Let your little spark of madness free.
Alex McQuate May 2017
This evening I was listening,
To the ebb and flow,
Maynard James Keenan was telling me a tale,
One of struggle and heartbreak,
The passing of a person he loved,
After 27 years in tribulation,
That she would finally be free.

It reminds me of when I was a child ,
When a person very close to me died,
Cancer ravaged their body,
A brilliant mind imprisoned in a failing vessel.
He was smarter than any of us,
And because he knew what the endgame would be,
That there would be no last minute solution,
No magic cure,
Because he knew that he was calm.

The way he carried himself,
Knowing that terrible truth,
Was nothing short of legendary,
Every stride with purpose,
An in-extinguishable fire in his eyes.
And in the end he greeted the end that we all must eventually face like a cool summer breeze,
Knowing that he would no longer feel the pain,
That of his body turning on itself.

He was better than us all,
Someone we should all aspire to be,
We're glad he has peace,
That he was finally called home.
278 · Apr 2018
The Choice
Alex McQuate Apr 2018
Being pulled into crossroads,
Like chains wrapped around arms,
Pulling in opposite directions.

Looking to their left one can see a return to the past,
A past that one would miss and love so,
They can see themselves strong and fast,
But dancing on a knife edge,
In which the slightest tumble would bring misery and woe.

But with such dangers come great rewards,
And one of these gives quite possibly the greatest gift of all,
The opportunity to live to the absolute extreme,
Something that is hard to come by these days.

Looking to the right one would see an exploration of the new,
Something that's stirs in them,
Like how it was to discover that love for a spouse all over again,
One could see the transformation into something different and better,
But this would require wrestling with disaster,
Risking everything going up in flames.

But facing off against this threat would guarantee the future,
A chance a peace of sorts,
The feeling of completion they didn't know they even yearned for.

The strain begins to grow,
A decision needs to be made,
What is one to do?
Either way opens them up the possibility of real and absolute destruction,
But giving at the same time unprecedented gifts that some never even get the chance to see.

Either way it goes,
They shall forever be freed.
277 · May 2017
Hangover
Alex McQuate May 2017
I open my eyes against my will,
The light spilling in from the window at just the right level to bath my face in the rays of the morning sun.

Vedder's emotionally raw voice is coming from the radio in my clock,
His words attempting to smooth the pounding coming from my head,
But to no avail.

The harmonica an excellent segue to the playing of a song,
A complete opposite to Jeremy,
The strain on my eyes ease a little,
As I make breakfast,
It's almost gone by the time I'm writing this,
About to head out to do some landscaping.

Vedder is now telling us all a tale,
Of a boy who finds out a terrible news,
The man whom he calls his father,
Is actually his stepfather,
And that his biological father was dead.

His words haunting me as I go outside to work.
Pearl Jam's songs (in order heard):
Footsteps
Yellow Led better
Alive
265 · May 2017
Post-Surgery Prose
Alex McQuate May 2017
I must talk quick,
For I'm unsure as to when this feeling I'm having shall fade.

An inner monologue of sorts,
Much like that of Johnny Depp as he plays  the role of Hunter S. Thompson in the film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

How far,
Dear Reader,
Would you go to stick to your core beliefs?
Even if that means being Cold, Alone, and Abandoned for the Wolves,
Excommunicated and Exiled?
How strong is your faith in your ideals,
Reader?

Hopefully most of you won't ever have to go to such lengths,
But to those who do,
You unfortunate individuals,
I wish you good luck and Godspeed.
Been there before,
And I don't relish ever going back to that.

But if you weather the storm,
I'll be there at the finish line,
With a bottle of water and a change of clothes.
Just woke up in my hospital room after a scheduled procedure. Figured I'd take advantage of writing a piece whilst still loopy on medication, who knows what I'll remember?
265 · Mar 2018
Sad Smiles of Autumn
Alex McQuate Mar 2018
What strange creatures are we,
Humans,
Capable of finding something that is by all means ordinary suddenly beautiful and new.

One-sided feeling,
Perpetual curiosity,
Argumentative to a fault,
Falsehoods for no good reason.

Waking up at peace with the world,
And suddenly become flooded with the awful rememberence that someone you loved was forever gone.

What odd creatures are we.

Never allowing us to truly rest on our laurels when we lose someone
Smiling upon those times with them where everything was good,
A sad smile of times lone gone,
Gone with the autumn leaves.
264 · Aug 2018
The Ether
Alex McQuate Aug 2018
My mind roams up and out,
As my body heads east,
Bearing witness to both great and terrible accounts,
Riding on the banks of a river of fog,
Greying out of the physical world near complete.

Islands of treetops,
I pass by,
As tales of grandeur are told,
Great adventures and terrible fates whispered in my ear,
As fear begins to take hold.

As sullen worlds of lone clouds are surpassed,
Moving ever closer to the goal,
Satellites of radio towers hover below,
Broadcasting radiowaves to those who travel the ether,
Guiding them through the fog and the sorrow.
260 · May 2017
Army Coffee
Alex McQuate May 2017
Some say it's thicker than tar,
Others say it tastes like turpentine,
To the first I'd say that rumor is stretched too far,
And to the second I'd say it tastes quite fine.

As long as you do it right.

I'll even give you the recipe:
- A *** of water
- Coffee grounds (1/2 cup-3/4 cups)
-A non-tattered boot sock (it'll take a little while to find a good one)

Step 1: Pour coffee grounds into sock and tie it off.
Step 2: Bring *** of water to a rolling boil
Step 3: Steep sock and leave it in ***.
Step 4: Remove *** from heat source.
Step 5: Wait 5 minutes then serve.

That's it,
That's all there is to it,
The magic behind it all,
Add or subtract time as preferred,
Cheaper then a coffee machine,
Once the right sock is found.

It is an odd thing to learn,
So off the wall and profound.

Are you brave enough to try?
It's very good.
251 · Aug 2017
Nails and Needles
Alex McQuate Aug 2017
A hiss as pressurized fuel escapes as a gas,
Fumes escaping into the atmosphere.

The crackling of steel scraping on flint,
The cacophony of sparks following,
A fountain of brilliant orange light.

The ignition point is a dark blue,
As one of the sparks finally ignite the billowing fumes,
Spreading almost instantly,
Eating up the latchkey mixture of oxygen and fuel,
Produced in such a violent reaction was...


a singular light


Its flickering warmth
Dancing across the winds as they pass nearby.

The heat deflects off cold steel,
And soon a change was being made.

The Frontman took forth the Elixir,
The gift of the very helpful spider,
Providing him a way to save that which had been lost?

The Frontman looked at the Elixir,
Multicolored & unintelligible patterns flashing through the post mortem aqua vitae.

The Frontman drove the cure into his body,
Hoping to fill the long bleeding wound in his heart,
Hoping he could just speak to them again.

Too late to realize that the Elixir was gilded,
That the game had been rigged from the start,
The flashing covering up the milky white venom,
And the cure?

A nail in the coffin.
Act 4 - Ypres
Scene 1- Nails and Needles
240 · May 2017
Immortal
Alex McQuate May 2017
Eddie Vedder's voice is raised barely above a whisper,
He's saying his goodbyes to society,
Wishing for them the best,
But saying ultimately he didn't belong with them.

I felt like that once,
When I was embarking as a fresh faced kid,
To fulfill his dream of serving his country,
As an infantryman,
And when I arrived and as I was trained,
It felt like I was finally in my element,
With people who thought like me,
Our Drill Sergeants were the perfect example of what we could be if we applied ourselves,
Our First Sergeant; an example of what we could do if we pushed ourselves past what we were traditionally taught wasn't possible,
Our commander was the kind of individual that you whisper about,
A Captain with a very inked out past,
An old man playing a game where men tended to die young.
Walking within the vicinity of such individuals was akin of walking amongst giants.
We as recruits all started out without much confidence,
What little we did have,
Was false confidence.
These men taught us what it meant to square up and get nose to nose with a whole load of nasty with a **** eating grin on your face.
We were immortal.

I sit here alone years later,
About to start the next chapter in my life,
When it dawned on me.
We knew each other when we were immortal,
We're not immortal anymore.
225 · May 2017
Death throes of a Star
Alex McQuate May 2017
Gilmore, Waters, and Wright,
Powerful message you send across the waves this night,
Full of valor, sorrow,
Righteous fury and duty,
To a man who in the forest of his mind,
He is his own blight.

But a hollow shell of what you once were,
A pale imitation,
Your psyche fractured and raw,
You flew too high and burned too bright,
An Icarus to all those that saw your star dim and fall,
You got them out of the trenches, but was bogged down by the machine gun fire that is the world.

But it is too late to turn back, you say in your own mind,
I'm but a white dwarf,
An small insignificant thing that is but a husk of its previous glory and splendour,
But you must realize this,
Little white dwarf star,
Before the inevitable heat death of the universe,
These white dwarves will be the last thing burning,
After everything else goes cold and dark.
So shine on
Wrote this about my impression taken from Pink Floyd's "Shine on you crazy diamond" in its entirety.
225 · May 2017
Revelation
Alex McQuate May 2017
When my Grandfather passed away in April,
I was down there with him,
Making dinner for the two of us,
We'd watch jeopardy and the news,
While eating a Drumstick ice cream.
Whilst driving him to the doctors or shuffleboard league,
He'd tell me tales of when he was in the military,
And all the various hijinks him and his lifelong friend P.E. would get into.
He also had some last minute advice when he elected to be moved into hospice.

It was just a little over two years since my Grandmother passed,
When Grandpa decided to go to the next great adventure

He had some words that he was very sure couldn't wait.
I talked with him for hours that night,
Until he finally nodded off.
My sister and mother arrived the next morning,
And I left on a flight back to Ohio by noon.
We talked that morning,
For what he knew would be the last time.
He thought it would be best for me to head back up to Ohio.
He didn't want me to see him get any weaker.
He told me to live my life with as few regrets as possible, and that he loved me.

That was always a big thing for him.
He always said he couldn't ever remember his father ever telling him he loved him,
And that he tried to tell his kids and grandkids how much he loved them.
He would always be aware of what sports season was currently happening for his grandchildren,
And what their placing was.

He would get into these fits of laughter when he was trying to explain to something finny,
Where he couldn't even get any words out,
He'd be giggling too hard.

He was one of those people that when he was born,
God went and broke the mould.

Of the things I inherited, one of them was a typewriter.
Oddly enough,
It was about as technically advanced as he got,
Besides using the computer to play solitaire.
I remember when we'd go and visit in the summers,
On weeklong trips,
And I'd spend as much time as I could on that typewriter.
I'd start out with elaborate visions of a great novel or screenplay,
But by week's end they'd be short stories that were of ok quality for whatever age I'd be at the time.
What I never thought about is what happened to them when my family would  go back to Ohio,
I never thought my Grandpa would ever read them,
Let alone keep them.
So imagine my surprise when I come across a box labeled stories.

I miss you Grandpa
Duane MacQuate (1930-2017)
221 · May 2017
Dreams
Alex McQuate May 2017
Sometimes funny,
Sometimes terrifying,
Sometimes mysterious,
Something nice.

Something remembered,
Something forgotten,
Something changed,
Something repeated.

Wake up.
Been listening to some of Alan Watt's lectures on dreams.
218 · Apr 2017
Night Music
Alex McQuate Apr 2017
It's 9:38 P.M.
It's going to be another night for the profound,
I'm in that same darkened room,
Same kitchen light,
Cigarette smoke not quite filling the room yet.
But it shall soon, because I can already tell it's going to be one of those nights.

The sandman apparently forgot to visit, for my eyes are still fresh and new.
Getty Lee is jumping from the speakers,
The anthem is long and blue.
He's telling me about the protagonist of the story,
He had just discovered a relic of the past,
It's potential for destruction could not be more true.
Of how he takes his own life,
To hide away the weapon he had stumbled upon,
To ensure its location could never be pried from his mind.

I think of old buddies from the Army,
The shenanigans we'd get into,
Of times both bad and good.
It's when I do this that I really smoke cigarettes,
Or use chew, that was a bad habit from the Army, but I'm quitting that.

Neil Peart is thundering out a solo that imprints onto the inside of my skull.
I let the waves of sound wash over me.
212 · May 2017
Bard of the Modern Day
Alex McQuate May 2017
It's a nice day, as I curse the very concept of a migraine,
Ian Anderson is flittering about,
Telling me of a peculiar elf like character,
That looked after the plants during the winter,
He is a minstrel that expertly weaves a narrative, in which we are played down on a hammock of his words.

Now it's a cautionary tale.
A tale of an old man and a mouse,
And that like the mouse,
The man could see the trappings of his everyday life like shackles,
Unnecessary responsibility a collar.

Ian probably is standing like a crane at this point,
One foot off the ground, steady as a rock.
The hat atop his head quite peculiar,
Giving off an almost manic expression,
As he plays his flute,
Coming off as slightly unhinged.
But what would you give to be able to live life in such a manner?
Without a care in the world,
Able to solve all your problems without having to worry,
As the stakes of failure would be so low as to not even warrant attention.
212 · May 2017
11:41 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
I sit here.
Contemplating it all,
Of the difficulties and obstacles that one must encounter,
When in the pursuit of making a concept album.

So many parts must go into it,
To tell a proper narrative,
With lyrics written well enough to not just sound like spoken word.
Rush is a master of this technique,
To be able to make such an easily understood story,
All one has to listen to do is listen to the lyrics,
Acknowledge the musical cues,
Maybe is given a few lines of backstory,
And is at least a little bit smart,
They are told quite a touching tale.

Pink Floyd does it well,
Telling tales of oppression,
Of goodbyes to friends,

The Who do it multiple times,
From a young London man,
Besiged by nostalgia for the bad old days,
To the telling of a deaf, dumb, and blind kid,
And his struggles as he goes through life.

Green Day seems to have done it most recently (in the proper format) with some success,
The struggles of their "Jesus of Suburbia",
A story of anger, love, rejection, and suicide.

It seems like most time the protagonist of concept albums always get the end of the stick,
Why is that?
That the underdog can't ever seem to catch a break?
Death is his end destination,
No ifs, ands, or buts about it,
That or they are placed in a situation where death is preferable,
Because all hope is lost?
Or if they're caught on the cusp of the unknown,
Which can be quite as bad.

So here's to you, you lunatics,
You rebels of causes untold,
You'll live in these story's forever,
Your vinyl Valhalla victorious and verbose.
In case you haven't listened to one before, a concept album tells a story that traditionally spaced over the length of the album, or at least a couple songs.
Wrote whilst listening to 2112.
Albums referenced are as follows:
2112-Rush
The Wall-Pink Floyd
Wish You Were Here- Pink Floyd
Quadrophenia- The Who
Tommy-The Who
American Idiot- Green Day
211 · May 2017
Into the Spider's Den
Alex McQuate May 2017
The spider was patient,
It had all the time in the world,
For it had been around since time immemorial,
So it lied there in the woods,
Waiting for its opportunity.

The child was curious,
As all children are at that age,
As to why the sky was blue,
Why the grass was green,
And why wasn't he allowed to go into the woods alone.

The inevitable inevitability happened.

So the child went out alone one day,
To see what was all the fuss,
And it was then that the spider took the child into it's awaiting arms,
To be yet another tribute to the forest.
206 · May 2017
11:04 P.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
Justin Chancellor is blowing my mind,
His timing as he hammers on his bass,
Setting the tone in the picture Maynard James Keenan paints as he rips through the events,
A great separation between sects of the faith,
The horrid fate of a monolith,
To crumble and burn,
Alone and lost,
Adrift a raft of ashes,
Floating out to sea.

The taste of tobacco, tar, and ash is too much at that moment,
I stub out the smoke,
Taking a swig of cheap beer,
To wash down the rancid taste.

The song changes again,
Keenan belting out about his dark passenger,
Making all his victories taste of ash,
A most dreaded specter indeed.

My mouth is no longer bone dry,
I really need to quit,
Trust me.
206 · May 2017
Nostalgia
Alex McQuate May 2017
I remember the stars,
One warm summer's night,
When I went on a camping trip with friends,
We were out in the middle of nowhere,
But more importantly,
I remember you.

You were an old friend of a mutual acquaintance,
The one who organized the whole trip,
And you were from out of town.

You were something else,
Nothing but curious eyes and dangerous smiles,
And a wit like nothing else.

As we took to the canoes,
I learned you liked the same beer as me,
Which no one else on the trip did,
You would furrow your brows when you were trying to recall details from a story
And you liked to laugh at my jokes.

By the first evening,
We had become fast friends,
I let you pillage from my beer,
The kind I brought because it was my favorite,
Inside jokes already formed and nicknames were just around the bend

You sat beside me at the campfire that night,
Shoulder to shoulder,
For warmth we both reason,
It was chilly,
Our friends gave us knowing stares that
We ignored,
Suddenly finding a patch of dirt or the fire very interesting.

I remember talking with you after everyone went to sleep,
Still on the log,
The dying embers our only real measure of time.

In the morning,
You were unnaturally energetic,
You say you're always like this in the mornings,
The dawn setting your hair ablaze.

We're back in the boats,
And both of us are silent,
It's not awkward,
But comfortable.

We reach the end,
And on the bus back to get to our cars,
Soon followed by us all getting back to our cars and saying our goodbyes.

I don't mean to save you for last,
At least I don't think,
And then you're in front of me.

We chat just a little bit,
Delaying what we both know must happen,
Last night we both realized we would probably never see each other again,
You being from out of town,
We were delaying saying goodbye.

You give me this look I swear I could have known for years,
And promptly attack me with a hug,
Giving me a very warm and inviting kiss.

Then you were gone,
Driving down the road,
And out of my life.

I remember the stars,
One warm summer's night,
When I went on a camping trip with friends,
We were out in the middle of nowhere,
But more importantly,
I remember you.
A.k.a. 1:20 A.M.

This experience also comes to mind whenever I hear Jethro Tull's- Look into the sun
205 · Jun 2017
The Agent
Alex McQuate Jun 2017
The Agent stood on the corner,
Smelling faintly of bourbon and stale cigarettes,
Loss and despair.

He was a rising star when he had started,
A keen eye for talent and shrewd in business.
But those times had long past,
For all he had now was the bittersweet yearn of nostalgia and just enough in royalties for a dumpy apartment.

A light rain started,
It's cold droplets stinging lightly on the Agent's reddened nose,
Irking him,
Beyond not just having a drink.

The Agent spots his shelter,
A bar just down the street.

As he walks in,
He shakes loose the rain that hadn't clung yet,
And shuffles over to the bar with hands shoved deep in pockets,
He goes and orders a drink.

It is then that he looks over to see a band getting ready in the corner,
It is then that the Frontman belted out the count in.

And the agent dropped his drink.
Act II- Discovery
Scene 3- The Agent
201 · May 2017
Sand through my fingers.
Alex McQuate May 2017
The day has been long,
And the day has been hot and still,
I sit here sweating in this dining room,
The sliding glass door open to the cooler night air,
Jim Croce is recollecting a story from his time in the National Guard.

That's what it was like with some fellas,
They'd get bad news while out on an exercise or during training,
It feels like a hammer blow to the gut,
You get numb,
And most guys,
They just continue with training,
Falling back on what they know,
Their muscle memory kicking in whilst the mind reels,
I had 3 death notifications like that,
And it never gets any easier,
Just harder,
For you learn to see the signs that someone is about to get a death notice,

The Chaplain shows up to your unit's location any day other than Sunday.
You're pulled off the line unexpectedly,
Other such things.
And all the time you're wondering who's it for,
Who gets the proverbial short end of the stick called fate this time,
And if it's a buddy,
You find time to have a beer with them when you get home.
****, if you don't know them all that well,
You find time to have a beer with them when you get home,
Because that's what you do,
Your unit is like family in the Infantry.
I've been present for births of my friends children, watch them grow up from a newborn into a child,
I've babysat them,
Been present for birthdays,
They've launched themselves at top speed  in flying tackles,
Crying out "Uncle Alex!"
Knowing I'd have some home baked treat I'd whipped up for them.
Ive helped their fathers bury family pets,
I've been there through divorces.

I try to visit when I can now, which isn't as often as I'd like.
198 · May 2017
Apollo and Dionysis
Alex McQuate May 2017
Looking out from my summit,
Out below on the mountain of my mind,
The words of Getty Lee and his friends,
Sprouting from nowhere,
Telling me that the human being is like a planet,
And that planet is divided into hemispheres,
But one cannot exist without the other.
Intellect was one such hemisphere,
In another hemisphere was creativity,
Another was experiences,

And the smallest one was one I had been trying to ignore,
It was withered, abandoned, uncomfortable, alone,
It was the hemisphere of the bad ****,
Memories of traumas,
New and old.

But now I knew without those I would be a completely different man than I am now today,
What's a little pain in the long run?
Just a work in progress I guess.
195 · May 2017
12:49 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
Waylon Jennings is twanging over the airwaves,
Asking me if I bore witness to the events unfolding between him and the Apple of his eye.

I can hear it though,
He's got a load of chew in,
And I'm jealous.

Quitting *****,
Doesn't matter if it is good for you or not,
It just *****.

Memories come rushing back in when I smell that minty tobacco.

A "graduation gift" from our Drill Sergeants,
Just offering us some if we wanted it,
Seeing as we were no longer recruits,
But honest to god infantryman,
The jolt of nicotine directly to the mouth after 4 months of nothing,
The head buzz hit me like a sledgehammer,
But thankfully enough I'm not alone.

Another memory,
I'm trying to get the taste of bile out of my mouth, as we're dumping our gear after a long ruck,
The blood seeping through the heels of my boots,
A familiar blue tin is offered to me by my team leader,
I nod to him in thanks,
As I wipe the sweat from my forehead.

A more painful one,
The lingering taste of midrange bourbon,
Mixing in with the harsh bite of  *****,
Toasting to friends lost.

The present time gently brings me back to my chair as the song fades out.

Yes Mr. Jennings, I can see what she's doing to you,
I'm where you're at right now.
Waylon Jennings cover of Can't you see, originally penned by The Marshall Tucker band.
193 · May 2017
All Nighter
Alex McQuate May 2017
Fleetwood Mac is on the radio inside as I look up at the morning sky,
In the east,
The sky is a mixtures of light pinks, blues, and gold,
The moon still shining brightly in the morning sky.

I take a drag off my Winston,
It's taste stale lingering on my tongue,
But a small price of smoking them all night.
My eyes are burning and my joints ache,
Getting older *****.
193 · Jun 2017
Road Trip thoughts
Alex McQuate Jun 2017
What if you found out you've been thinking about someone in the completely wrong light?
That with a simple change of perspective,
A person who you may have known for years,
Is someone you found out you didn't know very well at all.

What about yourself,
Dear reader,
You ever have a realization that you are not the good guy of the story,
But the villain?

At what point would you consider a relationship with a person unsalvageable?

Ever thought about what people say about you when your gone?
Did 14 hours of nonstop driving today,only getting out of the car twice for gas. Been through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. These were all thoughts that fluttered on by as I tried to get some radio signal when I ran out of good CDs.
191 · May 2017
Maze of Glass
Alex McQuate May 2017
Eddie Vedder's voice is the one singing on the song,
But the words were written by Otis Redding,
When he was out experiencing the world,
Contemplating his future after R&B.

You ever had experiences like that?
Where all the curtains are pulled away,
And you realize you need to plan your next step.

Have you planned yours?
Eddie Vedder singing Dock of the bay, originally produced by Otis Redding.
190 · Jul 2017
Pinnacle
Alex McQuate Jul 2017
Their message was sent,
The people,
They had rallied,
And at the front of this force stood The Three,
They traveled far,
They traveled wide.

By now The Frontman was a full adult,
The face of a man you'd trust,
Well spoken and confident,
Ready for anything that could come.

Their faces we're everywhere,
Their voices and sound being sent on all the wires,
Bound for History were The Three,
The only factor was time.
Act 3- Ascension
Scene 4- Pinnacle
190 · May 2017
6^2
Alex McQuate May 2017
6^2
I stare,
The outsider looking in.

******* comment,
Or a practiced defence?

Cigarette slowly shrinking,
Ember glowing bright.

Out of options,
Out of time.

Walls closing in,
Creeping like vines.

Shotglass is full,
unlike the bottle.
188 · May 2017
Wrong turn at Mars
Alex McQuate May 2017
The same four notes haunt me,
Like the ghosts lost to the sea,
             Da
                                        Dah
                  ­  Doo
***            

Floyd flexing their synth might,
Their system tried and true,
Music to get lost in space to,
At least until I hit the Darkside of the Moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond- Pink Floyd
187 · May 2017
12:31 A.M.
Alex McQuate May 2017
If one's body were a book,
What would mine say to the world?
Would it be a tale of injuries and woe?
Or like trophies to admire in the years to come?

Would my tattoos tell the story of why I got each individual one,
The mind frame I was in when I got them?

Would my thrice broken nose,
Crooking just slightly to the right,
tell tales of fist fights and rough housing,
or of the time I spilled face first into the cement, when my bike flipped on me.

What of the scars?
Do they tell of workplace accidents,
Of battle, of burns and tight scrapes?
When I busted my brow on a marble windowsill,
Or when I busted my cheek wide open from being hit with a pipe?

Tattoos a plenty,
Each could be explained like an ancient epic,
They are only put on because they are earned,
Through blood, sweat, and pain
By way of spiritual revelation and as a proclamation of faith?

Maybe it's the imperfections that tell the real story,
Wrinkles caused by a brow that is furrowed far too often,
Or the creaking of my right hand,
From when the fingers have been broken and bruised too much.

Would my eyes,
My windows into my soul,
Would they still be bright and shining, or would they be dull and weak?
187 · Jan 2018
Ypres
Alex McQuate Jan 2018
As time went on,
The days grew long,
And the struggle for The Frontman grew ever greater.

Feeling adrift in time,
Without a map or compass,
The spider ensnared him further still.

It whispered wicked things,
Full of malice and hate,
Corrupting the Frontman wings,
A cruel arrow shot through him by fate,
A great gift tainted by the spiders poison.

Like a volcano that lay dormant,
For so long it seemed almost forgot,
But after too long it exploded,
The target of it all were those that were adorant,
Tearing asunder all that it sought.
Act 4-Ypres
Scene 4- Ypres
187 · May 2017
Envy of Olympic smokers.
Alex McQuate May 2017
I envy the men who can smoke yet run like an Olympic athlete,
I really do.
The best I can do is operate a machine gun or a rocket launcher,
With a fat *** of dip in my jaw.
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