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 Nov 2018
Jesse stillwater
there are the ones
that feel it climb up
the shadow towards the light,
hesitation on every rung,
each wave of the arising
      overwhelms  unabated ―
and woe betides those
who are on the run
from a storm's deluge

A rousing ocean breeze
stirs inside the memory
of an unframed seashell
lying on the hearth mantel;
heightened sensitivity
lapping soundlessly,
spindrift plashing
the shoreline
of another world's
feigned peace

Perhaps the muted voice
of guilty pleasures,
hushed by their own
hidden truths
Feeling the unfelt textures
of every stifled vibration
left unbreathed

The naked truth befallen
so cold and lonely
Running in circles,
volatile as all those
     unspoken excitations raging ―
and the whispers of those
who hear not
the voices in the wind

An emotionally enslaved  heart
tarries,  marooned high and dry
in a memory on a distant sand bar
     lain fallow for so long ―
stagnant darkness
of an unsated soul
gathered on the back
of a parched tongue
sullied wordless

Rising up through
a dusty hieroglyph corridor
through an unlocked
labyrinth gate;  vestige echoes
from somewhere left behind
in an incomprehensible
abandoned wake

It's getting harder and harder
   for an insatiable soul to breathe ...
   climbing up a tree trunk―
up within the silence
of the listening tree

  Toes dug into
the rough bark furrows ―
fingers reaching upwards
beyond their deepest known grasp

A shadow stranded
out on a hangin' bough
hearkening without ears that hear:
“perhaps they’ll listen now“  
the wingless bird sings
in psalms that fly away
on tattered feathers
over untamed waters roil

Back to nature’s waning youth,
the bough bends unbroken
to taste the freedom
of the wild absolving seas

Jesse Stillwater
June     2018
a friend sent  a link to a deeply thought provoking modern classic 70's song about Vincent Van Gogh and the complexities of imperfection some of us relate .... i'd listened to the words prior but never heard before now.

  Title is last final lyric line from:  "Vincent" (Starry, Starry night) 1971
 Nov 2018
harlon rivers
...a diary of the falling dominoes chapter

invisibly dying from the inside out
no one is looking into unseen eyes
no one can hear a muted voice fading
no one is close enough to be near

the deafening thrums echo
anxieties’ racing heartbeat
within morphing flesh shell ,
gasping for new breath
in a hovering stale silence

from a distance
the broken mirror ricochets a subdued light ;
much closer the reflection reveals
someone I once knew by heart

now an unrecognizable mask
enshrouds a terminal emptiness
inconspicuous at a fleeting glance ,
impossible to discern what storms rage
from the inside out ,... unnoticed  

an uncontained wildfire
smoldering within,  lies in wait
for the imminent winds of change
to fan the flames into the final
eternal silent ashes

a poet reaches out demurely
offering a candid look
into the window
of the imperfect human soul

there is no poetry
met by indifference
just gathered unread words scribbled,

squandered time
dripped slowly on an empty page ;
moments turn into days
days turned into years

invisibly dying from the inside out
an unfinished life trickles out
like seeping blood evanescing
from a bottomless puncture
wounding ... penetrating the heart,
leaching out the slow death of a poet

for poetry is only words unless they touch someone ...

befallen to indifference is poetic death
by salted paper cuts ...

a muting suffocation
that hiddenly erodes away,
silencing the passion
of a musing soul
one unread word at a time ...

© harlon rivers ... all rights reserved
it is an enigma how poetry evolves in meaning over time
― like a self-fulfilled prophecy, some become transformational, some become new beginnings or some become a finality of a metamorphosis of peaceful endings or deleted attempts at understanding the misunderstood...

... all to be determined and allowed to let be

The faith in tomorrow's sun
does brighten as much as the
Present does and like memory
Does make sepia prints of the
Days gone by;  even of darkest
Times no others really know-
Am ashamed to acknowledge
Where weakness hides and
Says to Death it is cruel of you
Not to make it quick and so
I am waiting still for Now to
Pass as slow darkness comes
 Nov 2018
harlon rivers
No one passes through here ever stays for long
i can't even seem to catch sight of my own road home
The body hanging at the end of my own line i don't recognize
waiting for a change  ―  that never comes around

Fleeting through the primrose path crossroads in a blur,...
right now i'm standin' here like a brainless scarecrow all alone
Just another familiar frost heave pothole barely shunt
swerved around like an unmarked bump
on this frozen lonesome road

i let you see it and you told me what it was ,..
but the rear-view mirror only reflects the tracks left behind
Looking for the Black Box to unearth the cause of the crash
somewhere underneath a black and white rainbow i can't find

If you see a wayfaring stranger that abides undone
don't even stop to feel the ache that trickles down
Just hit the gas and hold sway the wheels go round,
look off---- the dead raccoon lay sullied at the side of the road

No one passes through here ever stays for long
i can't even seem to catch sight of my own road home
The body hanging at the end of my own line i don't recognize
waiting for a change  ―  that never comes
and yet life unfolds as it is intended
a life well lived ― every bump is felt,
it's a long road we've been traveling on
with twists and turns,  switchbacks and potholes
tough times change, undo,
     melt down ―
••• redux •••

written by: h.a. rivers ... 11 .13 .2017
writing happens ―
 Oct 2018
harlon rivers
The Womb of Time
by harlon rivers

hours drip slowly
onto a taunting empty page
the soul’s depictions brushed simply

a palette of whispered words
dry as if it were thoughts painted
onto a tightly stretched canvas

it's been said so many times before
     form clots at the tip of the quill
gathered words,...
finally surrendering to gravity’s flow
as the ink scribes the paltry ruminations;
flooding the same stifled notions
another way into another moment

metaphorical sleights of hand
incarnate onto the absolving
sheet of parchment;
traces of past now’s ensconced
in considered words

miles of silent reverie,
like a spider reprocessing,
carefully savoring
each fine silk thread of web,

spinning a womb of time...
The first read came the day it was published and the second 8 days later  Thank you to those who have read my humble musings over these past years... and to those who have shared so much of themselves for all our reading interests.

I'll always wonder, how one day out of nowhere,  I stumbled upon HP and joined.  I mean "why that  one moment 5 & 1/2 years ago ?"...I confess, fate is not often understood in its nebulous irony, yet everything is not meant to be understood.  Live, let go and don’t worry about the uncertain crossroads as seasons change, there comes a time when we aren't looking for anything and we find a passing moment ...

© 2013, May 15th ... Harlon Rivers

one thing for certain in life is change ...
 Oct 2018
harlon rivers
words drift away unfettered
from whence they came,
passing like undreamed clouds
– pragmatic eyes to the sky
   in a searching stare –
unsought thoughts disappearing hence
a fog bow fading into sunlight

there are days when
   it comes out in my silence
there are days when
   it falls down in my tears:

muse – muted in poet's pause,
heart and soul whispers
  laid bare unwritten
  behind parsing eyes
disregarded words let loose,
the way low hanging fruit
falls benign — unharvested —

   shortsighted  insight
   from a bird's eye view
silently fermenting traces
and unfiltered memories
come and go unheeded words,
discarded like the passing
   time of our lives

at times  it's  ludicrous
   to follow down
lingering footprints
left behind callous:
when the shoe won't fit;
slogging across eroding
time-worn stepping stones
scattered on this twisted line
these feet have been walking down,
trying to make a getaway
   from myself

walking away from the memories
like so many indelible footprints to escape
– while dreaming stardust into stars
   in nameless constellations –
reaching out from the inside,
   site unseen,
   trying to experience
   the empirical shape
   of  stifling  silence
   in a theatre made by chance

distilling the gifts and burdens
of trying to live a worthy life
   only I'll see...

harlon rivers ... September 27, 2018
pondering reticence, my recent hesitation makes me wonder — do you ever just not write down the poetry that is right in front of the eyes of your soul? This is the last piece i've written and feels as if it could be... but any poet knows — you can't steer a river

"One Man's Wilderness" by Richard Proenneke, is the title of a book I read twice this summer "Alone in the Wilderness"

"poet's pause" a truism/expression coined by Pagan Paul

Thanks for reading.
 Jul 2018
harlon rivers
An innocent glance at photo’s still waters
feeling a revenant song heard calling in the wind
as the tears come streaming
with the loving and the hurting

The heaviness … Oh the sweet heaviness
a fading heartbeat settles in palm of hand
with the accepting tears of merciful surrender

The weight of a fallen mountain
upon the footprints that held up an unseen world
Helpless to stand back up tall as a sky so far away

The substance of the unshouldered weight to bear;
evermore gazing unto the sunset to understand
the beauty of the light,.. and a hopeful sweetness
at the dimming of a longest day

An unknowable ache and suffering of the leaving ―
an orphaned love with a faith in contrary hopefulness;
a joy at the dawning, going home
toward the guiding light

harlon rivers  ...   June 2018
written after finding some pictures in an old suitcase stored up in the rafters ― musing a moment out of the blue, i was not prepared for
 Jun 2018
Jeff Stier
I’m a friend of darkness
lock lips with it
in a lover’s embrace

I mourn the dawn
beg favors from the twilight
hold every hope
in my uncertain hand
for a day when the sun won’t shine

And I know
by my wayward feet
by the tremors in my hand
that darkness creeps silently
up to my borders
crosses every line
and will someday defeat
my meager defenses

I have prepared my retreat
a forced march
to the grey Pacific
where everything in my life
and begins

The solemn swell of the waves
a fitting harmony
to that last sweet song.
 May 2018
harlon rivers
Rest stops and road weary vagabonds
Peanut butter, water and stale bread;
Cookie crumbs and lip smirched paper cups
Somewhere's last weeks coffee stained newspaper
Blown out tires and the side of the road  
Deep, thick, unmistakable, bear paw-prints
lie fallow ― undead in the mud

Feeling the raw silence of what you’re thinkin'
ooze out of a festering puncture wound within
Churning soliloquies  gnawing  away
at the unspooled  threads  fray,  
understanding there’s  no  fear
in  less  than nothing  to  lose

Sometimes change happens
so fast you don’t even notice
We can wait a lifetime and never be sure;
never taking that first step that leads to a journey
of a thousand miles ― just a step away

It’s not some kind of bewitching
     loneliness  spell  cast
never seeing another sole
in measureless hours and days
Passing moments languish imponderably,
there are no feelings I can see,
        by  looking  away ―
always as blind as we want to be

Wanting what was taken more than what is given;
still doing the things we learned we shouldn't do again
The longest miles are the trodden ones
with only traces of learning how to be
    alive ― off the grid; alone again

It’s a journey where there's no map to guide you
Just  a deepening furrowed lifeline standstill
Stalled at a crossroads in the palm of your hand;
uncertainty deriding  where you’re headed ―
both a reason and an excuse when we're not sure
we're not alone on such a long one way road
we've been out here traveling  on

Forbearing the truth that holds my soul,
the only way through the ache
is through the wound
                                     ... and
I’ll get down this long road somehow

    harlon rivers ... May 2018
     ... travelogue 3 of some
Notes ―  lyric from:   Side of the Road;    
written by ... Lucinda Williams

'If I stray away too far from you,
don't go and try to find me
It doesn't mean I don't love you,
it doesn't mean I won't come back and
stay beside you
It only means I need a little time
To follow that unbroken line
To a place where the wild things grow
To a place where I used to always go' ...
 May 2018
Nat Lipstadt
I sit in the sun room, I am shaded for the sun
is only newly risen, low slung, just above the horizon,
behind me, over my shoulder, early morn warm

Slivers of sun rays yellow highlight the wild green lawn,
freshly nourished by torrential rains of the prior eve

The wind gusts are residuals, memoirs of the hurricane
that came for a peripheral visit, your unwanted cousin Earl,
in town for the day, too bad your schedule
is fully booked, but he keeps raining on you,
staying on the phone for so long, that the goodbye,
go away, hang up relief is palpable

The oak trees are top heavy with leaves frothy like a new cappuccino,
the leaves resist the sun slivers, guarding the grass
from browning out, by knocking the rookie rays to and fro,
just for now, just for a few minutes more,
it is advantage trees, for they stand taller in the sky
than the youthful teenage yellow ball

I sit in the sun room buffered from nature's battles external,
by white lace curtains which are the hallmark
of all that is fine in Western Civilization,

and my thoughts drift to suicide.

I have sat in the sun room of my mind, unprotected.
with front row seats, first hand witness to a battle unceasing

Such that my investigations, my travails along the boundary line
between internal madness and infernal relief from mental pain
so crippling, is such that you recall begging for cancer or Aids

Such that my investigations, my travails along the sanity boundary
are substantive, modestly put, not inconsiderable

Point your finger at me, demanding like every
needy neurotic moderne, reassurance total,
proof negative in this instance, of relevant expertise!

Tell us you bona fides, what is your knowing in these matters?

Show us the wrist scars, evidential,
prove to us your "hands on" experiential!

True, true, I am without demonstrable proofs
of the first hand, my resume is absent of
razors and pills, poisons and daredevil spills,
guns, knives, utensils purposed for taking lives

Here are my truths, here are my sums

If the numerator is the minutes spent resisting the promised relief
of the East River currents from the crushing loneliness that
consumed my every waking second of every night of my years of despair
                           divided by
a denominator that is my unitary, solitary name,
then my fraction, my remainder, is greater than one,
the one step away from supposed salvation...

Yet, here I am sitting in the sun room buffered from
nature's battles by white lace curtains which are the hallmark
of all that is fine in Western Civilization

I am a survivor of mine own World War III,
carnaged battlefields, where white lace curtains,
were not buffers but dividers tween mis en scenes,
variegated veins of colored nightmares, reenactments of
death heroics worthy of Shakespeare

Did I lack for courage?
Was my fear/despair ratio insufficient?

These are questions for which the answers matter only to me,
tho the questions are fair ones, my unsolicited ******,
they are not the ones for which I herein write,
for they no longer have relevance, meaning or validity,
for yours truly

I write poetry by command, by request, good or bad,
this one is a bequest to myself, and also a sidecar for an old friend,
who asked in passing to write what I know of suicide,
unaware that the damage of hurricanes is not always
visible to the naked heart

These hands, that type these words are the resume of a life
life line remains scarred, but after an inter-mission, after an inter-diction, an inter-re-invention
in a play where I was an actor who could not speak
but knew every line, I am now the approving audience too...

But I speak now and I say this:

There are natural toxins in us all,
if you wish to understand the whys, the reasons,
of the nearness of taking/giving away what belongs to you,
do your own sums, admit your own truths
query not the lives of others, approach the mirror...

If you want to understand suicide,
no need to phone a friend, ask the expert,
ask yourself, parse the curtains of the
sun room and admit, that you do understand,
that you once swung one leg over the roof,
gauged the currents speed and direction,
went deep sea fishing without rod or reel
and you recall it all too well, for you did the math
and here I am, tho the tug ne'er fully disappears,
here I am, here I am writing to you,
as I sit in the sun room.

Memorial Day, 2011
hard to believe this poem will be 8 years old, soon enough; I well recall writing it and will return to the sunroom soon for inspiration and an afternoon nap.
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