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Sep 2015 · 689
Mass Transit
Derek Yohn Sep 2015
The bus stops
on these roads,
plexi-glass shelters,
sit, collecting humans
and rain, wet wanderers
fleeing the sky.

He stares at his feet,
this moment's occupant,
huddled in his surplus camo-
jacket, safe and bearded.

This is my city
     (there are many like it but this one is mine).

They plant baby palms
along these streets; they
unfurl and catch these winds,
soak up the rains, hide

the treatment centers
and meeting rooms,
gutter syringes and
cheap hotels.

It's lovely here in the spring.
Aug 2015 · 586
Derek Yohn Aug 2015
This virtual world still carries weight,
an invisible pond where words echo,
events spiral and ripple,
and we see the masks before the dark.

Evil hides beneath these still waters,
even in the light,
reflected on us all,
but never who we are.
Jan 2015 · 599
The Rover
Derek Yohn Jan 2015
I wasn't born to stand
on Mars, an alien
landscape of red
rocks and canyons
large enough to swallow
me up and wipe clean
this slate, still smudged
from detention.

It's quiet on the surface here,
an abstract of the greater
good that I have spread
to them when they
have all left me in
the doldrums, floating.

               (driving is a singular experience)
Oct 2014 · 441
Beyond the Eyes
Derek Yohn Oct 2014
The women on campus walk by,
short and tall,
radiant youth in hipster dress,
chattering on their way to class.

What are their intentions?
Saving the world?
Healing the sick?

i am unconsciously judging
their ****** prowess...

Around a corner one's stare
catches my own briefly:

i look at her looking at me
looking at her looking...

it never ends, this watching,
beyond the eyes.
Sep 2014 · 577
Prisoners of Love
Derek Yohn Sep 2014
On the news I saw a Medal of Honor ceremony,
people I've never met getting awards for wars
that I never fought...

and yet I am still awed, tears in my eyes,
glad they carried themselves bravely forward.

I wonder about America's prisoners of war,
missing and forgotten in foreign lands.
When did they let go of their lives,
those people they loved dear?

Those they loved are prisoners too,
trapped in the cycle, waiting.

I've only ever been a prisoner of the wrong loves,
broken couplings of average Americans,
where I felt the stifling of raw tension,
the piling up of cigarette ashes , the blank
walls of shallow rhetoric which I reject.

I smear my warm ***** on the walls
of that oppression, as any
self-respecting prisoner would,
at the end of the war,
wishing they were home.
Sep 2014 · 887
Talking Points Memo
Derek Yohn Sep 2014
I don't need you to read my words
any more than I want to re-live the past.

This world is burning,
fanaticism is rising,
interests are separating and
this American Dream is lost.

But please, do carry on...

tell me how hard math is,
or how love isn't what you thought it,
or how you cut yourself to feel alive,
or how life isn't fair.

Fill me up with ****** nature poems.

Convince me that sacrifice is what happens
when you give your iPod away
instead of what you read in
after-action reports from Afghanistan.

Tell me it will be okay.

Write me the perfect poem.
Sep 2014 · 1.3k
Mississippi Burning
Derek Yohn Sep 2014
My birthday draws near,
my second without you,
and I'm doing fine.
I don't even think about it anymore,
these broken promises or
little mistakes that were big deals.

This symmetry hounds me,
the recycling of my timelines,
but we all know
it is better this way.

And so it is time to break the chains...
I called you up,
nervous but resolute,
and we made the arrangements.

"I'm sorry, I love you, but it's better this way."

And you big deal.

Time doesn't heal anything,
but eventually we forget
just how very much things hurt,
and we embrace the amnesia,
carry our yesterdays hidden
on to tomorrow's second chances.

And now I'm seeing your face
in my red beans and rice.
I'm wondering if you will get by,
or if you regret the same things I do,
or if you are eating or can make rent,

but tomorrow comes quick,
and I try to let go of today.
Aug 2014 · 531
Frogs of the Rains
Derek Yohn Aug 2014
This perpetual summer engulfs me,
bathes me in its dew, and
deafens me with its hum.

I thought the winter had put
these feelings down, trampled
these blades flat.
I was fine with that,
but the sun comes again,
and the promise of rain.

Now the blades grow again,
unchecked in this
perpetual summer.
They move me once more,
and I croak my response
from afar, under the
weight of this dew,
waiting for the rain.
It is impossible to say just what I mean.
Aug 2014 · 587
Clean Skin
Derek Yohn Aug 2014
I lack the words,
the syntax, to
Xerox my feels to you.

These caravan routes we walk,
in the shadows of our freight,
are just a path, a swath
of yesterdays and tomorrows
strung together by moments.

We carry these deeds,
these sins of deliverance,
to the next stop,
hawking the wares,
the smell of camels thick,
tasting the heat of the desert,
collecting its sand,
blinded by the sun,
but never by its promise.

Shielding our eyes, we
carry on in the dark,
seeking oasis, that
eventual moment in the
shade of the palms,
the emergence from the
cool waters, the
feeling of clean skin.
Aug 2014 · 606
Zero point Zero
Derek Yohn Aug 2014
Every month I *** in a cup
to prove I am human.

I work for free to pay
off imaginary debts.

I get my paperwork stamped
so they know I participate.

It's all for my own good,
or so they tell me.

I can't be rehabilitated
until I am broken.
Aug 2014 · 701
The Ploughsharer
Derek Yohn Aug 2014
Under the moon, near the groves,
grows the summer's bitter fruit,
plumping for harvest.

We are bound to them,
thirsty for their tartness.

I know nothing of farming
these lands or caring for
elderly children, lost
inside their own minds.
I am only an observer
in these fields, destined
to carry my share home.

When I left my wife I felt
the angst, but underneath it
was the overwhelming
relief that I didn't have to
pretend anymore that
two halves could ever equal one.

I watch the bitter fields,
under this moon,
only an observer,
adding up these fruits,
counting these bushels,
knowing that we've all
our own fields to tend,
serfs that we are.
Aug 2014 · 1.2k
The Azalea Trail.
Derek Yohn Aug 2014
The azaleas came early this year,
flashing pink in the spring
against their own unruly green.

My dog pants heavily, bounding
across the yard, chasing his
shadow from the azaleas to
the Japanese Maple and back.

Tired, finally, he scratches his
back against the bush, scraping
against the limbs, deforming  the
bush, shaking the blooms down.

I yell at him to stop but he ignores me.

He is young.  He knows only the joy
of the moment, the scratching of that
itch.  If only he could understand that
their beauty is frail and annual...
I want to tell him, but I don't
speak dog and he doesn't listen
anyway, so I lure him inside with
a treat and leave the blossoms
until next year.
I've been slacking on posting here....trying to get back in the habit.
Apr 2014 · 1.3k
Derek Yohn Apr 2014
What is today if not a ripple,
the shock of yesterday
bouncing off tomorrow?
Each moment nothing more
than pebbles thrown and sinking?
Our human efforts a shrill
cry in the canyons:

"I want to be free to be me...
to be free to be...
me to be free...
i want to be me...
be free to want...
i want me..."

but it trails off, dies out,
like the ripples in the pond,
the efforts of a stone.
Derek Yohn Feb 2014
Love and fear are all we know.

Love:  the longing for unity,
           the comfort of the constant
           companion, the inner
           peace in a sea of discord.

Fear:   howls of derision, the
           emotional clothing shielding
           our true selves, the
           hesitance at opportunity's knock.

Every moment of your life is an ****,
an echo chamber of desire, a festival of
potential love, waiting for your surrender.
Reach out to it; strip off your garments
of fear, reap the love before you,
or carry the regret in your pocket.
Feb 2014 · 509
Derek Yohn Feb 2014
i am the ghost of the giant,
haunting these same streets,
invisible in the daylight,
moved on from the world,
yet here in spirit.
All these things i knew
were blooms of the dark
annual flowers, here and gone,
droplets in a river,
bounding over the falls.

Now when i drive the streets
i see the fleeting beauty of
unknown women, laughing,
shopping, smiling for someone.
i remember these simple things,
from afar, invisible,
bounding over the falls.
Feb 2014 · 2.2k
Why the Robins Sing
Derek Yohn Feb 2014
The birds don't care about the internet.
Their anger is with the ground,
the place where the green goes,
the fields of the hunt and
the roots of the trees.

Their hearts pound in anticipation
of flight into the blue, a
lofting of the body high.

Their cries herald freedom,
the warm sun on soft feathers.
It is their exhilaration breaking forth,
like the promise of soft lips that
by rights are not your own,
tender in the night welcoming you.

i was going to write to you,
the reader, about joy and
its mysteries:  something sacred,
the pins and needles felt
throughout our human-shaped
boxes, the shadow where we
hide our hearts for others to steal.

i long to tell you, dear reader,
if only you can promise to
hold that secret close ...
Can you?  Can you keep this secret?

... (yes)...

So can i.
Jan 2014 · 615
The Spring of Love
Derek Yohn Jan 2014
How do you hold forever in your heart
with no hands?  Words that we utter
to ghosts are more real...

the distance between us all is the same,
living in the bubble, a thread in
the tapestry of our lives.

Promises stain our lips as they cross
boundaries.  In celebration of always
i give eternal somethings to nothings.

The summer fields are heavy with dew.
And then the blooms die, making
way for new deaths and old renewals.

This is my gift, a vignette of singularity;
a gathering of the sands of time,
granules of what we have, weathered.
Jan 2014 · 769
Entity Entirety
Derek Yohn Jan 2014
From the Ankara of Augustus wandered,
east to the clefts of the Earth's breast:
at Shambhala i seek the tooth
from the maws of paradox,
a teaching from Lord Maitreya,
a stretching through the void of ascension.
In the cycling Kalachakra looping
step three, the divine is inside
and divides, as out so in.

As above, so below.

It claws through the pages to reach me,
and you, to strike the gong.

As within, so without.
Beyond you always,
eternally inside.
Jan 2014 · 1.0k
The Sheep Counter
Derek Yohn Jan 2014
"I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling..."

     The mantra swirled like in tornado in Kate's mind.  The words her mother had last spoken in life as the cancer finally took her, leaving Kate alone in this cruel world.  Her father, Richard, had run off with some office **** and left her and Mommy to fend for themselves.  Mommy was already sick by then, but Richard didn't care.

     *"No one does,"
Kate thought.  "Except Mommy."  But where was Mommy now?  Safe in the cold beyond.

     The year following Mommy's death had been no kinder to Kate.  The eviction, the hard streets of no solace.  The bad things.  Always, around every corner, more of the bad things.  And what they wanted.  Bad things.

     And now, seeing the fog roll in on San Francisco Bay, feeling the wind on her face, letting the salt fill up her nostrils to brine her emotions, Kate heard the lullabies of this ***** Earth calling her name in the cries of the gulls, felt its repulsion, its push, in the cold rail of the Golden Gate Bridge in her hand.  Kate had lived in the hammock Richard built over the chasm of Kate's life, and now Kate was so very sleepy.

     "I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling asleep.  I'm falling..." Kate repeated to herself as she leaned out into the night and let go of the guardrails.

     "...asleep."  Forever.
Jan 2014 · 2.0k
In the Sawgrass Fields
Derek Yohn Jan 2014
The hounds of fear nip at winter heels,
whelping doubt and baying at the moon.
Cocoon prayers whispered across the fields
of becoming; this dark of the light is
contextually contrasted.  i am little and
young against the ages, something loose
and rattling in the box of reality and
afraid, fleeing the dogs of war.
i write post-it note prophecies and  
crumple them,  building a nest in
the trees, a mother's womb nearer the sky,
for when the sun comes it comes
first to the birds on high.
Jan 2014 · 2.2k
Arthur and Evangeline
Derek Yohn Jan 2014
Arthur McKnight was a powerful man and New York was his playground.  Not that he ventured out anymore at night now that he had met Evangeline.  The long days of mind-numbing numbers he crunched managing Wall Street hedge funds had taken their toll on him over the years, but becoming intimate with Evangeline had saved him, had changed him in ways so fundamental that for him she was all that mattered.

     Arthur no longer noticed these subtle differences.  He daydreamed by the dim LCD light of stock tickers, craving the touch that only his woman could bestow upon him.  He had surrendered completely to her bliss.

     These days when he woke to her already gone from his Upper West Side apartment all that was left of her presence was a lipstick kiss on the mirror and a bottle of Sally Hansen Tangerine Orange nailpolish.  The quiet was deafening, but that bottle of Sally Hansen left on the bathroom counter held the promise of Evangeline's return.

     It was just after 7 p.m. when Arthur made it home and he could already sense her.  She was coming.  He strode with purpose to his master suite, spying the black thigh-highs and silky red dress he had laid out for her arrival.  The waiting was unbearable, and Arthur finally broke, needing Evangeline so badly he could smell her perfume, could taste her in his throat.  It was time; no more waiting.

     "You look lovely tonight, Evangeline," Arthur croaked aloud as he pulled the first of the thigh highs onto his shaven legs...
Dec 2013 · 572
Cable Maximus
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Am i not entertained?

Channel 2:  weather...
Channel 7:  ******...
Channel 13:  lies...
Channel 34:  murderous weather...
Channel 43:  lying murderers...
Channel 99:  murdering lying weathermen and women...

and all points in between and so on,
ad infinitum.

Am i not entertained?
Dec 2013 · 882
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Tomorrow is just today re-lived for Punxsutawney Phil.
It is odd to me that he is so very human, hunkered
low against the cold winds of winter's wrath until
finally, in celebration of Imbolc he rises to survey his vast
lands, a keen eye to the ground to scout out this years'
competition, even if it is only his shadow.

Phil's home in the burrow on Gobbler's **** is the
family sanctuary; there is a joke there but it is beyond
me, God.  Just please keep us warm and brave, looking
to the sky instead of the ground, our shadows to our
backs where they will always belong.
Imbolc = the Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring, celebrated at the end of January/start of February

Gobbler's **** is the name of the hill where Punxsutawney Phil (Groundhog Day) lives...
Dec 2013 · 859
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Earth is too tame these days,
too lax in competition.
i only see real men when we
attend the same protest rallies.

Talk stays cheap so that everyone
can afford it on any budget;
fistfighting in public is rude.

i have a genuine concern for the
welfare of my fellow man.
If they don't do well, what
will they have worth taking?

i *** in my backyard so the
dog will know it is MY yard;
my territory is marked;
he swears me fealty proper.

At the top of the food chain
we cull ourselves,
Dec 2013 · 659
Reign Dance
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
At Christmas, i wonder to myself
if i have spent enough money
to prove my love; i am giving of
myself, writing the great American
poem.  You can tell because i have
big dreams and no results.

i celebrate my family ties,
tethered to tradition.
i want to celebrate the solstice
instead because all nature
needs from me is my death,
a promise kept forever...

a memory of everyone's something.
Dec 2013 · 902
Renaissance Fair
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Hark! -
     mine hopes had loftily soared
     at your comely visage, young
     handmaiden, carrying the promise
     of much chivalry and banter upon
     eagles' wings of fortuity!

What goodness the Lord hath
seen fit to imbue on thy
outer trappings most surely
were indeed false, wherefore
thee proved thyself a most
unworthy jouster of conversation.

Dost thee not ken that real world in
which we live, rendering thy speech
thus? But alas...thou dost not.

Lo! -
     that only i could have understood
     what the ******* were saying...

does anybody else ever have those times when you are just speechless at the level of stupidity we are surrounded with?
Dec 2013 · 975
June 2013
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Nothing will ever be pure again,
an eternal February of blackened
snow and slush, churning
laundromat for tires of
discontent, cars of pointless lines,
voyages of the spirit in the physical.

We are earth-bound snowflakes,
born to fall and be soiled,
clinging to frail beauty,
praying to an ear-less god for life,
our lives the only thing worth
dying for, taken good or bad.
Kamikaze skydivers, star-crossed
and locked in gravity's tractor beam.
Fearing the hell of melt, craving
the safety of numbers, another
crystal to bond with, a cold
fusion of icy love, gasping;
praying to an ear-less god for death,
our lives the only thing worth
dying for, our deaths the only thing
worth living for, all the same
in the end.
all the same at the end.
all the same,
the end.
this is a repost of one of the first poems i submitted to hellopoetry;  one of my favorites, but hardly seen by others....
Dec 2013 · 1.6k
The Phantom's Doppelganger
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Lauryn Hill is going to jail for not paying her taxes,
a fate that would surely befall us all if caught.

She argued to the judge that since her ancestors
were slaves, our economic system was imposed
on her against her will, invalidating her burden.

Pay your ******* taxes, you ignorant bigot.
When your ancestors started making money,
they started owing taxes.  This is a feature of
society called "equality."
What the **** is wrong with everyone these days?  I am of Irish descent...should I sue the British government for not helping my ancestors during the Irish Potato Famine, causing them to emigrate to America, where they then moved to the South, where the intensity of UV light has greatly increased my propensity to develop skin cancer as a result of the fair complexion inherent of my ginger Irish descent?

No.  I should not.  That is ******* ignorant.  But that is a very similar line of reasoning.  Shut your ******* mouth, Lauryn Hill.  Enjoy jail.
Dec 2013 · 1.9k
Ossie Mae's Homecoming Game
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
The coming of the light was disorienting at first, like the shimmer of the surface of the sea when viewed from beneath.  Ossie Mae was swimming up to meet it head on with the fearlessness that only the children of the Great Depression possess.  That stark light called out to her bones.

     Ossie Mae could hear faint sounds of work:  the crinkling of cellophane wrappers, muffled footsteps, and an incessant chatter of beeps nearby.  She broke the water's surface and spied a silhouette moving gracefully around the room's only bed.  The lights' intrusion subsided, and Ossie Mae was able to recognize  hospital scrubs as the silhouette's garment of choice.

     "Am I dead," Ossie Mae ventured feebly.

     "I don't know," the silhouette responded.  "Do you feel dead?"

     "I don't know what dead feels like."

     "Then how do you know you were ever alive?"

     The question hung in the air for a moment while Ossie Mae gathered her wits.  "I don't reckon it matters, does it?  What happened?  Where am I?  What is your name?"  Now the questions flowed like water over the falls.

     "I am Nurse Cassandra.  This is a hospital.  You are here because you fell and broke your hip.  You came in there anyone you would like me to call for you?  Family?  Friends?"

     Ossie Mae's pupils dilated slightly, as if looking past Nurse Cassandra, searching.  "No.  My husband, Jack, passed away eight years ago.  We never had children and the few friends I have are all in nursing homes or moved away to live with their babies and grand-babies, or to Florida.  It's just me now...," Ossie Mae said, her voice slowly and steadily trailing off.

     Nurse Cassandra, who looked to be a woman in her early fifties, set down the clipboard she had been scanning while Ossie Mae spoke.  She sat down next to Ossie Mae and took her hand.  Ossie Mae thought to herself that for such a young woman, Nurse Cassandra had old eyes.  They were kind and gray, but seemed old and out of place.

     "Is there anything I can do for you, Ossie Mae," Nurse Cassandra asked gently.

     " daddy was a simple man, and he always told me 'Ossie Mae, you ain't got to know what you want in life, but it sure does help to know what you don't want.'  I sure do miss Daddy...but I reckon what I don't want is to stay in this hospital any longer than I have to.  Could you get me out of here?  Please?  I don't belong here no more."

     "Are you sure?  Really sure that is what you want, Ossie Mae?"

     "Yes'ums.  Yes ma'am."  Flatly.  Definitively.

     "Then of course, Ossie Mae.  I can help you with that."  Nurse Cassandra stood up, reaching into the pocket of her scrubs.  "One escape, coming right up."

     Nurse Cassandra turned to Ossie Mae's I.V. drip, moving quickly with practiced hands, emptying the contents of the syringe into the port on the line.

     And so it came to pass:  Nurse Cassandra, Ossie Mae's Angel of Death, sent her home to Jack and Daddy.
flash fiction attempt #2....

i am still undecided if i should continue to pursue this genre....

your thoughts?
Dec 2013 · 624
Secrets of Lost Seasons
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
In the winter i set my heart down,
making note of it in this poem.

It was heavy with ice and frost,
and i was lighter for its loss.

i wanted to pass the note along,
missing you so, to cry out to you:

...but you don't hear me though...

In the approaching spring you called,
and the hollow in my ribs ached;

we spoke different languages through
string-less tin can phones;

i sought out the place where my heart lies,
though i fear it cannot be found:

i had mailed you that treasure map,
and you lost it in translation.
Dec 2013 · 1.3k
Hammer Time
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Tuesday afternoon construction projects,
i am framing an argument,
holding my hammer white
knuckled tight.

If I had a hammer,
I'd hammer in the morning...

i would hammer the love between us all,
helping clarify between
getting what you want
and having what you get.

i would hammer it's face
till i was breathless,

standing at the left of what is right,
writing about what is left.

Can most of us tell the difference anymore?

Don't answer that...
you can't.  You don't know how.

Don't speak to me about love,
or how if you don't have it
you will surely die from
neglect or razor slashes from
your own hand.

You would end the same if
you had what you thought
it was, because it isn't
that at all.
Dec 2013 · 642
La Nombre al Diabla
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Hunting easter eggs in December,
and yet they seek me out instead.

i never find them at my pace;
standing, drunk, outside familiar
bars in the cold, randomly
dialing number combinations
to hear whispers or silences.

Radio wave transmigrations
they are, a look to the
past, a nod to the future,
a moment in stasis
where the keypad blurs,
doubles, focuses, blurs,
and i am lost one more time.


clearly static, the white noise
of separation, the
             bro      ke  n

perfectly human, but alone.
Dec 2013 · 1.6k
The Remembering
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
William raked the leaves and dry pine needles in silence, a reverence that, to him, seemed simple and appropriate in the cemetery.  Mother was close by arranging silk flowers to place on his grandparents' graves, a festive red splash of color in celebration of the Christmas season despite the unseasonal warmth and humidity in the air.

     "Can you believe the weather," he calls out to his mother.  "Grandma and Papa would have loved this."

     "Yes, they would have," she replied.  "I'm ready if you are.  We still have some errands to run before it gets too much later."

     William bent down and scooped the loose pile of nature's molt off the graves and placed it in an old plastic shopping bag.  "I'll go throw this in the trash while you set up the flowers, that way we can get moving with the day."

     Mother set to work on the bronze vase as William walked away to the trash can ten yards distant.  He was grateful for her presence, not just for the help in maintaining the graves, but also because it reinforced to him that she was the best mom he could have ever asked for.  The graves were not those of her parents, but belonged to his father's parents.  William thought it was a great show of respect for her to help him.  Father had passed a year before either of his parents.  Not that it much mattered; William's father had seemingly forgotten both William and his own parents somewhere along the way.  Father had given all his attention to his new wife for the last few years of his life.

     "All done!  Just let me pull these last few weeds before we go," Mother said.  William nodded acknowledgement and absent-mindedly wandered the surrounding grave plots.  Unknown faces of unfamiliar names blanketed the grounds nearby.  He found himself suddenly wondering if he had even visited his father's grave.  Feeling ashamed, he began searching in earnest for the site of his father's final resting place.  He thought it was close at hand, perhaps in the vicinity of the small copse of trees a few dozen yards east of his grandparents.

     After a ten minute search, William realized he could not find it on his own.  Mom will know, I will ask her, he thought.  "Hey Mom, I know this sounds weird, but I can't find Dad's grave...where is it?"

     Mother cocked her head slightly, and after a brief pause says, "Will, your father was cremated, and your stepmother told us that she spread the ashes at sea, but we can't be sure that she really did."

     "Oh.  I forgot."
my first stab at flash fiction...

let me know what ya'll think...i am not sure if i want to keep this the way it is, or convert it to a poem...suggestions, comments, constructive vitriol --as always-- are welcome.

lately, flash fiction has caught my eye...i guess because it retains that "get to the point" element of poetry with the added ability to expand on the thought and include dialogue.

However, that doesn't mean I am any good at it.  So, please tell me if I should stick to what I know...
Dec 2013 · 1.2k
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Sitting in the circle of confession,
i am unmoved, at inaction,
only minorly involved in the
process of others, an observer
of them and processing me.

          God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things
          i cannot change,
                    (people, places, things)

i am quiet and respectful, knowing
that for some this is all they have,
that i am fortunate,
that we never flirted with disaster,
we openly courted it.

          the courage to change the things i can,

i hear the voices in the distance,
but i can't connect, my mind
wanders, thinking about prehistoric
jewelry in museum cases, broken
pottery shards unearthed with
great effort from ancient graves.

Were these items symbols of broken
promises?  A ring:  till death do
us part...a vase:  i will carry the
water for arrowhead:  
i will protect you.  These things
hold a value that words
cannot ever truly convey.

i don't really understand how it works,
the promises i broke were the ones
i made to myself first, all the
others were incidental and yet
so equally destructive...

my track marks have faded with
disuse, but everything that it was
and i wasn't are now forever
tattooed under my skin, something
that is always only mine to
observe and behold, something
terrible and yet darkly beautiful.

          and the wisdom to know the difference.

i empathize with the lost, but
i do not share.
They would understand, but as
they learn more
i comprehend less,
and i know where that road leads.
So i remember when i should
be listening, and i will keep
what i have earned.

          *Just for today.
"It works if you work it so keep coming back..."     --the unofficial end of the Serenity Prayer

and if not:  "Fake it 'till you make it."
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
House plants are hostages
we take while we rob  
the bank of life for
all the experience notes we
can carry safely away.

We are using the funds
to build our vivarium
homes, microcosms of
the world beyond our walls
where we first glimpsed
the scheme.

The machinery of the world,
greased by blood and sweat,
remains beyond our control
while at large, yet
under our close supervision
we coax submission
out of our captives for
our own enjoyment:

selfish, ambivalently cruel
benefactors, dispensers of
our plants' waters of life.
Dec 2013 · 1.6k
Finally Free, Nelson Mandela
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
The sun sends us life as a
coherent cohesive beam, unfiltered.

Our science has shown us that
all it takes to rationalize this
is a prism, the rainbows'
gatekeeper, after whose interference
we can see the dichotomy of
each ribbon of color, naked
and categorized like society.

A prism isn't necessary to see
that life is beautiful, any
more than society or our
minds are necessary for us to
instinctively know that light
loses something as it meets
the prism.

The light was too beautiful for
us to comprehend, so we broke
it down to build up walls.

We used the walls to build rooms,
and our minds to bar the doors
and windows.  Society took care
of the rest.

The real breakthrough takes place
when we take all that we
learned and use it to tear
back down that prison
of the light.
The Specials had a song called "Free Nelson Mandela."  Wicked cool song back in the day, for a wicked good cause.

Thanks for everything, Nelson.  Now you are finally free.  Godspeed, & R.I.P.
Dec 2013 · 661
The Wire
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Whenever i meet people online,
i am reminded again that at the
core we are energy.  My mind
ascribes characteristics of hidden
faces that i can't be sure
are verifiable, a blank palette
where every "Alice" looks like
the first "Alice" i ever met,
and every "Steve" like the first
"Steve" and so on...

like when Rose Tyler lost her
face to The Wire, and Doctor
Who had to reclaim it for her.
The Wire was so very hungry,
famished even.

And i am so very thirsty,
which, if you think about
it, means that The Wire
and i have nothing
in common at all.
my first blatant Dr. Who reference...

there are many others scattered throughout my work, but this one is on front street.  i'm not sorry.
Dec 2013 · 426
Department of Projections
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
i have to stop watching the news.
The only politics i want to hear
about is the politics of dancing.
At least then i might get lucky.

The government says i am a criminal.
i made them prove it, and they did.

Shut up and take the money...

i know how much the
government hates competition.
the finest criminal justice limited funds can buy...
Dec 2013 · 1.2k
Mouthing the Lung Gom
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
After the first sleep comes the second morning,
the realm of meditative calm,
gifts we forgot we left ourselves,
in the time that time forgot,
in the lands we left behind.

In Tibet, the most skilled monks cover
great distances using the mantra
of the Lung Gom, a rhythmic matrix
leap.  i use a car or my
memory to achieve the same.

As a child i captured fireflies from
my grandmother's back yard,
holding them captive in a jar
until they proved themselves,
making me their Gom Jabbar.

Now later along i feel the vibration
of life in my car as i drive.
i have no wish to synchronize
with it.  My rebellious days
are mostly over, or few in number.

My subconsciousness has accepted
my inevitable death.  That is
alignment enough, nature's Gom
Jabbar to my neck, regardless
of what i prove before:

like the fireflies in the jar...
like the death rattle of my car...
like the memories i sought,
struggling against union,
fearing the Gom Jabbar,
mouthing the Lung Gom.
Lung Gom => the mantra used by Tibetan Buddhist monks that supposedly enables them to leap across open plains (Matrix style).  It is said that if someone interrupts them, they are shaken to pieces by the break in their rhythm, and that if they use the mantra too often, they lose the ability to remain on the ground and have to weigh themselves down.

Gom Jabbar  =>  in the Dune series by Frank Herbert:  the deadliest poison in the universe, administered by means of a needle ***** mounted on a thimble.  It is used as a punishment for failing the test of humanity (meaning that the loser is not human, but animal).
Dec 2013 · 700
The Alchemist's Prayer
Derek Yohn Dec 2013
Today i give thanks, unmindful of
calendars i did not create,
mixing rare potions to elixir,
grinding clock hands and
covering eyes, a shield from the
flash of excellence, filling my cup
from the wellspring eternal.

Come, drink from the chalice with me,
it is not hemlock, it brings union
and transmutation, our lead into
the fold.

Digest this tonic and abandon
resolve, i will take unto me this
poison from the Earth, take you
as well the fruits of our evil deeds
to be no more.

Pay this homage with me, to us.
Nov 2013 · 1.5k
The Phantom of the Oprah
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
it is time for us to
have a little chat:

i have heard you say,
on video, that opposition
to Obama is based on
racism.  Haters gonna hate,
you say.

i disagree.  While surely
there are some who feel
this way, since America
is such a big and diverse
place, i think you have
discounted a much more
appropriate reason for
opposing the O:

If not that, how about lying?

If not that, how about hypocrisy?

There are more, but my space is limited.
Do any of the above do
anything for you, besides

Keep in mind, Oprah, that as
a percentage of population,
white folks still are the majority.
And you are now filthy
rich, thanks in part to those
same white people, some of whom
dislike the president.

So...being pro-Oprah and anti-Obama
are mutually exclusive?
An awful lot of white folks
helped you get rich, does
that mean to you that they are
race traitors?  Are you trying
not to be?

Race sure does seem really important
to you.  And yet America (even
white America) elected a black man
twice to the presidency.  It wasn't
important to most Americans what
color he was.

They are mad now because they were
duped by an incompetent lawyer.  And
now they know it for sure.

So when you, Oprah, fall back on
race instead of logic, you are
playing your last card of desperation.

It has no merit.  You know that.

In fact, Oprah, to my mind
YOU are the racist.

The only other alternative i see is
that you are ashamed of how
wrong you were supporting him,
and too prideful to admit

But you certainly seem to think
that white America owes you or
the president some debt other
than our money and our
dwindling rights.

Because you think that you both
are superior.

That is called racism, Oprah.
Look it up sometime.
When are we going to return to sane civil discourse in this nation?

i don't owe anybody a ******* thing as far as guilt or explanations go.  My family, southern farmers, NEVER owned slaves.  The family worked the land.  So *******, Oprah.
Nov 2013 · 876
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
Into the everything,
a hard coded "is":


argh....i really wanted to make the separate "our fates" intertwine like a double helix strand....can't figure out how to simulate the 3D effect.  I even tried making a grid pattern that could be read multiple ways (up-down, left-right), but I couldn't get the characters to line up so it was readable.  I can do it with Photoshop, but we can't post pictures, only text, so you are going to have to use your imagination, which kills the intended effect I think...
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
The rain dilutes the sins of  the land,
pandemic baptism and resurrection.
This Earth that once housed Noah
and his Ark, a covenant of life,
the buoyant spring,
cycles like the cylinder of a
revolver, a hedged roulette bet.

When we are cleansed, we achieve
grounding under water, in over
our heads, digging in the mud
for pearls in the scallop and
oyster beds.

The receding of the waters
is our delta moment, fighting
for absolution;  a
mammal under water or a
fish out of water,
there is no difference:

only a burning in our chests,
a yearning for return
to the elements we once knew.
Nov 2013 · 1.6k
Zef Side Represent
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
Cultural diversity isn't
just for ghettos and
trailer parks anymore.
America may have won
the global King of the Hill
game, but the **** and
lava flows from our eruptions
and mines has left us
standing on a mole-hill
Our discarded techno-babble
is next year's Christmas
gift elsewhere.
More than our currency
needs a revaluation,
and it is surely coming,
stalking us as the
lioness shadows the
antelope, waiting for the
element of surprise,
to put us in shock,
so they can stand in awe.
One man's mansion is
another's doublewide...
accessorize with caution.

^^^  i am seriously in love with this ^^^

i guess because, IMO, it is a new form of visual "shock and awe" poetry, like a David Lynch film that you might actually have a chance of understanding...maybe.
Nov 2013 · 1.3k
A Secular Supposition
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
If God has a plan for us all,
then the wise make God the boss.

If the wages of sin is death,
and God gave us free will,
as we were created in his image,
to accomplish his plan as we
see fit, then i am forced
to conclude God doesn't pay
very well.  He is not a
particularly good employer.

Working conditions are terrible.

In point of fact, God is not
our employer, because he doesn't
pay at all.  Is he waiting for
bitcoins to catch on?
Or is he more into
spiritual slavery?

Is it wrong to question this?

It would seem self-evident
that if God gave us free will,
surely he expected us to use
it, even to question him.
If not, maybe God didn't
think it through first.

If our rewards are in the afterlife,
how can we be sure we will
get paid?  No one has
verified any of this.

Is that what faith is, God?

Crossing our fingers?

Depending on you, the God
with a plan, the same plan
that takes from us all that
we love and cherish, just
as he gives us those same

God is an Indian-giver.

We are each his image,
and we broke all of our
treaties with Indians.
Excuse me, Native Americans.
i don't want to offend

least of all God.
not meant as blasphemy, although some may see it that way.  That is your right.

I am much more of a New Ager, personally.  I don't think we are his image nearly as much as we are god in the first place.  We just don't remember.
Nov 2013 · 531
The Eyes of the Fly
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
Watching the student of hate
become the teacher of fear
is only one variable in the equation.
Not all students sit at the
front of the class, some view
the world from behind the
couch, pulling a blanket
over the eyes to ward off

It all comes down to
reading the word problem,
insofar as words matter
and how you read them.

Classrooms are so very much
the same as rollercoasters,
multiple rows for
multiple views.
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
On the porch roof, in the pitch of it,
the scuttling claws of autumn leaves

             ­                     g

(the sky is falling)

Battling cigarette smoke prayers for passage
       to the great beyond,

i feel them both tingling my spine,
Nov 2013 · 956
Going Tharn
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
Exhaustion is the price of vigilance.
My cats sleep all the time now,
it seems.  It hurts
                but i understand.

The road has a hypnotic effect
as it gazes back into us all.
The void consumes everything
but becomes nothing,
compressed infinitely smaller,
enslaving particles, photons,
feelings, planets, systems, and

Feeling isn't saying, and
meaning isn't doing.
Impressions are sculpted into
the granite of our mountains
by the expressions of the

When the eagles soar overhead
they must all pass through
the wormhole to hunt,
to ****** victory from defeat,
a sustained life from a
final death,
but it is all perspective.

Roadkill live life in the fastlane,
if life is indeed a highway.
Woodland creatures brave existence
only by darting to the other side
of the killzone, timing the gaps,
patiently judging the distance.
"Going Tharn" = a deer (or other animal) frozen in the headlights, unable to flee from an impending certain death
Nov 2013 · 1.4k
Dog Paddling
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
If we were in Hawaii,
we would be on an island.

If i fell off the boat en route,
i would be an island,
floating in the ocean of my life,
carried by the currents, winds,
and storms, unable to bend
the universe to my will,
treading water, fearing
sharks, scanning the horizon
for help.

When i leave my house
and venture out into the
crowds, i always wonder
how so many islands can
exist and there still be
room for the ocean, or is
it just an ocean of islands?

Navigation becomes difficult,
the islands cease movement,
there are fewer ports on
which to call.

Scan the horizon, tread water,
look for help, but
above all else,
watch out for sharks.
Nov 2013 · 1.6k
The Omega Protocol
Derek Yohn Nov 2013
Where the sea meets the sand
is the battle for the land;
a war for territory,
the everlasting story.

The tides that soak the beach
are always slightly out of reach;
Sol chases them away,
but the moon is here to stay.

So plan for the destruction
of man's every construction;
for eaten it will be,
by the hungry sea.

But forever is the sand
that marks our borderland;
eternal it will be,
unlike you and me.
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