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Hank Helman Mar 2020

Stop clutching your stomach
When you think everyone is watching.

Stop escalating, spreading *******,
Unscientific Trump talk, ignorance isn't a gift.

Stop worrying. A 2% death rate. That's it.
Yes-- if we have to,
We will set up temporary hospitals in Walmart parking lots.

Stop watching. The news has one objective.
To sell ads. Fear is it's only priority.
Constant fear means constant commercials.
Fear is a form of elite control. The 1% want you
To be afraid every hour of every day.

Stop fearing death.
It is the only common experience
That we have.
It is natural, it will happen to you,
And to I,
And to your parents,
Your children,
Your pets and plants,
The tires on your bike.

Nobody knows what comes next.
So stay in the now.
Which isn't really the now,
But it's close.
You live all your life
About a half second in the past,
Which is close enough
To fear anything ever again.

Stop your silence. You do have something to say.
An opinion.
Yes you do.
So vote for the world you want,
Not the one we are leaving behind
Hank Helman Oct 2020
Name tell me all these things that you fear,
Alone, no one home, the shadows appear,
Maybe ghosts have been chatting about your demise
The neighbourhood witches, the ones you despise.

The moon wanders full across demon filled skies
They giggle and cackle and tell naughty lies,
This is the time when all spirits clash
It's  Halloween night, home quick in a dash.
its a scary time.. life is meant to be this way?
Hank Helman Nov 2020
I remember dropping acid,
While lying on my back
On an angel-kissed pebble beach,
On a lost Greek island
At dawn.

Acid isn't always pleasant.
But rarely fatal.

First life intensified.
All of it.
Colours brightened,
Shades multiplied,
Patterns spoke.
The wing, the feather, the claw, the beak,

How correct things were,
How decisive evolution was,
How ******* huge our balloon had become.

And yet,
The universe,
All of it,
Fit comfortably inside
My small cathedral head.

Smells recreated whole episodes from my past,
The spaghetti dinner my aunt made me eat.
I threw it up in the backyard minutes later,
Because the noodles looked like worms,
Mashed potatoes and gravy,
Cotton Candy, the music of a carnival
The twenty seven hours of stalled birth as my mother's legs
Were strapped together until a doctor could be found.

I time traveled, memories appeared in 3-D,

Taste was ****** and social,
*** was irrelevant,
Hate impossible,
Death humbled and genuflect


Is this how we learn to be kind.
Hank Helman Apr 2016
I’m lost.
Inside a conversation
With a ghost,
Who keeps a case of beer,
On my back porch,
Year round.

I struggle.
With his take,
On things.
At best, he says, you perish in a fury,
His mouth a fresh full fill,
Raw oysters topped on spice baked kelp.

I wait.
To hear the worst.
His pause is theatre 101,
All fog and drama,
Ephemeral guest,
Sweet mist and ****.

I lean.
Against our red rose sun,
The window warm from spring to fall,
My back porch home a hobby now,
The worst he says, in adagio,
Is drudgery, no end at all.
What prevents all of us from starting over, running the world in a completely different way, experimenting with new choices. Lennon's Imagine as our anthem. Dead too soon by the dark hands.
Hank Helman Oct 2019
What is time,
Where does it flow,
Your kiss was here
Only moments ago.

Your laugh, your love,
Assigned to the past,
Your smile a ghost
Leaves me aghast.

What trick is time,
A one way *****,
Climb up, not down,
Harsh misanthrope.

Gone now this one
Who made me whole,
Time's rude gift,
A hollowed soul.
We cannot fear death our stoic fate. Love now, love long, it's not too late. Goodbye my love.
Hank Helman Jan 2016
I want to be thin as a whisper,
To be feline and ****, a cat with long whiskers,
To have length and width but no depth at all,
Not one bit of fat and to walk model tall,
I’ll take drugs, gobble Kleenex, drink only weak tea
Whatever it takes, to not ever be me.

I want to be loved like a pillow, feathered and light,
Held close to your cheek, cuddled all night,
To be soft squished and moulded into all kinds of lovers,
A prop up, a padding, a bump under the covers,
A cushion encased in a bright burst of stars,
I can’t wait to be normal, I’m slightly bizarre.

I want to be lost in crowd of loud celebration,
To be swept up and away in a mass of flirtation,
To be jostled and felt up, the hands of rude strangers,
A joyous outburst, wet kissing ex-changers,
To abandon my will, flee from restraint,
I can’t be, I could be, I am what I ain't.
re-post--  I'm so tired of greed and Trump and the pure absurdity of this never ending presidential quest. We have 15000 nuclear weapons--  just three of them could destabilize the climate enough to cause our own extinction. And yet grown men and one woman argue about packing children onto cattle cars and throwing them away like garbage.  So I  write nonsense and stare at my screen and wonder if there are better ways to have ***. Perhaps while hanging off the balcony?? I am the problem I complain about.
Hank Helman Apr 2016
One of a billion, so empty and thin,
The breath of a child can make me begin,
A bloat to a bubble, soon free off the ring,
Up into a breeze, not really a thing,
Oily bright colours, a slip woozy shape
I dance on the wind and make my escape.

Bold children chase, big eyes and quick giggles,
I snag grandpa’s nose and it gives a wiggle.
The snoozing old man so out unaware
He’s forgotten the girl with red ribbon hair.
She’s about to be snatched, hands intertwine,
I sting papa’s eyes and he wakes just in time.
He calls his granddaughter, the man slips away,
Bubbles, soap bubbles, were angels today.
My grandmother used to tell me bubbles were angels invisible. Each time one popped a good deed was done. She was a poet with no pen. rip. hh
Hank Helman Jul 2020
We ate apples until midnight.

Carrie bought a gadget.

It hollows out the core,
While at the same time
Infusing the castrated fruit
With up to 4 ounces of
The liquid of our choice.


After two apples each,
We lay down side by side.

On the lawn chairs
That were parallel parked at the far end of the screened-in porch.

Turned off all the lights,
And felt sad.
Drunk sad.

I told Carrie I was glad my mother was dead.
I was. I am.

Carrie told me she stole five thousand from her aunt.
The woman who raised her after her mother
Abandoned her,
In a Goodwill stroller
Outside the bakery.
The waft of fresh baked bread is still her favourite smell.

It was all the money she had. The aunt.

How do we atone for all this evil **** we do,
Carrie asked me just before dawn.

We'd smoked a joint.
And the sizzle came quick
The wind died a sudden death,
The trees went hush quiet
And it was if God himself was waiting to hear the answer.

Do the next right thing, I said,
And closed my eyes

The Frozen philosophy, Carrie replied. She smiled.

Carrie put her hands behind her head and
I kissed her.
We teased,
*** or sleep, drunk or ******.
I felt her up a bit.

Eventually our arms padlocked around each other.
Puzzle pieces joined together,
Until the crows objected
And started to bark.

The morning sun slapped us
Adding assault to insult,
The heat had a punch,
The temperature rose straight up and mean.

Finally the hornets
Morning fresh, buzzed out of their nest,
And wigged through the air,
Like tiny drones
And chased us indoors.
Can we ever repent. Or should our sins be tattooed on our backs. For all to see.
Hank Helman Aug 2018
Are you innocent?
Confused and abused,
Contused and blue bruised,
But wrongly accused,
Are you innocent?

Are you guilty?
Shame masks disdain,
Maybe pain is your game,
The shuffle and blame,
Are you guilty?

Are you happy?
A smile mixed with guile,
Juvenile and free style,
Everything so worthwhile,
Are you happy?

Are you free, now?
Sweet tweets bleep your sleep,
Keep all that you reap,
Desire anchored so deep,
Are you free,now?
Hank Helman Feb 2016
The pleasure of an argument
Is the change from right to wrong.
So sure, so firm when first begun,
Now where do I belong.

I started no, then maybe so,
Before long I agree,
Up is down, a smile a frown,
Is non, peut-etre, oui.

I hear, I feel, the yin, the yang
Of every point of view,
Let’s argue for a paradise,
Where all-everything is true.
playful poetry --  I love to argue and I find it fascinating when someone changes my mind-  A debate or argument must start with both parties agreeing that their minds can or may be changed-- if not then it's just a shouting match. I find when I change my opinion I grow or at least become more tolerant. Let's argue well but get along better is the point of the poem--     hh
Hank Helman Oct 2019
Karla called me at 2 a.m.
Define love, she said without preamble,
Or introduction,
And in her vox humilus morning coffee voice.

Well I'd love to sleep right through the night, I replied,
And waited,
For the snort.

A woman who howls  at knock knock jokes,
Can absorb sarcasm like a coral reef sponge,
Consume it, digest it,
And spit it out like tobacco juice,
Held her breath and counted to ten.

Give me a one sentence definition , she demanded,
Try and convince me, she said.

Well love is when we take responsibility for the
Happiness of another, I said,
And searched my darkened bedside table,
For what I knew was a nearly full
Bottle of beer,
Which I, of course,
Lifted to my lips,
Despite the fly floating on its back.

Karla was silent.
Not unusual.
'Conversation is not a contest' is stenciled
On her Sunday T-shirt and
She never cries.

So love is pain, she finally replied.

Did she die, I asked her feather soft.

Yes, minutes ago,she replied.

Come by, I said,
We will take a bath,
Drink from the bottle,
And reminisce with the lights off,
For as long as it takes.
Knock knock
Who is there?
I smell mop.
I smell mop who.

Joke from the interweb
Hank Helman Aug 2015
Carla kept nudging me to learn Italian.
It is the language of lovers and liars she said, life’s two best friends,
Discipline yourself, it will teach you to sing, she offered,
Each phrase a lyric, a seduction,
It will give you an unfair advantage over younger men, she promised,
Tickle her ear with this tongue and she will shiver and unfold,
Her heart, her knees unlocked.

Italian is a calculate of rhythm, Carla suggested,
Every woman understands timing and phase,
Our life is nothing but cycles for god’s sakes,
How have you not understood this?

It is the lingua of fair play, she continued, each syllable an equal citizen,
A dialect with an innate sense of justice,
Women are as intrigued by its possibilities,
As they are by threat and danger,
Either of which you can no longer promise.

Tell a woman you love her in Italian,
Ti amo più respiro, I love you more than breath,
And her ******* will disappear,
She won’t be able to take her eyes off your lips,
And as we all know, your mouth is your hook,
Your irresistible smile, the pout, the persuasion.

You are a poet, a miracle I know,
Your words are narcotic when you put your mind to it,
I’ve heard you quell an unruly crowd;
Your resonant tone could soothe a pack of ravenous jackals.

But with that intricate face of yours,
Your accumulating age, the leather wrinkles,
Believe me, you will soon need to help to ****** even a photograph.
Enlist, become Italian, Carla told me, it is your only hope,
And she tossed the last of her wine onto the sand,
Watched the red stain saturate and fade,
And lay back to face the sun.
Hank Helman Nov 2015
She asked me to whisper.
Come close, she said, and kiss my hair,
Draw my waist to you with a firm hand,
Tempt me with your gift of phrase.

Before I give in, and I will, she said,
Before you begin to undo my buttons, my belt, my wiry clasps,
I want you to handcuff me with a twist of thought out loud,
And make me eager to risk all for love.

Enlist the moon, our friend, she said,
Under his pale shine make my silvery skin shiver,
Offer me an outrage, she begged,

Your words, as they always do, will ignite an unstoppable fuse,
And before your breath tingles my ear,
Before your lips brazen the naked curve of my neck
And rise the hairs on it,
Before your tongue is welcomed into my curious mouth,
Initiate me with intimate details,
Dampen me with clues.

What do you imagine when you are alone, she asked,
Forlorn under a wool-worn blanket with only a handful of regrets,
In your dreams, she insisted,  
Have I danced naked for your friends,
Have I opened and aroused myself at the kitchen table for your early amusement,
Have I watched you eat hot buttered raisin toast,
And orgasmed for you, a loud cry, your coffee still warm,

Ask anything she said,
Do you want me to lift my skirt in a public place,
Wink overtly at other men, and brush them with the back of my hand,
Would you like to tie my arms,
Bend me over the table, slap my *** with your moist palm,
Enter me with rough words and a plea to pull my hair,

Do you want a nun, a naughty neighbour,
An innocent with red cheeks and a look of surprise,
Instruct me, tell me how to misbehave,
Whisper all my names, all the ones you’ve given me,
Make me into two, or three or a thousand

Explore each inside way
And teach me what you crave in immense detail.
There is nothing I won’t do for you, she said
Your wishes, we will inhabit them together.
I love you willfully, unconditionally, she said
It is my way.
Hank Helman Aug 2018
I asked if crying would help?

She said no.

I suggested lying perhaps?

She said no.

Then dying it is and I opened the window.

So, what are you waiting for, she asked.
it's late and I'm playing with words again. I love words. And birds. And turds. And herds of nerds who think in thirds. Say good night Hank. Night.
Hank Helman Dec 2020
If you cry, no one will see your tears.

If you wail, no one will hear your scream.

If you fear, no one will smell your sweat.

If you pray, no one will listen to your heart.

You are alone.

In a universe of a billion worlds.

You are all alone.
Hank Helman May 2018
I promised myself to never write when I was depressed.
And then I realized I would never write again.

So yes, sadness has its flavour, a taste acquired,
Like all the finer things in life,
A bit of bitter often brides us better,
The sweet of things misleads and makes us dull,

So yes,we have arrived to suffer, to ask and persevere,
Our fate is not to believe but to become,
We are God in the making, we are the design.
So little time.
Its rainy and summer cold and I needed to write. Do others feel that way? Like if you don't write something you are going to explode? Or collapse? Or disappear?
Hank Helman Oct 2020
I like a woman who stays up late at night,
Darkness more than a simple lack of light,
And in the hour when desires ignite,
We repeat our sweet afternoon delight,
Full now we can't take even one more bite.
Bass playing in the background, tap tap tap.
Hank Helman Dec 2020
So we begin.
The age of artificial intelligence.

The rich will find a way around it.

One will be your lover.

Your face recognized,
Your identity, your transgressions,
Your every parking ticket on view

The Thought-Police will know everything.
You will not die from disease.
They will all be cured.

You will not work.
You will not be needed,
In any real way.

Peasants and overlords again.

Alien slaves, slaves to aliens.


Our entire universe
Exists within the single brain cell
Of who?

It doesn't matter.
Stop caring.

Explore love and tolerance.
They won't exist much longer
Hank Helman Sep 2019
They ate supper in her bed.
After they ******.
After he'd come. And she'd come. And then he came again.

She could do that to him.
Make him rise to the occasion.
All it took was a slip of the tongue,
A soft palm and a true story
Told in a calm voice.

It was love, yes it was, pure and private,
And a warm dinner
Served on mismatched blue china plates,
Cozy kiln fired coffee mugs,
Filled with lemon water and a single ice cube,
*** toy cluttered night stand,
A massive rubber **** suction-cupped to the bedside table,
The perfect *******, eternal and soft-hard.

No one can look away from a hard ****, she said,
A large half empty bottle of Swiss Navy,
The slick residue still
Slim on their hands and slip-n-slide
Between the cheeks of her ***.

Naked knees fused together,
A limp ***** asleep like a pet,
Weather vane *******,
Her **** in obvious disagreement,
The counterfeit independence of twins
And pointing in different directions,

Their concentration for the moment was
On their food,
As a knife and fork Morse Code,
Replaced their unusual banter,
And playful conversation.

Pillows littered the bedroom floor
Her  three cats languished,
Imperial, marble eyed and  yawning
Like ill mannered, bored and arrogant guests,
Impervious to time and place,
Hang-arounds too impolite to acknowledge
The party was over,
Say goodnight
And go.
Been awhile
Hank Helman Nov 2019
We have to talk about the bomb.
The atom bomb.

I know you are not worried.
But you should be.

You don't know about the bomb.
Oh sure you're aware, sort of,
That we killed,
One hundred and fifty thousand
Japanese civilians
In a heartbeat.

Like instantly.

But those bombs were toys.
Compared to the **** we have now.

So if y-o-u have the staying power,
This is what happens.
When we drop a nuclear bomb
Over a major city.

The bomb detonates
Between 1 to 4 kilometers
Above the city.

In order to maximize death and destruction.

Yes, that's how military leaders think.
Maximum death.

First everyone on the ground
Goes blind
That's how powerful the flash is.

Then a rain of heat, millions of degrees,
Followed by fire,
Destroys everything
In a mile radius,

Like ******* everything,

People, buildings, power lines,
Police cars, the homeless
Churches, playgrounds,
Sports stadiums,
Grocery stores,'
***** houses,
Daycare centers and more.

But that's only the beginning.

Then comes the 500 m.p.h. wind
You don't know what a 500 m.p.h. can do.
So here are some thoughts.

Buildings are hurricane proofed
Up to a max of 300 mph.

Goodbye to every structure
Within the radius.

This wind will peel the pavement
Off the roads.

The rubble you walk across,
Because there isn't any city left
Will be fifty feet deep.

This all happens in seconds.
Like no ****, you could go out
And walk around
Five minutes
After the blast,
And have a ****,
Although it might be difficult
To find a coffee shop and hang.

But we are not done.

Then the fallout
Fallout is all the **** and debris and particles
Like the powdery concrete,
From a collapsed Trump Tower,
Or the ionized particle from inside the bomb
That gets swept up and
Pushed high into the sky,
The mushroom cloud,
Where it drifts whichever way
God tells it too.

And it's all radioactive.

Which means what?

Radioactive means all the little particles
En masse,
Are spitting radiation.

What the **** is radiation?

Well when you are sitting on the beach,
Watching the nearly naked, frolic and frenzy
That little sunburn you get
Is the sun radiating you.
Transferring its energy to you,
Until you look like a twizzler. ( red licorice).

And you know how sometimes
When the military is putting on a show,
And some young soldier flops over
From the heat?
That's an effect of radiation.

Nuclear bombs radiate like mother-*******.
The sun in your backyard kind of ****
But nuclear bomb radioactive particles aren't hot.
Or even warm.
They are fairies,
Their electrons messed up
From the explosion,
And they can ride God's wind for hundreds of miles.

And when one of those little ionized buggers
Finds you,
Goes right through your skin,
Goes through most everything
Until it whizzes by a cell,
Where it stops in,
Has a house wrecking party,
Where you lose your hair,
And everything else,
And you die,
Because all your cells get confused.
(Think cancer treatment on steroids for
a hundred miles in every direction)

So when we elect a psychopath,
Who cannot think,
Cannot reason,
Cannot project
Has neither empathy
Or sympathy,
Is uneducated,
Slow thinker,
Greedy as ****
And not very bright
He has about
2000 of these to play with.

Hank Helman Mar 2017
The ice has turned into sickles,
Glass daggers,
Witch's fingers pointing straight down,
As if to tell me,
The only escape is that way,
Straight down.

Everything gets pulled back to the center,
God replaced by gravity, neither seen or proved,
Each a belief at its core.
One an apple eaten,
The other an apple in free fall,
Until now to our delight,
There are Apples for us all.

two minute poetry--  just  needed to connect with the world. We are in free fall and a real, huge , military war is coming. We can't stop ourselves. I am sorry, so sorry. I could have done more.
Hank Helman Dec 2020
What is the purpose of life, he asked.

To create meaning where there is none, she answered.

So there is no God, he asked

Not yet, she answered.
Hank Helman Aug 2016
When Hector and Virginia moved onto the acreage,
Beneath and hidden under
The broad smile of a couple who had finally made it,
They felt the shadow of disappointment,
That always comes with the realization of a dream.

Of course at first,
There was the excitement.
Small explosions of rat-ta-tat conversation,
As they walked the outline of a house with a big back porch,
The back and forth as they
Chose a spot and then another and another
For the dog’s kennel,
The smile and sigh
As they scooped up the black earth
And dirtied their city hands and manicured fingernails,
Imagining a real garden with six foot corn.

And now, Hector couldn’t keep his hands off her.
On the day the sale closed he seduced her in the van,
While parked at Safeway,
The security guard had to ask them to leave,
And Virginia couldn’t resist flashing him her ***** and a smile,
Which the guard nervously thanked her for.  

When on their first visit to their new land,
Virginia suggested a lover’s hammock with a view of the valley,
Hector embraced her standing up,
Her hands raw against the rough bark of the big oak,
The wild approval of coyote howls as their pheromones
Announced a new predator had arrived, a new competitor in play.

He was constantly feeling her up outdoors,
Begging her to go *******,
Mostly so he could lather the sunscreen,
Over her *******,
Arousing in her some Paleolithic urge,
That made her brazenly offer herself on all fours.

An unspoken ' wanna’ from either one of them,
Just a look really,
Sometimes right in the middle
Of some earnest discussion about money or bylaws
And they’d make for the mattress in the trailer.
Their performance loud and operatic,
Jesus, they could have used bull horns
And not disturbed a neighbour or a passerby.

So it was hard to understand the dark border
That discoloured the edge and frame of their beautiful dream.
It was everything they wanted,
But getting it,
Left a tiny bubble of disappointment
That neither of them,
Could understand or accurately describe.

The house got built; the dogs loved the smells of danger and freedom,
The vegetables grew with astonishing speed and ease.
The *** was daily if not twice
And Hector became a pro at going down on her,
Licking her to multiple *******
In the unlikeliest of places and at the most unusual of times.

What is it, Virginia asked him one day.
I’m not sure, Hector replied and began to pull gently on his ear lobe,
A sure sign he was holding back,
I’m restless he finally admitted and I don’t like it.
I get it, Virginia replied,
We found paradise and we‘re getting bored with it.

What the hell is wrong with us, Hector asked and let go of his earlobe.
We die no matter what we achieve, Virginia replied,
And I think it is this unforgettable realization,
This Garden of Eden knowledge,
That it all ends no matter what.
That everyone dies and disappears
Means death will always undermine happiness, she said.

So what do we do, Hector was mentally ******* her again.
**** as often as we can, she said
And accept sadness as our most natural state of mind.
To be sad is to be normal, Hector asked.
To be sad is inevitable, Virginia responded, it cannot be avoided,  
And she knelt down in front him.
****** is evolution's greatest gift. Have them often. Have them repeatedly, have them with everyone you possibly can. Free the ****** from religious guilt and modern bigotry. Have one right now. Have one while you eat toast and read the news. Have one Sunday morning before church, have one outdoors, have one while watching Donald Trump lie cheat and steal, have one with Jesus watching-- he would approve.
Hank Helman Dec 2020
I had been listening to the bullfrogs for hours.
It was three a.m. and they were loud.
I was standing on the side of the road.
Two lane highway.

I was desperate.
No sorry I was ******.
I get the two confused.

I hadn't seen a car in over an hour.
I would cross over to what ever direction
The headlights were coming from,
And stick my thumb out.

I just wanted a ride.
Hank Helman Jun 2020
When I kissed you,
With open eyes,
I was not expecting,
Such a pleasant surprise.

Soft lips, plump pout,
**** sounds when you breathe out,
Bodies press, ******* flatten,
Buttons yield, belts unfasten.

It isn't love,
Such a mystery tour,
But so divine,
Love's first lure.
New relationships can be so electric. Why is novelty so tempting. Also thank you for the likes... I posted by mistake before I finished so it was very kind of people to acknowledge. thank you
Hank Helman Oct 2018
I've lost the connection to my voice,
I can no longer hear myself think,
A man with a cap full of change,
Told me I might be dead and unaware.

Is that what death is, I asked him.
The moment you pause and realize
You are infinitely alone,
No others ever in the room.

Look around he said,
You've scripted each and every outcome,
Your frosty choices and slavish needs,
And now regret... how sour and sad.
Tuesday is always a sad day for some reason. You?
Hank Helman Oct 2019
Dance lessons began at six p.m.

Martha said she would come,
And then,
At the last second
She bailed…
And sent her friend,
The soprano who lives above her,
The wild one with the parrot,
Who sunbathes in her underwear,
As her replacement.

My name is Alexandra the friend said
And offered me her hand to kiss.

Then I will expect great things from you, I replied,
And drew her body close to me
In a nose to nose, cha-cha embrace.

Are you always so obvious,
She asked me,
Especially in this day and age.

I am a defiant breed I replied,
A man who truly loves to dance.
Has anyone hitchhiked in the last year?
Hank Helman Aug 2018
500 years ago,
On a shoreline in northern Peru
More than 140 children,
Were ritually sacrificed,
Their chests sliced open,
From the sternum,
And their hearts ripped out,
Literally, all in one day.

In America over 5000 catholic priests
Have been reliably identified,
As child rapists,
And that's just since 1950.
And only in one country.

Over 300,000 child soldiers exist today.
The worst of the worst,
Had to ****** their parents,
On the day of their abduction.
Think about cutting open your father's throat,
And watching him bleed at your feet.
Over 30% of child soldiers are girls.

This poem won't trend,
Almost no one will care,
And I am certainly no saviour.

But somehow, someday, somewhere,
The essence of us must change.
Only art can save us.
I know that now.
Hank Helman Oct 2015
Men are doomed, Carla told me,
It’s your eternal haircuts, she continued,
How can you sculpt a life from a single shape,
One look,
Every mirror an impersonation
Of the initial version of one’s self,
Each day reduced to a child’s calculation,
You wake up, only older, grayer, a withered rasp,
Ever more discouraged by the unfairness of things.

Carla exhaled a dragon’s torrent
White jet streams unfurled out of both nostrils,
A waft of my father’s morning scent.

With a flick of her thumb,
She snapped the ash
Off the end of her cigar.
A sharp hiss as the ember sizzled and sank
In the shallow of a pavement puddle.

It had cold rained most of the day.
Over a pause, the sky roiling with indigestion,
We bundled up in autumn clothes,
And trudged uptown,
Our chins tucked deep into our chests,
Our squinty eyes glued to our shoes,
The wind had a slap to it.

It isn’t war you should fear, she continued,
It’s robots.
Soon we won’t need you for anything,
Carla jabbed her lacquered fingernail at phantoms as she spoke.
Women have been fornicating with machines
For over a hundred years, she said,
The transition for us has already occurred.

Weld and solder us a pleasant replica,
One that can shine a toilet
Sterilize the dishes, **** us brilliantly,
And recite Shakespeare at will-
Believe me,
Soon we will barter for your *******,
Exchanging bitcoins for the innate,
With no intention of ever attending your funeral.

No the war is over and men have lost, Carla repeated.
She walked ahead me,
Her hips a sashay as she spit a loose bit of tobacco leaf
Onto a lamp post.
I could not persuade my eyes to look away.
Hank Helman Jul 2020
I sat down to posit beauty,
As the careful print and plan.
But my anger bubble-boiled,
And I could not give a ****.

Not one to gutter up and quit,
I watched the sun's red rise.
There is majesty and mystery,
In clouded clear blue skies.

But anger knows a patient name,
A shiftless, lazy sad,
Beauty bookmarked once again,
The world spins joker mad.
Hank Helman Jun 2020
I have promised myself,
Not to die,
In a car,
In a garage,
With the motor racing.

I have promised loved ones
No need to fear,
No echoes here,
The coast is clear,
Such lies are self effacing.

Death my only comfort zone,
A ridiculous time,
To be alone,
I long to leave,
The end is what we're chasing.
Fear of death is our only fear. There are no others and all other anxieties are sub categories to the fear of death. Ernest Becker et al. If you can mitigate your fear of death, denuclearize it, the word is you will be happier. Death is no big deal. Happens to all and yes while taking a life is the worst thing anyone can do, dying itself isn't.  Death knows us all. Our only true common bond. It is where we are all going. The dead are at peace I believe.  I am not suicidal. Just curious. Well if **** brain Trump gets reelected  I might be. He is a very sick individual.
Hank Helman Mar 2016
Each afternoon in June,
I loiter-linger on the corner of 37th avenue,
Both eyes asleep,
A summer’s sunset smile on my face,
A flock of fairies in free float round my head.

My habit, a daily pause,
Plant my haunch against the blue barrel mail box,  
Old empty drum, anachronism, stubborn antique.

I cringe at the mad jazz of shrieks and horns on cue,
The hatter’s rush at end of day,
There is purpose in this cacophony,
My city boasts and brags with noise,
Intoxicated on aroma,
A frequency with every smell.

Baptiste’s Pizza owns the breeze at 4 p.m.
Inhale this baker’s breath,
An oven-joy in one warm gust,
Blond baked crust,
Tomatoes boil and bubble cheese,
Salt fresh anchovies, red peppers,
A currency of meats.
I salivate and lick the wind,
Hunger is desire.

Sudden harmony in one sweet waft,
A pleasant jet stream,
A toker passes by,
And gifts me with a 60’s contact high.

A small girl’s mouthful voice,
A jam cram of donuts is my guess.

The rattle, clap and black lung cough,
An old school diesel delivery truck,
The air brakes squeal for release,
It’s quitting time and everything wants to be free

A homeboy,  my local jive,
I know his dreams,
A lacquered finish,
In love with his axe,
You feel me... tap, bump and go.

Vinegar and toxic spice,
A window washer’s delight,
He squeals a squeaky clean

Fresh roses, oh a hopeful night, bonne chance,
The catastrophe of a cigarette,
The killer joy of a fresh cigar,
An uptown girl's stealth perfume,
She knows her prey,
He knows her ploy,
A mid west girl and a downtown boy

Daylight begs to dim,
The sun will witness just enough, no more,
My corner holds its own,
Each afternoon my part in scenes,
I dream,
And never wish, but often wonder,
About the life that might have been.
Hank Helman Dec 2020
The crow one-eyes me,
Gives me the up and down,

Then stabs at the ground
And harpoons a blue and white,

A tiny caterpillar only seconds old,
A hatch-ling, one minute in the sun,

How brief, how pure,
Life is never over before its begun.
Time is a quiz that we all pass with honours. Doesn't it feel like you have just arrived? Doesn't it feel quick?
Hank Helman Jul 2016
You birth, you die.
In between you laugh, but first you cry.
Babies can’t be born a giggling,
First a howl and then a wiggling,
Feed me now, I see them jiggling,
A ******’s nourish or I’ll have to amplify.

You grow, you leave.
Kindergarten’s where you find and first deceive.
Are you scared, no I’m just shivering,
What’s the answer, please stop quivering,
Stop your squirming and start delivering,
Be silent girl, while we teach you to retrieve.

You love, you hate.
This line defines who you will be, so hesitate.
Your skin is dark, you must be trouble,
Born a woman let it double,
Godless freak, you’re on the bubble,
Fools all, refuse their call and stave a poisoned bait.

You fight, you lose.
Death’s undefeated makes afterlife a muse.
Still there is joy in generosity,
Kin and kind in blind equality,
Stand up to greed and each atrocity,
Your courage deep, dwells down the destiny you choose.
It started out as jingles in my head and ended up on the page. Words are fun. Life is short. Sanity is overrated.  HH
Hank Helman Dec 2020
Love's lucid lust, limp and lent
Touch, tempt and tease, taut  tumescent,
Feelings fray, fear finds a face,
Doubt doubles down, damp desire displaced.
Hank Helman Feb 2016
Dance for me this one last time,
Tease me naked, sweet pantomime,
Slip-slide your dress but stay your shoes,
Swing-sway your hips, my gorgeous muse.

Wrap round your arms, a prisoner’s chains,
Make me confess and make me strain,  
Offer, tempt me, tease me, sting,
Dance for me and my nomad queen.

Twitter tongues, all kiss no tell,
Secrets, whispers, rumours swell ,
Lies ignite, sparks lust to fire,
Dance for me til death conspires.
When a woman dances for a man...  the ritual hits some evolutionary signal and the watcher become hypnotized. Try it with the one you love or lust. It's primal, stirring, unforgettable.
Hank Helman Jun 2020
In the sun's rise, the dandelions were yellowicious.
A Woodstock of bright and bold,
A city field of green and gold,
The **** churned butter bright and so ambitious.

But chemical crews with the Monday blues
Soon arrived well armed,
Urgent men much alarmed,
A holocaust of daisy soon ensued.

I sat wondering, bright petals fluttering,
As the poisonous spray,
Drifts all my way
Dawn's toxic breeze leaves me stuttering.
Why do we hate the dandelion so much. Yes property values in pretty suburban neighbourhoods but a bright colourful flower and we can even eat the greens. Interesting.
Hank Helman Oct 2020
I like a girl who wakes me up at dawn,
Gets up half naked and puts the coffee on,
Moves me out before the day's half gone,
A working man, no time to yawn,
More pie tonight if I stand tall and strong
third verse
Hank Helman Jan 2016
What madman's  joy in this new dawn,
Renewed, refreshed, a massive yawn,
I stretch, I arch, a groan out loud,
A hand slips under, a warm breast found.

Now *** under sunrise is a spiritual find,
The covers uncovered we slip back in time,
To haylofts and snow storms and cars parked for hours,
When kisses were contests and life was devoured.

French toast and blue berries, an ocean of syrup,
Twice breakfast in bed predict the leaves in my tea cup,
A long life, good fortune, greets lovers at dawn,
Life isn’t a dash it’s a mad marathon.
How every day should start.
Hank Helman Jun 2018
Dare any swain escape his youth intact,
Soon after the fringe of courage will discolour into fade,
Until one day the pause,
The morning mirror, the tics and taunts,  
Who is this clumsy old man his story will complain.

His bruise of reputation echoes back as tease,
The ***** and sag of masculine decline,
Is journaled in the bloom of brown blotch on his hands,
The tattered skin, the oaf and clownish frown,
The aberrant fur in ears and nose,
The quitter’s curve now cues to crooked spine,
There is no bath, no rub, nor miracle devine,
From here on in he culls and manages decline.
Aging is a petty crime in a world that meticulously tracks time. In a nano second I can message the collective only to tell everyone how slow I have become.  But I like everyone else fights the inevitable. Death, the ***** of decline, the blur of a day that becomes the fog of a month, that becomes the ancient history of a year or two. When have we had enough? The answer of course is never! Tell me stories about how aging is effecting you. Much humour in it too.
Hank Helman Sep 2019
She asked me if I would die for her.
I said yes instantly.
Without thinking.
There was no decision to sift.

The fact that you said yes
Is insignificant, she said.
That you didn't delay means everything and all.

I'm not sure I understand, I replied,
And we stopped,
And faced each other.

Reluctance is a carcinogen, she said,
Love cannot, will not, must not hesitate.
Willingness is where we fuse.

I smiled. She kissed me.
Autumn wept without a tear.
Hank Helman Dec 2015
She served him red ripe cherry pie at dawn,
Oven warm,
With a skimp of cheddar cheese,
Curled up and asleep on the side of the plate.

He captured the first whiff while strutting through  
The maze,
Of a last minute dream.
On stage, lead guitar, **** Jagger, Brown Sugar.

She held a fork full of promise near his nose,
And smiled.
He woke humming, strumming, *****, and confused.
What more pleasure could desire be.
Hank Helman Jul 2017
They main-lined memories,
Cooked up,
Or reheated their juiciest reminiscence,
Over fresh drip coffee and burnt toast in the kitchen.

They played the what-if game joyfully,
And injected the good, the bad and the impossible
Into their long walk
Down to the train station.

Retelling- hell,
Anthony and Emily
Rewrote their history together
With a laugh.

What if we’d had girls instead of boys, she asked,
What if we’d worked for somebody else, he remarked
Be a lot richer Emily chuckled,
And maybe a big pension too, Anthony replied,

And they snorted out loud and squeezed
Each other’s hands so tight
It felt like they were holding on
To life itself.

The only regret I have, said Emily,
Is the number of ice cream sandwiches
I stuffed in my mouth.
My *** could be half the size it is now.

My only regret is that *** isn’t twice as big, Anthony replied
So there’d be more of you to love
And lot more for me to hang on to!

It was an old joke,
Hell they’d performed it a million times.

But truth out…
They still ****** like teenagers
Only now with the kids gone,
They could be loud.
Jesus, the dog hid downstairs,
Or barked seriously
Like thieves were breaking in.

God-****** a good scream felt **** good,
And the hard work warranted some
High pitched celebration.

Hell between the banged up knees,
The stubborn like a mule hips,
And a ***** with attention deficit disorder,
A bit of applause at the end of it all,
Was a genuinely appreciated gesture.

It's the kind of thing,
Couples in for the long haul
Do all the time.
As part of my look into how couples stay happily together for the better part of their lives I asked these two ( not their real names) what their secret was. They are in their 60"s and they have *** almost every day. They have been married almost 40 years. They give each other the naughtiest looks and now I understand why. Next poem is about a couple who have learned how to lie honestly to each other. It's a tearjerker and a hard one to write
Hank Helman Sep 2019
The dark shuffles out
With night and quiet on its back,
Winter's woke,
Up and lifts one lazy lid
Sniffs the fertile autumn stir,
One single harsh and homeward sneeze
Turns morning dew
To foggy breath and needle's breeze.
I love's such a perfect word for a Canadian season.
Hank Helman Mar 2020
If you had a dial,
With a spinning needle
And one hundred spaces
On which the needle could land.

And one of the spaces was marked death.
And you do die if you land on it.

Would you, in exchange for feeling happy
All the time,
Plus the absolute ability to tell a truth from a lie,
Spin that dial once each day.

I would
Hank Helman Dec 2017
Emma and Jack
1 A.M.

Emma: “Hey you asleep…?”

Jack:  “…if I say yes… what happens?”

E: “Look, I think we should get a divorce.”

J: “From each other or from reality altogether?”

“Funny. Do you dream anymore?”

“Never. Last time was when Paddy died.”

“Your high school friend. The one who got shot by the cops?”

“Yeah. The night I found out I had a dream that went on for hours.”

“About him?”

“No, yeah, it was all about life after death, there were angels, big rooms, lots of light.”

“What happened again?”

“He robbed a bank. Paddy and a guy named Chris Ranier. They held up a bank, like with shotguns”

“Why? Why would a 17 year old middle class kid rob a bank?”

“His parents were down, not starving, so I don’t know.”

“Where did he die again?”

“At a bus stop. They were waiting for a bus. If the bus had been on time, the cops would never have found them. At least that’s what the cops said.”

“And the Chris kid lived?”

“Yup, took a bullet through the heart but he lived.”

“So our divorce.”

“Why do you want to get divorced again?”

“Research. I want to know how people react.”

“ To what?”

“To you and me. What happens when you tell someone you are divorced?”

“In my case women start to salivate.”

“Women don’t salivate. They plan.”

“They scheme you mean. I thought writers made stuff up.”

“Wrong. Writers discover, we ‘re explorers.”

“You know I’ve got an early morning…”

“Scheme is sexist by the way, just sayin’”

“So is salivate, sleep tight”
I love dialogue. Might explain why I don't talk to anyone.
Hank Helman Dec 2016
Sunday morning.
The ***** *** chill has huddled,
And backed off for a week,
Maybe two,
Winter’s taunt tendered by reprieve,
An unexpected and
Odd postponement of pain and pulse.
The noose of minus 30
Loosens just a smidge,
The condemned man’s smirk,
Part sass this smile of temporary pardon,
Slips into place
Masks a weathered face
Whose wrinkles
Like the rings
Of the twisted Methuselah tree
Accumulate and record.

Dawn appears as a righteous force,
An arrogant prince this weak winter sun,
Still, sunlight sterilizes,
Scrubs away the stain of night.
It will be a black and white clear day,
The cold is crisp,
This morning’s taste is all hard apple,
The crunch of boots on the ground.

Take heart,
The days ahead will bend not break,
We have survived these times before,
Fought this hate before,
We will live to laugh again
Even if in folly.
Donald Trump is a dangerous sociopath and pathological liar. As of January he will be able to launch nuclear missiles on 4 minutes notice and -nobody- can stop him. We have made a serious mistake America. Impeachment is now a must.
Hank Helman Dec 2015
It was her father’s fault of course,
He had cared for her too much.

He’d tendered love as a comfort
A cure,
His affection an antidote,
And she believed him and came to  
Depend on its sway.

He, her father, was a generous man with no money.
Well-educated and unwilling,
He refused to convert
And enlist as a worshiper of things.

How can you spend your life alone in a car, he asked.
Days, weeks, months trapped in solitary confinement,
Commute used to mean benefiting from a lesser sentence, he told her,

A judge would give you credit for picking up litter,
Or apologizing to your primary school teachers
For all the terrible things you'd done,
Then a month off your jail time, he explained,
His palms up, his shoulders in a shrug.

Now look at our roads, he said,
Everyone round shouldered and condemned,
In a cage, stones for eyes, barely breathing.

On the tram I meet people, I love the public square,
We are meant to mingle he said,
We need each other to make a life.

And so when her mother died,
Unexpected and sudden, what death isn’t really,
He took on simple work close to home.
He wanted her to know he was near, that’s all.

He understood the comfort young children find in
The literal sense of things and so,
He sat with her through every lunch hour and,
They ate soup and sandwiches together each day.

This saved her mind.
She knew that  now.

He, her father, was a chronic enabler of love.
In the fall they would laze on a park bench,
Yellow birch leaves like fashion stickers all over her rain boots,
And chat quietly as they tossed unfrozen frozen peas on to the pigeons.

On these afternoons he retold her stories about her mother,
His childhood, her grandparents and
The hard times,
When even a nickel could ignite the most outlandish of dreams.
Can you imagine, he would say,
Only five cents and we all thought our luck had finally changed.

He was an explainer and a tolerant,
He told her the sun rose up each day
Only to search for one new idea and that
She had a magnificent brain and
One day it would be her idea the sun would shine bright on.

He told her the purpose of her life,
Everyone’s life,
Was to think pure thoughts,
Small decisions that would help save the world, he said,
Contributions often so small no one might notice,
But each one would make a difference.

He said science called this the butterfly effect,
She loved the name.

He was thoughtful and fair
And so everything he stood for was impossible to duplicate.

He never forgot her birthday,

The dolls came in battered boxes
With crumpled corners and broken plastic windows.
Weathered cardboard coffins,
With magic marker scribbled on the back,
Gruff autographs like ‘return to vendor’ or ‘write-off,’
Words she paid no attention to,
Even when she began to understand what words can mean.

Her birthday cake- always a single slice never a round,
She had never seen her name in icing,
But why would that matter,
When she could wake up early in late November
And see all three of her names in elaborate calligraphy,
Etched into the frost of the front room windows
For every passerby to see

His all saint’s grin,
He told her every day of her life
That he saved the first smile of each day for her,
A smile he hid in his pocket, or under her pillow, behind her ear.

Her kingdom for a year was two card board castles in the living room,
Where, with official pageantry, (her father had a scroll),
She was crowned the Grand Duchess of Washer and Dryer,
Her word was law for the day.

He surrounded her palace,
With brightly coloured bowls and
Casserole dishes filled with water,
A protective moat into which he placed plastic animals,
Whereby he proclaimed in a court room voice,
All would become flying horses and loyal dragons
If danger ever dared to mock and threaten.

So when he died she was ready.
She wasn’t,
But as an adult she told everyone she was.

After the funeral she dressed the same,
She ate, she worked,
She offered her ****** Mary smile generously to small children,
She said please and thank-you in a clear voice,
And gave a dollar to every street person she could find.

She was near him when he passed.
She understood the comfort old men find
In the literal sense of things,
And for weeks she slept shotgun
In the chair by his bed.
She wanted to be near, that's all, and
She fed him soup, no sandwich, every day.

We all die he told her only moments before his turn.
Our only calm is our end, he said in a whisper as weak as
Mormon tea.
Do not regret, he cautioned her,
My life was mad and complete, he promised,
You were my good idea and the sun rewarded me,
He said in a voice so soft
She wanted to lay her head on it and drift away.
Then he smiled his first smile of the day,
Pressed a plastic dragon into her hand,
And withdrew.
Hank Helman Sep 2020
I tried to think today and couldn't.
First time.
I sat in my chair and waited.

I can't believe evil has won.
But it has.

Catastrophe capitalism,
Unhinged greed,
Psychotic fear of one another,
Violence as both question and answer,
Self above all,
Love shriveled and unwound.

Last time **** went down like this,
It caused a world war.

Where do you think you will be,
When the bomb goes off.
He is insane.
Hank Helman Feb 2020
Are we tethered by a weathered worn,
A leash, a lash, a love that's torn,
Why this end, we pretend again
Kiss goodbye, regrets and pain.
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