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Joseph S C Pope Dec 2019
Jump out to the camera
homage to the renegade beats.

For weeks reading screams
mock us, their torment
crossing mental frontiers
—loud streets, sprite deviants
smashed 1999.

[Abomunist Jail baby]

Stop suffering, you weren’t swallowed
God machine Thursdays.

roses are sentient, violets bounce
prophet muscle
—abracadabra headaches
purging Hephaestus,
whose breath at my altar
awoke. I never remained
a threatened voice. Hollow voice,
fleshly chain torture,
“my Satan you are truly a dance”

discharged generation
thinking conversations
Joseph S C Pope Jan 2014
Thousands of grains of rice boiled and resting
on the lining of unconsumed human veal. No one can **** the dweeb
who suckered that one kid at the party out of drugs
with the help of the cutest girl there. He knew how to hurt
the best in the world with one word.

Sweet tea and *** goes much deeper than the ribs
and out the back door much faster than a deadbeat dad. The stomach
rumbles the world far worse than a string of serial rapists on trial.
World hunger is a yo-yo doing pendulum swings over summer BBQs
drinking and popping *** and candy from the local radio station.

“I'm sorry I felled you. I should have done better by you. I love you.”

Vague women with just five minute existences of commitments, those Senators of Love
vying for second and third terms
before they sink into those holes in South America you hear about
in the news.

Men know nothing but control. Women know nothing but control.
Numbers know nothing.
Collapsed tunnels in the mind of Prometheus
before calendars and Twitter and liquor
just the dark and blunt
Joseph S C Pope Nov 2013
“The curiosity of the city rings with the death deliverance of grieving mothers and drunk fathers and optimists who claim the world is made, of more than just those two people. This is the Republic and the gates are open for service. Comedians were once serious people like all the rest who were mocked and remained vigilant in the face of despair. Life and death are part of our lives, but not the entirety. Grave markers have no grace for that truth. Summing up our choices to dashes in metal or plastic. What about the singing in the shower? The embarrassing time we were caught ******* or with ****? The overall fear of death creeping over these moments. Where is the answer? I wish Philosophy had a wick, something tangible to grasp onto, but it is no different than alcohol or drugs. Even that is no different than the dash. It only sums up our existence in simplicity. Labels of any sort do no justice to the comedians, mothers, fathers, republics, cities, and or life. In short, this land is the Atlas-cyst.
I look up at the clouds and see the impression of silver cherubs sitting on  flying horses. If they were real, they'd stab the hearts out of lovers from their aluminum vessels.
We are kings and queens of too much.
How many people have died for something that was not the cause—martyrs labeled as abolitionists. But to the illiterate-pop culture they are the heroes. Zealous posters written by apathetic authors trying to call back to the glaciers till the chimes of apocalypse come. The sad songs are true. Pity is polio too sick to bend and too accustomed to power. More than anything it is the simple moments that make the best music."
I remember telling Kaitlyn all that after we had ***.
"Should I continue?" I asked.
"I guess. I do like listening to you." she said.
“Your name is a word, but I think it is a culture.”
“The dark is a force,” she said, “But it is a child  too.”

She was the first one that made me realize that romantic tendencies are as hollow as realistic ones.
She laughs and I laugh. We are slaves beyond truth and defiance.
I can almost hear the old people that were friends of my granddad saying, “Remember your path.”
A failed proverb. Now as my sneakers hit the black top at night I see a messy web in the gutter belonging to a black widow. Every town in America should have a street named after Leo Szilard, the idealist father of the atomic bomb. I wish the one I was walking down now was named after him, but instead it is named after Hemingway. Hemingway St.--
“Everything I want and I couldn't be happier.” Kaitlyn says as she rolls away from me. Almost in cinematic beauty.
Now Sedans pass by playing catchy music--reminding me of the same melody earlier in the day when we were on our date at a local pizza place. The waitress was late with our order and we were making fun of Communism and Southern women on verandas.
“Oh Charles, I don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies!” she impersonated.
I laugh, gather myself, and add, “frankly my dear, I don't give a ****!”
Our giggles and bursts of laughter spawned our waitress in record time.
Later in the night, a ***** sock is still on her door as I leave her apartment. There are things still to be done. We aren't married after all.
I hear sirens in the background, downtown and I laugh to myself.
“Avoid the police! Avoid the police!” I promise myself I'll tell her tomorrow.
As I cross the street and the stench of wet dog in the night becomes second nature to me I add a conclusion to the communist joke from earlier. Imagine nowadays walking around Moscow passing out pamphlets about Communism to Russian citizens. The punchline sets in as lame like a worn lobotomy—no one would get the joke or take it too seriously. It's one of the commodities of sanity.
“You're never angry with me and I like that about you.” I told her once our pizza was delivered to our table. That statement cleaved the conversation to a halt and all we did was eat for the rest of our date there. She is the perfect bride I may never marry—a wedding in a box. Other than that she brings  spinal traction in this rough world—I feel like a man.
3:55 am brings ego death from acid. Not a song for the kiddies, but it is a recycled song for the college kids down the street. Even though the closest college is two hundred miles away. I call Kaitlyn up, she too can't sleep.
“How many times can a woman scream after *******?” I ask.
She exhales heavy when she smiles. “As many as I can.”
I do the same when I smile.
I imagine it all again: “Being absent on death's radar for that one moment. Teenagers dream about it, preachers scold it, tv promotes it, children have no idea what it is.”
“You make it sound so bad. Like ****.”
“It's not bad. It's a faith in a white flag.” I say.
“Of surrender?”
“Yes.” I reply.

The next time I blink it's breakfast, over at her place.
“You have the most fantastic beard.”she says.
The compliment goes down good with eggs over-well, bacon still moist from grease, golden toast, sloppy grits, and hashbrowns flat like a sandwich. I need a cup of coffee to level out her perfume.

No one knows I'm unsure if I'm the one she wants. But I would want her, no breakfast, just her and her aroma steeping in my life till my body runs cold.

“I surrender.”
“What?” she asks.
A torn piece of white fabric lies on the table.

The wine still lingers in my throat an hour after New Year's. The burn creeping down my esophagus much slower than the glistening ball in New York on tv. I taste blood. I wonder if it will last the year. The white flag is now starboard. And there is an opera in my fingers.  That last sentence makes no sense.
I know I am a man with hairy feet, a bruised heart and young. As Ivy Compton-Burnett says, “Real life seems to have no plots.” But it does have star-crossed lovers stuffed in suitcases beside heels and breeches. Traveling along the serpentine east coast watching the world in anticipation. Death can wait. I wonder if the same two people can live in perpetual amazing-ness apart?
I don't know. I can't wait for the answer. I begin, end, and live my life around the words 'and' and 'more'.
She doesn't know I barely move from my bedroom.
Joseph S C Pope Sep 2013
Locked from the top
is a Tuesday night rockstar
cut on the weeds and steam
off of cars speeding by. Tearing off the graceful bonds
called bone sweet
carving flesh pulp
strange and the blood
candy cane ruby red
to the grass bedding below.

Fast lane puppets
caught at lights six miles later. Five year old wails
about God pimping coke addicts with
gloves on,
gloves off,
pounding on asphalt doors
hiding ******* shots--it's raining inside. Her pants are down
in the gutter--scene on TV, reality on fire.

Living in tail lights
till the red blushes
at the cute landlord watching the gore
past the building dishes and shot glass

eyes burned out of lost friends
from staring at blown bulbs.
Mumbling nirvana crawling like beetles
from tripping lungs

taking the same bible spine
away from yesterday. The junk that tickles,
makes the moon spin,
mad women dance
in the bankrupt birth
of  humid H-bombs.

Shovels scoop up gravy
for wood chippers, the springs of History
foaming at the mouth,
shredded to delicate words such as 'fault'
'blame', 'regret'.
The stoop kids play card games as the sirens wail
and another turn passes.
Joseph S C Pope Sep 2013
Childhood was the greatest time for Timothy, and he remembers it that way. No disposition on the fact that his parents divorced when he was eight. Just old enough to develop a mental connection with the idea of a union. So when he was ten, his father remarried, moved to a farm in the southeast, and tried living off the land. The topic of an ecological environment had hit the internet heavier than global warming hit the ice caps. And everyone was pursuing happiness with steep drops in city living, and an up swing in rural living.
Timothy's mom refused to believe it though. She wrote about such cultural climates, the invasion of neo-british pop boy bands, the decline of football, and the hippie lifestyle clawing its way back up the columns of big city papers. So when the recession hit, and it suddenly became cool to dress like a homeless person, she saw the disgust, moved overseas and focused on the world-political spectrum.
“Societal fads be ******! I'm going to do something that actually matters.” And she did.
Timothy Glasser, age 82 looks back on that moment with pride.
“There was a sense that she had the ***** to change the world. With Russia building up Imperial popularity, it was cool to be big. America was on the decline by the word of all the heavy-hitter magazines.
“That was when I started to take my life serious. She had shown me all the would-be Bob Dylans, Lennons, Hunter S. Thompsons. She would say, 'These kids have all the brass words of a ****** who can bite down ******* the world, but they don't have the actual brass. Men who are not recognized for what they've done have the brass. Hell, women have ten more pounds of that kind of brass!'
'I would laugh, but she was serious. I think she thought I was too masculine to understand what she was saying.”
When Timothy's father moved him and his little sister, Sunni Glasser out to the backwater community of Oggta-Cornelius, there was a certain relief in his demeanor. In a matter of months the country way of living had worn down his impatience to a sluggish pace.
“Greg was my father's name. He's been raised in a similar place in the Midwest, but the slowness of that life got to him in his teens so he left for the city. I guess when he met my step-mom he found the good ol' girl that he'd been trying to cling to since he left home. And it was Sunni's choice to come with us. She always had the same kind of 'brass' Mom had, but there was a closeness she shared with Dad that adventure couldn't break. It's a **** shame too. But once the slow pace of the backwater hit Sunni, she rebelled. It was a catastrophe to watch her and Dad argue over the most petty things you've ever seen. The way our step-mom, Claire would fold clothes or how early she had to wake up in the morning for school. Five o'clock, five days a week, and sometimes Dad would wake her on Saturday just to punish her for talking back. There was always blood in the water.”
Timothy's face settles, his lower lip curls, and his eyelids clinch for a moment before he changes his position in his chair.
“Is everything okay, Timothy?” I ask.
There is a pause, almost as if he is reliving what he was just describing.
“**** has always been real, you've been fantasizing.” I hear him say. He refuses to look at me, let alone answer my question.
“Mr. Glasser?” I ask again.
He exhales suddenly, eyes watery, and lets out a sigh.
“Let's talk about Sunni. I never really talk about her much, and I think now is a good time. Don't you?”
I nod in agreement and try to give him a smile.
He still refuses to look me in the eye.
“When Sunni was in first grade, she was beginning to prove to be a bit of a handful. There was a small patch of corn out back. Maybe half an acre Dad keep for us to put up for the winter. Sunni was about seven years old around this time and she had the idea to make crop circles. Now I was out with my friends, played football in those days so I didn't have the time to be home all the time. Dad and Claire kept themselves busy with the work about the place, so Sunni got bored real fast. One day during the summer, Dad went to the store to get some groceries. A friend of his came up to him and said, 'I was up in the plane yesterday and I saw something strange in your cornfield. Like some kind of crop circle. Weird ain't it?'
“This rattled my Dad's brain for a few minutes until he got home and saw the two-by-four with rope tied to either end of the thing. Sunni was staring at the clouds and Dad walked over to her, and yanked her up off the grass. 'What are you doing flattening my corn for? Don't you know that's goin' to save us money in the long run?” She just stared at him. Not dumbfounded, just intrigued.
“That was kind of the starting point of their bickering. She had blonde hair running to the base of her skull brushed down neatly. A subtle blush in her cheek from the sun. And she always wore a dress, especially if it had sunflowers on it. She brought life to that house.
“On her tenth birthday, Mom sent her a touch screen phone, an iPhone, I think it was called with a two-year contract. It was so long ago minor facts like that seem to hang on for no reason.”
Timothy shuffles in his chair. Then clears his throat.
“Would you like to take a break, Timothy?” I ask him.
“I ignored most of the arguments Sunni and dad had after I graduated high school. As soon as fall semester started at Cornelius College I fled the backwater and started by life near the OceanFront. Oggta-Cornelius was divided into two sections: the Backwater and OceanFront. And like a sports rivalry there was always trash talk about the tax bracket you were in or how much you worked. After the first few weeks for sneaking into bars and partying on campus, the fun died down because of the arrests. I almost got caught twice, but my sixth sense for trouble tingled at just the right time. When the middle of the semester hit I was over-booked with mid-terms and reading assignments. I actually lived in my dorm then. Never really left the place. And soon fall semester was over. Nothing worth mentioning now. Sunni and I texted often, but she had become a brat and I wanted alone time to learn what I'd read. For everything literary to go beyond just test and quizzes.
“But right towards the end of the semester, one morning I was walking to an early exam and on the ground was a kid, a little older than me lying there looking up at the sky. I had the urge to walk up and ask him what he was doing, but it felt too rude so I left him. I kept walking and heard a voice call back to me, 'Hey, guy.' I turned around, 'Yeah you, come here.'
“I walked up to him, he motioned for me to kneel beside him.
'What day is it?
I told him it was a Monday.
'Really? Wow, must've fell out watching the stars with this gir--'
He reached to his other side, feeling for a body, but no one was there. He never broke eye contact with me.
'Well, with his lovely imaginary girlfriend I have. Her name's Elsie. She's a charm.'
I helped him up and he left without much of a goodbye. A disrespectful mysteriousness. And I didn't see him again till the weather warmed up in the spring semester. Which was a repeat of the fall.”
Timothy asks me for some water. I started to feel like I'm one of his grandkids. How far in the trunk of memories is he going for this information?
“Thank you. Now the next time I saw Alan was in a smoking gazebo along a walking path on campus.
'Hey, guy!” he shouted, getting my attention. I walked back to the gazebo, coughing as the smoke roughhoused it's way into my lungs. He had those circular shades on, like the one John Lennon wore back in the day. A tie around his head, a light blue button up shirt that hung loose off his think frame. His hair was long and parted, and he sported a straggly red and black beard.
'Top of the morning, ta ya.' he said, putting out a cigarette on the tray. I opened my mouth, but all that came out was coughing.
'Course, the Irish don't really say that. It's actually quite racist, but I'm half Irish so no skin of my knuckles. I'm a mutt.'
“He smiled with such pomp. The arrogance was so natural, it fit him like his face. Other people around him were having conversations about Samuel Beckett, John Irving, Stephen King, and Jimmy Hendrix tripping acid together in the great T.A.R.D.I.S. in the sky. I remember laughing at that. They were all smiling at the ludicrous actuality of it happening. And it was late evening.
'Stay! Be silly and merry with us!” he shouted. I held my breath and sat down. I never made it to the rest of my classes that afternoon or for the next week. Alan and I chilled in my dorm, burned incense and plotted a protest. The whole time I was telling him he had to be literal with the cause. It couldn't be just because the college bookstore sold shot glasses, but confiscated any paraphernalia they found in the dorms.
'*******,I say. It's hypocritical and a scam. Like police pulling you over for going two-miles over the limit because they need to feed their kids. It's a Darwin rip-off.'
“Later that week he took my phone while I was sleeping, got my number, and Sunni's too. He never asked if he could come over after that night. He just did.
'I thought it was cool since we had a good time.'
"I didn't know what to say so I let it continue. His reason for stealing Sunni's number still baffles me. He said he thought she was a girl I was into. She was my sister, he was right in his own way. It was a while before he ever texted her.
“The next time I saw him he told me, 'I feel like a clockwork man running on thousands of gallons of caffeine.' I laughed at him and told him to stop reading Burgess.”
I stop Timothy for a moment. “Anthony Burgess? The author of A Clockwork Orange?” He nods and goes back to the story.
“You know, with the Second Cold War flaring up again I don't think it's wise to be worrying about an old man like me. This has been a century of second fillings. There are still Hipsters running about. This makes me feel no better. I want to go home.”
“Alright Mr. Glasser, but can we reschedule? I need to finish this article.” As he rises out of the chair, he agrees and goes for his coat.
“One more question, Mr. Glasser. Can you give me another quote from Alan? A bit of closing for this bit?
He turns around and looks me in the eye for the first time since the beginning of the interview. He squints his eyes at me and says, “When we would hang out at the gazebo where we actually met for the first time, and after that week I got back in the habit of going to class and doing my work. As I would leave I'd say, 'Alright man, I'm off to class, to learn and stuff.' He'd moan about it, and say, 'Look at him now, growing old and dying young.' Behind that same pompous grin."
Pardon that it is fiction, but poetry has inspired this short-short story. Maybe the beginning of work on my novel, but it is along the same lines as "This is why the Hipster dies".
Joseph S C Pope Sep 2013
Landscape the fatal solution,
abandoning the pre-world
                                          he takes pleasure
in mutely, and often
spacing out, tipsy, drunk, confident
till the juice runs out.

What made him hold onto such damnable
                      lilies succumbed
with the raw roots of melancholy?
Never purging the dancers
through a decade old sound system, they say
                "I don't think you know what you did."

***** circling in his eyes, they dance,
                                                 "But I'm going to help you."
               The dancers rebel
      across the floor, down the stairs
   ---to the dark, his eyes
washed by the caked acid running
                               down executed cheeks
so helpless, the rhines of a ranting romance
roped idiotically to the gospel grave.

All the ways he sighs,
at all the wrongs snowing down
on his neck. "Nothing about us ever shivered."
Joseph S C Pope Sep 2013
Chop down the city lights of Paranoia.
Cathartic beads of sweat roll
off the horrors of your back
under the saggy breast lamps

in the pitched dreams where the nightmare kids
come to watch you sleep.
           Somersaulting walls made of human tissue,
the love of your life overseas, and everything you say
comes out as water torture on hollow centers of hope.

                        poetry is dead.
                                                  Liars smoke ten packs a day,
social criminals stroll in marathons of perdition
across the rot of post-modern vices,
their feet stomp closer to watching faces under the bed.
                                      'This is a story. A dream!'
Everyone sees the fire under the bed.
Watch-fires earthbound by every word
before it is said,
gagged in envy--brought to glow by spineless atoms.

        Every sexless sun has a beard, a saved flirtation that singes
          the vacuum of today's soul,
                             a dead dream because you didn't pull it from the brink.
No one has a name in poetry. A task. A point. An exit.
                                                  One bed-room apartments locked with pearls
                                                     visible only to soloist dogs.
No sorry for vagueness or shut-mouth or bleeding upwards. The meter is running....
to the pharmacy
because it could be pregnant with all the possibilities.
And the whole amphitheater wants to hear one line, the life changer you brought
--here it is: Forget your name.
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