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13.1k · Aug 2013
Sarcastic Pentameter
ottaross Aug 2013
Choosing a series a words for a ditty,
Those we first pluck a few at a time.
For readers it will, at first, seem so pretty
When they detect that rhythm and rhyme.

But soon, I suggest, it becomes such a chore,
When words strung together do pose
An oft-trodden pattern or insipid score
That bounces and sings as it goes.

The message conveyed in this rigid frame,
Is lesser I fear than than when we escape
From words chosen for just ending the same
Or some fortuitous fit to that shape.

So I tend to lean towards using blank form,
For verses I build by the letter,
And chose the words that I feel will conform
To that which my heart says are better.
Poking fun at myself, in critique of my oft-penned rhyming stuff. :)
9.4k · Dec 2013
The Sound It Makes
ottaross Dec 2013
Time passing -
Is not the tick, tick, tick, of the movies.
It is a barely audible, high-pitched ringing in your ears.
It is the low thrum of a distant compressor somewhere.
It is the sound of the long shadows brushing against the wall.

Time passing -
It is the fabric rustle of changing your position in a chair.
A cat padding along the oak floorboards of the hallway.
An electric cube powering a computer.
The sizzle of speakers turned on with nothing playing.

Time passing -
I hear it from a silent telephone,
From the idle doorknob and hinges.
From wooden steps leading to my front door.

Time passing -
It is all of this,
And nothing.
So much nothing.
9.0k · May 2014
out of steel wool skies
ottaross May 2014
A hammer upon the landscape.
Thunder like a toppling mountain.

Flashes like x-ray explosions.
Supernova surprise.

Sheets of rain.
Glistening-rebar javelins
Pierce the asphalt
Shatter the concrete.

Long shards of glass
From the grey
Steel-wool clouds.
7.2k · Aug 2013
Waste Disposal
ottaross Aug 2013
Once it was garbage, refuse, trash.
A jumble of foul-smelling detritus hauled to the curb
And removed by sinewy men
Contributing a harder day's work
Than anyone else in the city.

Our energy now removes its entropy.
Sorted and classified into coloured bins,
We add order to our rejected matter.

Specialized trucks arrive to collect
The date-synchronized bins
Emptying them into functionally compatible mechanisms.

Most desolate is the black box of paper and cardboard.
Brochures and flyers, old magazines and letters.
Annual reports and cereal boxes.
Once these were enameled with crafted sentences,
Painstakingly typed, edited and debated,
On the monitors of copywriters.

Now they are just millions of words printed on flattened fibre substrates,
Jumbled into the bruised and scarred black box,
Entering into the recycling stream.

The nouns and adjectives,
Prepositions and gerunds,
All jumble together.

Fragments of precisely-crafted sentences and paragraphs
Are gradually broken, shredded and pulped.
Incomplete thoughts, broken phrases
Like those of a rejected stranger
In an lonely, unknown country.
Then words without context.
Then just disparate letters
Are all that remain.
Their  M  ea  N inG
G  r a Du all y
is re mov
e d
3.8k · Aug 2015
Love Marriage Spell Caster
ottaross Aug 2015
"Lost love spell caster voodoo spells"
The spammy text-posts read
Let's write them off, as so much bunk
That nobody would heed.

"Love marriage specialist
in Ahmedabad" said another
Finally you could be betrothed
And satisfy your mother!

Voodoo spells and marriage vows
For only a few rupees,
The challenges of life, all quickly solved,
With very modest fees.
Fora  few days the HelloPoetry site was over run with spam poems all saying the same awkward phrases, as featured in this piece. Thought it would be fun fodder for a poem.
3.2k · Sep 2014
Unenumerated Senses
ottaross Sep 2014
the weight of a hand
resting in yours
the resistance to the touch of a single finger
upon another
the sizzle of a thousand hairs between fingertips
the dampness of breath upon your cheek
the redness of pair of lips
...or of a blushing forehead
...or of cheekbones under droplets of perspiration

the silence of an empty room
the sense of someone close
...who is a thousand miles away
...and thinking of you
3.1k · Jun 2016
Tales of Ancient Times
ottaross Jun 2016
We went to a play last week

Actors strutted around

Among a set of tall buildings

Made of actual stone of grey

And billowing smoke

And noises

And crowds.

Upon the great stage they talked

About their ancient ideas

Like wars

And politics

And freedom.

In one scene an actor yelled

and swung a mighty hand

and struck the other man!

And though we knew

It was really just acting

The idea that one

Could hit another

Shocked all of us in the audience
So powerfully

And a few people even left

The theatre

In tears.

But there were funny bits too

In the play that night.

A character said he had a car.

His Own. 

And together they were to drive

Both of them

Off to an aeroport.

Like with all the steering,

And foot pedals,

And everything.

And in a very sad part

Someone treated someone else badly

And called her names

Because of the colour

Of her skin

And because she had come

From somewhere else.

And all our eyes were wet for a while.

One man used a device

Which was an ancient komputer.

Two flat parts with a hinge

And it opened upon his lap

And one side glowed brightly

To illuminate his face

And he presses a bunch of button-keys

To spell words and things

Because that’s how they told the


What to do.

And we all laughed.

when it was over a bunch of us asked the man that was hit if he was okay was he really okay it looked terrible and did they really have to do that awful thing in the play and was the other actor a bad man and he said no, it was alright and the other actor was a nice man and that it didn’t hurt at all and he said he was sorry that it scared us but it was the violence of the time and the people of that time and we said we kind of understood.

And we all felt better

But one lady

Still needed to hug him.

And his eyes

Were a little wet too.
ottaross Oct 2013
Along the sidewalks of Somerset Street
People pass upon purposeful feet
Rice and noodles up for all
We each hear the call
Come! There is much here to eat.

From the western end we embark
Just near where we usually park
On the street's sunny side
Past diverse shops we stride
Windows hung with ducks roasted dark.

To the place we were aiming to get
A table with chopsticks is set
There we eat such a meal
That it fills us with zeal
A lunch that we won't soon forget.
A little post-dim-sum fun :)
3.0k · Nov 2013
Herb and Sue: A Space Opera
ottaross Nov 2013
[Hint - it's fun to read this one out loud :) ]*

Upon a crusty and spinning crag
Herbert's trusty craft did set,
Out beyond the path of Mars
In an asteroid belt they met.

Picked from out of thousands there
He selected a rocky home,
The perfect kind of rocky mass
To end his spacely roam.

First Ceres was too large and bold
And Pallas was too pale,
Old Vesta flew with sluggish wings
And Hygiea seemed too frail..

Ah, Sylvia seemed a likely rock
And her orbit seemed fine too,
But t'was Juno caught his eye at last
So what else could he do?

He sat his craft upon that rock
And loosed his robot throng,
Soon they mined and smelted ore
And built a structure strong.

That dome rose up with welded struts
To stand on a bright-lit plain,
The jewel-like panes filled out the place
O'er that kingdom he would reign.

Industrious 'bots and a stately home
So there did Herbert rule,
O'er a stark and rocky, lonely view
In the asteroid belt so cruel.

T'was far away to the nearest soul
No one to share Herb's tea,
To simply chat or share a bite
How lovely would that be?

Deep beneath old Juno's crust
'Bots mined for all their worth
Pulling out rare stuff and gems
And sending them to Earth.

But all the gold and diamond stones
Could hardly even start,
To fill the void that Herbert felt
Where he knew he kept a heart.

Yet, several rocky asteroids out
Across that rocky belt,
Another set upon her task
With ores and **** to melt.

Past Callisto and Iris zones
Where Cybele and Psyche spin
Fair Susanna tended Hektor's mines
Of silver, zinc and tin.

Now orbits often twist and dance
And trade with one another,
Where one boulder once was kin
There soon will be some other.

T'was thus that Herbert's Juno rock
Slowly made it's way,
To catch-up Susie's Hektor world
And shadow it one day.

Sue looked out her glass abode
To see what blocked the sun,
Then seeing Juno with its mines
A visit seemed like fun.

Toward a spot near Herbert's ship
Suzanna's came a-falling,
Imagine Herbert's bright surprise
Seeing visitors a-calling.

A shapely suit with bubble head
And jet-pack soon came floating,
To Herbert's door that afternoon
The sight had him emoting.

"Well hello there friend, and who are you
That to my rock comes knocking?"
"Just another miner fool
Whose sun your Juno's blocking"

"In just a little while, I'm sure
Our asteroids will part,
So why not stay a little while
And a friendship we can start?"

Double shipments soon they made
To send away to Earth
While their robots toiled each day
The sweethearts shared their mirth.

Great love did our Herb and Susie share
Built on those pleasant talks
And soon a tractor beam they fixed
Between their drifting rocks.

And still today in spacers' lore
They talk about that tether,
That linked two hearts among the rocks
Two asteroids bound together.
3.0k · Oct 2013
Alphabetic Lament
ottaross Oct 2013
Another beautiful, colorful day ended favorably,
Gave happiness in jests, kindness, laments.
Morning's new orientation provided quick reassurance,
Supporting the universal view,
While xenophobia yielded zilch.
Exercise: sequential first-letter constraint
2.2k · Aug 2015
ottaross Aug 2015
When a rain-storm surprised the city
Passers-by looked down with pity
At a large group of nutters
Inspecting the gutters
An unfortunate planning committee.

They decided today was good timing
Below-streets they soon were climbing
Where the gutters connect
To the sewers they checked
And all got a very good sliming.
Who can resist a little limerick action?
2.2k · Aug 2013
Eight Things About It
ottaross Aug 2013
The distance between me and she
When easily traversed by arm extended,
And finger tips, always is;

Nearby means a wholeness,
And in it the reasons to stitch together
This moment and the next;

Savouring the experience of place
It makes more the whole
when we both partake of the view;

The flavours, of the labours,
Of the growing, of the plants, of the garden
Are ignited by them being for her;

The skeleton frame of our days,
Is fleshed with a texture soft and supple,
By the day-to-day of us;

The being apart is the punctuation
In the subsequent being together
Of a sentence we serve as one;

It's that glowing strand of highway
That may go short or long over the hill,
That we discover together.

In the silence of the night,
It's the weight of all the breaths
We will exhale and inhale together.
1.9k · Jan 2015
Smelly Ladies of the Yoga
ottaross Jan 2015
A little oasis occupied in a cafe
that approaches capacity.
Three opposite, two adjacent,
a couple at the windows to the right.
Six or seven more around the corner, out of view

Early twenties guy, has a slightly too-small zippered sweater,
with head down and a two-handed hold on his phone
the left relinquishes its grip for a minute to wipe across his face.

Late fifties man in a blue,zipped, baggy, sweat shirt
and early-nineties hair gone grey.
A phone too, but of a more palm-and-fingertip interaction
with pursed lips and an occasional surveying of the room.

A quiet girl at my right leaves and four chatty middle-aged yoga ladies
squeeze onto the table for two.
They obliterate my concentration
and I resort to a cocoon of headphone noise.
Their too-strong perfume forms a veritable blue cloud
and leaks into the taste of my tea.
1.9k · Aug 2014
Two Ribs Apart
ottaross Aug 2014
Call me when you have gasped your throat to splintered wood
Reach for me when your fingers have calloused to fractured stone
From the depths of the stoney pit of echoing isolation
When your legs hold you weary as rusted tin-soldiers

If your heart is hardening like lava reaching the ocean
If your song is submerged in a rain-on-tin-roof din
If your hugging arms are pulled asunder by monsoon landslides
If your eyes have filled with the angry spray of November hurricanes

Remember a warm hand against cold skin
Remember closeness like a heavy felted great-coat
Remember a low voice breathing fireplace hot upon your neck

Remember two hearts
Just two rib-thicknesses apart;
Two taught drums,
Beating in time
In song.
1.8k · Jul 2014
Sunny Days Are For Chumps
ottaross Jul 2014
Anyone can laud a sunny day
And lavish it with praise.
It's such an easy proposition
Amid warmth and golden rays.

But it is, I'd say, a refinéd taste,
When a day dawns bleak and grey,
To find some joy in heavy clouds
That bubble-wrap your day.

And even given pouring rain
That many see as vile
The drum of raindrops on the roof
Can bring to some a smile.

A wailing wintry driving blizzard?
Seems to most so rotten.
Yet for me I get a thrill
From a landscape wrapped in cotton.

Now a slush-and-sleet-filled day in March
Is a horrible kind of weather
I fear it seems to void my thesis
And brings to no one pleasure.

It erodes the city's state-of-mind
Optimism is diminished
Everyone is in a huff
And wants it to be finished.

Oh, for a bright day in July
With no one feeling huffy,
The golden sun to rule the sky
and clouds so big and fluffy.
ottaross Dec 2014
A heart beats monotonously,
Like a leather-encased clockwork, a spring-wound toy
It ticks away the hours until the moment
When, with a silence like a stone, it stops.
1.8k · Oct 2013
The Ballad of the Meadowlark
ottaross Oct 2013
From the valley that feeds the great river
Beyond the hundred-league Forest of Darkness
He came in the first year of his Roaming,
Seeing then, for the first time, the sprawling city on the coast.

In the shanty-town wedged between spoil-heap and highway
Among streets one could span with outstretched arms
She often did whilst walking alone
And singing quietly in the earliest light.

That they would meet was fore-told
Not in lore or in the words of the old ones,
But in their hearts from their first days
Which each remembered without a specific age.

They both felt the world was surely a place
Bigger than the corner that held each trapped
Collecting only whispers of somewhere, something more
Hoarding words that meant 'bright,' and 'plentiful' and 'freedom.'

His clan's traditions are stronger than the bindings
That held him in his familial servitude.
The mandatory age of Roaming was upon him
And cast out, he at once felt a call across the continent.

But a release for her, from the poverty and isolation,
From the shacks, and filth and futility
Seemed yet as impossible and cruel and forbidden
As it ever had, over all her years before.

Something happened then, on that last day of the rainy season.
With the city still yet across the expanse of a black river
He saw the sun break through a dark-veined sky
As the ferryman took his father's amulet as payment.

The guards of the gate pushed back the planked doors
And he entered through the wet, rough stone walls
Among a dripping hoard of plains-peasants, and traders,
As a distant siren call caught her beneath that broken afternoon sky.

To the central market they both found their way.
She on hard, bare soles slipping on the long soaked cobbles
He on worn and wet elk-hide moccasins
The throngs of the city descending to find daily fare.

Aimless wandering guided them each across the Great Square,
She, tired, finding a mostly-good apple fallen aside the stands
He, exhausted, buying bread with one of his few remaining coins.
Each sat close, yet still unaware, unseen to the other.

Unknown in the city, it was a meadowlark that brought them together.
Alighting upon a thorny shrub near them both
They turned when they, at the same time, threw a crumb.
Eyes like wells, in they both fell, cobbles steaming under a new sun.

A meadowlark brings to each now a gasp of surprise
Alighting upon the window sill.
Five decades gone in a moment,
The memory fresh again as a just-fallen rain.

Here, there are slices of deep-red apples
And rolls of sweet golden bread, and cheese, and wine
That sit on the table between them,
And a fire slowly ebbs in their hearth.
1.7k · Oct 2013
Alphabetic Terminations
ottaross Oct 2013
Euphoria! Climb, energetic and prostrate yourself!
Walking each graffiti hajj
Bleak signal from an indigo mountaintop.
Iraq memoir remains constant.
You, Pavlov knew,
Coax solitary jazz.
Exercise: Terminate each word in alphabetic sequence.
(A tough one - but pleased with the stark imagery :)
ottaross Aug 2013
It starts like a beige tuft of fibre
Protruding from a large burlap sack.
As we pull it from the hidden source
It gradually reveals itself.
Simple and unassuming,
A uniform, coloured strand
Which we gather up into a tidy ball.

Sometimes another strand is tied
Onto the one we pull.
A different colour?
A change of texture?
And so we pull that one anew,
We build another coil,
While the original strand awaits.
The interesting new thread,
Reveals itself from the hidden reservoir.

The fibre slides through our fingers.
Slowly, when there is resistance.
Quicker, when it comes loosely.
Now coarse and wiry
Now soft and slippery,
Now thick and tufted.
Tough Scottish highlands perhaps?
Or rural Ontario?

Sometimes the hidden source seems like it may be
A hand-knit sweater that we are pulling apart.
The strands are still kinked and twisted in places,
Echoing a memory of a shape it has held for years.

We recognize bits here and there too.
Colours and textures from our own story.
"I had a pair of socks like that."
"Remember our scarves from those cold childhood winters?"

The collection of small skeins increases.
From a sheep's fleece, yes, but now too
From Alpaca, camel and rabbit.
Cashmere from Pashmina goats in Nepal?

But at last the final strand comes free.
You feel the weight of the coiled wool,
And see the diversity of the colours.
And for each coil
We remember again how it appeared
How it felt.
How the strands
Came together
And apart.
1.5k · Apr 2015
ottaross Apr 2015
Where were you, you little *******?
Where were you hiding
As I turned out the lights last night?

Were you in the closet as I came into the bedroom?
Did you seep like a flood
Across the floor in the darkness
Rising up the leg of the bed
And into my ears like liquid toxic waste?

Were you under the pillow
And as my fingers slid under there
Between the crisp, smooth layers of white cotton?
Did you coil about my fingers
And up my arm
To spread over my scalp
All fuming-acid corrosive?

Were you in under the folds
Of the welcoming, white-striped comforter
As we turned in after a perfectly pleasant day?
Waiting, still, in the dark
As I pulled the blankets up taught?
And just below my chin
As the cold sheets around me warmed
To stop the just-into-bed shivers?

Did you crawl up then as I dozed
And twist around my throat
To tighten slowly until I awoke in your grip?

Where ever you were hiding,
You got the drop on me.
You turned the tiny dim lights
That peek into the room at night
Into piercing lasers.

You amplified the tiniest odours
Into dizzying, eye-watering stenches.

You traded the rising-sun's rays
As they finally pierced the curtains
After my hours of sleepless discomfort
For a blasts of neutron-bomb radiation.

Worst of all
You stole the cool, soothing side of the pillow
Every time I managed to find it
Giving me instead a sickly, warm bundle of gorse.

Where were you, you little *******?
Where were you hiding?
ottaross Dec 2014
A slow-rising migraine seeps into my head
As toxic floodwaters that fill the rooms of my home,
Seeping into my skull with powerful fingers
Like heat-seeking needles to pierce the calm quiet
Of a relaxed and peaceful reverie.
1.4k · Jun 2014
Of Authenticity
ottaross Jun 2014
Difficult for unpracticed hands
Valuing it, protecting it, nurturing it.
It should have been all that she needed to carry
She felt sure it was there,
In the dark place
Beneath the joy,
Between this breath
And the next laugh.

I see some echo of it there still.
It shows itself in the negative spaces
And desperately needs the light and air.
She thinks it small and cheap, and well-covered
Beneath the bite of a vinegar voice
In the folds of a silken smile
Muffled by the thick wool of persona.
She keeps her arms folded
Her irises blank.
Idly pulling loosened threads,
And tunes the prototype.

Sometimes there is the terror
Of cutting isolation
Of an icy apartness  
In a dense and moving crowd
Of friends and cohorts.

Once she tried to let it free.
Arms spread wide in the street.
Ready to give that gift to herself
From deep within the erected façade
Amid the mass of anonymous humanity,
Amid the ******* legs and cab-hailing arms.

Later, a mirror brings a cold draft
Chilled by the empty spaces.
And then a fear,
Not knowing where it was anymore.
Hidden too deeply?
Lost along the path?

Maybe it was never given to her at all.
1.3k · Jul 2014
There We Tread Carefree
ottaross Jul 2014
It is in that wooden place
Among the too-close trees
Under a canopy of woven reasons
That block the lancing stars

Balanced on the edge of possible and improbable
We choose from a bouquet of what-if tales
Paths to tread carefree
Always avoiding the cold shining steel
That patrols around the edges
And reflects images of reality
In a clarity
Nobody wants to see
1.3k · Jul 2014
ottaross Jul 2014
As I ***** the streets of town, buildings made of grey and brown
Speak to me of people and events I still remember.
Steps upon well-trodden ways, rain makes blacks upon the greys
Painting scenes among the maze, from a long lost warm November.

We once lived on this side-street, our apartment there, small but neat
Moving in we fought the snow that came early that November.
We didn't have many things, but winters all gave way to springs,
And summer nights gave us wings to launch us into each September.

Many of them passed that way, weekdays of work and -ends of play,
Camping on cool clear autumn nights warmed to fire's final ember.
Years passed by uncounted then, new homes we found on new streets when
Our spaces seemed too small, and to the movers we'd surrender.

Walking round I see them all, the homes we made in this town so small
A lifetime spent and good times to remember.
Finally I walk o'er the hill, past the campground now quite still
To a peaceful lot just past the mill, where she went to rest one cold December.

My footsteps give me some small peace, how happiness came with such caprice
When we lived among these streets that I soulfully remember.
We loved the leaves and cool of fall, the change of seasons, first snow squall
And the love was greatest in our very last November.

The change of month took her away, how lost I felt on that sad day
How can I but hate the first day of December?
I miss her arm that fit with mine, I miss the way that her eyes shine
Just every second of lost time, since we loved our last November.
1.2k · Aug 2013
7 minutes ago
ottaross Aug 2013
Just seven minutes ago,
I was but a shell of myself.
I was unfulfilled
With only the promise of
What half a dozen minutes hence
Might bring.

Seven minutes ago,
Oh, seven minutes ago.
I knew nothing
Of the crazy, heady,
Seven-minutes-ahead future.

Seven minutes ago,
Oh, seven minutes ago.
Those were wild times,
With dreams,
And pie-in-the-sky aspirations.

We're all more mature
And pragmatic
In this seven-minute-ahead future.
We work hard,
And wear a no-nonsense countenance.

But some minutes,
Very rarely,
We pause
(If only for a few seconds)
And think of what might have been,
If those seven-minute-future dreams had come true.
1.2k · Aug 2013
Poetry As Social Media
ottaross Aug 2013
Forlorn pleas, angst and aching laments,
Thick like a melange of surreptitiously smoked cigarettes,
And plastics that have melted and burned while too close to the heater.

The teen angst hangs in the depressions and around the corners of this place
Where it is damp and wet in the just-breaking morning.
Among the verdant green, earth-rupturing sprouts
There are flower buds that threaten to burst.

The spring landscape here reveals hewn timber,
And crafted structures
Yet also black loamy dirt
Dredged up from beneath the swollen green carpet
Of ferns and sod,
Marking the unmistakable path
Of an errant vehicle,
That skidded unexpectedly from the narrow road.
ottaross Dec 2014
Wrapped in a blanket against the cold night
Like a paper-wasps' nest
in a black-and-white birch tree
dusted with snow;
Like the wick of a hundred-times-dipped beeswax candle,
awaiting the flame.
1.2k · Aug 2015
Mortal's Lament
ottaross Aug 2015
The day leaves me somewhat melancholy
Due to a story I heard recounted.
It's about a life, a love, a death observed
By a stranger across a garden.

From afar she saw the pieces played
Unfolding as the months went by.
From happiness and living pleasant lives
To weakness, despair and loss.

I, just a random listener with a radio
The story makes me pause.
I identified with the tragic soul
Not the observer from afar.

Do I stop and reconsider now
The path on which I live?
Do I think ahead and enjoy this
Comfort and security while it lasts?

We're curious things, we humans
When confronted with mortality.
Loath to break free of our routines
And so to face possibilities so dire.
ottaross Dec 2013
Coastal mist and mountains blue as ache –
As ice crystals encase his heart
Shadows begin to flood the valleys below.
With shallow breaths he lays embraced by snows
Upon a glacial bed – its covers will enrobe him for millennia.

The merciful numbness comes with the fading of the day
Finally bringing heavy, failing eyes
And the mists rise further up the slopes
To meet the gathering cloud.

Rendered helpless by the thinned air
He pushed himself beyond the boundary of the human world
Seeking rebirth in a Norse Asgard,
To find instead an icy tomb.  

At the end all is blue and white and grey
To sleep, is to embrace the mountain.
He becomes another protrusion between ice-encrusted peaks
A mystery for another time, waiting amid the snow.
"Stolen Thoughts" project:
-First line borrowed from Ormond's "Gates Of Cloud"
ottaross Dec 2013
Stone cold, the blackening sky, stole our fields of flowers
They came like a silent flood over our continents
To block our sun and steal our humanity.

The ships were silent, and filled the skies.
Then down their marching hoards descended
Overwhelmed our puny technology, rendering us as apes.

Under their shadows our world went neolithic
They rendered all that was electrical or light to junk
We were left as scurrying ***** things among the soil.

Vastly reduced, our very memories were threatened
Forgetting how once we ruled our own planet
They plucked up our people like we once picked flowers.

When they came for me I was a child
The elders still telling me of the times I never knew
I had to learn their ways as I learned our own.

One day all our careful plans came together
And I sat hidden deep within their ship,
The thing so long pursued was found

Within that place, their robot brain
Where I could redefine their enemy as themselves
Then quick to a transport and back to my people.

Shortly then with a single bullet
We sparked their hostility sensors
The dark metal clouds burst soon with sun-like flame

We will never know the all that they knew,
Though we pick still among the mechanized ruins
And try to discover "from where" and "why."

More powerful than all our smartest elders
Covering the world with their dark mechanized oppression
But brought to an end by hands of a boy.

Many years now, since we brought them down
The hulking hulls worked now into barns and homes.
And once again we learn to talk across the oceans.

It wasn't long after the flames had ended
When in the fields the sun again warmed the soil
And fields of flowers there began to bloom.
"Stolen Thoughts" project:
-First line borrowed from CA Guilfoyle's "Stolen"
ottaross Jan 2017
The feet should descend towards the ground gently
But not quite touch
A few millimetres above will do nicely
Proceed thus through these parts in the darkness.

Here among the short grass blades,
Among the busy beetles
And the briefly alighting bees,
The sensitivities bleat.

Souls wounded, but still hanging on
At once in repose and contemplative
Rising soon, again, I'm sure,
To coalesce into corporeal beings
And to rage again toward the hills
Where all manner of adventures await.
With apologies to Dylan Thomas
1.1k · Sep 2014
A Song for Roman Embers
ottaross Sep 2014
Rain soaks through my shoulders
And trickles down my spine
Like fingers over cracked and fractured stone.

Your breaths come like zephyrs
Your limbs tangle up with mine
Your voice, the only one I've ever known.

   And Coltrane blows a story tall
   To a bass line like a siren call
   Building tapestries of Cashmere
   For a dry and blistered blank concrete wall.

   You'll always be the bright full moon
   That filled my chest and filled the room
   While Rome is burned to embers
   The drums of war rose carrying the tune.

Footsteps on city walls
Hands upon splintered wood.
The battles lead to losses for all sides.

Honey comes from stinging bees
I'd get some for you if I could
But winter left us lost on drifting tides.

   Still Coltrane blows a story tall
   To a bass line like a siren call
   Building tapestries of Cashmere
   For a dry and blistered blank concrete wall.

   I'll offer you a silk cocoon
   A watercoloured afternoon
   While Rome is burned to embers
   The drums of war rose carrying the tune.

Morning sun brings the day
The smell of candles still
Clothes hang to dry from chairs along the walls.

Take our time to wake up
Arms protect you from the chill
"Yesterday," the radio news recalls.

   Then Coltrane blows a story tall
   To a bass line like a siren call
   Building tapestries of Cashmere
   For a dry and blistered blank concrete wall.

   The sunrise like the silver moon
   Paints us in gold and fills the room
   While Rome is burned to embers
   The drums of war rose carrying the tune.
ottaross Dec 2014
The close of the week,
Like an old familiar house you have vacated
And stuffed with memories still as fresh
As burnt Monday-morning toast
That still blues the air.
1.1k · Oct 2013
Yippee for Alice Munro!
ottaross Oct 2013
A little poem to celebrate!
Alice Munro is so literate!
Accolades? There's no debate!
A Nobel Prize is commensurate!
In celebration (apologies for the forced pronunciation of 'literate' - lol)
Maybe you'd rather read my proper poem: "Of Alice Munro's Short Stories"
1.1k · Oct 2013
ottaross Oct 2013
ottaross Dec 2014
Sleep comes to me now
Like a lover, faultless yet wronged,
ever forgiving, crawling silently into my bed;
Like a heavy monsoon-soaked night
Descending on a decrepit, third-world city.
ottaross Sep 2014
Is there still a tired cafe
On the corner under canvas
Pondering the long boulevard?
Does the faded owner smoke all day
And complain about the haze
And how finding pretty waitresses is hard?

I once lived thereabouts
And earned a meager pay
Writing broken tales for magazines.
Nights filled my belly with wine
My eyes the chanteuse Lise
She starred in my most fictional scenes.

I never found a way
To read my ink blot cards
and learn where my psyche led me wrong
It oft' left me lonely
With just black espresso
And the echo of Lise's sweet song.

One day I moved away
Back to blue ice and snow
From that old city of fumes and haze.
Yet still on thick warm nights
A song burns in my soul
In familiar, best forgotten, ways.
1.0k · Feb 2015
Of Burdens Lost
ottaross Feb 2015
Give it all away
Like barnacles that clung to you
As you plied the oceans
Sails full of October wind
Like the hunger, that pulled you forward.

Let it slip away
Like a heavy, sated python
That rolls languidly off a low-slung branch
Into the blackest river water.
While your white-knuckled grip held you transfixed

Set them all free
Like silk-spun cocoons gathered days before
To erupt into a mass of unsure-wings
And flutter up into streaming sunlight;
Your reaching arms grow tired from the climb

Lay naked then upon the glade.
The mosquitos and gnats will not buzz you.
The leeches will not try for your blood.
It will be as if you are not.
As your burdens were what defined your existence.
1.0k · Dec 2013
Lush - Stolen Thoughts #5
ottaross Dec 2013
There among the lushly verdant
Mosses damp and darkest green
Enchanted by a single word and
They call to life the darkness queen.

She slept with one dark resolution
Born of ages long forgot
Sworn to find her retribution
For what his villainy had wrought.

Sorcery built his path immortal
Claimed her castle of the North
Centuries five bring forth a portal
The key? One word to call her forth.

In an old, forgotten oak chest
A parchment found, it told the tale
Three women struck out on the quest
Resisting rain and blowing gale.

Gathered round the glade of green
At time foretold by old quatrain
They prepared to raise the queen
One word to resurrect her reign.

Rising now from forest floor
From deep within the ancient henge
Brought forth she flies to wage her war
Raised-up by one brief word: "Revenge"
"Stolen Thoughts" project:
-First line borrowed from Kelly Rose's "Jacaranda Tree"
940 · Feb 2014
ottaross Feb 2014
A window into the soul
Water rushing along a gutter
The awaking to raindrops
Hard upon ancient metal flashing.
Gurgles echo in the drainpipes
Droplets join with a chaotic torrent
That interweaves fingers
With the cobbles in the street.

A window into the soul?
But memories melt like softened snow
Down off a high fence of wrought iron
Caked with ice
Though the blacker the metal
The more warmed by the electric afternoon sun.
Crystals drip into syrupy tendrils
And dissolve the moments past.

A window into the soul
The melting left the cold cinders
Once hot and glowing
Now long extinguished.
Even the ash is long washed away.
They sit among stones,
Tendrils of weeds.
Can anyone identify and name them
Among the petrified earth?

A window into the soul
A drought across the landscape.
Whiffs and wisps of smoke on the wind
Crackling sounds of burning trees and grasses.
Waves of flame sweep over a landscape
And even forgotten charcoal
Glows red again.
Flames dance and animate
An inner fire, that only rested
But was never extinguished.
938 · Oct 2013
A Constant Landscape
ottaross Oct 2013
Somewhere the path turned from forest, to brush, to tundra
Then to the breaching pink granite of yesterday.
The features are familiar and the scrub trees fill the same crevices
The glacial radicals, still sentinels that are always watching.

I can still gather together the sticks to light a fire
And it warms me against the northern chill air
The swell of rock is cold beneath me,
And my body is a poor reservoir from which to warm it.

Already the moon of November is here
Though the calendar hasn't yet announced it.
It comes unbidden with piercing icy tendrils through ancient trees
All silver and platinum and stainless steel.

An inky lake laps at the base of the granite whale's back
An intimacy born quietly over the millennia.
Of a petrified swelling-surface relaxing under the pressure,
Of jack-pine root fingers snaking through ancient seams.
924 · Jan 2017
Common Cold
ottaross Jan 2017
the lethargy
seeping like some primordial liquid
through the walls of my rocky cave
into my morning
into my enthusiasm
into my productivity

the discomfort
descends a familiar blanket
coarse wet fibrous
to fall from above and wrap 
my shoulders
my torso 
my legs

so common
so disinterested in the individual me
this cold 
it moves in
to ride my rapidly waning energy
like a broken horse
to its next host
921 · Oct 2013
Vowel-Consonant Dance
ottaross Oct 2013
She always knew of my old problems,
Still I managed, always finding a way onward.
From empty conversation about silly, obvious subjects
Or turning our conversation always back upon her.

Even now, I find it hard upon reflecting,
A challenge, it remains out beyond a grasp.
Our words unspoken will always haunt us.
Though our bonds offer strength and years of promise.
Exercise: Words must alternate beginning with vowel and consonant.
A tough one, to pull off a meaning and stick to the rules :)
ottaross Oct 2013
This anodyne morning *** of tea,
Is clearing the nebulous morning,
Plans that threatened to topple on me
Have muted much of their scorning.

Still there is reticence to put to the shovel
This mound of pending work-a-day tasks
They clutter my head, my week, and my hovel
Snoozing away days behind farcical masks.

Why do you mock me, oh gods of inaction?
What did I ever do to your ilk?
Did I once neglect to grant satisfaction
Tributes in gold, obeisance or silk?

Secretly though, I plan retribution
For what this torpor is stealing from me.
I'll wield hours of output and contribution
Office deliverables and domesticity.

But oaths and threats deliver poor solace,
Whilst I pontificate, not facing my work
The monster of time still tends to his malice
And here I yet sit, among the tasks that I shirk.
Don't read this! It's just what they'd (the gods of inaction) want you to do instead of working.
899 · Sep 2013
Untrodden First Snow
ottaross Sep 2013
Too early,  the dreary skies, the cold days.
The warm, the sultry, the windy without-a-coat ones
Were allowed to pass without note
And our opportunities to dust off the bike
To put the canoe in the water
Silently changed from must-do-soon
To wish-we-had-done.

Too quietly, our coats and sock and over-shirts
Took up positions nearer the door.
The sandals became stacked and set aside
The lawnmower found a place further back
Behind leaf-bags and rakes that await
The spaces between rainy days.

Too silent became the phone
Too still the mailbox
First summer, first birthday, first autumn
Without garden and cooking notes shared
Or stories of people I don't know.
Too long and silent will come the winter
Without her footprints in northern snow.
893 · Nov 2018
Celebratory Progression
ottaross Nov 2018
Ringing in the years
Ringing in the ears
Wringing out the fears
Writhing in our tears
Wrinkled in our years
Winking at your dears
Wishing for some seers
Would that they saw beers
Waiting for me nears
Would raise a glass in cheers.
892 · Jan 2015
Black and White
ottaross Jan 2015
Cold, black and oil-like,
The monster flows quick and all-consuming
Between steep jaw-like banks,
In the dying light
Of the shortest days.

Edges were bordered soon
With slowly-gathered cut-crystal shapes
Like collected puzzle pieces
Sharp as razors, and finely decorated,
Like discarded dragonfly wings.

Soon myriad tiny folded-tissue flowers
Floated down in the stillest, icy air
And all signs of the malevolent depths and currents
Were hidden under a cotton duvet.

With the rising winds now
Great granular dunes
Tumble and sift across that place.
And the whistles and howls drown out
The tiny gurgling calls,
That are all the monster can muster
From beneath its white sarcophagus.
ottaross Dec 2013
At the door again,
It begins as a quiet scratching
And then a thick, abrasive sliding-down
Like a heaviness upon the frame.
Then a barely perceived close-breathing
That seems to creep like dull lantern-light
Under the door,
And around the frame,
And through the keyhole.

And there is no talisman to protect him.
No bust of pallas above the door
He is no metamorphosing cockroach
Able to **** the gaps
With oily-black chitin feelers.

The darkness brings no tools but fear
Thick and impenetrable as the night
The ancient lizard-brain takes over
And leaves him waiting for the first rays
That will pierce the window like lances
And dissolve the oppressive world
That leans so heavy against his door.
"Stolen Thoughts" project:
-First line borrowed from Ernest Gone's "Doors"
885 · Dec 2014
Massive Isolation
ottaross Dec 2014
The soaking ink
The doppler-shifted music
The refracting light

The gravity pulls
The magnetic-norths repel
The sticky vacuum ether

A falling stone
A drifting feather
A stationary wind

A silent name
A population disinterested
A common, universal secret

The sharp middle
The undulating plane
The slowly rising soil

Sensation and intuition
Without and within
Together in massive isolation.
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