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D Conors Sep 2010
"io sol uno."
-Dante, Purgatorio

There I was,
the comic-tragic star of my own motion-picture,
bold beneath the springtime Italian sun hung high
--a heavenly fixture,
illuminating the gold-leaf enframed frescoes in
kaleidoscopes of colours,
baking dry the pigeon droppings upon the flagstones
they smothered,
where I, in all my self-serving recreation,
posed proudly in a costume of my own creation,
an operatic villain clad in a billowy blouse of black,
the Campanile Tower like a sentinel behind my back,
as movie cameras panned and zoomed,
paparazzi photographers capturing me
and freezing me,
in all my wicked, medieval glory,
floating and gloating in the dank aroma of the Venetian seas,
"I'm the shining star!
--Look at me, look at me!"*
-the super-special star I always knew I'd be,
a painted parody,
a harlequin of displaced passions
for all to laugh at and see,
before slipping silently
into the ornate basilica,
dim and dark as night,
thanking Mother Mary (for nothing) as I sparked
a votive candle's light,
not really sure or caring
where my life would lead,
just as long as the Azure Queen
shed Her Grace on me,

...until I fell
and fell
to the mockery of a home
I made in Hell,
hard and forever and fast,
the only fool left alone in my solo cast,
adrift with no direction,
****** and lost,
me and my frivolous theatre,
squandered an an extravagant cost.

"io sol uno" means, "I, myself, alone."

This poem is a true-life story.

See the Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy:
D. Conors
August/September 2010
Kendall Mallon Jul 2013
Book One


As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be ****** ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.

Book Two


Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to *****; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.
Kendall Mallon Feb 2013
A man sat upon a pub stool stroking his
ginger beard while grasping a pint with his
other hand; an elderly gent sat down next to
him; this older man saw the ginger bearded
fellow’s pint was quite ne’r the bottom

A woman with eyes of amber and hair like
chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice soon to become
wine she clutched a notebook—behind black
covers lay ideas and sketches on how to bring
the world to a more natural state; balancing
the wonders and benefits of technology with
the beauty and sanctity of the natural world

When the ginger bearded man finished
the last bit of his pint another appeared
before him—courtesy of the old man,
“Notice you got the mark of a man accustom
to the seas,” said the old man gesturing to
the black and blue compass rose inscribed
in a ship’s helm, imbedded into the back
of the ginger bearded man’s right hand.

“I have crewed and skippered a many fine
vessel, but I am giving up the sea. I have
one last voyage left in me—to my home.”

“Aye the sea can be cold and harsh,
but she captures me heart. To where
are ye headed for home, there son?”

“’tis not a where, ‘tis a who. Sets of events
have lead to separate from me my wife. I
have been traveling for  five years waiting
to be in her embrace. The force of the sea,
she, is a cruel one for at every tack, or gybe
I am thrown off my course to stranger and
stranger lands… I have gone to the rotunda
of hell and the gates of the so called heaven.
I have struck deals, and  made bets only a
gambling addict would accept. All to just be
with her. I am homesick—she is my home; it
doesn’t matter where—physically—we are
my home is with her. I was told to come to the
clove of Cork and wait, wait for a man, but I
was not told anything about this man only that
I must return him this,” the ginger bearded man
held out a silver pocket watch with a frigate
engraved on the front and two roses sharing a
stem swirling on the back upon themselves.

“Can it be? ‘tis my watch t’at me fat’er gave
me before he died… I lost t’is at sea many a
year ago; it left me heartbroken. For ‘twas me
only lasting memory of him… Come to t’ink
I was told by a beggar in the streets, I do not
remember how long ago, but it has been many
a years, t’at I would meet a man with something
very dear to me, and I would take this man on
a journey, and this man would have the mark
of a sailor. What is ye name? Can it be…?”

“My name is Lysseus dear old man—it seems
the Sea is holding up her bargain—though a
little late... do you have a ship that can fair to
Rome? All across this land, none a skipper will
uptake my plea; they fear the wrath of the sea.
If they have no fear, they claim my home ‘is not
on their routes…’ ‘tis a line I’ve heard too often;
I would purchase a boat, but the sea, she, has
robbed me identity and equity; I’m at her mercy.”

Penny with her rich chestnut hair sat on a fountain
in a piazza—her half empty heart longing to feel
the presence of the Lysseus and stroke his ginger
beard… everyday she would look out at the sea;
where she saw him leave port—five long years ago…

All said she should give up; that he
was dead by now—his ship (what
was left) was found amidst the rocks
of Cape Horn, but she knew there was
hope, she should feel deep inside her
soul he is alive somewhere fighting to
return home. Never would she leave;
never would she abandon her post.
She made that promise five years ago
as he set out on his ‘last’ sail off shore.
And she would be ****** before she
broke her promise—a promise of the
heart; a promise of love. He said, “You
are my lighthouse; your love will guide
me home—keep me from danger. As
long as you remain my lighthouse I will
forever be able to return home—to you.”

Off from Crosshaven the old man took
steadfast Lysseus en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made
their way out on the Celtic Sea, southeast,
to the Straight of Gibraltar; gentle cold
spray moistened his ginger beard, his
tattooed hands grasped the helm—his
resolute stare kept the two on course.

It was a shame to the old man that this
would be Lysseus’ final voyage—he was
the best crew the man had known; he
was  not sure if it was just the character
of the  fellow or his personal desire to
return  home after five long, salty-cold,
years being a slave to the sea and her
changing whim—never had he seen his
ship sail as fast as he did when Lysseus
was his crew—each sail trimmed perfectly,
easing  the sheets fractions of an inch to
gain just the slightest gain in speed; the
sight warmed the heart of the old man.

The old man mused: maybe this is the
reason the sea has fought so hard and
lied to keep Lysseus from returning
home… she could not bear to lose such
fine a sailor from her expanses—she
is known to be a jealous mistress…

The old man, as he smoked his pipe, sat on
the back pulpit staring at Lysseus’ passion
to return home, as he calls her. But for all
his will and passion the, old man had to
insist for the fellow to rest; otherwise he
would go mad without sleep; reluctantly he
would retire below deck, but the old man
doubted the amount of rest he actually
acquired in those moments out of his sight.

The seas were calm as open water can be,
rolling swells rocked and pushed the vessel
forward. The Straight of Gibraltar opened
up on the horizon like a threshold—a major
land mark for the Lysseus; he was closer to
home than he had been in five long, salty,
years. His limbo was starting to fade, his
heart slowly—for the first time since he left
port—was beginning to feel whole again.
The Mediterranean Sea—his final sea—he
would not miss the gleam of his lighthouse…

The closer they sailed to Rome, he could sense a
change in the water, a change in the weather; clouds
grew darker and bellowed like gluttonous bulbs. As
he feared, the Sea was breaking her promise—she
was not done with him yet. She could not let him
return home—the jealous temptress who has ruined
many a fine men—the least honest of all the elements.

“I see she ain’t done wit’ ye yet,” said
the old man. Surveying the dark, grey,
clouded noon-day sky from the bow pulpit.

“Nothing will keep me from reaching home; even if I
have to swim the final nautical miles. I will not let the
Sea break her deal; I will make her keep at least one of
her deals. My love is stronger than her forces. That I
know for certain. That I know beyond doubt.” Such
cried Lysseus out to the darkening sea and old man.

As if on cue—waiting for Lysseus to finish
his soliloquy—the clouds let out a deafening
cacophony of thunder cracks rolling through
the heavens towards their vessel. Lighting
grounded on the horizon around them creating
a cage of light and electricity. The gentle rolling
swells grew in stature with every cracking
second. The bow smacked and dove into on
coming waves; drenching both Lysseus and
the old man; with each flood of water over
the deck. The swells grew to such heights the
horizon transformed into dark clouds and
white peaked waves merging with the sky.

A wave crashed over the windward side of
the ship, the force of it cracked the base at
which the compass stood fastened to the deck
of the cockpit a larger wave hit abeam further
loosening the compass from its purchase; with
the angle of the ship and the rise and fall in the
waves it was all Lysseus could to do hold on
and watch the Sea slowly take the ship’s
navigation instrument into Her dark cold depths…

“Oh why do you curse me you foul tempest?
Cannot you see all I desire is to return to my
home!? I have done all you asked; I have
played all your games and won! now it is my
turn now—time for you to play by my rules!”
Lysseuc beckoned the old man to seek refuge
below deck—he would sail them through the
storm, and assured him the ship would reach
port afloat; for, “I can feel my lighthouse in
the distance; do you hear me Sea? You can
take away our mariner’s compass, but you
cannot take away the compass in my heart;
and the light of my home on shore. Five long
years ago she made a promise to me to be
my lighthouse—to guide me home no matter
what—regardless what you do, Sea, you can
never break her promise—only your, promises.”

As a lighthouse she stood through the weather
of the night—risking pneumonia, for Penny’s
heart told her she could never abandon her
promise as the waters fell flat and the sun peaked
through the storm clouds, a silhouette stretched
in the sunrise light, pointing to her feet. Upon the
bow Lysseus stood, his eyes fixed at the dock
where his lighthouse stood, fixed. Upon the dock
he jumped into the warm, loving, arms of his
home both of their hearts became whole again.
In my head, this is the beginning of a longer epic, which I still have yet to write. Would any of you who read this like to have more to the story; or do you like it as it is?
Kendall Mallon Apr 2013
pigeons perch themselves preening
on marble fauns ambivalent to their
perch, while dark skinned men prowl;
seeking tourists (Americans) to sell
cheap novelty items, over priced, yet
bought to drive away the insistent
merchants; ignorant to the realization:
if you remain silent and don’t make eye
contact you will not forfeit your money...
merchants who ruin the peace and awe
of grand feats of sculpture—I know they
are human (on a base level)—craving
money to make a living, yet there are
many (more respectable) professions…
their presence  crowds the already
crowded (streets and) piazzas—aggregates
of language babble—old women and men
meandering along waiting to die—hoping
it is true: the slower you move the faster
time flows—if not: to hell with relativity!
(should have put chips on more than one table)
can math really explain all?—or
is life more than abstract objects?
while the din of crowds palpitates my heart
making way for anxious calculations,
C— and I hurry pass to find some area
to give the artefacts the respect they deserve
Meandering like its canals
Venetian streets sing underfoot.
Who wore away the stone cobbled streets?
Who walked down to the shore?
Who gazed out at the Adriatic?
Who's dreams were lost in Venice's stream of streets?

Licentious lovers loved in Venice's streets, kissed on her bridges,
Crossed under by gondola and over by foot.
Proposed at the piazza San Marco.
Kissed, while the Grand Canal wound her way down.
Down into the sea,
where the menace that is the world, Venice shuns.

Rialto, Doge, Basilica, St. Marks, pigeons!
All evoke that lagoon city of streets.
Originally refugees, incolae lacunae ("lagoon dwellers")
Venetians, gave not only a place for the dispossessed,
but a place for the world to see, feel and taste.
Art, war, politics, commerce, spice and silk.

Venice with her ribbon of streets, alleyways and bridges
saw the Renaissance, the crusades, and the Black Death.
Glassware, paintings, sculptures, religion, refugees all
synonymous with that floating city.
A city returning to the water she arose from.
Subsiding with grief as she drowns in elegant decay.
Howard Day Aug 2014
I looked up across the piazza and
saw a girl with ***** blond hair in a brown dress
in the fourth floor window of the blue building,
the one next to the building with the faded painting of the ******
on its facade.

She was looking down at the fountain,
and all of us sitting around it.
I looked down to grab my pen, but when I looked back,
all I could see were the lavender shades in the window,
swaying in the late afternoon breeze.

When I finished scribbling these stanzas, she was back
for a moment, as if to say one final farewell.
But not to me, but the fountain
And everyone else sitting around it.
Der Ganzumsonst Nov 2011
Save your sympathies,
And cradle your kisses
They need your words,
In light, speak softly.
In light, be cautious,
Don’t forget where you’ve set
Your feet and laid your head.
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2013
The High Line (Pearls Before Swine)

is located on Manhattan's West Side. It was an elevated train track, that runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District (wholesale butchers) to West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues, near the Hudson River, running parallel to the river.  

The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930's, to lift dangerous freight trains off Manhattan's streets. The High Line, nowadays, is open as a public park, owned by the City of New York. The District is now a night life hot spot of elegant shops and restaurants, among the few remaining meat packing firms, a "scene." If not in a hurry, and unfamiliar with the High Line, look it up (see notes), to get a visual of image. Or not. I can't remember who I promised I would dig out my High Line poem, but a promise kept.

Walk­ed the High Line after work,
early summer afternoon,
a pubescent evening-tide,
the teenage colors
of the setting ball,
seize your breath,
your eyes, enthrall.

On Little West 12th Street,
climbed up to
breathe the green,
thriving railroad earth-beds
tucked so cute,
tween the rusted ties of
intrepid railroad tracks.
still working in
service to humanity;
nature supporters now,
a new kind
of freight carried.

Climbed up on the backs
of a jumbled combo of
dressed beef carcasses
and yuppie carc-*****,
both obedient to the
Law of Consumption:
Consume or be consumed.  

Looked down on them,
gazed upon them
pseudo social-dancing,
they are all prowling,
cat burglars,
searching for felines, roosters,
to tango/tangle with till
the shameful dawn walk,
a final tally of who,
was consumed,
and who,
got consumed.

Watch with bemused fascination
at the children,
swilling and chilling,
some liquor, some swill.
nonetheless  admiring each other;
their Lauren cut and Hilfiger heft
the finest of fat veined lines,
decorating their svelte,
but very attractive,
full figured appearances.

USDA Grade A,
a genuine meat market,
humans and
animals guts,

The Highline,
an architect's composition
of summer grasses,
planted in nooks and crannies
of man's discarded invention.

Summer grasses in unison,
stadium waving to
the music of summer breezes,
Manhattan sounds,
clinking glasses,
goods and services exchanged.    

The view admires you -
Oh baby you look so fine,
Your hair, like the
Hudson River's aquas
is a shining, streaked,
by High Line highlighted
late afternoon,  
sun-setting golden sparklers.

Your gold chains entwining,
fire crackers on top of a
the blue ribboned river,
exploding, dazzling,
your obedient admirers.  

They complement your skin,
aglow, one of nature's works,
soon to be painted on a canvas,
across a horizon of a
pinkish-tinged lavender sky -    
a gift of the oh-so-refined
refineries of South Jersey.  

Cool summer afternoon in
the Meatpacking District,
traffic, human, automotive,
clogs the Gansevoort piazza,
a NYsee zone pietonne,
a Manhattan cocktail of
young strivers and Eurotrash,
where you check me out,
and I return the favor,
using a pre-certified checklist.

Are you young?
Are you hip?
Are you beautiful?
Do you possess
what it takes
to undress me?
Reservations and a limousine!

Everyone who's there,
by definition, is in,
otherwise where else
would they be!

Pearls of perfect people,
perfect lives,
in, around and
before, swine.  

Am I the only one
who gets the joke,
or is the joke, me,
because I just don't got it
in order to get "it"?

Am I the only one
who sees the dead,
ancient and newly arrived,
human and other kind,
the living,
sharing the animal spirits
of the Meatpacking district:
some animated,
some haunted,
some summer tanned
some blood drained,
ghostly white veined?    

In this city,
my sweet city,
city where I bore
my first breath,
city where I'll be laid down to
my permarest,
the hues of my life
are city pastels,
colorful shades of asphalt
and concrete gray and
dried blood,
interspersed with the
speckled glitter of the
potpourri of human creation.

The Highline, an architect's
composition of summer grasses,
planted in nooks and crannies
waving to the jazzed music
of Manhattan lives,
its history, summer breezes,
emblem of the city's only coda:

Transform, rebirth -
survive and prosper,  
or else,
be slaughtered and die.

Summer 2010

Written years ago when long poems were the norm, and inspiration was in the odor of the air I breathed.
Brian Oarr Feb 2012
The fundamental phenomena in nature are symmetrical
with respect to interchange of past and future.* --- Richard Feynman

                 Millions for Defense

In the Cabinet room of Monticello, clutching Decatur's letter,
the President removes his wire-rimmed glasses ---
Frigate Philadelphia has been burned.
Decanting a bourbon, he pours and quaffs.
Outside in the piazza the cicadas' din is unbroken.
The Pasha of Tripoli has his tribute!
In three short hours warm rays of sunlight
will greet the outstretched arms of Earth,
but for now the bourbon scintillates.
Ink splatters on the blotter,
as he pounds a clenched fist upon the desk.
Not one cent!, he pronounces to the wall-clock.
Cicadas hold sway in the Charlottsville night,
but on the Barbary Coast a fire is raging.
Sarà un cielo chiaro.
S'apriranno le strade
sul colle di pini e di pietra.
Il tumulto delle strade
non muterà quell'aria ferma.
I fiori, spruzzati
di colori alle fontane,
occhieggeranno come donne
divertite. Le scale
le terrazze le rondini
canteranno nel sole.
S'aprirà quella strada,
le pietre canteranno,
il cuore batterà sussultando
come l'acqua nelle fontane -
sarà questa la voce
che salirà le tue scale.
Le finestre sapranno
l'odore della pietra e dell'aria
mattutina. S'aprirà una porta.
Il tumulto delle strade
sarà il tumulto del cuore
nella luce smarrita.

Sarai tu - ferma e chiara.
I miss thee, I hath to admit
I want to witness again thy stunning smile so sweet
And how th' sun always kindly, and generously, touchest thy dark hair
Then shalt thou breakest into endless jokes and childish wit
'Fore rising a tender smile, as we greet each other by th' circular stairs.

I bet thou art still remarkable and stupendous as usual
Thou whom I'th known since last grey fall
By th' ponderous sleeping lake; in th' midst of a burly night;
Thou stared through me with a pair of unfathomable eyes;
as though thou couldst makest everything in my heart-better and right;
and yon, yon colourlessness of th' night, shinest so beautifully as butterflies.
Thou wert, indeedst, not th' paleness I had dreamed,
thou wert not bleak, thou wert not mean.
Thou still shined brightly though chilled and dimmed,
thou wert damp, but sunny-just like th' nearby shuffling trances
to which I had never been.
At times thou canst seem lazy, ah-but thou'rt indeedst not!
As just I do, thou liveth thy life from dot to dot,
thou leapest from time to time in my story,
thou, though far away, somehow always seem near,
and be sitting here idly with me and my poetry.
Thou might be close not to my ears,
but I canst listenest to thee; as thou eat and pray,
and as thou waketh, to every single inevitable day.
T'is life, which canst somehow be bitter,
shalt at times corruptest thy happiness and thy laughter;
wringing thee into false devotion and meanness,
but be sure, my love, t'at I shalt be thy cure;
I shalt be thy unhealed passion and all-new tenderness.
I shalt be thy first salvation, honesty and satiation;
I shalt be a scarf t'at giveth thee warmth, and thy hated mediation;
hated and dejected by t'is dreadful world, my love,
t'is world which knowest not t'at love is everything above.
And I shalt be thy heaven, and holiness,
and thy greenest grass when it is too dark,
as t'is world hurts and drivest away from frankness;
and within its grim sacrifice, lettest go of its single spark.
Ah, thee, thy innocence is just like my own soul,
but it is what makest thee divine as gold;
thou art ever pure, and incessantly pure,
and thy jokes and ventures and preachings flawless and true.
And in t'is weary life-which is sometimes faultless but unsure,
thou always makest me feel honoured;
makest me feel brand new.

Ah, Kozarev, thou art my immortal twin star,
and thy lips my sophisticated fragrant moon;
thou art my umbrella in yon idyllic heaven afar,
fade away not, but thou drifted away too soon!
My love, but sketchest again our undying night,
t'is time with a new ***** of light,
and giveth me comfort within which,
and flinch no more, for I shalt not flinch.
Thy genuinity is my nature,
thy childishness is my cure;
for t'ere are no more lips as naive as thine,
though t'ey oftentimes seemest spotless,
and t'eir toughness, seemest fine.

Ah, Kozzie, only fate t'at shalt makest out paths eventually align;
fate who hath sent me sweet prophecies, and a truthful bold sign.
Let me be thy grace, and thy sole, immortal lady;
let me be such craze, so t'at thou shalt always be with me.
I shalt be thy doll, and thy very own addict;
I shalt nursest, and cherishest thee every day of the week.
And joy, and its miraculous delight shalt be ours alone,
fallen fast asleep by night, and renewed by upcoming morns.
Together shalt we teasest every passing minute and hour;
and treatest all 'em nicely, just like how we deemeth t'at laugh, of ours.
And when nightfall greetest, sleep, my love, sleep;
thy red, innocent cheeks shalt I kiss; thy greatest dreams shalt I keep.

Kozarev, and fliest me again to th' melancholy Sofia,
wherein our peace shalt dwellest, and be cheered and alive.
But let me first fetch my old, talkative umbrella;
for Sofia shalt be full of rain; but one t'at makest it safe, and thrive.
Ah, Sofia, our little haven like yon nearby oak chatroom,
old as it is, but still-tenderer t'an t'is ever lonely gloom;
I bet Sofia is still warmer t'an t'is fraudulent war of my heart,
though it is, of now, far and sat by a land wholly apart.
Oh, Sofia, in which our love shalt be adequate, but still-inadequate,
for our love is more benign, ye' at times-more capricious t'an fate.
And it is raw, but ripe, like a mature cherry;
it hath neither tears, nor hate, nor brave worry!
Ah, my love; but again fly me, fly me, t'ere-
for cannot I waitest to live my life with thee;
and so promise t'at I shalt not bend, nor go else anywhere,
so long as thou shalt stayest, and liveth thy future years with me.

Oh, and I shalt forsaketh thee no more;
and disdaineth thee no more-thou art my sonata!
My delight liest in hearing thy sonnets be told;
thou sitting by me 'fore moonlight, down on th' starlit piazza!
Ah, Kozarev, please no longer makest my heart sore-
I am sick to death, I detestest t'is grief to th' core;
Burnest my heart's cries, and indulgest me in thy arms,
I shalt brimmest in thy glory; and gratefully lost, in thy charms.

As th' world turnest so weak and rough,
we shalt be th' sole ones to fall in love;
but our idyll is one t'is envious world cannot gather;
as it growest bleaker, as it turnest worse.
But Kozarev, having thee by my side shalt be enough;
and my days shalt be no more sad, nor tough;
Thou art th' candle, t'at lightest up th' life within me,
thou art th' candy, t'at livenest up all my poetry.

— The End —