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10.7k · Aug 2012
While asleep
spysgrandson Aug 2012
you check on me many times a day
with my antique ears
I hear your squeaking shoes
on these vinyl floors
someone laid for those who came before
like passengers on a stalled bus
with windows that allowed only one view

I know you and I wait for the same thing
for you to check on the passenger who replaces me
he will be no different
a few more hairs, perhaps a few less stares
you will gently place your hand on his wrist
write in his chart, and maybe
glance at the date of birth,
do the mindless math
and wonder without wonder
if my replacement will have a bigger number than I

but I am still here
gazing at your angled eyes
while you count the beats
which slow a little each day
waiting for you to say
how long will this one last?

don’t worry, squeaking vinyl floor walker
when my drum stops pounding
I will try to make sure it happens
while I am asleep
7.8k · Apr 2017
feeding the holier
spysgrandson Apr 2017
Teresa climbs on the bus
before the sun, if she has
the fare

to get there, where she
makes the bread; she's been at this
two of her nineteen years  

yet she has fears, they will
come for her--green card or not;
though they like her rolls

she kneads the big *****, pulls,
pinches, a sculpting of dough, a laying
of trays, one after another

then, from the Iglesias,
they come, decked in their finery
though she does not see

she only hears the litany
of language she can't comprehend,
a clanging of trays, laughter

the urging of the jefe to work
faster, bake the bread; the communion
wafers did not fill them

now they are here, breaking fast,
forgetting the words they just heard
the songs they sang

Teresa does not complain; she
is glad to feed the worshipers, though
they will never know her name

nor will they stop for
her in the pouring rain,
the blistering sun

Teresa never wavers
next Sabbath will be the same:
dawn, the dough, the oven

it is the work--her hands
which make the bread others break,
the grace granted to serve

holy, holy, holy...
spysgrandson Jan 2013
The origin of spiritual sustenance is defined differently by each person. Most attribute it to a divine power or some God incarnate that helps us, limited corporeal beings that we are, relate to a deity or to the infinite. Like billions of other sentient souls, this is a way of "seeing" or believing that I have embraced on some level. However, when I ask myself what sustains me beyond this, I am taken down another path.

That path leads me to the crumbling adobe dwellings or sometimes to the freshly painted stucco buildings scattered across the great southwest. That path leads me to something more tangible or palpable than I can glean from traditional halls of worship. I am led instead to a simple yet profound vision--the sight of a hot plate of Mexican food.

Here is where a slight or perhaps dramatic shift in the way one thinks about the spirit is required. This is not necessarily a new concept but merely my take on it. You have all heard of "Soul Food" as it applies to the cuisine of the African American community or more generically in recent years, "comfort food". Also, some of you may recall me saying at one time or another, truly good junk food bypasses all vital organs and goes straight to the spirit. Let me clarify that last line--it is not that I believe the physical laws of the universe are suspended when one eats certain kinds of food—calories will still be consumed, the food digested and metabolized, etc. Instead, I believe, like so many things spiritual, eating Mexican Food transcends the natural laws of the universe as we know them.

This begs the question, why Mexican food as opposed to some other fare like Chinese or good old fried catfish, a southern favorite? The answer is simple. Some people, because of where they were, who they were, and when they were, are Christians, some are Hindus, some are Muslims and some are witches. I am a worshipper of Mexican food.

My sustenance, therefore, comes not from those in polished marble and stone palaces, clad in clerical garb and carrying holy texts. Instead, it comes from humble servants scurrying about hot kitchens doing what they do perhaps simply to feed their families—from my point of view, a noble endeavor in and of itself.

From the time I see a Mexican eatery through a bug-splattered windshield, I notice its energy or aura. When I open the door and see the gaudy but somehow authentic colors on sombrero covered walls, and hear playful Mariachi, and smell the frying tortillas, I know I have entered one of the houses of the holy. Truly, the colors, the sounds, the sights and the smell all take me to a higher place.

This sounds strange to most readers I am sure, but if I were speaking of a nature walk in dew covered grass among the scent of lofty pines, listening to the sound of songbirds, all could relate to its transcendent quality. We somehow place pristine nature above nature sculpted in a way for human benefit. I do this myself, except when it comes to Mexican food or perhaps a beautifully restored VW van, but that is another story.

To return to my original premise, the spiritual value of Mexican food—when the hot oblong platter is placed in front of me, I first notice its colorful array on the plate. Imagine a platter with red and blue corn chips, gray/brown frijoles covered with white cheese, orange rice, chili verde (green), a golden cheese covered enchilada, olive green guacamole, red ripe tomatoes with rich green cilantro and snow white onions, and last of all deep green jalapenos, forming a colorful tapestry and visual feast. (Contrast this with a hunk of brown steak, pale green peas, and a white glob of mashed potatoes.)

The scent of this feast immediately attacks my olfactory bulb and like so many smells, has the power to evoke startlingly clear memories. For me, I am taken to a place where the door opens to a moonless starry sky. I am in the desert, perhaps for the first time. I am in the desert, being courted by the dark desert lady who still haunts my soul in the night. I go back there so many nights, when all is quiet and my long day’s journey into night is finished. This vast, dark and inhospitable land that has called holy men to it through the ages calls me, a man as common as the cook whose labors unwittingly took me there. I huddle among the cacti, creatures who ask the earth for so little. I feel the endless winds that carry the remnants of a thousand ancient souls across the black Sonoran sky and rattle the door from where I came, as if still asking for entrance to a place where they can no longer dwell. Long ago, they returned to the desert for a final time, and now, a thousand nights and a thousand miles away, they mix with the holy night air as only desert dust can, and for a moment tempt the living, but then return to the black night. I do not yet join them—the door still opens to me. I can still see the colors, hear the sounds and place earthly but heavenly morsels in my mouth, and ask for more salsa.

Outside, in the dark desert, the night waits for me, but I have a few more bites to take, and a few more words to write, and to borrow a line from another, a few more miles to go before I sleep—thus, the spiritual value of Mexican food.
In my profile here at HP, I mentioned that I had written this--it was probably three years ago.
spysgrandson Jul 2016
anonymous winds
bend tall Timothy grasses,
wake rabbits napping
in the brush

they ripple the surface
of the stock tanks, tickle the haunches
of the beasts who wade there
to slurp the tepid waters

they birth red dust devils
for my eyes to follow, as they scud
through mesquite, and hopscotch over canyons
older than time

one day, soon, they will blow
over a shallow earth bed; I will not hear
their sibilant song, but my sleep will be deep,
unperturbed by their mystic music
spysgrandson Mar 2012
Goodbye Charlie, Hello Vietnam.

Nineteen. I was ten and nine. Two A.M. Landed in some muggy, putrid place. Between honor and complete disgrace. Smelled like that for sure.  Issued tools of our trade. Heard the true sound of “rockets red glare”. Had us hunkering in bunkers all night. ******* in our helmets. Holding our ears. ****, the first night. Welcome to Vee-et-nam.

Morning. Sunshine and quiet. Except the rap from old timers. “Newbies“. New jungle fatigues. Newbies. New M-16. Clean boots. All day the old timers, telling each other how these newbies had their cherry popped. First night in country and the biggest *** mortar attack they had ever seen. Heard. Heard, I said. Yeah. What newbie? Now you have heard the real rockets’ red glare. That’s what you heard, Newbie.

I get it. Newbies are ****. We are **** and they aren’t going to waste a breath telling us anything. Watch. Watch and learn. I hope. Lines. Lines to get our teeth rinsed with fluoride. Lines. To chow. To get more shots. To in country orientation. Lines. Memorize lines. Lines to get ammo. Lines to get orders.

No line at the outhouse. Gray three seater. Heat roasting our ****. Old timer kicked the planks before he sat down beside me in the stench. I asked the question but only with my eyes. Kick the planks before you sit down so rats won’t bite your ***** off. Kick the planks to scare off the rats. Rats. The size of possum. Not an exaggeration. Possum rats. Rat possums. Who the hell knew? Just kick the planks. Save your *****.

More lines. Then darkness. Then more booms. Not incoming. Our own. 1-5-5s. Learn the difference newbie so you don’t crap your drawers for nothing. That’s the boys in that artillery firebase keeping Charlie awake for the night. Returning the favor. Charlie. Sounds like a name you would call someone who was a buddy doesn’t it? Charlie. Victor Charlie. V C. ***** Charlie. **** Charlie. Charlie this and Charlie that. Oh, Charlie would eat that rat.

My first duty. Guarding Charlie. Prisoner with leg blown off at the knee in our clean smelling dispensary. Hands strapped to bed rails. MP and I assigned night shift. Keep each other awake . Looked at Charlie. Charlie looked at me. Smirk. Then spit. Landed on my boot. My newbie boot. Not a newbie boot anymore. Charlie squirms. Spits again and misses. MP gets up and threatens to bash Charlie in Charlie’s little head. Medic comes and gives squirming, smirking, spitting Charlie shot of good drugs. Charlie doesn’t spit on medic. Charlie gets drowsy. I get drowsy. MP falls asleep. I stand up. Newbie afraid to fall asleep on guard duty. I wake the MP before shift change. Charlie is up. Smirk, smirk. Thus spoke Charlie. The only conversation I ever had with Charlie.

Medic says Charlie getting on a bird to someplace. Can’t remember where. Anyplace.   Charlie leaving and me staying. Ain’t that a hoot--all it cost him was a boot. Envy is a word I learned that day. Cost him part of a leg medic says when I tell him I wish I was Charlie just then. Had heard tales about people shooting off their toes to get out of the ‘nam. “**** tales” I would call them, since I heard so many in those gray crappers. Rats. Possum rats and your *****. ***** or a limb? Did I really want to be him? I don’t really remember. I didn’t want to be there--somewhere between honor and complete disgrace. Bye Charlie. Hello Vietnam.
mostly true story from a while ago--the only short story I have posted here
6.0k · Dec 2012
214 Tulip
spysgrandson Dec 2012
tufts of grass sit in the yard  
hairy green patches of tenacity
in a field of neglect
half a screen guards
a **** stained door  
where someone painted, 214
the pit sits behind it
waiting to be fed
or to be chained again
to the stake
where, like any beast
bound by gravity
and the grave, he
will make ceaseless circles,  
smaller  e a c h  day,  
unwitting sentry to those
two legged creatures
inside, who
with or without the pit,
lie prostrate,
in dreamless
bug rich beds    
when they fall from sleep
they too make circles
bound by their own
stakes and chains
that can’t be seen
but their pull is felt
and
their eternal rattle heard
no matter how far from home
the prisoners of tulip roam
DISCLAIMER: if you live at 214 Tulip, and you have a Pit Bull, this is NOT about your house
5.7k · Nov 2011
night walk
spysgrandson Nov 2011
on the shore
only this morning, as ***** yawned
and wispy waves woke to sun’s call
with a million speckled sparkles of light
I was alone with my thoughts
and your crisp footprints in the sand
the scent of your hands still on me
fading with each mist filled breath I took
you were still there
your seed crawling down my leg
but tides change
and your prints soon filled with salt and sand
and the sun, our benediction only a dreamy minute ago
melted into the craggy bluffs
and I was left to walk alone
without your shivering shaft filling me
or your groping but grateful hands touching me
alone, on my night walk
alone, how I began
and will end, my…
night walk
I sometimes take on the voice of another when I write--in this case, the voice of a woman--not one I have used often
spysgrandson Nov 2011
EVERYBODY got ‘em a cell phone
pissant with not a nickel to pay his rent got him one
i ain’t got one or the quarter to use this pay phone
sittin’ there behind me waitin' for me to feed it
and hear that jingle like some slot machine that always pays out
temptin’ me like some shiny new toy
but i got two pennies and i ain’t even rubbin' them together
back then, back when nobody had no cell phone
i filed pennies down on the street to make them the size of dimes
when one of them dimes could by me a marshmallow pie
from a vendin’ machine at the bowlin’ alley
that ain’t there no more
but some cell phone store is
but that don’t matter
i don’t want no cell phone
i would like me one of them marshmallow pies
and an extra quarter to give this hungry phone
yesterday, some lady give me three quarters
and i give two of them to Jose to call his mama and sister
he gave me two smiles
i kept that other quarter to make a call
but couldn’t think of no number
or no soul
want to hear my voice
so i give that quarter to a little boy
who was all alone
and didn’t have no cell phone
**inspired by a photo of a homeless person, sitting on a bench, leaning on his mobile shopping cart home, with a pay phone behind him--one of a series of poems I wrote that were inspired by the photos of the Texas homeless--I was in a Langston Hughes mood when I wrote it--wish we could post images with our work here, for the picture is far more poignant than my simple words
5.1k · Nov 2015
the river all
spysgrandson Nov 2015
LET
THERE
BE
LIGHT
a
fierce
sun ******
vapors
into
a
thunderous
sky
which
wept
sixty
sextillion
t­ears
creating
a
riddled
calibration:
the river  
time

we
came
cells
devouring
cells
metastasizing
into
li­fe
first
cruel crawlers
then
stealthy stalkers
wicked walkers  
and
finally
THE
terrible talkers
blasphemers
bending
time
asking
WHY
it
flows
?

we
are
th­ey
who
have
no
shore
to
which
to
moor
on the river,
time
what comes at 2:00 AM when I had too much chocolate
4.9k · Nov 2015
Baguettes in Beirut
spysgrandson Nov 2015
my cousin liked to have breakfast
at an open air café, with his fiancée, on Fridays
the owner knew she loved French breads, having
been schooled at the Sorbonne  

the bakery made them at his behest    
he would tell his staff to keep one for her
and to bring a bag when served;
she always saved half for later  

rush hour was madder than usual  
that night, until the bombs blasted
and brought the synovial silence that comes
in the wake of wondering, what
has happened?    

the sirens screamed soon enough
and my cousin smelled the smoke  
cordite, yes, but burnt baklava,
Maamoul as well  

his fiancée came to him that night  
watched and waited to hear if anyone they knew  
was lost, their hands clasped tight, breaths shallow,
in the languid hush after the city slowed
to its mournful rest  

the sun rose, the skies clear, crisp, to their surprise,
and they went to the café, where the owner apologized
for the wicked, wicked world, and for not having baguettes
after the bakery died
I must thank a friend at Facebook for posting an image of a candle for Beirut--the horrific events in Paris last night overshadowed the loss of 43 the night before in Beirut--a bakery was one of the two places bombed--I wrote of the Paris incident while it was unfolding--this one belatedly
4.8k · Oct 2015
214 Tulip
spysgrandson Oct 2015
tufts of grass stand in the yard  
hairy green patches of tenacity
in a field of neglect

half a screen guards
a **** stained door where
someone painted, 214

the pit bull sits behind it
waiting to be fed, and to be
chained again to the stake

where, like any beast bound
by gravity and the grave, he will
make ceaseless circles  

smaller  e a c h  day,  
unwitting sentry to those
two legged creatures
inside

who, with or without
the pit, lie prostrate, in dreamless
bug rich beds    

when they fall
from sleep, they too make circles
bound by stakes and chains…
invisible    

though their pull is felt
and their infernal rattle heard
no matter how far from home
the prisoners of Tulip roam
rewrite from years ago
4.8k · Feb 2014
Shumanitutonka ob wachi
spysgrandson Feb 2014
I wish I could run with you
in your silent packs  
I have done my share of howling
a prisoner of this sluggish, two legged species
that cannot chase down prey
or take flight, without the crafted creations
of others,
I can, if I wade warily through
waves of wind, and time,
dance with you,
on moon grazed prairies  
but only until the sun cracks the dawn
and exposes me, for the vain actor I am
Shumanitutonka ob wachi is Lakota for dances with wolves
spysgrandson Nov 2011
you see through me
and I through you
and father, too
has always been that way
the limits of my sight
being cradled in the Shanghai night
when
outside, teeming masses flowed through
the black wet shine of asphalt
like ants en route to the mound they cannot see
…while you and father created me
after,
with the curtains tipping on the sill
and the warm wind calling
but not knowing your names
he blew smoke into the Asian night
while you watched the grey placentate plumes
swirl sweetly to the stained ceiling
adorning its placid plaster with mystic memories
and the forbidden scents I will never smell
for you and he would never tell
what rhythmic rhymes you made
with the masses plodding along
oblivious to your milky movements
while they stirred in another darkness
4.3k · Nov 2013
cheeseburger--pepsi--chips
spysgrandson Nov 2013
deaf and dumb
are the passers by,
the visitors as well
  
gladly would I fill their ears
with the wisdom of weary worries,
tedious torments, but I fry their meat,
smashing it until it screams  

the sizzling symphony wafts to my bulb  
stirring memories of the steer, the ****,
the beatific butchering, and
the killing fields of my youth

while others see only my hunched back  
and wait for their greasy grub
I ask why there is no atonement
no sorrowful song for the slaughter  
of young ones in faraway lands
who fell under the “noble” knife
or
the bovine beasts whose skulls
were there for the bar, that dropped
with sublime indifference
as it stilled their
magnificent silence
You have to be old to know the allusion to "cheeseburger--pepsi--chips" (from Saturday Night Live--the early years--mid to late 1970s) and you have to be strange to understand how the title relates to the poem. Also, "bulb" is olfactory bulb, ones sense of smell. I could not bring myself to use the word "olfactory".
4.2k · Oct 2013
Uncle Parrot
spysgrandson Oct 2013
she had an uncle who spent
twenty years in the ring,
landing solid blows until  
he landed
in a downtown Oakland hotel,
older than he, wrecking ball got it
in the dawn of the cyber age
but for ten droning years,
it was his cage

he never had a title shot
but he kept his belly full
and had cash for the women, the drink  
never drove a car, cabbies knew him
and knew the smell of gin meant
“keep the change”
  
when his legs got weak
and his left eye went to blur
the money stopped rolling in  
but he still thirsted for the gym, the gin
he got himself a gig at Big G’s  
just enough hours to clean out the showers,
to keep the johns from smelling of ****,  
and a few greenbacks comin’ his way  

he would end each day
alone in his room, inhaling the gloom  
that seeped over the transom  
like smoke from a smoldering fire  
but there was no fire left in the ancient hotel  
or Parrot’s burned up belly  
only fading memories
of a wounded warrior  
who taunted his opponents
by mimicking every word they said  
in the ring, where he earned a bird’s name  
but never its sweet song, before time
took its tattered toll
spysgrandson Oct 2012
Aunt Gracie took me there
for a philly and five cent cee-gar
old enough to fight,
old enough to puff on that stogie
she said
(and not much more)
I spun my stool like I was on a carnival ride
(had only one beer with Uncle Lon, but your first beer is the best)
and Gracie looked at me
like I was still the kid
who broke her basement window
with a bad pitch
when I was ten
yeah, I was, still that boy
seven years later
in that glass box of light
humming in the concrete night
big round Gracie smilin’ at me,
looking like she was gonna cry
she had signed those papers
lied with that pen
making me old enough to be a killer
and smoke that cigar, I suppose
the couple eating eggs and bacon
asked if I was shipping out
six AM, yes sir
the woman smiled like Gracie
the man nodded his head, said
**** a *** for me
sure thing, sure thing
me thinking killing one of them
would let me live,
forever,
forever, and wouldn’t be any different
from playin’ God with bee-bees and birds
which I had done a time or two
with my Daisy
cook put my philly in front of me
his eyes locked on the counter
like someone condemned
to never hold his head up high
and trapped in that diner
forever,
forever feeding
me and other nighthawks
who come to this place
the last space of light
in the hungry night
thanks for the sandwich, I said
he said that’s free
but the man eatin’ eggs
said it’s on me
cook didn’t look at the man
went to cleaning some pan
was then I noticed he limped
bad
I asked how he got hurt
he kept his eyes on his sink
said, it was a long time
before this night
were you born that way?
nobody born this way son
Gracie’s elbow nudged mine
but sixteen and full of all
of one beer, I was gonna keep askin’
how--
it was a long time
before this night
I know, but how--
guess you’ll know
soon enough
we were
clawing our way
from a French trench
filled with gas and gasps
of boys with your face
too dead to cry, too dead to scream
when those machine gunners cut loose
what I got was some good luck
and one of those big rounds
in my knee
Gracie’s elbow moved away
she put her hand on my leg
(my hand was on my philly, limp and still)
you got shot by the Krauts in the Great War?
he didn’t say anymore
and I didn’t eat my meal
 
Gracie was good to me,
I know she wrote all the time
but we didn’t always get our mail
on those big ships, many men
would leave their suppers on the floor
in all that stink of seasick
they taught me to play cards
told me jokes, gave me smokes
Lucky Strikes
we were going to some place
with a funny sounding name
Ee-wa Gee-ma, Ee-wa Gee-ma
at night, when I would look
at the black bottom of the bunk above me
I would see
someplace green, Ee-wa, sunny, Gee-ma
someplace with curling trees
and birds for my daisy to shoot at
other nights, in that dark,
in that stale stink of tobacco and puke
I would see the humming light
of the diner that night, wishing
I had eaten that philly sandwich
and smoked that cigar
(which I left by the plate)
I would think of Gracie
and how she begged me
to confess my sins
(to the recruiting sergeant)
to come back
safe, whole, she said
(but I didn’t know what whole meant)
after that, I heard only the voices of men
some barking orders and commands
others whimpering,
whispering
in the same dark
ship of steel
 
 
when I saw the grey rocks
and flak-filled sky, and heard
the swoosh of surf
and the thunder
of our ships’ guns
and some rat-tat-tat
from the invisible holes
I knew I knew,
nothing yet of hell
 
Happy, we called him
was dead
all nineteen years of him
on that **** hole of beach
his guts strewn across the sand
(his life story I guess)
making their peace with *****
and the red and black blood
of other boys and men
who played cards
and flipped open their Zippos
to light my smokes
told me jokes
and laced their boots with me
that very morning
 
by the time
the ramp fell
I spotted Happy
my stinging eyes stuck
to his shredded belly
we, all of us, fell forward
into the shallow Pacific
ran, with all our gear clanging
to dunes high enough to hide
to hide,
but only long enough
to catch our breath
and smell cordite, fear-sweat,
and burned flesh
we did not take time to gag
over the dunes we went
told to make it to a rock
some twenty of us
to a rock no bigger than Lon’s ‘36 coupe
by the time we hid behind the rock
only eight of us hunched there
the others were where?
didn’t know, didn’t care
I had my piece of rock
rounds kept poppin’ off
the other side
from all those invisible holes
filled with slant eyed demons
my ears were ringing
when I heard the corporal say
start putting fire on that hole
what hole, what hole, what hole
the words were stuck somewhere
deep inside, not in my throat
but they were there
trying to ask him where
what hole? what hole
(I thought for a moment about Gracie and coming back whole?)
the corporal, OK, I forgot his **** name
he wasn’t in my platoon
he said put some fire on that hole
one more time
but then when he got up to shoot his M-1
something made his helmet fly off
and most of him went to the ground
the part that didn’t go out the back of his head
Tommy grabbed my arm
(Tommy taught me that four of a kind beats a full house)
and said something
and said it again
over there, over there
OVER THERE
when I looked where he was looking
I saw them, one with a tan helmet,
the other with a shiny black head of hair
Tommy was trying to point his M-1
at those **** who were firing
their 92 machine gun
at those boys on the beach
I pointed my M-1 at them too
but my hands were shaking too bad to aim
Tommy aimed I think
and we both kept shootin’ at those ****
who finally just looked like they went to sleep
but they never woke up
but neither did the other six boys
who were hiding behind that rock with us
because as soon as Tommy and me
started shootin’ at those ****,
they turned that 92 at us
but all those boys were in front of us
pressed so tight against that stingy rock
they couldn’t breathe
or move
even enough
to get their M-1 carbines
turned
in the right direction
so when those **** turned that 92
on the bunch of us
Tommy and I were in the right place
behind six poor boys
who couldn’t move
and got their young bodies
peppered with every round
that come from the hot barrel
of that *** 92 machine gun
once those two *** boys were asleep
I felt something warm on my arm
it was blood from Hector’s face
but Hector didn’t have a face left
part of it was on my sleeve
I think
but I didn’t look
Hector was in my squad
and he wore a Saint Christopher
to keep him safe
Hector didn’t lose all his head
like I heard Saint Christopher did
but most of it
and if that pendant
and all his mama’s prayers
didn’t keep him safe
I guess nothing could
 
I don’t remember when
I was able to sleep
through a whole night
without wakin’ up
thinking about
Hector, the corporal
and the other five boys
who died right there
behind the rock
there were a million other rocks
where boys
“went to sleep”
only they didn’t wake up
feeling Hector’s warm blood
on their arms
shivering
before it even got cold,
dry, and black
 
Gracie told me
the diner closed
she didn’t know why
but now
when I can’t sleep
and walk the pavement
in the middle of the city night
I go to that dark corner cafe
looking for the buzzing light
I want my cigar I did not smoke
and once again hear the words
the limping man spoke
I don’t have any more questions
he won’t want to answer
but if I did
they might be stuck
down inside
not in my throat
but deeper
where things churn
but don’t ever get seen or heard
I do wonder
if those other boys
at the rock,
and those other rocks,
all those other rocks
are taking these lonely late night walks
or if they had talked
with a limping man
who fed them for free
who thought he was lucky
and spoke words
no young eager bird killers
could yet understand
Nighthawks refers to a 1942 Edward Hopper painting of a corner diner and was the inspiration for the first and last stanzas
spysgrandson Jun 2013
full moon gazing

moon gawking
shutters snapping  
to freeze round moment
in time    


red man’s liquid revenge

crimson cream
dripping  
from his dull blade
after scalping me    


different views*

on this spinning wheel
the *happy
hamster  
and mad me
spysgrandson Aug 2014
I found you
on page 119, of the sacred tome
the only sin, to slay the fine fowl
called mockingbird--why blue jays were fair game
remains mystery to me, but I trust thee,
Ms Lee, to have writ the grand truth

though when I look to the skies,
or in the flush of leaves in my oak,
I find only mourning dove, robins
and a plain sparrow or two, all hiding,
from sinners, in the soft rain

they would not heed my words
no matter how earnestly
implored

"stay behind the branches,
do not move a feather,
words cannot protect you;
when the rains stop, those
with sharp eye and cold heart
will rob you of flight and light "

and then I awake,
to a  bright sun, to realize
there has been no rain and the slaughter
has continued all along
thank you Harper lee, for writing To **** a Mockingbird
spysgrandson Jun 2013
“Beautifully Oppressive”

she called my work
“beautifully oppressive”  
did she mean like the stifling pall
of equatorial heat?  
what lines had I writ
to elicit such truthful and prodigious
adverbs and adjectives?  
I can not recall being more flattered  
or believing more that it mattered  
what one said of my
delirious desultory delusions,
my petty pecking indulgences…
I believe I was recalling a dream  
that spoke of elusive, fickle salvation,  
the perennial  curse of the chosen ******,
and their haunting hunger for implacable peace  
when I evoked that response from her  
“beautifully oppressive” to feel such a fate?  
the promise of heaven for those trudging through hell?  
what other beautiful oppressive story could I tell?
I wrote a poem about a dream and victoria from Hello Poetry called it "Beautifully oppressive"--I felt the comment was high praise given that I generally only shoot for "mildly depressing"
3.9k · Sep 2012
9/11
spysgrandson Sep 2012
I was...

encased in a silver humming tube
shooting through blue sky and soft clouds

the attendant (my daughter’s age) stood
thin knuckles gripping the seat in front of me
whiter than clouds zipping past the window
her doe eyes transfixed on the men
praying with each shallow breath
they would ask nothing of her

some spoke English, some gibberish
waving their razors in ominous dance
slicing the air that carried their words

a pilot at their feet,
a thin red trail, a single line
the only biography he had
written on the cabin carpet
between the cockpit and
where they stood
barking at us, punctuating their orders with prayer and praise
to some God I did not know

“Al lah, A lah…”
more threatening chants
“Allah, Al lah”
more—a shrill scream interrupted this dream
as one yanked an attendant to his side—more venomous words
flying at us like poisoned arrows
(but all of us too frozen to move as these flew through pressurized air)
“please” the only word she uttered before she froze
eternally in the arms of her ****** assassin

the lump in my throat fell, I leaned forward and others did too
(I never saw, but surely they did)
trying to think through the hateful haze
to younger days
how to disarm an assailant—they had to teach me that
I had to remember that—we did that for our beret
but I couldn’t reach back
not further than that morning
when I said good bye to my son

still (“Al lah, Ah lah”—ripping anger from their guts)
I thought, I can do something

the attendant beside me, tears now flowing from lost eyes
(whose smooth blond hair now even looked like my daughter’s)
backed up, her trembling hand brushing my shoulder
(did I think, the last human touch for her, for me?)
my hands grabbed her fingers and I squeezed them gently
(just as I had my own child when I left her side at the altar—
did I say the same words, “Be happy, you deserve it...I love you”)
she looked at me, raindrop tears now instead of fears
we smiled faintly as I pulled her to my seat and rose to my feet

outside the windows
gray square stones now filled the air
blocking the morning sky
where are the clouds I thought…
but only for a second
we
are
not
hostages
we are…going to…

I did not feel the cabin floor as I moved towards the miscreant crew
between me and the cockpit door
I was young, light and agile again, sailing at them
their words no longer calling for their god
but now they spoke in direct command,
nothing of some promised land, but
“STOP OR WE WILL…”
we will…what?
Could I have laughed at the irony…
or we will what?

another now with me, no older than my son
(and looked like he as well)
headed down the aisle
towards men now racing to meet us
four against two
but somehow I knew we would never meet

the lump was in my throat again, my clenched fists relaxed
my own teary eyes turned to the windows, away from the maddening screams
and between endless glass, steel, and stone
I got a glimpse of pure blue sky
last night CNN had a special about 9/11--reminded me of this narrative written on the 5th or 6th anniversary of the event
3.7k · Aug 2018
the serpent and I
spysgrandson Aug 2018
the green grove a magnet to my eye
on these sun baked plains

I enter the glade to take shade with the cicadas
and vampire mosquitos

then I see it, Eden’s villain, coiled and rattling,
red ready to strike

I raise my staff, I too programmed to survive, do to what millennia
have taught

still we are in this staring standoff—silent save its rattle, deaf
I am to the chorus of insects

neither of us moves for an eternity of seconds, until the snake lunges at my feet

where its fangs find a field mouse, and devour it while I watch, an unwitting witness to expiry other than my own  

I leave the copse, whole, content another creature has, for today, taken my place in the bloodletting
3.6k · Jul 2012
he liked it black...
spysgrandson Jul 2012
he liked it black
scalding his tongue
to wake to pain rather
than wait for caffeine’s
slow tugging

that was his way
while she lay on crumpled sheets
breathing the air they scented
with their raw rolling

he wanted a reminder
a scorched tongue to bring him back
to his solitude--to remind him
their naked chants cast a spell

that lasted no longer
than the moon’s arc if they were lucky enough
to be fooled their union meant immortality

rather than a desperate throbbing
in fading light, with him closing his eyes
to avoid her stare

and her wondering where
he went in the aftermath of lust while
she slept with dripping dreams…

she only knew
what he said each new morn:
he liked it black
I still have "writer's block" which is likely another way to say I likely don't really have anything to say, but this came out last night
3.5k · Nov 2015
sumbuddy's grandson
spysgrandson Nov 2015
he's someone’s grandson
his body bag just like the others
viewed from the outside

inside with him
are stories, waiting to be told
over, over again by the mothers,
the mothers' mothers

who imagine they keep him
from the ground with their telling:
bassinets, bicycles, back seats with girls
finally bayonets with the boys

some of them
his buddies, beside him now
with their stories, waiting
to be told
war death bodybag generations
3.3k · Sep 2013
the cur at the landfill
spysgrandson Sep 2013
from a distance, I thought
you might be a wolf  
straying from the high country,
confused by the cacophony of scents,
but no,
‘twas my vapid vision, you were  
only a mongrel, perched high on the mound  
the odors of suburban fast food ghosts    
and tuna tins familiar to you  
you stood atop the reeking remnants
your right front paw resting on  
the shredded files of a grand embezzler  
your left rear on the ear of a headless teddy bear  
another on an orange rind until you shifted your weight
and found footing on a crinkled crushed water bottle
one of about…33,448,899 in the heap, or maybe
33,448,900  
and the last on the ubiquitous cell phone
that heard its final voice a fortnight before,
when its master spoke his last light words
before he tossed it into a dark dumpster  
and replaced it with another plastic confessor  
whose fate would ultimately be the same  
after some sublime texting  and sexting
and a few vain words
to other deaf dogs
inspired by a Facebook image of a dog on top of a monstrously large (though colorful) heap of trash at a landfill
3.3k · Sep 2017
dining with Edgar
spysgrandson Sep 2017
I wanna have lunch with Poe,
at Burger King,

because I'm sure he would appreciate how ghoulish that King in their commercial is

I don't want him to recite verse
while we fill our medium cups with corn syrup nectar--a giant leap
down from laudanum

I do want to ask about the Cask of Amontillado and being walled in slowly, for eternity

for to me that is creepier than all the crimson cream in the Masque of the Red Death

I want to know if he likes the fries--will he dare to dip them in scarlet paste we call catsup

mostly I want to know if he remembers the alley where he was found,

not yet a legend, consumed by consumption and delirium in equal measure

and if there were rodents privileged to hear his last whispered words--or even a gasp

I am buying, Ed, so grab that Whopper with both bony paws and tell me terrible tales, evermore
3.3k · Mar 2012
Pineapple Blue Horizon
spysgrandson Mar 2012
your milky dusky hue
blankets the black
that kept me in my bed
afraid to awake
more afraid to sleep

now I see you,
yawning along with me
erasing history each moment
even before the golden orb
cracks your silence
with its fickle fire

I know you,
false hope giver
promising light
fooling eternal night
but not eternally
for you too will one day be black

I will not see this
nor will my seed
nor theirs, but one day
the crack between earth and sky
will vanish
and eyes that long for light
will become
part of karmic night
the dripping sweetness they craved
in golden blue light
will be gone
3.0k · Apr 2017
Appalachian trail markers
spysgrandson Apr 2017
with moonlight, he travels mostly
at night, past snoring hikers and embers
of fires that cooked their food, kept darkness
at bay, and heard what they had to say

if the coals could only speak, perhaps
he would find the right circle of stones,
a black heap of carbon that once glowed
red and gold, and her tale would be told

at least he would know the last words
she spoke in this wilderness--whether she
chose to vanish into the deep wood, fodder
for the scavengers

or was the prey of evil men,
who lurk at every turn--in bustling city
and quiet forest as well--vipers who strike
without warning, without curse or cause

when the moon's light wanes, he moves yet
in darkness, feeling his way, a nocturnal detective,
hoping to find what the others have given up
for lost and registered among the dead:

sign or scent of her--black coals or white bones,
a piece of tattered clothing, the canvas backpack
with her name, the hiking boots he laced for her
which left tracks he forever yearns to find...
"Inspired" by the brutal ****** of a couple on the Appalachian Trail in the mid '80s. In this case, the forlorn searcher has lost a lover, daughter or someone he wanders in the darkness to find.
3.0k · Jan 2017
a murmuration of starlings
spysgrandson Jan 2017
where will they take me
this thick, whirling cloud
of birds?

I lower my shotgun;
my targets were to be
a skein of geese

(corpulent, impertinent
avian freaks I have seen
peck children's shins)

these smaller birds
perform a choreography electric,
black against blue

now I know the meandering
meaning of mesmerize--my eyes
glued to the skies

more agape than the hunter
in me--wishing to watch this wave
undulate an eternity

but alas, the flock turns
into a naked sun; I am forced
to shield my eyes

my hand blocks the blare
of light, with it, the whipping tail of
their liquid flight

when I lower it, they are
but a haze near the horizon, performing
magic for another audience
spysgrandson Aug 2018
drought dry only a fortnight, and no trace
of the swimmers--not a bloated bass or a skeletal carp
only a few lily pads burnt russet by the sun

all else, perverse interlopers from modernity:  
bullet banged beer cans, truck tires,  
and the ubiquitous bottle water plastic
waiting patiently for the next ice age

no sign of one fish that emitted a last gilled gasp here

deep beneath the bed though
progenitors rest, theirs and ours,
antediluvian, Permian, as permanent as the word allows
my footfalls above them today
tomorrow silent where they lay
3.0k · Sep 2014
the blessed odor of tacos
spysgrandson Sep 2014
balking, then walking into the suburban night,
I have escaped the TV, the PC, the clutter of memories
and the last two hanging, breasty incandescent bulbs in the galaxy,  
soon to have their filaments burn out amid the indifference
of florescent pigtails and their infinite, incessant hum
I have escaped into this night      

marching on, marching on
the sullied, sacred sidewalk squares
past the dentist’s house, past the woman whose husband was murdered
by his best friend over a case of beer, and had her eternal fifteen minutes on Dr. Phil
past the retired educator, past the woman who…hell I don’t know what she does--she drives a gold Avalon
and never retrieves her Sunday paper before noon  

marching on, marching on  
I count cadence, move as if I am headed
to another battle, and I am, but I won’t see my enemy tonight
he is yet on the black horizon, waiting for me, and you    

marching on
when I pass the widow’s house a second time, a third (?) time
I smell her cigarettes and see the orange glow in her garage, like  
a lonely firefly moving to and fro, in the universe she creates for it
before flicking it to her oil stained concrete graveyard, stomping it out
never to let it fly again, though by my next circle she will have birthed a new one  
and given it a foul fickle journey of its own    

marching on
a truck passes me on my final lap  
its fumes mixing with the cool moonlight
I hold my breath, wanting neither lunar light
nor carbon monoxide for my evening repast
  
when I breathe again,
the scent of tacos soothes my olfactory,
I do not know its greasy origin in this dark place  
nor do I care, but I inhale again more deeply
daring the odor to tease me again  
and help me forget what
I escaped to find  
marching on
2.9k · Jul 2013
sushi at Kiki’s
spysgrandson Jul 2013
he had a third beer
before the hot platters came    
he would have had another, had she not
stared, like she going to ask every question
he did not want to answer…
how did it feel to slap his first wife?    
how did it feel to pull the trigger  
and mow men down like so many weeds?
those were the questions in her eyes  
and had he ever told anyone, what happened that night  
when they came upon a village, where the young ones
slept with the dead, their ancestors
only a few feet away, watching, mute,
beyond the paddies where they planted the rice,
the narrow trails where they hunkered and spoke
the ancient tongue, not adulterated by the romance of the French
or the clumsy amalgam of shredded sounds from the new soldiers  
the giants who ignored them in the steaming light of day
but came one night, bringing strange smells, oiled steel
muzzles pointed at their faces, shoved into their empty ears
grunting and groaning in an even more grotesque tongue  
leaving tears and trembling in their wake,
the torn flesh, the wounded wombs, the silken vessels  
meant to be there for the milky planting of tomorrow’s seeds  
not the greedy groping of the interloper’s devilish deeds  
was she asking about that night, the sounds he recalled
like puppies under heavy foot, or worse, like
the madding moaning of his own sister
when someone ripped her open  
not in the distant killing fields
but in the back seat of her car  
not two miles from where they sat  
where he ordered more beer, and
she asked those questions with her silence,
with her eyes, the questions he would never answer  
not after all the beer, in all the free world,
and he was pitifully glad
they served no sushi, in Kiki’s, though
the sharpened knives were there
ready for his confessional
and the raw slaughter of truth
Kiki's is a renown Mexican restaurant in the southwestern US--they serve only Mexican cuisine
Disclaimer--I did not slap my first wife nor sexually assault any Vietnamese children during my tour there--there are, however, people who have done both and this is their woeful tale
2.7k · May 2016
the Buffalo Cafe
spysgrandson May 2016
no bison on the menu
at the Buffalo; this diner
never served it  

Big Mike, long gone
named it for the high shelf  
on the prairie behind it  

where Lakota learned
to stampede beasts over the edge, massacring
hordes without bow or sweat

the gully below,
their forgotten bone yard,
left little trace of them

save half a skull
Mike exhumed and hung on the wall
in the time of polio

before the wide whizzing interstates
when truckers still landed on his dusty lot  
their rolling behemoths content in pasture

in a new millennium, the cafe highway is but
an accidental detour; the shack guarded by thistles,
long departed the Detroit steel

the truckers now in the ground, their bones
free from pillage, but the Cyclops on the wall remains,
eyeing the vacant prairie they all once roamed
2.7k · Jun 2013
mourning doves
spysgrandson Jun 2013
I cannot escape you  
your voices haunt me
in the quiet of summer mornings  
when I expect only the sound
of gentle breezes through my ash, my oak  
when I would, if I could, close my eyes
and enter the world, of forgetting  
your dirges call forth
the delirious dances of the dead  
those slain in the summer fields, of my youth  
without your mourning song  
to honor their passing  
without the  praying  processions,
the grandiloquent eulogies,
they had
only the sizzling silence
after the staccato storm
of our rapid rifle fire  
until now, when I thought
my guilt was assuaged  
until I listened,  and
heard your doleful cries
2.5k · Mar 2016
orange sunshine
spysgrandson Mar 2016
I was chicken
dropped only a half tab--a quarter before midnight  
and hurried back to my apartment
before the day changed    

from a Monday
to a ruby Tuesday  
where my walls melted
and music smelled like sassafras;
the flickering flares of light from two fat candles  
tasted like toasted almonds    

every eternal hour, or minute,
or so, I would try to tiptoe down the hall  
past the sleeping neighbors who were all dreaming
of me, skulking past their locked doors

but I never made it to the street
a feat that would have demanded
I stop giggling, and my heart stop thumping
for any pig or narc could have seen
my crimson machine pumping
ready to fly from my chest    

dawn did finally come--I was
coming down, down from the floor
on which I had lain from the minute
a ferocious fly dive bombed me
somewhere around three  

I walked to the corner grocery store
where I bought pan dulce, and was glad the clerk
spoke no English, for surely she would have asked me
to tell her how I survived such an aerial assault  
in peacetime
2.5k · Nov 2012
J R died
spysgrandson Nov 2012
J R died
I guess many cried
J R Ewing, Larry Hagman,
son of Broadway’s Peter Pan
offspring of a famous clan
I guess a decent man
another J R died, Jenny Rae
I guess many cried
but not likely fans from afar
perhaps
her nephew in the corner bar
when he recalled
through his wine soaked haze
younger days, when his Jenny Rae
would meet him payday
and give him a five she earned
keepin’ those old folks alive
well, cleanin’ up their slop
may not have been keeping anybody alive
but she did it just the same
even long after the cancer came
and pain buckled her over on the bus,
she kept goin’
smiling at their ancient vacant stares
when she could
when she was gone
when she passed,
curled up like a baby in that noisy ER
there were no headlines about that J R
only another wretched woman
paid to clean up slop
who hunkered faithfully over her mop
to wipe up the remnants of Jenny Rae
to earn her pittance of pay
perhaps for another nephew
or other lost son of an angry day
This verse didn't come out the way I wanted, but I nearly always feel this way when famous folks get fanfare when they die
2.4k · Jan 2012
The Sage of Bench 33
spysgrandson Jan 2012
They number the benches
they, those who need to have order
and know the when and where
of all things

The sage of bench 33
doesn’t really ever see
the brass plate with its proud threes
he covers it with his frock
as if to sublimely mock
the “theys” who need to believe these
graphic creatures keep the world
from tilting too far on its throne

The sage of bench 33
was once a number watcher,
he too counting the ways and the days
to find their sacred sum
but now he only counts
what really counts…
the steps to his next meager meal
the coins in his blue chipped cup
and the stars he can see
from bench 33
on moonless nights,
amid the frenzied frights
of those “theys”
who number not only their days
and the checkered concrete ways
but also benches for the holy homeless
inspired by T Bell's photo at this link:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_w_b_50/4861518011/
2.4k · Jun 2013
Lolo’s--a story poem
spysgrandson Jun 2013
the old stone walls are still standing
though they no longer echo with sounds
of cornball jokes, bottle caps poppin’ off cokes
and the happy humming of a repaired motor
  
the old man was there when
the first car pulled in for gas  
28 cents a gallon, all fluids checked for free
spotless windshield guaranteed  
he hired that Mexican boy because he was polite
yes sir, and was the best **** 20 year old
grease monkey in the county
(hell, the state)
boy had one leg shorter than the other  
and had him a twin brother
whose two fine legs carried him that place,
somewhere between honor and complete disgrace,
called Vee-et-nam
but those strong legs couldn’t bring him home  
he come back in a box,
both his good legs blown clear off  

he hired Lolo the day before
his brother come home      
was hot as Hades at that graveside  
but he went and stood by the boy,
his sobbing mama, his sober father
and the hot hole in the caliche
where his brother was gonna spend
forever    

business was good  
the boy spent most of his time
under the hood
of Riley’s ‘51 Ford
or Miss Sampson’s Impala,
(white 1962, with red interior, clean as the day she bought it)  
Nixon beat that old boy from Minnesota  
told everybody he would end that crazy Asian war  
the right way  
but the old man had been
in those foul trenches in France,
killin’ krauts when he was 18  
and he knew there was
no “right” way  

he and the boy had many a good day
with the register cling-clanging,
mechanical mysteries being solved  
and a good hot lunch now and then
when the boy’s mama brought  
fresh tortillas and asada
or the old man would spring
for chicken fried steak sandwiches from the café

yes, many a good day

until
that hot July afternoon  
the day after we landed on the moon
when “they” came  
not from some lunar rock  
but from an El Paso *******  
where graffiti were their psalms
and switchblade knives their toys  
“they” came,
parked their idling ‘57 Chevy in front of the bay,
and bust through the front door
with a gun and a ball bat  
both had hair slicked back
with what looked like 30 weight oil,
“they” smiled, and smelled
of beer and sweat  
“Dame el dinero! Give us the money!
Give us the money old man, cabron!”  
the old man glared at them  
the bat came down and grazed his head,
cracked his shoulder  
“they” did not see the boy with the wrench
who laid the bad *** batter out
with one righteous swing  
the one with the gun did not aim
but pulled the trigger three times  
and two of those hot speeding streams
sliced through the boy’s throat  
the shooter was through the door and burning rubber
while the boy lay bleeding red blood
on the green linoleum floor  
the old man knelt over him, helpless  
saw his eyes close a final time
while the sting of the burned rubber
was still in his nose, and the hellish screech
of the tires still in his ears  

the old man had seen the dead before
piled in heaps in the dung and mud
of those trenches, faces bloated
with their last gasps from the nightmare gas  
but he hadn’t shed a tear
in the pale pall of the dead  
until that hot July day, with a man on the moon, all those miles away
and the best boy with a wrench in the whole state, Lolo,  
silent on the floor in front of him  

they caught the shooter
(sent him to Huntsville for a permanent vacation)
the one Lolo laid out with a wrench died
on the way to Thomason Hospital in El Paso
the ambulance driver was Lolo’s cousin  
and he may have been driving a bit slow    

Lolo was buried the day they came back from the moon
right beside his brother in that ancient caliche
his mother sobbed softly, “mi hjos, mi hijos”  
both boys now cut down
her left with prayers
and memories…  
the boys at the ballpark
their first communions
the grandchildren she would not have  
and the gray graves where they
would return to dust  

the Saturday after, the old man turned 69  
when he flipped his open sign to closed that day, he  
climbed the ladder slowly, painted over his store bought sign
with new white wash,
and red lettered it with “Lolo’s”  
not a person asked
about him using the dead boy’s name  
and things would never be the same    

the old man lasted another nine years  
until the convenience store started sellin’ gas
(they wouldn’t even pump)  
his hands were stiff with arthritis
and his shoulder stilled ached from the crack of the bat  
he closed on a windy winter Friday  
yet painted the sign
a final time that very day  
nearly falling, as he made the last red “S”  
but he made it down the ladder that last time  
and saw the boy’s name in his rear view
as he drove into the winter dusk
Inspired by a picture of  a long abandoned filling station in a small west Texas town--please note, though the name of the station is real, the characters and events are completely fictional creations of the author
2.3k · Nov 2011
Earthquake--a 10 word poem
spysgrandson Nov 2011
Earthquake

somebody (!)
shook my couch
nobody (!) there
but me
and geology
We don't often have strong earthquakes in my part of the USA--last night, however, the epicenter of one of considerable magnitude occurred about 250-300 kilometers from here in central Oklahoma. I had not felt an earthquate since I lived in Asia in my youth.
spysgrandson Oct 2011
we are barren but not bare
to those who bother to stare
we are soaked in silent, sullen mist
but are simply happy to exist
in winter's cloaked passage of time

we speak softly in the fading light
of the fallen leaves, their plight
when strange souls plod on this sacred ground
we are careful to make no sound
save whimsical whispers in curious rhyme
2.3k · May 2017
he says hawk, I see crow
spysgrandson May 2017
in plain print, he tells me it's a hawk
with a broken wing

I close my eyes...all I see is a black,
greasy bird, barely bigger than a sparrow

not even worthy of Poe-itizing into a raven;
certainly not a fierce falcon

why can't I see thee, red tailed hunter?
you hiding in clouds adrift behind my eyes?

no, the crow's there, shining in a gold sun; seems
I'm not destined to imagine grander birds of prey

at least not today, reading your words of broken things,
the dark clouds of your dreams
Inspired by "r"s "Dreams like a broken hawk's wing"
2.3k · Nov 2011
Bukowski--a 10 word poem
spysgrandson Nov 2011
Bukowski

your
seductive
stinking
honesty
makes my sanitized life
a lie

(poem dedicated to the late Charles Bukowski)
A 10 word poem has no restrictions other than it can only have 10 words. Recently, I sponsored a contest at another site, attempting to have many depart from their more verbose forms (I am very guilty of verbosity) and try a terse form such as this. Several rose to the challenge. Think William Carlos Williams, Red Wheel Barrow (a 16 word poem) when trying to get the smell and taste of this form.
2.3k · May 2016
lakeside lullabies
spysgrandson May 2016
frogs "croaking"
in front of me, in the reeds
crickets "chirping"
behind me, in the brush
countless coyotes "yelping"
from across the lake
bass, carp surfacing
under a yellow moon
unaware its shimmering shaft’s
a magnet to my eye  
and more lullaby to me,
who can yet see spectral waves
but lost cherished vibrations--like birdsong,
winsome whispers--eons ago
2.2k · May 2017
Dylan is dead
spysgrandson May 2017
Dylan is dead.
no, not Bob, you Philistine,
Dylan Thomas who implored us
to rage against the night;
so are a passel of poets
and penners, but not I

Emily heard her fly buzz,
well before her eyes shut; she
was a wee bit obsessed
with the reaper

Hemingway's also a goner;
guts enough to shove a shotgun
in his mouth--mostly I wonder if
he tasted blue gunmetal like I did,
and who cleaned his brains
off the wall?

nobody had to clean a red dollop
of mine, for the firing pin was askew
and all I got was a click, and a sense of shame,
and impotence more flaccid than
the one which put the barrel
in my mouth

hell, how hard is it
to **** yourself--I guess harder
than I thought, since I never bought
another rifle

so Dylan is dead
Em and Hem too, but you
are reading these lines without
contemplating your own demise
I suspect

after all, it's early spring
and a time of new things
clawing their way into the light
thinking nothing of the terminal
night -- but it's just a sun dip away:
ask Dylan or Hemingway, or even JFK
but I wouldn't bother the Belle
of Amherst

she would make parting
sweeter than sorrow, and she
never tasted the cold lead, or spoke
with fear or dread of the dumb
and the dead

she never murdered
men in black pajamas  
in a forest primeval...

I didn't see their spirits
ascending, in ribbons of light,
only rivers of their red blood
soaking the green ground,
yet today ravenous
for more it seems

why would she rage
against the good night, when
her carriage waited patiently for her,
and immortality, her vessel bound
for a light Dylan and I
will never see
spysgrandson Sep 2012
Rain bathed cobblestones,
like petrified loaves of bread,
reflect the clopping feet of man and beast.
A family of umbrellas
held by long departed souls;
their bobbing ceased by the artist’s hand
who also crafted a
curious couple
in this misty land.
On what their eyes gazed
he would never say,
but it matters not—we still have a rainy Paris day
http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/20684  cut and paste for link to painting...
wrote this a few years ago, inspired by the painting by impressionist Gustave Caillebotte--probably my favorite impressionist--I had seen it in all its splendor at the Impressionist Exhibit in Forth Worth Texas, USA, in the summer of 2008--the painting is huge in real life, yet his attention to detail is impressive--I encourage those interested in art to Google image this to see a clearer version of the great work of art. I do not know if the link I provided to the painting will work
2.1k · Jan 2013
a troglodyte in Texas
spysgrandson Jan 2013
troglo-what?
look it up, those who
do not know the word  
for
I am
a lover of words  
obscure exotic esoteric poetic pedantic petty greasy slimy odoriferous clanking cacophonous melodious odious arcane archaic
all
a primal pleasure to hear,
to write, to read when perched
in the right order and place
to take flight and allow
me to soar above
or hide below  
the massed multitudes of monkeys
who share my deoxyribonucleic acid

(and you thought
I would simply say,
DNA)  

for they
find solace in the day
shared with simian soul mates
but I,
the true troglodyte of Texas
prefer the singular scent of words
on trackless trails
over the sound of lovers
and their breathless tales
spysgrandson Mar 2013
in the quiet  
between the metal madness
of flesh being ripped from young bones  
the watching and waiting  
the stinging eyes
the flaring nostrils filled
with the sounds
of ****** painted flesh  
there is a cool liquid silence  
that comes with
the token tokes we take  
as we pass the golden bowl  
those times when we forget
we could flick a switch
and rock and roll
rock and roll
with ******-delic cassettes, or  
full metal jackets, though  
neither allows us to see
there are times of senseless silence  
and lost lizards lounging
on dew dappled leaves  
in mornings after  
the crushing steel  
the fatal fingered agony
we sewed and reaped,
there
is
this
quiet,
this still green scent  
the lizard and the fruit  
the green promise of tomorrow
that we may erase
with our screaming toys
and deadly ploys
but only after we awake
from this smoky drifting dream
I have not smoked marijuana in many years. Once, someone asked me to describe what it was like, and I replied, "Watch the movie, 'The Scent of Green Papaya'--it is like that." The movie takes place in Vietnam, though it is not about the war. Here, I tried to blend the silky images of that movie, being ****** and the experience of war.
2.1k · Aug 2012
Sunday before blue Monday
spysgrandson Aug 2012
would be easy to bemoan blue Monday
but for me the downer is usually Sunday
for I am incapable of not peering ahead
drearily anticipating Monday’s dread
and knowing the day we name for the moon
will be here eye-blinkingly soon
perhaps since earth took seven days to create
Monday will arrive ignorantly intestate
left for all of us to build upon perfection
ripe for us to engage in insurrection
with the simple picking of fruit from a tree
and the loss of blind bliss for all of thee (and me)
so Sunday marks the end of a white beginning
and Monday is only the first black inning
of a game where we all run from base to base
but always return to the same selfish place
Sunday before blasphemous blue Monday
written last year--still haven't been writing much lately
2.1k · Jul 2012
Dream 7/11/12
spysgrandson Jul 2012
fields of yellow flowers
pasted on Morpheus’ silky screen
could not hide the blood and screaming
in that steamy sea of green

I wake to this in dawn’s gray hours
and can’t return to sleep
with morning’s feeble promise
we no longer follow like sheep

what force inside feeds the powers
that will not let us forget
we once were young and killers
and still owe an eternal debt
to those who died at our hands
and… to whomever let us live
but still dream of flowered lands
where those we slaughtered, can’t forgive
first thing I have written in months, from a dream about Vietnam
2.1k · Jun 2013
we shared a camel**
spysgrandson Jun 2013
we shared a camel
after my thumb stopped you
I took the first drag
before I handed it to you
you trusted my spit enough to share
and my road look enough
for me to be there,
in your new Olds Eighty-eight

you
had just come back,
from there
I was on my way,
I did not ask if that was why
your right hand had only *******
and a thumb, though you told me
of trying to close an APC hatch
and the AK-47 round that kept you
from doing magic tricks

when our smoke was half gone, we passed
the dying neon of a long dead bar
safe from its stench in your new smelling car
was then you asked
if I had “anything else to smoke”
a line from our riddled anthem,
we sang like nursery rhyme

I had what I had stuffed in my socks
since thumbs attracted cops as well
as wounded warriors in shiny new rides
I piggy lit the joint with the *** before
I crushed it in your fresh ash tray
now we were sharing our deepest breaths
and whatever else we could not forget

the **** was gone by the time
we reached the last city lights
and we, in our flying chariot,
zipped into the black desert night, it
was then your demons began to howl
maybe it was a full moon that called them out
to ride on its beams into the starry sky
where they could dance with other devils
and gods who had forsaken them, and you

I did not understand your moans, your tears
or the song you played on the eight track
that chanted about freedom which could not be bought or sold
or to whom you spoke when you wailed
you were sorry, sorry again and again,
I only knew they were ghosts
spirits kept at bay by the light of day
but there to haunt you in the dark
“Reggie, Big Mike and Cleveland”
all silent as you begged them
to forgive you for some simmering sin
I could not understand,
(not then in the desert dark,
though one day I would beseech other ghosts
to let me off the hook as well)

your cries did stop when you turned
onto a rutted desert road,
where you put the pedal to the floor
and the rocks pocked the undercarriage
like machine gun fire

you stopped,
and popped out the eight track
a half mile from highway 54
I lit another camel in the synovial silence
your tears kept streaming down your face
but you no longer called out to the ghosts, perhaps
left behind you on that black highway

I don’t know if they spoke to you
when I handed you the smoke, you did
look around, as if someone was there
before reaching over to open my door…

I did not ask why you were leaving me
with the moon and the stars and the sand,
so far from the lights and sound, or why
I could not feel my feet when
they touched the ground, the last thing
I saw was your dust filling the rumbling air
and the orange glow of the camel
flying through the blue night
**one of many late night rides I took on my thumb
2.0k · Dec 2011
Sijo 1
spysgrandson Dec 2011
Sijo 1  

The rapid rattle fire, red tracers screaming in silent air,
woke me from half dream sleep--eyes open are better than eyes closed,
when ears are filled with black noise, and Victor Charlie wants me dead
I just read about this form, Sijo (Korean origin, 3 lines, pause in each line, 14-16 syllables in each line) and thought I would try it. In my first offering, "Victor Charlie" was one of the appellations we used for the Viet Cong when I was in Vietnam
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