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In death's dream kingdom
           These do not appear:


They're handing out maroon balloons
And saying they are free
But grasping children grip them fast
And the monks amidst them disagree
Dispassionately, but en masse
While they liberate the children
With obliterating oms.

A nearby Byron expiates
And mildly reiterates
The soporific broken ode
He bellows over holy oms
To the smitten women who approach
That "a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose"
Dispensing with disinterest
Crimson bliss amidst the women
Who ignore the sinful image he bestows.

He hands them out like red balloons
To grasping girls all afternoon
Imploring them to trust their nose
Insisting they are free
And so continues to propose
To the smitten women in the street
That "a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose"
As if the word could smell as sweet
As the perennials he grows.

And in the corner – Romeo
Who greenly mourning understands
The worth of poison in his hands
Imagining a life of night
Where roses wither without light
And only stars through windows break
Through all the countless nights of fate
and every breath's an endless wake...

Meanwhile Byron's distant yells
Prevail over the choral swell
And plant a seed in grasping ears:
Salvation can be engineered!
Which Romeo soon understands
As kissing death, he takes her hand
Thoughts germinating into schemes
If a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
...then a dream is a dream is a dream.


A griffin, a hippogriff, and a wyvern
Admitting me and
Gripping crimson
Dripping strings
So none of them will fly away.

Inside, Cain is killing Abel  
(How few! yet how they creep)
killing Abel
(Through my fingers to the deep)
killing Abel
(While I weep — while I weep!)
killing Abel.
(O God! Can I not grasp)
It is the first story:
(Them with a tighter clasp?)
A samsara of carnage and drama.

Somewhere above
On a city street
Desire's handing out balloons
He clips their thorns
And trims them neat
He says they're free
And just as sweet
As the women he impugnes
He belies his guidance on repeat:
That love is the light is the sun is the moon.

A widower laments and moves the world
That has such people in it:
A snake, a guard, a god, a dog
A wife by no other name
A faltering of faith, a peek
A pillar of salt, a severed head
Adrift on a river

I'd transcend five hundred miles
And I'd transcend five hundred more
Just to be the man who transcends trials
Sprawled out on your floor

(Thy drugs are quick.)
Searching for a souvenir
To prove to you our world was here

Isaac, bound, blank and free
Bleating, looking for meaning
(All that we see or seem)
In his father's violent eye,
And finding it.
(Thus with a kiss I die.)
Abraham swings his knife.
A son is a sin is a ram is a rose.

A man pushes the sun up a large hill
Every day, and then it rolls down again
And then an eagle eats his liver.
(I am the resurrection and the life.)
One must imagine Prometheus happy
The alternative is dark

The moon, by any other name, would—
But do not swear by the moon!
For she changes constantly
(Then said Jesus unto them plainly:
Lazarus is dead.)

Everything changes
But nothing is truly lost.

(at times
the fact of her absence
will hit you like a blow to the chest
and you will weep.
but this will happen less and less
as time goes on.
she is dead.
you are alive.
so live.

A man pushes the sun up a large hill
A day is a year is a life is a death.

One must imagine Orpheus happy.


In dreams, the sun resumes her loving glow
I'm reunited with my silhouette
I glue myself with soap to my shadow
And find myself beside my Juliet

No longer a balloon without a hand
I'm rooted to the earth where she grips me
With purpose guiding us through life's demands
I push my boulders uphill happily

I build a world with Juliet my wife
Where roses are all roses and smell sweet
We live a loving happy magic life
Together til our journey is complete.

[Enter, at the other end of the churchyard,
FRIAR LAURENCE, with a lantern, crow, and *****.

In union Eve and Adam are redeemed,
Not in a rose but in a living dream.
Can a rose be just a rose?
Ubuntu says that a person cannot be just a person.
Romeo grieves for the light of his sun, Juliet,
and chooses to live a life with her in a dream
as the poison kills him.
Pete May 2020
“There’s not even room enough to be anywhere
Its not dark yet, but it’s getting there”. – Bob Dylan
A pair of die is tossed across a plywood-table.
It’s oak-veneer of creamy grain glisters with light
Which falls crummy, like dandruff from naked bulbs
That are illumined by a hand that screws;
There is no switch.
The flick of that wrist charms those die into snake eyes.
And so, the two-fold trick erupts our opposites on top
Of the laminated universe. The stones have settled.

You can smell the ignited, paper wick
Of a well-packed cigarette
But none of the sweet leaf which follows.
The virtue of our space is that
The substance is snuffed out.

No more panache with death-
Wish; just sadness fumbling with toilet
Paper, because tissues got expensive.
Pretty quick the crown of that nose chafes
Against the single-ply and specks of skin
Suspend themselves in oddly solar
Bathroom light. But the cells reform so quick;
The cartilage is solid like the trunks of effusive,
Sappy trees that create a sympathetic prison.
Soon, apathetic winter comes to ****
The ornaments obscuring
A depthless forest.

So stripped of foliage, an ascetic, wintry oak
Must look inside itself.
The anatomy of tree
As annulated grain,
Is kept concealed; flat circles. marking. years.
It sees Prospero’s Ariel and Carlotta’s Madeleine.
They’re gagged, trapped in the trunk
And point outside the Vertigo of time –
Inside the television – to “total flow” –  
(Where Scottie drools catatonically)
To spotless light, in evergreen rooms
That are built of such better pulp.


Conspicuous are characters around here.
It seems that silver dollars stack ten to a word
Of which so many do plague these matted
And miserly phrases.
Intelligent, it isn’t.  Green looks blue;
Intelligence is stupid. It does not sound
Like anything and means much less.
No, they’re hopeful to be musical or
Umbilical; like, connected to the harmonic
Mother who’s just now gestating an utterance
For life or death. Whichever side
Of the soil you prefer.

Most folks used to hedge their bets on both
But eternity is out, the moment is in.
Like Jesus Christ it’s difficult to stay
With the latest
Transcendental style.  
Friction atomizes faith’s tension ‘till
Belief systems are burned out.

The Library of Babel is in flames.
The ash falls and frosts the boughs
Of culture’s mangey oak.

That tree, was just struck by the zeitgeist’s lightning.
And furiously, so furiously our year’s snow is falling,
On all the breathing; all the sleeping,
Whom sawing logs are situated in the worst, possible

I saw dust, and it looked like me.
I am the 3rd Adam.
I am a-bomb.
And I will deliver us.

tonylongo Mar 2020
The robed and turbaned guides lead us
Station to pillar to post
Here the last puddle of sacred blood outlined in platinum,
There the stray knotted whipstroke picked out on the
Mudstone wall in jasper and rarest peridotites
- Change yer shoes for the final hill to the death sanctum,
Last sonatina set to begin, with eye max.
But, but here monsignor, what’s this minor
Scatter of comic beaks ‘n bones off to the side in shadow,
This fouled corner irrigated by ninety-nine generations of
Three faiths and their pets?

- Pay no ear, it’s got no voice or at most
The scalded steamkettle hiss of a dying gull,
Was never no human language
Nor saw anything really seen
And those what claim to have dug up gored pieces of value
From under there just kissed the *** of madness.
Garry Nov 2017
Wandering the well-worn grooves,
Listening to the echoes
of my possible futures and pasts,
En el jardin de senderos que se bifurcan
The Dedpoet Feb 2016
With the sun settling down,
The huge candor of the dusk settles
In on its spectral enchantments
And its usual "Only God could have done this",
Portico: Where the day is meditated
And the sigh of humbled gratitude sets in,
As the stars form
Across the eyes and her hand
In your own,
It is simply good to have a moment
Between the day,the sky,
and everything in between.
Leah Anne Nov 2015
"In vain have oceans been squandered on you, in vain
the sun, wonderfully seen through Whitman’s eyes.
You have used up the years and they have used up you,
and still, and still, you have not written the poem."

- Jorge Luis Borges

I did. All forty-five of it, with one person sneaking in between every line like waves persistently knocking on shores.

These poems will never meet the eyes of the one who guided my hands; the one who sung the melody to which my words danced.
Excerpt from Matthew XXV:30 by Jorge Luis Borges
October 29, 2015. 6:44pm
Sophie Hartl Aug 2015
"The other one, the one they call [Sophie], is the one things happen to."

Slurring steps like words, not even drunk, yet
still seeing clearly the blurred letters you sent.

I let her cry, although I never understood
how the salty spate should heal a temporary break.

Blowing up small things to make them big is, what?
we were taught, more than being warned on how they will pop.

I can clearly see through the glass bones and paper
skin, sitting and tightening her ribs, enjoying the plague.

Spilling speech, strictly to rid myself
of your poisonous finger-tipped bones.

I let the break hurt more, swinging mischievously, pulling off the band-
aid slower to compose the tones for her to express.
Wonderfully inspired by Jorge Luis Borges (first stanza by him); "Borges and I" from "Labyrinths"
Mike Essig Apr 2015
You Learn**

After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,

And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,

And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.

So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure…

That you really are strong

And you really do have worth…

And you learn and learn…

With every good-bye you learn.

Mike Essig Apr 2015

The useless dawn finds me in a deserted streetcorner; I have outlived the night.
Nights are proud waves: darkblue topheavy waves laden with all hues of deep spoil, laden with things unlikely and desirable.
Nights have a habit of mysterious gifts and refusals, of things half given away, half withheld, of joys with a dark hemisphere. Nights act that way, I tell you.
The surge, that night, left me the customary shreds and odd ends: some hated friends to chat with, music for dreams, and the smoking of bitter ashes. The things my hungry heart has no use for.
The big wave brought you.
Words, any words, your laughter; and you so lazily and incessantly beautiful. We talked and you have forgotten the words.
The shattering dawn finds me in a deserted street of my city.
Your profile turned away, the sounds that go to make your name, the lilt of your laughter: these are the illustrious toys you have left me.
I turn them over in the dawn, I lose them; I tell them to the few stray dogs and to the few stray stars of the dawn.
Your dark rich life…
I must get at you, somehow: I put away those illustrious toys you have left me, I want your hidden look, your real smile –that lonely, mocking smile your mirror knows.

What can I hold you with?
I offer you lean streets, desperate sunsets, the moon of the ragged suburbs.
I offer you the bitterness of a man who has looked long and long at the lonely moon.
I offer you my ancestors, my dead men, the ghost that living men have honoured in marble: my father’s father killed in the frontier of Buenos Aires, two bullets through his lungs, bearded and dead, wrapped by his soldiers in the hide of a cow; my mother’s grandfather –just twentyfour- heading a charge of three hundred men in Perú, now ghosts on vanished horses.
I offer you whatever insight my books may hold, whatever manliness humour my life.
I offer you the loyalty of a man who has never been loyal.
I offer her that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow – the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.
I offer you the memory of a yellow rose seen at sunset, years before you were born.
I offer you explanations of yourself, theories about yourself, authentic and surprising news of yourself.
I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart; I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.
One of the greatest writers of this hemisphere and the world. Look for his other work.
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