English Jam Apr 21
Mountains on mountains erupt from the earth's chambers of burdened lava and collapse back into their hellish landscape just as quickly

Waves assault the beach in frenzied randomness, striking their mark upon the sand and washing it away in the same breath

Birds flail about, learning to sail the clouds while dolphins soar their vast expanse of golden sea

People in suits war with each other for bloody glory, sign a strip of paper agreeing to stop, then ignorantly carry on their violent pastiche

Far away, tucked behind his world of scattered phrases and pretentious works of art, the writer observes all this

I have stuff to do, but I ended up procrastinating and this was the result.
Empathy sheathed within
           every declaration that
eclipsed upon my eyes.
As I watched every word in form.

For your voice wasn't just
           affirmation of intent.
It was a visual  guidance
          a purpose of no harm.

Genial whispers waved over me,
          never sinking but guided
to shores of empathy.
         you were my voice of calm.
Sharon Talbot Jul 10
Sitting on a throne of stacks made of poems,
He rules, or thinks he does, up on his mountain.
He hates a rhyme more than
The buzzing of a fly or scuttle of a rat.
They remind him of his paucity of skill.
He rolls a magazine tight
Swings it at the rhyme, “Kill, kill!”
He shouts.

Up on the throne, he rambles onto paper
Vers libre, je crois.
Looking down, he sees thousands of admirers,
Coming to hear him read
His old poems of war and death, and lost love.
Only a daughter, who is “hot”, for him to ogle.
They pick up girls and eat chicken.

The past is a patchwork quilt to him,
Ragged, frayed and faded.
He screeches out memories!
Then doodles them onto the cloud,
He loves to brag
About his computers, his awards and his printed stuff.
It is all he has.

Old man staring out at the oil rigs
Of Bakersfield, he can’t rhyme about that,
The run-down houses and cracked streets.
Browned like toast by the driest air!
But he has been places, studied things,
Allegedly—what does he remember?
So he is proud, insolent in his old age.
Who can tell him what to write?
Only his publisher.
Inspired by a poet I recently met. We clashed over Form Poetry vs. Free Verse, over writing for oneself vs. publishing. He is old and set in his ways.
right now
I sit and look out the window
in one's head

I'm all in a sweat
very hot
and summer roast in the head

the water in the head
the water is making it's way

but where is the river

river by the window
in the form of a hot summer
and again in my head

contusion clouds burst confusions under the sound.

underground, through the air, and softer the sea.

     a pond a barrier to you and to me

          song as sweet and stiffened at the

                                                         fireflies and jello eyes watching shyly

                              your fingers are blue and ivory they burn in the light

                 song as sweet as the purple dew in the crook of your fingers

                    you are told as strong as sand

                                    you are rock

                    you are clinging to rock atoms

                                      be honest

                     you are shrapnel arriving early and departing late.
focusing on the notions of "Reluctance."
James Khan Jul 3
I am what people all assume iamb,

A mix of rampant rouge and cold cyan,

If God exists and really gives a damn

Then Lord, I beg you, please impart your plan,

Derelict, feathers forgotten, downtrodden like pterodactylic hegemony,

Suffering, sabotaged senses allude to myself: the insidious enemy,

(Lebanon, isn't that a terror-dactyl also?)

With a tertius paeon they play on defences,

Enamour the logic through glamourized lenses,

With amphibrachs backing the river of rythmn

To cover the cost of our sins, unforgiven,

Iridescence illuminates spiralling smoke,

Carravagio's footprints, his masterful stroke,

Celebration, the principles proffered by loss,

Elevation, Saint Peter upturned on the cross,

Anapaestic, majestic the cadence of words,

Illustrations, emotions, emphatic in verse.
There's not enough education these days about meter in poetry.

Forget the fucking mathematical nomenclature of feet and meters, I'm talking about the natural syllabic rhythm of verse that carries the poem along like a lilting river of logical phonic progression.

In music, you have your metronome, your drums and percussion to keep time. The beats per minute AND the accentuating musical notes keep the rhythm ensuring the words fit in melodically.

In poetry, we read and have no idea of the required backbeat that keeps rhythm for us. That's why we have set meter measured in syllabic stress / unstress on words to act as the metronome.

Words have their own natural prodosy, their structure gives them emphasised or muted vowel sounds and these are the drum kicks of bass and treble or the ticking metronome.

In the above piece, the first stanza is iambic pentameter.

The second is dactylic heptameter.

The third is a mixture of tertius paeon and amphibractic tetrameter.

The final stanza is anapaestic tetrameter.

Hopefully, the natural sounds of the words will allow the verse to be read in the required meter without too much much effort required.
I live in a room unlike the others
There is no collection of books lining the walls
No box of records lying in the corner for me to flip through
Nothing haphazardly littering the floor to keep me from walking
No unfinished paintings tucked away somewhere
No counters covered in dishes, and no full sink

There is no sink at all
Or any place to shit and piss
And I can only bathe
In what I want to wash myself clean of
I live in a room with walls of plastic
And an aroma of ozone from burning out
I have spent so much time running around the room
Because there doesn't seem to be anything else I can do

Right now I'm tired; I am resting
But I will miss that ozone
And I will keep on running
Like I have forgotten that there is no door
Or window to climb out of
There is only use in escaping what is in the room
I rest to escape the running
When there is too much happening
And the ozone burns my nose
I run to escape the idea that nothing ever happens
And nothing ever will.
haley Jul 1
at eight
i stood at open closed caskets and planted plastic flowers
upon silent graves;
in the backseat on the way to my grandfather's wake
mom and dad played a song about angels over the stereo. they
had to turn it off when i burst into tears.
i did not understand the twenty one gun salute
but i left a piece of myself in the folding of the flag,
left it with forty nine stars in the wrinkled hands of the widow.
vulnerable, kissing the loss of the dewy cemetery, the fresh dirt and

at thirteen
she was stolen at the hands of another,
just after her forty-second trip around the sun;
i cradled my always strong father as he cursed god on the kitchen floor.
the night my sister cried into my shoulder i read ten different articles,
each one with a headline reading "manslaughter", while
the soles of my feet knew it meant "murder".
the pool of blood flashed to my vision and
i've spent seven years trying to bleach the stain out
from behind my eyelids -
lighting a memorial candle at my future wedding, graduation, childbirth
my mother did not deserve generic music at her remembrance.

at sixteen
i squeezed into a pew as
the church sanctuary was too small for her service.
widely loved and widely known, she
had been sick for fourteen years with no rest; fought
collapsed lungs and bared organs and
her eyes were as soft as the words she would leave you with.
her breath marooned the thirteenth of february and
on valentine's day, my best friend received a rose at her doorstep
with a note that read, "i love you more than chocolate.
love, mom".

at nineteen
we did not have class for one week. his daughter was five years old
and he was two semesters away from
getting his bachelor's degree in a helping profession;
he sat two rows ahead of me, one seat over
next to a boy named aaron and an empty chair.
the pastor spoke of a freedom from pain,
joy joy, hallelujah, a man who loved god;
they did not disclose the cause of death the morning the dean
entered our classroom,
spoke three words and
the silence fell -
sometimes, sometimes, we will never know why.
i was thinking about funeral songs the other morning. i realized that, at my mother's funeral, they only played songs she probably would have hated; and then i got angry at how unfair that is. here's a poem.
James Khan Jun 26
a man is measured

not on the size of footprints

but how straight the line
James Khan Jun 25
Oh, take me home from foreign seas of sand

Where beetles swarm and camel - weeds grow wild,

I've seen enough and now I understand,

Commodities that curse the holy land

Are ripped from Nature's womb, her flesh defiled,

Oh, take me home from foreign seas of sand,

The cordite callouses on trembling hands,

Extended with contrition by a child,

I've seen enough and now I understand,

The villages where diligence is banned,

Except in doctrines militants have styled,

Oh, take me home from foreign seas of sand,

A myriad of faces, worn and tanned

Upon which only desperation smiled,

I've seen enough and now I understand,

The bleeding skull a bullet has trepanned,

The classroom graves with infant bodies piled,

Oh, take me home from foreign seas of sand,

I've seen enough and now I understand.
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