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Needless to say
my heart is sometimes a jungle
a wilderness
there are many little
monsters that stalk the landscape
sometimes they behave like a ginger fawn in the headlights
sometimes like a lone wolf with blue stripes
sometimes they wriggle like anthias fish
sometimes sleep like a serpent
i have no way to confine them
nor can i bear to
they too
need care and comfort
when they're hungry they need me to feed them
if i don't see them for days
have they forsaken
left me behind
i just have to ask
as if they never existed
i'm always so focused on the deities and gods
little monsters also need to be nourished by love
when they feel the warmth love thawed and molten
they become more innocuous, pure and lovelier
than humans or immortals
this brought me to a realization
so called monsters or savages is just
a lack of affection
and the harm caused by limitations
the harm which is invisible at the root
it stems from established prejudices, discrimination, contempt
which more often than not
they are unintentional oversights, misunderstandings and ignorance
why do i love so hard
maybe because there are still too many little monsters
in my digital world.
i used to see my own grave in my sleep
now i see yours right next to it
i only see our names floating around each other
no dates
no corny phrases
whether which one of us went first is still fuzzy
i'm sure it was you
because i'd do anything to stay around as long as you

i'm tired of asking nicely
all my life i've been asking for permission
or hoping i won't be caught
i've never been bothered with wanting more time
not until i met you

running around a slippery parking lot
frolicking in the rain like children
suddenly afraid of the fall
the potential collision of my brains across concrete

but at least your smiling face would've been the last thing i'd ever see
I never lack an audience
even if it's just one person
i have
the cranium of poetry
humbly poised to be placed high
nirvana in a verse
is not to be flaunted
just like the distant incident of snow
remains far and illusive
only the wind knows
the interstice between the heaven and the ocean
the interstices amidst the words
only time knows
i never lack an audience
even if all the readers
who have come from all bearings
have gone
well, i knew that sooner or later
they will leave too
i just hope that when they do
they don't forget it all like a hangover
that'd be a cinch
i never need an audience
time is always by my side
the one true
Erian Rose May 24
Where Oceans Meet
We Last Were Home-bound
Anchored Forest
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This is good stuff that you need to know,
I’ve been writing it all in my head for a while.  
But ever since we went toe to toe,
There are things that I now have to reconcile.

I recall...
I recall a camel-hair trench coat, green knit gloves and unfamiliar but smiling people. It was 1988.
I remember papers wind-strewn in a high school parking lot, oil and grit smudging the corners of awful artwork and poetry.  (I hope I thanked you for the ride home after missing the bus on my first day at a new school).

It was good to have met you in those formative years.  It was nothing magical, we just became friends and I needed one more than I could have known.

I learned…
I learned that a friend will nod patiently to interminable tales of obsession and unrequited love.  (You poor *******.  I thank you for this, if I never did before.)
I learned that a friend will patiently read your hack teenage poetry, advising sparingly.
(Thanks for that, too.)
I learned that someone might potentially be able to crash only “my side of the car”.
            ( I’m grateful that this "nuclear option" was never invoked!)
I learned about music bands that would become  the soundtrack for the best years in my young life.
(I still listen to pretty much anything by xtc, over 25 years later.)
I learned that a cast iron skillet may very well shatter if dropped onto concrete.
I learned that the best cornbread is a simple recipe and that you must pre-heat the pan.
(My wife insists that I prepare it anytime we make chili.)
1989, our senior year of high school…  I remember an overnight bike tour I took of our hometown. On a whim, I stopped by your house at 1AM. Unable to knock, I opted instead to get your attention by tapping at the window when I noticed you were awake and playing a computer game. ( sorry for the scare… )
I remember sitting, spellbound, to see “A Tour of Heaven and Hell” at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
(The first inspiration in a longer journey that would later have me working with it’s creator on five new shows.)
In college, I remember “our little ant farm”, the apartments across from our rental house on Milburn Avenue in Athens.
I remember climbing onto the roof to lounge, take photos and, of course,  leap off.
(Thanks for a Pulitzer-worthy freeze frame  of my youth in flight)
For that matter, thanks for some great camping excursions, a cast-iron pan cooking potatoes and, what-  onion?  on the fire.

This is how I come to realize: The darkness cannot outshine the light, since life will always throw reminders my way that when we were young, you were important to me.  I can not discard, too easily, that which is already an indelible part of me.
This is for a friend.  We once parted ways on cold terms and this is me placing a pylon in time, a memorial and reminder that time is a continuum; that people are multi-faceted and ever-changing.

It speaks of very real and specific things that transpired between us, mundane bits of “rememborabilia” that I felt compelled to reflect on and then reflect back for them to read, which they have.

It is my heartfelt desire that love prevail over bitterness, that forgiveness prevail over shadow and pain.

The title misspelling is intentional and reflects my friend’s abysmal skill at spelling.  I received a note, for example, with that very spelling of “tragedy”.  This, with all respect and fondness for the friendship formed whenever we both would occupy it.
Alex McQuate May 20
Clocking in,
Trudging on,
Grinding the nose down to the bone,
Clock out,
Et cetera,
Ad Nauseam,
Goes the routine of the last of the Blue-Collar poets.

Can't think of words,
Too dog-tired to think of rhyming schemes,
Too sore for clever entendres,
Too broke to focus on fixing verses, stanzas, and metrics.

Thinking of the too-long day,
And the too-long day to come,
Fighting for a long shot of a good-night's sleep,
For a glimmer of a decent day off,
Clawing for a decent day's pay.

Sweeping up the metal shavings,
Spattered with hot, hot grease,
Bones broken by falling boxes,
Maimed by unsafe machines.

Keep the Blue-Collar poet in mind,
As you operate your computers,
Sitting in your White-Collar dream,
For their fledging numbers dwindle,
That will never get the chance at your dream
Ben Caplan-Down to the River
Mark Toney Apr 22
A broken shell, a living hell, and all I'm left with now is my regret.

Better days ahead were a pipedream after our relationship crumbled. Countless arguments. Disagreements. Every day! For my life, I can't believe we stayed together as long as we did. God knows I didn't want her to leave me. How much longer must I wrestle with these painful memories?

I just feel regret, unspoken, I just feel the pain; since she left, my life has been a broken shell, a living hell — I can't believe I let her go; it was foolish pride before the fall the day she left when I lost all — I should have held her closer, I should have made her see the feelings I have for her, what she means to me; I didn't say I love her or beg her to stay, instead, I stood in silence and watched her walk away, and all I'm left with now is my regret.

Justification is an exercise in futility. Knowing what I could have and should have done leaves an inextricable switchblade in my soul. Love's lessons learned too late — love's loss too great.

Misting eyes beseech as memories replay in my head, but they're too painful, and I feel dead. No joy to be found. Oh well, my self-imposed hell. Painful memories open like an oubliette under my feet, plunging me lost and languishing in isolation's labyrinth. Questions left unanswered, decaying in the debris fields of "what if.”

Reflection can be a catharsis for the soul, but it can also rip a hole in it, and soon reality roars from guilt's bottomless pit to devour all hope. Sometimes despair is mitigated by occasional reminders of us. Thoughts lingering on happier times, blessed moments mine to treasure. Until the damnable loop of regret dominates to decimate any respite of joy. Vanishing expectations. Weeping willow's silent wail. Xerox memories fade with time.

Years have passed, and my thoughts continue to haunt me over what we could have had. Zero-sum game — all I'm left with now is my regret.

Mark Toney ©️ 2023

*       *       *

April 22, 2023

I hope you found the above fictional prose poem interesting. I wrote it in response to a writing challenge I heard about.  Write a 26-sentence short story (or prose poem). Each sentence must begin with the alphabet's sequential letters starting with A through Z. One sentence must be 100 words long, and another sentence only one word. Would you like to try it?
Poetry form: Prose Poetry.
Elise Jackson Apr 13
sometimes it's like a movie
too uncomfortable for tv
too important for dvd

the whole thing opens with me screaming in the middle of a field
grass slicing my knees
dirt flooding my fingernails

i am the only thing in turmoil
the trees dance in the distance to a tune i am unable to hear
the wheat looks away in respect
while the mosquitoes become nosey and unable to mind their own business

and somehow i am reminded of when i was young and could sit in the silence for hours
confined in a house with a ticking clock
it's sharp arms slicing into my spine

reminding me that everything ends
the trees will forever dance
and that the wheat will always look away
might rub the dirt into my knees to make sure.
The best gift I have ever received from you is your embrace. You are soft like a teddy bear. When we were embracing each other, I didn't want to let you go.
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