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Steinbeck’s restless ghost whispers to me
as I tiptoe along a stone seawall.
He steers me away from the bay
back to the old sandstone churches
built by native hands,

back to music festivals and artisan fairs
full of mild, white cheeses
and would-be novelists arguing
about Henry Miller’s tropics.

But I’ve grown tired of his whispering
and no longer wish to dream of these things.
I would rather descend into a watery haven.
I will wave goodbye to John
and I will run down sandy paths
that lead to the sea.

I wade into the depths and sink
into a canyon where kelp shivers
in underwater breezes,
and the only stars I see will be
suction-cupped to the rocks below.
ED Greene Mar 2020
“Tell me bout the rabbits”
Mama said
Didn’t he see?
That’s all she wanted to hear

She needed hope for her rabbits
Up against the wolves
We played a careful game
Making delicate fragile moves.

Hoping for them was better
But he knew that she would never
Run her hard hands through a caged rabbit’s fur.

She still asks about the rabbits
I heard Lenny just today
After 25 years she still wanted him to say
How she could hold them, pet them
Keep them warm
Even far away
Daddy’s playing George.

I quietly turned to go
But before I left her room
Mama asked me if I could not see
That I need my rabbits too.
B Morgan Talbot Aug 2019
You cannot realize dreams solely from your strife in life ;
But can you make them immortal in graves - yours, mine?
A weakened, timorous, coward beast am I
Who made a fleeting choice only to watch the laid way
Unravel.

No, I shall not run amok.
No, I shall not waste your time.
No, I have had the power all along to leave you
But I stay.

If you are going to shoot,
Shoot me between the eyes.
Meld two gazes together so that when you reach Eden
You bring my sight.
I deserve to crest the horizon, too.  

By George, my hands are large,
They err, they wring,
And perhaps they hold the worst parts of you
Or the long-sung song of some childhood gone by.
But, at least give me a fighting chance to
Bend the barrel.
inspired by events and characters in Of Mice and Men
Well there’s Hooverville
   on the edge of the river
haint nuttin boot flimsy cardboard
   e’en with clothes will shiver
waiting for tension to be released
   like a arrow in a taut quiver

major organs ready to burst open
   cuz day r all a failin'
unless salvation does da liver
from a stingy farmer
   nada one of him a giver

Hence a goin to Cali for n’ya
in battered up truck n wailin wah wah
ta feed da chill n beasts o burr den –
   ‘cept un shaw

if me pa
will ever appear on Oprah
whar guest’s literary car –
   rears into grand prix hoopla

An win free dim lifts us lock a hawk,
   this kid rock will nah
dat he suffered faw a distant few cha
migrants we may be – butta we bah
dog on judas priest, Christ and allah

Rose of Sharon wool extend
   da family tree
dat ma will live to see
re:

charging the Joad jalopy
   in part from me
tink rin hands dat like ta mess
   with oil hand stains
one mo scar – craning neck 2 earn

An huh tha red badge of courage
   upon this Okie
hunched o’er with stiff back
   while wounded knee

continually bunged up with utter glee
at engine cough fin smoke
   to *** us free
whar we kin sally in da pacific fields yipeee.
All those books they made us read,
The smelly yellow-pagers
That weighed as heavy as the guilt
We felt as "zombie teenagers";

Do we remember anything?
The names of the main characters,
Or maybe, who died in the end--
Or the ones who were in pictures?

It wasn't that we hated books--
We didn't understand them;
Before the teacher's spiritless voice
Made us slowly condemn them.

"Memorize the vocab words,
And don't forget the spelling!"
Was that the point of literature?
But definitions aren't compelling.

So all those hours in English Lit,
The days spent reading Steinbeck,
Were soured by the grouchy face
Always looming over my desk.

I always wished someone would say,
"This isn't boring, here's why:"
But I was told to shut up and read
When sometimes I wanted to cry:

"I hate this story! Nobody's happy!
And everyone's messed up!
It doesn't make sense to force it on us
When we're already stressed out."

But we had to read it, because they had to read it
When they were young in school.
This book had an impact in history:
So now, reading it is a rule.

So if it's a must, that's fine, then.
But...why don't we make it fun?
Or talk about the psychology
And learn something when we're done?

A book can't be everyone's favorite.
We're all different people inside.
But please try to make us all interested
With wisdom only you can provide.
Steinbeck, Dickens, Orwell, Bronte, Fitzgerald, all those depressing writers that we were forced to read. I only liked Edgar Allen Poe, and that's saying something!
Ira Desmond Jul 2017
On

my

deathbed,

I hope that I am visited by
what I think are angels

or demons
(it doesn’t really matter which)

and,

as I wheeze out my last breath,
they reveal to me

that I was actually an alien
from another world

trapped
in the misshapen body of a human

for the entirety
of my existence—

all 28,000-or-so

days of it.

Because
then,

my role in
this whole charade

would finally make sense:

all of the mind-numbing

awkwardness

and suffering

and bullying

and incomprehensibility

of the world

laid out before me—

a picnic for a malnourished soul
to finally feast upon,

a glistening Colorado River to drink from

and,

at long last,
to rest beside.
Eleanor Sinclair Apr 2016
Migrants on highways-- hunger and need
In their eyes,
No argument, no system,
Need
Men fought for wage
Work for thirty--
Twenty-five--
Twenty
I’m hungry for work--
The kids see
They can’t run aroun’
They bloated up
--I’ll work--
for a little piece of good wages
Prices up
Great owners
Glad they bring more people in
Wages went down
We’ll have serfs again
*--Blackout Poem Chapter Twenty-One--
Kevin J Taylor Sep 2015
No traipse-assing
No fugging in da gents
No lie me— Noli Me Tangere
Traipse-assing sounds a bit like trespassing. Might mean that. Might mean what it says.
Steinbeck used fugging in Cannery Row to get past the censors. This line also has a double entendre.
Noli me tangere (Latin, literally, don't touch me) — Don't **** with me.
.
Amy Dec 2014
Hemingway said,
There is quite the difference
between kissing goodbye
and kissing goodnight.

I wanted a
"See you later",
but instead got the
"Goodbye".

Steinbeck stated that
Nothing good gets away,
If it's right, it happens.

If that's the case
how did we always end up feeling so
wrong?

Salinger suggested
that after falling in love
you never know
where the hell you are.

This, I can say is true.
Where the hell are we?

Dickens declared that
The truest wisdom
comes from a loving heart.

Yet a heart in love
can sometimes turn out to be
the least wise.

My friend, I think I'll just stick with
Orson Welles' theory:
"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone."

Anything else is simply illusion.
1st draft
Skinny Love Apr 2014
I see Steinbeck through a new light.
I am a pearl.
But not just any pearl,
I am The Pearl.
The Pearl that changes lives
And changes hearts.
I am Steinbeck’s pearl.
Waiting.
Waiting.
Until some is just lucky enough to find me
Hidden in my shell.
And that person was you.
I didn’t look like much,
But you knew better.
You chose me anyway.
And you were in awe of what you found beneath the surface.
And you were instantly rich.
You knew you were blessed to have found me.
But you knew you had some new troubles too.
You knew that men knew of the treasure you held.
You knew that they would try to take that from you.
You knew you could stop them.
But not for long.
When trouble came and you took me and fled.
But I was not safe.
Nothing was safe.
Because you would not let me go,
Trouble took the one thing you cared about more.
And because it was too much
To look me in the eye.
Because everything had started when you found me.
You let me go too.
You threw me back where you found me.

— The End —