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wes parham Nov 2023
To some Holy Land, now, gather ye,
There, to spend the night in Gethsemane.
Entreat with the father or maybe the son,
Perhaps they can tell you when a war is won.

For another parent, another child,
Their once ancestral home defiled.
Did it help, the blood you spilled?
Your mark of Cain; your curse fulfilled?

Run to your God and pretend he hears,
Believe in lies and dark new fears,
Deny to others their right to live…
We saw what you did and will not forgive.

Where two or more are gathered,
The result is anyone’s game.
But make it many thousands,
And often it is just a shame,
How Gods remain suspiciously quiet,
When the killing is in their name.
I don’t want this to come across as an indictment of religion.  I learned useful lessons in childhood, attending with my family. This piece is to do with those persons who would pervert a faith for their own gain of power or wealth at the expense of their fellow man.  All while hiding behind the pretense of their fairy tales.

Early on, I began to adopt a certain personal axiom when dealing with the faithful.  The moment they claim to know the word or the will of God, do not trust them.  Anyone doing so is a manipulator at worst and deluded at best.
wes parham Aug 2023
The wheel of fortune turns for me,
And always, revolves at its own leisure.
Time is curved where the future will be,
But always flat when it is measured.

The rest is a serpent, in every direction,
Forever consuming the end of its tail.
Self contained death and resurrection,
Superluminal ship, without wind or sail.

Will you safekeep our knowledge when it is done?
Humanity’s worst as well as its best?
Will you mind if it’s turtles, all the way down?
A stable foundation on which to rest?

Where will you fall, at the teeth or the tail?
Destroying or rebuilding anew?
If All is cyclic, then we’ll meet once more,
Eternal versions of me and of you.
Apropos of nothing, I wanted to mix the concept of the World Serpent and the old quote about, “turtles, all the way down”.

Along the way, though, some things also crept in that just seemed to fit.

Considering altering the first stanza to:

Time is curved where the future will be,
But always flat when it is measured.

(Edit:) After a comment from HP poet Lori Jones McCaffrey, it’s been changed.  Previously read:

Time is flat where the future will be,
And curving only when it is measured.

Words can be so fickle.
wes parham Jul 2023
Never did I try to guess,
Or ever pretend to know,
The places you would retreat to,
The places I could never go.

Silent, you would disappear,
And, silent, you'd return.
No questions asked, no trust betrayed,
I simply had to learn.

It never was… personal.
It never was… yours to tell.
It never was…  my place to ask,
It never was, but it’s just as well.

It never passed from between our lips,
Or a friendly, reassuring touch.
“And that's ok”, you told me once.  
“Don’t  be afraid”,  “You worry too much”.

Never did I fault your wishes,
And my loyalty was never a whim.
I never doubted your kind heart,
And never did I falter, my friend.
I’m not 100% sure of the exact story here.  I like to explore connections and the uncertainties that can plague them.  It’s kind of, initially, about the speaker learning when it would be necessary to do nothing when instinct might insist otherwise.  Learning to be quiet when you want, very sorely, to speak.   And, of course, full evergreen disclosure:  As most creative endeavors, it is stuffed about the edges with some Grade “A” crispy-fried *******.  mmm, tasty.
wes parham Jul 2023
We assembled a modest telescope,
To find what sights there were  to see.
I stared, transfixed, at the moon and stars,
In the driveway with all of my family.

I know exactly where I stood,
The moment I would find,
The infinite nature of time and space,
And how it all unwinds.

I asked about the size of the moon,
The distance of its arcing track.
I asked about the space beyond,
The nothing in the black.

I asked my family how big it is.
I asked if anyone knows,
The moon, the stars, and all of it.
I asked how far it goes.

“My son, our curious little one…”,
My parents said to me,
“It has no end”, “It just keeps going”,
“Outward, eternally”.

I stared up into a southern sky,
Ominous, dark as the sea.
And I swear, at that moment,
Looking up,
Something departed from me.

            It flew into the dark of space,
And hasn’t slowed in all this time,
       As far and as fast as information can.
                        The speed of light, I hear…
Which is not so much a speed…
          Hitched, perhaps, to the Voyager probe…
   By these new thoughts inside of my head.
                             But I digress.

This thing  began a journey that,
Must bring it face to face,
With everything that ever was,
Every corner of time and space.
Everything that is yet to come,
Everything that has ever been.
Repeating every history,
It’s trek would never end.

That thought has always stayed with me.
It anchors me, somehow.
A line cast from a sailing ship,
Where I stand upon the bow.
In the oblivion of the infinite,
It grounds me to the “now”.
I could have been eight or nine, but I do remember exactly where I was when this happened and it really was a mix of emotions to learn that the universe is probably _infinite_.  I was both terrified and exhilarated; humbled and hugely empowered, all at once.  I loved learning more about the cosmos and still feel the same rush to learn new stories from above.  
33.60455° N, 83.97471° W
wes parham May 2023
This is good stuff that you need to know,
I’ve been writing it all in my head for a while.  
Because 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… )
1991.  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.
wes parham May 2023
You worked with words wrapped tightly round,
This secret life of thought.
You sorely want to win, by hand,
Each battle that was brought.
But how can someone understand,
What every stranger knows?
You placed a bleak reminder  note,
where your integrity goes.

You put it off and tried to smile,
But waiting made it hard to live.
You'd seek for her forgiveness but,
There’s hardly any
                                  left to give.

Come back to life, my dearest friend,
You’ve had more than enough.
That inner voice, with strength to lend,
Is  your best ally when things get rough.
What life, the life of the mind?  Nice place to visit, but  wouldn't recommend living there.

   That’s what I originally wrote on the first draft of this.
It is an _old piece. It was born out of a dissatisfaction with written forms of personal expression.  They always seemed to lack something and just became “bleak reminders “ instead of the mighty statements you imagine them to be.  
   The middle part imagines that there is someone the speaker ought to reconcile with but lacks the will to believe that it would be worth it.  I wanted to imply that they’ve used their last favor or given up hope.    
   The final stanza came much later and serves as a reminder to listen to that inner voice, be your own ally even when you’re feeling doubt and defeat.  
Here, I shrug, trust the muse, and hit “save” before I change my mind.
wes parham Apr 2023
If I told you I had seen it already,
You’d have told me I was full of ****.
The joy, the future for each of you,
And the secret that there was more to it.

In a vision, you held an infant child,
A happy but confusing sight.
Confusing in stillness , nothing said,
And happy because it was obviously right.

Another vision, and you were at risk,
I slept on your floor to keep you from harm.
Just a glance on waking, still nothing said,
A smile before leaving, as you touched my arm.

In one surreal vision, you actually killed me.
(I never really understood that one…)
I even loved you for what you had done,
Maybe it was some kind of metaphor,
Some kind of mercy?

I honestly couldn’t say and, trust me,
I love a good metaphor.

You know what was really frightening, though?
How clear the next vision was.
It was light and joy, it was love itself, fulfilled.
And it horrified me to see it,
Right in the palm of my hand.

An old familiar face looked down and laughed.
She told me, “they are all in trouble now…”
“Precarious balance, and one is in real danger…”
“Best not **** it up…!”
And she laughed so hard I thought she’d **** herself.
If those kind of creatures even do that…

I honestly couldn’t say and, trust me,
I’m not afraid to ask her.

But one vision shook me when it proved true.
So many visions from the smallest of clues.
I didn’t mean to get close, or look for connections,
I just wanted to learn and seek the reflection.
To know, and to laugh,
With someone like you.
Share a table, a cup,
and a secret or two.

But the seer would see how our lines became crossed,
She spoke much of love, of a life and it’s loss.
She spoke of how my role,
Would be monumental,
Expendable, Trivial, but still…

I grew angry at how she manipulates me,
One alien and his hard-won humanity.
But the seer was right, I would have to go,
Leave the scene and assure that
    No one could know.

I created the door that it may be sealed,
And retreated to the opposite side,
Where I would be hated or feared, maybe both,
And none could ever know,
How, quietly, I cried.
In deep cover, the operative blends in at considerable risk.  Their superiors know this, though, and choose carefully those with the resilience to not lose themselves in the task at hand.
  When the seer herself asked me to mediate a nearly lost blood line, I felt a multitude of feelings.  I would feign affection, gain trust, and work with only crackpot visions to instruct me.  she believed in me, though.  Despite the guilt and deception, I trusted the program and, above all, the seer’s choice of operatives.
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