"reehand on napkins stained with tea and mustard and left"
Kiernan Norman 

swim until you can’t see land

until names etched deep in cardiac tissue blur

and fade, scored over with seasalt and creases of a million maps,

a secret stash of maps. absurd and hoarded and crumpled under carseats and

rolled neat

and boastful in umbrella holders or worse, framed and hung

Maps jotted freehand on napkins stained with tea and mustard and left

to be bused with the crusts and pocketful of change.

swim until you can’t read the maps.

the lines to here from there are arteries

on your fresh, clean heart.

"slept in mustard blood sheets."
Joseph Valle 

With frosty breath and empty-shell shoes,
I await the steady driver who returns for me,
to hurdle our car down cliff into sea
with cracked headlights and bowtie come undone,
what more could Night or Water honestly have won?

Moon painted gleam masterfully upon my eye
from falling trees and ivy-shined leaves,
whispered in their ears from knoll-bound knaves,
"The sun gone over, never to return for you."
They watch for pleasure, sent-to-ground from dew.

I ramble on and on along rocky coast line
over iron guard rails with trusty companion,
head-tilt weighed a stone above water,
gone plunging in toward black surface below,
face-first and tongue-tied with heart so hollow.

Up, up, awake. All but a dream.
Soaked tie above bedframe,
slept in mustard blood sheets.

"of mustard gas and industrialized massacres"

Man had wept
as he watched the fall of Lucifer,
not so much due to the tragedy itself,
rather than the cutting, crystalline
beauty of the Icarian descent

After the absence of three hundred years
since the forgotten burning of Magdeburg(1),
when the Devil had returned to Europe
from the smoldering ashes of
South Africa(2),
and Congo Free State(4),
the soft hills of Picardy were
embroidered in gold
with roses and clematises

And since our girl had been fed with naught
but the shimmering positivism of Auguste Comte
from a silver spoon manufactured in Manchester,
beneath the charmingly moorish face of a lover
and a Prada he wore
quilted with railway, nation-state,
Art nouveau, electricity,
and liberal democracy,
never in her wildest, most horrendous nightmares,
-one of which was mere few dozen Jews dying in pogroms-
could she possibly imagine
His robust fingers,
so caressingly wrapped around her neck and cheek,
concealing the bayonet claws
of mustard gas and industrialized massacres

A god whose name we only knew
and whose warmth we only read of,
had called for the blood sacrifice of utmost purity,
to be fed to its altars for the promises of salvation

As the Devil ravaged her body frozen as the Siberian gulags
and her soul smoking away to the chimneys of Auschwitz,
he raked his nail to her cheek seized by the throat,
lasciviously whispering,
‘Here, this,
This is the kiss of progress
You have thrown so warmly your arms around’

Ninety-eight years had passed
since that fatal kiss of a lovesome late June,
though the summer days had returned in Picardy,
roses and clematises
no longer bloom on her hills
except as tributes for silenced youth
which petals lay as a civilization’s tears
as shroud over a massive bomb-crater of La Boisselle(5)

And never again, could she fall in love,
notwithstanding all the lover’s whispers
of the rational organization of human society
or the ultimate liberation of the working class,
for in her heart have always lingered,
the shadow of the Devil
whose chilling warmth of the Lubyanka cells
and the fiery dearth of the crematoriums of Poland
we had shared as whole, consummate days of youth

For there lies a tragic aestheticism
in deflowering of a rose just about to bloom,
for one delirious sense of snapping off the stem,
we had burned away all ardor of love for a century

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SackofMagdeburg
(2) Concentration camps were first used as means of civilian incarceration by the British against the Afrikaaners during the Second Boer War
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HereroandNamaquaGenocide
(4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congo
(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochnagar_Crater

"Resembles brown mustard 'til..."
Mike West 

Diaper duty's not that bad.
The first few months go well.
Baby doesn't go that much,
And the poo does not yet smell.
When baby's very little,
And gets fed only milk
Baby's little excrement
Resembles brown mustard 'til...
Baby starts to grow a bit
And so does baby's poo.
The food they eat is more complex
And they poo much more like you.
Changing baby's diaper
Becomes more interesting.
And the smell that baby generates
Starts your nose to sting.
You learn real fast which foods cause
Your nostrils so much gloom.
And which of baby's foods are safe
And don't cause deadly fumes.
You also learn what kind of foods
Make baby's poo too stiff.
And what makes their poo so runny
They could poo through a sieve.
So take care of little baby
And always feed them right.
And be sure to check their diaper
Before turning out the light.

"requires mustard seed of Faith's leap"
Joseph J Breunig 3rd 

This body is imperfect and flawed,
originating from earthly dust;
it houses a spirit searching to find
the one, true God in which to trust.

To see myself as Yahweh does,
requires mustard seed of Faith's leap
and to take tangible action
since people know that "talk is cheap".

Separated unto holiness
to accomplish His Purpose and Plan
while sharing the Salvation Message
is the whole duty of man.

Expanding my personal growth
by a divine, refining process,
inspires a desire for betterment
and to expedite this "Work in Progress".

Author Notes:

Learn more about me and my poetry at:

"Such was the mustard seed."
Steven Hutchison 

Fold your hands or raise them empty.
True worship is in the sand.
It's knowing your coasts.
Knowing where you stop and where the Mystery begins.
Setting invisible standards on scales
you will never step foot on yourself
and being completely ok with that.
Empty hands are easy to hold on with,
so he squeezes with all his might.
Tighter with each missed meal,
tighter still with each cold night.
He holds on to the stories of Sundays,
of Lion's dens and wooden boats.
So that in the darkness of poverty's grave,
He prays.
Staying true to that thing with feathers in his soul,
he finds laughter amid storms
and wrestles smiles through the pain.
He grows.
From some invisible seed planted some time ago.
Grandmama's kitchen was a regular glass-walled greenhouse
And there wasn't anybody around
that could look themselves in the mirror
should one day they take to throwing stones.
Mama told him.
So he closed his eyes and spoke.
Truth to remove the cold,
bread of spirit to fill his hunger.
But when he opened his eyes he felt pain in his side,
so he prayed again.
Knees on the ground,
he expected the earth to sprout cheerio trees,
the clouds to rain blankets,
and Grandmama to come around the next corner.
Such was the mustard seed.
Often times he slept after prayer.
Not always of peace.
Sometimes he was afraid his eyes
would see the same world when he opened them.
So he held them shut and saw Grandmama in dreams.
Mama told him,
for patience and peace.
His empty hands still raised,
Still empty,
he gazed into the rafters of the one place he felt safe.
Singing songs of Sundays
and praying like Friday nights.
He felt light wrap around him,
rainbows he thought,
because he liked the colors,
and he learned while he was hungry
to pray.

The 3rd of 3 sketches of youth in poverty I wrote entitled 'Dance.Sing.Pray'
Rob Rutledge 

What is it about the human condition,
That we have to drink
Must cease to think,
Just to lose our inhibition?
No remission from ourselves
As we delve
Into the mind of a madman;

He screams, obscene.
"Give me your custodial sentence
For lack of repentance untoward
My mind!"
Or are you afraid to find
Your so called sanity
Has left you blind.

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