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Jo Nov 2014
Oh!  There it is!
The blood of my Mothers’
Sins
Blossoming on
My white sheets
Like a bouquet of English roses.
A shame -
Laundry day had
Been yesterday.  

My thighs have been painted
Rouge -
They blush
Like my cheeks
When my gaze
Lingers on my body
Too long in the mirror
As I put on my Sunday dress.

The needles in my
Lower back fill my
****** with blood -
I am a woman now -
And as such I must
Wake before the sun
And wash my sheets
And my body
Before anyone has a chance
To smell the iron and the shame
Between my legs.  

I have never been so
Acutely aware of my body:
My sore ******* feel like
Overripe tomatoes ready to burst,
My stomach bloated and taking up
Space I’m told is not ladylike -
My head throbs, my limbs ache, and
I continue to shed my insides.
How is it I never noticed
The cry of my body before?

A week of blood
Before I have served my sentence
For a woman
Who dared to disobey -
I clean the stains
And wash myself
Away.
I may come back to this later.
Shofi Ahmed Nov 2018
The hallowed turf is a six seasonal
always one step ahead on earth.
So exceptional a land is out of the box
acutely drawn down the Moon
and sublimely unique is written in stone!

A patch of land every star loves to touch
so much so the Mintaka know they can mirror
the pyramid on the surface of the earth
but not the tucked away zenana here
the planetary gem, the earth's gold dust!

Go with the southern breeze on play with the sun
here it colours the wind gives it its Midas touch
and strikes a deal to part a silhouetted cloud.  
That a beauty spot raises the eyebrows of the day on a high,
on the shining face of the golden Bengal in broad daylight!

If that scores blowing the wrap off a geometry in reserve
somewhere in Sylhet, meet the Hebrew king David here
he would offer his thousand and one melodic symposium
and King Solomon princely his whole affluent shebang.
'Cause the rolling down sun from heaven this time
hitting the ground could sparkle right on the palm
holding up the very cherry-picked handful of earth!

Oh, what's that? Keeping now and then the times in tune
the earthy depth's pearl or outburst of the enduring master art,
the jewel on the foundation stone from the root of the earth?
The golden ratio foot is so firm still is a wisp of cloud
hanging over the ocean of life what loses plops in it
smooths out a rainbow tantalizing every looking eye!

The ascended fairy is a stealer that no hand can touch
seven colours shine on a patch of blue null to touch
took on a meaning for Sylhet in a handful of earth.
It matches the soil of Makkah the centre of the earth
the birthplace of the prophet king Muhammad (PBUH)!
One who is in the know hops on the foundation stone
and rose to heaven in the Night of Ascension.

How is it done a regular soil mirror the very pivotal one?
The labyrinth is out of this world, relate to Queen Maab
let alone a native maestro that not a genie can describe!

Every atom loves to discover the meaning of that.
It knows the constant vibrations the never-ending dance
that keeps it on its toe the choreography hails from outside.
With most polished foot and motions is butterfly dance
can't move an inch away there is always a canvas
is blank beneath the foot yet to lay on it candlelight!

Light a candle in Sylhet I wonder is it the moonlight
spills through even down into an atom's black canvas
or lovely dropped down the sun on a handful of earth?

Meet here the open future shows up at the earth's
hub-moon's anew rallying to the untouching-sea
the Indian subcontinent's corner to the ancient wind!

Hark the morning birds follow singing deep in the midst
mellifluous-shrills fill the air unveiling the dream scenes!
Ah, the deep footed earth how mystique, every morning
the sun off the heaven's hill lays in a new diaphanous
gold-light-rug beneath it, but yet to paint a footprint,
the colourless magic let alone the centrepiece!

The times anew numerating the bounties of our land.
Craving to sip in a dew-potion on our blossoming rose
cirrus clouds dancing over the seven seas here they drop
Banish the midday blues singing the deep sea's song!

Nestled amidst the Rivers Surma, Kushiara and Monu
Perched on the shades of the trees, each one is a canvas.
Glows with changing Bangladesh's unique six seasons
as they swing and leap in the branches of the trees
and murmur with the upstream and the autumnal breeze.

Stunned angels on their way heaven taking one more sunset
potted in the starry bowl look back at the wee hours.
They can hear pianissimo on this preserved perennial land.
It never falls asleep is awake with a numerically perfect
circle of 360 spiritual dynamos from the centre they hailed
with a handful of earth and lived here as it matched.    

A deep-seated truth, rock-solid Shilahatta in Sanskrit.
Clothed in an enduring vesture minted Sylhet loops in
with the Hebrew Bible's Shalet, a ruler, a shield!  

A little drop makes the mighty ocean.
Like one single word on the lips
the maestros' great epics begin to be told.
Just with a mundane handful of earth
Primed Sylhet's masterpiece begins to unfold.
With the whole ball of wax keeping us onboard
lo, before the face of the earth, it unveils the mirror!
With the whole nine yards on her least hold
Believe it or not, Sylhet is cherry-picked chosen by God!
The subject matter is about a land possessing a deeply seeded truth. The prime significance of which is its scattered afar but matches the pivotal soil of the centre of the earth!
Lora Lee May 2016
I am hungry
and it is reflected
in the contours
of every inch
                  of skin
every cell a-flutter
tiny wings and heartbeats
activated within
right down to
the ribosomes and
kidney-shaped
mitochondria
right up through epidermis
woven as threads
of softness penetrating
your inner hard, dark parts
causing them
to melt into
                my light
I am craving
to feel your
absolute heart's
raging core
my aching flesh burning,
my heart, wrapped in
a love
              so pure
My need to be
devoured surfaces
in smoothness,
at a glance
You feel it acutely,
no room for doubt
or subtle chance
               I am ravenous
for muscle-worked arms
(arms that could easily
try to break)
to be supremely
gentle as you part
my thighs like the ocean
and sacredly partake
the slickness of your tongue
in my feminine grace
the stains of my love
drenching
                your noble face
your eyes on mine
as I sharply breathe
         need to hold your
head stroke your
           hair know that for me              
the king takes off that
garland of gold
breaking free of
all symbols of status
the only real treasure
the queen who
gives to him,
and who he now pleasures
     and I let myself be consumed
with the reverence
of a psalm
my love pouring into you
healing your hurts,
               like a balm
in this private landscape
we are the most
ferocious of tender
estuaries
in an eternal vista
in this hour of somewhere,
the sea hauls us in
like ancient creatures,
     bringing the fossils
back to life
in lustrous foam
as they
         inch their way
into the spirals
    that we
feel we could
call
     home‎
Appropriately attuned with "Alternate World" by Son Luxe...yes in an alternate world, so much could happen
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wnIs71n_kE
and, for the mood:  "Hazey"by Glass Animals
Yes.
Kendall Mallon Jul 2013
Book One


Prelude:

As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


Home:

A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be ****** ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
mistress…
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.




Book Two

Oracle:**

Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
hatefrustrationpitydesperationheartache!
Towards
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to *****; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.
WS Warner Nov 2013
Part One
Nascent Craving

The insular heart unsealed; pearled eyes
Breach parapets of stone— periled shield,
The sweetest ****—
A threatening wonder and irrefragable synergy,
Nervous routes of cognition  
In this nascent, amorous craving.
Locked and abased,
Dissonance lends pathos — euphoric and onerous,
Disconsolate cries curb sublimation,
The regnant bleed diffusing — fervid lust
Fondled, tactile surfaces in throbbing anticipation.

Sullen, aft a veil of laughter,
Visceral aftermath, out of
The ardent ash,
Burns a thirst;
Insuperable numbness and ache.
Efflorescent intimacy,
Table for two
Enraptured in new alliance,
Élan vital (psyche);
Urgent dialect petitions
Equivocation, jocularity blending
Provocation with indecision,
Noted lilt of descending inhibition.

Adrift, the incessant Now;
As occasion inexorably diminished;
Resonant simpatico tending,
Numinous amity;
Heard conversant, cognitive idioms—
Lassitude, time-eaten pangs of the unhinged heart,
Wounds axiomatic,
In disquieting synergy,
Nibbling, the circumference—
Misery’s permeating truth;
None immune, all trundle incongruously past,
Facing intrepid savages.

Licitly felt, reverberations of Amor
Whence the heart behaves;
Measured cadence, pulse elevating—
Treasured lover, contemplative muse;
Undulating clasp, inflated bone of absence;
Incarnation — a woman,
Beyond prosaic;
Ineffable adoration pours in certitudes of verse,
Elenita, enclothed —virtue unvarnished;
Reservoir intrinsic, poised advocate of the innocent:
The crooked lines of insolence,
Brazen culture of neglected youth.
Perceptive blue stare, sensitized tears—
Plaintively, evincing her injustice ago.

Part Two
Tendered Senses

Siren silence, eruptive blush, ampler between phrases
In dulcet tones — stirring discourse;
Foments rebellion, the strife beneath— his ****,
Out of its vast reserve,
Penetrate the narrowed ambit, vaguely announced.
Groping hands, migrating the sensual member
Stern faces grimacing— mirror in abrasion,
Under the blind surf of consent;
Burrowing ambiguity, emerging torsion,
Plunge, enlisted and content in the sea;
Subsumed in the nonverbal cue,
Persuasion’s plea,
Quelled in the post cerebral assent.

Piercing eyes parallel crystalline waters of Lake Tahoe.

An untouched portion of his awareness remains aloof,
Palpable in the subsequential quiet,
Obsequious and febrile, they sinned on sofas;
Peregrine predilections quenched and viscid—
Serenely requited, the room breathes her presence,
Limp, figures *******, mantled in adolescent torpor.

Erudition in bloom, trust undoubted,
Illuminating, satiating; tempest calm—
Under canvas
Terrain soaked and sodden,
Postliminary — rains of invalidation.
Allowance and permission
Recalibrate, salivate, shortly only—
Initiate, obliged consecration, appraising
Curvatures of the spine,
Stuns him obeisant, her femenine pulchritude,
Propinquity inciting vigor,
Emergent allure, the updriven
Tower of wood sprung from the blanket.


Suffused in ether, purring streams of remembrance
Vaginal honeyed dew, sung into
Orchids, remnants of remember;
Drenched down the cynosure of devotion;
Succulent view, diaphanous pantied bottom;
Halcyon mist, saporous wine — compliance of the will,
Freed fires wander,
Pliable rind, twin plums dripping,
Abject confession, dispatching doubt
In tendered senses,
Pivotal tree, lavender Jacaranda holds the key,
Unfurled, cindered vulnerability.

Half-denuded skin invites confessional savor
Acutely bubbled rear, fleshly furnished denim;
Sultry visit, San Ramon Valley in the fall,
Strewed limbs splendid, flowing filmy;
Imagination yields—
Bursting silk congealed
Across deft thighs, ambrosial thong draping ankles,
Grazing ascension, the curvaceous trajectory
Nose inflamed with fragrance,
Inhaling, climb of acquiescence,
The ****** weal, amid the globed fruit,
Focal intention — ploughed lance thrusting,
Absconding, the ancillary perfume of essence.

Perceiving avid validation,
Swimmingly, amid the monstrous gaze.
  
Humid skies simper dank, set swell the incense of Eros,
Surge of poetry engorged
The flame levened shaft,
Nimble ******* flounce, spill the harboring mouth;
Moist hands merging, unfettered,
Weave in supplication,
Vicinity voicing, enmeshed diversion;
Supple and spherical behind
Posterior arch, milky-skin against the lip—
Ripeness jostling their complacency;
Lapped the mooring, ridden decisively;
Recapitulating— spumed forth, bellied over hips warmth.
Abandon the dirge of self-pity
Late under ego’s trance.
  
Part Three
Present Tenses

Tempting trespass across sacred gardens,
Flowering, scandal set luminous: attachment—
Consensual, their corresponsive fear;
Protean manifestations— evocative, perpetual
Unutterable contention in a fictive resolve,
Deliberating the merits of their widely disparate tastes in coffee,
Amorously touring wine, let’s drowse through the gnarled vine.
Sundry deficiencies pale, once contrasted;
The beatific vision—
Material substance unaccompanied,
Imperceptible, tear-streamed cheeks in synch,
Ventral kiss, peak of carnal perfection,
Reminiscence— flesh violent with Love.

Fiction knew to meander the innominate rift,
A tincture of irony soften misdeeds
Immense as the sea.
Insolvent beast stippled with sapience—
Unmasked, the fabric of delusion;
Dependence smothering the disciplined heart
Resentment put up for release.

Waste of residual years
Fate’s apportion, scars bleakly observed;
Chastened by heartache, engulfing fervor
Too faint to recapture.
Vague glimpses dry—
Hypervigilant his defenses,
Veritable suspensions, embers lit linger;
Slender walls of solidity, the horizoned self,
Faith and reason in concert — stone levels of elucidation.

Fractured bones of distance, emanate a rigid salience,
Another ponderous night of absence—
Lingering, cauldron of dearth as indifference ushers,
The quotidian coil of contrition.
Tearful pallor, sequestered —ciphering time and solitude;
The unkissed mouth, his restive brow;
Suspend in the approximate span.
                      
After Lucid alliterations are spoken
Devoid of her face, his lover’s nudge—
The man nurtures his hurt.

Anxious as seldom unscarred,  
Venus’s susurrations,
In present tenses,
Kissed by her serenades of integration—
Notwithstanding metaphysic intrusion,
No chain stays unbroken,
Postponed drifts of deferment left unspoken,
Reverberations of amor.

© 2013 W. S. Warner
To Eileen
Carter Ginter Oct 2018
Love is an interesting feeling
And even though I've said it
Countless times to many
It feels different with them

When things are challenging
The intensity is palpable
Racing hearts
Trailing tears
Averting eyes
Yet still we hold on
Emotionally and physically
Wrapped into each other
Until the storm passes and
It transforms from
Seemingly impenetrable clouds
Pouring rain upon us
To a faint and fading mist
Haloed by the sun
And we realize that
Together
We are strong and
Individually
We are stronger still

Whether staring into their eyes
As we wrestle
Or catching the others' tears
Through painful conversations and
Anxiety-provoking confrontations
Every moment with them
Shows me why I'm here
Why nothing else worked out
Through all of the bad days and
Complicated miscommunications
I see them more clearly
I feel their soul more acutely
And I fall in love with them
Over and over again
Nigel Morgan Sep 2013
He had been away. Just a few days, but long enough to feel coming home was necessary. He carried with him so many thoughts and plans, and the inevitable list had already formed itself. But the list was for Monday morning. He would enjoy now what he could of Sunday.

Everything can feel so different on a Sunday. Travel by train had been a relaxed affair for once, a hundred miles cross-country from the open skies of the Fens to the conurbations of South Yorkshire. Today, there was no urgency or deliberation. Passengers were families, groups of friends, sensible singles going home after the weekend away. No suits. He seemed the only one not fixated by a smart phone, tablet or computer. So he got to see the autumn skies, the mountain ranges of clouds, the vast fields, the still-harvesting. But his thoughts were full to the brim of traveling the previous November when together they had made a similar journey (though in reverse) under similar skies. They had escaped for two days one night into a time of being wholly together, inseparably together, joined in that joy of companionship that elated him to recall it. He was overcome with weakness in his body and a jolt of passion combined: to think of her quiet beauty, the tilt of her head, the brush of her hair against his cheek. He longed for her now to be in the seat opposite and to stroke the back of her calf with his foot, hold her small hand across the table, gaze and gaze again at her profile as she, always alert to every flicker of change, took in the passing landscape.

But these thoughts gradually subsided and he found himself recalling a poem he had commissioned. It was a text for a verse anthem, that so very English form beloved by cathedral and collegiate choral directors of the 16th C (and just that weekend he had been in such a building where this music had its home). He had been reading The Five Proofs for the Existence of God from the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas, knowing this scholar to have been a cornerstone of the work of Umberto Eco, an author he admired. He had also set a poem that mentioned these Five Proofs, and had set this poem without knowing exactly what they were. He recalled its ending:

They sit by a lake where dead leaves
Float and apples lie on a table. She
ignores him and his folder of papers

but I found later the picture was called
‘In Love’, which coloured love sepia.
Later still, by the time I sat with you,

Watched your arm on the back of a chair
And your hand at rest while you told me
Of Aquinas and his proofs for the existence

Of God I realised love was not always
Sepia, that these hands held invisible
Keys, were pale because the mind was aflame.

He remembered then the challenge of reading Aquinas, this Dominican friar of the 13C. It had stretched him, and he thought of asking his wordsmith of thirty years, the mother of his daughters, to bring these arguments together in a poetic form for him to set to music. She had delivered such a poem and it took him some while to grasp it wholly. He wondered for a moment if he actually had grasped it. But there was this connection with the landscape he was passing through. She had mentioned this, and now he saw it for his own eyes. She had been to Ely for the day, to walk the length of the great Cathedral, to stare at and be amongst the visible past, the past of Aquinas. He remembered the first verse as only a composer can who has laboured over the scheme of words and rhythms:

The Argument from Motion

Everything in the world changes.
A meadow of skewbald horses grazes
Beneath a pair of flying swans
And the universe is different again.

And no sooner is potency reduced to act,
By a whisker’s twitch or a word,
A word, that potent gobbet of air
Than smiles and tears change places.

And everything has changed. Back
Go the tracks beyond seen convergence
To a great self-sufficient terminus
Which terminus we might call God.

And so it was in such a spirit of reflection that his journey passed. He had joined the Edinburgh express at Peterborough to travel north, and the landscape had subsided into a different caste, still rural, but different, the fields smaller, the horizon closer.

Alighting from the train in his home city on a Sunday afternoon the station and surrounding streets were quiet and the few people about were not walking purposefully, they strolled. He climbed the flights of stairs to his third floor studio, unlocked the door and immediately walked across the room to open the window. Seagulls were swooping and diving below him, feeding off the detritus of the previous night’s partying in the clubs and pubs that occupied the city centre, its main shopping area removed to a mall off kilter with the historic city and its public buildings. What shops there were stood empty, boarded up, permanently lease for sale.

Sitting at his desk he surveyed the paper trail of his work in progress. Once so organised, every sketch and plan properly labelled and paginated, he had regressed it seemed to filling pages of his favoured graph paper in a random fashion. Some idea for the probably distant future would find its way into the midst of present work, only (sometimes) a different ink showing this to be the case. Notes from a radio talk jostled with rhythmic abstracts. He realised this was perhaps indicative of his mental state, a state of transience, of uncertainty, a temporariness even.

He was probably too tired to work effectively now, just off the train, but the sense and the relative peacefulness that was Sunday was so seductive. He didn’t want to lose the potential this time afforded. This was why for so many years Sunday had often been such a productive day. If he went to meeting, if he cooked the tea, if he ironed the children’s school clothes for the week, there was this still space in the day. It represented a kind of ideal state in which to think and compose. Now these obligations were more flexible and different, Sunday had even more ‘still’ space, and it continued to cast its spell over him.

He put his latest sketches into a sequential form, editing on the computer then printing them out, listening acutely, wholly absorbed. Only a text message from his beloved (picking blackberries) brought him back to the time and day. There was a photo: a cluster of this dark, late summer fruit, ripe for picking framed against a tree and a white sky. Barely a week ago they had picked blackberries together with friends, children and dogs and he had watched her purposely pick this fruit without the awkwardness that so often accompanied bending over brambles. He wondered at her, constantly. How was this so? He imagined her now in her parents’ garden, a garden glowing in the late afternoon light, as she too would glow in that late-afternoon light . . . he bought himself back to the problem in hand. How to make the next move? There was a join to deal with. He was working with the seven metrics of traditional poetry as the basis for a rhythmic scheme. He was being tempted towards committing an idea to paper. He kept reminding himself of the music’s lie of the land, the effectiveness of it so far. It was still early days he thought to commit to something that would mark the piece out, produce a different quality, would declare the movement he was working on to be a certain shape.

And suddenly he was back on the train, looking at the passing landscape and the next verse of that Aquinas poem insisted itself upon him with its apt description and tantalising argument:

The Argument from Efficient Causality

We are crossing managed washlands.
Pochards so carefully coloured swim
Where cows ruminated last summer
In a landscape fruit of human agency.

And I think of the heavenly aboriginal
Agent of all our doings in this material
Playground of earth I can pick up,
Hold and crumble and cultivate

And air that is mine for the breathing
And the inhabited waters that cling
As if by magic to a sphere. What cause
Sustains the effects we live among?

For there is no smoke without fire
And as we sow, thus we reap. Nihil
Ex nihil, therefore something Is,
Some being we might call God.

So ‘nothing out of nothing, therefore something is’.  Outside in the city the Cathedral bells were ringing in Evensong. The sounds only audible on a Sunday when the traffic abated a little and the sounds in the street below were sporadic. He thought of going out into the Cathedral precinct and listening to the bells roll and rhythm their sequences, those Plain-Bob-Majors and Grand-Sire-Triples. But he knew that would further break the spell, the train of thought that lay about him.

He sketched the next section, confidently, and when he had finished felt he could do know more. There it was: a starting point for tomorrow. He could now go towards home, walk for a while in the park and enjoy the movements of the wind-tossed trees, the late roses, the geese on the lake. He would think about his various children in their various lives. He would think about the woman he loved, and would one day assuage what he knew was a loneliness he could not quench with any music, and though he tried daily with words, would not be assuaged.
The poetic quotations are from poems by Margaret Morgan. A collection titled Words for Music by Margaret and Nigel Morgan is now available as an e-book from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DY8RAGC
(from a song)

Perhaps I was born kneeling,
born coughing on the long winter,
born expecting the kiss of mercy,
born with a passion for quickness
and yet, as things progressed,
I learned early about the stockade
or taken out, the fume of the enema.
By two or three I learned not to kneel,
not to expect, to plant my fires underground
where none but the dolls, perfect and awful,
could be whispered to or laid down to die.

Now that I have written many words,
and let out so many loves, for so many,
and been altogether what I always was?
a woman of excess, of zeal and greed,
I find the effort useless.
Do I not look in the mirror,
these days,
and see a drunken rat avert her eyes?
Do I not feel the hunger so acutely
that I would rather die than look
into its face?
I kneel once more,
in case mercy should come
in the nick of time.
Rewind this memoir back to my first foster home.   I’m reclining on the couch in the living room watching Superman, a whatever's-on-tv-saturday-afternoon-movie.   "Give A Little Bit" played from the soundtrack.  The Supertramp song reached out from the screen and into my own complicated teen-aged life.  Oh the words of that song blindsided me, hit me hard in the chest with a sad yearning, an emotion I had ignored forever like that elephant in the room too big to push out the door.  Because life was so hard, too hard, and lonely on and on, and the world gives only just enough that you keep breathing, but you wonder why.  Yes, please  someone  give just a little....
But at the time I hadn't known anything else and I just stuffed that overwhelming sad lonely feeling.  Too much need wears out a welcome in someone else's home.  It seemed most everyone else had family, security, some money for perhaps things like a pair of cleats to run in school track if you have the desire. Its called belonging or opportunity and I was acutely aware I wouldn't have it.

Fast forward 25 years; business for my glass art studio is rewarding.  I live in Cleveland, or what I called Purgatory.  I like the city though; I think the motto should be "Its Not That Bad."  A tough steel town, unpretentious to a fault, tenacious, it inspired the Clean Water Act because the river was so polluted it   caught   on   fire.  People who live there just don't quit, except that the biggest export is young people. The streets are eerily empty, the quiet steel mills are epic sculptures of rust.  But its not that bad.  Now they make a tasty beer called Burning River.  Sometimes they gamble on unconventional ideas because they've reached the end of status-quo.  One can even surf there, when the wind blows a Nor'easter in the fall, just before the lake freezes. The wave break is nicknamed "Sewer Pipe"; one can imagine why.

I biked with a club there; cycling part of my life-blood.  Life was pretty good, blessed with measures of contentment and happiness and family, even through so many challenges.  Except I'm stuck pedaling a trainer in the basement most of the long winter.  It was during an endless, gray February that I was inspired by an idea: a Velodrome.  Its one of those banked tracks people in America only see during the Olympics.  Cover it, and people could have a bicycle park all year-round with palm trees in the winter, in Cleveland.  Its a blast of a sport with serious American heritage.  A velodrome is a place where all a kid has to do is show up and with enough heart he or she can make it to the Olympics.  They wouldn't need money, just 100% heart.  It would be the kind of opportunity I didn't have when I was a kid.

So I decided to take on the responsibility to build one... not to be afraid of the price tag, or how to do it, or let a label like "disabled veteran with a head injury" daunt me.  I figured my role was to get the project started and motivate others to do other parts.  I decided not to discuss my shortcomings, introduce myself with that label, or use it as a disclaimer.   As many times as I wished I had a chalkboard sign around my neck saying, Please excuse the mess, I had to tell myself it was not an excuse.
There would need to be many others; but the fact that I knew only a dozen people on the planet didn't stop me either.  Two people inspired me.  Kyle MacDonald had a dream to barter a paper clip for something better, trading that for something else, anything else, until he had a house.  I thought I could start with an old laptop, a couple thousand dollars, and my idea. I'd work to leverage each bit of progress, not knowing what they were yet.  Thats how anything gets done, right?  Erik Weihenmayer is a blind alpine mountain climber, conquering even Everest.  He didn’t let anyone convince him what he couldn’t do, and didn’t let impairments keep him from his goal.  He didn't let blindness, the fact that he couldn't see the top as well as others, make the goal any less enjoyable for himself.  Also, there’s no way he could have done it without help.

There are no business plans for a Velodrome or someone else would have built more of them already.  I'm good at figuring things out, what with having to relearn things all the time.  I don't quit because that has never seemed to be an option.  Resourcefulness is my middle name, having to put my life back together every year or so.  Certainly the project was eccentric but as an artist I've never really cared about what others thought.  I certainly didn't have a reputation for sanity to maintain.  Professionally, I’ve had experience with so many factors of development: from paperwork at the back end as a Project Assistant, to designing it as a Mechanical Drafter, to constructing it as a Steel Detailer.  I understood this project.

Every time I discovered something needed to be done, I'd figure out how to do it.  I took an online tutorial and put together a website, attended communication seminars for better speaking skills, learned how to recruit a Board of Directors, took classes for fundraising, won a few grants, and started a non-profit.  I had to buy a couple of suits for meetings.  I kept hoping someone who knew what they were doing would take over, but that never seemed to materialize.  What I thought would be a few months turned into several hard years of work, learning new things on the fly like politics, business etiquette, computer programs, how to understand and write financials and business plans for stadiums.

It felt like cramming for finals, taking exams for classes I never attended.  I didn’t just burn my candle on both ends, I was torching it in the middle too.  Every challenge I had ever gone through seemed like it was a preparation for this one.  Many times I wondered if it was all for nothing; so many dead ends and frustrations and years where the project was barely on life-support.  Mistakes and wrong turns making people mad, losing faith in me.  Would it ever really happen?  I kept imagining what my bike wheels would look like under my handlebars as if I was ridiing on the track, listening to the same particular songs on my ipod for motivation.

A small tangent here, a digression back to the fifth grade and my favorite teacher.  He was about as tall as his students.  Mr.A (our nickname for Mr. Anderson) was a barrel-chested little person but I didn't notice it till years later because he was so cool.  He was the first teacher, the first person actually, who encouraged me to be myself.  I was a little kid, a couple years advanced and bright enough to be skipped again.  Tthat would have been ridiculous since I was already too small.  I would get my work done early in class, and he would let me spend time doing whatever, encouraging my creativity.  I distinctly remember making little scale models of parks out of construction paper.  I would start by making a rectangular tray, and then fill it in with ponds, benches, and oval or figure-8 tracks for bicycles, elevated roller-coaster paths for walking.  It was my way of creating a whimsical place that felt good in my difficult life.  No lie, I was building bicycle tracks when I was 9.  That memory faded away until I was several years into the actual Velodrome project, trying create a light-hearted park on the edge of a ghetto.  This was my life's ultimate Art Project; made with wood, steel, and tenacity.  It made me wonder about a life's purpose... still just a what if... but cruel if there wasn't anything to it.

There is a necessary role for the dreamer.  Visionaries help to break status quo, introduce new solutions.  Sorting through the banal with unique perspective, the random is reassembled into intriguing newness.  What is creative nature?  Is it obsession to improve things, the need for approval, resourcefulness within limits, or perspective outside boundaries?   Is it tenacity to the point of obsession, focus to the point of selfishness?  

Thankfully, a few devoted people did take over after a few years and worked hard to raise the serious money.  In 2012, Phase 1 of the Cleveland Velodrome opened to the public.  Presently they are raising funds for Phase 2 to cover it.   By chance I was there the day the track was finished and got a chance to ride it.  All I wanted to do was one thing: listen to those songs on my ipod and see my wheels under the handlebars on the track... in reality.  I didn't want to race or be recognized at some celebration.  I just wanted to ride a few laps, happy just to have a role in building it.  In less than a year there are already training programs, youth cycling classes, and teams competing.  Through community grants and volunteers, its all free to anyone under 18.  

Not to be forgotten, some thanks should go to one supportive teacher who helped a scrappy kid dream.    Schools measure math and science so valuable, for good reason.  But this favors one brain’s side of thinking.  Initiating and working for the construction of an urban renewal project and improving a neighborhood is traceable to the exact same idea assembled with clumsy school scissors, white glue, and construction paper, during 5th grade free time.

I can't wait to hear the news of some tough kid from East Cleveland getting to the Olympics.
dex Oct 2015
hungry.

inhale

hungry

inhale


sigh


inhale

be­ing *hungry

is *deliciously
addictive

the way my ribs ache
the perpetual cold that veils me
the shortness of breath and lightheadedness as I ascend the stairs
the burning of my tired legs as they beg me to fuel them,
but I laugh,
because
it's

delicious

                   better than food
                        delicious

but perhaps my favorite part
          about being hungry...

inhale

hungry

inhale

     ... is the sharpness of scents
  
   every detail of every crumb
                  is more acutely sensed

by the hungry girl's nose

            and it is delicious.

hungry

inhale

hungry

inhale

**hungry.
Note: My great aunt passed away from anorexia. I do NOT support eating disorders or the culture that promotes them. This piece was a response to a question someone asked me, “What do you think is going through their heads when they won't eat?” This was an artistic representation of my plight to understand. That is all.
Nothing Much Jan 2015
There is a snack size container of peanut butter sitting in the pantry
And I'm sitting across the room but I can feel it's weight as acutely as my own
I checked the package three times, hoping the numbers would change when i returned
282
282
282 calories
I'm having a panic attack over a snack because the one thing I crave more than anything else in the world is the sticky, nutty taste of JIF brand peanut butter of which I am undeserving

My grandmother loved peanut butter
So much that they had to hide it from her if they wanted any hope of a satisfactory sandwich
My mom hid food too
Stole it like kiss after kiss
Sneaking cookies from the houses where she babysat
Getting crumbs on her swelling chest in the dark embrace of her teenage bedroom
A buffet for one
And now I'm in my grandmothers house
Hoping that there's peanut butter in heaven
Because here there's just photographs and the lingering scent of her Chanel number 5 perfume

Like mother, like daughter, like granddaughter they say
You can trace my family line as easily as the stretch marks that litter our bodies
But I am breaking the cycle by falling into my own
I have learned that hunger pangs are better than the climbing figures on the scale
So I lift a glass of water to my lips
And I leave the peanut butter in the pantry so no one will ever have to hide food from me
This is one of my most personal pieces. It's basically a disjointed rambling about some things I've been dealing with lately. It's a little strange written out like this, since it's meant to be a spoken word poem.
WS Warner Feb 2012
Underneath the anger, there are tears. Beneath the fury, there is hurt, a river
of affliction - the day that possibility evaporated. I knew, the moment
it was gone. Telos obscured, like a mist, had left me.

Frost in February, morning at the local coffee house, perseverating, sedate
in privatized, cogitations - certainty dissolves into irony, the transient
collective with predictable cadence and singular objective. Borrowed
energies - preferred anesthetic in defiance of the placid, quotidian horror.

Angst wrapped in skin, clothed in remorse, like a muslin coat unable
to keep me warm, the palette of truculence, dislocated savant,
with guarded aversion - faces enucleating in tacit harmony, the muted tragedy
of the forgotten.

Yoked, the metaphorical satchel, freighted with the sentient debris, sifting
the fuckage, memoirs of failure, privation of venture and honor, objectified as
mere portent. [Existence] - the daily riot, becomes the necessary crucible.

Dissonance and detachment resonate the cultural banality, [being] displaced
by icon; [branding], ideas about ideas, life several times removed,
emblem over essence.

Existential renegade, exploiting the counter intuitive, the paradigmatic prodigal,
favor squandered, in the absonant passage, bearing fruit of the undone.

Bones of contention lament, interminably, like a false friend, present in absence,
perceived in the lack, subtraction, slip-stream - the disheveled
palaver of the broken.

Acutely self referential, misery enfleshed, its own reward, a post-war
discontent inhabiting sorrow, compressed and narrow, begetting
apathy in springtime.

Commodity of youth, the currency of beauty -permuted, commerce of the
ethereal and diaphanous. Human caprice, post-modern fog,
the flattened self,
the enemy of us is us, drowning in the decorum of narcissism.
the fattened calf,
immolating on the sword of autonomy.

Recycled grief, a recursive loop of gestating thoughts, marinating fluidly
within the interpretive grid. Confessional cyber community - exposed wounds
and concrete suffering, abstracted from virtual solidarity, refracted through a
reductive sentimentality, maybe they will ‘like’ it.

Iconoclast in exile, inhaling the incense of barrenness , surrounded by synoptic
drivel in understated - present tenses - alight in the now, axial axioms of the privileged,
who genuflect to the god of unfettered freedom.

Peripatetic intervals of isolation, self-imposed, hidden in a sanctuary of derision,
colliding with immutable otherness , the waters of chaos, calm.
The proleptic display, announcing eschatology. An ancient text written on the interior
expressed in myth and narrative the courier. The carnal and cerebral
arise, rightly flourishing.

Sense thresholds stirring, surprise and turbulence, reverberations of altered
domains merging - the temporal and ubiquity, the indissolubly resplendent
inversion - the invisible made visible. Opaque intrigues subsumed into the
balm of reconciliation - the first shall be last…

©2012 W.S. Warner
Helen Feb 2012
Fall surrendered, snow fell, and Ruth’s mother bought a blanket for her daughter’s seventeenth Christmas. It wasn’t a very expensive or spectacular blanket; it was extraordinary only in the fact that it hadn’t been picked mindlessly from a Christmas list but had instead been chosen lovingly and thoughtfully. She knew her daughter was forever chilly and would love the blanket’s fleece side, and she laughed to see that it had snaps just like the blanket she herself had spent her evenings cocooned in when she was Ruth’s age. So she wrapped the blanket more beautifully than the other gifts and set it gently under the tree.

The sun stretched, adults yawned, and Ruth opened her mother’s gift on Christmas morning. At the sight of the blanket, her grandmother’s eyes welled with memories of Ruth’s mother, looking almost identical to how Ruth looked now, wrapped up in her own blanket with the snaps. Ruth admired the gentle color of the blanket’s slick side and stroked the fleece side against her check before setting it on top of the rest of her gifts. She thanked her mother enthusiastically (she’d always been acutely aware of her reaction to gifts in front of their givers) and laughed good-naturedly at her grandmother’s hovering tears before hugging them down her face.

Naked trees shivered, frost iced the landscape, and at her mother’s suggestion Ruth spent the winter with the blanket layered beneath her covers. She nestled beneath it every night, but felt guilty when she couldn’t love it any more than anything else she had in her room, and she never snapped it around herself as her mother had done. She’d tried to wear it like that the day she was given the blanket, but it had made her feel uncomfortable and constrained. So instead she slept with the blanket spread flat beneath her sheets through that winter and into the spring.

Spring sprung, flowers bloomed and Ruth bounced for a moment on her toes before diving headfirst into his eyes. The weeks passed for her not in hours and days but in giggles and kisses, and she was surprised when her usually analytical, suspicious mind released her heart and allowed it to love recklessly and entirely. Making her bed one giddy morning, Ruth stroked the soft, fleece side of her blanket and then the slick, smooth side, and she thought of sweet picnics and stargazing from quiet hilltops. She folded the blanket and kept it in her car in preparation for any such spontaneity.

The moon beamed loudly, prom streamers fluttered, and Ruth danced with him wildly. Her classmates all felt just as immortal, and everyone laughed and spun and anticipated together. When they finally left the dance, Ruth’s body was still coursing with the night’s excitement, intoxicated with young love and the bright eternity that stretched before her. He brought her to a small hilltop where she spread the slick side of the blanket against the grass, and the two lay trembling there beneath the stars. Finally, he wrapped his mouth and his heart and his body around hers, and her innocence leaked slowly onto the fleece.

The moon slid drunkenly behind the hills, birds began to wake, and Ruth flew home on her own audacity, leading the dawn behind her. In the dim light, she noticed the garbage can her father had brought to the curb the night before, and she decided to spare her mother the pain of discovering the once soft fleece now stained with rebellion. Quietly, she lifted the lid and dropped the blanket inside. Its snaps scraped loudly against the can for an instant, but then the morning quickly swallowed the noise. By the time the lid banged back down, Ruth was rushing back to the house, her blanket already forgotten.
Nigel Morgan Oct 2013
In the clear light of morning, an October morning, at the beginning of this properly autumn month, he had felt sad: that he’d broken a promise to himself the afternoon before. It was her voice on the phone, and then that text. He had promised he would no longer write intimately, about their intimacy, remembering what has passed between them, which had so marked him. All it took was this flavour of her voice, a slowness in her diction, and he could not help himself: such a rush of images, of moments, sensations. He knew it was unwise to linger over any of these things because he felt sure she did not. That was no longer her way, if it ever had been her way, and he imagined that, with her accustomed kindness and generosity, she had quietly put such things aside. So on this gentle morning, he was upset that he had once again visited that box of treasures in the white room that he kept for her in his imagination house. This was not the route to happiness. He would throw away the key.

He needed consolation. Once he had turned to her letters, to catch that flavour of her, those things that surrounded her, a kind of aura that held within it her secret self. Now, there was a print above his desk that he loved (Spurn marks: seaweed #4), her origami bird, the print of a painting of an African woman and child given to him on his birthday (when he had first kissed her, tentatively on her left cheek,) and her dear photograph, dear because he knew he looked at it more times in a day than he could possibly admit to.

It needed to be a book, a passage he could read to remind him there were so many other joys in life alongside the joy he felt at the thought of her, a joy he felt he might never consummate. He took Ronald Blythe’s Word from Wormingford off the shelf and turned to the essay for the beginning of October. Ronnie had been watching the late September clouds, those armadas sailing across the skies. In a moment he was somewhere else, in a life he recognised so acutely, those East Anglian places of his early manhood. In this present time, in North Yorkshire, he would sit and watched such clouds from a bench above Filey Bay, clouds that David Hockney celebrated in his paintings of the Wolds.

Yesterday afternoon there had been a break in the weather after a week of mist and rain. It had found him gazing at a drama in the skies above the trees in his park. He had walked to the Rose Garden with its redundant conservatory and paired Pelicans atop its gateposts, where once he’d sat with his infant children as they’d slept. There were roses still, a little tattered, but colourful. Like Ronnie he had spent time cloud watching, until the geese from the nearby lake erupted into flight. Always a marvel of movement !

Blythe’s essays were always so rich in the sheer breadth and content of their meditations. There was always some new knowledge to be had, things to Google or better still ‘go to the book.’ This was when he loved what few books now remained from his library. He had Luke Howard’s essay on The Modification of Clouds. A Quaker, Howard was admired by Goethe (they corresponded) and Shelley, John Constable and John Ruskin (who used Howard’s cloud classifications in his Modern Painters). He then went to find Shelley’s The Cloud (and in so doing uncovered several books that he’d forgotten he owned). He read the last verse that once he had learnt by heart . . .

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores, of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die --
For after the rain, when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams,
Build up the blue dome of Air
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, live a ghost from the tomb,
I arise, and unbuild it again.

Hmm, he thought, such rhyme and rhythm. And, via Blythe recalling the Chinese, he then pictured the official from the emperor’s counting house bringing guests home after work to gaze at the cloudscapes over the Tai Mountains from his humble balcony. Nothing was to be said, an hour of silence was the convention. In a blink he remembered the autumn poem by Lai Bai where ‘floating clouds seem to have no end.’

I climb up high and look on the four seas,
Heaven and earth spreading out so far.
Frost blankets all the stuff of autumn,
The wind blows with the great desert's cold.
The eastward-flowing water is immense,
All the ten thousand things billow.
The white sun's passing brightness fades,
Floating clouds seem to have no end.
Swallows and sparrows nest in the wutong tree,
Yuan and luan birds perch among jujube thorns.
Now it's time to head on back again,
I flick my sword and sing Taking the Hard Road.

He had to take a deep breath not to think too deeply about The Clouds and Rain, that metaphor for the arts of the bedchamber. But Ronnie’s 500 words sent him back to Wormingford and the bedbound old lady he describes who spent her days watching the clouds.

As he closed the book he felt a little better, ready to face the day, and more important ready to place his thoughts in a right place, a comfortable and secure place, quiet and respectful, however much he might seek to possess each night her Lotus pond and make those flowers of fire blossom within
Amanda Feb 2014
Never have I felt so acutely
a l o n e.
How can such an   empty, empty   feeling swallow every little bit of me?

As I stare at the ceiling, darkness blurs and dips into the spaces of my vision.
I can barely make out the corners of where each wall connects to each other.

Inevitably, I wander how something so seemingly vast and big can come to an end; closure.

A limit.

I feel so very small.

How about me?

I feel very lost indeed.
It's sunny outside but I feel very blue and grey.
I guess it's just one of those days, hey?

Have a lovely, lovely week, wonderful readers and people alike!

x
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
It’s been a decade and a half that I haven’t returned back to my little home in that far away magical place. Fifteen years- exploring and travelling through the world. It was always my dream, ever since I was a young boy. Living this life is lonely. No one ever belongs to me, nor do I ever belong to anyone. Seeing a million things is marvelous, but it could be twice as marvelous with a companion to express the feelings over instead of my usual, battered black log book that never talked back but was filled with entries from all over the world. One day, I’ll publish it.

I guess the fact that I was always alone was the reason why the little home and my little mother that I use to take for granted became more and more part of me as I stayed away. The land, the gently curving hills and glassy lake grew clearer and clearer in my mind until sometimes, it was all I could see when I shut my eyes at night after a long day of work. Sometimes I would smell the soap on mothers’ skin acutely and played her voice in my head like a radio.
A blur of bright brown eyes.

I’ve been to almost every country in this world: Japan, France, America, Denmark, China and all the different continents… almost a hundred different countries. Each country held such a different (but slightly similar if they were in the same continent) flavor in the air and never failed to teach me one new thing. They all held such distinct character. Beholding the stunning sights and noticing the heart-wrenching small details of a new place was my passion. It captivated me, but the calm, steady love of my heart remained still.
Nothing touched me like the memory of home and my mother. Not the women who flickered through the chapter of my life, appearing in explosions of lust and never meaning more than ***, though some begged me to stay. My loneliness would sway my path of thinking for a short one or two week before I realized it wasn’t what I truly wanted.  
My lovers reminded me of cookie crumbs fallen from my mouth down onto my shirt- there for a brief, brief moment- sometimes picked up to nibble on or brushed away and forgotten.

Oh Love; Love never found me. Perhaps all the travel I did made it harder for Her to find me. I was never at a place for long. Perhaps She, Love, grew tired of trying to catch up with me as I crossed the seas and vast lands. Maybe She got lost one day in an Indian market with the exotic, fat fruits and glittering bangles- fading off into the air with the aroma of powerfully rich local dishes.
Or maybe I travelled away from Her, and She got left behind.

2 a.m.- On a train: the train is brand new and the metal is still yet glossy and innocent from hard rains, thick snow or fiery heat as the Southern part of my homeland is so prone to. The window is surprisingly see-through, unlike all the muddy windows covered in dust, grime, bird droppings and smashed insects (especially squished mosquitoes) I have looked out of in the past fifteen years. I think I’ll read a few chapters of that book about Cambodian culture to distract my impatient mind: sitting on this cold train that will take me home is all I can possibly think about. Hurry, you ******* train, hurry!
There is something about a train that calms me down and makes me feel all starry-eyed. It is the memory of the only girl I ever loved. A little girl I grew up with. Such thick dark brown hair, big round bright chocolate eyes and the loudest, most obnoxiously boyish laugh I have ever heard from a girl. Hmm, I recalled the small rounded chest and bottom.
We lived so far deep in the country side and one day, on an overnight school trip, the school we attended at took all hundred students on a trip to see the city for just a day. Flashes of her eating a creamy white ice cream sprinkled with tiny candies of the rainbow and standing in awe of the huge library made me smile to myself.
How when everyone was tired that night back on the train, even the teachers exhausted after an early morning and keeping a hundred thirteen-year-olds under control for a whole day, fell asleep. My eyelids were just drooping when she appeared- I smelled her first, sweet like honey with a tinge of something sour like orange or lemon peels. My senses have always been sensitive- especially sight and smell. She carefully peeled back the curtains around the bed, crept into my bunk and cuddled with me, curling her tough plump legs.
My mind flew in many wild ways- for as I said, my senses were sensitive and the curiosity and thrill of an inexperienced young boy did not help to make them any paler- and try as I might to quiet the thoughts, they leapt at her every movement.
I suppose it was her way of telling me she had fallen in love with me. Her cold monkey-feet pressed against me and whispering the night away: her tousled head as she kept sitting up to look out the window on the side to look at the stars. I sat up with her and held her against my chest. I remember wondering how my heart wasn’t bursting from the enormous love I felt for this creature in my lap, watching the dark silhouettes of trees rushing by and the black swaying fingers of rice patties illuminated by needle-point stars and a full, silver moon. The beautiful creature turned around, placed her icy finger tips on my hot neck, and gave a little sigh of relief before leaning in and kissing me.

My skin was covered in goose bumps.

Oranges are my favorite fruit.
I left her, my little home and mother at nineteen. The darling was mine till then. I wrote to her, but when she got around to replying I had already moved. And there my love became my once-loved.
The heart ache didn’t last too long. There was too much to see, I was young and full of cravings and impossible to satisfy hunger despite the countless number of women. I lived in the moment, the fiery moment of passion and life, and the memory of her were blown to wisps.
A ray of pink sunlight broke me from my thoughts and as I rushed back from the past to its future, I wondered in a haze whether she had married or not.

Five a.m. – the sun was up. The sky had streaks of dark blue, so dark it was almost black. A ****** red of a newly-cut wound ran through the sky, arm in arm with royal purple and a pink the color of a child’s lips.

Six a.m. - twenty-two or so students milled into the train chattering. The younger ones have neatly combed hair, slicked down with mousse and parted so aggressively the comb lines are visible cutting the hair in hard chunks with a paper-white hairline slicing through the scalp. The smallest one would be around thirteen and the oldest at eighteen. The oldest-looking one is very pretty with slanted gray eyes and chestnut hair- very matured for her age. A puff of powder to conceal any imperfection of her skin, and the first two buttons on her school blouse unbuttoned to hint at a cleavage of well-developed large *******. Her gaze darts over me frequently. She looks like a lover I had in Holland. I give her a small smile and she returns it, batting her lids to reveal matted dark lashes and shimmery pale blue eyelids like the wings of a butterfly. No child, only if I was much, much younger and had just left home as you will so soon.
A stench of too much perfume emits from the girl beside her. So much that I am momentarily diverted and glance up at her from my log book. I will be relieved when they leave. If there’s one thing I find extremely unattractive in a woman is an overload of perfume- it becomes a stench that is a reminder of gaudy prostitutes.

Six-thirty a.m. -  The train jolts to yet another stop and they clatter out but not before I heard the words, “That man on the train near us was rather handsome, wasn’t he?” I cannot help but chuckle.

Seven a.m. – the train has stopped at least five more stations. This is going to be a long trip. Rummaging in my packed bag for a pair of dark sunglasses I push them on, waiting for the fact that I haven’t slept all two weeks in excitement (and travelling at the speed of light half way around the world at the same time) to kick in and hit me unconscious with sleep.

Two p.m. - the dark glasses cannot block the glaring sunlight of the sunshiny afternoon. We have almost finished passing the city. The rows of buildings, large houses, one-story apartments are narrowing and shrinking in size. I know the railroad tracks have remained unchanged in destination and twenty-so years ago I took this exact same ride but everywhere is unrecognizable.  
I check my wristwatch once again even though I know the time: around nine more hours to go before it reaches the very end possible station and I take the long walk back to my little home.

Six p.m. - I talk amiably to passengers on the train. It is beautiful to hear my home dialect again. The words I speak have grown quite clumsy and my accent is rough. No matter, in two weeks time I’ll be fluent and chirping along with the same fluid accent as the old man beside me is.

Eleven-thirty p.m. – I am all alone on the train. The old man just got off at the station before. He shared a portion of his sandwich with me and a swig of beer from his water bottle (naughty old man), seeing as in my anticipation I forgot to buy any food for the day. A very interesting old man who was delighted to know I travelled just as he use to in his earlier days- quote to remember from him: “Too many people go on about this ******* of a ‘fixed’ home: Home isn’t where you live, son, it’s where they understand you. I’m telling you, that’s something so special in this crazy world.”
It is horrible to be sitting here alone counting down the minutes without a distraction but after all, it is near the last of stations and no one ever comes here anyways. There’s nothing here that could attract visitors. If I were a traveler nothing about this place would excite me very much. Yet for this first time in fifteen years, I’m not an outsider and this land promises me much. My hand shakes from fatigue- but mostly from eagerness. Little home, darling little home, I am coming!
It is a chilly, chilly winter night. My breath pants out in short white puffs. I wrap my scarf more securely around my neck, capturing the warmth as I step out from the warm train into the cold air outside. I can barely notice my environment on the way home except the path has remained unchanged. It is as if I am travelling back into time itself. After a while, the coldness turning the tip of my ears and nose pink is forgotten. All I know is each step is taking me closer and closer to home.

I finally see it. The small little house with a small brown door standing quietly alone next to other identical houses comes into my view. The little homes are clustered on the edge of a river bank, surrounding by dark green trees. The crisp rustling of the leaves in the winter breeze brings a melancholy happiness so great it makes my chest throb. I cup a tiny bit of snow from the ground in my mitten and taste it: oh the same sharp iciness on my tongue.

I wonder if she still lives in that one with the indented steps, the stairs worn out by the thundering saunter of her and her five brothers. They still haven’t bought a new flight of stairs?

The river’s surface is smooth and serene, its surface looking like molten silver rippling in the slight breeze. I remembered in the summer when we, the children, danced; splashing in the water and the elders watched lovingly.

Mother’s carefully watching eyes on me as I swam to and fro, my laughter mingling with everyone else’s. She was especially careful after that near-fateful day when I was six and foolishly went swimming in August without telling mother as she made us her special clear chicken broth. I had inhaled gallons of water before she fished me out, both of us soaking and sobbing. How wonderful it was to hold onto something warm and solid: something breathing, full of life, and I clutched onto her and she clutched onto me and my life.
Up the wooden steps… how surprised mother will be. The ghosts of memories come running to me, pounding their way towards me to greet me first as I open the wooden door with the key slung around my neck as always: mother with her hair curled in soft mocha *****, mother making an ice lollipop in the hot summers in her flower-printed summer dresses, mother swishing around the house cleaning in her blue apron, the hot fire with hot chocolate as we told stories, all the different cats we had purring in a soothing melody… Amalie and her laughing figure spread over the sofa chattering away, Amalie’s quick, hidden kisses in the corners when mother was out of the room or pretending not to look, Amalie’s long hands creeping towards mine… Amalie and mother gossiping together and mother declaring Amalie was the daughter she never had and mother eyeing me knowingly, expecting me to settle my ways and marry Amalie…

Oh little home, I am back, I am home.

I shall go lie on my feathery bed and in the morning I’ll wake up and have no idea where I am before the thought comes back to me that this morning- no, I am not somewhere around half the world away- but in my little hometown.
As sure as the sun will rise, Mother will wake up at her usual eight o’clock and I’ll be downstairs in our sunny-tiled kitchen making a bowl of porridge for her and me.
After her tears and hugs, we’ll sit down by the fire with hot chocolate despite it being early morning and the skies aren’t yet jet-black. I see in my mind’s eyes her dark eyes huge as I unravel my colorful carpet of stories and treasure box of tokens from all around the world.
Maybe after that I’ll ask her whatever became of Amalie…
I hear the tread of footsteps on the stair case. They are heavy sounds. Has mother gained much weight in her old age? She was always a lithe little woman when I was here.
A burly shape appears in the shadows.
For one ******* blindingly stupid moment I think it is mother much fattened in a fluffy night gown, her hair curled up in soft ***** yet again. Perhaps I saw what I wanted to believe despite my senses and instinct suddenly prickling up in one jolt through the spine.
And the shape emerges holding a bat and the outlines gains focus to become a bear-like man with dark brows furrowed and a mass of curls. He starts yelling at me and slashing his bat dangerously.
I raise my arms up in defense and the world swirls around me. From far away I hear my voice shaking in fear and fury, “Where is my mother!” I yell her name and I yell my name to let her know I am here. I am insane with fear for the safety of my mother. No, it cannot be that I come home on the day a demon decides to rob the house of a frail gentle angel. If he has killed her, I will- “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!”
“What?” he asks in a tone quiet from extreme bewilderment, his grip on the bat loosens and I am quick to see this and take advantage of it.
With an explosion of violent swears I leap onto him to throttle him to death. “MOTHER?! MOTHER! WHAT HAVE YOU ******* DONE TO MY MOTHER?! I’M GOING TO ******* **** YOU, YOU *******!”
A fast pattering of feet sound down the stairs and my mind registers them to be female before I am wrenched of the man and we are separated. I am about to clutch this woman safe from the hulking beast before I notice the skin on the hands pushing my panting chest away from killing the beast are too young to be mothers’. Her hair is a dark mahogany brown, not mild coffee like mothers’.
I stare at her, silent in shock. All the fight drains out of me.
Those eyes that were once so chocolate-brown and bright have lost their sparkle in her tiredness and appear almost… dull as she turns to me.
She says my name three times before I can reply. “Sit down here.”
It is strange that she has ordered me to sit down on my own sofa in my living room. Her frosty hands guide me. “Amalie… where is mother?” I manage to stutter, all the time keeping an eye on the monster of a man.
“Listen to me” she took a few shuddering breaths, “I’m sorry to tell you this way, I wished I could’ve told you any other way but this… your mother is dead. She died five years ago.”
She watched me with an exhausted expression, “In her will she left this house to you and me because she assumed one day-” she shot a cautious glance at the man who towered in the shadows next to her, nursing
Valsa George Oct 2016
My eyes were hooked on to the West
Feasting on the riot of colors the sun had cast
I stood dazed at an experience blest
That any poet would treasure with zest

By chance I glanced at the river below
It moved like an overloaded carriage slow
With floating weeds and ***** *******
Reminding one of an ugly heap of trash

I saw partially submerged bottles bobbing on the surface
Gradually filling with ***** water perforce
And slowly sinking down to rest in peace
With their sunken brethren at the river base

Spill of oil glistened iridescent
On the face of the river florescent
Its water was far from clean
But had turned murky green

On the still surface was a layer of ****
Like rancid butter annoying anyone’s calm
Reeking smell of rotten fish and mulch
Entered my nostrils with an obnoxious stench

I closed my eyes and turned my head
And looked away from the river bed
I thought of man’s callous audacity
In assaulting Nature’s pristine vitality

I heard the river’s rising lament
And me it did acutely torment
Any sensitive soul would be left grieving
Seeing the river in such agony heaving

In the far horizon, the sky had grown into flames
I wondered if Nature was mad at man’s tall claims
Suddenly I saw with the eyes of a seer
That Dooms day is drawing near!
Kerala where I live is  small state in the Southern tip of India. It is supposed to be God's Own Country with its beautiful greenery, geographical diversity and high rate of literacy. But unfortunately, the people have yet to learn how to keep public places clean. As a genuine lover of Nature, I am grieved to see how our rivers which some years back ran like silver strips with crystalline waters shining in sunlight have been polluted with industrial waste and other ******* callously thrown and made dangerous with sand mining ! In matters of cleanliness, our people have to learn much from the Westerners and the people of the advanced countries !
Kitty Parson Mar 2012
I am acutely aware that I
changed tenses in that story.
It is better for me in past tense;
his face was beautiful.
I know that he will not
talk to me. Not until
his time frame has come out.
I don't know what that frame is.
But I know him,
and that there is one.
I still love him.
It defies what I know
about the love mechanism.
It defies my past experience.
It is not unlikely that we
will not speak again
until I am over him,
and it is possible that
that will be never.
Najwa Kareem Aug 2017
Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia                      

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

Brothers and Sisters in the Old Town speaking the words Salamu Alaikum

Sisters wearing veils with colors like in the bright rainbow appearing before me and my two new friends from Bosnia in a sky above a bussling bazaar, there a smaller group of humans watching and a larger group of tourists capturing a rare moment in Sarajevo on photo

Many brothers wearing kufis and many brothers with trendy hair styles paired with Western outfits gathering in the courtyard of Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque, the largest in Bosnia and sixteen centuries old. Tourists from Africa, America, Europe, and other landscapes and many locals exchanging words and gestures in a month better than a thousand

Families spending time together at the Grand Mosque and at smaller mosques and in other places surrounded by picturesque hills and green plush trees

A father, a mother, their toddler son...he practicing walking on a masjid's cobblestone, and their young daughter...she smiling at her father as he walks by. Each family member physically at a distance from each other. Each family member at a cell's distance in communion with each other.

In the mid afternoon on a Ramadan's day, a sister from Munich and I having met for the first time at Bey Mosque ride together in a taxi up a steep hill to see a guest house she knows

A smell of lingering cigarette smoke permeating the air within the house so thick beckons me to leave politely and quickly. Unaware of the smell's degree, the owner learns of its' offensiveness as I disclose my sensitivity to & the dislike of the smell of cigarette smoke, both acutely heightened while fasting

Careful steps back down the steep hill to the city center, me avoiding stumbling on a large rock or being runover by a speeding automobile, interestingly instead I stumble upon a beautiful grave yard of uniquely shaped white gravestones and a charming mosque with a high minaret

At the bottom of the hill sits a crafts and artistry shop, one of many in Sarajevo's Old Town. Upon entering and a brief conversation with the owner, a piece of generosity is handed to me, a square shape piece of wood with Ayat tul Kursi in hand calligraphy

During the late afternoon hours, a time for reading Quran by many at mosques in the city. Sisters and brothers sitting on carpeted floors, some with backs supported by mosque walls, some with bodies sitting in chairs, fasters occupied with the most perfected Divine Scripture

A brief leisurely stroll with my two new friends Dzenita and her sister Amina through part of the Bazaar, they sharing opinions of their favorite restaurants, best eating experiences, and other things

In the early evening, a time to buy food to prepare for the Iftar meal. Showing me how it's done in Sarajevo, Dzenita and Amina invite me to join them on an excursion up a hill to buy Somun, a Bosnian flatbread topped with black seeds from the city's famous bread maker. Standing in a line longer than Georgetown Cupcake, Dzenita surprises me with a gift of Somun for myself

Two dates, one cube of Bosnian delight, and one cup of water to break our fast with at the Bey Mosque. A canon bomb sounds off to announce the time for Magrib prayer and Iftar, customary in Sarajevo during Ramadan

Startled and alerted by the bomb's depth and volume, I stand up to join the congregation for communion with God, The God Most Gracious, Most High

Out of nowhere I'm invited to Iftar at a shop nearby the Grand Mosque, about 8 of us guests being served by the warm owner, she offering a meal for Iftar at her shop every night during Ramadan, a big-hearted tradition of hers

Cevapi, Cevapi, Cevapi...I'll say it once more, Cevapi -- sold in Bosnian restaurants, cafes, bazaars, and made in many homes, eaten happily by many fasters at Iftar. Served with freshly chopped onions, some served with a soft white cheese, some with a red peppery sauce, many served with Somun, all ways tried by me and tasting as scrumptious as my first experience with Cevapi in Germany, then falling in love with it

Cold winds at night from the surrounding mountains, a refreshing air yet taking my breath and power away from the chill of it, completely disappearing with my start of Isha prayer with other Muslims and the declaration "Allah hu Akbar"

9 Muftis with impeccable Tajweed each taking turns to recite the words of our Grand Lord before sunrise, me weeping from God's messages, the reality of His greatness, my servitude to Him, and a recognition of sounds similar to that of my Mumin Father's, those familiar to me since birth

Three dear sisters, university students from Turkey and I journey together on foot after Fajr from the Old Mosque to a street train, along the way stopping by a community center, our destination - their home an hour or so away to rest, the four of us coming to know each other and each others' thoughts with every step. Contempleting my desire to spend more time in the city over sleep, the three sisters showing great generosity and I embrace and exchange Salams at a stop near the main station, the three walking with me to an open place before continuing on

In the land of a marriage between the East and the West and where newspaper is used to clean a cafe window, on the list of to-dos -- shopping for gifts for family and for souvenirs, window shopping done along the way, asking myself Shall I buy a Dzezva, a hand-made Bosnian coffee set, or a vintage wood Sarajevo box, or a woven wallet, or Bosnian sweets.

In a bazaar walkway, Maher Zain's song "Ramadan" playing loudly. At another moment, lyrics about a month of devotion and sacrifice from Sami Yusuf echoeing. Shop owners in Old Town with dispositions of calm and quiet grace greeting me and others cordially and respectfully. Shopping a few hours more until near sunset for post cards with a real version of the Grand Mosque, finding only less than satisfactory versions. Time running out for shopping, another reason now to return to Bosnia, God-Willing

Magrib prayer a second night at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque. Observing the crowd, a striking occurrence taking place, a teenage boy walking a small length behind a man on to the mosque carpet. There the boy approaches an older man giving him a respectful hand shake. After prayer, a native of Sarajevo shares with me in wholesome conversation, "You are known in the town not by what you have. You are known by how well you behave."

Another invitation, this time for a cup of a tea at a cafe. Overflowing with people mostly young adults, men and women sitting at tightly packed small tables inside and a few outside, conversations merging into each other with a loud volume flowing throughout, Shisha being smoked by some, cigarettes by some, smoke in the air and the temperature inside melting away heavy make-up on sisters' faces. "This is Ramadan in Sarajevo." Madia says. "One aspect of it." says I. Not having a good feeling right away when walking in and not wanting to stay, the two of us leave quickly.

My two new friends Dzenita and Amina aka angels of hospitality and kindness reciprocating my gift to them of Milka chocolate give me a gift before departing the next day. "Tespih!!" A burnt red and yellow colored set with sparkingly gold thinly cut wrapping paper looking stripes purchased at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque gift shop. Not knowing then I collect Tesbih, their gift is now my most favorite of my Tesbih collection

Husbands and wives, men and women both young and old, well-groomed and well-dressed, some holding hands as they stroll through narrow pathways in the Old Town on a Ramadan's night. Families talking and eating at restaurants, friends in groups sharing laughs, so much to see, so much to experience. At a cafe where baked goods, ice cream, and other sweets are sold, a lady sitting with a group of others initiates speaking to me, stopping me in my tracks. Bidding me farewell, she extends me a gracious compliment

Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia to Remember

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

by Najwa Kareem
Zane2976 Nov 2015
The sensations take over for a time
Not quite enjoyment but a need
Flesh calling out for release
I give in eventually
Begging for this one to be different
Hoping that maybe I can just pretend for a while
Its always in the back of my mind
Exhausted I finally achieve
****** duly owed to instinct

Before the end is reached
Shame washes over me
Disappointment seeps through my entire being
I will never have the parts I desire

Acutely aware of the flesh pushing down on my chest
Accentuating every movement
The tiny nub between my fingers
Will never be big enough for my desire
The twitching hole that will never be closed
That will never supply pleasure

The tears begin to track down the sides of my face
Filled with anger, shame, disappointment and disgust
Brokenness from being entirely the wrong thing

How can I ask anyone to accept my body
When I can't even accept it myself?
Ariel Baptista Jun 2015
**** me quietly in the current of the Caspian
That calloused-caviar undertow
Petroleum-pierced fragmented bone
You whispered things no child should know
And I was no child then
Trembling hands I emerge from the lion’s den
Wearing memory like white lines on the insides of my wrists
Until I forget they’re there
Blue eyes, blonde hair
Painted mouth and vacant stare
Here is who I have become

So kiss me quietly in the white-capped waves of the Caspian
My lips a promise sealed in black oil and blood
Hear the water tank trickle fill and flood
See the volcanoes burst with sacred mud
And feel my skeptical smile
Spectacle-clad you read my file
It’s been a while since I relived all of this

And I’m deciding if it’s far too late or far too soon
To begin to deconstruct our interactions
The repulsion, the attraction
The actions and reactions
That defined that interim allotment of time
I sit here now retracing your lines
On the rickety map in the back of my mind
Memory, so mute, so blind
And ripping down the track so quickly
Thrown back so sickly-bitterly
Like salt-lime-tequila

My memory has been mutilated
Slaughtered, drained and skinned
Treated, chopped and trimmed
And now I place it on a table in the street
Tell me, can you hear the pattern of its late heartbeat
As you grip a fleshy dripping pound of it in your hand
My memories are no-man’s land

So caress me carefully in the cool-calm caves of the Caspian
Recall the strange sounds of the early days
Sacred grounds, hot-garbage haze
Sandy winds, the bazaar maze
That made me acutely aware of the incomplete
Not even joyful summer heat
Could keep me from floating feet-up in the Georgian river
Memory smile, convulse and shiver

I intended this to be a reconciliation
Call me queen of counterproductive apology
Let’s redefine astrology
To gain some favour from the stars
Russian salad and white box cars
Deep *** holes in Badamdar
Truthfully I’ve never known who you really are
And I probably never will

But cut me kindly in the clouds above the Caspian
This is as close as we can get
Ignorant prejudice my one regret
But I have not forgotten all the good
And I will try to love you like I should
But tell me, is it better to have memories that lie
Or have nothing at all?
Shall I embrace the distortions or the abyss?
**** me carefully or give me a kiss
Tell me, what am I to do with this?
Cut me open or caress me
Call me child or undress me
Your impassive smile does not impress me
Tell me, how am I to process this?

I’ve swam your sea, I’ve coughed your air
I let you stroke and steal my sandy hair
I left without once looking back
No pillar of salt
No pile of ash
No blame or fault
Or debt or cash
But still the walls begin to crack
I feel the stitches start to tear
Murky-memory drags me eastward by my fresh-grown hair
Forcing my eyes, so-cold and ever-blue ever deeper into you,
the dark heart of the Caspian
Lucky Santos Jan 2014
Crush:
An intense but usually short-lived infatuation.
Fantasizing about the relationship that could happen.

Shy:
Timid, easily frightened away.
Although the wanting to just say hey.

Wonderwall:
Someone you find yourself thinking about all the time, the person you are completely infatuated with.
But the wish for all the shyness to disappear is still here.

Nervous:
Highly excitable; unnaturally or acutely uneasy or apprehensive.
The wanting to meet but still playing defensive. Accommodated by umm, uhh, ummm.

Hello:
Used to express a greeting, answer a telephone, or attract attention.
Hi, umm. Don't blow it, don't blow it.
Hi! I think you're cute, pretty, adorable, beautiful, lovely, gorgeous. Would you like to go on a date?

Date:
A social appointment, engagement, or occasion arranged beforehand with another person.
She said yes.

Happy:
Delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.
She is not just a thing, she is my everything. She makes me very happy.

Love:
A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
It's a four letter word that can have a million meanings and yet only one.

Marry:
To take as an intimate life partner by a formal exchange of promises in the manner of a traditional marriage ceremony.
I take you to be my wife to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us apart, and this is my solemn vow. I love you.

You:
You mean so much,
Yet I do not have a definition.
Because you always seem to surprise me.
No words in this dictionary can describe your overall beauty.
Amazingly, I'm at a lost of words.

Beautiful:*
The dictionary's crush;
A person who is reading this.
Hal Loyd Denton Nov 2011
The Bleaching Heaven
This was the dire conditions a ranch on the central coast of California was pumping gravel from the well
The first time this happened in over a hundred years of them having the ranch the heavens turned away
Its smile the soil started after a long line of days to appear as tile that was breaking and turning up on
The edges it was an emotional assault everywhere the fierce fiery hand left nothing untouched the
Saddest of all was when the visible pain and distraught effects started to show in the trees the great
Black oaks, Eucalyptus, the pine started to constrict the full busy top crown had the drawn most pitiful
Wasteful sad look they were dying by degrees and the merciful heaven looked on dispassionately it was
Hard to travel about the country without having pain dog every move you make it was pronounced the
Land cried for answers your hands were tied as a prisoner in the same predicament doing time in Yuma
They didn’t have to add disciplinary parts to the running of the prison just being there was punishment
Enough a lonely coyote calls in the silver moonlight not for a mate’s responding call but where can I find
Water a song said it best I face the barren waste and I think of cool cool water then you have a rich
Diverse part of the country that is the envy of the rest of the world now it is a tender box a lighting strike
Or any man made careless act and all will go to blazes all will be left is a black charred landscape it will
Blacken your own spirit this is a terrible outcome when clouds are with held and their life giving
Moisture is held in check at times a benevolent father uses this hard means to instruct and show
Your path that you are following is leading you to a like destruction its undetectable when the spirit
Within starts to die all that happens is the outward life kicks on like a backup generator all resumes
And seemingly shows that everything is fine some don’t even know and have never tasted the water of
The spirit everyone has those moments of laughter something stupid is said or portrayed but what
About a river of laughter that surges from unspeakable joy this is not the shallows of life but when deep
Calls unto deep those cherished longings bubble up and are giving free course to your dreams but a
Wicked one who has interest and designs on your life with lies and superior knowledge diverts the
Course Of living water it’s easy because you walk in darkness by choice our desires have blocked and
Dammed up Holy and incorruptible cleansing now the water unseen by the naked eye a poison has been
Introduced it slowly and acutely effects all freedom of thought and actions that are only normal when
You are cleansed by the blood sacrifice of the cross this is detestable to the rebellious spirit we all live
With but it is the pardon the opening of this devil bound prison that restricts and limits growth all of this
Carries with it untold dangers to self and our families the penalty for sin is death you start the death
Process long before the final exit from this life you go to places that puts you at the mercy of others
That have no thought of you what so ever you’re just a mark something to further their strong and out of
Control desires truly the sky is as brass and below if you could have your eyes opened you would only
See the bleached bones of a new generation dying of thirst while an ocean of love and care is dammed
By the prince of darkness and you are his slave doing everything to continue your own debasement and
Loss what more can the Father do he died in shame and agony the heavens even turned black but from
That forever a great upheaval began your freedom guaranteed you want heaven to open you want
Righteous rain you want to see your country rise from a cesspool of drugs and alcohol that creates the
Atmosphere that debases mans place as leader and benefactor for the family and then turns to first
Cheapen women then violate them through the power of *** that no one can control the innocent
Children face the unspeakable terrors of those crazed enough to use them in the most despicable way
Way then they raise a lethal hand to end their lives of promise and beauty turning it to a disgraceful display
Of sick madness that no one but God can defeat the answer just say his name with all of your heart
Jesus
Michael DeVoe Feb 2014
I've become acutely aware of the gravity in the fact that all I said to her was that I don't want to be the one who starts all of our conversations anymore
And that since then we have had no conversations.  
I don't think I will be rid of the haunting that this is my fault until I am haunted with the fact that it may be hers
In so making her not the woman I wanted for
Nor the woman I was all too eager to give myself for
Thirdly making me that man who opened his rib cage exposing his heart for her taking
Only to collect dust, rain drops, and those twisty helicopter things that fall from trees in the autumn
All from being left open so long on a very windy day when she saw what my heart was stretching to offer her and chose to leave it there
Couldn't I once be the one worth taking
Or at least notice when she's not the one worth opening up for.

There are days I wish God hadn’t built me with a zipper for a sternum
You know I don’t always mean to show them everything
It’s just sometimes I forget to zip it back up after I take it on walks to the liquor cabinet
My heart is a bow-tie drinking Manhattans at the center table with a chair full of friends and a twinkle in his eye
My tongue is a rolled up cuff drinking whatever’s on special at the end of the bar confusing, “I’ll have another” with proper conversation
My mind has an unplugged mini fridge in the corner with two luke-warm ciders waiting for a chance to celebrate...remembering to brush my teeth
Depression is a funny sort that way, it’s all her fault, right up until you remember how hard it is to brush your teeth everyday
At which point it’s either your own fault, or we’ll try again tomorrow.

Knowing is not half the battle when the battle is not being waged in your head
Knowing it is all going wrong is just another reason to never put on the helmet and see what the battle may bring
Seeing what right looks like on Pintrest is not motivation to check my zippers
It is the battle cry my stomach gives my lungs after lunch
It is the battle cry the fists of my mind give my heart when we are alone
It is a crop duster driven by the Morton’s Salt Girl, who never misses the open wounds of my torn innards strewn about an open field after losing the battle for the day.
I am a slug on your porch and I shrink with every grain
And you will never hear me scream
It’s just so tiring to tell someone you hurt and have no blood to prove it.

I do not much dream for stars or skinny girls anymore
I am afraid of what their sharp edges will do to my fingertips
I’m just looking for something I can hold on to
Someone who will remind me that I have a place here
If that place is only to take up oxygen
Sometimes I let my dreams get away from themselves and I dream of great magical things:
Like being loved back
Feeling important
Sleeping peacefully

On occasions I even see myself at work opening a love note in my lunchbox from someone who felt compelled to take the time to tell me they love me
It always swells my heart
Makes me want to be a better person
To get out of bed
Run a marathon
Sing an opera
Lift a weight
Sky dive
Read a book
High five a stranger
Take a dancing class
But then I wake up and look across my room at just how far away the light switch is and decide I must be afraid of the dark
Since I never remember to turn off the light before lying down and I never have the strength to get back up

I dream most of all of having someone to tell me the things I need to hear
To give me a purpose
A vision
A reason to live
To stop letting me find better excuses
To yell in my ear or write me a note that says,
“You are worth it, every minute, every cent, every effort.  You are worth it, because you will become a great man and because I love you, and because you are destined to change my world, and because your son needs you, and because you are brilliant, and because the world needs your words, because I need your words”

But the only notes I get are the ones I put into my own lunchbox as a reminder come noon-time
That even if for no other reason than because I said so,
I am worth it
A collection of poems by me is available on Amazon
Where She Left Me - Michael DeVoe
http://goo.gl/5x3Tae
Marshal Gebbie Apr 2013
Dripping ***, she stood there, completely unaware
That every man about her had turned around to stare.
For in her nubile innocence and when her red lips smiled
She was causing utter mayhem as distracted drivers piled.
The Postmen stopped delivering, Policemen stood agape,
Conductors missed their trolleybus and Superman his cape!
…And as she sashayed down the street leaving bedlam in her wake
And all the while her red high heels were causing earth to shake,
Perambulating gracefully, impossibly demure,
She sauntered down the causeway, with a loveliness so pure.
Whilst just behind and following, a ravenous hot mob
Of nature’s gift to manhood, all slavering at the gob.
Quite suddenly with a swish of skirt she swirled about and laughed
At the frozen apparition there immobile and aghast.
Acutely frozen with embarrassment at having looked so ****** absurd
They all dispersed their different ways without a single word.
“Bye boys” she chortled, with a devilment in play
With flick of skirt and toss of hair she turned and walked away.
Ha!

Marshalg
Laughing to myself at the silly old mating game we play.
Pukehana Paradise
14 April 2013
There is something
in your presence
that makes me feel
like I am returning home,
as though I've
traced the outline of that sparkling smile,  
                anticipated your kiss,
                        and recognized the whisper of your voice,
long before now.

Instances,
in which we have known each other
                        in some other
                                                 existence.
Ti­mes,
when I am acutely aware
         and can sense
             your disposition, cravings and            
                                        aversions
simply by looking into your eyes, hearing your voice,  
or contemplating your touch.

Our paths in this life,
        of course,
    have simply not allowed this to be          
                                    imaginable.

 But its in those moments,             
serendipitous moments,
           when I feel like
                       I am rediscovering you,
instead of becoming acquainted with the essence of you.

And it makes me wonder.
<3
Kara Rose Trojan Sep 2011
Wherein without a mouthful of air,
He spoke of materialism with
a judge’s
            Merciless verdict.
His eyes so glazed yet passionate,
            He threw his thoughts to the ceiling,
Like rocks in a plastic bag,
            To see if it could make a bang
And his speeches are so angelic
Amongst the ignorant giggles
            And the frayed songs of yawns,
You really had to give him credit. For, you
See, he stares out at a whole different cosmic
Sect in a wanton orchestra
            Filled with red wallows of
            Flags and pride.
Scared jumbles strewn like flowers across this dying opinion-land,
He’s seen it all despite his accent.
He’s strummed cold and excited to be here.
His life is a rusting metal scrap
Tossed to the side of the masterpiece from whence it came.

He thinks that everybody must have been a spy…

No, wait, two quirks tossed in to
Hear the Man talk. It’s all a
Meandering walk from where
The toads squat.

He describes it as a war for the value of academic standards,
Which are now expiring before his eyes, and how we’re all
A bunch of rotting worms dying as we speak. The hope is
That the people from your life will be defeated by you,
Right? That’s how it goes in the war of everybody
Against everybody.  He desires to make all of life
Into a dream… but that would result in economic
Impediments.

Give him the $1 million, also known as “the cool mill.”
Everybody must have been a spy.

You couldn’t look for this logic
Beneath a rock
Or stuck in your lover’s hair.

He’s depressed because he is not asleep – he’s acutely aware.
He speaks like rapturous nuns,
  throwing themselves on to the cross
And begging me to ready the nails.
Poetoftheway Sep 2017
the phone turns yellowy orange,
low power mode,
have fallen below
the 10% threshold,
we both drowsy,
yet competitively locked-into
separate screen servitude

she notices,
I don't,
she says,
"you need a charge"

god, she's so correct,
our mutualizing power is
fastly slow draining

this we both
know~notice,
and neither
says nada~nothing

we,
both poets in our way,
acutely aware
of the power of metaphor,
and she knows
that I know,
I noticed
what just went unspoken*

>an untitled poem<
Daron Bigby May 2015
Learning how to swim was the most traumatic skill I ever learned
Sure, if I ever found myself on a sinking ship I could survive
But I don’t consider playing in water a source of a good time
I don’t really go to beaches, I don’t like going to pools, hell I don’t even like drinking water
I had this mental complex that water displaced any confidence I ever had in myself
I had this afraid to die complex, and any time I was in the water
It felt like I was swimming laps around my own grave

I remember when I thought I didn’t like people
So I never went to parties unless I was dragged to them
I was an inflatable lounge chair in this pool of faceless people
Aimlessly floating, passively wishing someone would sit with me
My friends would ask me to jump off the diving platform and loosen up
But just the thought of opening my mouth made me feel like drowning
I would stand on that platform, look over the edge
and I thought, what if they laughed because I said hi instead of hello?
I could only imagine free falling awkwardly into the water
failing to break the surface tension with the weight of my awkwardness

I would find myself flailing underwater, not sure which way was up
I couldn’t breathe, my oxygen tanks critically low on air
My mind was blaring sirens, a red alert that I will die
I need air, I need air, I freaking need air
All of these people are using up my freaking air
I need to get out of here now, I got to go, I got to leave
I need some space, please, just get away from me

My head broke the surface, I took hastened gasps of life
And I realized, I hadn’t said a word to these people
You see, the thing about my anxiety and its attack on my body
Is that I get asphyxiated on situations that haven’t happened yet

I learned how to tread water by accident
My body learned that you can’t drown if you just keep moving
I was a buoy in the ocean, a beacon for lost souls trying to find their way home
But you see buoys, which are guides to misplaced navigators
Expend their purpose when others find what they were looking for
Then they are left alone, with no place to call their own
Like a captain at the helm without the beauty of the moon
Happiness is about as buoyant as the Titanic in April
I saw my hopes sink with every crashing wave
Becoming acutely aware of a quiet thats supposed to be peaceful
Yet the silence of the night casted a shadow on my self-worth
Leaving me spinning in a whirlpool of my destructive inner dialogue
And suddenly, I was just tired of treading water
The muscles in my body begged to give up trying
My body was just the twisted shipwreck of a voyage I no longer wished to take
And when I finally stopped moving, I slipped under the waves
I remember thinking this water and my tears have the exact same taste
I was done, there was no reason to keep treading
Through an ocean that was no longer worth swimming in

But remember, I have that afraid to die complex
I was swimming laps around my grave but had no intention to lay in it
My friends found me floating hopelessly in my misery
Climbed inside my head and kicked my depression in the teeth
They reminded me that I can’t drown if I just keep moving
Because I am still here, so I just kept treading
A poem describing a time where social anxiety and depression nearly consumed me.
Joel A Doetsch Feb 2019
Max didn't even want to be there.  His coworkers had invited him, and he hadn't had an excuse handy.  

In truth, Max's coworkers didn't want him to be there, either.  They had secretly hoped that he wouldn't come.  Everyone else was going, though, so they felt bad not asking.  Now they wished they hadn't

Here he was, though, sitting around a table in a seedy local pub, waiting for "The great Garbo: Magician and Hypnotist".  Probably just another hack who was filling time between kiddy birthday parties.  The show was supposed to have started ten minutes ago, but hadn't, and now Max was being forced to socialize with people who he spent a great deal of effort trying to avoid most of the time.  It was crap, and he wasn't happy about it.

In truth, Max was very unhappy in general, but in a way that his brain was unable to put into concrete words.  He'd been unhappy for so long, in fact, that he didn't even recognize that he was unhappy.  He had just long ago come to the conclusion that the world was unpleasant, and he was the only person who understood that.  Everyone else was a foolish prat who could barely keep from being distracted long enough by the next shiny toy to notice.

He regarded his mostly empty beer that he had been nursing.  He heard his co-workers talking about some new superhero movie when the lights finally dimmed and a man walked onto the beer-stained stage and threw his cape (the **** had a cape!) dramatically over his shoulder.  "Good evening, my fine ladies and gentlemen!  I, the Great Garbo, welcome you.  You may have seen so called 'magic' before, but I promise you that when you leave here tonight, you will be filled with awe and wonder!"

Max yawned, rather loudly, to glares from his co-workers, as Garbo continued his spiel.  He looked lazily around the room, hoping to catch the eye of the waiter for another drink.  If he was going to be forced to watch this swill, he was going to at least be liquored up.

By the time Max looked back towards the stage, Garbo had wrapped up, and was starting.  He began with a number of standard tricks with rings and never-ending handkerchiefs.  Each time, Max would mumble something under his breath.

"...Obviously had it up his sleeve"
"Trick ring, there's clearly some sort of mechanism there"
"...had that deck set up before"

Meanwhile, his co-workers shushed him as they attempted, in vain, to enjoy the show.

Soon, though, the magician got more creative, juggling a set of ***** that turned into doves, which then flew back into his hands as ***** again.  Then he turned his entire coat from dingy black to a brilliant  red with a wave of his hand.  Max remained steadfast in his desire to remain unimpressed.  Surely this was some sort of electronic trickery.  He stifled another yawn, then decided to go to the restroom.

He got up, and tapped one of his co-workers on the shoulder.  Was it Reed?  Or James.  His co-worker looked at him warily.  "Hey James, I need to take a ****.  Need to get through".  He looked annoyed.  Must've been Reed.  "Can't you wait until the act is over?".  Max rolled his eyes, and then mustered up as much sarcasm as he could (which was quite a lot). "I'm sure the 'Great Garbo' won't miss me.  I'll just be a minute".  Reed (yes, definitely Reed) sighed and got up to pull his chair back so Max could get out.  Max picked his way through the surprisingly large crowd towards the bathrooms, not apologizing on the way, when he heard a voice.  "You sir, you would like to volunteer, would you  not?"

Max turned, and Garbo was looking at him expectantly.  He hadn't heard what Garbo had been talking about. He recovered his wits and responded "Nah, I'm sure one of these simpletons would love to, though".  From the crowd where he had left he heard someone yell "Oh come on, Max, maybe he can hypnotize you into having a sense of ******* humor".  Max gave the finger in the general direction of the voice, earning him a few boos from the crowd.  Garbo put his hand up to calm the crowd.  "Come now...Max, is it?  Surely you've been impressed with some of the show tonight?".  Max scoffed.  "I'm impressed that you're able to make a living off of parlor tricks", he said, before turning back towards the bathroom.

"Max, I think you need to come up here"

Max suddenly stopped.  He felt like he had been going somewhere else...but that couldn't be the case, he was supposed to be going onto the stage.  He turned and amiably made his way up the few stairs

"Now Max seems to be unimpressed with the show.  Shall I show him some real magic?"

The crowd clapped

Max wondered how he'd gotten on stage.  He had been going towards the bathroom....he needed to...

"Max, you seem unhappy to be here.  I think I know what'll cheer you up, though."

Garbo reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small rubber ball.  

Max suddenly came back to himself.  "I don't know what drugs you gave me to convince me to get up here, but this show is over and I'm leaving.  I'll be sure to let the police know that your show relies on your audience being high"

Garbo grinned a toothy grin as Max walked away, and then spoke right before Max got down the first step, dragging each word out carefully.

"Who's...a...good....boy"

Max stopped and considered this.  I mean...he certainly wasn't bad.  There was certainly room for improvement, for sure, but he wasn't bad, so he must be good.  He slowly turned and stared at Garbo, and was surprised as his mouth started moving.

"I am."

Wait. What?  Max's mind reeled and his eyes widened in fear, but he did not run.  His legs didn't want to move.  His eyes seemed to be locked onto the ball.  That looked like a really nice ball.  He wanted it.

Garbo took a step forward.

"Who's a good boy"

This time Max answered more confidently.  "I am.  I'm a good boy"

The crowd clapped and whistled, though they weren't sure what they were seeing.

Garbo moved the ball back and forth, and Max watched it intently.  
He wished Garbo would throw the ball.

"Who's a good boy!"

"Me! I'm a good boy!"

"Whosagoodboy!"

"I am!  I am!  I'm a good boy!"

Max had fallen down on all fours at this point, though he barely noticed.  Everything seemed to be growing in size.

"Who's a good boy!"

I am!  

"Who's a good boy!"

(I am!)
Woof!

"Do you want the ball?!"

(Yes! Yes, throw the ball!)
(Oh god, what's happening?!)
Woof! Woof!

"Do you want it?!"

(Make it stop!)
(Yes! Throw it!)

Max could smell so many things, now.  He smelled the beer, he smelled Reed's aftershave.  He smelled the strangeness that Garbo reeked of.  Garbo scared him, but Garbo also had a ball.

Garbo finally relented and threw the ball, and a yellow streak flashed by him as an excitable Golden Retriever ran to intercept it.

Max picked up the ball in his mouth and stood proudly.  There was still something scratching at his brain, though, and he couldn't figure out what it w--what had happened?  Everything was wrong.  He couldn't stand up.  Max wanted to yell for help, but to do that he would need to drop the...

...ball!  He had the ball!  The man who threw it was calling for him.  He ran back towards the man, who pointed at the ball.  The man wanted the ball, but Max didn't want to give it back.  It was his ball.  Suddenly, the man had a treat.  Max dropped the ball and took the treat.  He heard a loud sound and he turned to see...

..the crowd.  The crowd was up on their feet cheering.  His mind filled with fear again as he realized that something was terribly wrong.  He felt wrong, everything looked and sounded and smelled wrong.  He was a....

"Good boy, Max.  Good boy!"

Max received a pat on the head, and the scratching at the back of his head faded a little.  "Crate, Max", said the man, pointing to a small crate at the edge of the stage that several people in the audience could have sworn wasn't there at the start of the show.  Max ran to the crate, where he found a bone and a squeak toy, which he bit into to hear the satisfying noise that it made.  Laughter echoed from the outside of the crate as the man closed the door.

"Everyone, a round of applause for my assistant Max!"

Suddenly Max resurfaced.  He was acutely aware now that he was in a cage.  Fear gripped him.  Surely his co-workers had noticed!  He strained to look through the bars of the crate.  He spotted them, and they were applauding excitedly.  He saw, with trepidation, that his coat was no longer on the chair where he'd left it.  He had been erased from their memories.  A guttural terror crept up through his stomach which became a frightened whimper as the sound was forced through his new snout.  No one seemed to hear him.

Max lost track of time, but eventually the show ended and everyone left.  They wouldn't remember what happened, only that they were left with a feeling of awe and wonder upon leaving.  They wouldn't remember Max.  At this point, Max was curled up in the back corner of the crate, unwilling to move even as Garbo opened it, reached in, and started scratching his head.  

Suddenly, as if the final structural support of a dam had been breached, the endorphins from the scratch overwhelmed what remained of Max.  He was filled with the warmth of something he had been unable to feel his whole life.  His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he started panting excitedly.

Max was happy.
This one popped into my head a few nights ago.  I don't fashion myself a horror writer, but this one creeped me out as I was writing it, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.
mark john junor Nov 2013
the dark ice cream man
floats up and down the empty streets
his truck weakly cranking out a warped sounding song
that leaves a trail of dogs objecting
the truck has the word pestilence painted on it
instead of ice cream
his dark form hunched over the steering wheel
his cheshire grin has aspects of his delirium
imprinted on its clean toothy shine
he only comes out at three am
and glides the cool pavement in search
of Delilah's phone number
she promised him that she would be his one true
and he meant to hold her to it
he would do anything to have her all to himself

Delilah walks barefoot along the train track
with one ear nailed acutely to the train whistle approaching
the other ear in her pocket
where she hums a **** version of
the battle hymn of the republic
all good girls love horses and shotgun weddings
she wants her shotgun wedding on the saddle
with the ice cream mans brother
who she thinks is just too nifty to be anything but heavenly
she always pictured him with angel wings
carrying a sword and riding a pale horse named death

there are echoes in the concrete parkland
the neatly trimmed grass glistens wetly in the darkness
a dew touched tree stands on a narrow hill
its leaves thrashed slowly by a whisper of wind
the sound of running feet
laughter
its an illusion
she is an illusion
i make matchstick men
watch them march in precision lines
i am a matchstick man
watch me scribble in precision lines

the ice cream man now sleeping
away the humid hot afternoon
stashed away in the back of his pestilence truck
while Delilah learns how to knit and make candles
that ice cream mans brother sells at flea markets
we all settle for what we think we want
and in the end we all get what we deserve
Delilah marries the brother and they live happily
while ice cream man spends his mid-life crisis as a
politician who leads a double life
making ice cream sandwichs out of his basement
and i am discovered 'neith the truck making
matchstick men out of twigs
from the tree of life
Katelyn Arnold Dec 2013
like a seesaw, there is a nonexistant stable foundation, only yes and no answers
you are a rhetorical question and an untested hypothesis, but this is all wrong
this army wasn't meant to stir in it's wake, and this was a natural homecoming
that could only end in some complex disaster, and my roots were torn from home,
swiftly kidnapped, finding eagerness in the idea of you and the solace you bring
i am acutely aware that you could bend me into whatever you wished, a bow on your tree
something proud that you can show everyone, but i'm scared of being treated less than deserved
like a crumpled up idea on paper that was never meant to be shown with the answer, solution, counterclaim written in permanent black marker, forevermore never changed in my eyes, i merely forgotten about the acid reflex i'd get after i was given a finalized ultimatum, forgotten how to see in color because my brain can only remember you in monochrome, but you're so vivid in my head, there's no way someone like you could be just smoke and mirrors, i've read and folded every page of your autobiography to save for later whenever i needed some peace of mind.

- kra
Hal Loyd Denton Dec 2012
Not the smile the way you pose for in front of the camera no the real you the one that God made when you were born. The completed developed one the one when you fall short of your true self you feel the disappointment acutely you can’t rush perfection you can’t avoid the struggles the test that draw you into introspection you must sculpt this living being go the wrong way take a short cut you bring on the tell tale signs of disfigurement to the untrained eye it can pass unnoticed sorry the soul has a mirror that bears little resemblance to the outer man you learned in school how environment social order can effect outer growth.
This is the hidden man of the heart why are you plagued with self doubt or self loathing or you feel like a world class phony you picked up the hammer and chisel but distraction or higher self interest caused you to rush away now you feel dismay friend the artist in you will not be satisfied with half measures shoddy work are you forgetting you will go to the still bathing light his royal personage will speak nothing you alone will pass the vote to condemn such failure I took the material that possessed endless possibilities of perfection and I through disrespect to my own higher good over a life time I measured and weighed values that cannot be trifled with would I give unreliable information to family and friends knowing it could harm or lead them to ruination no but to yourself you foolishly barter indescribable beauty for rot and waste even in song they have spoken He gave me beauty for ashes. Will you conquer bad habits and the lair in the natural mirror? Turn to the unblemished the true and only master who gives direction in the most dangerous and beguiling circumstances never wavering only the true picture does he draw from these unquestionable lines provide inspiration and heady waves of joy from satisfaction in knowing the progress is real it will stand the acid test you can be duplicated in others they will reverence your integrity as they see it growing in themselves. Finally unbound they secure the heights of rare and noble discovery pressing toward the high calling of resplendent glory. Take these golden reins they lead to streets of purist gold and to the heart to that only one who knows what you can truly be.
Within the forms of the ledges and ridges,
threads of the feeble breezes tried to confer
and draw forth, as their explanation, an
acceptance through traveling with companions
who did not reject the powers of conversation,

held within the scenery and handed across
without any alarm or voice of awakened
hostility.  The rejection was strong enough to
stay in sight as the hovering screech of the
necessary owl.  Watching the bird, the
creature of the steps above the spiral arm
seemed to be at liberty to discover the gentle
voices swirling through the mist.  While the

division of the stars proceeded to wash the
scaffold free of a slow moving controversy,
the remaining voices presented rambling

rings and the stripes of planets.  It was late in
the evening.  Swirling spots remained to be
counted, an expense that provided sustenance
to families of flowers and the wafted powers
of pollen as seeds with mechanical metal
threaded between one nebula and the next.

The waves tossed a small barn up onto the edge
of the mountain but used reassuring words to
surround the animals allowing them to travel
comfortably.  Conversation usually included any

of the stars that were emerging from the
entertainment field.  These had been packed,
carefully, with the necessary, spare parts and
albums filled with memories in photographs.
Frequent glances wore a familiar trail between

the shelter and the edge where moss cascaded
like rivers of joy moving among the banks of
grass, carrying the hulls, like fish, through
channels into the city.  Acutely reminded that
serious people would be encountered before the
ages ended, the mice were nice and did not
tempt the birds into flights and attacks.  The
exception to this was hunger which ruled the
loyalty of the rodent population.  Any, of the
gathering, with reddish fur cast a shadow down

the stairway lit, as it always had been, from the
tremendous stellar flights that were lost, as
sparks above the dark chimney, the matter in
charge of all convection for a reasonable and
eternal distance into the mine.
Westley Barnes Mar 2012
I'm Tired of people telling me that I should smile in photographs
My resistance has got nothing to do with
An Attitude problem
or my attempt at
Appearing acutely fashionable
This is just the way I look
Most of the time
Shouldn’t what we choose to record
At least strive for Authenticity?
I'm just not interested in selling myself
Into the acceptable family comfort mode
Having my split-second cheery face sink in
Against The kitchen wall's
"calming" comfort scheme
To be doted on by ageing female relatives
and jovially mocked by visiting casual friends
If anything I don't want my past to be
Looked upon at all

Maybe it's the old story
of leaving home and the urge
To re-invent oneself
To Block out the old experiences, the old embarrassments
Freeing yourself to embark on a fresher tirade
of critical self-assessment
To be finally and victoriously
Free from the unsettling confines
of childhood
To engage yourself completely
in the waking,walking,working
Nightmare of maturity, responsibility
and devastating ambition.

— The End —