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Alyssa Underwood Jul 2016
Can it love you like God loves you, with a love that is better than life?
Can it connect you to eternal beauty? Can it save you? Can it redeem you? 
Can it lift you out of the miry pit? Can it make you clean enough to finally feel acceptable?

Can it delight your soul to the core? Can it take your breath away with its faithfulness to you? Can it paint both sunrise and sunset across the sky to beckon your attention? Can it cause the breeze to blow and gently caress your cheeks? Can it send hummingbirds and wildflowers across your path to romance your heart? Can it parade before you the starry host and call them each by name?

Can it probe you to the depths and fill you with itself?
Can it rush to your aid riding on the wings of the wind?
Can it satisfy your hunger and thirst with bountiful things?
Can it give to you feet like a deer that you might dance upon the heights?
Can it arrange every detail of your life to draw you and drive you to itself?
Can it pursue you with all the resources of the universe?
Can it know you through and through and still desire you?

Can it raise you up and seat you in the heavenly realms and bless you with every spiritual blessing? Can it supply your every need out of its glorious riches? Can its grace be sufficient for you and its mercy help you in your greatest temptation? Can it pour overflowing comfort into you through all of your troubles? Can it reach down to draw you out of deep waters? Can it set you on an unshakable foundation? Can it bound across the mountains to come to your rescue? Can it make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters?
Can it walk with you through the darkest wilderness and never leave you or forsake you? Can it carry you when you are weak or have fallen? Can it let you rest between its shoulders when you are weary or burdened?

Can it escort you to heaven’s banqueting table
and spread its banner of love over you?
Can it hide you in the shelter of its wing?
Can it be your daily portion and immerse you in the boundlessness of itself?
Can it clothe you in robes of righteousness and garments of salvation? 
Can it give to you praise in exchange for mourning?
Can it bestow on you a crown of beauty for ashes?
Can it turn your wailing into dancing?
Can it flood you with peace like a river?
Can it fill your heart with joy in the worst of afflictions?
Can it know the way to lead you home?
Can it refine you in its fire and bring you forth as gold? 
Can it capture you fully even as it sets you fully free?

Can it ever truly be your Everything?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeKgfUGtcI0
Ellis Reyes Nov 2011
Arrange communication, over.
Roger, Out.
Inform the Chain of Command
Contact the Chaplain
Execute a satellite uplink
Notify the next of kin
Start the phone tree
Make the arrangements
Honor the deceased
Comfort the family
Pray for the soul
This poem was written as part of the Adopt a Metaphor project. The metaphor adopted here was "Arrange Communication".
Bouazizi’s heavy eyelids parted as the Muezzin recited the final call for the first Adhan of the day.

“As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm”
Prayer is better than sleep

Rising from the torment of another restless night, Bouazizi wiped the sleep from his droopy eyes as his feet touched the cold stone floor.

Throughout the frigid night, the devilish jinn did their work, eagerly jabbing away at Bouazizi with pointed sticks, tormenting his troubled conscience with the worry of his nagging indebtedness. All night the face of the man Bouazizi owed money to haunted him. Bouazizi could see the man’s greasy lips and brown teeth jawing away, inches from his face. He imagined chubby caffeine stained fingers reaching toward him to grab some dinars from Bouazizi’s money box.

Bouazizi turned all night like he was sleeping on a board of spikes. His prayers for a restful night again went unanswered. The pall of a blue fatigue would shadow Bouazizi for most of the day.

Bouazizi’s weariness was compounded by a gnawing hunger. By force of habit, he grudgingly opened the food cupboard with the foreknowledge that it was almost bare. Bouazizi’s premonition proved correct as he surveyed a meager handful of chickpeas, some eggs and a few sparse loaves. It was just enough to feed his dependant family; younger brothers and sisters, cousins and a terminally disabled uncle. That left nothing for Bouazizi but a quick jab to his empty gut. He would start this day without breakfast.

Bouazizi made a living as a street vendor. He hustles to survive. Bouazizi’s father died in a construction accident in Libya when he was three. Since the age of 10, Bouazizi had pushed a cart through the streets of Sidi Bouzid; selling fruit at the public market just a few blocks from the home that he has lived in for almost his entire life.

At 27 years of age, Bouazizi has wrestled the beast of deprivation since his birth. To date, he has bravely fought it to a standstill; but day after day the multi-headed hydra of life has snapped at him. He has squarely met the eyes of the beast with fortitude and resolve; but the sharp fangs of a hardscrabble life has sunken deep into Bouazizi’s spleen. The unjust rules of society are powerful claws that slash away at his flesh, bleeding him dry: while the spiked tendrils of poverty wrap Bouazizi’s neck, seeking to strangle him.

Bouazizi is a workingman hero; a skilled warrior in the fight for daily bread. He is accustomed to living a life of scarcity. His daily deliverance is the grace of another day of labor and the blessed wages of subsistence.

Though Allah has blessed this man with fortitude the acuteness of terminal want and the constant struggle to survive has its limits for any man; even for strong champions like Bouazizi.

This morning as Bouazizi washed he peered into a mirror, closely examining new wrinkles on his stubble strewn face. He fingered his deep black curls dashed with growing streaks of gray. He studied them through the gaze of heavy bloodshot eyes. He looked upward as if to implore Allah to salve the bruises of daily life.

Bouazizi braced himself with the splash of a cold water slap to his face. He wiped his cheeks clean with the tail of his shirt. He dipped his toothbrush into a box of baking powder and scoured an aching back molar in need of a root canal. Bouazizi should see a dentist but it is a luxury he cannot afford so he packed an aspirin on top of the infected tooth. The dissolving aspirin invaded his mouth coating his tongue with a bitter effervescence.

Bouazizi liked the taste and was grateful for the expectation of a dulled pain. He smiled into the mirror to check his chipped front tooth while pinching a cigarette **** from an ashtray. The roach had one hit left in it. He lit it with a long hard drag that consumed a good part of the filter. Bouazizi’s first smoke of the day was more filter then tobacco but it shocked his lungs into the coughing flow of another day.

Bouazizi put on his jacket, slipped into his knockoff NB sneakers and reached for a green apple on a nearby table. He took a big bite and began to chew away the pain of his toothache.

Bouazizi stepped into the street to catch the sun rising over the rooftops. He believed that seeing the sunrise was a good omen that augured well for that day’s business. A sunbeam braking over a far distant wall bathed Bouazizi in a golden light and illumined the alley where he parked his cart holding his remaining stock of week old apples. He lifted the handles and backed his cart out into the street being extra mindful of the cracks in the cobblestone road. Bouazizi sprained his ankle a week ago and it was still tender. Bouazizi had to be careful not to aggravate it with a careless step. Having successfully navigated his cart into the road, Bouazizi made a skillful U Turn and headed up the street limping toward the market.

A winter chill gripped Bouazizi prompting him to zip his jacket up to his neck. The zipper pinched his Adam’s Apple and a few droplets of blood stained his green corduroy jacket. Though it was cold, Bouazizi sensed that spring would arrive early this year triggering a replay of a recurring daydream. Bouazizi imagined himself behind the wheel of a new van on his way to the market. Fresh air and sunshine pouring through the open windows with the cargo space overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruits.

It was a lifelong ambition of Bouazizi to own a van. He dreamed of buying a six cylinder Dodge Caravan. It would be painted red and he would call it The Red Flame. The Red Flame would be fast and powerful and sport chrome spinners. The Red Flame would be filled with music from a Blaupunkt sound system with kick *** speakers. Power windows, air conditioning, leather seats, a moonroof and plenty of space in the back for his produce would complete Bouazizi’s ride.

The Red Flame would be the vehicle Bouazizi required to expand his business beyond the market square. Bouazizi would sell his produce out of the back of the van, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. No longer would he have to wait for customers to come to his stand in the market. Bouazizi would go to his customers. Bouazizi and the Red Flame would be known in all the neighborhoods throughout the district. Bouazizi shook his head and smiled thinking about all the girls who would like to take rides in the Red Flame. Bouazizi and his Red Flame would be a sight to be noticed and a force to be reckoned with.

“EEEEEYOWWW” a Mercedes horn angrily honked; jarring Bouazizi from the reverie of his daydream. A guy whipping around the corner like a silver streak stuck his head out the window blasting with music yelling, “Hey Mnayek, watch where you push that *******.”

The music faded as the Mercedes roared away. “Barra nikk okhtek” Bouazizi yelled, raising his ******* in the direction of the vanished car. “The big guys in the fancy cars think the road belongs to them”, Bouazizi mumbled to himself.

The insult ****** Bouazizi off, but he was accustomed to them and as he limped along pushing his cart he distracted himself with the amusement of the ascending sun chasing the fleeting shadows of the night, sending them scurrying down narrow alleyways.

Bouazizi imaged himself a character from his favorite movie. He was a giant Transformer, chasing the black shadows of evil away from the city into the desert. After battling evil and conquering the bad guys, he would transform himself back into the regular Bouazizi; selling his produce to the people as he patrolled the highways of Tunisia in the Red Flame, the music blasting out the windows, the chrome spinners flashing in the sunlight. Bouazizi would remain vigilant, always ready to transform the Red Flame to fight the evil doers.

The bumps and potholes in the road jostled Bouazizi’s load of apples. A few fell out of the wooden baskets and were rolling around in the open spaces of the cart. Bouazizi didn’t want to risk bruising them. Damaged merchandise can’t be sold so he was careful to secure his goods and arrange his cart to appeal to women customers. He made sure to display his prized electronic scale in the corner of the cart for all to see.

Bouazizi had a reputation as a fair and generous dealer who always gave good value to his customers. Bouazizi was also known for his kindness. He would give apples to hungry children and families who could not pay. Bouazizi knew the pain of hunger and it brought him great satisfaction to be able to alleviate it in others.

As a man who valued fairness, Bouazizi was particularly proud of his electronic scale. Bouazizi was certain the new measuring device assured all customers that Bouazizi sold just and correct portions. The electronic scale was Bouazizi’s shining lamp. He trusted it. He hung it from the corner post of his cart like it was the beacon of a lighthouse guiding shoppers through the treachery of an unscrupulous market. It would attract all customers who valued fairness to the safe harbor of Bouazizi’s cart.

The electronic scale is Bouazizi’s assurance to his customers that the weights and measures of electronic calculation layed beyond any cloud of doubt. It is a fair, impartial and objective arbiter for any dispute.

Bouazizi believed that the fairness of his scale would distinguish his stand from other produce vendors. Though its purchase put Bouazizi into deep debt, the scale was a source of pride for Bouazizi who believed that it would help his profits to increase and help him to achieve his goal of buying the Red Flame.

As Bouazizi pushed his cart toward the market, he mulled his plan over in his mind for the millionth time. He wasn't great in math but he was able to calculate his financial situation with a degree of precision. His estimations triggered worries that his growing debt to money lenders may be difficult to payoff.

Indebtedness pressed down on Bouazizi’s chest like a mounting pile of stones. It was the source of an ever present fear coercing Bouazizi to live in a constant state of anxiety. His business needed to grow for Bouazizi to get a measure of relief and ultimately prosper from all his hard work. Bouazizi was driven by urgency.

The morning roil of the street was coming alive. Bouazizi quickened his step to secure a good location for his cart at the market. Car horns, the spewing diesel from clunking trucks, the flatulent roar of accelerating buses mixed with the laughs and shrieks of children heading to school composed the rising crescendo of the city square.

As he pushed through the market, Bouazizi inhaled the aromatic eddies of roasting coffee floating on the air. It was a pleasantry Bouazizi looked forward to each morning. The delicious wafts of coffee mingling with the crisp aroma of baking bread instigated a growl from Bouazizi’s empty stomach. He needed to get something to eat. After he got money from his first sale he would by a coffee and some fried dough.

Activity in the market was vigorous, punctuated by the usual arguments of petty territorial disputes between vendors. The disagreements were always amicably resolved, burned away in rising billows of roasting meats and vegetables, the exchange of cigarettes and the plumes of tobacco smoke rising as emanations of peace.

Bouazizi skillfully maneuvered his cart through the market commotion. He slid into his usual space between Aaban and Aameen. His good friend Aaban sold candles, incense, oils and sometimes his wife would make cakes to sell. Aameen was the markets most notorious jokester. He sold hardware and just about anything else he could get his hands on.

Aaban was already burning a few sticks of jasmine incense. It helped to attract customers. The aroma defined the immediate space with the pleasant bouquet of a spring garden. Bouazizi liked the smell and appreciated the increased traffic it brought to his apple cart.

“Hey Basboosa#, do you have any cigarettes?“, Aameen asked as he pulled out a lighter. Bouazizi shook the tip of a Kent from an almost empty pack. Aameen grabbed the cigarette with his lips.

“That's three cartons of Kents you owe me, you cheap *******.” Bouazizi answered half jokingly. Aameen mumbled a laugh through a grin tightly gripping the **** as he exhaled smoke from his nose like a fire breathing dragon. Bouazizi also took out a cigarette for himself.

“Aameem, give me a light”, Bouazizi asked.

Aameen tossed him the lighter.

“Keep it Basboosa. I got others.” Aameen smiled as he showed off a newly opened box of disposable lighters to sell on his stand.

“Made in China, Basboosa. They make everything cheap and colorful. I can make some money with these.”

Bouazizi lit his next to last cigarette. He inhaled deeply. The smoke chased away the cool air in Bouazizi’s lungs with a shot of a hot nicotine rush.

“Merci Aameen” Bouazizi answered. He put the lighter into the almost empty cigarette pack and put it into his hip pocket. The lighter would protect his last cigarette from being crushed.

The laughter and shouts of the bazaar, the harangue of radio voices shouting anxious verses of Imam’s exhorting the masses to submit and the piecing ramble of nondescript AM music flinging piercing unintelligible static surrounded Bouazizi and his cart as he waited for his first customers of the day.

Bouazizi sensed a nervous commotion rise along the line of vendors. A crowd of tourists and locals milling about parted as if to avoid a slithering asp making its way through their midst. The hoots of vendors and the cackle of the crowd made its way to Bouazizi’s knowing ear. He knew what was coming. It was nothing more then another shakedown by city officials acting as bagmen for petty municipal bureaucrats. They claim to be checking vendor licences but they’re just making the rounds collecting protection money from the vendors. Pocketing bribes and payoffs is the municipal authorities idea of good government. They are skilled at using the power of their office to extort tribute from the working poor.

Bouazizi made the mistake of making eye contact with Madame Hamdi. As the municipal authority in charge of vendors and taxis Madame Hamdi held sway over the lives of the street vendors. She relished the power she had over the men who make a meager living selling goods in the square; and this morning she was moving through the market like a bloodhound hot on the trail of an escaped convict. Two burly henchmen lead the way before her. Bouazizi knew Madame Hamdi’s hounds were coming for him.

Bouazizi knew he was ******. Having just made a payment to his money lender, Bouazizi had no extra dinars to grease the palm of Madame Hamdi. He grabbed the handle bars of his cart to make an escape; but Madame Hamdi cut him off and got right into into Bouazizi’s face.

“Ah little Basboosa where are you going? she asked with the tone of playful contempt.

“I suppose you still have no license to sell, ah Basboosa?” Madame Hamdi questioned with the air of a soulless inquisitor.

“You know Madame Hamdi, cart vendors do not need a license.” Bouazizi feebly protested, not daring to look into her eyes.

“Basboosa, you know we can overlook your violations with a small fine for your laxity” a dismissive Madame Hamdi offered.

Bouazizi’s sense of guilt would not permit him to lift his eyes. His head remained bowed. Bouazizi stood convicted of being one of the impoverished.

“I have no spare dinars to offer Madame Hamdi, My pockets are empty, full of holes. My money falls into everyone’s palm but my own. I’m sorry Madame Hamdi. I’ll take my cart home”. He lifted the handlebars in an attempt to escape. One of Madame Hamdi’s henchmen stepped in front of his cart while the other pushed Bouazizi away from it.

“Either you pay me a vendor tax for a license or I will confiscate your goods Basboosa”, Madame Hamdi warned as she lifted Bouazizi’s scale off its hook.

“This will be the first to go”, she said grinning as she examined the scale. “We’ll just keep this.”
Like a mother lion protecting a defenseless cub from the snapping jaws of a pack of ravenous hyenas, Bouazizi lunged to retrieve his prized scale from the clutches of Madame Hamdi. Reaching for it, he touched the scale with his fingertips just as Madame Hamdi delivered a vicious slap to Bouazizi’s cheek. It halted him like a thunderbolt from Zeus.

A henchman overturned Bouazizi’s cart, scatter
Three years ago today Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire igniting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011.
Alyssa Underwood Nov 2015
Can it love you like God loves you, with a love that is better than life?
Can it connect you to eternal beauty? Can it save you? Can it redeem you?
Can it lift you out of the miry pit? Can it make you clean enough to finally feel acceptable?

Can it delight your soul to the core? Can it take your breath away with its faithfulness to you? Can it paint both sunrise and sunset across the sky to beckon your attention? Can it cause the breeze to blow and gently caress your cheeks? Can it send hummingbirds and wildflowers across your path to romance your heart? Can it parade before you the starry host and call them each by name?

Can it probe you to the depths and fill you with itself?
Can it rush to your aid riding on the wings of the wind?
Can it satisfy your hunger and thirst with bountiful things?
Can it give to you feet like a deer that you might dance upon the heights?
Can it arrange every detail of your life to draw you and drive you to itself?
Can it pursue you with all the resources of the universe?
Can it know you through and through and still desire you?

Can it raise you up and seat you in the heavenly realms and bless you with every spiritual blessing? Can it supply your every need out of its glorious riches? Can its grace be sufficient for you and its mercy help you in your greatest temptation? Can it pour overflowing comfort into you through all of your troubles? Can it reach down to draw you out of deep waters? Can it set you on an unshakable foundation? Can it bound across the mountains to come to your rescue? Can it make you lie down in green pastures and lead you beside still waters? Can it walk with you through the darkest wilderness and never leave you or forsake you? Can it carry you when you are weak or have fallen? Can it let you rest between its shoulders when you are weary or burdened?

Can it escort you to heaven’s banqueting table
and spread its banner of love over you?
Can it hide you in the shelter of its wing?
Can it be your daily portion and immerse you in the boundlessness of itself?
Can it clothe you in robes of righteousness and garments of salvation?
Can it give to you praise in exchange for mourning?
Can it bestow on you a crown of beauty for ashes?
Can it turn your wailing into dancing?
Can it flood you with peace like a river?
Can it fill your heart with joy in the worst of afflictions?
Can it know the way to lead you home?
Can it refine you in its fire and bring you forth as gold?
Can it capture you fully even as it sets you fully free?

Can it ever truly be your Everything?
~~~
Akhiz Munawar May 2014
Checking pitch, tone and harmony of the deeds
Tune the strings of life to balance your world
Arrange your ways to match the notes
Of all the chords that are right for your soul
When you are unable to find the right key to self
And it’s difficult to arrange the scale of your goals
Just close your eyes and let your fingers flow
You will catch the right melody to play your role
Strumming on the tune of righteous dreams
Transpose your thoughts to improvise at will
The virtuoso of inner self will come out one day
As they say for the top you first climb the hill
Play the symphony you are intended to play
Use the plectrum of love for it can do no wrong
Use the power chords of care if it’s necessary
Let the world “Rock On” in awe of your song
Chord
Three or more notes sounded simultaneously.

Transpose
To change the key of a piece of music by a specific interval.

Improvise
It basically just means that you make something original up on the spot. Most guitar solos in rock songs for example are improvised because they don't follow a particular structure it's just playing your own thing really.

Virtuoso
A person highly skilled in music or another artistic pursuit.
ryn Oct 2014
Arrange my mind's galaxies and planets.

Sedate angry asteroids and burning comets.

Align for me my heart's constellations.

Clear the clouded nebulae in my intentions.

Turn the moon gently to look upon me,

So I may find the sea of tranquillity...


                              Tonight.
Clouded, dishevelled mind. Want peace...
I've come by, she says, to tell you
that this is it. I'm not kidding, it's
over. this is it.
I sit on the couch watching her arrange
her long red hair before my bedroom
mirror.
she pulls her hair up and
piles it on top of her head-
she lets her eyes look at
my eyes-
then she drops her hair and
lets it fall down in front of her face.
we go to bed and I hold her
speechlessly from the back
my arm around her neck
I touch her wrists and hands
feel up to
her elbows
no further.
she gets up.
this is it, she says,
this will do. well,
I'm going.
I get up and walk her
to the door
just as she leaves
she says,
I want you to buy me
some high-heeled shoes
with tall thin spikes,
black high-heeled shoes.
no, I want them
red.
I watch her walk down the cement walk
under the trees
she walks all right and
as the pointsettas drip in the sun
I close the door.
Stephen Katona Aug 2014
There's a yellow green gas,
You can't see in your glass.
Sometimes you can tell,
It's there by the smell.
It does a great job removing bacteria,
Like Diphtheria,
Or even Listeria.

But what do you think,
Happens to the chlorine in your drink?
I don't want to alarm,
But there's a chance it might harm.
It protects at a price,
Attacking our bacteria that are nice,
And I'm sure it excels,
At killing your own cells,
Forcing new ones to grow,
When a mistake could cause woe.
Some studies have found it an enhancer,
Of bladder and bowel cancer.

Whether old or young,
Do you want it in your lung?
You have the power,
To remove it from your shower.
It's rather grim,
To have to breathe it when you swim.
You're more likely to wheeze,
Or sneeze.

Do you think it will please,
Your inflammatory bowel disease?
Perhaps it's the key,
To why there's Crohns and UC.
Do you think that your skin,
Might become a little thin,
And be filled with dread,
As it starts to turn red.
Can you not feel,
How it's harder to heal?
It makes our tissues grow old,
From what I've been told.
Our cells can only divide,
A few times before they're stupified.

With asthma and chlorine on a map,
You can see they overlap.
Sadly in the West,
Not everyone has guessed,
That there may be a link,
With the gas in our drink.

“But!”, I hear you cry,
“Without it people will die.”
Let go of your dread,
We can use something instead.
The answer is well known,
It's called 'ozone'.
Made from pure water,
It's gone when it reaches my daughter,
Unlike chlorine it's life is brief,
What a relief.

There's many a city,
That make it with electricity,
Splitting water into hydrogen,
And best of all, oxygen!
For ozone is made from O2,
Yes, it's true!
Imagine if you had,
Water with nothing they add.
Already there's Paris and Nice in France,
Where people can dance.
San Diego and Los Angeles in the USA,
Have water that's ok.
And Osaka in Japan,
Now use this plan.
But you don't have to be rich,
To make the switch.
Ask a clever committee,
To stop chlorine in your city.
See if you can arrange,
To have your water change.

I hear you shout,
“Can 'I' get this chlorine out?”
If you leave water in a jug overnight,
What's left will be slight.
Boiling will send it away in the air,
So there's no need to despair.
You can also remove it with a filter,
Or a water distiller.

To learn more have a look,
At 'Question Chlorine' on facebook.
The following are studies that have been done looking at potential links between chlorine and various diseases. They can be found with a simple google search.
1. The association of drinking water source and chlorination by-products with cancer incidence among postmenopausal women in Iowa: a prospective cohort study.
2. Chlorination, chlorination by-products, and cancer: a meta-analysis.
3. Drinking Water Source and Chlorination Byproducts II. Risk of Colon and ****** Cancers.
4. Case-Control Study of Colon and ****** Cancers and Chlorination By-Products in Treated Water
5. Meta-analysis of studies on individual consumption of chlorinated drinking water and bladder cancer
6. Infant swimming in chlorinated pools and the risks of bronchiolitis, asthma and allergy. 
7.Attendance at chlorinated indoor pools and risk of asthma in adult recreational swimmers. 
In 2009, I asked the world to carry out more research looking at the safety of chlorine in the Journal of Medical Hypotheses in an article called:
Step aside tobacco, chlorine could be man's next great carcinogen.
I remember the history well:
The soldiers and politicians emerged
With briefcases and guns
And celebrations on city nights.

They scoured the mess
Reviewed our history
Saw the executions at dawn
Then signed with secret policemen

And decided something
Had to be done.

They scoured the mess
Resurrected old blue-prints
Of vicious times
Tracked the shapes of sinking cities

And learned at last
That nothing can be avoided
And so avoided everything.
I remember the history well.

                                                                 2
We emerged from our ******* mounds
Discovered a view of the sky
As the air danced in heat.

Through the view of the city
In flames, we rewound times
Of executions at beaches.
Salt streamed down our brows.

Everywhere stagger victims of rigged elections
Monolithic accidents on hungry roads
The infinite web of ethnic politics
Power-dreams of fevered winds.

The nation was a map stitched
From the grabbing of future flesh
And became a rush through
Historical slime

                                                                 3
We emerged on edge
Of time future
With bright fumes
From burning towers.

The fumes lit political rallies.
We started a war
Ended it
And dreamed about our chance.

Fat fish eat little fish
Big ones arrange executions
And armed robberies.
Our ******* shapes us all.

I remember the history well.
The tiger’s snarl is bought
In currencies of silence.
Eggs grow large:

A monstrous face is hatched.
On the edge of time future
I am a boy
With running sores

Of remember history
Watching the stitches widen
Waiting for the volcano’s laughter
In the fevered winds

Hearing the gnash
Of those who will join us
At the mighty gateways
With new blue-prints

With dew as seal
And fire as constant
And a trail through time past
To us

Who remember the history well.
We weave words on red
And sing on the edge of blue.
And with our nerves primed

We shall spin silk from *******
And frame time with our resolve.
__
Source:
http://www.universeofpoetry.org/nigeria.shtml
Nigel Morgan Dec 2013
A Tale for the Mid-Winter Season after the Mural by Carl Larrson

On the shortest day I wake before our maids from the surrounding farms have converged on Sundborn. Greta lives with us so she will be asleep in that deep slumber only girls of her age seem to own. Her tiny room has barely more than a bed and a chest for her clothes. There is my first painting of her on the wall, little more a sketch, but she was entranced, at seeing herself so. To the household she is a maid who looks after me and my studio,  though she is a literate, intelligent girl, city-bred from Gamla Stan but from a poor home, a widowed mother, her late father a drunkard.  These were my roots, my beginning, exactly. But her eyes already see a world beyond Sundborn. She covets postcards from my distant friends: in Paris, London, Jean in South America, and will arrange them on my writing desk, sometimes take them to her room at night to dream in the candlelight. I think this summer I shall paint her, at my desk, reading my cards, or perhaps writing her own. The window will be open and a morning breeze will make the flowers on the desk tremble.

Karin sleeps too, a desperate sleep born of too much work and thought and interruption. These days before Christmas put a strain on her usually calm disposition. The responsibilities of our home, our life, the constant visitors, they weigh upon her, and dispel her private time. Time in her studio seems impossible. I often catch her poised to disappear from a family coming-together. She is here, and then gone, as if by magic. With the older children home from their distant schools, and Suzanne arrived from England just yesterday morning, they all cannot do without lengthy conferences. They know better than disturb me. Why do you think there is a window set into my studio door? So, if I am at my easel there should be no knock to disturb. There is another reason, but that is between Karin and I.

This was once a summer-only house, but over the years we have made it our whole-year home. There was much attention given to making it snug and warm. My architect replaced all the windows and all the doors and there is this straw insulation between the walls. Now, as I open the curtains around my bed, I can see my breath float out into the cool air. When, later, I descend to my studio, the stove, damped down against the night, when opened and raddled will soon warm the space. I shall draw back the heavy drapes and open the wooden shutters onto the dark land outside. Only then I will stand before my current painting: *Brita and the Sleigh
.

Current!? I have been working on this painting intermittently for five years, and Brita is no longer the Brita of this picture, though I remember her then as yesterday. It is a picture of a winter journey for a six-year-old, only that journey is just across the yard to the washhouse. Snow, frost, birds gathered in the leafless trees, a sun dog in the sky, Brita pushing her empty sledge, wearing fur boots, Lisbeth’s old coat, and that black knitted hat made by old Anna. It is the nearest I have come to suggesting the outer landscape of this place. I bring it out every year at this time so I can check the light and the shadows against what I see now, not what I remember seeing then. But there will be a more pressing concern for me today, this shortest day.

Since my first thoughts for the final mural in my cycle for the Nationalmuseum I have always put this day aside, whatever I might be doing, wherever I may be. I pull out my first sketches, that book of imaginary tableaux filled in a day and a night in my tiny garden studio in Grez, thinking of home, of snow, the mid-winter, feeling the extraordinary power and shake of Adam of Bremen’s description of 10th C pre-Christian Uppsala, written to describe how barbaric and immoral were the practices and religion of the pagans, to defend the fragile position of the Christian church in Sweden at the time. But as I gaze at these rough beginnings made during those strange winter days in my rooms at the Hotel Chevilon, I feel myself that twenty-five year old discovering my artistic vision, abandoning oils for the flow and smudge of watercolour, and then, of course, Karin. We were part of the Swedish colony at Grez-sur-Loing. Karin lived with the ladies in Pension Laurent, but was every minute beside me until we found our own place, to be alone and be together, in a cupboard of a house by the river, in Marlotte.

Everyone who painted en-plein-air, writers, composers, they all flocked to Grez just south of Fontainebleau, to visit, sometimes to stay. I recall Strindberg writing to Karin after his first visit: It was as if there were no pronounced shadows, no hard lines, the air with its violet complexion is almost always misty; and I painting constantly, and against the style and medium of the time. How the French scoffed at my watercolours, but my work sold immediately in Stockholm. . . and Karin, tall, slim, Karin, my muse, my lover, my model, her boy-like figure lying naked (but for a hat) in the long grass outside my studio. We learned each other there, the technique of bodies in intimate closeness, the way of no words, the sharing of silent thoughts, together on those soft, damp winter days when our thoughts were of home, of Karin’s childhood home at Sundborn. I had no childhood thoughts I wanted to return to, but Karin, yes. That is why we are here now.

In Grez-sur-Loing, on a sullen December day, mist lying on the river, our garden dead to winter, we received a visitor, a Swedish writer and journalist travelling with a very young Italian, Mariano Fortuny, a painter living in Paris, and his mentor the Spaniard Egusquiza. There was a woman too who Karin took away, a Parisienne seamstress I think, Fortuny’s lover. Bayreuth and Wagner, Wagner, Wagner was all they could talk about. Of course Sweden has its own Nordic Mythology I ventured. But where is it? What is it? they cried, and there was laughter and more mulled wine, and then talk again of Wagner.

When the party left I realized there was something deep in my soul that had been woken by talk of the grandeur and scale of Wagner’s cocktail of German and Scandinavian myths and folk tales. For a day and night I sketched relentlessly, ransacking my memory for those old tales, drawing strong men and stalwart, flaxen-haired women in Nordic dress and ornament. But as a new day presented itself I closed my sketch book and let the matter drop until, years later, in a Stockholm bookshop I chanced upon a volume in Latin by Adam of Bremen, his Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum, the most famous source to pagan ritual practice in Sweden. That cold winter afternoon in Grez returned to me and I felt, as I had then, something stir within me, something missing from my comfortable world of images of home and farm, family and the country life.

Back in Sundborn this little volume printed in the 18th C lay on my desk like a question mark without a sentence. My Latin was only sufficient to get a gist, but the gist was enough. Here was the story of the palace of Uppsala, the great centre of the pre-Christian pagan cults that brought us Odin and Freyr. I sought out our village priest Dag Sandahl, a good Lutheran but who regularly tagged Latin in his sermons. Yes, he knew the book, and from his study bookshelf brought down an even earlier copy than my own. And there and then we sat down together and read. After an hour I was impatient to be back in my studio and draw, draw these extraordinary images this text brought to life unbidden in my imagination. But I did not leave until I had persuaded Pastor Sandahl to agree to translate the Uppsala section of the Adam of Bremen’s book, and just before Christmas that year, on the day before the Shortest Day, he delivered his translation to my studio. He would not stay, but said I should read the passages about King Domalde and his sacrifice at the Winter Solstice. And so, on the day of the Winter Solstice, I did.

This people have a widely renowned sanctuary called Uppsala.

By this temple is a very large tree with extending branches. It is always green, both in winter and in summer. No one knows what kind of tree this is. There is also a spring there, where the heathens usually perform their sacrificial rites. They throw a live human being into the spring. If he does not resurface, the wishes of the people will come true.

The Temple is girdled by a chain of gold that hangs above the roof of the building and shines from afar, so that people may see it from a distance when they approach there. The sanctuary itself is situated on a plain, surrounded by mountains, so that the form a theatre.

It is not far from the town of Sigtuna. This sanctuary is completely covered with golden ornaments. There, people worship the carved idols of three gods: Thor, the most powerful of them, has his throne in the middle of the hall, on either side of him, Odin and Freyr have their seats. They have these functions: “Thor,” they say, “rules the air, he rules thunder and lightning, wind and rain, good weather and harvests. The other, Odin, he who rages, he rules the war and give courage to people in their battle against enemies. The third is Freyr, he offers to mortals lust and peace and happiness.” And his image they make with a very large phallus. Odin they present armed, the way we usually present Mars, while Thor with the scepter seems to resemble Jupiter. As gods they also worship some that have earlier been human. They give them immortality for the sake of their great deeds, as we may read in Vita sancti Ansgarii that they did with King Eirik.

For all these gods have particular persons who are to bring forward the sacrificial gifts of the people. If plague and famine threatens, they offer to the image of Thor, if the matter is about war, they offer to Odin, but if a wedding is to be celebrated, they offer to Freyr. And every ninth year in Uppsala a great religious ceremony is held that is common to people from all parts of Sweden.”
Snorri also relates how human sacrifice began in Uppsala, with the sacrifice of a king.

Domalde took the heritage after his father Visbur, and ruled over the land. As in his time there was great famine and distress, the Swedes made great offerings of sacrifice at Upsal. The first autumn they sacrificed oxen, but the succeeding season was not improved thereby. The following autumn they sacrificed men, but the succeeding year was rather worse. The third autumn, when the offer of sacrifices should begin, a great multitude of Swedes came to Upsal; and now the chiefs held consultations with each other, and all agreed that the times of scarcity were on account of their king Domalde, and they resolved to offer him for good seasons, and to assault and **** him, and sprinkle the stall of the gods with his blood. And they did so.


There it was, at the end of Adam of Bremen’s description of Uppsala, this description of King Domalde upon which my mural would be based. It is not difficult to imagine, or rather the event itself can be richly embroidered, as I have over the years made my painting so. Karin and I have the books of William Morris on our shelves and I see little difference between his fixation on the legends of the Arthur and the Grail. We are on the cusp here between the pagan and the Christian.  What was Christ’s Crucifixion but a self sacrifice: as God in man he could have saved himself but chose to die for Redemption’s sake. His blood was not scattered to the fields as was Domalde’s, but his body and blood remains a continuing symbol in our right of Communion.

I unroll the latest watercolour cartoon of my mural. It is almost the length of this studio. Later I will ask Greta to collect the other easels we have in the house and barn and then I shall view it properly. But for now, as it unrolls, my drama of the Winter Solstice comes alive. It begins on from the right with body of warriors, bronze shields and helmets, long shafted spears, all set against the side of Uppsala Temple and more distant frost-hoared trees. Then we see the King himself, standing on a sled hauled by temple slaves. He is naked as he removes the furs in which he has travelled, a circuit of the temple to display himself to his starving people. In the centre, back to the viewer, a priest-like figure in a red cloak, a dagger held for us to see behind his back. Facing him, in druidic white, a high priest holds above his head a gold pagan monstrance. To his left there are white cloaked players of long, straight horns, blue cloaked players of the curled horns, and guiding the shaft of the sled a grizzled shaman dressed in the skins and furs of animals. The final quarter of my one- day-to-be-a-mural unfolds to show the women of temple and palace writhing in gestures of grief and hysteria whilst their queen kneels prostate on the ground, her head to the earth, her ladies ***** behind her. Above them all stands the forever-green tree whose origin no one knows.

Greta has entered the studio in her practiced, silent way carrying coffee and rolls from the kitchen. She has seen Midvinterblot many times, but I sense her gaze of fascination, yet again, at the figure of the naked king. She remembers the model, the sailor who came to stay at Kartbacken three summers ago. He was like the harpooner Queequeg in Moby ****. A tattooed man who was to be seen swimming in Toftan Lake and walking bare-chested in our woods. A tall, well-muscled, almost silent man, whom I patiently courted to be my model for King Dolmade. I have a book of sketches of him striding purposefully through the trees, the tattooed lines on his shoulders and chest like deep cuts into his body. This striding figure I hid from the children for some time, but from Greta that was impossible. She whispered to me once that when she could not have my substantial chest against her she would imagine the sailor’s, imagine touching and following his tattooed lines. This way, she said, helped her have respite from those stirrings she would so often feel for me. My painting, she knew, had stirred her fellow maids Clara and Solveig. Surely you know this, she had said, in her resolute and direct city manner. I have to remember she is the age of my eldest, who too must hold such thoughts and feelings. Karin dislikes my sailor king and wishes I would not hide the face of his distraught queen.

Today the sunrise is at 9.0, just a half hour away, and it will set before 3.0pm. So, after this coffee I will put on my boots and fur coat, be well scarfed and hatted (as my son Pontus would say) and walk out onto my estate. I will walk east across the fields towards Spardasvvägen. The sky is already waiting for the sun, but waits without colour, hardly even a tinge of red one might expect.

I have given Greta her orders to collect every easel she can find so we can take Midvinterblot off the floor and see it in all its vivid colour and form. In February I shall begin again to persuade the Nationalmuseum to accept this work. We have a moratorium just now. I will not accept their reasoning that there is no historical premise for such a subject, that such a scene has no place in a public gallery. A suggestion has been made that the Historiska museet might house it. But I shall not think of this today.

Karin is here, her face at the studio window beckons entry. My Darling, yes, it is midwinter’s day and I am dressing to greet the solstice. I will dress, she says, to see Edgar who will be here in half an hour to discuss my designs for this new furniture. We will be lunching at noon. Know you are welcome. Suzanne is talking constantly of England, England, and of course Oxford, this place of dreaming spires and good looking boys. We touch hands and kiss. I sense the perfume of sleep, of her bed.

Outside I must walk quickly to be quite alone, quite apart from the house, in the fields, alone. It is on its way: this light that will bathe the snowed-over land and will be my promise of the year’s turn towards new life.

As I walk the drama of Midvinterblot unfolds in a confusion of noise, the weeping of women, the physical exertions of the temple slaves, the priests’ incantations, the riot of horns, and then suddenly, as I stand in this frozen field, there is silence. The sun rises. It stagge
To see images of the world of Sundborn and Carl Larrson (including Mitvinterblot) see http://www.clg.se/encarl.aspx
Sung to the tune of The Lumberjack Song by Monty Python. Back-up Mounties optional.


I never wanted to be Sandra Dee!

I... I wanted to be...

A LESBIAN!
(piano vamp)

Leaping from bush to bush! As they float down the mighty rivers of
Finger and Thumbia!

With my best girl by my side!

The Blond!
The Brunette!
The Giant Snookie!
The Natural Red!
The Little Spinning Skinnamarink!

We'd sing! Sing! Sing!


Oh, I'm a lesbian, and I'm okay,
I like to broadcast that I'm gay.

Chorus: She's a lesbian, and she's okay,
She likes to broadcast that she's gay.

I see straight girls, they're not like me,
But I think that can change.

If they'd just let me kiss them.
Their lives I'd re-arrange.

Mounties: She sees straight girls, they're not like her,
But she thinks that can change.
If they'd just let her kiss them.
Their lives she'd re-arrange.

Chorus: She's a lesbian, and she's okay,
She likes to broadcast that she's gay.


I cut down guys, I wish and hope,
That others would join in.
I wish straight women would think,
that *** with men was sin.

Mounties: She cuts down guys, she wishes and hopes,
That others would join in.
She wishes straight women would think,
that *** with men was sin.
Chorus: She's a lesbian, and she's okay,
She likes to broadcast that she's gay.


Oh I'm a lesbian and I'm OKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK K!
Ann Beaver Apr 2013
Am I a fridge on the road side?
Am I a pair of red lips
folded like gift wrap
around your part?
Am I am an empty black coat?
You must understand --
I need to meet me.
Stop this destruction.
If you see me,
arrange an introduction.
**** poem. Lost my mojo somewhere.
Paul Sands Apr 2015
we'll agree then,
you can't rhyme orange
but perhaps maybe
we could arrange
to use instead
mandarin
that or possibly
tangerine
A couple of years, or so, ago I saw a quick performance by the poet Polar Bear on Chanel 4 where he lamented the fact you couldn't rhyme anything with the word orange. This was my response (recently rediscovered in my orphans waiting destruction)
i dreamed a rattlesnake was loose in the closet i heard it rattling i was afraid to open the door



a man suffering a toothache goes to see his dentist the dentist administers laughing gas when the man comes to his numb tongue swooshes around his mouth he asks how long was i under the dentist answers hours i needed to pull them all out



he imagines when he grows old there will be a pencil grown into one hand and a paintbrush grown into the other they will look like extra fingers grown out from the palms extensions of his personal evolution little children will be horrified when they see mommy mommy look at that man’s hands!



what if we are each presented with a complete picture of a puzzle from the very start then as our lives proceed the pieces begin showing up out of context sometimes recognizable other times a mystery some people are smarter more intuitive than others and are able to piece together the bigger picture some people never figure it out



i wasn’t thinking i didn’t know to think nobody taught me to think maybe my teachers tried but i didn’t get it i wasn’t thinking i was running reacting doing whatever i needed to survive when you’re trying to survive you move fast by instinct you don’t think you just act



many children are relieved when their parents die then they no longer need to explain prove themselves live up to their parent’s expectations yet all children need parents to approve foster mentor teach love



she was missing especially when her children needed her most she was busy lunching with girlfriends dinner dates beauty shop manicure masseuse appointments shopping seamstress fittings constant telephone gossiping criticizing she was too busy to notice she was missing more than anything she wanted to party show off her beauty to be the adored one the hostess with the mostest



i dreamed i was condemned to die by guillotine the executioner wore black and wielded an axe just in case the device failed in the dream the guillotine sliced shallow then the executioner went to work but he kept chopping unsuccessfully severing my head this went on for a long time



1954 Max Schwartzpilgrim sits at table in coffee shop on 5th floor of Maller’s Building elevated train loudly passes as he glances out window it is typical gloomy gray Chicago day he worries how he will find the money to pay off all his mounting debts he is over his head in debit thinks about taking out a hefty life insurance policy then cleverly killing himself but he cherishes his lovely wife Jenny his young children and social life sitting across table Ernie Cohen cracks crass joke Max laughs politely yet is in no mood to encourage his fingers work nervously mutely drumming on Formica table then stubbing out cigarette in glass ashtray lighting another with gold Dunhill lighter bitter tastes of coffee and cigarettes turns his stomach sour he raises his hand calling over Millie the waitress he flirtatiously smiles orders bowl of matzo ball soup with extra matzo ball Ernie says you can’t have enough big ***** for this world Max thinks about his son Odysseus



when Odysseus is very young Dad occasionally brings him to Schwartzpilgrim’s Jewelers Store on Saturday mornings Dad shows off his firstborn son like a prize possession lifting Odysseus in the air Dad takes him to golf range golf is not an interest for Odysseus Dad pushes him to learn proper swing Odysseus fumbles golf club and ***** he loves going anyway because he appreciates spending time with Dad once Dad and Odysseus take shower together Dad is so life-size muscular hairy Odysseus is so little Dad reaches touches Odysseus’s ******* feeling lone ******* Dad says we’ll correct that make it right Odysseus does not understand what Dad is talking about at finish Dad turns up cold water and shields Odysseus with his body he watches Dad dressing in mornings Dad is persnickety to last details of French cuff links silk handkerchief in breast pocket even Dad’s fingernails toenails are manicured buffed shiny clear



Odysseus’s left ******* does not descend into his ******* the adults in extended family routinely want to inspect the abnormality Mom shows them sometimes Dad grows agitated and leaves room it is embarrassing for Odysseus Daddy Lou’s brother Uncle Maury wants to check it out too often like he thinks he is a doctor Uncle Maury is an optometrist the pediatrician theorizes the tangled ******* is possibly the result of a hormone fertility drug Mom took to get pregnant the doctor injects Odysseus with a hormone shot then prescribes several medications to induce the ****** to drop nothing works eventually an inguinal hernia is diagnosed around the age of 9 Odysseus is operated on for a hernia and the ******* surgically moved down into his ******* the doctor says ******* is dead warning of propensity to cancer later in life his left ball is smaller than his right but it is more sensitive and needy he does not understand what the doctor means by “dead” Odysseus fears he will be made fun of he is self-conscious in locker room he does not comprehend for the rest of his life he will carry a diminutive *****



spokin alloud by readar in caulkknee axescent ello we’re Biggie an Smally tha 2 testicles whoooh liv in tha ******* of this felloh Odys Biggie is the soyze of a elthy chicken aegg and Smally is the size of a modest Bing cheery



one breast ****** points northeast the other smaller breast ****** points southwest she is frightened to reveal them to any man frightened to be exposed in woman’s locker room she is the most beautiful girl/woman he will ever know



Bayli Moutray is French/Irish 5’8” lean elongated with bowed legs knobby knees runner’s calves slim hips boy’s shoulders sleepy blue eyes light brown hair a barely discernable freckled birthmark on back of neck and small unequal ******* with puffy ******* pointing in different directions Laura an ex-girlfriend of Odysseus’s describes Bayli’s appearance as “a gangly bird screeching to be fed” Laura can be mean Odysseus thinks Bayli is the coolest girl in the world he is genuinely in love with her they have been sleeping together for nearly a year it is March 11 1974 Bayli’s birthday she turns 22 today Bayli is away with her family in Southeast Asia Odysseus understands what a great opportunity this is for her to learn about another culture he knows Bayli plans to meet up again with him in late summer or autumn in Chicago Dad wants Odysseus to follow in his footsteps and become a successful jewelry salesman he offers Odysseus a well-paying job driving leased Camaro across the Midwest servicing Dad’s established costume jewelry accounts Odysseus reasons it is a chance to squirrel away some cash until Bayli returns it is lonely on the road and awkward adjustment to be back in Chicago Odysseus made other plans after graduating from Hartford Art School he is going to be an important painter after numerous months and many Midwestern cities he begins to feel depressed he questions how Bayli can stay away for so long when he needs her so bad the Moutray’s send Mom and Dad a gift of elegant pewter candleholders made in Indonesia Mom accustomed to silver and gold excludes pewter to be put on display she instructs Teresa to place the candleholders away in a cabinet Mom also neglects to write a thank you note which is quite out of character for Mom Bayli’s father is a Navy Captain in the Pacific he is summoned to Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia the Moutray’s flight has a stopover in Chicago Bayli writes her parents want to meet Odysseus and his family Odysseus asks Dad to arrange his traveling itinerary around the Moutray’s visit Dad schedules Odysseus to service the Detroit and Michigan territory against Odysseus’s pleas Odysseus is living with his sister Penelope on Briar Street it is the only address Bayli’s parents know Odysseus has no way to reach them when the Moutray’s arrive at the door Penelope does not know what to tell them Mom and Dad are not interested in meeting Bayli’s parents it is not the first sign of dissatisfaction or disinterest Mom and Dad convey regarding Bayli Odysseus does not understand why his parents do not like her is it because Bayli is not Jewish is that the sole reason Mom and Dad do not approve of her Odysseus believes he needs his parent’s support he knows he is not like them and will likely never adopt their standards yet he values their consent they are his parents and he honors Mom and Dad let’s take a step back for a moment to get a different perspective a more serious matter is Odysseus’s financial dependency on his parents does a commitment to Bayli threaten the sheltered world his parent’s provide him is it merely money binding him to them why else is he so powerless to his parent’s control outwardly he appears a wild child yet inwardly he is somewhat timid is he cowardly is he unsure of Bayli’s strength and sustainability is that why he let’s Bayli go whatever the reason Dad’s and Mom’s pressure and influence are strong enough to sway his judgment he goes along with their authority losing Bayli is the greatest mistake of Odysseus’s life



he dreams Bayli and he are at a Bob Dylan concert they are hidden in the back of the theater in a dark hall they can hear the band playing Dylan’s voice singing and the echoes of the mesmerized audience Odysseus is ******* Bayli’s body against a wall she is quietly moaning his hand is inside her jeans feeling her wetness rubbing fingers between her legs after the show they hang around an empty lot filled with broken bottles loose bricks they run into Dylan all 3 are laughing and dancing down the sidewalk Dylan is incredibly playful and engaging he says he needs to run an errand not wanting to leave his company Odysseus and Bayli follow along they arrive at an old hospital building it is dark and dingy inside there is a large room filled with medical beds and water tanks housing unspeakably disfigured people swarming intravenous tubes attach the patients to oxygen equipment feed bags and monitoring machines Dylan moves between each victim like a compassionate ambassador Odysseus is freaking out the infirmary is too horrible to imagine he shields his eyes wanders away losing Bayli searching running frantically for a way out he wakes shivering and sweating the pillow is wet sheets twisted he gets up from the bed stares out window into the dark night he wonders where he lost Bayli



these winds of change let them come sailor home from sea hunter home from hill he who can create the worst terror is the greatest warrior
As a uniform, he always wore
the grey ironmonger's coat
immaculately pressed and bore
clipped hair neat as well as a
close shave.

Mr. Cornthwaite (all of us
minions called him only Mr.)
was no "Do It 'Cos I Say So" boss
but with patience would teach
and preach retail folklore:

Cooks' staples stored well inside
our mini-market shop advanced
for its 50s' existence; shelf-stacking
to re-arrange for early use-by at the
front; fast-moving lines checked
hourly if not sooner; trusted staff
becoming the Tasting Squad for
new fresh produce being considered
for supply - The Cornflake (never
uttered in his hearing) circulating
to ensure not only that his ever-clear
commands were reflected in full shelves
but also that staff were coping not
rushed or overwhelmed.

The best Warrant Officer cares
just as much commands as
my de-mobbed Warrant Officer
father used to tell me when I asked.

(c) C J Heyworth
Two pieces of advice I received when much younger have had a huge influence on how I have lived:
Dad's observation that forming people into a team is just as much about care for them as it is about command, and my grammar school headmaster's certainty that our education in his school was intended to turn us into NCOs who actually make the world work satisfactorily.

Stanley Cornthwaite was shop manager of Booth's 1950s' Blackpool mini-market which stretched from the Promenade back to The Strand, and sold far more varieties of the groceries, meats, breads and cakes than many of its competitors.  
Working there during several school holidays when I was a very impressionable 13/14 year-old was my first significant work experience, showed me that I would not go into retail, but was very pleasant and informative for most of the time.
I'm unsurprised that Booth's has grown and grown, and now has several high-quality, medium-size mini-markets across the North West.  It is not at all a Pile'em High & Sell'em Cheap company.
Perig3e Jan 2011
I propose a painting,
on a ground of white,
a band of your favorite color,
a band of mine.
Should we arrange our stripes parallel,
or should we direct them to intersect?
Would the colors compliment or clash the other?
All rights reserved by the author.
Mateuš Conrad Feb 2020
.i have come to realiße that... it's not so much what you write about... but the mere fact of writing... i can't imagine myself being subjected to something, like a narrative, or furthering a character study... i can be the object of whatever is whimsical enough to come into my head of its own accord - i want to forget forcing something to come into this puncture, this dam, this incision that i am coordinating... and it's not that i'm objecting to something, but i am not going to subject myself to - no more than a whim, of its own desires... with no attached: i think so too... it's not about what i write anymore: it's the fact that i write... if i'll be able to spew 3 thousand words tonight... i'll be content... because... i know that i have crossed the threshold of not being left "satisfied": nonetheless constipated by an instagram haiku... mind you... that's a very troubling hindsight note you have in there... wouldn't an object the size of the earth... in a vacuum of space... create its own winds to imitate movement? there is no wind on the moon... yes... and we're talking hindsight from 420BC... the moon landing happened in the 20th century... let's give it some times before that becomes an obvious hindsight too... do you feel movement - rotating - did the turkish dervishes help at all?

the fine line between: competition and corporation,
otherwise known as a: very, very, naive poo'em...

by a definition alone:
it's not so much concerning whether this
would ever become a capitalism vs.
a communism "debate"...

after all - i'm ref. walking a tight-rope...

of the latter, verbatim:
'an association of individuals,
created by law or under authority of law,
having a continuous existence independent
of the existences of its members
and powers and liabilities distinct from
those of its members'...

can i just point out, foremost,
in an environment of competition laws can be bent...
to add to: the spectacle...
the athletics doping scandals:
it's within a spirit of competition...
the sprinters are not corporating for give
a spectacle... they are competing...
for the the spectacle...
ask me again the difference between...
what used to be a competitive event
done during leisure hours...
and what was a leisure event akin
to reading...
and ask me again: the difference between
taking part in the event of competing...
and watching a competition -
and what had to be involved to give
the spectacle its architecture...
i don't think it was so much competition
as it was corporation... never mind for now...

after all... how many times have laws
been bent when watching a football match?
the passing of law is hardly an objective
crux that so many "rational" and logic-"riddled"
people stress - can be made by one man...
sure... laws in vivo - science and what not...
these objective safety-nets...
that can lead to endless to-and-fro...
but i hardly think... man is capable of passing
objective laws: in vitro... notably in -
           in unum: omni...
unless that's a schizophrenic metaphor...
which is already a metaphor when
tested on a bilingual brain...

how many people did it take...
to pass: the earth rotates around the sun?

the heliocentric model...
genesis in the west from philolaus,
heraclides ponticus,
pythagoras (hindsight...
wouldn't an object moving in
a vacuum of space... create winds of
its own?)
aristarchus of samos,
then onto philolaus of croton -
anaxagoras; whoever was
debunked by ptolemy... then so many years...
until enough time passed...
before people could take the plunge and
be certain: for old time's sake with
copernicus - well the people have been sleeping
for long enough...
enough time has passed and we can pass...
this objective truth... that the heliocentric
model is true and that the pharaohs held
no authority as the sons of the sun
in the static geocentric model...
likes Xerxes ordering the sea to the be whipped
to calm down... and become a lake...
some pharaoh must have had a wild
idea telling a sand dune to stop moving
or seeing some mt. sinai said: shrink!
so instead be said: let's build us a... perfect pyramid...
a mountain that looks... geometric from
both afar and near!

or at least that's what Homer would have
said when visiting Giza: Δ'uh!

so a single man is somehow justified
in passing an objective truth?
unless the mob encores...
but what about the jury - a trial without a jury
is any trial at all...
murky ground if you ask me...
i don't expect man to pass...
judgement for a universal equilibrium...
but what i do expect is that:
he doesn't think he's capable of this: grandiosity!
clearly he's not... the objective reality
of falling... the subjective: i'm right as
allocated the status judge: therefore i'm standing still.

competition in a medical environment...
only in the realm of psychiatry...
and the mine-field of misdiagnosed misfortunes...
but i hardly think... competition is a catalyst
for getting surgery done...
corporation, yes...
among farmers? a rare treat....
a hobby pursuit for a selected fraction of
the crop... the dear-to-my-heart "g.m." tomato...
but all the other tomatoes... need to be harvested...
but this my pet-tomato... which needs to be:
THIS BIG! another matter...

sport and competition...
but work... and competition?
no wonder work and competition,
rather than corporation gives end results as...
who's wearing the most trendy sneakers?
who's social media account requires...
the most editing? who's child is the one with
the smartphone? etc. etc.

the bait of the poo'em is that it's naive:
but i think it is - so there's that to begin with...

i still can't fathom that "capitalism" was solely
promulgated on competition -
i'm still having to address the "model" as...
having to retain a "socialist" aspect akin to corporation
to get away with... what later became:
an all out economic "war" of competition...

naive utopian of me to somehow huddle
at the fireplace of corporation...
work - if so many people hate their work...
what would be the only gratifying
alleviation? and i'm pretty sure some places of work
are less about competition: and more about
corporation - as i write this...
the british national health service...
some people will compete by cutting corners...
competition will lead to doping scandals...
competition is... an Elisium for the few
and... a crab-bucket for the some...
call them the 10% cliff-hangers...

i've noticed it in poetry... slam poetics...
what not... this affair is already riddled with too many
****-up ****-wit window-lickers:
of which i am primo...
but i don't think it necessary to compete...
this was never about competition...
not every work is required to be
tinged with competition...
sometimes... it's just better to corporate...
do... undertakers compete?
do... postmen compete?
last time i heard: each is allocated his volume
of letters... it doesn't matter whether
he finishes his chores before the other postmen...
no postman is stupid enough
to take up someone else's allocated letters...
the first finishes his chores sooner...
the latter works overtime without pay...
it's a corporation of endeavours...
all the same... but there is no need to give these
postmen running orders when
they can walk the ******* mile...

competition within the realm of sport is one
thing... i guess a long time ago...
some people engaged in competition: sports...
to escape the general lagging begin plateau
of corporation... Rome wasn't build in
a single day... others dedicated themselves to
slouch and sloth of expanding the cranium
by reading a book...

the naive is still the bait...
is conscripting in an army...
about competition... or following orders and hierarchy
and therefore: not solely about corporation?
hierarchy you ask...
well... wouldn't that be something borrowed from
plutocracy / nepotism?
competition in an army environment...
what if you're in the royal guard
competing at what... shooting more blanks
into the sky expecting to shoot down the moon
at a wrestling-match fake
of staging of a state funeral?!
the cannons sounded... and that's all these
ever did... they were shooting with
empty wallnut shells! the wallnuts were
eaten by gunpowder gremlins long ago...
before the pomp & circumstance was shot
with: aenemic *****...

this is not a capitalism vs. a communism
debate... communism was riddled with nepotism...
come to think of it...
capitalism is not there yet...
but it's already there...
from what i've heard...
capitalism as this utopia ideal is not a meritocracy:
exceptions are made...
cicero was an exception of the roman empire
under nero...
exceptions and genetic freaks...
is this still a naive poem?

i can understand where competition works -
notably in what jobs it might work...
but most jobs require a stable work ethic
of corporation...
perhaps all self-employed entrepreneurs...
"perhaps" have no corporation in mind...
to a greater degree of orientating themselves...
in that corporation is: outside the bracket...
if everyone was suddenly...
self-employed... there would be no fear of...
the robotic onslought to come...
at least then... the microcosm would open...
and there would no longer be any employees...
just self-employed facets of...
"corporations in name only"...
which they already are...
corporations in name only...
given that... the corporations are no longer
competing with each other...
they have consolidated on a monopoly...
and since they are no longer competing with each
other... they have designated their former...
inter-competition into a hierarchal intra-competition
of "employees"...

can a bus driver, or a tube train operator compete?
by law... you can only drive a bus for 8 hours...
to operate a tube train... you can do X number of hours...
and these include breaks... necessary breaks...
can you find competition in these:
ultra-corporative environments? no!
capitalism might think it is necessary to scare everyone
into: the robots are coming! time to be self-employed
and compete! compete!
but some jobs are still: primed to corporation!

could i ever see undertakers competing?
in times of a spiked demand - during a plague...
what is healthy in sport -
is not necessarily healthy in a workplace -
after all... most people detest earning money -
it's a chore - mind you: do i enjoy writing poo'etry?
am i being paid for writing it?
no... i am "volunteering"... for the love of
the art... for ****'s sake... nothing more!
nothing less!

is this still a naive poo'em: yes... sorry...
i forgot to be caustic and there's no rhyme... my bad...
but this is not a capitalism vs. communism
tirade... from the yoke of the soviet union...
i learned from my mother that...
flues weren't really that prominent...
not until the 1970s...
by then it was a common theme...
biological warfare... while the crown-virus has
yet to claim a life outside of the mandarin
genetics: in the age of propaganda journalism:
you hear a "truth" one day...
three days later you're singing along to your
own "biased" / solipstic narrative...
after a while you have to adopt the "autism"
of solipsism: the world can only bite so much
out of you... you have to turn to standards of delusion
to match to their: from the many, one...

in sport, competition is the "zeitgeist":
it's not a metaphor, it's a misnomer...
but given the " " ditto brackets - i'm tired of looking
for the: "required" word... sometimes...

by the 5th definition of competition...
it's not as direct as corporation, competition
needs to borrow from an -ology...
again, verbatim: 'rivalry between two or more
persons or groups for an object desired in common,
usually resulting in a victor and
a loser but not necessarily involving
the destruction of the latter' -

what is untrue about this is that...
the destruction of the latter is paramount...
at least these days...
am i to believe that capitalism was not,
not ever, tinged with a belief in corporation...
that it was always, somehow, only about
competition?
what was communism born from?
when did the abolishment of serfdom happen
in russia? 1861...
the abolishment of slavery happened
in england in 1865... 4 years after...
but... but!
in russia? the slaves were thought of as...
people from within russia...
in england? the slaves? en route a trade from
one foreign place to another...
wow!
all slavery: either foreign, or domestic...
and to think that communism was a "failure"...
hard to imagine... truly hard to imagine...
given that... communism was born...
4 years prior to slavery in general was abolished...
of foreign to become "nationals"...
what does english he-he-history tell us about
native slaves? four years prior to the slaves
moved from africa to the cotton candy fields...
there were slaves that were not: ***** out of africa...

reperations who's who?!
why didn't capitalism bloom in russia...
why will it never bloom - oligarchs and...
currency of modern western capitalism:
nepotism...
who is jared kushner?
mr. cushions mr. cushtie...
mr. minted in: network baron...
slavery was abolished on the international scale
in england in 1865... four years after...
internal slavery was abolished in russia... 1861...
isn't that the sort of wow you were expecting?!
so when was slavery-slavery abolished
in england?
again... if internal slavery was abolished in russia...
4 years after slavery on an international
stage was abolished...
communism was a failure because: per se...
or... was communism supposed to be...
a short-cut attempt to catch up to capitalism?
was it a failure in catching up to capitalism?
in the 2008 financial clash...
where was Poland? recession free...
again... communism was a failure per se...
but... was it a failure in terms of catching up
to capitalism?
to me... it's still catching up...
when again... we're talking... freeing people...
only 4 years prior to people who would
otherwise still be... rummaging the romances
of Kenya and seeing no albino tourists sipping
brandy on their shores...
perhaps better for the whole load of us...

i ask, again, in my naive way...
that's the difference between competition and corporation?
not much...
a football team needs to compete with other football teams,
but it needs a corporative methodology behind it...
you can sometimes spot a maverick who wants
to be the solipsist in the team and become
nothing more than the top goal-scorcer -
then again: a kevin de bruyne and the number of assists...

if there was to be a level playing field...
everyone was to be self-employed...
what fear from robots?
competition on a ford's:
each man is a cog in the assembly line...
you can't compete... were you supposed to?
i thought that the only reason sport
was fun was to be compete and corporate...
it wasn't solely about competing:
not even in tennis are you ever competing...
unless you're serving a ****-ace...
competing but also corporating:
for the spectacle: with 19shot rallies...

to reiterate: this is a really naive poo'em...
is has to be!
- again... before capitalism became this hell-scape
spiral of: fear of robotics / a.i.:
let's just see if we get enough self-employed
people on board...
oh sure: the self-employed undertaker...
the self-employed bus-driver...
i'm sure there was, what's not called:
a "healthy spirit of competition" in work related
niches of existence...

i'm an alcoholic living among workaholics...
not a pretty sight... believe me...

i'm sure that capitalism... must have began
with: a "healthy spirit of corporation"...
that one henry ford would benefit more than
all the assembly line workers: fine...
the brains is allowed the conscious efforts
to move the eyes, close them,
use the jaw... bite... do magic with the tongue...
the liver has no knowledge of alcohol...
the heart isn't exactly aware of either veins
or arteries... fine... a henry ford cigar can get
away with thinking he's not adding
a chimney to the whole affair...
or a rhine-valley load of chimneys...
the stomach doesn't know what taste is...
sure as **** the small intestine knows
what it feels like to be a woman:
should it find itself unfortunate to have
a hitchhiker tapeworm attached to it... etc. etc.

but i imagine the capitalism had a sense of
corporation before...
it worked too many psychopathic sport analogies
into itself... precursor to the fear
or a.i. robbing people of their jobs?
testing people in a self-employed job market...
again: oh sure... the self-employed undertaker...
the self-employed busdriver!
perhaps a self-employed cabbie...
a self-employed surgeon?
how would that work?

        what's that? the cult leader... would not find
a job status match... in a corporate market of ideas?
then a ******* maverick he is...
esp. with such dates as: the brian jonestown
massacre hovering over his head!

perhaps i am naive is reiterating:
work implies corporation rather than competition,
in that work implies chores...
i've seen this in my father -
he doesn't underand household chores
on the basis on corporation -
he understands them on the basis of competition...
and he's to somehow... take pleasure
in the "free bread and circus"...
when the circus is not what it used to be?
once upon a time: the circus involved
men... who were footballers...
but they also did part-time metallurgy work...
they would clock in at a certain hour...
then be let off work to play a football match...
they weren't paid: professional:
disappropriate wages...
because their "work"... was over-inflated
by the gambling syndicate dicta...

there was a utopia in Poland...
it lasted for... roughly 30 years... from 1945
through to 1975... after that the herrings
didn't want to be pickled...
the baltic sea started to boil and the fish
strarted to froth at the mouth...
it's not a nostalgia segment: i was born in 1986...
this is mythology: curating the temporal
standards of modern journalism...
history: what time ago?
50 years? elvis was abducted by aliens...
n'esst ce pas?!

slam poetry competition with fellow:
poo'em eaters...
can i jut take the armchair with Horace?
i don't feel like competing...
what am i competing for?
volume... a new YA novel?
i will not ***** language...
even if it is a language i acquired:
and it's not a tattoo native first come first served
expression...
this is not a capitalism vs. communism
affair...

all the: towel in champions of capitalism
have made it clear:
start a traditional family, start a farm...
milk some goats...
pluck some eggs... living the dream:
brown fingers and all...
                       way way out from competition
in the workplace...
so... no need to corporate...
solo does it...
                                and if i'll be needing some
milk... i'll likewise claim: an autistic
pension and enough barren land to feed
goats organic glue and toilet paper that
magically morph into... a propaganda poster...

olim truncus eram ficulnus, inutile lignum:
once i was a stump of fig,
a wood without use... this is my best Horace:
thank you, goodnight...

what is to be competed for?
rather: what it to be retained, kept, status quo
enclosed... this pride for corporation?
competition in the workplace can only go as far...
not all professions can allow competition...
some will forever retain their base:
corporation...
to compete outside the realm of sport...
sport... those with enough awareness
of the body would pursue it...
those with a bit more brain in tow...
wouldn't... the ghost limb terms:
there's nothing of note
when it comes to competing with i.q. in
mind... or corporating...
there's this ancient feat of "solipsism" and
self-bettering... rather than running
the "expected" mile...
was capitalism always this:
chicken-shack-shackled into... wishing to squeeze
out drinking water... from pig ****?

again... this is not as easy give-away
that it's a capitalism versus communism base scrutiny...
all the eastern european laid-deeds have made it into
their chandelier filled land-allotement sights of
better ****** that gynocentrism...
i don't mind...
      yes... because among the bulgarian strip-party
i'm the ottoman janissary turned
well spoken sheikh... when morocco is given...
a fictional name... and i'm the Ali
that rubs Muhammad's lamp and
averts the... most ****** schism...
oh sure... Islam would be a pure religion...
and they would be allowed to complain about
porky-pies...
but... you see... how long did it take
for a schism to emerge between the orthodox grees
and tha catholic italians?
how long did the islamic schism take
to grovel and dig trenches?
not that much...
after all... Shia... Persians... Ali Woke-oh-Haram...
and the ****'ite... the ***** muslims...
the Saudi bin-Ladens...
well... that schism... didn't take that long...
some whisper about a schism in the monotheism
of the hebrews...
ha ha! i write ha ha... but even i have to laugh
out loud... a monotheism an inbreeding
of something more than genes...
fix the idea... and continue!

by now even i know that christianity has reached
a status of polytheism...
it's the same jesus... sure sure...
via no other than the orthodox,
the catholic, the protestant (calvinist, lutheran)
standards... or the baptists... or the jay-***-***-V-and-G
standards...
next thing you know: the vegans are
the gnostic monks!
because it has to be a joke at this point...
if christianity is a monotheism...
i'm mother theresa and that albanian
that stole george w. bush' mickey mouse's watch
on a state visit...
so to complete the holy trinity...
i'll be... alastair campbell... always for the giggles...

an alcoholic among workaholics...
who always had the satan's postbox concerning
the niqab... the same ones who were to be always
quoted: the beast from the east...
jesus is coming! look busy!

i mean... no need to look busy...
when the high a tide is making a comeback...
would you believe it?
if you saw the words... united kingdom...
england, scotland, wales... ireland...
that this was not moldova?
this is a language these are letters so arranged...
by an island-dwelling folk?
if you're the first, driver...
shotgun! who are we smuggling in the passenger
seats behind us?

imagine my surprise at the rereading,
with the typo: a missing (s) in letter()
and a missing (d) in arrange(d)...
i call them... the lost key of solomon...
or my own personal, hybrid,
hard-on...
oh god kept me with a phallus...
while giving all the angels a proper chopper
of the ol' wood... **** to stump...
i'm the one that wasn't circumcised!

and all i now have to sing about... is...
a forest of pines! a forest of pines!
pines pines pines! yippy caye!
Marieta Maglas Jan 2012
In this trigonometric love equation
You're my arcsin,
You're my special angle,
Secretly placed
In that unit circle of feelings.
You may arrange my major arcs and diameters
Inside of it
Perfectly triangular,
Love will always have
The same ratio pi.

Our equation of love
Is seemingly incompatible.
It has philosophical numbers becoming
Common geometric shapes
Of love itself
Like hidden spheres
In triangles,
But in real terms of graphing
Our parallel lines of life
Went on forever not crossing at any point
Of this imperfect world.

Our love is, in fact,
A complex system of equations
With the same set of three unknowns
Searching their own values
It has a narrative statement.
You're my C.
You're mister C,
From c'telzing
From caleptikide
And from cataguerrillaism,
In this beautiful madness of love.



You know, our love is getting old
In concentric circles,
Those circles of time.
Extrapolate it to infinity, sweetheart,
You may be my semi-infinity
Until the end of the time,
That semi-infinity,
In which I lose myself
From time to time
Each time coming
From the same unique star
As that already existent
In an old Romanian novel,
Which is called
Lorelei.
life nomadic Jul 2013
A tomboy, naturally barefoot, gingerly walks the white painted line because the asphalt is just too burning hot.  Scrubby tufts of weedy grass are welcome respites on the way, briefly cooling her steps even if they are stickery.  The ***** soles of her now calloused feet were intentionally toughened just before school got out, with mincing steps across the roughest gravel she could find.  Her mother accommodates her preference, leaving a pan of water outside for her to scrub her feet before going in.  Even then, a black path has gradually appeared leading from the front door in the old orangish carpet.  Two months of summer barefoot every day when she had the choice. Keyed roller skates clamped onto last year’s school shoes were the exception.  She can flat out run anywhere.
  
This particular expedition began like every other thing they did, which was anything to fend off boredom.  She had been sitting on a cement step shaded by an open carport, just three oil-stained parking stalls for three small apartments on the tired poor side of town.  There is a little more dirt on the street here, and grass is a little neglected.  Just like the children, but these kids prefer that anyway.  Two scruffy friends stomp on aluminum cans, brothers sporting matching buzz cuts and cut-off shorts.  They are flattening them for the recycling money by the pound, so the carport smells vaguely of stale beer.  Another boy attempts to shoot a wandering fly with a home-made rubber band gun; rings cut from a bicycle tube made the best ammo.  “What do you want to do?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  Thwack…  The only requisite for friendship here is vicinity, yet it is still true.  The idea of choosing friends is about as odd as the concept that one could chose where one lives... Strengths and shortcomings are completely accepted because it is just what it is.  

Their amazing three-story tree fort with a side look-out had been heartlessly taken down by the disgruntled property owner last week.  Two months of accumulating pilfered and scrap two-by-fours, nails, and even a stack of plywood (gasp!) from area construction sites had yielded supplies for a growing fort.  A gang-plank style entry had crossed the ditch to the first level.  Nailed ladder steps to the second offered a little more vertigo and a prime spot to hurl acorns.  Another ladder up led up to the third floor retreat, with a couch-like seating area and shoulder high walls.  A breeze reached the leaves up there.   The next tree over was the look-out, with nothing but ladder steps all the way up to where the view opened up out of the ravine.  When the wind blew, it gave merciless lessons in facing any fear of heights.  But now that was all over, discovered gone overnight.

Someone says again, “What do you want to do?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”  “ 7-11? ”  Good enough, so they head out.   Distance measures time.  Ten minutes is the end of the street past the cracked basketball court in the church parking lot.  Fifteen minutes and the lawns end at the edge of the sub-division.  Half-built homes rising from bare dirt and scattered foundations could offer treasures of construction scraps, (where she suspects the stack of plywood came from.) but they keep walking.  Twenty minutes is where industry has scraped away nature, and railroad tracks form an elevated levee.  But time is meaningless if there’s a wealth of it, so there’s no going further until an informal ritual is completed.  Wordlessly they each dig around their pockets searching for equal amounts of pennies.  Each of them carefully arrange them lined up on the rounded-surface rail, and they settle in for the wait.  It could be five minutes or it could be thirty.  They all understand it’s a crap-shoot of patience waiting for the next train. It’s an unspoken test; quitting too early means losing your coins to the one who stays, so that’s not an option.

Heat presses down and the breezeless air smells like telephone-pole creosote.  She sits in a dusty patch of shade found next to an overgrown ****.  She knows it tastes like licorice and breaks off a stem to chew, but doesn’t know what it is.  The boys throw rocks randomly until she finally stands up to join in, tempted by the challenge of flight and distance.  Then she stands in the center of the tracks, looking one way then the other, searching for the first random distant glimmer of the engine’s light at the horizon.   A flash, so she places her ear to the metal Indian-style, and the imminent approach is confirmed.  She calls out, “its here!” and double checks her pennies’ alignment.  Heads up or tails, but always aligned so the building might be stretched tall or wide, or Lincoln’s face made broad or thin.  That happened only rarely, since it could only be rolled by one wheel then bounced off.  If it stuck longer, the next wheels would surely smash it into a thin, elliptical, smooth misshapen disc of shiny copper.  Its only value becomes validation of a hint of delinquency, Destroying-Government-Property.  Once she splurged with a quarter, which became smashed to just a gleaming silver, bent wafer discolored at the edge.  Curiosity wasn’t worth 25 cents again though, so she had only one of those in her collection.

The approaching engine silently builds impending size and power, so she dashes back down the rocky embankment to safety because after all, she is not a fool, tempting fate with stupid danger. She knows a couple of those fools, but she finds no thrill from that and is not impressed by them either.  Suddenly the train is here, generating astounding noise and wind, occasional wheels screaming protest on their axels.  She intently watches exactly where she placed her coins, hoping to see the moment they fly off the rails that are rhythmically bending under the weight rolling by.  It becomes another game of patience, with such a long line of cars, and she gives up counting them at 80-ish.  Then suddenly it is done and quickly the noise recedes back to heat and cicadas.  The rails are hot.  Diligently they search for the shiny wafers.  Slowly pacing each wood beam, they could have landed in the gravel, or pressed against the rail, or even lodged straight up against the square black wood yards down the tracks.  They find most of them, give up on the rest, then continue on.

She has thirty cents and at last they reach the afternoon’s destination.  7-11’s parking lot becomes a genuine game of “Lava”, burning blacktop encourages leaps from cooler white lines, to painted tire stops, to grass island oasis, then three hot steps across black lava to the sidewalk, and automatic doors swoosh open to air conditioning.  She rarely has enough money for a coke icey; she is here for the bottom shelf candy, a couple pennies or a nickel each.  Off flavors but sweet enough.  She remembered when her older brother was passing out lunchbags of candy to the neighborhood kids for free, practically littering the cul-de-sac.  She had wondered where he got enough money for all that popularity, or could he have saved that much from trick-or-treat? She wondered until he got busted shoplifting at the grocery store.  The security guard decreed that he was never allowed in there again, forever, and the disgrace of sitting on the curb waiting for the mortified ride home was enough to keep him from doing it again.

Today she picks out a few root beer barrels, some Tootsie-rolls (the smaller ones for two cents, not the large ones that divide into cubes) a candy necklace and tiny wax coke bottles, and of course a freeze-pop.   Sitting on the curb, she bites off small pieces of the freeze pop, careful not to get tooth-freeze or brain-freeze, until the last melty chunk is squeezed out the top of the thin plastic tube.

“What do you want to do now?” …”I don’t know, what do you want to do?”
Nigel Morgan Apr 2013
My brother Zuo Si tells me I am well trained in the technique of writing, so well trained that when I come to put brush to paper I don’t have to punish myself with deep thoughts. See now how my hand flows to and fro and the characters appear.

I write a rhapsody for my Lord.

The philosopher Lu Ji says that whilst poetry traces emotion with delicacy, rhapsody embodies objects with light. My rhapsody is a bright star between Ts’an and Ch’en. On this bitter day I am describing the pine and cypress trees on the high peaks, where the first snows of winter cling hesitantly to their branches in the still air. I reflect on the emerald glow of their foliage in spring, their heavy fragrance in summer, the song of their branches in the autumn winds, their stillness in the desolation of winter.

I have a distant court in this vast palace. This suits my temperament and my literary disposition. I have the joy of my garden and the views of the Tai mountains.  I am a curiosity here. If I hold any of the arts of love I have little idea what they are. I do not spend my days plucking the dark hairs from my arms or deliberating over my wardrobe. It is understood that I am often unwell.

I aspire to arrange all things properly: to calm myself to write, to let my imagination sail on the open seas. My brother tells me I was chosen because of my stillness, observant gaze and gentle voice. If I am beautiful it is only because I absorb into myself the grace of the natural world I see about me. It is this self that dreams in my imagination. When I am with my Lord he touches my petalled mouth, inhales the distinct perfume of my nervousness, places his hand against my cheek and bids me speak.

I shift the thick blind to gaze at my garden. It waits for spring as I do. Winter only draws to itself past memories or desires for the future. It is too cold and damp to rest, to hibernate like the snake. It is easy to dream for a while, and being trained in the art of literature I can, with concentration, place myself anywhere.

Now, I am walking below the tall trunks of the cypress groves high on Linzi ridge. Looking down on the green river I absorb the aura of these great trees.

Now, I am kneeling at my desk, my feet wrapped in furs against the cold: I pour tea to warm the cup I hold in my writing hand.

Now, I ponder on the recluse Chi Songzi wandering amongst the highest pines to attain the Way. I follow his careful movements on the rocky path, his intense attention given to every live thing. I feel the different qualities of the breeze that lifts from the dark valley below.  My bare feet gather to themselves a miniature garden; soil, seeds, insects and grubs cling to my toes. Treading pine needles release a heady odure; above me the rock thrush chatter in the swaying branches.

The cold returns to my fingers and this vision retreats. This room is soon dark as the afternoon progresses. My maid has, during my oblivious state, left rice and vegetables. My rhapsody holds to its unfinished state with equanimity. I must of course fashion into its closing lines statements to please my Lord. The cypress tree trunks are steadfast like a man of wisdom or some such nonsense. This must wait for my attention on another day.

I am not like my brother who writes so slowly that his Rhapsody of the Capitals took up (it is said) ten years of his attention. My thoughts are agile and come to the page fully-formed. If I am calm (and well) a rhapsody may be finished in within my monthly cycle.  Much of this time is taken in dreaming, returning to images of my childhood, recalling conversations, remembering the thoughts and expressions of others. I read too the tales of travellers and poets. In summer my garden becomes a map of this world onto which I place and arrange my thoughts. As I tend my plants I tend these thoughts.

I now cover with a cloth the characters written in these past chilled hours and attend for a while to the business of palace life. An interview with my Lord’s second wife’s cousin – there has been a bereavement in her court and so a request to discuss a memorial ode. A scribe from the imperial archives demands I view a recent sequence of poems before it takes its place in Emperor Wu’s personal collection. I need to discuss the household accounts with my cook.

On my walnut chest a letter from Zuo Si: to read, to answer. His second gujin is wrapped in my bedclothes against the damp air. At night its delicate shape lies next to me. My left hand will caress its many silk strings, its long lacquered body, the smooth ivory of its pegs. Even in these winter months he is travelling, searching out those scholars and artists who have retreated from the official world of court and patronage to obscurity in remote places. After many years of work on the history of city life he is now writing poetry of seclusion and the wilderness. Famed through the Northern Kingdom his poetry and songs open every door, his work so often copied it is said to effect the price of paper.

My maid has already lit the butter lamp in my inner chamber, the protocol due to my position. I remove the clothes of the day, bathe briefly and dress in my court gown and rich furs. It is my duty to wait. By my side is the scroll of my Rhapsody on Thoughts of Separation. A recent favourite of my Lord’s, we have read this together in the stillness of the Tiger hours. The poem speaks with the voice of a young concubine newly separated from her home and family. She tells of her loneliness, her tears of anxiety, her ten thousand unremitting cares. Such words appear to stir my Lord . . .
Aa Harvey Jul 2018
Change It.


Change it, change it, change it, change it;
Change it!!!
Let’s make a change now; change it!  
Let’s make a change now; change it!
Let’s make a change now;
So we can figure out what this poem is all about.


Change it!  It’s time for you to;
Change it!  You know it’s in you.
The power to make something unbelievable;
The power for you, to change the world…


So just change it!  Let’s make a change now;
Change it!  Go on now change it;
Change it! The time has come now;
For you to go out there and cha-cha-change the world.


Come on now, change it!
The time has come now; change it!
It’s in your hands now; change it!
Let’s all make a difference and cha- cha-change the world.


Cha-cha-cha-change it!
Let’s make a difference.
Change it!  Let’s make a new Eden.
Let’s change it, re-arrange it...

And let us find a new way to move forward in time…



(C)2013 Aa Harvey. All Rights Reserved.
Madisen Kuhn Apr 2014
i wish i could peel up the floorboards
and lie beneath them
there i could hide in still silence,
but it still wouldn’t be completely
silent because i cannot leave my
mind behind

i couldn’t tell you what i’m thinking'
even if i wanted to
i thought that i had words for
everything, that i could always find
refuge in my ability to arrange
letters into feeling

i can’t

this emotion is a lightning bolt
and i am a bare tree alone
in a barren field

'what’s the difference between
thinking and feeling? how do you
know if it’s coming from the
head or the heart?
written on 10/16/13
Dedication

Inscribed to a dear Child:
in memory of golden summer hours
and whispers of a summer sea.

Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task,
   Eager she wields her *****; yet loves as well
Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask
   The tale he loves to tell.

Rude spirits of the seething outer strife,
   Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright,
Deem, if you list, such hours a waste of life,
   Empty of all delight!

Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy
   Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled.
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy,
   The heart-love of a child!

Away, fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more!
   Work claims my wakeful nights, my busy days--
Albeit bright memories of that sunlit shore
   Yet haunt my dreaming gaze!

PREFACE

If--and the thing is wildly possible--the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in p.18)

"Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes."

In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural History--I will take the more prosaic course of simply explaining how it happened.

The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand--so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman* used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remon{-} strance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves." Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow." I have heard people try to give it the sound of the"o" in "worry." Such is Human Perversity. This also seems a fitting occasion to notice the other hard works in that poem. Humpty-Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a port{-} manteau, seems to me the right explanation for all.

For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards "fuming," you will say "fuming-furious;" if they turn, by even a hair's breadth, towards "furious," you will say "furious-fuming;" but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say "frumious."

Supposing that, when Pistol uttered the well-known
words--

     "Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or die!"

Justice Shallow had felt certain that it was either William or Richard, but had not been able to settle which, so that he could not possibly say either name before the other, can it be doubted that, rather than die, he would have gasped out "Rilchiam!"

CONTENTS

Fit the First. The Landing
Fit the Second. The Bellman's Speech
Fit the Third. The Baker's Tale
Fit the Fourth. The Hunting
Fit the Fifth. The ******'s Lesson
Fit the Sixth. The Barrister's Dream
Fit the Seventh. The Banker's Fate
Fit the Eighth. The Vanishing

Fit the First.

THE LANDING

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true."

  The crew was complete: it included a Boots--
  A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes--
  And a Broker, to value their goods.

A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
  Might perhaps have won more than his share--
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
  Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a ******, that paced on the deck,
  Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,
  Though none of the sailors knew how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
  He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
  And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
  With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
  They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
  He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots--but the worst of it was,
  He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
  Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
  But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
  He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
  And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

"His form in ungainly--his intellect small--"
  (So the Bellman would often remark)
"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
  Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hy{ae}nas, returning their stare
  With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
  "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
  And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
  No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
  Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea--but, that one being "Snark,"
  The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
  When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only **** Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
  And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
  There was only one ****** on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
  Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The ******, who happened to hear the remark,
  Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
  Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
  Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
  With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
  Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
  Undertaking another as well.

The ******'s best course was, no doubt, to procure
  A second-hand dagger-proof coat--
So the Baker advised it-- and next, to insure
  Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
  (On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
  And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
  Whenever the Butcher was by,
The ****** kept looking the opposite way,
  And appeared unaccountably shy.

II.--THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

Fit the Second.

THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
  Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
  The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
  Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
  A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
  Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
   "They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
  But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
  A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
  That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
  And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave
  Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
  What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
  A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
  When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
   And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
  That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past--they had landed at last,
  With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
  Which consisted to chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
  And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe--
  But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
  And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
  As he stood and delivered his speech.

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
  (They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
  While he served out additional rations).

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
   (Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
  Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
  (Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
  We have never beheld till now!

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
  The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
  The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
  Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
  With a flavour of Will-o-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
  That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
  And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
  Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
  And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
  Which is constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
  A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
  To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
  From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
  Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
  For the Baker had fainted away.

FIT III.--THE BAKER'S TALE.

Fit the Third.

THE BAKER'S TALE.

They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
  They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
  They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
  His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
  And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
  Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "**!" told his story of woe
  In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
  "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
  We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
  "And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
  To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
  Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
  As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
  " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
  And it's handy for striking a light.

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
  You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
  You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
  In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
  That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

" 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
  If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
  And never be met with again!'

"It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
  When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
  Brimming over with quivering curds!

"It is this, it is this--" "We have had that before!"
  The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
  It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark--every night after dark--
  In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
  And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
  In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away--
  And the notion I cannot endure!"

FIT IV.--THE HUNTING.

Fit the fourth.

THE HUNTING.

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
  "If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
  With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
  If you never were met with again--
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
  You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now--
  As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
  "I informed you the day we embar
ju Sep 2011
[28/08/11]

I wish they’d listened when I told them, the first time, about Grandma. But I think it’s too late to make them listen now. So here I am. A dining hall. A lounge with a T.V. in a cage. An education room, a recreation room. And a cell. They call it bedroom but the door’s locked. Bathroom door just don't shut. Locked open. Recessed in the wall…. And… at night… I lie awake wondering why, why, why… they bothered…at all…to make… a door that won’t shut- that, as doors go, is a dead loss… not a pun, I promise….need more than dark humour to save me now. The fundamental flaw- even if it did shut- is that it’s ******’ pointless- ha! ‘cause there’s a camera in the shower anyhow. They watch me ‘cause I’m dang-er-ous. All night long…they… flick the light on/off… drives me mad. I wish they’d listened when I told them, the next time, about Grandma. But I think it’s too late to make them listen now. Pathological liar. That’s me. The prosecution said so. And in my defence the solicitor agreed. Nothing I can say will be believed. It’s not so bad. They feed me. And I’m never cold. They only make my nose bleed when I lose control. And I don’t do ***… not really… anymore. Now when I tell them…. about … her big-as-saucer-eyes… when I tell them that I miss her but hate her toothy smile… when I tell them that her long, acrylic nails... creep... me out… and thoughts of her foundation-smothered-whiskers make me heave…and that… sometimes... I… see… her… smell… her… in my room… they arrange for an injection. And up my medication. Send me to do painting. Or they let me write **** down.

Little Red.
Redshift Jun 2013
finger-paint yourself a picture
on a canvas destined for nothing more
than late-night
one-night
kisses

arrange fabric on a doll
that was store bought
for perfection
owned by jealousy
mocked by
lessers

stain lips
to never speak
gentle words
train lips
to reside
in perfect pouts

school eyes
in fluttering
slitted
hooded
gestures
arrange toes
into smooth, unbroken shapes
to be molded
in a set of high heels
high ballers
high flyers
being higher on the food chain
only makes you
more likely
to be consumed
and if we are anything
we are
consumers

limited
to materialistic consumption
we dress ourselves up like
a sweetshop-confection
topped with gucci
and laced with victoria's secret
lucidity

it's not hard to see
what we're about
if this is a judgement
of clear intentions
we are the clear
winners

our faces are perfect
optical illusions
standing on an assembly line
waiting for someone to take a shine
to the curve of our hips
lips
chest
there is nothing to confess
our cards are laid
only after
we
are
oh, humanity.
F White Nov 2010
can you stop
prodding at
my heart
disturbing it
like a rock garden
or pooled sand
my insides are
not so zen
can be disturbed
like cold waves
and every time
I still them
arrange my
mental hair
and tuck in my
theoretical shirt
you just come down the
aisle
and unfold it all
again.
Copyright FHW, 2010
Elena Clair Dec 2013
Make me a paper flower
Cut and folded perfectly
Choose your favorite color
So part of your heart will be with me

Arrange a pretty bouquet
Don't regret that you can't buy them from the store
I don't need ones which wither away
I know that your heart (and the paper flowers)
Mean so much more
David Nelson May 2013
The Mafia and the Pope

the Italian mafia wanted to take control
they wanted control of the church and all its wealth
the leader Anthony “The Boss” Gambatti sent his muscle
to secure an audience with the Pope

Johnny “the Eye” and his storm troopers
pushed by the guards
into the Pope's secretary's office
Arch Bishop Spinozza
sprung to his feet to confront the noise
Johnny “the Eye”, he got that name
after he lost his left eye in a knife fight
and replaced it with a glass oversized eye
that always looked straight ahead

a burning cigarette hanging from his lips
he got right in the Bishops face
“The Boss” wants a meeting with his Royalness
“and he wants it now”
the Bishop well aware of his visitors
and there violent ways
backing away from the smoke in his face
told Johnny that he would arrange a meeting
“tomorrow” he said “tomorrow”

Johnny cocked his head
so that his large fake eye was an inch from
the Bishops nose
flicked the ashes from his cigarette
on the shoes of the Bishop
turning to walk away
“tomorrow” he said

Anthony “The Boss”
dressed in his fine 5K Italian silk suit
leather gloves
black silk fedora
accompanied by his entourage'
walked into the Popes office the next day
he sat in a chair in front of the Pope's desk
“What can I do for you Anthony?” asked the Pope
the two had grown up as school mates
and had maintained a relationship
though not close

“Carlos, I think it is time we work out
a financial aggreement with each other”
“being that the church is known for giving,
I think it is time for you to give me some money,
a lot of money”
  “I have many expenses to address”

“to insure that this happens”
I want you to make love to a woman”

“and if I refuse such a horrid task? quizzed the Pope

“I will begin removing all of your Bishops,
one every hour, from all over the world”
”and it won't be pretty” responded Anthony

The Pope, obviously shaken with the proposal
got up from his chair, his face in his hands
paced back and forth for a few minutes

“I will agree to your disgusting request
on three conditions” said the Pope.

“and what are those conditions?” asked Anthony

“1st  this woman must be blind,
so that she cannot see who defiles her body”

“2nd  this woman must be deaf,
so that she cannot hear any hint of who defiles her body”

“and 3rd your holiness?”

“3rd, this woman must have really really *******”

Gomer Lepoet...
based on the comedy of "Cheech" Marin and Tommy "Chong"
A man doesn't have time in his life
to have time for everything.
He doesn't have seasons enough to have
a season for every purpose. Ecclesiastes
Was wrong about that.

A man needs to love and to hate at the same moment,
to laugh and cry with the same eyes,
with the same hands to throw stones and to gather them,
to make love in war and war in love.
And to hate and forgive and remember and forget,
to arrange and confuse, to eat and to digest
what history
takes years and years to do.

A man doesn't have time.
When he loses he seeks, when he finds
he forgets, when he forgets he loves, when he loves
he begins to forget.

And his soul is seasoned, his soul
is very professional.
Only his body remains forever
an amateur. It tries and it misses,
gets muddled, doesn't learn a thing,
drunk and blind in its pleasures
and its pains.

He will die as figs die in autumn,
Shriveled and full of himself and sweet,
the leaves growing dry on the ground,
the bare branches pointing to the place
where there's time for everything.
GyozaNeeko May 2013
The dull public ruckus of the afternoon train filled the gaps between us.
We could have been part of it,
Drowned so deep in a conversation we could gladly call our own.
But our past selves have already taken invisible
B
R
O
K
E
N
Steps away from each other.
And tucked ourselves in the tight pockets of this companionable silence
As dangerous as the trigger handled by my emotions,
A gift for your forehead.
I will shove all my pain into your being
And watch my reflection crumble to her knees with a familiar cry of agony.
Mauled into frayed flesh in a crimson rose bush
That we had woven friendship wraths from.
And yet, my rasp throat still delivered smoothly.
“How are you today?”

Your usually anticipative eyes
Watched the scenery outside,
Disappearing just as fast as it came.
Did you think of the first day of school?
When we first approached with awkward greetings?
And from a wave and a smile
You start to attach them with questions
Questions that you should be asking me now
Things like
“Do you think we will end up in the same sec 3 class?”
“Do you want to go to ORA with me?”
“Can you save your game? We already hardly bond in class.”
“Are you even listening?”
I was.
I answered every last one,
From the beginning when we stepped into homeroom.
Even the ones you’ve never even asked me.
But now that I come running to you with my stained envelope
Are you still there at your seat?
To tell me
“You know what you need? A good cup of frozen yogurt.”


Now every glance that met
Will be snapped apart like a crisp twig.
Every walk down the corridor past each other,
Will be like two freshmen models on their first runway.
Every move, breath, laughter,
I will always be aware.
Perhaps because your voice
Will always make up for your height in the crowd,
Audible from the opposite side of the hall.
And its only until I let the quietness sink in,
When I have decided to treasure listening to the way you delivered my name,
Leaving your loud mouth like some exotic font.
That till today I still cannot decipher.

What was my height in your crowd?
164cm tall with probably less than half an inch, I guess.
You never noticed how my eyes would wander unconsciously.
Just to wonder
If you still remember I existed,
Somewhere in the pages of your scrapbook,
In the crowd,
Still searching, listening attentively.

Do you understand now?
We are standing at the extreme ends of Newton’s pendulum
Spiked from the illness of our broken bonds.
And I would swing an end so hard I would skewer you
And then the pain will come
Flying back
Stabbing me just as gruesomely.
But it’s so much better
Than disobeying the laws of reciprocation.
My friend, its unfair to be the only one.
Why not requite this one heaven of a pain?

People have pet the conflicted pain like dust off me,
And ignore the bruises that I have willingly punched myself upon.
They taught me
That the heart is a 2-room residence.
Happiness
Sadness
And if you are too happy
Don’t celebrate too loudly
Because you’ll wake the neighbor.

But could it really be helped?
This 1-year worth of what you have given me
You have left 2 party animals as clueless tenants.
Did you understand?
The fact that no matter what silly things we’ve done,
You will always be welcomed home.
And we would continue to drink
Till we are tipsy enough
To walk on the edge of the bridge we have built,
And fall into the hungry rivers
Into the places darker than black
Drowning the air out of our lungs.
But what reason should I be scared,
When you have always been the best swimmer I’ve ever known?
Forever a winner to me,
No matter how many competitions you have paddled out of the pool in disappointment.
It has always been you,
Who would slip over a note to my table,
My hair spilling over its surface in defeat.
Telling me that everything’s ok.
It’s you
Who understood that I was more of a listening person.
Your missing piece to fit your outspoken personality.
You,
The one who could even challenge me to a dance-off just to have the loser ask for the ketchup.
You,
Who could go on forever about a guy you obviously like,
But only say you ‘don’t stand a chance’.
I
The diplomatic one who would arrange you,
Like files in an office drawer.
You
The one who tried to hold us together till the end.
I,
Who failed to treasure your efforts, and share this burden.

And now that you’ve turned down the volume,
And walked out of the door without a goodbye
How am I supposed to handle the next morning, when being sober is an absolute nightmare?
Left alone to wonder what I have done
While we’re drunk, carefree and
Crumbling at the seams.

My dearest friend,
Have I ever told you,
How the number 1
Has always been our own funny little number?
Now if you just take ONE step closer…
Yes, I promise this time I’ll keep my earphones away.
I would point at the signboard above the door
And muse over how your stop,
Is ONE stop before mine.
How your birthday,
ONE day after mine.
Yeah… just like how we are ONE world apart in personality.
Isn’t that why we became like this?
SHUT UP I KNOW I’M A TERRIBLE CONVERSATION HOLDER.
I CAN NEVER PUT MY WORDS INTO THE APPROPRIATE CONTEXT.
BUT YOU KNEW THAT.
You knew.
Now go ahead.
Laugh.
Like how you always do, with that wide grin that reflected nothing but forgiveness,
Stripped down to reveal absolutely no grudges.
Because I deserve it, don’t I?
Because it was my fault,
I was the one, who willingly caused this silent war,
Fraying this thread that I mistook for a hiker’s rope.
There can only be ONE survivor in this meaningless game.
Scold me,
Because there was never such a rule.
I have decided who would be standing alone,
Long ago.
The loser,
The flower that will never find its way back from its ashes.
A.
B
R
O
K
E
N.

M
E.


(hi there. Look I tried ;w;)
Since beauty is honoured all over the Empire,
How could Xi **** remain humbly at home? --
Washing clothes at dawn by a southern lake --
And that evening a great lady in a palace of the north:
Lowly one day, no different from the others,
The next day exalted, everyone praising her.
No more would her own hands powder her face
Or arrange on her shoulders a silken robe.
And the more the King loved her, the lovelier she looked,
Blinding him away from wisdom.
...Girls who had once washed silk beside her
Were kept at a distance from her chariot.
And none of the girls in her neighbours' houses
By pursing their brows could copy her beauty.
There has been enough writing of the self or of circumstances I have often found myself trapped in,I think that the time now has come,to write about people who often go unnoticed in your lives,it is like oxygen,like you are always breathing,the blood is always flowing,the blood is getting oxygenated and then de- oxygenated and it gets purified,and its in your body,and you know it,you are breathing and you know you are,but we don’t really pay close attention to the flow of breaths we inhale and exhale,and that’s what is keeping us biologically alive and we know it,but how much importance does the breathing get,how much thanks,how much attention?
As I’m writing,believe me when I say that ,I’m not pausing,I’m not making things up,I’m not even thinking rationally or sequentially,I’m simply typing onto words that describe my very beautiful,my very  epitome of sacrifice and suffering,my very solitary reaper of freshness ,love and care,my very own – Grandmother.

No,this is not her biography,this is not about describing her,this is not only about thanking her even,this is about telling you all that I am deeply moved about how she is ,I fail to realist what she is actually made up of,I mean,a woman in her 80s ,of course a woman of a different era altogether,she is supposed to be an orthodox woman in her late 80s, aware of her approaching years,and sitting in front of the television watching serials or mythological shows or the very beloved babajis on air and hardly getting out of her room and ordering her daughter –in-law to get work done and medicines presented.
This is quite ironic to how we often stereotype old ladies to be. But let me make it clear,my grandma is highly different. And just like I firmly say that I’m going to remain as the ‘ Different Misfit’ ,different from a lot many out here,in the most weirdest angles,but I got this from my granny,apart from the misfit,she is an old,weak woman,she is short,and her hair has still managed to not get older,I think her hair know well,what suits her appearance,she has good brown-orangish hair, and not to forget,her charismatic blue eyes,eyes to fall for. She keeps her hair tied in a neatly made bun and drapes herself well in decent looking saris. No lipsticks,no makeup,no perfume,no sandals. She chooses to be her natural self,in her chapals. Only accessory to her will be her purse. And with purse,I mean,not the blinging  purses,but the small pouch type of  purse,she keeps around her waistline,cutely tucked inside her sari petticoat.She is a magical figure,at least to me.
‘Granny,I’m here.Namaste.’, I said as I reached her place,while she was mopping the balcony floor.It had rained heavily.
She first didn quite seem to hear it,even though I was very loud and pitchy. I saw her mopping, the door was open. I repeated my greetings.
‘ Namaste. Here you are,my child!’, she replied with a 100volt smile pasted on her beautiful face.

I am happy that my mother was able to convince m to go visit my granny,that Sunday,because I was going to have my economics test the next day,so I refused at first,bu then she managed to take me there.I’m glad, I did.
She is in an age that you can never tell how much time one has got,and all you can do,,is live the day like its your last,I think this has kind of become the motto for my grandmother. She walks like a snail. Slow yet gracefully.She lives in Lodhi Road. She lives alone.The house is massive. There are 6 rooms in that particular floor where she lives,the ground and top floor too connected with the first.The ground floor is occupied by a family of 4,a kin to my granny.while she stays on the floor above,she is expected to be with herself only. My maternal uncle,my grandmother’s eldest son,lost his wife a few years back,he has two kids,big enough to go settle in Mumbai.My uncle has been a headache for the entire family because of becoming highly psychotic and depressed,that clearly reflects in how things have become ugly with his relationships.He moved out to Noida after the demise of my late aunt. I don’t remember the last time I saw him interacting with people of his family,let alone my granny. They are like sort of reclusive now.Although my granny wouldn’t still mind him coming to reconcile with her or talking or offering a shoulder,even after what all she has been through regarding my uncle,my uncle refuses to lock eyes with her.Well,that’s a different story altogether.

My grandmother lives alone,in such a big house ,where two families of 4 could easily accommodate themselves.the winds blowing enter the rooms that are empty and unlocked,and rap my grandmother in nostalgia ,but she stays strong.family photographs hanging on the walls,Pictures of Rhino,their late dog,finding its place on the walls,reminds her of how the family was,and always sans her.Yet,she  is stoic and sturdy and never did she complain on these little details.
My granny has had a beautiful relation with my mother and her three daughters ,they are always there for her,its like after my granny has understood,that her daughters are now mothers themselves,she has realized,that she no longer needs to be on their head anymore,so my aunts and my mom herself is paying back to her,as being the reverse mother to her.It is a beautiful relationship they share.I sigh.

She got us tea and some snacks.She prepares them herself,despite having somebody to offer to help.She sits with us and talks and narrates news that she has got from here and there.She left the room when all of a sudden,out of nowhere my uncle pops up for some paperwork urgency,we greeted him,but we didn’t exchange anymore words.He leaves after a few minutes.

I was reading ‘The wedding’ , because I was sure,I was going to get bored because there was no sibling around,My dad was busy reading India Today and mom was accompanying my granny in preparing food. They later went to the terrace to see the traffic go by and have a good talk. They love to talk, trust me.While my mom carefully instructs granny to stay strong and be alright,I notice my grandma trying to control her tears,you could just make it out from her ****** expressions,her hands,quietly folded over another,and her head bowing down,she has never been confident and assertive,I had correctly judged.I ad overheard them talking,when I was passing by the room library searching for Sidney Sheldon.And that was when my respect for my granny grew,because in an age liker hers,the very innate ability to hold on,that perseverance,the  strength ,the power of forgiveness ,I mentally touched her feet and hugged her,because I was in no mood to disturb her conversations.I passed by.
I was learning each moment. In that house,I have been a lot of times before,but this one time,that Sunday,I was feeling like home,like a school moreover,in a moral science class all night. I was done with my economics revision,and it was time for diner.She had prepared Hot chapatis and my ever favorite Paneer for the dinner.She paired paneer with yoghurt,that was a new yet crazy combination,I tried and I was enjoying it,not because it was THE combination,but I felt like it was her idea of how food tasted, like she always felt curd could fix everything,not potentially everything,but,It’d be stupid to object her.
The dinner was tasty.
She cleans up the entire house herself. Like I said,6 rooms and a balcony,is not a small thing.it is one strenuous task she agrees to take up,not occasionally.but everyday.She refuses to take a house help,despite her health conditions,because she wants to  utilize her time or pass time in some way or the other. TV is the only source of color in her life.That keep her occupied. I salute you,granny.
I offered to do the dishes that day,but she saw me doing it,she came half running,half walking to stop me from doing it,and said this doesn’t look good,the guest doing it,and I was a princess to her,she asked me to step back,and I did not revolt,I knew,she did not have anything else to do except do them and sit and watch the sky and finally sleep . I stepped back.
I was reading my book,and there’s this part,when Noah shares that he still feeds the swan because he thinks Allie is the swan and she promised him to be there with him,so she finds her way through the swan.And I saw myself crying.i rushed to the balcony.Took a few deep breaths,sobered myself up,and a few winds blew,and I felt nice.
My granny was talking with my mother while my dad was listening like a puppy.i was reading,I could barely hear what she was talking about,and I didn’t want to even know what were they talking about,because the more I knew,the more anger built up,and the more I’d get sentimental and feel sorry for my grandmother.But no,she is not the one you’d feel sorry for,she was never wrong,and she isnt,and wont be,she is just a simple figure,an epitome of sacrifice and suffering and with such patience to be jealous of.We offered her to come and spend the time with us,and  all her other daughters and her grandchildren,but she refused,she wanted to be in the house,take care f the house,she was just so emotionally attached to the building that had lost its meaning,it was just a HOUSE and nt a HOME.she wasn’t made to feel it was,she had no reason,but she still loved it there.

I still wonder,while I’m writing here about her today,she wont be able to read this gift I am giving her,giving her love back,what would she be doing? No,this isnt T V  time,maybe making tea,what after it? She cannot read or write.She cant be on the phone all the time,then what? Maybe just sitting in the balcony? But today,its hot . then what? Just sitting on the couch,watching my grandfather's portrait hanging on the wall,I think she’ll brush off the dust on the garland and the painting maybe. Or she’ll re arrange the sofa covers or curtains. I don’t know. While we have so much to do,while people forget people everyday,while people make new friends,have so many tings to look forward to,we have so much access to **** our time and pass it away,but she ? she just stays this way and she just exists.

It was time to leave. My respect level for her had gone par average. I just wanted to stare at her for hours in silence,or maybe play with her,or maybe teach her pronounce some swaggy English **** words,I do that when she is at our place.She loves it with me.

Hmmmm.

As we were walking downstairs, I tried and rush and pause and rush and slow down again and again,to whether escape the moment,of the farewell,because it’d be hard,I could bet,and slow down so that I could see more of her.i just couldn’t get enough. In that moment,I swear,I loved her like a man loves a woman.But ine,was much more passive or hidden,I have always had issues with expression,and I regret that.

She could climb downstairs,the steps were steep and endless.She stayed there,while we went down,she bid us a goodbye,waving her hands like the flag of love ,like saying ‘ IT WAS GREAT TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE,I FELT SO BEAUTIFUL.YOU JUST FILLED THIS GAP I THOUGHT I’D SUFFER THIS WEEKEND.THANK YOU SO MUCH,I LOVE YOU,AND I DON’T KNOW,IF I SEE YOU AGAIN,BUT PLEASE BE IN TOUCH,AND LOVE EVERYBODY’. BUT SHE SAID ‘ bye’ .A  LONGER,STRETCHED VERSION OF BYE ,THOUGH.

It was dark,I saw her waving,I was waving back,so was mom and dad,mom and dad rushed forward,while i was till bye-ing my granny. I thanked god that it was night time,an nobody could see the tears gushing down my face. While we leave in 3.she bids us adieu in just 1. Years ago,she’d be with 4 others,and now she is just single. Alone.By herself. Still not complaining.NEVER.

I wiped them .My tears,and was crying till I got into the car,people saw me weeping maybe.I sat down.Still sobbing. Trying not to let people or mom and dad precisely notice my tears ,and I wasn’t brave enough to tell them that I was crying because I thought it might be the last time I saw her or how a wonderful woman she is.The wind was blowing hard and cold on me,while I was listening to Dead hearts on the phone.like the universe was conspiring in making me cry my guts out . My reverence for that woman was getting higher and higher beyond measure.At the traffic signal,a little girl comes up to me,my head was leaning back into the car seat,like a drunk Peter van Houten,while she leaned against the car window glass too,I think she was the only one in the entire night,to actually see me crying,she smiled. I smiled back. She glanced at me for a few moments,I was still smiling at her,she asekd me if I had money,but I wasn’t carrying any then,so I said ‘I’m sorry’ without speaking.She understood and she smiled and left.Slowly and gradually the wind helped me in evaporating my tears,so that I didn’t have to manually wipe them off,because just in case,mom saw me doing that,I wouldn’t know how to respond.
Thankfully,I fell asleep in the car and as I reached back home,I felt a little lighter,I called up granny and informed we were home safe.[ she always wants us to inform her when we do]  And she very sweetly said good night and a bye and then I thought to myself that HOW COULD SHE BE SO GENTLE AND NORMAL? I WAS SO JEALOUS OF HER RESIGNATION.I LOVE YOU GRANNY.
With a heavy heart and a new day to follow and with less percentage worries  of the test the next day ,and more of how my granny would pass away the time and sleep with a smile on her face ,I looked at the walls,said my night prayer and rolled my eyes,and went off to sleep.

There’s no place like home... except Grandma’s .
cc
an ode to the pure heroine i have ever come across.thanks granny
x
Dev A Jul 2013
When we first met
We couldn’t stand to be around one another.

When we first met
Your boyfriend and I were best friends.
Making it hard to be around you both.

Finally we started talking
Realizing how much we had in common
And we became inseparable.

As the years flew by
Our friendship solidified.
But then the day came when you had to leave.
I was the last to find out
But only because it was impossible to say good-bye.

That first year we talked and talked and talked
Bust as the days passed,
The conversations died.

It’s been four years since you left,
But unlike then,
We never talk.

I tried to arrange a day to talk
But again and again
You blew me off.
Now here I am
1000 miles away
And you still won’t say
A single word.

I thought we were best friends…
Thou hast committed—
       Fornication: but that was in another country,
       And besides, the ***** is dead.
                                         The Jew of Malta.

I

Among the smoke and fog of a December afternoon
You have the scene arrange itself—as it will seem to do—
With ‘I have saved this afternoon for you’;
And four wax candles in the darkened room,
Four rings of light upon the ceiling overhead,
An atmosphere of Juliet’s tomb
Prepared for all the things to be said, or left unsaid.
We have been, let us say, to hear the latest Pole
Transmit the Preludes, through his hair and fingertips.
‘So intimate, this Chopin, that I think his soul
Should be resurrected only among friends
Some two or three, who will not touch the bloom
That is rubbed and questioned in the concert room.’
—And so the conversation slips
Among velleities and carefully caught regrets
Through attenuated tones of violins
Mingled with remote cornets
And begins.
‘You do not know how much they mean to me, my friends,
And how, how rare and strange it is, to find
In a life composed so much, so much of odds and ends,
(For indeed I do not love it… you knew? you are not blind!
How keen you are!)
To find a friend who has these qualities,
Who has, and gives
Those qualities upon which friendship lives.
How much it means that I say this to you—
Without these friendships—life, what cauchemar!’

Among the windings of the violins
And the ariettes
Of cracked cornets
Inside my brain a dull tom-tom begins
Absurdly hammering a prelude of its own,
Capricious monotone
That is at least one definite ‘false note.’
—Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance,
Admire the monuments,
Discuss the late events,
Correct our watches by the public clocks.
Then sit for half an hour and drink our bocks.

II

Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in his fingers while she talks.
‘Ah, my friend, you do not know, you do not know
What life is, you who hold it in your hands’;
(Slowly twisting the lilac stalks)
‘You let it flow from you, you let it flow,
And youth is cruel, and has no remorse
And smiles at situations which it cannot see.’
I smile, of course,
And go on drinking tea.
‘Yet with these April sunsets, that somehow recall
My buried life, and Paris in the Spring,
I feel immeasurably at peace, and find the world
To be wonderful and youthful, after all.’

The voice returns like the insistent out-of-tune
Of a broken violin on an August afternoon:
‘I am always sure that you understand
My feelings, always sure that you feel,
Sure that across the gulf you reach your hand.

You are invulnerable, you have no Achilles’ heel.
You will go on, and when you have prevailed
You can say: at this point many a one has failed.

But what have I, but what have I, my friend,
To give you, what can you receive from me?
Only the friendship and the sympathy
Of one about to reach her journey’s end.

I shall sit here, serving tea to friends….’

I take my hat: how can I make a cowardly amends
For what she has said to me?
You will see me any morning in the park
Reading the comics and the sporting page.
Particularly I remark
An English countess goes upon the stage.
A Greek was murdered at a Polish dance,
Another bank defaulter has confessed.
I keep my countenance,
I remain self-possessed
Except when a street piano, mechanical and tired
Reiterates some worn-out common song
With the smell of hyacinths across the garden
Recalling things that other people have desired.
Are these ideas right or wrong?

III

The October night comes down; returning as before
Except for a slight sensation of being ill at ease
I mount the stairs and turn the handle of the door
And feel as if I had mounted on my hands and knees.
‘And so you are going abroad; and when do you return?
But that’s a useless question.
You hardly know when you are coming back,
You will find so much to learn.’
My smile falls heavily among the bric-à-brac.

‘Perhaps you can write to me.’
My self-possession flares up for a second;
This is as I had reckoned.
‘I have been wondering frequently of late
(But our beginnings never know our ends!)
Why we have not developed into friends.’
I feel like one who smiles, and turning shall remark
Suddenly, his expression in a glass.
My self-possession gutters; we are really in the dark.

‘For everybody said so, all our friends,
They all were sure our feelings would relate
So closely! I myself can hardly understand.
We must leave it now to fate.
You will write, at any rate.
Perhaps it is not too late.
I shall sit here, serving tea to friends.’

And I must borrow every changing shape
To find expression… dance, dance
Like a dancing bear,
Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.
Let us take the air, in a tobacco trance—

Well! and what if she should die some afternoon,
Afternoon grey and smoky, evening yellow and rose;
Should die and leave me sitting pen in hand
With the smoke coming down above the housetops;
Doubtful, for a while
Not knowing what to feel or if I understand
Or whether wise or foolish, tardy or too soon…
Would she not have the advantage, after all?
This music is successful with a ‘dying fall’
Now that we talk of dying—
And should I have the right to smile?
Zack Murray Oct 2012
August 10th, you seemed so distant
Not quite as distant as the barrel of one gun
The gun that fired the shot that would stun
The scientific world, from Rutherford to Niels Bohr
To find out esteemed fellow scientist Moseley was no more

But before that, in 1913
X-ray spectra was naught more than a dream
Before diffraction through crystals became the truth
The wavelengths needed a meaning, and there was proof
You developed a mathematical system without flaw
One so great, it was named "Moseley's law"

Mendeleev had the right idea, but not a plan
Could not arrange the elements the way that you now can
Without you, my sir, we would not have had this premium
To enjoy the elements technetium, hafnium, promethium, and rhenium
These gaps that like stars littered the periodic table
Were filled with ease, and the cosmos became stable

You had set the foundation for crystallography of x-rays
A method of determining arrangement that is still used in modern days
The first machines in use were those for which you had the design
But their widespread use you could not see as there simply was no time
For during a battle, as you made the phone set run
A bullet took your grace away, a scientist dying young
MARIA PANOUTSOU Oct 2016
Well done, well done/ with this hand of marble
White roses, open doors, rise the sun and fall
Flit and float, under the river’s  flow/ shadows
thrilled/
Arrow in my hand/  as a tool for lovers/ beyond
the Dawn/
Keep the chief/ inside your deep velvet pocket/
Full of almonds/ to feed  the thirstiest of  dry soul/
Let the civilians/ to arrange the war and burn
the dead/
Well done my Lord/  well done/  those yours/
lie  on the edge of  seas/
What left is a narrow place for dwarfs/ to plug
the pledges/
Othello handkerchief/  under  my  pillow / to  remember
before dark/

©MARIA PANOUTSOU
I start a work on my own poems  to write them in both languages, Greek and English as  a project to see what is to translate you own poems and also to see  how and if it is possible  a kind of progress and influence  to your native language

THIS IS THE ENGLISH VERSION OF THE POEM
ATHENS  -GREECE  16.10.2016
i

Then must I always bear your endless accusations?
They all prove false, but still I have to fight them.
If I happen to glance at the marble theater's topmost row,
you pick some girl in the crowd to moan about;
or if a beautiful woman looks at me wordlessly,
you charge she's using lovers' wordless signs.
If I compliment a girl, you try to tear out my hair;
if I criticize one, you think I've got something to hide.
If I look well, I love no one - not even you;
if I'm pale, you say that I'm pining for someone else.
I wish I really had committed some such sin:
punishment hurts less when you deserve it;
but as it is, your wild indictments at every turn
themselves forbid your wrath to have much weight.
Think of the little long-eared donkey's wretched lot:
continual beatings only make him stubborn.
Now look, here's another charge: Cypassis, your coiffeuse,
is cast at me for defiling her mistress's bed!
The gods forbid that I, even if I yearned to sin,
should find delight in a slave-girl's lowly lot!
What man, being free, would want a servile liaison,
or wish to embrace a body the whip has scarred?
And furthermore, the girl's your personal beautician,
and valued by you because of her skillful hands.
Is it likely that I'd approach such a trusted serving-maid?
What would I get, but rejection and exposure?
By Venus and by the bow of her swift boy I swear,
you'll never find me guilty of that crime.

ii

Cypassis, expert at dressing the hair in a thousand ways
(but you ought to arrange the tresses of goddesses only)
you that I've found quite polished in stolen ecstasy,
fit for your mistress's service, but fitter for mine,
whoever was it that told of our bodies joining together?
Where did Corinna learn of our affair?
Could I have blushed? Or slipped by a single word to give
some sign that has betrayed our furtive joys?
And what of it, if I argued that nobody could transgress
with a servant, except for a man who was out of his mind
The Thessalian burned with passion for lovely Briseis, a servant;
the Mycenean leader loved Apollo's slave.
I'm no greater man than Achilles, or the scion of Tantalus.
How can what's fine for kings be foul for me?
And yet, when your mistress turned her glowering eyes on you,
I saw a deep blush spread all over your face.
But how much more possessed I was, if you recall,
I swore my faith by Venus's great godhead!
(You, goddess, bid, I pray, the warm Southwind to blow
those innocent lies across the Carpathian sea.)
Now give me a sweet return for the favor I did you then,
by bedding with me, you dusky Cypassis, today.
Don't shake your head, you ingrate, pretending you're still afraid:
you can please one of your masters, and that's enough.
If you're silly enough to refuse, I'll confess all that we've done,
making myself the betrayer of my own crime,
and I'll tell your mistress how often we met, Cypassis, and where,
and how many times we did it, and how many ways!
Lamar Lewis Oct 2011
It all happened so fast. Like most good things in life--the really monumental moments--it's like you float out of your body and come screaming back just soon enough to realize the moment had passed.

I didn't know how many miles were behind me now. It seemed like a thousand but it didn't really matter. I wasn't going to be one of those mindless wanderers--blindly probing my way through life's misery and defeat to one day wake up wishing I was young again.

I'm taking my youth back from the government, the bankers, the Wall Street gamblers and racing toward the horizon like there are commercial airplanes in my blood and skyscrapers burning in my chest.

You can only go to the same god forsaken place to have your soul ****** out of you for so many ******* days in a row before you either become one of them or make your own revolt and

collapse
                 *into a sea of ash

                                              slithering like snakes along the city streets.
You just run as fast as you can.

I chose the latter.
__________________­__


I'm going to do the cliche thing I suppose. Do as many drugs as possible, do as many women as possible, keep chasing the next good time until I get high enough to slap a saddle on my car roof and ride off into the Atlantic--fireworks shooting off in every direction to *** up the stars--refracting radials within the iridescence of the shimmering sea.

>explosions echo endlessly<
[wrap around the ambient rhythm of the TidePuller]

touch! caress! make love!--stare through eyes into deep blue souls and find something of yourself there.

That's how I'd like to go anyways, I don't know about you--.

That might just be this narcotic cocktail talking. I take my pills ground up in a wine glass mixed with cheap scotch. Then I chase with cups of watered down coffee--chugging until ceilings start to undulate and shake me loose. That's when I know I can start the day.

It's usually my most productive days when the ceiling tiles arrange into piano keys. Then I get to create my symphonies and soliloquies before I try to go get laid.

Now that I'm out here on the road though my mind is being blown.

Try waking to the same white black piano key ceiling everyday, to then finally feel the colors of the sky--for the very first time!

A never ending metaphysical canvas for the thoughts and longings of a drugged up DaVinci who just woke up in his time machine to start the 2nd Renaissance in the clouds. It all makes me wish I would have left years ago.

__________________­_


You see, I'm your typical twenty-something passionate kid trying to turn a ****** past into some kind of salvageable foundation for a chance at catching up with the rest of normal "adult" society. But I've got some problems with this whole "reality" thing people are so adamant at upholding.

Last time I visited my human family around the world they were all drowning in debt and poverty; trying with every fiber of their being to find that one bright spot. Stuck. In the deepest, darkest, most cavernous rotting excuse of a day to day life.

All because some meaningless number
on some computer
in some bank building
with their name on it
either is too small or doesn't exist.

Most of my human family know things are bad,

But most in the impoverished third-world are so deprived of basic human needs that they never get the chance to ponder who really holds the key to their cage.

So they are inclined to accept the status quo and the system and try to live inside of it. Failing to find sunshine within the deepest depths of an erupting volcano; mistaking the heat, the burning alive, for some kind of sign that the brightness has got to be somewhere close. So we will just try to sink a little deeper with the rest of them.

Here in America:
Sure, let's go on back to ringing registers for minimum wage all day until my ears bleed and my head wants to fall off so I can go home to watch some television!

Yes, God Please just let me relax here with my box of flashing pictures and scintillating sounds. The only truth I'll ever need.

Just let me relax here with my reality being defined for me by the volcano directors--telling me that I didn't just come in my house dripping with magma all over the carpet.

YES GOD, just let me relax a little before I have to go to my volcanic, skin searing hell again tomorrow morning. Where they tell me on T.V. that I'm going to find that sunshine I desperately long for. But It'll always

*collapse
                 into a sea of ash
                 to scar the sky grey, silence the sun's rays, blot out the stars, and darken our days*

You just sigh and say "Tomorrow's another day..."
_________________­__


Yeah, I was right there with them yesterday. I was with them for years. Getting brainwashed and ***** slapped by advertising--getting barraged with constant reminders that all I was meant to do was to work my life away--decide to be some tiny insignificant cog in this "economy" they call it.

Looks more to me like I signed up to be some mindless consumerism *****! Sheeping my way along... buying and wasting; buying, wasting; buying again, a bunch of **** I don't need and throwing it away.

We're Living in a society infected with some sort of capitalistic contagion that pretty much siphons off the Earth's life force.

We are conditioned into a reality that the richest & most powerful would like all to believe.

Art-full hearts are stomped on, told to get a job, and plan for retirement. Told to slow down and be reasonable rather than speed up. Velocity of the heart may as well be an act of terrorism unless it's for marriage--and LGBT is on the no fly list.

This is a reality set up predominantly for the endless profit of a bunch of trans-national corporations who won't be satisfied until they hold complete and utter dominion over their ***** and pillaged planet.

Perhaps then they'll be rich enough to fly away in spaceships to **** the next Earth and leave all us sheep here with bargain sales, social networking and reality T.V. as distractions...

Too bad for them some people still read. So I'll learn the different strains of herb from my local library and become a ***** of feeling good, freeing love, and accepting all artistry.

Have you ever seen a painting in the sky? Or witnessed windy symphonies in trees? Hey, don't judge me,

you're the one addicted to killing everyone and everything with your mindless dollar bill.

kneel before almighty god,
mind your founders,
adore their wise countenance,
looking up at you,
re-assuring you,
comforting you,
taking the pain away,
but DON'T RUN OUT!
you'll be back for more.
you'll come crawling back.
You'll do anything for just enough,
just one more fix.

It's got its hooks in bad,
don't it.
___________________­_


PRODUCT-XA110357: Capitalism
DRUG STATUS: Still in Clinical Trials
TEST SUBJECTS: Human Race
PHARMACEUTICAL LABORATORY: Earth
INITIAL FINDINGS: Subjects not receptive, keeps causing: Anger, Greed, Jealously, Oppression, War, Ignorance, Famine, Inequality, Imprisonment, Slavery. Environment not receptive, will cease functioning in the future. Time of Earth Death is unclear. Thankfully it does seem capable to last through the next few fiscal years. A relief, as this is what our stockholders are concerned with.


Symptoms of Withdrawal
Users who are addicted to money and are going through withdrawals may or may not experience a loss of food, water, shelter, clothing, transportation, education, free-time, happiness, fulfillment, reverence of nature, beautiful moments, relationships with friends or families, and love.


FDA Warning
If you are poor, lazy, and uneducated it is your own fault. Being poor and lazy may or may not result in Debt. DEBT may or may not lead to SLAVERY, stress, illness, and an early death.


Poison Control Center
If you have ingested too much debt, slavery, stress, illness, and are fearing an early death please do not call any corporate buildings. Access your phone, computer, or go to your local library to find reputable resources and EDUCATE YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY. Get some nice speakers and start exploring ALL GENRES OF MUSIC. Look at as many paintings, sculptures, forests, and gardens as you can--as often as possible. Lay under the stars and dream about what YOU want to do to make a positive impact on this world. FIND OTHER POSITIVE PEOPLE and AVOID NEGATIVE PEOPLE. If you know someone that is poisoned who you want to save please refer them to the nearest Poison Control Center

-->Smile at the sun--feel its warmth<--

----------------------------------------------------------­------------------------------------------------------

happy hearts:--after love--not money--free from pain--sickness will surrender--
addicted to art, peace, compassion, and empathy--feel the sky get closer--.


-----------------------------------------------------­-----------------------------------------------------------





­




























"In a state of enlightened anarchy each person will become his(her) own ruler. They will conduct themselves in such a way that their behaviour will not hamper the well being of their neighbours. In an ideal state there will be no political institutions and therefore no political power."
-Mahatma Gandhi
Composed October 2011. Revisions (Lots of Them) February 2014. Blend of Fiction & Non-Fiction.
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Matsuo Basho Translations



My Personal Favorites

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild geese:
my mysterious companions!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain:
poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud,
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Butterflies

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Ballet in the air! ―
two butterflies, twice white,
meet, mate, unite.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A spring wind
stirs willow leaves
as a butterfly hovers unsteadily.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki o hete / cho mo nameru ya / kiku no tsuyu

Come, butterfly,
it's late
and we've a long way to go!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Famous Frog Poem

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond sleeps...
untroubled by sound or movement...until...
suddenly a frog leaps!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Explosion!
The frog returns
to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch original haiku



Basho's Heron

Lightning
shatters the darkness—
the night heron's shriek
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning―
the night heron's shriek
severs the darkness
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A flash of lightning―
the night heron's shriek
splits the void
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Flowers

Let us arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a heavy fragrance
snowflakes settle:
lilies on rocks
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

High-altitude rose petals
falling
falling
falling:
the melody of a waterfall.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Revered figure!
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail,
delighting my heart—
wild violets
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku translation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man,
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
This is Basho's response to the Takarai Kikaku haiku above
asagao ni / ware wa meshi kû / otoko kana

Ah me,
I waste my meager breakfast
morning glory gazing!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories blossom,
reinforcing the old fence gate.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The morning glories, alas,
also turned out
not to embrace me
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories bloom,
mending chinks
in the old fence
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories,
however poorly painted,
still engage us
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
asagao wa / heta no kaku sae / aware nari

I too
have been accused
of morning glory gazing...
—original haiku by by Michael R. Burch

Curious flower,
watching us approach:
meet Death, our famished donkey.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Poems about Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

Spring has come:
the nameless hill
lies shrouded in mist
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring!
A nameless hill
stands shrouded in mist.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

These brown summer grasses?
The only remains
of "invincible" warriors...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment:
this autumn evening
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn darkness
descends
on this road I travel alone
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn's in the wind.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki chikaki / kokoro no yoru ya / yo jo han

Late autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter in the air:
my neighbor,
how does he fare?
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The year's first day...
thoughts come, and with them, loneliness;
dusk approaches.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Temple Poems

Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The temple bells grow silent
but the blossoms provide their incense―
A perfect evening!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine—
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun's intense radiance.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara toto / aoba wakaba no / hi no hikar



Basho's Birds

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch—
autumn nightfall
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Swallow flitting in the dusk,
please spare my small friends
buzzing among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Insects

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony's hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cicada's cry
hints that it knows
how soon it must die.
—Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Moon and Stars

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon: glorious its illumination!
Therefore, we give thanks.
Dark clouds cast their shadows on our necks.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara umi ya / Sado ni yokotau / Ama-no-gawa



Basho's Companions

Fire levitating ashes:
my companion's shadow
animates the wall...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Among the graffiti
one illuminated name:
Yours.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Scrawny tomcat!
Are you starving for fish and mice
or pining away for love?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's End of Life and Death Poems

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara nantomo na ya / kino wa sugite / fukuto-jiru

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Too ill to travel,
now only my autumn dreams
survey these withering fields
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch


New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch



Keywords/Tags: Basho, haiku, translation, Japan, Japanese, Oriental, Orient Occident, nature, season, seasons, waka, tanka, life and death, compassion, empathy, mrbhaiku, mrbbasho
Redshift Jul 2013
i like to take pictures of me smiling
because i am a ginger baby
and we were born to grin,
daddy says so.

i like to look at them later
and remind myself how to arrange my lips
my cheeks
and the little rainbows
that live around my eyes
when i cannot think for a second
how on earth
i used to
smile

smile,
baby
they say
and you can have this one
for
free

— The End —