Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
We had wanted to leave our homes before six in the morning
but left late and lazy at ten or ten-thirty with hurried smirks
and heads turned to the road, West
driving out against the noonward horizon
and visions before us of the great up-and-over

and tired we were already of stiff-armed driving neurotics in Montreal
and monstrous foreheaded yellow bus drivers
ugly children with long middle fingers
and tired we were of breaking and being yelled at by beardless bums
but thought about the beards at home we loved
and gave a smile and a wave nonetheless

Who were sick and tired of driving by nine
but then had four more hours still
with half a tank
then a third of a tank
then a quarter of a tank
then no tank at all
except for the great artillery halt and discovery
of our tyre having only three quarters of its bolts

Saved by the local sobriety
and the mystic conscious kindness of the wise and the elderly
and the strangers: Autoshop Gale with her discount familiar kindness;
Hilda making ready supper and Ray like I’ve known you for years
that offered me tools whose functions I’ve never known
and a handshake goodbye

     and "yes we will say hello to your son in Alberta"
     and "yes we will continue safely"
     and "no you won’t see us in tomorrow’s paper"
     and tired I was of hearing about us in tomorrow’s paper

Who ended up on a road laughing deliverance
in Ralphton, a small town hunting lodge
full of flapjacks and a choir of chainsaws
with cheap tomato juice and eggs
but the four of us ended up paying for eight anyway

and these wooden alley cats were nothing but hounds
and the backwoods is where you’d find a cheap child's banjo
and cheap leather shoes and bear traps and rat traps
and the kinds of things you’d fall into face first

Who sauntered into a cafe in Massey
that just opened up two weeks previous
where the food was warm and made from home
and the owner who swore to high heaven
and piled her Sci-Fi collection to the ceiling
in forms of books and VHS

but Massey herself was drowned in a small town
where there was little history and heavy mist
and the museum was closed for renovations
and the stores were run by diplomats
or sleezebag no-cats
and there was one man who wouldn’t show us a room
because his baby sitter hadn’t come yet
but the babysitter showed up through the backdoor within seconds
though I hadn't seen another face

        and the room was a landfill
        and smelled of stale cat **** anyhow
        and the lobby stacked to the ceiling with empty beer box cans bottles
        and the taps ran cold yellow and hot black through spigots

but we would be staying down the street
at the inn of an East-Indian couple

who’s eyes were not dilated 
and the room smelled
lemon-scented

and kept on driving lovingly without a care in the world
but only one of us had his arms around a girl
and how lonely I felt driving with Jacob
in the fog of the Agawa pass;

following twin red eyes down a steep void mass
where the birch trees have no heads
and the marshes pool under the jagged foothills
that climb from the water above their necks

that form great behemoths
with great voices bellowing and faces chiselled hard looking down
and my own face turned upward toward the rain

Wheels turning on a black asphalt river running uphill around great Superior
that is the ocean that isn’t the ocean but is as big as the sea
and the cloud banks dig deep and terrible walls

and the sky ends five times before night truly falls
and the sun sets slower here than anywhere
but the sky was only two miles high and ten long anyway

The empty train tracks that seldom run
and some rails have been lifted out
with a handful of spikes that now lay dormant

and the hill sides start to resemble *******
or faces or the slow curving back of some great whale

-and those, who were finally stranded at four pumps
with none but the professional Jacob reading great biblical instructions at the nozzle
nowhere at midnight in a town surrounded

by moose roads
                             moose lanes
                                                     moose rivers
and everything mooses

ending up sleeping in the maw of a great white wolf inn
run by Julf or Wolf or John but was German nonetheless

and woke up with radios armed
and arms full
and coffee up to the teeth
with teeth chattering
and I swear to God I saw snowy peaks
but those came to me in waking dream:

"Mountains dressed in white canvas
gowns and me who placed
my hands upon their *******
that filled the sky"

Passing through a buffet of inns and motels
and spending our time unpacking and repacking
and talking about drinking and cheap sandwiches
but me not having a drink in eight days

and in one professional inn we received a professional scamming
and no we would not be staying here again
and what would a trip across the country be like
if there wasn’t one final royal scamming to be had

and dreams start to return to me from years of dreamless sleep:

and I dream of hers back home
and ribbons in a raven black lattice of hair
and Cassadaic exploits with soft but honest words

and being on time with the trains across the plains  
and the moon with a shower of prairie blonde
and one of my father with kind words
and my mother on a bicycle reassuring my every decision

Passing eventually through great plains of vast nothingness
but was disappointed in seeing that I could see
and that the rumours were false
and that nothingness really had a population
and that the great flat land has bumps and curves and etchings and textures too

beautiful bright golden yellow like sprawling fingers
white knuckled ablaze reaching up toward the sun
that in this world had only one sky that lasted a thousand years

and prairie driving lasts no more than a mountain peak
and points of ember that softly sigh with the one breath
of our cars windows that rushes by with gratitude for your smile

And who was caught up with the madness in the air
with big foaming cigarettes in mouths
who dragged and stuffed down those rolling fumes endlessly
while St. Jacob sang at the way stations and billboards and the radio
which was turned off

and me myself and I running our mouth like the coughing engine
chasing a highway babe known as the Lady Valkyrie out from Winnipeg
all the way to Saskatoon driving all day without ever slowing down
and eating up all our gas like pez and finally catching her;

      Valkyrie who taught me to drive fast
      and hovering 175 in slipstreams
      and flowing behind her like a great ghost Cassady ******* in dreamland Nebraska
      only 10 highway crossings counted from home.

Lady Valkyrie who took me West.
Lady Valkyrie who burst my wings into flame as I drew a close with the sun.
Lady Valkyrie who had me howl at slender moon;

     who formed as a snowflake
     in the light on the street
     and was gone by morning
     before I asked her name

and how are we?
and how many?

Even with old Tom devil singing stereo
and riding shotgun the entire trip from day one
singing about his pony, and his own personal flophouse circus,
and what was he building in there?

There is a fair amount of us here in these cars.
Finally at light’s end finding acquiescence in all things
and meeting with her eye one last time; flashed her a wink and there I was, gone.
Down the final highway crossing blowing wind and fancy and mouth puttering off
roaring laughter into the distance like some tremendous Phoenix.

Goodnight Lady Valkyrie.

The evening descends and turns into a sandwich hysteria
as we find ourselves riding between cities of transports
and that one mad man that passed us speeding crazy
and almost hit head-on with Him flowing East

and passed more and more until he was head of the line
but me driving mad lunacy followed his tail to the bumper
passing fifteen trucks total to find our other car
and felt the great turbine pull of acceleration that was not mine

mad-stacked behind two great beasts
and everyone thought us moon-crazy; Biblical Jake
and Mad Hair Me driving a thousand
eschewing great gusts of wind speed flying

Smashing into the great ephedrine sunset haze of Saskatoon
and hungry for food stuffed with the thoughts of bedsheets
off the highway immediately into the rotting liver of dark downtown
but was greeted by an open Hertz garage
with a five-piece fanfare brass barrage
William Tell and a Debussy Reverie
and found our way to bedsheets most comfortably

Driving out of Saskatoon feeling distance behind me.
Finding nothing but the dead and hollow corpses of roadside ventures;

more carcasses than cars
and one as big as a moose
and one as big as a bear
and no hairier

and driving out of sunshine plain reading comic book strip billboards
and trees start to build up momentum
and remembering our secret fungi in the glove compartment
that we drove three thousand kilometres without remembering

and we had a "Jesus Jacob, put it away brother"
and went screaming blinded by smoke and paranoia
and three swerves got us right
and we hugged the holy white line until twilight

And driving until the night again takes me foremast
and knows my secret fear in her *****
as the road turns into a lucid *** black and makes me dizzy
and every shadow is a moose and a wildcat and a billy goat
and some other car

and I find myself driving faster up this great slanderous waterfall until I meet eye
with another at a thousand feet horizontal

then two eyes

then a thousand wide-eyed peaks stretching faces upturned to the celestial black
with clouds laid flat as if some angel were sleeping ******* on a smokestack
and the mountains make themselves clear to me after waiting a lifetime for a glimpse
then they shy away behind some old lamppost and I don’t see them until tomorrow

and even tomorrow brings a greater distance with the sunlight dividing stone like 'The Ancient of Days'
and moving forward puts all into perspective

while false cabins give way
and the gas stations give way
and the last lamppost gives way
and its only distance now that will make you true
and make your peaks come alive

Like a bullrush, great grey slopes leap forth as if branded by fire
then the first peaks take me by surprise
and I’m told that these are nothing but children to their parents
and the roads curve into a gentle valley
and we’re in the feeding zone

behind the gates of some great geological zoo
watching these lumbering beasts
finishing up some great tribal *******
because tomorrow they will be shrunk
and tomorrow ever-after smaller

Nonetheless, breathless in turn I became
it began snowing and the pines took on a different shape
and the mountains became covered white
and great glaciers could be seen creeping
and tourists seen gawking at waterfalls and waterfowls
and fowl play between two stones a thousand miles high

climbing these Jasper slopes flying against wind and stone
and every creak lets out its gentle tone and soft moans
as these tyres rub flat against your back
your ancient skin your rock-hard bones

and this peak is that peak and it’s this one too
and that’s Temple, and that’s Whistler
and that’s Glasgow and that’s Whistler again
and those are the Three Sisters with ******* ablaze

and soft glowing haze your sun sets again among your peaks
and we wonder how all these caves formed
and marvelled at what the flood brought to your feet
as roads lay wasted by the roadside

in the epiphany of 3:00am realizing
that great Alta's straights and highway crossings
are formed in torturous mess from mines of 'Mt. Bleed'
and broken ribs and liver of crushed mountain passes
and the grey stones taxidermied and peeled off
and laid flat painted black and yellow;
the highways built from the insides
of the mountain shells

Who gave a “What now. New-Brunswick?”

and a “What now, Quebec, and Ontario, and Manitoba, and Saskatchewan";
**** fools clumsily dancing in the valleys; then the rolling hills; then the sea that was a lake
then the prairies and not yet the mountains;

running naked in formation with me at the lead
and running naked giving the finger to the moon
and the contrails, and every passing blur on the highway
dodging rocks, and sandbars
and the watchful eye of Mr. and Mrs. Law
and holes dug-up by prairie dogs
and watching with no music
as the family caravans drove on by

but drove off laughing every time until two got anxious for bed and slowed behind
while the rambling Jacob and I had to wait in the half-moon spectacle
of a black-tongue asphalt side-road hacking darts and watching for grizzlies
for the other two to finish up with their birthday *** exploits
though it was nobodies birthday

and then a timezone was between us
 and they were in the distant future
and nobodies birthday was in an hour from now

then everything was good
and everyone was satiated
then everything was a different time again
and I was running on no sleep or a lot of it
leaping backward in time every so often
like gaining a new day but losing space on the surface of your eye

but I stared up through curtains of starlight to mother moon
and wondered if you also stared
and was dumbfounded by the majesty of it all

and only one Caribou was seen the entire trip
and only one live animal, and some forsaken deer
and only a snake or a lonesome caterpillar could be seen crossing such highway straights
but the water more refreshing and brighter than steel
and glittered as if it were hiding some celestial gem
and great ravines and valleys flowed between everything
and I saw in my own eye prehistoric beasts roaming catastrophe upon these plains
but the peaks grew ever higher and I left the ground behind
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2016
they day finishes with: at last! a schoth reserve
for highlands nomads!
     long gone is the fatamorgana of soberness
coupled with a very softcore soviet sleep
experiment: i chance you to also say:
the soviet sleep experiment is a way to censor
dreams, **** it: another paul mccartney
can write another yesterday into the repertoire,
you can hear of marathon-men who did over
100 hours without sleep, and when it came to
sleeping: hour-long interludes...
as all the p.o.w's realised was the case:
stop this dream-industry of disney! stop it!
nearing 36 hours is nothing,
when i'm going to do a hiatus in Poland visiting
my grandparents i'm planning to top that,
perhaps 48... just to get the glory days of Jews
in ancient Egypt and Joseph the adviser to
the pharaoh: 7 lean years, followed by 7 years
of starvation: what we otherwise carpe diem
over-indulgence - Moses wrote the book
of disgrace... when things turned sour,
obviously he was *******, just a little bit,
from a Jew becoming an adviser to the pharaoh
by interpreting his dreams which were always
in abundance given his lavish lifestyle...
dreams come to people who aspire to lavish
lifestyle, dreams come to people who take no
pleasure from the simplest prospects of a peaceful
hermitic life... they need both the lavish life
and the lavish hope of an afterlife with abundant
dreams... they can't master the opposite:
from simple pleasures that life has to offer:
one forsakes the capacity to the need to dream...
yet those who attain a comfortable Buddhist /
bourgeoisie / middle life: through the ethic of hard
labour find dreams nonsense... only
aristocrats find meaning in dreams, because
they have enough life insurance to guarantee them
the very unentertaining life, hence the Freudian
cinema, and here is their seeking of meaning,
because outside of their sleep nod,
their meaning is already akin to a predatory creature
kept in a zoological confinement, rather than
beckoned to attest the prime element beyond
the classical elements of fire and: where was the
Japanese army bombing the hell out of that
****** tsunami to make the orca-surf shrapnel?
where? nowhere! the reporters were there prior,
i'd swear you could have done the reverse Aleppo
with that tsunami wave by bombing it and
saving lives... but no... atoms bombs were never
intended for warfare as such, they're non-profitable...
all the arms-dealers across the world make more
money from millions of bullets and thousands upon
thousands of guns being sold: atom bombs make
no economic sense... atom bombs make
no economic sense in terms of dealing arms...
the soviet sleep experiment was one of the topics
at the end of today... the other was feline pavarotti
in a cattery: i swear to god that ginger is acting
too much like a bloodhound... moans all the ******
time, i've heard every kind of Tosca, but a cat's Tosca?
never in my life has a cat so many variable versions
of meow... animals really do possess their owners,
but in a way that shows the owners to themselves...
a poem a day: keeps the psychiatrist away.
and back to the soviets, who discovered Yiddish
dream-factory ******* that only applies to
aristocrats akin to Wilhelm Oedipus II,
    i never understood why people desired so much
from dreams, pure unconscious doesn't allow it,
it's shallow dreaming that becomes easily swayed
by a decreasing poignancy of the senses that
creates dreams, and as we've already been told:
they're bound to millisecond intervals -
snoring can be seen as a prompt for dreaming,
but then pure unconscious that's beyond the sensual
realm of pulverising you with everything external
          doesn't allow dreams, because it allows rest...
the subconscious makes more sense in terms of dreams
than what it currently prescribed,
             on the fully-waking hour of what people call
reverse-psychology (popularly), or who people can
influence you and treat you as a pawn...
   in the waking hour the theory of the subconscious
is that it's somehow there, and it's brimming with
theories ranging from the unitary stealth workings
of a superego, to advertisers competing for your
attention, as in: how can this person be manipulated?
that's the strain of thought working from consciousness
where you are said to have: no free will,
no critical approach toward the world with thought,
that you are naive and gullible...
  such people do exist, because they're not working
on the subconscious from the unconscious position,
hence they are most probably highly-developed dream-machines,
they probably even dream in colour and remember
dreams vividly... but take all the things i said
about the subconscious from a conscious pinpoint
and invert the starting point from an unconscious
pinpoint, and all that manipulating dynamic that
the subconscious is supposedly is fed fades
   to simply expose the subconscious as the medium
of dreams, whereby dreams appear from a sensory
hush of all external factors... a few days back i dreamed
i woke in a bed covered in cobwebs and spiders crawling
in them... the last thing i remember looking at?
my pet incy-wincy hanging on a silken web in
the corner of my room... for this to be true,
and for all that pompous subconscious theoretical *******
to go away, to actually work on the subconscious
having a dream reality rather than a reality of
being easily swayed by superego or advertisement
and willingly giving up your will to external factors
that go beyond mere senses... you have to acknowledge
at least 36 hours of the soviet sleep experiment, clock:
no nodding.m i've set the threshold,
the junkies did over 100 hours without sleep,
but they were army material, i'm... dunno.
              a break with an article on melanie martinez,
and then back into today's end...
    it's pouring cats & dogs outside, and will so
throughout tomorrow, one of the street lamps has
turned itself into solitary disco strobe...
   e.e.m. (epileptic eye movement)
           vs. r.e.m. (rapid eye movement) -
the difference? the latter invokes the theatrical curtain
of the eyelids... the former invokes your eyes
having rolled to the back of your head so you only
see the sclera...
but a real life problem too!
in these pseudo-capitalistic societies, companies
have started to do the Pontius Pilate tactic,
they are companies without employees,
what they want are subcontractors, people who
are self-employed, because actually employing
employees is bad business for them: you have to
have a pension fund... and what capitalist wasn't
old people getting money for doing nothing?
most construction companies are following this trend...
but the problem with that is that these companies
are employing useless managers, construction
site managers that should be on a site for at least 2
days a week... even 3... so they can get the knitty-gritty
of organisation done and the project runs smoothly...
but as i've already known for months,
say a roofing company from Gloucester is given
a London-based contract... it has employed a
project manager... who 1st of all doesn't have the right
credentials to be a manager... and this pleb travels
to London from the village of Gloucester
and is on a construction site for about half an hour,
doesn't make any notes,
and spends the rest of the time being a ******* tourist
in and around London, a day like this happens,
an authentic waterproofing problem...
   so you have these flats near the city airport,
and they're connected with walkways and have planters
too... you lay the concrete, then do the waterproofing:
primer, hotmelt, fleece, hotmelt, felt.
                  now the problem, why impose self-employment
and also employ parasitical managers who know
jack **** or are interested in selfies on tower bridge?
only because they can get a cheap train ticket back
to the village of Gloucester before the rush-hour commute?
the problem is simple, or hard, depends whether
there's an actual plan and someone is bothered..
four elements...
       1. drainage matt,
             2. pebbles,              3. filter layer
and 4. ~artificial turf... plastic-like, not asphalt,
     i grant it a status of artificial asphalt,
  or turf coloured copper...
the debate ranged about where the filter layer should go,
but there was no manager with the appropriate
method statement to give... the ******* crane arrives
at 8am, and he texts the day before that he might have
an answer by noon... or that some other manager should
be consulted to the method statement...
i suggested that first: the drainage matt, then the pebbles,
then the filter layer and then the artificial asphalt...
   the other suggestion was: drainage matt,
filter layer, pebbles and then the artificial asphalt
        given that pebbles will never be spread like
a plateau of concrete, meaning there will be pockets
beneath the artificial asphalt to soften the walk
and give more spring to the step...
                  and then i read a newspaper in england
and start to think: are these the only people on an actual
payroll? with safety in retirement schemes?
          i used to think of journalists as daring...
Watergate journalism that did something...
               then you turn on the 24 news channels
and state media is no different to free-enterprise media...
     as people my age say: television is really
a piece of 20th century antiquity... who gives a ****
that millions watched a man walk on a moon
on it... at least a billion people watched the cinnamon
spoon challenge from some ******* on the internet!
     or that guy who gave his cat l.s.d.,
or that guy who jumped off tower bridge and caught
pneumonia and had to be rescued...
still, the rain is ******* down, i've got my headphones
on, and that rebel street-lamp has turned into
a discoteque strobe's of needy rhythmic epileptics -
as every: i count most psychiatric terms in popular
use as undercover poetics, people who don't read
poetry, nonetheless apply psychiatric terms
   an unilateral transcript of denoting them as metaphor(s)
in everyday sprechen; and yes,
our informal vocabulary usually suffers for the fact
that we have chosen a fixed (courteous, hierarchical)
formal vocabulary, that erodes any chanced deviation
akin to a cat-stretching: e.g. (a) so and so died,
(b) oh, i'm sorry,        (c) and you're the one who
brought back the resentful Lazarus?
(d) as if you could have, prevented the inevitable;
a conversation between four strangers.
Dylan B Dec 2012
Asphalt hot will scald the toe
The smallest step will stub it,
Succulent pots will catch the eye—
Surely to leave you rubbing.

And Fear, the wretched, ***** cat,
A mane sheer black with pause
Shimmies down the fire escape
Like good old Sandy Claws.

Blind as night these twenty years
With memory for an action.
Fear, that ***** is blind as me,
But she seems to find her satisfaction.

The difference between stepping
Stones and stumbling is the lesson;
You turned the light on, a quarter to three,
And from my blindness, drew a crescent.

Asphalt hot could scald the toe
Could melt holes in shoes, you know.
But nothing ever burns quite like
Denying your weary feet that road.

And Fear, the wretched, hoarding cat,
A mane sheer black and sane:
You ought to thank her for the ride
Once you’ve felt, at last, the pouring rain.
Jimmy King Aug 2014
the stars exploded across every plane
of space, and there we were
below it, within it, holding
each other the way we would've liked to
a year prior when we tripped into somethin' like love
and before we'd tripped
on mushrooms together and before
everything, but now I finally know it's after, cuz
what's here with me now
is swirling-- the asphalt,
so often stepped on and so rarely
seen. until we collapsed
onto the curb with our
pillows and blankets to look down. to realize
that it had always been like that, but
we just hadn't stopped all our ******* long enough
to see how beautiful something so consistent and everyday
really was, and when we lit
those lanterns into the sky, how could there have been
a wish between the two of us other than
to remember that haunting, beautiful, swirling asphalt? and how
could I have ever wished
anything else? the lanterns float
magically into the sky carrying that wish, and we're still
sitting on the curb together, giggling and staring
down at the asphalt.
crowbarius Jul 2012
He stands
A silhouette against a lifeless flat expanse
His flaccid tallow-yellow hands clasped awkwardly across the rails
The skin is white beneath his nails
The fear beginning to ferment
His shallow-knuckled grip indicative of lunatic intent

Intent to finally insuate his end into the books
To compensate for all the awkward silence and dead looks
Insinuate himself amongst indifferent carbon molecules
His skin and sinew separate from all the inconsistencies
Immortalised in asphalt now
A martyr on the asphalt now
Away from death and listing eyes.
JN Cole Aug 2018
the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires

the birds will sing you a song
when the edge of the sky breaks golden

when the golden breaks the somnolent

stirring
            stirring
                        stirring

a mother is pleased with the clicking of the gas stove

how many mothers turn
their gas stoves on at the same time

or it could be a father
a daughter a son

Someone

a pan heating over the blue flame
a cigarette cherry

in a moment there is admiration
enlightenment
                                        ­                  salvation of sorts
                                    signal fire
warm radiation for comfort

the birds will tell you
a different bird for a different song

like that of the boy who played
Revolver on his phonograph

thirty years or so afterward another boy
a different boy searches in his shoe box

cassette tapes smelling
of dust and mold and old cardboard
                                              Nirvana
 ­        Pink Floyd                                             Lynyrd Skynyrd
                                   Meat Puppets
                  Pixies                                t­he Melvins
Kiss          Queen        Metallica—

in the apartment with its stucco wall
how many boys have had music playing

the sound of breakfast
their mothers telling them off

keep it down

mothers want spoons and forks
clinking against their china plates

want washing copper pots
cast-iron pans

want tap water rushing
want to
scrub
         scrub
                  scrub                …a w a y

want to jump inside the kettle
and shut the world away

she smiles at you and sees you off to school
have a nice day.

the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires

will tell you who painted the girl
in the gas mask on the gray wall

her prayer in the quiet box above her head

                                         "WE BELIEVE"
         We believe that children in Africa will not starve again.
                  We believe in equality and good governance.
                                          We believe in world peace.
                                                          ­   We believe in women’s rights.

you have admired now for years and years

the birds will tell you.
the birds will tell you.

at the same time someone painted a sea turtle on the
back of the closet in the apartment bedroom

the birds will tell you what happened to the girl who
played with matches; what happened to the dog

the birds on the cable wire knew about
the old apartment, the one before you came to live in this new one

but the pine still stands in the front yard
the old apartment ashes now underneath the new

but with the same stucco wall
and the same pine tree shedding needles now for years

along the street
before the flood washed away bits of asphalt

there was a kid rushing home to watch the television before his father did, before the news, before he was told to study

now that the street is fixed, crack-less, hot black asphalt over asphalt; how many cars have passed

there is a kid now rushing home, his house just half a mile away
from school the kids now smelling like the sun

flushed and dotted with prickly heat
and sweat-soaked hair plastered to their foreheads and napes

how many of them
in the past twenty years cackled playing catch-ball

there is a girl now in her bedroom reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s
rare find at the book store inside the strip mall

before in the same room there was a girl smoothing the torn corner of Lord of the Flies maybe the book will be new again

maybe Ralph didn't have to have his mind all hazy
maybe she didn’t have to write a book report

the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires know

they will tell you and they will sing
when the edge of the sky breaks golden

and everything is

stirring
                                 stirring
                                                                ­stirring
SE Nummenpää Feb 2011
There was an asphalt road along which I walked my childhood
In the warmth of the summers, in the warmth of careless feet
And strawberries strung on wild grass.
The juice of the sun on our cheeks dripped and
We were golden, rugged tar beneath our soles.
My feet were black in the summer.
A child, the sky over my head was too large,
A blue in which I lost myself should I look up.
So I watched the road.

The sun never set on us, but bathed us in the unearthly gold of night.
It washed away tomorrow, it washed away the day past.
It washed away sound but for the far-away buzz of birds and traffic.
The asphalt was always warm after the glow of the day,
And beneath my feet I could feel the tires of cars long gone.
Someday I’d be the driver, too busy to meet the road,
Too busy to walk down my old friend in the evening sun,
But that was far away and my feet were young.
(c) SEN 2010/2011
Sarah Spang Feb 2016
When we were young, all things were new
The rising sun, the morning dew.
Through you I saw the ocean first,
From stormy eyes I saw the surf.
I tasted summer in your lips
The flavor of the brackish mist
That lingered on with days and years
That veil of time was thin and sheer.
When we were young the summer months
Seemed everlasting, endless once.
Heated asphalt, mosquito'ed creeks
We dipped our toes to beat the heat.

When we were young, immortal then
I never thought there'd be an end...
I never thought I'd move away
I never dreamt you wouldn't stay...
I never thought when we were young
Your final song would go unsung,
I never thought there'd come a day
Your final words- you'd never say.

When we were young
When we
Were young
When
We
Were
Young
I never thought
You'd die.
first step

when he looks at a woman he searches for qualities that attract him because he wants to desire her yet this tendency creates an imbalance or disadvantage he is rendered weak to a woman’s beauty or whatever traits he idealizes self-realizing this propensity he looks away from women years of disappointment neglect change him he becomes afraid of women gynophobic

2

when she looks at a man she searches for qualities she is critical of because she wants to be impervious to his power she is suspicious of all men their upper body strength penchant to be in control misperception of women as property misogyny emotional immaturity neediness to be mommyed selfishness insensitivity or over-sensitivity depending she wants to be treated with equal respect a loving nurturing relationship she is suspicious of all people their alternate realities passive aggressive behavior co-dependence craziness

3

he sees her then looks away she suspiciously notices nothing happens they go back to their separate homes alone always home alone grown calm in resignation yet disbelieving of this destiny saddened by this fate both worry about future she looks at her face naked body in mirror her stomach churns feels sad sickening remembers time when she was more carefree he puts one foot in front of other then walks tries to remember who taught him to walk how many times did he fall who taught him to laugh where did his sense of humor go

4

he sees her thinks she is lovely resists the urge to turn away he smiles says hello she notices nervously smiles her shaky voice articulates louder than a whisper hi

Tucson 2-step

they are standing in line at a café on 4th avenue he is directly behind her she is lanky wearing white background faded colors patterned summer dress thin straps over bare shoulders long brown hair few gray strands small unfinished tattoo on left calf leather slip-ons 1 inch heals he is at a complete loss for words thinks to make remark about the weather decides not to overhead fan stirs hot humid July air barista girl asks what she would like her eyes scan blackboard menu behind counter she hesitates remarks help him i need an extra moment to decide he steps up to counter money in hand orders small to go Arnold Palmer half black current lays $3 on counter mentions change goes in tip jar thank you barista girl moves fast he lifts cup from counter glances at woman still deciding then at barista girl says have a wonderful day turns walks out door dawns on him woman grows hair under her arms his 2nd most compelling female physique adornment fetish oh god he thinks to himself should i wait for her to make up her mind then approach try to craft conversation at least find out her name no i’m too weak in this moment she is so lovely let her go

2

she orders double Americana in small cup to go room for soy milk thinks to herself he did greet her perhaps their paths will cross on street why did he run off so fast she glances toward front of café notices window seat changes her mind instructs barista ******* 2nd thought make it for here digs through purse realizes she left wallet in truck explains to barista girl she needs to run out to her vehicle to retrieve wallet forgotten under front seat the air on the street is heavy dense she smells her own perspiration looks north then south does not see him walks to truck feels exhausted appetiteless almost nauseous wishes she did not order a drink thinks to get behind wheel drive home go to sleep

Tucson 3-step tango

she feels disappointment by her recent writings as if she is reaching a more sophisticated audience and setting a higher standard for her work yet she is not living up to her ambitions her recent writings smell of her past writings too emotional the damaged woman wounded child she wants to write more introspectively with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence she slams her laptop shut decides to go to Club Congress for a ****** mary or margarita but Club Congress is haunted with small town cretins losers wannabes she considers Maynard’s decides Maynard’s is too safe suburban yuppyish finally gives in to thought of glass of pinot noir at Plush next comes what to wear jeans in mid-July desert heat is unacceptable perhaps loose fitting thin cotton white summer dress thin leather belt ankle high indian moccasins hair in ponytail no pigtail braids no ponytail no makeup maybe little ylang ylang oil no she thinks about her recent writings

2

i am one breath away from crying in every moment one breath away from flying m.i.a. in every moment one breath away from destroying everything there is beauty in ugliness beauty in decrepitude disease beauty in harm hurt suffering beauty in greed injustice betrayal beauty in corruption contamination pollution beauty in hate cruelty ignorance beauty in death we spend our whole lives searching for a good death we spend our whole lives searching for eternal love this modern world is too much for me over my head the horrors of this place are beyond words unspeakable voice inside maybe mom yells quit your whining or dad hollers stop complaining i am trying to smile through tears one breath away from giving in one breath away from becoming stranger to myself winter spring winter spring there is beauty in nothingness we spend our whole lives searching for ourselves learning who we are not finding grasping secrets from dark paths light trails winter spring winter spring i am one breath away

3

she sits alone at bar at Plush glass of pinot noir glass of ice water in front of her 2 bearded older men eye her from other end of bar she ignores them glances at her wristwatch tries to look like she is waiting for someone music from speakers antiquated rock standard it is early friday hours from dusk moderate middle aged crowd mingle wait for local jazz trio to begin she thinks about her recent writings wonders is it too late for love considers lesbian affair from 5 different perspectives 5 woman’s voices each describing same lesbian affair in 5 opposing accounts hmmm she sips dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water she considers a story about a gang of female bikers who ride south to Mexico

4

the Americans came through here last night crossing border illegally climbing over our fences digging tunnels beneath our barrier walls littering along their trail they travel in packs of every skin color carry guns knives explosives wear leather boots some are shirtless tattoos dyed hair mischievously smiling conceitedly stealing when in question murdering they rob our homes slaughter our chickens ransack gardens loot our harvest you can still smell the stink of their fast food breaths

5

she swallows the last dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water local jazz trio begins to play as bar fills with more people she decides to walk home one foot in front of other wonders who taught her how to walk how many times did she fall she laughs to herself

Tucson square dance

TPD 10-18 unconfirmed data report

7 post-University of Arizona female graduates go to Cactus Moon for several drinks and dancing then drive to Bashful Bandit for more drinks and dancing 2 women get into scuffle victim Brittany Garner female 23 years of age race #5 (Native American, Eskimo, Middle -Eastern, Other) 5’ 2” long black hair cut-off blue jean shorts clingy light blue top falls hits head on side of bar dies of fatal blow to skull forensics report crushed occipital lobe assailant Stacy Won female 31 years of age race #4 (Asian) 5’6” black jeans black leather jacket red helmet Honda motorcycle still at large

witness accounts

Jess Delaney female 33 years of age race #2 (White) 6’ tight black pencil skirt white sleeveless undershirt no bra 3” heels blond ponytail “that squirting little **** deserves everything she got she lied told Stacy i’m a ***** i never cheated on Brittany i don’t understand we were all having a good time getting buzzed and dancing we should never have left Cactus Moon **** Kerrie thought some biker dude might be hanging around the Bandit hell maybe the Bandit was a biker bar once but now it’s just a college sink hole full of drunken frat boys when Monique flashed a little *** they went crazy cheering and buying us shots it just got out of hand never should have happened the way it happened Stacy didn’t mean to **** Brittany it’s ****** up i want to go home please let me go home”

Sabrina Starn female 29 years of age race #2 (White) 5’8” trendy corporate gray suit black pumps red shoulder length hair “i have to be at work at 8 AM Stacy was drunk out of control she gets crazy when she drinks Brittany was trash talking pushing all Stacy’s buttons then Stacy accused Brittany of sleeping with Monique and all hell broke loose i didn’t see what happened i was in the powder room it’s a terrible tragedy unfortunate accident can i please be released i need to sleep this is madness”

Kerrie Angeles female 27 years of age race #1 (Hispanic) 5’ 6” black pants white shirt black hair cut stylishly short silver crucifix around neck red fingernails “when we got to the Bashful Bandit i was ***** soaking between my legs thinking about a cowgirl at Cactus Moon ready to **** anyone i saw fantasized pulling a train with those frat boys Monique had been kind of quiet at Cactus Moon but when we got to the Bashful Bandit she lit up dancing wild unbuttoning her top jacket Sabrina went to the ladies room to snort coke with biker dude Kerrie wanted but he wasn’t into her then Brittany started saying crazy stuff accusing Stacy of stealing Monique from Jess Jessie goes through women heartlessly she doesn’t give a **** about Monique Jessie knows if she wants Monique back she can simply fiddle a finger my guess is Stacy is half way to Argentina she never meant to **** Brittany i’m going to miss her real bad she was a good kid”

Ann Skyler female 28 years of age race  #2 (White) 4’ 11’’ green white red Mexican peasant skirt black t-shirt black high-tops hair in messy bun “i’m confused i saw them dancing laughing grinding up against each other Rage Against the Machine came on then Nine Inch Nails the room felt quaking dizzy claustrophobic then they were pushing each other shoving yelling frat boys cheering the next thing i knew Brittany was supine on the floor blood pouring out maybe she just slipped hit her head i don’t know what to think i feel real sad confused sick to my stomach scared”

Monique Smithson female 24 years of age race # 3 (Black) 5’ 9” blue jeans jean jacket cowboy boots nose ring braided pigtails “Stacy had it in for Brittany from the start i saw it in her eyes at Cactus Moon she made several clever toxic remarks they snapped at each other i never thought it would escalate to ****** poor sweet Brittany was always so susceptible i was looking down adjusting my jeans over my boots when it happened i heard felt a big thump glanced up Brittany was lying there lifeless blood spilling everywhere Stacy ran out fast i heard her bike engine take off in a hurry”

Rodeo Drive Tucson

matt’s hats tom’s tools & tobacco lou’s liquors fred’s beds frank’s planks bill’s drills jane’s drains & panes chuck’s check cashing cheryl’s barrels hank’s tanks tina’s trucks & tractors walt’s asphalt sean’s pawn rick’s rifles mom’s guns terry’s tires charlie’s harleys rhonda’s hondas jim’s rims art’s parts gus’s gasoline mike’s bikes frank’s feed gwen’s pens ann’s cans nancy’s nursery joes‘s clothes jess’s dresses bert’s skirts steve’s sleeves paul’s shawls michelle’s shells & bells al’s pails & snails sam’s hams & jams patty’s pancakes phil’s chili don’s donuts betty’s spaghetti bob’s burgers alycia’s quiches jean’s beans jerry’s berries anna’s bananas andy’s candies cathy’s taffies tony’s ponies roy’s toys kim’s whims marty’s parties jill’s pills rick’s tricks alice’s palace debbie’s disposal dave’s graves

Quinta Waltz de Tucson

she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary efforts she dreams aches to create deeper discourse higher insight more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration instead she writes paperback television trash stupid inadequate answers to solemn questions she wonders if she is too scratched dented to find love her ******* are definitely changing she is deeply disturbed not ready for menopause too young for menopause she wants to remain a fertile woman with smooth skin wet ******

2

her neighbor Leslie awoke to horrible morning Leslie’s 6 chickens were assaulted overnight precious Mabel dragged off feathers everywhere trail down the street other hens cowering slumped together with wilted necks 3 of them with puncture wounds Leslie carried them one by one inside washed their wounds hugged them cried who did this terrible act a neglected abusive neighborhood cat or some desert predator why didn’t Leslie wake to sounds of savage marauding now this creature knows hen’s whereabouts when will it return for more massacre what modifications need to be enforced to ensure their coup before nightfall

3

she wants to remain a hen keep producing eggs does not want is not ready to enter the next **** stage of this **** existence it was fun being pretty for men inspiring them to say do whacky things she wants to remain a hen she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary attempts “Tucson square dance” (self-referential) ****** bit about Americans came through here last night in “Tucson 3-step” ****** "Rodeo Drive" tepid perhaps the pinot noir lowered her standards everything is becoming nothing she cannot sleep tosses turns thrashes sheets in humid heat of her lonesome bed is she is too scratched dented to find love she worries for Leslie

4

tomorrow is another day they say the rain will come last year’s monsoon never came the baking sun smothered her garden died one by one sleepless she will miss tomorrow’s pilates class the infrequent delightful chatty breakfast afterwards she dreams aches of deeper discourse higher insight with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration she crossed the line tonight her ******* are definitely changing

Tucson 666

he decides to shave eighth to quarter inch length salt and pepper beard a.k.a. unshaven look he has worn for years and grow full mustache the whiskers on his upper lip are darker with sparse gray at first no one notices after weeks the mustache gradually fills evoking many contrasting remarks several women loath it several men admire it girl at grocery store suggests he grow Fu Manchu so she can tug on it shopgirl says he looks like Charlie Chaplin downstairs neighbor from Turkey explains most Turkish men traditionally wear mustaches he read mustaches masculinize and empower men especially men in authoritative positions he thinks back to the 1960’s when many hippie males grew mustaches then in the 70’s gay men fashioned mustaches then in the 80’s cops adopted mustaches he wonders why a swatch of hair beneath nose is so provoking examines his visage in mirror discerns the mustache confers a Pepé le Pew quality or European accent to his appearance he remembers when he was young hippie with many amorous episodes how his mustache preserved the scent of a woman but there are no women in his life for many years do post-menopausal women possess scent? he feels indecisive whether to retain it or be rid of it

2

she observes her figure in mirror thinks to herself maybe her ******* are not changing perhaps it’s all in her head she inspects the little lines forming near her eyelids studies her features for signs of aging hardly any silver strands in long brown hair she examines neck ******* arms elbows fingers tummy hips pelvic region thighs knees shins calves ankles feet detects subtle changes thinks to herself my ******* are possibly slightly changing turned 40 in March married briefly in late teens no children a 15 year old dog beginning to suffer veterinarian promises to warn her when the time comes she wonders why it is so difficult finding fitting mate men sleep with her several times then move on maybe she is not such a great lover perhaps she would be better if one of them stuck around perhaps she is a lesbian the whole ide
Light your cigarette, then, in this shadow,
And talk to her, your arm engaged with hers.
Heavily over your heads the eaten maple
In the dead air of August strains and stirs.

Her stone-white face, in the lamp-light, turns toward you;
Darkly, with time-dark eyes, she questions you
Whether this universe is what she thinks it--
Simple and passionate and profound and true--

Or whether, as with a sound of dim disaster,
A plaintive music brought to a huddled fall,
Some ancient treachery slides through the heart of things--
The last star falling, seen from the utmost wall...

And you--what sinister, far, reserves of laughter,
What understandings, remote, perplexed, remain
Unguessed forever by her who is your victim--
Victim, of whom you too are victim again?

...Come! let us dance once more on the ancient asphalt:
Seeing, beneath its strange and recent shape,
The eternal horror of rock, from which, for ever,
We toss our tortured hands, to no escape.
Daisy Vallely Oct 2016
I baked your skin onto the asphalt with my oven eyes
Between Macdougal and Bleecker street
Where i first met you.
Everything gray reminds me of you.
I envisioned myself
Breaking into song and dance
With everybody down every cross road,
Belting a ballad of beauty and admiration
About what you and I once were.
I relived that moment when i cried,
“She’s really gone this time”...
Yet as much as i missed her,
all i did was sway in the traffic
Of business men and women
And homeless dogs and all those
Crazy jazz cats.
I stepped precisely on each crack
I swear i didn’t mean to break your back,
Or my word that bound us
As close as the moon and the sun.
A funny promise that made my nose
Shrivel up.
I lay on the hot asphalt between Macdougal and Bleecker street,
Heartless,
Dreaming of you to come back to me.


© 2016 D.M.V
Ryan Oct 2012
I just left your house and
counted the glowing, dotted lines
that passed by all too eagerly

The fluorescent paint
reflects the lights back to me
like the letter I passed to you
which you so hastily returned

A chipped away memory and
a winter kiss only dreamt of
finalize this draft of our
suspenseful novella

But I hear you have many of
these unfinished stories
pushed aside while you reread
the same old text
hoping that you can add to
the blank pages in the back

And while you study
those worn, yellow pages
you leave behind
a library of fortune
too late to discover

With a flick of the thumb
and a twist of the wrist
these missed adventures become
glowing embers on the asphalt
a fading memory in my rear-view mirror
DaSH the Hopeful Jul 2014
I wish I could give you this beautiful pain
   Its captivating to endure
        To watch it unfold inch by unbeatable inch


            Its long
    

            Makes you hard and callous
And makes you grovel in gravel begging for the end
     And it becomes a road
          A winding, twisting road that wraps around your throat

      A gorgeous asphyxiation blurs the smiles of the passengers in the cars on the asphalt
            
   And you blur into unreality
         The road ends

   The film in your head stops



And your left sitting unblinkingly...
Abstract Agony at its Finest
Seán Mac Falls Jan 2015
Dumpsters rain on lots,
Seagulls fly over asphalt,
  .  .  .  Ocean food waiting.
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
Tyler G Dec 2012
I am the shattered glass on your speckled floor. I am your blatant disregard; I am your car’s speedometer: the needle is well into the triple digits. I am the fresh rain on the old asphalt, the slick, frictionless surface between rubber and wet asphalt.
I am disease, destruction.
I am the spirit that breaks up families; I am a home wrecker. I am six years of marriage, a strong bond, destroyed. I am seventeen years, two houses, two marriages, two divorces. I destroy, I break, I mistreat, I use. I disobey.
I am apathy; “Who cares?” I am natural disasters, I plague your towns and ruin your ecosystems. I am global warming, holes in the Ozone; holes in your brain. I am ecstasy, euphoria, nostalgia; I am illicit substances. I am good, I am bad, right, wrong. I am “three lefts make a right”.
I am your daily struggle; your endeavors to abscond from conformity, from similarity, one-mindedness. Social destruction internally, from the people within. We eat away at our own regime, scouring for anyone different to spite them while we chew away and succumb to our own insanities while the nonconformists, the infidels, the rebels, the heretics, they stand by and watch you. We are different, but join together as one physically, and watch you, you mentally attached beings, destroy yourselves with your pretty clothes, expensive makeup and two door cars.
I resist, I defy, I am a renegade from the mental oneness. I have my personal oneness, and that’s what I am. I am one being, one soul, one complete set of organs, bones, tissues and veins, one sentient form. I am the laughter in your ears, the heckles from your classmates. You are your insecurity, I am your apathy.
This is my harangue, my lecture to society, my discourse of great unconcern. You all, you all one mental being whom cannot think for themselves until conjoined with someone as the same likeness. You cannot understand these words I repress your likeness mindfuck with. My apathy is wasted on the ignorant, the solitary conformation, the greedy mind ***** of this world; you longing to be like someone else. You want to fit in, and henceforth, my words have been squandered, left here on this domain to take up space, this viable invention carrying one more nonsensical harassment of the conformers. I am the freckles on your face, I am the birthmarks on your skin. I am the dandruff in your hair, the pimples on your face, the purity of your skin sans daily application of makeup to hide the imperfections that everyone has, that everyone knows about, the imperfections that you don’t want people to think you have. You wish to be a divine being, one without mistakes, from birth to death, your celestial life will be filled with lies that the conformers are force fed. They crave that. You all crave ***** lies, filthy gossip.
I am a loaded gun; I am the second amendment of this worthless country’s constitution. I am the Hemp paper it’s written on; the implausibilities of this country, this state of oneness, conforming. I am the embarrassment you seek to shun from your life. “Oh my God, dad, stop embarrassing me!” You are your phone bills, you are lethargy with regards to other humans’ emotions.
You lead the conformers; they aspire to be you. You shoot down the differences of the nonconformists. You dash individuality and support pop culture, a culture of mental oneness. You are your disgust and I am rewarded. You hate me because I’m not you, we are not connected through the same telepathic, social, daily mindfuck. We love that; I want you to hate me, because I am winning. I am winning your war against yourself. By being different, I have, unbeknownst to you, pitted that piece of your brain that has been unaffected by your grand scheme of oneness against yourself.
You are bemused, destroyed from within, yet you fight it, because you are connected with millions of others through one enormous mindfuck, like aliens. You all dress the same and have the same values. I am different. I am fine with walking alone, I know how to handle myself alone and I am not afraid to be alone. Point your pristine fingers at me, cover your mouths and giggle when I walk passed; those pristine fingertips will only seek to find the comfort of a cellphone or a keyboard - a reliable second option to your oneness. So go ahead, be the same children, live a robotic life of ignorance and wealth, go, live like kings and queens.
I am happy for who I am and where I’ve gotten because I am different, and you have yet to realize each time you ridicule me, shun me, disregard my absurd practices, you are defeating yourself; it makes me better. I am detached from you, from your continental mindfuck, your baiting fear of singularity, uniqueness. I am unique, different, single; I am also joined together of my own oneness, a oneness of will, of physical bonds between different people. I learn to adapt, to accept; you will botch the young, restless years of your life becoming one with everyone through mental bonds of instability, ignorance, of togetherness.
I am the strength which you lack and cannot learn. I am what I want and there is no feasible way for me to lose faith, my individuality. Point your fingers at me; you are defeating yourself.
Richard Matheson Jul 2014
I don't know which direction is up
appalled at my own circumstances,
retreating back into my self and floating.

When trapped between the asphalt and the stars above is it better
to spread your arms and legs, waiting for the stars to take you up

to Heaven

or push your fists into the asphalt, melting from the heat of the stars above
and steel yourself

for Hell?
Ian Cairns Jan 2014
I have these scars on my elbows
They're from a long time ago
And I never really appreciated their protrusion until now
Pretending to prefer unblemished skin
But when I was 10 and still believed in Superman
I had a tendency to ride my bike with stuntman speed
Forgetting about the frivolous concerns that consumed me
Hoping my kryptonite never crept up from underneath sidewalk bumps
Flipping my ambition over handlebars
Leaving the pieces of my reflections painted crimson along the asphalt
Scattered like hand-picked petals of an ill-advised ascetic
I am me, I am not, I am me, I am not
So I always wore my helmet as a precautionary measure
It contained my thoughts from running straight through my skull
And becoming neighbors with the pavement
But I never wore my elbow pads
They collected dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
I improved my flexibility while losing some skin
And that was a trade off I was willing to make at the time
I finally felt alive
I was invincible on my bicycle
The sidewalk my only bully
The summer breeze my only friend
And at the time I never realized what it meant to be vulnerable
But those bike rides were the closest I would get
I was fixated on fitting in around my classmates
Accumulating fake friends by
Ripping insincerities out of my esophagus
And stapling them to my forehead
I stole my own identity
Morphing my puzzle piece and jamming it into the jigsaw
Claiming to be the missing link everyone was searching for
But what am I searching for?

I was lost on my own yellow brick road
I had two left feet and no right way to go
I stopped dead in my tracks
Hoping the soles of my feet would soak in the golden stones while
Singing Dorothy's hymn like spoken sin
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in
I just want to fit in

Wondering if that was loud enough for Oz to hear me
I didn't have any magic slippers
And this situation was twisting towards witchcraft
I'm not even sure Oz can help me
You see these requests were a tall order for a tiny man
Who wore masks just like me
Oz and I were anonymous
Oz and I were synonymous
Using smoke and mirror tactics to terrorize the innocent
When in reality we were only playing tricks on ourselves
Hiding behind perfectly sculpted ****** expressions
And make-believe manuscripts
Doing basic impressions of manufactured mannequins
Out in the real world
I really needed to speak with the Scarecrow
The Tinman, the Lion, and Dorothy too
And investigate their stresses with relentless pursuit

The Scarecrow would tell me
Wisdom is wasteful for those
Without a strong appetite for improvement
But sometimes common sense can lead
The most sensible person astray
The Tinman would tell me
Compassion is constructed for
Tender hands to hold
But sometimes empathy can leave
The most charitable person betrayed
The Lion would tell me
Courage can be critical in
Times of distress
But sometimes vulnerability can make
The most sensitive person brave
And Dorothy would tell me
Home is paradise
Wrapped in picket fences
But sometimes a terrifying trip can bring
The most wary person escape
And suddenly it would occur to me
That strengths are just solid scars
We have confidence to display on our sleeves
And perfection can only permeate the souls willing to recognize
That faults shine golden too
So from here on out I'm placing my masks alongside my elbow pads
Both collecting dust beside the waste bin
Replacing security for sincerity
Finally embracing the scars on my skin
Now that is a trade off I'm willing to make
Because I want to feel alive again
Brian Oarr Aug 2014
Time alone is the ultimate conqueror.
It wears down great men and empires alike.
So too it withers the wildflower;
all break before Aggressor-Time.

The hot sun burns into my turned back.
I thought I'd taste the asphalt for a while.
A begging thumb moves faster than a running fool,
but the sun has baked the asphalt to my feet.

Every northern town worn down by Aggressor-Time
awaits the final blown of urban renewal;
and pop-art will decorate the city streets,
where Aggressor-Time has chosen to leave a slum.

Still, the taste of asphalt and the smell of gasoline
carry me beyond these thoughts
and I run from Time, that sadist,
a shimmering mirage just down the highway.

Resting at night, there's always a bar
and a girl upon a stool, who'll listen for a drink.
Kiss her, love her, then run with the dawning sun.
Beware!  For Time creeps up on you at night.

Broad expanses are diminished by the asphalt,
so too your memories lurking in the forests.
But that which you left behind awaits you,
Time, like the rings of Saturn, has no end.

Savor your victory Aggressor-Time!
Your pestle has ground down mind and body,
only calcified bone left in the mortar,
that futilely defied your crushing weight.
A Simillacrum Jan 2019
Have you seen me?
I'm missing.

In a little town,
that I've been around,
I've found the one
and only hole in hundreds
leading to a separate world
below.

Asphalt and all,
cold hearts,
nearly bare feet travel lengthy
streets, small in complaint.

Asphalt and all,
dead brains,
nearly there, but wrapped in
politic, fighting over what's real.

Have you seen me?
Apparently, I'm gone with no reason.

I've been around.
Everything is strange lines coming
out of nowhere, taking root as patterns,
meaning what you make it.

Asphalt and all,
**** brains,
nowhere near, but covered
in politic, fighting over what's real.
-- but I'm alive.

They can fight me.
-- but I'm alive.
All your brains can fight me,
fight their eyes.
They can fight me.
All they want to fight.
They can fight me.
-- but I'm alive.
                 I'm alive.
                       I'm alive.
                             I'm alive.

Fight me.
I'm smoking ****,
diving into dreams,
barely leaving my house.
Come on, *****, fight me.
If your heart does so explode,
when your eyes cast sight on what you know
is abominable, then come and arson these
paper walls with me inside.
Fight me. Take the life.

-- but I existed.
                 I existed.
                       I existed.
I take solace knowing that by living at all,
I've angered people.
That's, hilarious.
Tom McCone Mar 2014
dunedin. friday, three, afternoon.
set from home under a blue sky
with full& prepared pack,
a somewhat empty stomach,
and a necessity to get away from the city.
hiking boots tread asphalt down to the depot,
where, in thirty-seven minutes punctuated
by plastic seats grafted to a wall
and a mildly disjunct group of small or
big-time travellers, the naked bus
pulled in, a hematite centipede
crawling into the lot. it was a bus,
no complaints. all others' bags
stowed, twenty seven bucks outta pocket
and swung into the front-right-window seat,
bid a farewell to the beat-down
pub across the road and onto the one-way
merging into a highway and outta
town the dark bug skittered, on
schedule or something resembling it.
behind the driver, the sun came through
around the beam in the window. warm patterns
laid on skin, the countryside's broad expanse:

cylindrical bales of hay scattered about
paddocks, dark late-autumn florets of flax
on roadsides, plumes of white smoke from
bonfires in townships as small as a thumbnail,
hedgelines of eucalyptus, pine; russet streaks
through bark of single gum trees stood
off-centre in fields. sticky-wooded hillsides
punctured by fire breaks roll almost forever
and back. the rushing sound of passing cars
through the 3/4-golden ratio of the driver's
ajar window; twenty-first century mansions
verging on out-of-place. saplings emerging,
bracketed, through verdant grass patches.
museum abbatoirs. toitoi like hen's plumage
lining drainage ditches. another Elizabeth st-
(how many could be counted out by now?) tidy
front yards and milton liquorland through this
small town. an everpresent tilting sun. fields
of flowered nettle. s-bends through pancake layers
of hills. a delapidated gravel quarry at stony
creek. deer farms, sheep farms, bovine farms, alpaca
farms (favourite); another bonfire seen down a
long gulley; a power substation, all organized
tangles. a two-four 300m before the bridge into


balclutha. 4.40pm.
across the road into the i-site
two friendly ladies circle locations
to make (got a car) or try to make (on foot),
offering a ride in half an hour,
leave it to chance.
across another road, drifter's emporium
(that's the name, no joke) got a knife
to open up cans- bought no cans, brought
no cans, still nice to have one anyway.
down the road, 200ml from unichem, waste
no time, turn ninety degrees, cross a
railway, then outta town in a sec. first
photo: half highway, half clutha river. fine
shot. sit down, watch the water couple mins,
head down the road. red-black ferns radiate
under willows down the riverbank. metal
bumper-bars keep legs on, the road rolls
gentle turns, diverges from the river. stick
to the former, faster that way. no intentions
of hitching. just wanna walk. and walk. and
walk. guy yells out a car window. envy,
likely. who cares. apple tree hangs over
a dry ditch. pick a small one, gone in
a minute. probably ain't sprayed. been
eating ice-cream dinners more often'n
not the last coupla weeks- isn't much
the stomach won't or can't handle anymore,
anyway.

odours of decay from the freezing works.
seagulls sound out nearby.
typical.

down the road, the reek of death fades
out. back to grass. sit in some of the
tall stuff, under a spindly tree. put down
some ink, a handful of asst. nuts. 'bout
thirteen fingers of daylight left. no idea
if the coast is further than that. little
care. down the road the land flattens out,
decent sign. the junction was a fair bit
past reckoned, though. flipped a chunk
of bark (too lazy to get a coin out) to
figure whether the coast was worth it. bark
said no, went out anyway. gotta see the sea,
keeps you sane. past a lush native
acre or two- some lucky ******'s front lawn-
changed mentality, slung out a thumb (first
time). beginner's luck, kid straight outta
seventh form pulls over in a mustard-yellow
*******' kinda beach-van. was headin' out
to the coast, funnily enough. had been up
in raglan (surf central, nz), back down with
the 'rents now, though. out kaka point, only
one of his age, he reckoned, no schoolhouse
there, just olds. was going to surf academy,
pretty apt. little envious.

the plains spread out and out, ocean just
rose up out of a field. there's nothing
more perfect. gentle waves stroke the sands,
houses stare intently out at the mingling of
blues. one cloud hovers so far away it doesn't
even exist. down the other end of kaka point,
back on solid ground, walking into a gorge, laments
about not choosing the coastal route. but owaka
is the new destination, bout 11ks, give or take
(5ks later, sign says another 15.. some give). nothing
coulda beat that sight anyway, stepping outta
a van onto that pristine beach.

entry: gorge route to owaka. seven.
late light painted the tops of hills absolute
gold. thought maybe this way ain't so bad. beside a
converging valley, phone got enough reception
for dad to get through. said in balclutha coulda
got a room with a colleague. too far out now. lost
him in the middle of a sentence about camera film.
surprised to have even got that far. road wound
troughlike through the bottom of the gorge, became
parallel to a cute little stream. climbed down chickenwire
holding the road in place, ****** in it (had to).
clambered back up, continued walking as the occasional
campervan rolled on by. took a photo of the sun perched
on a hilltop, sent it to mel. dunno why. anxieties
over the perfect sunrise picture came frequently,
a goal become turmoil. the gorge flattened out,
and soon in countryside my fears allayed. round
a corner in picturesque nowhere, found my shot.
sat in long grass. stole it. sighed. ate a handful
of nuts. moved on. {about eight}

dark consumed the surrounding gentle-rolling hills,
nowhere near owaka, which was probably the tiny bundle
of lights nestling a little below the foot of a
mountain in the distance (not too far off, in
reality). near the turnoff to surat bay (was heading
there, plans change) a ute honks. taken as friendly.
a right turn instead of a left, farmsteads lit
up in fireplace tones, the sound cows make at
dusk. it got colder. would one jersey be sufficient?
hoepfully. stars began pinpricking the royal blues of the
night sky in its opening hues. eight-fourty-ish slugged
back about 3/4 of the syrup, along with half of a box
of fruit medley (so **** delicious), in light of dull
calf aches becoming increasingly apparent. needed
to walk a helluva lot more. ain't one for lettin'
nothing get in the way of that. lights in the distance
became the entry sign for a camp-site. no interest,
head on. past another farmhouse, stars came out in
packs. three cows upon a slight hilltop. next junction
pulled left a good eighty degrees and was on the
straight to owaka. less than two minutes later,
a dog-ute pulled to a halt and offers up a ride down
most of the stretch. didn't say no.

still stable, as two pig-hunters tell
of their drive back from picking up a couple
pig-dogs somewhere north. they were heading
out bush to shoot, thought they'd seen
another guy they'd picked up a couple weeks
ago, who'd taken 'em out somewhere they
couldn't remember. paranoia grips, but
the lads are fairly innocuous. they say it's
dangerous out here, gotta be ballsy walking
middle of the night, no gun, no dog,
all by yourself. wasn't worried, got nothing
to lose anyway (still, this sets helluva
mood). by a turnoff a k outta owaka, dropped
off. said probably all that'll be open there
is a pub, if that. bid luck and set their way.
above, the whole sky is covered with shining
glitter. down a dip and turn, **** in the
middle of the road. an ominous sign indicating
the outskirts of

owaka. approximately 9.40pm

my head loosens as i approach. the lights
form across a small valley i can't verify
exists or not between dog barks i mistake
for the yells of drunkards and lights
pirouetting from cars behind me. i slow
down i don't want to do this.

owaka is terrifying. plastic.

the street corners thud like cardboard. i
walk past a garden of teapots, a computer
screen inside the house glares through the
window pane bending breathing outward. there
is nobody here, still there is a feeling
like there's people everywhere, flocking
in shadows. a silhouette moving in a
distant cafe doorway. the sound of teeth,
of darkness fallen. thick russian tones
sound from a shelf of a motel. eyes
everywhere, mostly mine. i stop only round
a bend and down near a police station, yet
feeling no more safe, sitting in a gutter to
send mel my plans, to tell myself my plans.
i want to be nowhere again. i am soon nowhere.


out of breath, out the other end of owaka,
the sick streetlights fade into comforting
dark nestled between bunches of indistinct
treelines. the feeling of safety lasts but
twenty minutes, where another dip in the
road leads through a patch of bush, in which
gunshots ring periodically and laughter and
barking rings through. breaking down, it takes
five minutes to resolve and keep going. ain't
got nothing to lose, anyway. boots squeak like
diseased hinges all down the road. hadn't
noticed beforehand, the only thing noticed
now. an impending doom hangs thick like fog,
the thought of being strung up like an
underweight hog. walking faster and
not much quieter, the other side of the
bush couldn't have come sooner. the fear
lasts until the gunshots are distant nothing.
still alive, still out of breath, still
fairly ****** up, there's no comfort like the
sound of nothing but the occasional insect's
chirp. vestiges of still water came around
a corner and just kept coming as the golden
moon sung serenity all over. finally, a peace
came to rest over the landscape. sitting by
the road with a clear view of the moon's light
sheathed in the waters, the stars above wreath
a cirrus eye to watch over the marshland
plants leading into the placid waters of

catlins lake, west. ten fifty-one.
crossing a one-way bridge over a river winding
its way into the lake, another turning point
decision arose: continue down the highway
along the river, or head straight out and
toward the coast again. having resolved to
make it to a waterfall by dawn, and the latter
offering a possibility of this, the decision
made itself. turning back around the other side
of the lake, the road wound a couple times
up a gentle ***** out and up from the valley
at the tail of the lake, and into a slightly
more elevated valley. the country roads ran
easily and smooth, paved roughly but solid.
not a car came by for kilometers at a time.
lay on the road past a turnoff for quarter
of an hour letting serenity wash over, the
hills miniscule in comparison to home, the
sky motionless, massive thin halo about the
moon. walking on, night-birds called from
time to time (no moreporks, though. not until
dawn), figuring out how to whistle them back.
a turnoff to purakaunui bay strongly
considered and ultimately ignored; retrospectively
a great call, considering the size of the detour.
hedgerows of macrocarpa, limbs clearly cut
haphazard where once they'd hung over the
road. occasional 4wd passing, always a 4wd,
be it flash new or trusty old. you'd need
one out here. have no fun, otherwise.
monolithic pine-ish hedge bushes, squatting
giants. once, a glimmering in the sky, a
plane from queenstown (assumedly) almost
way too far to make out. the colossus of
the one human-shaped shadow cast down
from the moon to my boots. how small
a thing in this place. swamped out by
the beauty of this neverending valley.
breathless.

the road turned, not quite a hairpin,
but not entirely bluntly, a welcome
break from the straight or gentle
sway, and five minutes turned to dirt.
had to lay down again- legs screaming
by this point for rest. still, they
had nothing against pressing on. dad
taught me to just keep going. that's
the thing about walking. stop for a
little bit and you're good to go
again. pushing for the fall was probably
overkill, but no worry now. dirt road
felt so right after a good 20+ks of
asphalt, only infrequently punctuated
by roadside moss or thin grass. it
was as if beginning again (well,
kinda, if only with as much energy).
having downed only a litre of water
(leaving only half a litre more), a
litre of fruit juice and about 100
grams of assorted nuts since more
than twelve hours ago by this point,
it should have been a shock to
still be going by this point. don't
really need that much anyway, though.
gone on less for longer. hydration,
anyway, was the least of all worries,
the air being thick with water, ground
fog having been laid down hours ago.

up the dirt track, more cows. they make strange
sounds at night. didn't know anything yet,
though. that's still to come. a ute swang past
going the other way, indiscriminate hollers
from the passenger-side window. waved back
cheerily. so far from anything to be anything
but upbeat now. not even the heavy shroud of
tiredness could touch that, yet. the track wound
on forever. was stopping every half-kilometer
to stand and stretch, warding off the oncoming
aches. the onset was unwieldy, though. didn't
have long. past a B&B;, wondered whether anyone
actually ever stayed there (surely would, who'd
not revisit this place over and over once they'd
discovered it?)- certainly would've, having the
cash (apparently parts of "lion, witch and the
wardrobe" were filmed here. huh). further on, the
road turned back to seal, unfortunately, but
with small promise- surely, at least fairly
close by this point. turning a corner, a small
and infinitely beautiful indent against the bush,
a small paddock bunched up against it, stream
wound against the bases of trees, all lit by
the clear tones of a now unswathed moon, sat
aside the road. it was distilled perfection.
it was too much, just had to keep goin' or
risk shattering that image. next turn was
a set of DOC toilets, an excellent sign. must be
basically sitting on the path entry now. searched
all 'round the back for it, up the road, nothing.
not entirely despondent but bewildered, moved
forward and found a signpost. the falls were now
behind? turned around and searched even more
thoroughly, quiet hope turning to desperation
by the silent light of the moon. finally,
straight across the road from the toilets,
was the green and gold sign, cloaked in
darkness under clustering trees, professing
a ten-minute bushwalk to the

purakaunui falls. saturday. 1.32 am.**
venturing into the bush by the dull light
of a screen of a dying phone, the breeze
made small movements through the canopy. it
couldn't have been any more tranquil. edging
way through the winding cliffish track through
dense brush, the sound of a trickling stream
engorged into a lush symphony of water. crossing
a single-sided bridge across an unseeable chasm,
twinkling from the ferns behind became apparent.
turning off the dull light, the tiny neon bulbs of
glow-worms littered the dirt wall risen up about
half a metre, where the track had been cut out.
my heart soared. all heights of beauty come
together. continuing down the path, glow-worms
litter the surroundings and the rushing of
water comes to a roar. at a look-out platform
above the falls, nothing can be seen save a
slight glisten. down perilous steps (wouldn't
be too bad if you could actually see 'em) the
final viewing platform lay at level with the
bottom of the falls. they stood like a statue
in the dark, winding trails of thin white wash
through the shadows hung under trees. left
speechless from something hardly made out, turned
around and back up the stairs to where the
glowing dots seemed their most concentrated.
into the ferns above, clambered through and
around moss-painted tree trunks and came to rest
a couple hundred metres from the trail, under
a fern, under a rata. packed everything but
a blanket from nan into the bag, laid it out
on curled leaf litter and folded up into it,
feet too sore to remove 'em from boots, curling
knees up into the blanket and tucking a hand
between 'em to keep it warm. only face and
ankles exposed, watched the moon's light trickle
through canopy layers for a few hours, readjusting
tendons in legs as they came to ache. sleep (or
something resembling it) set in, somewhere
around four.

some time slightly before six, the realisation
that my legs had extended and become so cold that
they'd started cramping all the way through hit,
coupled with the sounds coming through the bush.
thank you, if you made it all the way through :>
JAC Jun 2017
Now I'll walk down that grubby old road, the same one I'd always run through when I was happy to go home, when I was free enough to be inspired by the expanse of greyed-out asphalt that led me home or away, and I'll feel nothing. I've never liked the word "nothing", because it was a useless answer to any question and a waste of a loaded word. Nonetheless, that was undoubtedly what it felt like, sliding my shoes across the pebbles, litter and pollution coating the aging path toward what used to feel like my home. Now it, and this asphalt, was a sort of limbo - a space I inhabited between paychecks and numbing social catastrophes, the place at which my deliveries of obliviously impersonal mail were dumped. When you find yourself lost (ha) in the standard crises you know every human being has tasted in one way or another, it feels juvenile, childish, frivolous. But we feel that way anyway.
Not really a poem, but then again, we can probably get away with anything here.
emily mikkelsen Apr 2017
between the concrete river
& the park where the bums share a bottle
wrapped in a brown paper sack,

there is a cul-de-sac of plastic houses
holding hands & sharing manicured lawns
wooden cars that don't even make any smoke
drive down gray asphalt streets.

fathers that tell mothers they have jobs
wear down street corners sharing beers with the bums,
like they already are one.

all these paper families rubbing shoulders
until everyone has paper cuts.
going home to dinner around a table full of paper love.

suburbia is flimsy
paper towns shining white
smiling neighbors & shared lawns
paper people slowly falling apart.

couples with their tongues down each other's throats,
midnight in supermarket parking lots
dribbling beer in the backseat
they bought off the bums.  

they say,
I love you, I love you, I love you.
until she leaves for a paper husband
& he leaves for a paper wife.

now they live on two separate cul-de-sacs
with the same cutout love,
as the parents they despised.

& when they have kids one day
they will tell them
never kiss before driving,
never befriend bums,
or guzzle cheap beer in backseats,
or on park swings.
& never settle for a paper husband
or a paper wife.


remembering the love
that was flimsy,
but never paper.

100,000 miles away from where they grew up
& 3,000 miles away from each other
3 kids each & plastic houses
rubbing shoulders & sharing lawns

living in a paper thin suberbia
chafing under their paper love.
inspired by "Paper Towns" by John Green
Irena Aug 2018
Not a single sharp sound
of high heels on the wet
crossroads
Just the dark
and nothing more

The passion that evaporates
from the city streets
sticks on the accidental passerbys
The asphalt holds secrets
More than this night
More than this dark

Silence,
Dead,barren silence
A grave,ominous silence
Inbetween these walls
beauty becomes as death
Inbetween these walls
pain plays distant music
that slowly lures all the gods of chaos
to lay down on these beds
In a moment
all turns into a weary cry
of a cut throat
A fare-well to the soul that
has just begun to travel

The asphalt holds secrets
This sticky asphalt hold secrets
More than the night
More than this dark

Tell me
How much would you pay
for a single little
rhapsody
placed in your heart
How much would you sacrifice
for the lips that would
waken from the marble stupor
from time to time
Would you sell yourself

Awake
There's silence screaming
outside
A dead,barren silence
Grave,ominous silence

Do not destroy the cult of chaos
that I've bought from the
dead wanderer
From the dead demon outside
my threshold

I don't need to hear
the sound of the raging
sea waves
to know that the sea is close
I carry the sea in my eyes,
but my sea is a slave of this dark
Now it rests under my eye-lids

Bridges
Across my sealed windows
I see bridges of no significance
There is nowhere to go
There is nothing to cross

The asphalt holds secrets
More than the night
More than this dark  
The passion that evaporates
from the city streets
sticks on the accidental passrebys

Inbetween these walls
there's the cry of an unborn child
A white little angel
that carries a message-
we're not forgotten
It lives and dies in a moment

And there's silence again
A dead,barren silence
A grave,omnious silence
Here beauty becomes what death is
Here pain plays silent music

We lay naked on these beds
For a moment,
there shines a line in your eyes
that merges the two distant horizons
And I know that you feel
that in that thin line
There's so much life and destiny
So much of your life
For a moment
And then there's the dark again
And theer's the silence again

Not a single sound of heels on the
wet crossroads
Tell me
How much would you pay for me
to end this charmed circle
in which we are the centre
the only motion
What would you sacrifice
for ten pale fingers
that would dance vividly  upon you
From time to time
Would you sell yourself

We lay naked on these beds
But I do not feel you next to me
There's just this absent scent
as gentle as the Sahara snow
And there's silence screaming
from the outside
A dead,barren silence
A grave,ominous silence
Jedd Ong Jul 2014
Porous asphalt,
And bandaged, quilt
Homes puncture the
Neighborhood,
Which reads like a tattered
American flag; all
Coke Ads and weight loss
Billboards,

Half-burnt houses slant,
Like the hills of San Francisco—
Our own makeshift cable
Carts, limping up
And down the inclines.

We are slowly being burned
By our once golden sun—
Having been taught to
Bleach ourselves
Pale, tucked shamefully
In the shade.

Makeshift shanty towns
Which smell of mildew
And processed laundry soap,
Flimsy tin roofs
Tied with Kleenex and
Pizza Hut tarpaulins.

The fact that this neighborhood
Was christened "Freedom"
Strikes an empty pang.
Guilty.
Sky Feb 26
the rain makes the asphalt look sad and pregnant.

i turn my head for one moment and a lonely 7 train skitters by, barely grazing my left ear. i close my eyes. i close my eyes because if you look, you get sad and that's how you lose. so i look down at my feet at the soft, shimmering asphalt instead

and i watch the train through the asphalt. it torpedoes by, one silver frame at a time, like a silent film still bobbing around in its chemical bath. i continue to watch, from a safe distance.

(its like looking out the window at the cars zooming by. its all fun and safe until you reach your hand out a bit too far and the next thing you know, some ******* car up and runs away with it.
its like marriage.)

except im in college and the wheels of the train never quite touch the ground, but hover, hover over like some kind of homeless intoxicated guardian angel stranded in a sprawling urban desert.

(he lies on top a one of those BigBellys, lies on his stomach, sandaled feet dangling just inches from the ground. blink blink, goes the BigBelly. Gabriel groans,
incomprehensible muttering)

and the train throws bleachy yellow squares of light throw themselves onto upon the pregnant asphalt in fits of just destructive laughter and when they hit the ground by that time they're already hugging themselves, hugging and shaking all over like fuuuuuuck, it's sooo cold in here (in my body!) each one of em murmuring in a foreign tongue about how someone keepzon etching street names into the bathroom walls

Thayer and Broadway at 3AM on a Wednesday morning is someone's oasis, mine for as long as i stand here, my mind stumbling back n forth from one airpod to the other as i feel like im sinking down, down into the soft squishy asphalt wit the weight of my backpack making my shoulders touch the floor wit my bleachy yellow head dangling from my neck as i blink needily / cravingly / searchingly at a sidewalk that stares back at me with the most deadest honest (to godest) blankest expression i ever seen on a no-body

and when i look into its eyes i can see myself but im standing in the  middle of Times Square and -- hey -- everythings looking up! but it cant be me because im here at Thayer and Broadway dangling my head and angling it AWAY from the passing train because if you look, you get sad, you think of home, and when you think of home, thats when you really know you've lost, not sure what but you've lost and you probably cant even actually go home after youve lost because, well, mother**** it you've lost and life just likes to call you a cuck and hit you in the throat like that

but i wouldn't know, i haven't gotten that far yet
here i am standing at the intersection of Thayer and Waterman. the rain glistens on the deserted streets and it's beautiful, but really, all i want to do is go home.
mark john junor Feb 2014
the asphalt solution bears no fruit
and it wears on my already threadbare sneakers
i hobble a shifting house out of the rubble
but its paint is chipped and its metal worn
so there's little doubt that it'll never last
there's no roadmap and doubts are abundant
but no there's nothing to go back to
lets lets plunder on into the wild blue
so we three poor-boys set out to see the kingdom

the asphalt asphyxiation
and somewhere near at hand
a mechanical voice mutters an anthology of misgivings
the door is ajar...the door is ajar.....
we can do little but count blessings
and covet the coin another man carries
cause they are morally bankrupt and socially diseased
the asphalt solution near at hand
i step sore foot to road
but am stopped by the rolling of thunder
crashing of wave or was it of naive

somebody gotta save poor-boys like me from ourselfs
the knightess in shining armour rides in on her trusty steed
her quick wit makes short work of dragons and trolls
to save the kingdom and the poor-boys alike
for the world needs more women superhero's like her
a knightess in shining armour
with sensible shoes
wicked ways no more she says
go home to your woman and be at peace sillyhead

so put sore foot to road and tread my way
back on to safe and sound
the asphalt solution get put away
after all the only road i wish to see
leads me right back to my happy little florida home
my woman and my cat waiting on me
a hobbled home knitted by a midnight thief's slippery hand
a knitted life stitched by the memory foam of bad dreams
cup your head to your woman's soft features
your gonna be all right kiddo
i swear on a stack of comic books
about women superhero's
Dustin Wills Aug 2012
I think my mom's a homophobe
I think this because she said broken truths when I told her about homecoming
I told her about the girl with soft lips and small hands that fit perfectly with mine
But I just called her Haley

I had new words she told me
They suspiciously matched my schools words
Freak abomination loser
I now wonder if they were talking on the sidelines

I know
I'm supposed to love my mom
But do I still have to
If she hated me first?

She praised the all loving god onto me
Telling me his love was a lie
And I was going with the sinners
To the place where they drink fire *****

I think my mom's a homophobe
I text my religious cousin
Does God love everyone
Undoubtedly because you are perfect to Him

Then why does my mom hate me?
She made me get on my knees and pray
Pray a prayer I hope goes unanswered
By those who I think aren't even there

I think my mom's a homophobe
I know I'm supposed to love my mother
But how can I
If I don't even know how to love myself?

Every
What is that
You're such a waste
It can be cured

Like a snake on the asphalt basking in the hate
Until the asphalt is the road and I am run over by
Self pity. Self Hatrid. Self Absorbed.

Yes **** the terrorists
**** the rapists
**** the robbers
and the muggers

**** them all
Because who I love
Is more important
Me, I'm in dire need of your opinion

Mirrors don't line my eyes up anymore
I think they forgot where to put them
Because I forgot
Where to look

Looking only at the negative
Going on suicide boards
Instead of
Love boards

Why am I the one being subjected to evil
When I am only trying to love
Being hated for only
Loving

Mirror mirror on the wall
Who is the prettiest of them all
My lover is the one I see
Her soft lips and small hands

I think my moms a homophobe
And I don't know how to breath anymore
Kush Jul 2016
Sitting in my red Lambo
the wind breathing down our backs like a perve
I look to my right after working up the nerve
She's sipping that malt like nobody's business
Her hellcat smile barely containing a playful tongue
Funny, I never thought I'd be jealous of a straw

My Ray Bans refract the setting Sun's spit onto her shades
We play tag with it before tossing the light through the windshield
Doctor Dusk gave us the full dosage
The tires grind on the gravel of our asphalt Neverland
I Peter Panic when she sheds her masquerade
She's got stunning mocha eyes frosted with truthful lies
I see her spirit phasing into my chest
A pair of luscious lips giving my heart a crimson kiss

She tells me I carry the scent of leather and sorrow on my sin
On hers, I discern daddy issues and untapped sin

The girl's as broken as I am

Sure, I might occasionally be smarmy and sick
by no means, though, a consistent ****
Her giggles wash all the bad days away
so my Lucifer impressions melts her ears with a

*"Baby, wanna play?"
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphant­asmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasma­lphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalpha­ntasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantas­malphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalp­hantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphant­asmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasma­lphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalpha­ntasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalphantas­malphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phantasmalp­hantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal
phant­asmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmal­
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphan­tasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasm­alphantasmal
phantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalphantasmalph­antasmalphantasmal
                                  Asphalt Man
                                  Phantasm La
                                  Shaman Plat
                                  Asthma Plan
****** Hast
****** Hats
****** Shat
Napalms Hat
Plasma Than
Sampan Halt
Sampan Lath
                                                            ­        Manta Plash
                                                           ­         A Plasma Nth
                                                             ­       A Ham Plants
                                                          ­          A Hams Plant
A Mash Plant
A Sham Plant
A Maths Plan
A Math Plans
A Than Palms
A Than Lamps
A Than Psalm
Aha Plant Ms
Alpha Tan Ms
Alpha Ant Ms
Lama Pas Nth
Lama Asp Nth
Lama Spa Nth
Lama Sap Nth
Lamas Pa Nth
**** Path Ms
**** Phat Ms
Natal Hap Ms
Alas Amp Nth
Alas Map Nth
Ha Lam Pants
Ha Palm Tans
Ha Palm Ants
Ha Lamp Tans
Ha Lamp Ants
Ha Palms Tan
Ha Palms Ant
Ha Lamps Tan
Ha Lamps Ant
Ha Psalm Tan
Ha Psalm Ant
Ha Lams Pant
Ha Alms Pant
Ha Slam Pant
Ha Malts Nap
Ha Malts Pan
Ha Malt Pans
Ha Malt Snap
Ha Malt Naps
Ha Malt Span
Ha Plan Tams
Ha Plan Mast
Ha Plan Mats
Ha Plans Tam
Ha Plans Mat
                               Ha Plants Ma
Ha Plants Am
Ha Plant Sam
Ha Plant Mas
                               Ha Slant Amp
Ha Slant Map
Ha Splat Man
Ha Plats Man
                               Ha Plat Mans
Ah Lam Pants
Ah Palm Tans
Ah Palm Ants
Ah Lamp Tans
Ah Lamp Ants
Ah Palms Tan
Ah Palms Ant
Ah Lamps Tan
Ah Lamps Ant
Ah Psalm Tan
Ah Psalm Ant
Ah Lams Pant
Ah Alms Pant
Ah Slam Pant
Ah Malts Nap
Ah Malts Pan
Ah Malt Pans
Ah Malt Snap
Ah Malt Naps
Ah Malt Span
Ah Plan Tams
Ah Plan Mast
  Ah Plan Mats
   Ah Plans Tam
    Ah Plans Mat
     Ah Plants Ma
      Ah Plants Am
       Ah Plant Sam
        Ah Plant Mas
         Ah Slant Amp
          Ah Slant Map
           Ah Splat Man
            Ah Plats Man
             Ah Plat Mans
              Plash Ma Tan
Plash Ma Ant
Plash Am Tan
Plash Am Ant
Plash Man At
Plash Tam An
Plash Mat An
Lash Ma Pant
Lash Am Pant
Lash Man Tap
Lash Man Apt
Lash Man Pat
Lash Amp Tan
Lash Amp Ant
Lash Map Tan
Lash Map Ant
Lash Tamp An
Lash Tam Nap
Lash Tam Pan
Lash Mat Nap
Lash Mat Pan
Laths Ma Nap
Laths Ma Pan
Laths Am Nap
Laths Am Pan
Laths Man Pa
Laths Amp An
Laths Map An
Halts Ma Nap
Halts Ma Pan
Halts Am Nap
Halts Am Pan
Halts Man Pa
Halts Amp An
Halts Map An
Shalt Ma Nap
Shalt Ma Pan
Shalt Am Nap
Shalt Am Pan
Shalt Man Pa
Shalt Amp An
Shalt Map An
Halt Ma Pans
Halt Ma Snap
Halt Ma Naps
Halt Ma Span
Halt Am Pans
Halt Am Snap
Halt Am Naps
Halt Am Span
Halt Man Pas
Halt Man Asp
Halt Man Spa
Halt Man Sap
Halt Mans Pa
Halt Amp San
Halt Map San
Halt Maps An
Halt Amps An
Halt Sam Nap
Halt Sam Pan
Halt Mas Nap
Halt Mas Pan
Lath Ma Pans
Lath Ma Snap
Lath Ma Naps
Lath Ma Span
Lath Am Pans
Lath Am Snap
Lath Am Naps
Lath Am Span
Lath Man Pas
Lath Man Asp
Lath Man Spa
Lath Man Sap
Lath Mans Pa
Lath Amp San
Lath Map San
Lath Maps An
Lath Amps An
Lath Sam Nap
Lath Sam Pan
Lath Mas Nap
Lath Mas Pan
Ham La Pants
Ham Plan Sat
Ham Plans At
Ham Plant As
Ham Slant Pa
Ham Alp Tans
Ham Alp Ants
Ham Lap Tans
Ham Lap Ants
Ham Pal Tans
Ham Pal Ants
Ham Laps Tan
Ham Laps Ant
Ham Pals Tan
Ham Pals Ant
Ham Alps Tan
Ham Alps Ant
Ham Slap Tan
Ham Slap Ant
Ham Splat An
Ham Plats An
Ham Plat San
Ham Las Pant
Ham Slat Nap
Ham Slat Pan
Ham Salt Nap
Ham Salt Pan
Ham Last Nap
Ham Last Pan
Hams La Pant
Hams Plan At
Hams Alp Tan
Hams Alp Ant
Hams Lap Tan
Hams Lap Ant
Hams Pal Tan
Hams Pal Ant
Hams Plat An
Mash La Pant
Mash Plan At
Mash Alp Tan
Mash Alp Ant
Mash Lap Tan
Mash Lap Ant
Mash Pal Tan
Mash Pal Ant
Mash Plat An
Sham La Pant
Sham Plan At
Sham Alp Tan
Sham Alp Ant
Sham Lap Tan
Sham Lap Ant
Sham Pal Tan
Sham Pal Ant
Sham Plat An
Maths La Nap
Maths La Pan
Maths Alp An
Maths Lap An
Maths Pal An
Math La Pans
Math La Snap
Math La Naps
Math La Span
Math Plan As
Math Alp San
Math Lap San
Math Pal San
Math Laps An
Math Pals An
Math Alps An
Math Slap An
Math Las Nap
Math Las Pan
Than La Maps
Than La Amps
Than Lam Pas
Than Lam Asp
Than Lam Spa
Than Lam Sap
Than Palm As
Than Lamp As
Than Lams Pa
Than Alms Pa
Than Slam Pa
Than Alp Sam
Than Alp Mas
Than Lap Sam
Than Lap Mas
Than Pal Sam
Than Pal Mas
Than Laps Ma
Than Laps Am
Than Pals Ma
Than Pals Am
Than Alps Ma
Than Alps Am
Than Slap Ma
Than Slap Am
Than Las Amp
Than Las Map
Hap Lam Tans
Hap Lam Ants
Hap Lams Tan
Hap Lams Ant
Hap Alms Tan
Hap Alms Ant
Hap Slam Tan
Hap Slam Ant
Hap Malts An
Hap Malt San
Hap Slant Ma
Hap Slant Am
Hap Slat Man
Hap Salt Man
Hap Last Man
Hasp Lam Tan
Hasp Lam Ant
Hasp Malt An
Haps Lam Tan
Haps Lam Ant
Haps Malt An
Paths La Man
Paths Lam An
Staph La Man
Staph Lam An
Path La Mans
Path Lam San
Path Lams An
Path Alms An
Path Slam An
Path Las Man
Phat La Mans
Phat Lam San
Phat Lams An
Phat Alms An
Phat Slam An
Phat Las Man
Has Lam Pant
Has Palm Tan
Has Palm Ant
Has Lamp Tan
Has Lamp Ant
Has Malt Nap
Has Malt Pan
Has Plan Tam
Has Plan Mat
Has Plant Ma
Has Plant Am
Has Plat Man
Ash Lam Pant
Ash Palm Tan
Ash Palm Ant
Ash Lamp Tan
Ash Lamp Ant
Ash Malt Nap
Ash Malt Pan
Ash Plan Tam
Ash Plan Mat
Ash Plant Ma
Ash Plant Am
Ash Plat Man
Hast Lam Nap
Hast Lam Pan
Hast Palm An
Hast Lamp An
Hast Plan Ma
Hast Plan Am
Hast Alp Man
Hast Lap Man
Hast Pal Man
Hats Lam Nap
Hats Lam Pan
Hats Palm An
Hats Lamp An
Hats Plan Ma
Hats Plan Am
Hats Alp Man
Hats Lap Man
Hats Pal Man
Shat Lam Nap
Shat Lam Pan
Shat Palm An
Shat Lamp An
Shat Plan Ma
Shat Plan Am
Shat Alp Man
Shat Lap Man
Shat Pal Man
Hat Lam Pans
Hat Lam Snap
Hat Lam Naps
Hat Lam Span
Hat Palm San
Hat Lamp San
Hat Palms An
Hat Lamps An
Hat Psalm An
Hat Lams Nap
Hat Lams Pan
Hat Alms Nap
Hat Alms Pan
Hat Slam Nap
Hat Slam Pan
Hat Plan Sam
Hat Plan Mas
Hat Plans Ma
Hat Plans Am
Hat Alp Mans
Hat Lap Mans
Hat Pal Mans
Hat Laps Man
Hat Pals Man
Hat Alps Man
Hat Slap Man
A Ha Plant Ms
A Ah Plant Ms
A Halt Nap Ms
A Halt Pan Ms
A Lath Nap Ms
A Lath Pan Ms
A Than Alp Ms
A Than Lap Ms
A Than Pal Ms
A Hat Plan Ms
A La Maps Nth
A La Amps Nth
A Lam Pas Nth
A Lam Asp Nth
A Lam Spa Nth
A Lam Sap Nth
A Palm As Nth
A Lamp As Nth
A Lams Pa Nth
A Alms Pa Nth
A Slam Pa Nth
A Alp Sam Nth
A Alp Mas Nth
A Lap Sam Nth
A Lap Mas Nth
A Pal Sam Nth
A Pal Mas Nth
A Laps Ma Nth
A Laps Am Nth
A Pals Ma Nth
A Pals Am Nth
A Alps Ma Nth
A Alps Am Nth
A Slap Ma Nth
A Slap Am Nth
A Las Amp Nth
A Las Map Nth
Ha La Pant Ms
Ha Plan At Ms
Ha Alp Tan Ms
Ha Alp Ant Ms
Ha Lap Tan Ms
Ha Lap Ant Ms
Ha Pal Tan Ms
Ha Pal Ant Ms
Ha Plat An Ms
Ah La Pant Ms
Ah Plan At Ms
Ah Alp Tan Ms
Ah Alp Ant Ms
Ah Lap Tan Ms
Ah Lap Ant Ms
Ah Pal Tan Ms
Ah Pal Ant Ms
Ah Plat An Ms
Halt An Pa Ms
Lath An Pa Ms
Than La Pa Ms
Hap La Tan Ms
Hap La Ant Ms
Path La An Ms
Phat La An Ms
Hat La Nap Ms
Hat La Pan Ms
Hat Alp An Ms
Hat Lap An Ms
Hat Pal An Ms
La Ma Pas Nth
La Ma Asp Nth
La Ma Spa Nth
La Ma Sap Nth
La Am Pas Nth
La Am Asp Nth
La Am Spa Nth
La Am Sap Nth
La Amp As Nth
La Map As Nth
La Sam Pa Nth
La Mas Pa Nth
Lam Pa As Nth
Alp Ma As Nth
Alp Am As Nth
Lap Ma As Nth
Lap Am As Nth
Pal Ma As Nth
Pal Am As Nth
Las Ma Pa Nth
Las Am Pa Nth
A La Pa Nth Ms
ottaross May 2014
A hammer upon the landscape.
Thunder like a toppling mountain.

Flashes like x-ray explosions.
Supernova surprise.

Sheets of rain.
Glistening-rebar javelins
Pierce the asphalt
Shatter the concrete.

Long shards of glass
From the grey
Steel-wool clouds.
Coop Lee Apr 2014
son spreads knee blood into ******* &/or
sidewalk chalk.
mixes reds to pinks with head cracking asphalt.
of god & country.
of soggy bread in a lunch-bag; snackpack readied.
he skates.

the concussed ****** of booming youth.

omega he:
to the wolf pack outers.
breathing love of summer, he
is the son drunk on hi-c
& burping.
watching teenaged supersoakers yodel
on a bridge.
florida.

son sneaks out late to rationalize
the city’s features
under strange light & love of nightly people.
boy sculpts body out of beast,
turned dark corners.
arrives swollen.

his father erects a roofed flattop in the backyard slab
with flood light electronics taught to worship
the shred.
mother rattles the blender
on the kitchen outskirts, ***** breathed
& nearing with hugs.

blister-itched.
glossed folds of scar tissue.
those days on summer-beyond when the neighborhood pulsates.
with satellite dishes tuneforking high-frequency vibrations
from outerspace & pigeons explode.

son’s ears bleed, &
the television goes unwatched.
he snaps plank & ankle protein, refurbishing
his legs into iron-rods
or wands of summer anthem.
cold war.

he empties sugar-sweat & toxins
into the storm-drain.
essence of wet heat, skin pinched, & friend
of ghosts.
a three legged dog lay in the shade
leisurely watching the boy skate
on endless.
previously published in Stymie Magazine
http://www.stymiemag.com/2013/08/coop-lee-skateboard-gothic-poetry.html
the thought of death is an uneasy thought
in my case it's a ****** nightmare

on the 16th day of May, 1967, Mr Youngblood took his 6th grade class to the playground as he always did, every Tuesday after lunch. The kids spread out to their usual positions. Some played catch with Mr Youngblood. A few, like Roger and me went to the basketball net and several played on the monkey bars, both of which were part of the big asphalt square. Just opposite this area was the soccer field and then some good distance between that and the Middle School. Lots of open space for a bunch of suburban kids to have fun. The Sun was bright and the wind was light and the temperature was right around perfect. We had been playing for 10 minutes or so when the wind picked up and clouds seemed to move in out of nowhere. We all thought it must be a storm coming...and it was. A distant laugh froze everyone. At first no-one saw him, but then we all saw him at once. He was walking across the soccer field towards us, long deliberate strides. Where he came from is a mystery as there was nothing but open land behind him for several hundred yards. He was tall and lanky and as he approached us, I noticed that his face was contorted and discolored...a pale, almost painted white and he had jet black hair combed back, long and greasy. His lips were thin and black and his eyes bloodshot and almond shaped. He wore a black suit, a black shirt and candy apple red tie. He looked like a mosh-up of Curry's Pennywise and Ledger's Joker, only I would have traded for either one of those ******* right now over this guy, ten to one. He came to the edge of the concrete square. Johnny ****** his pants and Charlene fell from the monkey bars, landing awkwardly on her left side and causing a compound fracture, her radius protruding from her skin leaving her hand dangling like a dead fish. She did not scream either because she was scared it might draw his attention or she was going into shock...or maybe both. He took two more steps forward and then began laughing as if he'd just heard the funniest joke he'd ever been told. His teeth looked as if they'd been replaced with shark's teeth. I swear there were rows of them and his mouth stretched inhumanly wide. His laugh slowly winded down to a snarl, and he gave a long look to each one of us, as if he was burning the faces to memory. And then he spoke..."You children just go on having lots of fun! Well, except for you Johnny...didn't your Mom just rip you a new *** for ******* your pants at Grandma's? shame, shame!" And Johnny was off...tripping twice before he got his feet under him. "You run home and ...Ha Ha Ha...oh my...change your pants, you pathetic little ****!" Mr Youngblood picked up Charlene and started to carry her inside. By this time her pretty pink dress was soaked in blood. The freak addressed him. "Nice man...but you can't save them. In a few days they will all be mine." He laughed again and every kid ran for their lives back to the school. I was the only one who stayed. To this day I'm not sure why. He turned and walked towards me slowly. "What have we here? The little man isn't running with the others. Are you not afraid Billy boy? Afraid for your life?"...and he leaned in close...close enough that I smelled a foulness that cannot be described. "Because that is what I'm here for...your life!" "Who are you?", I asked... and with that his dark black and pointed eyebrows raised and he straightened up. "Who am I...Who am I? My, my the boy has a backbone. The nerve to question while others lose control of their bladders. Well, I'll tell you who I am, child. I am God's worst nightmare. I am every ***** little secret thought you've ever had. I am evil in all it's forms wrapped up in one little package and sent to collect the souls of the innocent. All of you here today will be mine tomorrow. Roger will fall down the stairs off of his front porch and break his neck. Charlene will die from infection due to that nasty little accident and Becky will be hit by the school bus Thursday morning. That will be most nasty! Almost a decapitation. I won't bore you with the rest, but they will all die. Hmmm...you know what Billy... I like you, so I'm thinking, perhaps...yes, I'm going to make a special offer to my new special friend. I won't take your soul until you die from natural causes. What do you think of that idea? At that moment, when your family is gathered round your bedside after suffering that...well, maybe you don't want to know the details... you will see a bright light...but you won't be going towards the light Billy...at that moment I will place my hand on your shoulder and that light will slowly fade into darkness and we will meet again, and you will become my apprentice. So, what do you think of that, Billy? Do you want to be my apprentice, or do I **** you now? Come, come...I haven't much time!" I tried to answer, but my mouth was as dry as cardboard and I could only manage a weak gasp. That laugh again and he turned and walked away in the same direction..."I'll take that as a yes. Remember, you are mine upon your death, Billy boy!" The wind died and the Sun appeared again.
By the end of the week, every child on the playground that day had died...exactly as he stated they would.

And now you know why, even in my darkest days, I never, ever contemplate suicide.
this story was prompted by a Joker bobblehead I found in a collectibles store that is creepy as hell - I think I will make it my annual Halloween post!
Sy Lilang Jun 2014
I used to step on the solid ground
The grey asphalt with li'l pebbles in black in it
I used to walk with cemented pavement
Where no one hinders me to enjoy the tack I'm in.

You led me to the boat
And together, we left the crowd
My knees are shaking, as if I'm freezing
You guided me to enter that narrow boat
And I had nothing but myself to bring
For it may sink with tons of extra things.

We started sailing
The curtained sky was the scene
With lil stars painted on it
And the depth of the ocean was present
It bounces the crescent up there.

I felt the wind brushed my hair
He sounds so mad with the clouds supporting him
My feet trembles with fear as my faith does.

You are with me, oh Jesus
And I asked you if you care
For I may fall from where we are
And you may not see it and forget I was there at all.

Words come from your mouth
And the wind listened with your sweet voice
You brought peace and calmed my raging seas.

I trust no one but You
Even if I don't know how far but I'm ready though
Oh held my hands indeed,
Let my grip be frozen upon your hands.

I'll sit and take a look at the vistas
And move the boat as we sail
You'll teach me how to act
And wherever we'll go, You are with me.

(6/4/2014 @xirlleelang)
Coz I usually dream about waves.
Mike Bergeron Sep 2012
There was a house fire on my street last night …well… not exactly my street, but on a little, sketchy, dead-end strip of asphalt, sidewalks, weeds, and garbage that juts into my block two houses down. It was on that street. Rosewood Court, population: 12, adjusted population: 11, characterized by anonymity and boarded windows, peppered with the swift movements of fat street rats. I’ve never been that close to a real, high-energy, make-sure-to-spray-down-your-roof-with-a-hose-so-it-doesn’t-catch­ fire before. It was the least of my expectations for the evening, though I didn’t expect a crate of Peruvian bananas to fall off a cargo plane either, punching through the ceiling, littering the parking lot with damaged fruit and shingles, tearing paintings and shelves and studs from the third floor walls, and crashing into our kitchen, shattering dishes and cabinets and appliances. Since that never happened, and since neither the former nor the latter situation even crossed my mind, I’ll stick with “least of my expectations,” and bundle up with it inside that inadequate phrase whatever else may have happened that I wouldn’t have expected.



I had been reading in my living room, absently petting the long calico fur of my roommate’s cat Dory. She’s in heat, and does her best to make sure everyone knows it, parading around, *** in the air, an opera of low trilling and loud meows and deep purring. As a consequence of a steady tide of feline hormones, she’s been excessively good humored, showering me with affection, instead of her usual indifference, punctuated by occasional, self-serving shin rubs when she’s hungry. I saw the lights before I heard the trucks or the shouts of firemen or the panicked wail of sirens, spitting their warning into the night in A or A minor, but probably neither, I’m no musician. Besides, Congratulations was playing loud, flowing through the speakers in the corners of the room, connected to the record player via the receiver with the broken volume control, travelling as excited electrons down stretches of wire that are, realistically, too short, and always pull out. The song was filling the space between the speakers and the space between my ears with musings on Brian Eno, so the auditory signal that should have informed me of the trouble that was afoot was blocked out. I saw the lights, the alternating reds and whites that filled my living room, drawing shifting patterns on my walls, ceiling, floor, furniture, and shelves of books, dragging me towards the door leading outside, through the cluttered bike room, past the sleeping, black lump of oblivious fur that is usually my boisterous male kitten, and out into the bedlam I  had previously been ignorant to. I could see the smoke, it was white then gray then white, all the while lending an acrid taste to the air, but I couldn’t see where it was issuing from. The wind was blowing the smoke toward my apartment, away from Empire Mills. I tried to count the firetrucks, but there were so many. I counted six on Wilmarth Ave, one of which was the awkward-looking, heavy-duty special hazards truck. In my part of the city, the post-industrial third-wave ***** river valley, you never know if the grease fire that started with homefries in a frying pan in an old woman’s kitchen will escalate into a full-blown mill fire, the century-old wood floors so saturated with oil and kerosene and ****** and manufacturing chemicals and ghosts and god knows what other flammable **** that it lights up like a fifth of July leftover sparkler, burning and melting the hand of the community that fed it for so many decades, leaving scars that are displayed on the local news for a week and are forgotten in a few years’ time.



The night was windy, and the day had been dry, so precautions were abundant, and I counted two more trucks on Fones Ave. One had the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen. It was parked on the corner of Fones and Wilmarth, directly across from the entrance into the forgotten dead-end where the forgotten house was burning, and the ladder was lifting into the air. By now my two roommates had come outside too, to stand on our rickety, wooden staircase, and Jeff said he could see flames in the windows of one of the three abandoned houses on Rosewood, through the third floor holes where windows once were, where boards of plywood were deemed unnecessary.



“Ay! Daddy!”



My neighbor John called up to us. He serves as the eyes and ears and certainly the mouth of our block, always in everyone’s business, without being too intrusive, always aware of what’s going down and who’s involved. He proceeded to tell us the lowdown on the blaze as far as he knew it, that there were two more firetrucks and an ambulance down Rosewood, that the front and back doors to the house were blocked by something from inside, that those somethings were very heavy, that someone was screaming inside, that the fire was growing.



Val had gone inside to get his jacket, because despite the floodlights from the trucks imitating sunlight, the wind and the low temperature and the thought of a person burning alive made the night chilly. Val thought we should go around the block, to see if we could get a better view, to satisfy our congenital need to witness disaster, to see the passenger car flip over the Jersey barrier, to watch the videos of Jihadist beheadings, to stand in line to look at painted corpses in velvet, underlit parlors, and sit in silence while their family members cry. We walked down the stairs, into full floodlight, and there were first responders and police and fully equipped firefighters moving in all directions. We watched two firemen attempting to open an old, rusty fire hydrant, and it could’ve been inexperience, the stress of the situation, the condition of the hydrant, or just poor luck, but rather than opening as it was supposed to the hydrant burst open, sending the cap flying into the side of a firetruck, the water crashing into the younger of the two men’s face and torso, knocking him back on his ***. While he coughed out surprised air and water and a flood of expletives, his partner got the situation under control and got the hose attached. We turned and walked away from the fire, and as we approached the turn we’d take to cut through the rundown parking lot that would bring us to the other side of the block, two firemen hurried past, one leading the other, carrying between them a stretcher full of machines for monitoring and a shitload of wires and tubing. It was the stiff board-like kind, with handles on each end, the kind of stretcher you might expect to see circus clowns carry out, when it’s time to save their fallen, pie-faced cohort. I wondered why they were using this archaic form of patient transportation, and not one of the padded, electrical ones on wheels. We pushed past the crowd that had begun forming, walked past the Laundromat, the 7Eleven, the carwash, and took a left onto the street on the other side of the parking lot, parallel to Wilmarth. There were several older men standing on the sidewalk, facing the fire, hands either in pockets or bringing a cigarette to and from a frowning mouth. They were standing in the ideal place to witness the action, with an unobstructed view of the top two floors of the burning house, its upper windows glowing orange with internal light and vomiting putrid smoke.  We could taste the burning wires, the rugs, the insulation, the asbestos, the black mold, the trash, and the smell was so strong I had to cover my mouth with my shirt, though it provided little relief. We said hello, they grunted the same, and we all stood, watching, thinking about what we were seeing, not wanting to see what we were thinking.

Two firefighters were on the roof by this point, they were yelling to each other and to the others on the ground, but we couldn’t hear what they were saying because of the sirens from all the emergency vehicles that were arriving.  It seemed to me they sent every firetruck in the city, as well as more than a dozen police cars and a slew of ambulances, all of them arriving from every direction. I guess they expected the fire to get really out of hand, but we could already see the orange glow withdrawing into the dark of the house, steam and smoke rippling out of the stretched, wooden mouths of the rotted window frames. In a gruff, habitual smoker’s voice, we heard

                                      “Chopper called the fire depahtment

We was over at the vet’s home

                He says he saw flames in the windas

                                                                                                                                                We all thought he was shittin’ us

We couldn’t see nothin’.”

A man between fifty-five to sixty-five years old was speaking, no hair on his shiny, tanned head, old tattoos etched in bluish gray on his hands, arms, and neck, menthol smoke rising from between timeworn fingers. He brought the cigarette to his lips, drew a hearty chest full of smoke, and as he let it out he repeated

                                                “Yea, chopper called em’

Says he saw flames.”

The men on the roof were just silhouettes, backlit by the dazzling brightness of the lights on the other side.  The figure to the left of the roof pulled something large up into view, and we knew instantly by the cord pull and the sound that it was a chainsaw. He began cutting directly into the roof. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, wondered if he was scared of falling into the fire, assumed he probably was, but had at least done this before, tried to figure out if he was doing it to gain entry or release pressure or whatever. The man to the right was hacking away at the roof with an axe. It was surreal to watch, to see two men transformed from public servants into fingers of destruction, the pinkie and ring finger fighting the powerful thumb of the controlled chemical reaction eating the air below them, to watch the dark figures shrouded in ethereal light and smoke and sawdust and what must’ve been unbearable heat from below, to be viewing everything with my own home, my belongings, still visible, to know it could easily have gone up in flames as well.

I should’ve brought my jacket. I remember complaining about it, about how the wind was passing through my skin like a window screen, chilling my blood, in sharp contrast to the heat that was morphing and rippling the air above the house as it disappeared as smoke and gas up into the atmosphere from the inside out.

Ten minutes later, or maybe five, or maybe one, the men on the roof were still working diligently cutting and chopping, but we could no longer see any signs of flames, and there were figures moving around in the house, visible in the windows of the upper floors, despite the smoke. Figuring the action must be reaching its end, we decided to walk back to our apartment. We saw Ken’s brown pickup truck parked next to the Laundromat, unable to reach our parking lot due to all the emergency vehicles and people clogging our street. We came around the corner and saw the other two members of the Infamous Summers standing next to our building with the rest of the crowd that had gathered. Dosin told us the fire was out, and that they had pulled someone from inside the gutted house, but no ambulance had left yet, and his normally smiling face was flat and somber, and the beaten guitar case slung over his shoulder, and his messed up hair, and the red in his cheeks from the cold air, and the way he was moving rocks around with the toe of his shoe made him look like a lost child, chasing a dream far from home but finding a nightmare in its place, instead of the professional who never loses his cool or his direction.

The crowd all began talking at once, so I turned around, towards the dead end and the group of firefighters and EMTs that were emerging. Their faces were stoic, not a single expression on all but one of those faces, a young EMT, probably a Basic, or a Cardiac, or neither, but no older than twenty, who was silently weeping, the tears cutting tracks through the soot on his cheeks, his eyes empty of emotion, his lips drawn tight and still. Four of them were each holding a corner of the maroon stretcher that took two to carry when I first saw it, full of equipment. They did not rush, they did not appear to be tending to a person barely holding onto life, they were just carrying the weight. As they got close gasps and cries of horror or disgust or both issued from the crowd, some turned away, some expressions didn’t change, some eyes closed and others stayed fixed on what they came to see. One woman vomited, right there on the sidewalk, splashing the shoes of those near her with the partially digested remains of her EBT dinner. I felt my own stomach start to turn, but I didn’t look away. I couldn’t.

                                                                                It was like I was seven again,

                                in the alleyway running along the side of the junior high school I lived near and would eventually attend,

looking in silent horror at what three eighth graders from my neighborhood were doing.

It was about eight in the evening of a rainy,

late summer day,

and I was walking home with my older brother,

cutting through the alley like we always did.

The three older boys were standing over a small dog,

a terrier of some sort.

They had duct taped its mouth shut and its legs together,

but we could still hear its terrified whines through its clenched teeth.

One of the boys had cut off the dog’s tail.

He had it in one hand,

and was still holding the pocket knife in the other.

None of them were smiling,

or talking,

nor did they take notice of Andrew and I.

There was a garden bag standing up next to them that looked pretty full,

and there was a small pile of leaves on the ground next to it.

In slow motion I watched,

horrified,

as one of the boys,

Brian Jones-Hartlett,

picked up the shaking animal,

put it in the bag,

covered it with the leaves from the ground,

and with wide,

shining eyes,

set the bag

on fire

with a long-necked

candle

lighter.

It was too much for me then. I couldn’t control my nausea. I threw up and sat down while my head swam.

I couldn’t understand. I forgot my brother and the fact that he was older, that he should stop this,

Stop them,

There’s a dog in there,

You’re older, I’m sick,

Why can’t I stop them?

It was like
Terry O'Leary May 2013
AWAKENING

Sleep and slumber, dreams of wonder... weaving,
morning’s vacuum broke the spell
Pitted pillow, note of parting... leaving,
“from your friend, a fond farewell”
Sunrise throbbing, twilight aching... grieving,
daydreams, flashbacks, nightmares knell
Pale phantasms, visions sneaking... thieving,
plot to fill the empty shell

12 DELIRIA

1st Delirium: COLLAPSES

Fractured sky bolts, billows bursting... rumbling,
heavens tighten, turn the vise
Horsemen saddle shafts of lightning... tumbling,
jagged highways must suffice
Ruptured skyways, hailstones crackling... crumbling,
naked pearls of paradise
Toxic tongues of laughter stinging... stumbling,
ocean buckets choked with ice
Droplets drumming, thunder muzzled... mumbling,
washed out whispers pay the price
Smothered blazes, cinders smoking... humbling,
ashes shaped in sacrifice

2nd Delirium: DESCENTS

Asphalt alleys, ashen faces... frowning,
blowing bubbles, chewing gum
Drinking ale from tavern tankards... downing,
moonlit beads of painted ***
Stony stars and sea misshapen... drowning,
humble rivers’ rhythms hum
Apparitions aspirating... clowning,
diamonds dying , minstrels strum
Incandescent candles conquered... crowning,
vacant vapours, cold and numb

3rd Delirium: FATES

Tempest turmoil, tapered turrets... holding,
dungeons, dragons, chains and racks
Wheels of fortune, Tarot temptress... molding,
Hangmen, Towers, One Eyed Jacks
Sand dune castles, cryptic candles... folding,
warping walls of liquid wax
Idols colder, combed and coddled... scolding,
hide in fissures, peek through cracks

4th Delirium: LOST SOULS

Sunken cities, pilgrims peering... gawking,
squinting eyeballs, blazing sun
Janus facing, shepherds chasing... stalking,
friends embrace before they shun
Tearooms steaming, tumult teeming... talking,
lovers listen, poets pun
Broken stones unanchored, quaking... rocking,
slipping, falling, one by one
Beaten pathways, footsteps marking... mocking,
wedged in webs which spiders spun
Circus shelters, big tops tumbling... locking,
people pacing, soon they’re none
Numbered exits, zeros numbing... knocking,
midnight daylight’s days undone
Moon blood shackles, shivers shaming... shocking,
starlight striders streaking, stun
Hushed but harried hermits waiting... walking,
restless rainbows on the run
Pixies, elves, and echoes bouncing... balking,
fading fast when dawn’s begun
Bantum butterflies are flitting... flocking
sometimes conquered, overrun
Hocus pokus, seers focus... squawking,
voodoo wavered, witchcraft won

5th Delirium: INTROSPECTION

Sundown furnace, fires fading... coughing,
dusky dew drops drain the air
Empty chalice, sipped in silence... quaffing,
thirsting shadows unaware
Looking glass and lattice scorning... scoffing,
local loser gapes and stares
Faces covered, dancing naked... doffing,
peering inside, hope despairs

6th Delirium: THE VOID

Tales of taboos, mystic mythos... missing,
windows shuttered, bolted door
Kindled candles, tongues and anvils... hissing,
heavy hammers, echoes roar
Dark deceivers, raven charmers... kissing,
draging demons from the shore
Hopeless hollows filled with doubters... dissing
standing empty - nevermore

7th Delirium: SEARCHING

Martyred monks haunt runic ruins ... waiting,
banging broken bells below
Vaulted hallways, voided voices... grating,
churning Chinese chimes aglow
Granite graveyards, spectres spooking... skating,
blackened bushes, roses grow
****** dwarfs seek mutant migrants... mating,
packing parcels, ice and snow

8th Delirium: NIGHTTIME

Throbbing drumheads, fingers blazing... steaming,
coins of copper, beggars plea
Rusty residues of resin... streaming,
opal amber filigree
Orphan shades in shallow shadows... teeming,
steeping twigs in twilight tea
Cloister doorsteps, Prophets gaming... scheming,
tracing tracks of destiny
Blacksmiths blanching, horseshoes glowing... gleaming,
partially sheathed in black debris
Phantoms feigning, nightmares scathing... screaming,
dusty dreamers drifting free

9th Delerium: EMPTYNESS

Water wheels in wastelands... turning,
drowning relics in the slum
Rumpled rags of fashioned burlap... burning,
lit by bandits blind and dumb
Pastured prisons, ponies bridled ... yearning,
forest fairies under thumb
Sounds inside of cauldrons coughing... churning,
blaring bugles, tattooed drum

10th Delirium: ALIENATION

Rain unravelling, wistfully weeping... falling,
treacle trickling, fickle sky
Mushrooms sprinkled, visions sprouting... sprawling,
seagulls drowning, dolphins die
Rabble gasping, spirits broken... crawling,
lonely lonesome swallows cry
Babbling brooks and breakers ebbing... bawling
puppies paddle, puppets sigh
People passing ripple past me... calling,
rainbow colours, collars high
Chaos seething, lepers looting... stalling,
stealing stallions on the sly
Pencils pausing, scholars scrambling... scrawling,
scratching scribbles, asking why

11th Delirium: JETSAM

Silver sails sway pallid pirates... prowling,
Jolly Rogers, wind and sound
Parrots perching, tattered feathers... fouling,
tethered talons, tied and bound
Shipwrecked foghorns, trumpets stranded... howling,
spiral springs of time unwound
Magic moonlight, shimmers shaking... scowling,
burnt out matchsticks washed aground
Prairie wolfs, coyotes calling... yowling,
witching hours, midnight hounds
Tightrope walkers, grizzlies grunting... growling,
seeking islands, lost and found

12th Delirium: RELIEF

Slumber shattered, vapours captive... haunting,
chained in mirrors, breaking free
Scarlet skylines, daylight dawning... daunting,
rivers rushing to the sea
Silence softens, sandmen whisper... wanting,
piercing rafters, turning keys
Shadows shudder, notions fluster... flaunting,
moonbeam bullets meant for me
Mind in migraine, meadows trembling... taunting,
sparrows speak in harmony

REAWAKENING

Pitter patter, teardrops paling... pearling,
salting scarves in secret drawers
Mist amongst us, smoke rings rising... curling,
climbing from the ocean floors
See-saw circles, senses swerving... swirling,
swept away with silver oars
Courtyard jesters, sceptres twisting... twirling,
push the past to foreign shores
Passing pangs of passions heaving... hurling,
burning bridges, closing doors
Roses wither, icons waning... whirling,
time decays and time restores

— The End —