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howard brace Oct 2012
Stood rigidly to attention either side of the hearth, the two bronze fire-dogs had been struggling to maintain that British stiff upper lipidness, which up until earlier that evening had best befitted their station in life... indeed, for the last half hour at least had become brothers in arms to the dying embers filtering through the bars of the cast-iron grate, passing from the present here and now, having lost every thermal attribute necessary to sustain any further vestige of life... to the shortly forthcoming and being at oneness with the Universe... only to fall foul of the overflowing ash-pan below.  This premature cashing in of the coal fire's chips could only be attributed to the recent and prolonged thrashing from the Baronial poker... and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the family retainer, whom it appeared, required spurring along in a like manner... and while unseen mechanisms were heard to be engaging, then resonating deep within the Hall... that unless summoned... and quickly, the housekeeper had little intention of making an appearance of her own choosing and re-stoke the Study fire while the BBC Home Service were airing 'Your 100 Best Tunes' on the wireless, leaving the heavily tarnished pendulum to continue measuring the hour.

     An indistinct mutter and snap of a closing door latch sounded in the immediate distance as the unhurried shuffle of domestic footsteps... not too dissimilar from those of Jacob Marley's spectral visitation to Scrooge... echoed ever closer along the ancient, oak panelled hallway without.  Their sudden cessation, allowing the housekeeper ingress to  the book lined Study, was by way of sporadic groans from unoiled hinges, door furniture that voiced the same overwhelming lack of attention as that of the fire-grate set in the wall opposite and presumably, from the same overwhelming lack of domestic servitude.
     "Had his Lordship rang...?" the Housekeeper wailed dolefully, giving her employer what might casually pass for a courteous bob... and in lieu no doubt, of Marley's rattling chains, padlocks and dusty ledgers... "and would there be anything further his Lordship required..." before she took her leave for the evening.  The notion of a sticky mint humbug warming the cockles of his ancient, aristocratic heart gave her pause for thought as she rummaged through her pinafore pockets, then thought better of it, after all, confectionary didn't grow on trees...  In bobbing a second time she noticed the malnourished, yet strangely twinkling coal-scuttle lounging over by the hearth, whose insubstantial contents had taken on an ethereal quality earlier that evening and had now transferred its undivided attention to the recently summoned Housekeeper, who was quite prepared to offer up a candle in supplication come next Evensong were she mistaken, but the coal-scuttle's twinkle bore every intimation of giving what appeared to be a very suggestive 'come-on' in return... and had been doing so since she first entered the room... 'and did she have any plans of her own that particular evening', the coal-scuttle twinkled suavely, 'perchance a leisurely stroll down by the old coal cellar steps...'  Now perhaps it was the lateness of the hour which had caused the Housekeeper's confusion that evening, or perhaps an over stretched imagination, brought on through domestic inactivity, but it wouldn't take a great deal to hazard that a lingering fondness for Gin and tonic played no small part towards her next curtsey, which she did, albeit unwittingly, in the unerring direction of the winking coal-scuttle.

     With the household keys as her badge-of-office, jangling defiantly from the chain around her waist, the housekeeper began inching back the same way she came, back towards the study door and freedom... and back into the welcoming arms of her 1/4 lb. bag of peppermint humbugs and the pint of best London Gin she'd had to relinquish prior to 'Songs of Praise...' and which was now to be found... should you happen to be an inquisitive fly on a particular piece of floral wallpaper... half-cut, locked arm in arm with the bottle of Indian tonic water and in the final, intoxicating throws of William Blake's, 'Jerusalem...' hic.

     "Ha-arrumph..." the elderly gentleman cleared his throat... "ah Gabby" he said, lowering his book and placing it face down upon the occasional table set beside him.  The flatulent groan of tired leather upholstery made itself heard above the steady monotony of the mantle-piece clock as he stood and chaffed his hands in the direction of the bereft fire, "Oh! I'm sorry your Lordship, then there was something...?" as she maintained her steady but relentless backwards retreat unabated, the double-barrelled bunch of keys taking up a strong rear-guard action and away from the well disposed coal scuttle... "and was his Lordship quite certain that he required the fire stoking at such a late hour..." she dared, "perhaps a nice warming glass of port and brandy instead" gesturing towards the salver, long since tarnished by the half hearted attentions of a proprietary metal polish... "and would he care for..." then thought better of offering to plump the chair cushions herself, having discovered Mort, the household mouser in the final stages of claiming them as his own, deftly rearranging the Victorian Plush with far more than any noble airs or graces.

     "Poor Mrs Alabaster, you will recall Sir, I'm sure..." a pained expression crossed the Housekeepers face as she collided with a corner of the Georgian writing bureau and bringing her to an abrupt halt... "her late Ladyships lady" she continued, indiscreetly rubbing her derriere, "whose services your Lordship dispensed with at the onset of last Winter, shortly after the funeral, God rest her late Ladyship... when you made her redundant... and how she's been unable to find a new situation ever since on account of her lumbago flaring up again, seeing as how it's been the coldest January in living memory", which in all likelihood meant since records began... "and SHE didn't have any coal either... or a roof over her head for all anyone cared... begging yer' pardon, yer' Lordship", letting her tongue slip as she attempted yet one more curtsey... "and it's wicked-cruel outside this time of year Sir, you wouldn't turn a dog out in it..." and how ordering the coal used to be Mrs Alabaster's responsibility...

     "Oh no, Sir", as she unsuccessfully stifled a hiccup...she would be only too delighted to rouse the Cook, especially after that dodgy piece of scrag-end they'd all had to suffer during Epiphany, but it was only last week that the Doctor had confined Cookie to bed with the croup... "as I'm sure your Lordship will recall..." as she attempted a double curtsey for effect, the despondent coal-scuttle now all but forgotten, "that below-stairs had been dining on pottage since a week Friday gone... and it tends to get a little moribund after almost a fortnight your Honour... and that Mrs Cotswold's rheumatism was still showing no signs of improvement either by the looks of things... and was having to visit the Chiropodist every fortnight for her bunions scraping... and how she's been advised to keep taking the embrocation as required".

     As a young woman, any disposition her grandmother may have had towards sobriety or moral virtue had quickly been prevailed upon by the former Master's son taking intimacy to the next level with the saucy Parlour Maid's good nature.   Shortly thereafter, having been obliged to marry the first available Gardener that came along, she was often heard to say "a bun in the oven's worth two in the bush" for it was with stories 'of such goings-on'  that made it abundantly clear to the Housekeeper, that it was far more than old age creeping up... and that if she didn't keep her wits wrapped tightly about her, as she threw a sideways glance at the winking philanderer... then who would.

     As for the Gardener, "well... he couldn't possibly manage the cellar steps at this late hour, yer' Lordship, wot' with the weather being the way it is right now Sir, seasonal... and him with his broken caliper... and bronchitis playing him up at every turn, even though his own ailing missus swore by a freshly grown rhubarb poultice first thing each morning", but oddly enough, "how it always seemed to work better if the young barmaid down in the village rubbed it on, especially around opening time..." even his brother, Mr Potts Senior, ever since their Dad passed away... "God rest his eternal soul", as she whirled, twice in as many seconds, a mystical finger in the air... had said how surprised he'd been to discover that it could be used as a ground mulch for seed-cucumbers... it was truly amazing how The Good Lord provided for the righteous... and even as she spoke, was working in mysterious ways, His Wonders to Behold... "Praised-Be-The-Lord".

     And how the entire household, with the possible exception of Mrs Alabaster, her late Ladyships lady, who doggedly refused to be evicted from her 'Grace n' Favour cottage...' the one with pretty red roses growing around the door, that despite a string of eviction notices from the apoplectic Estate manager... had noticed what a fine upstanding Gentleman his Lordship had steadfastly remained since her late Ladyships sudden demise... "God-rest-her-immortal-soul..." and may she allow herself to say, "how refreshing it was to have such a progressively minded and discerning employer such as his Lordship at the helm, one filled with patient understanding and commitment towards the entire household..." much like herself...

     Fearing an uncontrollable attack of the ague, which invariably took the form of a selfless and unstinting dereliction to duty and always flared up at the slightest suggestion of having to roll her sleeves up and do something... which incidentally, was the first mutual attraction by common consent to which her parents, some forty years earlier had discovered they both held in tandem... and "would his Lordship take exception..." feigning a sudden relapse as she gestured towards the nearest chair, were she to take the weight off her feet... she plonked herself solidly upon the Chippendale before his Lordship could decline... "perhaps a recuperative drop of brandy" she volunteered, "just for medicinal purposes", she swept her feet onto the footstool, then crossed them with a flourish that would have caused Cyrano de Bergerac to hang up his sword... "the good stuff, if his Lordship would be so kind, in the lead-crystal decanter... over in the corner by the potted plant", she caught sight of the adjacent cigarette box, also tarnished... "just to keep body and soul together, may it please 'Him upon High'..." and just long enough to brave the coal cellar steps and refill the amorous scuttle... "if only it were a little less chilly", she gave an affected cough... on account of her diphtheria acting up again, she felt sure that his Lordship understood...  Moving over to one of the book lined alcoves, the elderly Gentleman lifted several tomes from the shelves... 'My Life in Anthracite', an illustrated compendium' "to begin with, I think... followed by... hmm!" 'The History of Fossil-Fuels, a comprehensive study in twelve breath taking volumes' "and we'll take it from there" as he threw the first on the barely smouldering embers...

                                                      ­     ...   ...   ...**

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                         1859
vircapio gale Aug 2012
boasting of the god of love's attentions,
this magicweaver lures her prey--
conjures forth her whim
seeking quench of fickle thirst within
attempting avenues of guile
numerously failed, and baits another heart
to suit her object's mate,
whose favors hail from Shiva
unto dominion everywhere,
  except at forest hut where Rama--
with Sita --honeymoons in exile
having snapped the cosmic dancer's massive bow
to win her for his wife, yet bound
by family word to wilderness
  in elder-shade of mystic eagle
guarded by their builder,
brother Lakshmana, in whose absence Kamavalli comes
to woo the godlike archer for her own.

little bells on anklets ring--
from creeper snagged
as if in venery yearning,
urgent vines would find their way to rest on skin
and squeeze in verdant rooting underform
prancing by, playfully demure
to enter subdued greenery
of Panchvati's gated yard
to catch the stoic Rama's eye
in invitation flashing for his gaze:
a sculptured form of flawless grace
nubile teeth shining from the forest dark,
a smile unassuming of callipygean sway
beneath the flitting lashes of her iris' swell

baffled there he stirs to praise her openly
as perfect--
despite his inner-goddess-for-a-wife he keeps inside--
with tripping words
welcomes and blesses this new girl,
exalting her with blushing queries,
sylvan surging rush to know
interrogate her mystery,
rapt in wide-eyed wonder verging beatific breath--
but learning of her lineage...
begins to plot their deaths.

banter light,
flirtations with a hidden, cosmic weight to pun against,
his praise asserts its hold
pretending bachelorhood;
his kindly, transauthentic voice resists
and in a sympathetic, skillful tone, promulgates
a drama to entice her eager mind--
ironic fancies of domestic bliss
flow from Rama, subtle jests
become her plight obsessing
into darkness embered with her lust
to truly claim him as her love,
her grandiosity defused in simple
entertainment quipping of their castes
and then with sudden burst entranced in luminescent rays of stunning rustic glow
from cottage comes his wife to claim her presence known.

the blow is dealt: Manmatha lays Kamavalli's fate: to self-disintegrate

jealousy to deafen gods, in cave retreat
to nurse her spite, surrounded in a dance
of serpent flails to sate her woe,
and only feed in ouroboros knotslip pulse
a lump-filled throat of gulping incite forward zest salacious
pungent flare of earth identity of fang and blood
the cry to shudder down a wolfine howl
in blast of animal, from screaming womanhood
the swoon precipitate-- vast height, abysmal fall
on being spurned by one who led her on
into delusion wrapped in sham an alter self
she met in bed a thousand cravings razing sanity
into a hate for moon, for elements themselves,
railing at Manmatha's haze infernal globe within and out
projecting Rama's face transfixing her inept
in wracking convulse whine of every cell,
her being sweating out imagined arms,
palms of his to cup her, lift from hellish pit of stifled longing never known 'til volcanically regrown--
in new love's throws an innocence of honest
selfhood found in him, bizarrely enemied in Lila's
killing spree of ego-dolls of lotus costume tracing all
searching through his fresh phantasm for her quelling salve
his diamond ******* targets for her soul
his broadness engirthing her to moan until her last in ecstasy
unknown asura-brew untold invented only now forever lost,
the moment fondled vastly gone,
his chest but gossamer instead of flesh
the emerald shoulder glimmer fake
the boundless confidence exuded in his
tender skin's encapsulated sinew strength
merely thought on causing pelvic quake
repeating there an apparition for her nearly endless letting out
he comes for her a demon double of her making
demi-god creator-demon vision for her writhing,
abandoned to the ambrosia torment he provides
wailing at the cavern sky her prison boudoir den
enscaled with slither pile coat of snakes, masturbatory wake of swooning still again

through to dawn..
in which psychotic break decides:
Soorpanaka births herself anew--
possession of her goal, or suicide.
the dewy spectra shines reflection of the choice;
rave committal forms its mould--
exhaustion hatches colorspray of plots,
braving mutilation to abduct,
lies and bribes surmounting each before
in ****** propositions to her ever widened bed,
else demonic armies loosed,
infatuate Ravana's heart
with illusory snare of golden Sita's rumored wares
to get her man alone and hew derision
with her desperate charm, by cantrip or war
spawned from deeper lairs of a broken,
fallacious heart, toward matrimony
or destruction bent

Beth Ivy Sep 2014
Dancing at my windowsill she calls,
black bottomless eyes and a jagged smile
tug me from sleep with a broken-glass laugh.
Beckoning, this pixie traces softly across my jaw--
fingertips so slightly ***** the skin.
Wordless but for laughter she pulls at me until
charmed I rise to follow where she leads.

Open evening air greets my night-dressed body
with cool wakening breezes and wild sounds.
Stumbling through rocks and over roots
I chase through the wood behind my manic guide.
Toes grip at undergrowth, slip, falling to arrive
on my knees
scraped and panting slightly
in a clearing otherworldly,
aglow with fey light.

A curious night-shine looms--yet Luna's face is hidden.
All attentions focus now on this central luminescence.
From its core jangles sweet, unearthly music
twisting its way into my heart
teasing at the edges of my fragile mind.
Compelled forward I follow sound--
my waker cannot outstrip me as we hurtle on.
Before our eyes the glow casts shadows
forming structure in this mystifying vision
eyes drink in your very first glimpse:
The Carnival.

Light and shadow compose sweeping tents
striped ebony and ivory, seeming strong as each
element yet smooth, sculpted by a master's hands.
Leaping black flames skip along their summits,
performing their nocturnal dance,
illuminating darkness, engulfing light.

Revelers' song soars and forms carouse,
                                                  lively­--but shadows only--to the eyes outside.

The air bears heady perfumes, enticing scents:            
rich, melting creams and toasting sugar
enveloping baked warmth and intoxicating spice.
Last, encircling all this wonder,
cries of mirth and sights to amaze:
an unadorned, unflinching iron fence.

Drunk with sound and smell and scene
wildly spinning through the breeze,
my rousing sprite whirls ahead
bound as if in a trance
her body flinging against
the forbidding blackened gates--
                                        her laughter only extinguished
                                                         as her delicate form dissolves into smoke
                                         holding momentarily the blue of night
                                                         her wasted shape, lost to the barrier.

But Curiosity will blind
eyes far more chaste than mine,
and Allure sings only such songs
that no heart suffers long.

Heedless mortal as I am, I grasp the solid frame
decay crumbles rough against my palms.
Bodies of other spirits caked by time
or the innocent work of oxidation
I do not pause to wonder,
merely vault myself over the fence
and brush from my hands
the black dust of portentous iron.

Inside the gate, vibrant figures flood my vision
ornately costumed in gowns of orange, violet, green
arrayed in shirts and trousers dazzling in spectrum.
These gorgeous apparitions loop around me
peddling beauty, selling fame.
They mesmerize  the eye with stunning wares:
an emerald beast to carry your heavy burdens
sapphire wine to cool your burning tongue
the music of a thousand crystal seas
kept in a bottle to drown your babbling mind.

                "What do they cost?"
                            "Not a dime, not a dime!
                              Just your Now, just a Moment,
                                                         ­                  only Passing Time."

Wandering deeper into the mysteries of night
a band of revelers swing beside and catch me
laughing, bear my bewildered form in arms
and deposit me into a large tent, wherein I find
a man at a canvas the size of a wall
before which are seven stone bowls.
He dashes his brush before the amazed,
and the canvas remains blank
until my companions urge me closer.
Couching myself upon a cushion shapes appear:
Here is a man who will paint your heart's desires
so vivid you can lose all you have
so intimate you fear to move,
lest any see the embers of your fire.

Spin and turn, the Revelers never stay long,
nor draw too near to any one spectacle,
but only joy for new tents, new delights.
No passion was left to grow cold,
no enchantment to lose its power.

See the girl of flawless grace,
her body painted like the stars--
                                                  the stars the carnival hid
painted like the stars and lithe as the air
ethereal in her arts,
ascending the pole, traversing the rope!
See her twine around stakes and over fire,
dive through hoops and drop
through that needle-loop in your eye.

Step up to the tent of glistening blue
the fountain that gushes without source.
Marvel at its lucent clarity, it's chilling foam!
Fill your goblet to the brim and drink!
Drink deep, imbibe sweet forgetfulness.
Long for nothing, cleanse your heart.

Take the carousel with its living beasts to ride.
Make merry with all on board and erase
any care your heart can hold.
Let the furious pace speed on from you
all that would trouble for a thought.

A honeyed apple pressed against your tongue.
                                         Just a taste! Just a bite!
See the glistening on the skin
made from the dreams of the greatest hearts
unrestrained and unrequited.
Fresh Desire--they're all the more enticing.

The apple glitters golden, its red flesh shines beneath.
Something familiar, a darker red, flecked across the finish.
I bite down and reel--
Something wondrous, but something queer.

Faithful attendants grab me quickly, dance me
into the mouth of a dark velvet tent.
It swallows me as I fall, waiting for the teeth---

        White mist surrounds with a shimmer
         and I have found the ground.
A Voice, deep as the sea enfolds me
gentle, heavy as with sleep--yet all aware.
It invites me closer, sit nearer
rest from the night's fantasies.
Lulled, I make for the figure hooded in brilliant gold.
He leads me to his table.

Heavy, strangely empty I seek sanctuary.
He offers instead a great promise--
power over my weariness, my desires met.
He offers joy unending,
pleasure without regret, without shame.
A haven promised here, mine alone, if only--
--if only I will stay.

But something tastes metallic in those words
promises that cannot be kept.
No tent could hold so much.
This voice, so warm and pleasing,
cannot mask well a lie,
and the gentle hand holds equally a threat.
                                                         ­                                                             run­
                Awake once more I fly from the shroud
bursting blind into the alley.

But back in the tent, left a piece of my heart
and my eye rolls away into a peddler's cup
blistered bits of my soul flake off, scorched
by fire-eaters food. What's left? Who am I?

                             What did it cost?
                               Not a dime, not a dime!
                                          Just a piece of your heart,
                                                                ­  just a piece of your mind.

Retching, the last of my still beating heart
squelches into my waiting hands.
I gag and sob out the gore, disbelieving
this small bit of flesh is all that is left
of all that I have been.

The blood draws the eyes of comrades
now changing from lovely to grotesque.
Ravenous, their teeth elongate
Eyes darken and colors fade
What was vibrant now decayed.
Sweet cream curdles in my mouth.
Rich meats, choice fruits turn sour--
the apple rots.

A hoard unrecognizable
of starved beasts and hideous beings
bears down for my final offering.

But I must know who I am
and what there was beyond this place!

Sprinting barefoot from the mob
clutching the vital treasure to my chest--
though to there it may not return--
I look now for mercy from the black gate.

Elegant porcelain fingers produce monstrous claws.
What once caressed my wondering skin
now sinks in for blood with crushing force.
A hopeless last attempt, a dead man's prayer:
I fling my body on the gate---

                                                       ­                                I am over. I am free--

Iron that once kept me out, now holds them fast within.

Bedclothes torn, all my purchased raiment turned to ash,
I limp, clutching a fragment heart.
Staggering from the Carnival's screams,
its dissonant music now all trick and terror.
Putrid garbage wafts from its walls.
Press onward, never looking back, through the wood.

So long ago--how long?--a little one led me here.
Her death was her own, but could have been
my salvation, a warning dearly paid.
Cheaply received.

My mind swims.
A body with its heart outside cannot last.
There are many things not of the Carnival
that would have my final scrap.

Faltering feet stumble and tripping find
a mere clear and still: a mirror for the moon.
And Luna's face does shine down
all her attendants watching on
as my naked form collapses beside its calm.
I cannot deserve this resting place,
could not discern a trap if one here lay.
All I can and have and am I offer up to Mercy,
and dip what's left of my broken life
into the cleansing pool.
first legitimate narrative piece.
a proof that no one can have an original idea. listening to showbread's 2004 album, *no sir nihilism is not practical.* definitely some inspiration from erin morgenstern's *night circus*, although her book is quite a different and lovelier thing. recently reading *undine* by friedrich de la motte fouqué (translated. i'm not that classy). recently struggling with those things that most often try to ensare a heart.

this is undoubtedly going to be one of those pieces i am never happy with.
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
The sun rises tentatively through the forest heights behind the palace. In the pre-dawn light Jia Li has secured water and fuel for her visitors and despite the attentions of the pack horse men, who have returned from an evening at her village the worse for drink, she settles to feed her infant child. Meng Ning enters to seek her counsel. She already guesses his intentions and answers his brief questions with confidence. She knows the route to the Red Slate Path, perhaps four li distant. The path is clear, though little used. It is not a place those of her village visit, though she has learnt that the path itself defies nature’s attempts to cover its existence.
    Zuo Fen is standing on the terrace as Meng Ning returns to the Emperor’s Hall. She has slept deeply, is refreshed after a period of meditation and, despite the cold, has been washed and massaged by her maid. She appears dressed for walking, her boots, fur cloak and hat in purposeful combination. As she surveys the lake flocks of wild geese and duck chatter and squabble as they float on the surface. There are some experimental flights, pairs of duck taking off to fly in wide arcs only to return to the same stretch of water from where they rose in tandem. Soon the geese will leave to fly across the forests and moorland for distant harvested fields where they will spend the day foraging. Meng Ning points to a distant peninsula jutting out from the northern shore of the lake. Behind it, he says, lies the cove of the Red Slate Path. Perhaps there they will be able to understand more keenly the why of this mystery.

‘At such a distance,’ says Zuo Fen, ‘the detail of a boat would be quite lost. I imagine the peninsula acting like a pointing finger to its floating form. There is already fashioning within me a possible story that might explain this mystery.’

She smiles warmly at Meng Ning who bows his head rather than stare into her jade green eyes. She moves closer to his standing posture, taking his left hand secure but tense against the balustrade of the veranda. Lowering one leg before the other she slowly kneels, removing her hat, loosening her fur cloak that now spreads itself of its own accord beside and behind her. With both hands behind her neck she lifts her long hair found to parted and tied in simple peasant fashion. Raising her hands to full-stretch her sleeping hair warm from the bare skin of her back slowly cascades forward and across each of her ******* to curl like two cats in the bowl of her robe.

‘Mei Lim is with Jia Li’, Zuo Fen says curiously and with a voice Meng Ning has not encountered before. ‘I fell to sleep dreaming of your kind presence and the joy of being touched and kissed.’ He cannot see her face as she speaks, only the quivering fall of her hair across her kneeling body. ‘I awoke feeling your breath on my cheek and so brought your limbs to entwine with my own.’ He now senses the delicate unguents of her body; they compass him about, his hand falls from the balustrade to touch her hair.

Finding her right ear his fingers describe its shape, its sculptured relief of folded forms and crevices. He is becoming faint with something outside passion that requires him to go beyond her ear and flow of hair about his fingers. He unties his cloak, letting it drop behind him. He removes his boots and outer garments. She follows his example. He moves to her side, adopts the position of the swallow resting on the wind. They face one another.  To the accompaniment of their breathing, her hands begin a dance in the space between their lower limbs as though they are birds turning and falling in flight. Unlike the courtesans he sees at court her nails are short, her fingers long. Then, it is as though her hand holds a brush forming characters and she begins to write on his body with short deft movements this way that way describing her flight of passion. Some intuition tells him to allow this, and not to seek repricocity, as it seems from her breathing that these very actions give her the greatest delight, bring her to the edge of the first coitus. Eyes closed, he moves his nose into a glancing embrace with her own, feeling there a semblance of perspiration, that tell-tale sign of a woman’s readiness for the deeper embrace. She responds to this with sighs and swift movements of rapture that envelope him, and now, as she quickly brings her limbs into a right conjunction, he places one hand beneath her, the other to recline her body gently to the floor, her cloak becoming a pillow for her head.
    He now looks directly at her, her face expressionless as though all thought and feeling has entered her body in preparation to receive his own. She does not blink. There is a moment of great stillness, a great wave of calm breaks, moves forward and pulls back – and again, again. In an instant he will enter her Jade Gate to caress and kiss and move where only his Lord has visited. He knows that once there he will seal his own fate . . .
     It is the talk of poets that women are often at their most sensitive to love’s attention in the morning hours, and that this was, for so many reasons, the most impractical of times for men. Zuo Fen herself had written fu poems that took the reader to the most intimate moments of a concubine’s experience in the morning hours, those times when alone the body gathers to itself its essential nature, and is often caressed with the woman’s own hand and thoughts. To understand such circumstance, to hold its sweetness as an abiding taste during the formalities of the day, only to release its flavour in the pleasure hours of the night, was a manly attribute, said to be treasured, indeed honoured by women.
      When Meng Ning withdrew Zuo Fen lay for some while letting the unaccustomed circumstance and its location only gradually allow a return to conscious and present thoughts. She pictured now her journey to the Red Slate Path, Jia Li, her baby on her back, striding beside Meng Ning, then herself and finally Mei Lim - who would have entreated her mistress to be allowed to accompany her. There was the glade, a small bowl in the hillside where it was just possible to see a small cave from which, glistening, the broken patterns of the slate path fell after half a li into the lake. She would investigate the cave. She would walk to the water’s edge, where the trees stepped into and reached over the lake to lay a carpet of fallen leaves. Then to see the path gradually, gradually disappear into the depths.
    Whilst Zuo Fen, with her eyes closed, projected her thoughts forward in time, with accustomed tact Mei Lim left those accouterments a woman needs after the attentions of a lover. She feared for the young man, though she knew her Lord prized too much his Lady of The Purple Chamber to effect jealousy or display anger.
    As the sun cleared away the thin cloud and approached its zenith the company broached the crest of the hill above the glade. It was, Zuo Fen had to admit, just as she had imagined lying prone and in disarray in the Emperor’s hall. In silence, and in the company of her imagination, she now paced from cave to path to water, and standing at the very edge of the lake’s bank focused her mind to envisage the events of twenty years past.
     It was as though a rhapsody was already formed. She found herself recounting the tale in her world of characters where there is only present time. She felt her hand describe them with the flow of her brush, heard the sound of its movement across the thick parchment. She was slow to notice that Meng Ning had disrobed and was entering the water. Without a word she watched him move through the carpet of floating leaves, some sticking to his nakedness, and onwards, slowly, following the submerged path until his torso then only his shoulders were visible. She then knew what he hoped to find, even after the passage of so many years.

She saw it all, suddenly. The sorcerer Yang Mo and the Emperor’s second wife descending the Red Slate Path as a cavalcade of fire and smoke, loud flashes of light, noises of brass and clashing metal enveloped the glade and the boat itself. The watching company witnessed for a moment the couple disappear under the waters only for their collective sight to be shrouded in a climaxed confusion of the sorcerer’s devices and effects.

When, finally the smoke cleared, the boat and the lovers had vanished.

Zuo Fen watched Meng Ning disappear from view. She imagined him, as the pearl fishers she had heard tell of, diving down to the depths, holding his breath to seek what might remain of the illusory boat. But time passed beyond the possibility of what she knew could be endured by human-kind. The surface of the water remained unbroken. The division of open water made by Meng Ning in breaking apart the carpet of floating leaves was already reforming itself.
   Removing her cloak and her boots, and unpinning her hair, Zuo Fen stepped into the water. A memory floated towards her of bathing in the lake near to her summer retreat. Water held no fear for her, only now the cold consumed her. Her loosed hair, and her elaborate untied robe settled on the water’s surface: to surround her like a lily pad, she the budding flower at its centre. She felt her feet still firmly on the Red Slate Path, her chin now resting on the water’s surface. Whatever had happened to Meng Ning she knew her action to be compliant. She had immersed herself with the very element that had brought him either death or, as she knew in her heart, a most honorable escape.
L A Lamb Sep 2014

The constant chatter
lowly, gathering attentions
apprehension--that's the matter
thoughts are shattered
the noise: rushing, crushing, bustling in
and flushing out all rationale
growing louder, shouting over morale
and one who can no
control it, cowers, trying hard not to
a persevering temperament, one
who silences the sounds of increasing volume
madness boomerangs again;
pain returns once again.
Invocation Apr 2014
Stop describing your terrible ****** encounters
I know you've had other women since I ended things with you
You're acting like you don't have magazines stashed under your bed
What, when I was with you your hand was your secret lover
And now it's not enough?

I'm so cold. I just want the affirmation of another soul's proximity
Is anyone out there?
The spinning feeling increases its tempo
The awful silence crescendos
Bring me back, bring me back
I miss the Saturday night I spent on mushrooms.
Everything was alright in the world
Anonymous carefree the world was ablaze
I convinced myself I was a fire spirit and you were a deer
I'm not addicted: I only tried it once.

All I want is a cigarette and to go back to sleep.
The world will turn without me
Your heart will be cold either way
Why and I vying for your attentions?
I tell myself I'm too antisocial
Until I have asked every single last one of my faceless friends to come get me
I guess it's alright to take some time for yourself
Is this a manifestation of grief or depression?
Is anyone out there?
I prefer the company of strangers to those who I've already become disillusioned with
Will anyone feel my gentle tugging and lend me a hand?
Just a coffee
Just a smoke
Just a walk through the warming days
Spring cleaning
I've successfully ignored your texts for long enough
I think I'll sleep with you
Not because I think that's all I'm good for.

Is it really "being used" if you're aware of it?
Am I not using you as well?
I can't decide if this will turn out well.

To you: Help.
This is shattering my bones again

#5-5-14 - I didn't sleep with the *******, thought I'd point this out
Laura Jane Apr 2015
I am with you
here in this place
scanning with cool
and radiant eyes
Causing silver haired women
to pantomime
The Thing Thats Wrong With Us:
their heads shake
and their thumbs waggle in the air
like worms.

Our thumbs irk them,
patience wearing
thin as their lips.
They are so sad for us,
for our murderous stupidity.
They know
what is wrong:

because our empty carcasses
litter their living rooms
the busses they ride
the classes they teach
in the seats where we left them.

Heidegger said
that attention creates access to the world,
And we've crept away to the edge
dangling our attentions over the inviting precipice
like the sorcerer's apprentice
of how it all takes place
but certain
of it’s awesome power.
The well overflows
and we are swept away
as the women look on

~for Bill T. Jones~

two poets, laureates both,
on the nature of hunger, they discourse,
in temple, where sacrificing is to living arts

I was there, hungry in every aspect,
seeking wisdom of the hungering nature of human.

examine the word, hunger,
hardly a rolling off the tongue mellifluous.
you growl it from the gut, in gowned resplendent ugliness,
go ahead, try it, it’s coarse and powerful insistent.

awoken empty but for the hunger, hungover from
dancing words and imagery not mine, now mine,
maddeningly demanding my dutiful attentions,
as if hunger was the master, me, obedient pupil.

the clean white slate the IPad re-presents repeatedly,
insulted that I have yet to crayon color it with the coherence
of hunger-exhaled words, dismissive that I am but an also-ran,
my village of lexical too unsophisticated,
the page addressed yet unplanned,
Apple white
is the color of the
starving artist.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
Welcome Back To This, Your Isle

The rabbits beneath the deck,
Even the pesky deer who eat the shrubbery,
Sea creatures, living and spirits of the dead,
Lying on the paths and in the creeks of Silver Beach,
All inquire:

Was it better wherever you went?

Were the:

Bears, hiding in the forests outside Berlin,
Eagles, double headed, of Russia
Herring, fried, creamed, wined,
From the vendors on the docks of
Helsinki, Riga, Visby and Tallinn,
Salmon, smoked and cured in Stockholm,
More impressive,
Tastier than our striped bass,
Island cohorts of yours, who waited patiently
For their chronicler to return?

Did the Little Mermaid and her Dolphin
Guardians of the Port of Copenhagen
Welcome you more warmly than your friends,
The ospreys, lizards, turtles and owls
Who overwatch your steps and safety
When hiking in Mashomack Preserve?

Are the interlacing tidal creeks,
Woodlands, fields, salt marshes and the ragged,
Irregular but charmed coastline of this cherished island
Any lesser than those of Scandinavia?

Are the sea-going ferries that transverse the
Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland,
More poetic than the Menantic or the Lt. Joe,
Who carry you swiftly home to us?

The National Geographic people say that in
Tivoli Gardens, The Amerikaner (ha!) waffle ice cream cone
Is one of the ten best in the world.
Guessing they have not made it yet to the
Tuck Shop for some Moose Tracks!

Were you unaware that our isle settled before
Peter the Great ever envisioned creating the grand
Boulevards of his capitol, St. Petersburg,
Route 114 was a traveled forest path,
By settlers and Indians, not serfs.

Of the Treasures, the Gold Room of the Hermitage,
The Amber Room of Catherine's Palace,
Wrote not a single word, we observe.
Your attentions, they did not deserve?

The answers all, self evident.

Here, surrounded by the gentle breezes of
Long Island Sound and Gardiners Bay,
Sweet and salty flavors of the Peconic atmosphere,
Words unlocked, from your eyes to the page fall,
Smudged by joyous tears, for the muses of the island
Have embraced you yet again and rebirthed
Inspiration, within their comforting, sheltering grasp.

Silver Beach

July 22, 2012
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
In a strange mood - see/write art

in a strange way, disorganized but straight on,
light tinted magenta, issuing, in frothy large pours, from my mouth,
knowing what to say, and the meaning too,
I can more than walk, can write, on water,
where all can read weeping, Mary-miracles of seeing, living words,
themselves, on light waves lapping in a
shifting rotunda vision, color reorienting spatial senses.^

in a strange, strange stitch, seasonal spirits and witches,
Chagall, Baez, Dylan Thomas, Donovan, Richie Havens
doing their knitting in my brain, from Montmartre to the Midwest to Monterey,
painters and poets in lockstep head-messing with me,
imperfect clarity but still one voice,
see/write art,
so went and caught the wind, going gently into night
to banish the hodgepodge of uncertainty from inside out.

knowing well you don't understand fully, but jumbling tumbling
verses are sliding off my rusted tongue as fiddlers fly above,
roughened words, hewn from a paper cup, spilling diamonds uncut, imported from Sarajevo, Montparnasse, the Lower East Side.
wretched me, in the hour I first believed, this amalgamated conception conceded,
seceded from my mind into your palate for a tasting,
tho neither drugged, nor deaf and dumb, just slammed poetical-like, this write is
all I have to portend is your affections, your attentions, to yours, am beholden.

a *****, well respected man in daylight,
the hidden references accuse,
woke up to see Wednes-day Caesarian born,
askance glanced at the prior passages of the night before,
when my palate clefted,
when eyes chose not to distinguish
between right and lefted,
in the nightlight,
a ***** man disrespects language convection/convention,
and lays before you activating stanzas and his mind, prone,
but always the truth, speaking,
the visions, leaking, mind to eye,
recombinant, into our minds eye.


Rather than write extensive notes on the many references, inspirations in this poem, if there is a line that intrigues, ask me
Sam Hawkins Jun 2016
sensing you, i stood myself tall
i stayed and in my staying i grew
ten thousand tiny legs or more—

each root foot set upon your shoulders
lifted me among constellation stars

home i had never left,
not you

thank you ancestors thank you
for your neighborly attentions
sound vibrations spiral strung --

God’s first word, first and second
generation sun, a greening earth,
until everywhere shaping intelligence
this my body finally here

steady and true as weighed stone,
unjudging love is

what you have come to teach me

that i could choose to die to fear
and die to death itself
Nolan Willett Apr 2019
A resurgent nihilistic philosophy
A second lost generation
Disillusioned with the being of nations
Lost in their own antipathy
Confused by new sensations

A political theorist I am not
I like to wander in hills and clouds
And pick out kindred spirits in crowds
A thousand wasted battles fought
A thousand raggedy burial shrouds

The bohemians revel in their nonsense
Shall I my conceits and imaginations forsake?
Maybe a decent Lawyer I would make?
What is real and what is performance?
Which side of me shall I deem fake?

To which should I my attentions give
My unceasing love for liberty,
or a discontented bourgeoisie?
Material things I need to live
Yet still I am most lifted by poetry
Christian Bixler Feb 2015
I sit in bed, my hair, ruffled and undone, eyes blurry
from lack of sleep, while I wonder what to say. Searching
the farthest depths of my mind, for as far as I can fathom
for as long as I can, I search within, for what to say to move
you, to laughter or to tears, serenity or despair, hope or a sense
of loss, deep within the pit of your stomachs, that moves you to
tears, some shed some not, while you stare at my last and final
lines and touch with your index finger, shaking, or click with your
pad or mouse, a small icon, down at the bottom of your screen,
the bottom of the poem, that indicates so much, that brings so much
joy, at so very little effort on your part, all you who have glanced at my
poetry and, deeming it mediocre, have moved on, even as the lines and syllables of my heart and lessened soul fall from your attentions, and fade from your hearts. I am reaching now, reaching far within myself,
for the courage to spit these words out onto this glowing screen, late at night, with the promise of an early dawn visible on my small clock, green letters glowing like some poisonous chemical, mixed with the sewage of a rotting city and the vileness of all the cruel and hateful thoughts, uttered and imagined by all of mankind, within our short and  devastating history. I have found it. I beg you now, all of you, all who merely glance at this, my desperate plea to all of you, out there in the shifting nothingness of cyberspace, to please, like or comment, tell me my work is ****, and that I should drown myself in the nearest roadside ditch rather than write again, for at least I would know, at least I would feel that my work elicits something from you, and that I at least, am not as great a failure as a writer, as a poet, as I am coming to believe. I beg you now, with all my heart and screaming soul, with all the rage and fury and bitter tears unshed you have elicited from my tired soul, read and comment, and like if you may, for I am tired of being ignored, and of the deep and lonely feeling of being alone and forgotten, unnoticed and uncared for, due to the mediocrity of my work, though my heart were poured into it and my soul spent to give it life. I beg of you. And now, tired as I am, I will sleep, and dream and wake and sleep again, for anxiety and fear. And perhaps this too will go unanswered, unnoticed, lost amid the vastness of cyberspace, glanced at but not read, not searched for any subtle glimpse of meaning I, the writer may have hidden in these words for you and you alone, out of the thousand thousand people, authors and browsers, who may come and, if they deign to glance at it closer, never feel the exact same emotions, and feel the same thoughts as you will have, for you are you, and I am I, and for all our differences, and for all that we may be a world apart, or living nextdoor, we are connected, just as everyone, and everything is , in this world, in this life. Find meaning in that if you will. Ha. And now farewell. I hope that my words will be heeded, at least to some extent. But then, they probably won't, for all the bitter truths and all the pain and rage and fury written here for all to see, for none to see. Farewell.
Tien - Tim Jul 2013
Your design,
So divine,
Can't even imagine.
This is a fatal attraction,
And I'm under the influence,
Got my *** drive out of control.
Lust, passion, feeling infatuated,
Attentions that your body implore....
Hot, intense, feelings over-saturated,
I'm guessing you’re ready for me to explore?
Don't need a GPS,
Cause I don't mind getting lost,
Just need your voice to guide me,
How far can I go?
I know that you're not sleeping,
But I'll make you feel as if you're dreaming...
Let's create temporary forever,
Bring our bodies together,
Fall into alignment,
Don't deny it.
This is what your body desires...
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2013
Warning: the government is reading your poetry!
(Metadata Mining This Site)

If to the world about, you are attentive,
You have imbibed the news that our governmental,
is exercising its parental abusive in-discretionary powers,
Purviewing and purloining our electronic communications,
Causing some to have worrisome palpitations

My life is on the boring side,
So welcome gents to look inside,
The surfed sites, the emails, hardly slimy,
But stay the fk away from my poetry!

Tis obvious from your midnight editing,
That my wordily, working body has been discretely
My data,
My poems,
A comma, a colon, a verb, out of place, capsized,
Little threads kept in door jambs, their alteration,
Your snooping presence, a confirming revelation

Will the words Rye Catcher be caught by a filter,
My mocking of Obamacare, be the transmitter,
That becomes a curiosity inflictor, a predictor,
Of your requited, on-this-sited, attentions?

Meta dating women, once a goal, worthy of attaining,
Meta dating mining of poetic alliterations, pertaining
To me and mine, a serious no-no, causing consternation,
Heavy percussing, voters, party swinging in self-flagellation

The information unwittingly provided on HP
Will be used to modulate the time and temperature,
Add certain chemicals in the liquids we drink
Like testosterone in erogenous zones,
Xanax in the air vents in the high schools and colleges,
Hell, they may even put fluoride in the water

Control the atmosphere, fashion styles, population size,
Disclose location to my enemies and my illicit affairs,
(Exposed, leaked to the NY Post's Page Six, to my better halving),
Keep the emotions checked,
Within acceptable parameters,
Especially of those *****, love sick
Senior Citizens, always ready to get down
When poetry-aroused

This narration of condemnation for espying
Will YouTube spread like a new flu virus,
Cause I know where you live and Iam,
Cell phone camera armed and dangerous
On  the Internet, your faces, posted

They riot-for-rights in Cairo and Istanbul,
President Obama, we have on good authority,
Your daughters support our rhetoric, no bullsht,
Watch your step, or on you, we'll sic the IRS,
Cause in the end, they work for *us,

Hold on, who's that knocking at my door?
Ah. The things we think of at 3 in the morning.  Nonetheless:
|: Who's that knocking at my door? :|
Who's that knocking at my door?
Said the fair young maiden
It's only me from over the sea,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor,
I'm all lit up like a Christmas tree,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor,
I've sailed the seas until I'm broke,
I drink and swear and gamble and smoke,
But I can't swim a ****** stroke,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor.

A perfect example of having a punch line, then figuring out the joke. The joke is on my many friends of liberal, Democratic persuasion.   Warning! Another warning poem will be coming, for my insanity is fertile, when past midnight, I dream with, upon my face, this smile, demented. Hell, there it goes, now come, now gone.
Cait Aug 2013
My idea of a good night is staying in
And technology serves as my friend
With a glass of wine or bottle of brew in my hand
Talking to a list of favorable foes on the web
Where conversations boarder between flirty and scholarly lines
And typed dialogues lead way to theoretical thoughts and inspirational designs
Pondering ignites a spark that surges in my mind
I’ll begin to research the fast array of thoughts that run through my brain
Fixated on scientific data, predicted trends and worldly traits
Eventually it’s not enough for my thought
I’ll try to fight the inevitable feeling that starts to form in my gut
Leading way to the breeding ground for butterflies
Factual documents begin to get lost in the shuffle
As my attentions now caught by an excerpt or rousing photo
New tabs are opened over the old
And I always find myself ending at the same place
Looking up poems about love and images elapsed from past days
Thia Jones Apr 2014
Sometimes it's all about the ***
though mostly it isn't.

Sometimes it's about the play,
about enjoying the effect
that I have on another
or, less so recently,
about seeking to please
and enjoying whatever is given.

Sometimes it's about wanting
to hold and be held in return
to feel the love
and the connection
and the closeness
and that warmth inside.

Sometimes play isn't enough
when it ignites my desire
and frustration strains the pleasure
sometimes holding someone
isn't enough either
when the warmth turns to heat.

So sometimes it becomes
all about the ***
and yet that's so elusive
when my attentions are unwanted
or I find my desire
impossible to express.

Sometimes I feel in need
yet nobody picks that up
none come forward to ask
to writhe with me, entwined
to seek mutual fulfillment
of a shared lust.

Sometimes it's not about the ***
because that's not on the menu.

Cynthia Pauline Jones, Aug 2013
I wish you were here
On this rainy night.
Wrapped in a warm blanket,
My head on your shoulder;
Sitting close and holding hands,
A hot cup of coffee in the other.
Cool air
playing with your moist hair
A beautiful fragrance
Drifting all about your essence
Talking of small things
Just to hear your voice
Drowning in each others attentions
Our hearts rejoice
Lovingly planted kisses
Affectionate little smiles
Endearing little giggles
My whole world in your eyes
I wish you were here
Paul R Mott Aug 2012
It’s the damndest thing when attentions focused
on one thing beget the focus of another
Like the rooster crowing the sunlight
in the cold, ungrateful weather,
My eyes scan the ups and downs
of those digital stand-ins for those I’ve known
Seeing mistakes, my own and in others,
Seeing perfection, in other’s imperfect successes,
wantonly rubbed in my eyes

As I springboard from the travails of those
with whom I may never vocalize my adoration
I drop out of the air of a life far from mine,
I see mention of a passed on spirit
Who I truly adored,
no digital fakery of half-true fables necessary
to express my love for the ideals implanted in me
by such a tongue so supplicant to the truths in that vast ether
where I used to swim in the light,
never thinking of the dark climes below.  
What choice do I have on an accidental evening like tonight?
I no longer can mask disinterest for other’s soaring narratives
when my true care has been discovered,
been pried away from that dark corner of the airborne pool so ethereal.  

My care, my pride have been torn asunder,
by a mere errant glance on a mere sideways mention
Of a massive, earthly idol, who, if only for a stanza of years
held my full gaze with hopeful smiles and ecstatic promise
for bright futures now gone into grey pastures.  

I lay here an imposter in authentic skin
if only for the sight of words on screens,
with scant meaning in between.
During the war, I was in China.
Every night we blew the world to hell.
The sky was purple and yellow
like his favorite shirt.

I was in India once
on the Ganges in a tourist boat.
There were soldiers,
some women with parasols.
A dead body floated  by
going in the opposite direction.
My son likes this story
and requests it each year at Thanksgiving.

When he was twelve,
there was an accident.
He almost went blind.
For three weeks he lay in the hospital,
his eyes bandaged.
He did not like visitors,
but if they came
he'd silently hold their hand as they talked.

Small attentions
are all he requires.
Tell him you never saw anyone
so adept
at parallel parking.

Still, your life will not be easy.
Just look in the drawer where he keeps his socks.
Nothing matches.  And what's the turtle shell
doing there, or the map of the moon,
or the surgeon's plastic model of a take-apart heart?

You must understand --
he doesn't see the world clearly.
Once he screamed, "The woods are on fire!"
when it was only a blue cloud of insects
lifting from the trees.

But he's a good boy.
He likes to kiss
and be kissed.
I remember mornings
he would wake me, stroking my whiskers
and kissing my hand.

He'll tell you -- and it's true --
he prefers the green of your eyes
to all the green life
of heaven and earth.
Many years ago from now
a gentleman I knew
his predilections were precise
and, to me, quite new.

He was intent on teaching
deliberate and firm
and from his experience
I began to learn.

So here arose my interest
it's him I have to thank
for taking me in hand so well
and giving me The Spank.

He wasn't ever lazy
never dealt out on a whim
he made me work to earn each stroke
I was obsessed with him.

I put in many hours
hatching careful plans
of how to win the best attentions
from this authoritative man.

I'd knock a stack of books
off the corner of his desk
and he'd lean back in his chair and say
"come here and lift your dress".

And I'd comply so gladly
already feeling hot
my bottom was presented
and his hand knew just the spot.

Sometimes he'd give me just the one
on a precipice I'd stay
longing for the three or four
I'd get later that day.

I remember him with fondness
he taught me many useful things
but most of all I thank him
for every little sting.
Robert Zanfad Jan 2010
Desperate these words,                          
Chasing fleeting shadow,                      
Echoes flocking like birds                
Amid myriad distortions,
The unquiet mind's sorrow.                
In birth chosen for sweetness,                    
A bid for attentions of one                        
Soon fade mere whispers,                        
Weak and defeated tomorrow,                
Exhaled anguish unheard.                        
Written lines would have best
Been spoken in ears years ago
'Ere time flowed its course,
When ever softer verse
Might shimmer
Then a symphony,
Maybe able
To drown life's other sounds
Like Mozart, loud as one can turn up.
Would there be any remedy
Which relieves burdens of memory...
The music of dulcet strings
Does dull stings, still only temporary;
And since abandoned,
Thoughts of more ultimate things.
So still, some poet's quill
Crafts dreams into sparrows,
Sets fluttering free
Their unnatural wings
To sing a song of regret,
Share madness with the winds.
Gene Wilder's ***** Wonka once asked me
to step into a world
of pure imagination
and I danced to his voice
of sugary imperfections.
The swelling strings drizzled
on top falsetto inflections
captured me childishly
with candy-coated attentions

But even the finest chocolate melts,
and I learned to let purity be
pushed by treacly lyrics
or stern midgets secure
in their fudge-topped zealotry.
It sifts too pretty for me,
powdering my grown-up
infatuations with petty
wants, getting a little messy

What I crave instead's stained-glass contraptions
to propel me past the stretches
of biblical proportion
where light and dark don't mix.
I'm no Idiot, good-hearted
in the veins of Fyodor
or Akira, and I can't see
beyond the pure tedium
of a blurredly driven snow

I like my mental drifts grime-choked and splotched
with some savory do
dropped in to dissolve flossy
confections to a salted soup
of imagined impurity.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ken Pepiton Jun 2019
If the writer is not the reader and the reader is not entered
(entertain-ed?) by the trial or trier
here in our phor of oroboronic

wheel spinning, our world of
coming to meet, um,
-phatics of sorts unheard,
or unshown, un-

iated unit-
ary, you,

become the
eleventh hour ***, none hired.

Unem, come work my field, *** my hard rows
no early helpers

Attention glitch... some signal intra fearal

No worry,
-- fear of god beginning wisdom boot code;

that connection
has been loose so long, missignaling
special and free,

a special sort of
crudescence has scabbed the short.
It's a brain fix.
You get a feel for it, the augments help,
Om as the
Axionic go, is tuned to absurdity. Listen.

Hear me, dragon-lizard-brain. We are a team. The team.
All the story stories tell of you and me. We unite.
We get our act together, and we
go mad, in the sight of all earthlings augmented to see

By my ab-surd-ifity, all our stories change. An unmatched wave.

-- forgive the footnote, but don't lie about what we both know is true:

absurd (adj.)"plainly illogical," 1550s,
from Middle French absurde (16c.),
from Latin absurdus "out of tune, discordant;"
figuratively "incongruous, foolish, silly, senseless,"
from ab- "off, away from,"
here perhaps an intensive prefix,
+ surdus "dull, deaf, mute," which is possibly
from an imitative PIE root meaning "to buzz, whisper"
(see susurration).
Thus the basic sense is perhaps "out of tune,"
but de Vaan writes,
"Since 'deaf' often has two semantic sides,
viz. 'who cannot hear' and 'who is not heard,' ab-surdus can be explained as 'which is unheard of' ..." The modern English
sense is the Latin figurative one,
perhaps "out of harmony with reason or propriety." Related: Absurdly; absurdness.
Screech, boomers know, finger nails on the chalkboard, the blackboard
jungle screech,
when teacher is takin' a smoke. Absurdity is entertainment.

It can make you think in whole new ways.
Or stop your believing of a lie

for long enough to see
a hope, no lie, a hope of something human
**** sapien sapiens augmental,
upright under Good and Evil,
sheltered from the storm.

A class, a level, a common value beyond Belief and Dignity and

dexterous sinister plots of points where clues were pinned,
yet you
overlooked the message, daze-led by the angels dancing.

Thales fell into this hole. He survived. It all ties in

The new -phatic word that started this stream ends it,
with our common
scream for meaning fullness apo-

apo-phatic mystery of sympathy,
bha, bha --

Paradox ortho
pedic augmentations, koan to mantra,
meditation on the word of words,
step to step to step logical
logos-centric reason, logo-istical rite to
evince a visible faith,
a virtue signal,
a mark, between the eyes,
an aim,
a point to spring a story from
upon an unsuspecting child averse to boos.

Trauma at a bubble pop. When all we know, dear
reader, is lost, and our bubble's edge sur
past our horizons,
we are mine-yoot, mispent attentions being

recycled, for goodness sake. Old lies twisting
into first fruits of the know
ing tree, ideas mani-fest
ting, ding

Aha, my bubble of thought ala
funny papers in the old days where we met and laughed
in America, before we knew
earth from this distance
fifty years ago.

Wishbooks were real,
Whole Earth Catalog suppliers
sold me my nets, my hooks, and lines,

I learned the ways men have caught fish.
Wishing all the while for a way to live as earthlings live.
Guided by witty inventions, messengers
from the gods, eh.

Easter eggs, tucked away in retro games surfacing on Wall Street.

Who manages the messages released when the
first trump sounded?

That was me, as real, Asreal Kanbe, a walkon role.

I saw a third,
at least, of all the fish in the sea die,
in the duration of a single
short-span standard life. All seven trumps did sound, though,

they may be like lizards, we don't hear them well.

These seventy years of captivity
in the tales of my culture, my people and the ways they live in peace,

in the ways they resist war, sistere in peace with faith, the idea, the deed,

faith works in acting. True. Eh. Faith without action is dead.

Incandescentis onburnedupus, ****, dark. Switch on switch off
dark dark faith sees nothing, ah so what, we muddle in puddles

and fail to portage for fear of surface I can't sticking to our
iron shod feet,
miry clay, heavy steps ******* the good news socks off
our beautiful feet,

see hear focus id - i dent ify the why, find the how-

thought change changes thinker, not thought.

Which of you can make one wire plus or minus by taking thought?
Taking anxious thought? Eh?
Fret not. Ohmmmmmmmm

my god, why the threats? Why must I fret for never making sense?

Dee ahna knowledge chan zen

consider the opposite, the shadow of turning, not doubt

preserve light and darkness little man
preserve sun and moon and stars

lose your wish to catch the Magic Fish.

But that is my wish, my wish for one more wish,
I wished to catch the fish

which taught the lessen to the fishher whose wife
could not be satisfied.

I wished for a source of all the answers ever found,

Ah. and I got this global brain that remembers ever,
though we know only now.
Never before,
has this been past that which men hoped for,
Faith for the world to become as it now is,
is finished.
What a man sees, why does he hope for?

It worked. Self-evident, right. Same class as life and liberty.

**** or ovoidal elliptical slices of life, those arrive for our

per-use-al, right or wrong. Like a Fabrege' egg:
You break it, you bought it. Life ain't fair. But it works.
Pick up the pieces.
They all still fit. None are missing. Some are broke,
but a soft touch can fix em.

You were always Humpty-Dumpty. This had to happen once.

Good side always shines, when
the rub has been dealt a shine-on signal for ever sake,
no reason,

just cause. A man can, even mad, be as happy
as he can imagine being,
at the time, all things considered, augmentasciously.

This was my oldest memory today, the future
shall come, and whatever
shall be, shall be, que sera sera.

How are you bored? This is earth. Even if you wish otherwise.

There are new things we may learn if we choose.

--apophatic (adj.)
"involving a mention of something one feigns to deny;
involving knowledge obtained by negation," 1850,
from Latinized form of Greek apophatikos,
from apophasis "denial, negation,"
from apophanai "to speak off,"
from apo "off, away from" (see apo-) + phanai "to speak,"
related to pheme "voice," from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say."

I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden.
Maybe I would call it eating light.
Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice:
apophatic mysticism, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and
kataphatic mysticism, less well defined:
an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation.

Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole,
a kataphatic mystic,
as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant momemnts:
but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles.

Francis and Thérèse were made, really made,
any mother superior will let you know,
in the dark nights of their lives:
no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God's arms

When I was twelve and had my first menstrual period,
my grandmother took me aside and said,
'Now your childhood is over.
You will never really be happy again.'
That is pretty much how some spiritual directors treat the transition from kataphatic to apophatic mysticism.

But, I'm sorry, I'm going to sit here every day the sun shines and eat this light. Hung in the bell of desire.” 
― Mary Rose O'Reilley, The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd
Daring to let art be fun and philosophy be phuny, I laugh and romp in the remains of fallen walls between any curious mind and all the knowledge in the world, accessible as long as we both shall live.
13 Sep 2013
in the grass lingering
subtle. new life, seeks.
life over distractions
will you buy attentions? for me?
i could try and persuade interjections
to interject anomalies. false.
in decay, blooming
death. closer than your mother.
unaware of the scythe

despite selection
phrasing perpetually
simply put, arrogance
tests my limits. carefully.
picking out life from death
a masterful game. monotonous.
does the truth betray your senses?
do your eyes smell?
deliverance. ignorance for innocents.
there are millions. billions.

watch my back. we’ll both die.
a rip in sound. feel the throat churn.
erratic vibrations disorient the world
they cannot understand us.
poisoned perception of the native mind
in struggle. in war.
recovering and failing the same.
thieving the motions. motionless.
all to achieve deplorable fame
mark john junor Jan 2017
the polished hand of admirers heralding a new poem
they have come so often to rub their eyes on your ink-stained page
leaving behind papercuts of emotion with which they grieve
for the words you spread on their sweaty palms
the polished hand of admirers...
wet with anticipation of the latest beachside laughing clown
he is a walking breathing cataclysm written for her comforts
written in adoration's delight and true loves of her tender hand
she lay in amongst your pages on the bedspread
like a spilled wine **** to the tongue of sensibility
like a spilled wine that intoxicates and leaves
watch her swaying hips fade away into darkness
she will bounce and glide on another man's stripper pole
if you fail to call her back...
the polished hand of admirers heralding your waking thought
muted cheers as your pen makes wicked strokes on empty page
like a dancing blade carving your wooden words
till they sing like beauties breath on cold still air
till she is your warmth wrapped so delicately in your twisted bedsheets
she mutters a cough as she puts flame to cigarette
and smiles at your attentions
she is a living poem
that you write ink and page
the polished hand of admirers will never see
how pure simple ***** girl is so intoxicating
how lush and enticing her gyrating beneath you really is
the polished hand of admirers like you go to bed and sleep
while your dreams are of her dancing swift and sweet
theirs are the dreams of pens cutting on page
like a dancing blade carving wooden words

© 2016 mark john junor all rights reserved
a m a n d a Feb 2014
there is an exquisite blue bird
    from another realm
deep in the trees
he is elusive
and beautiful beyond compare
he shimmers in the light
a deep blue
     hints of the finest most delicate feathers of
peach and yellow
he sings a song for his mate
   an unearthly humming
a soothing introduction
and she is his.
  he is gentle but his body moves
with skill
    vibrating a show of luminance
texture, and color
he is brilliant
                 how does a drab female
        win the attentions of one such
as this?
Pip Jaggers Jul 2014
Shall I compare thee to a cup of tea?
Thou art less lovely and less temperate.
Your voice winds do shake my tranquillity,
And fair attentions are too hard to get.
Sometimes too hot your critical glare shines,
And often is your vicious tongue untrimmed;
And every sip of love in time declines,
With swift return to lover's lounge much dimmed.
Your sharp heat shall never cool to comfort,
And all sugar in the world won't sweeten,
The bitter beating of your blackened heart;
Nor shall the greed of your soul be beaten.
As long as men can drink a cup of tea,
So long lives my hate and disgust for thee.
     Below a capable bay strays a profitable whistle. The castle wrongs an enemy. The retiring intellect renders the gateway. The shaking countryside copes throughout a bought photocopy. A caring cluster jams around the flash approval. The league pulses inside the shame.
     The shot offers any landscape. The affect graduates the unfortunate. The metric exemplifies a flush extremist behind the client. A sufferer toasts a pushed design. A further river prevails outside a lonely drum. Why won't a poetic controller ace a combined teapot?
     Under a column quibbles the continent. Will the brain paint the weapon? A graphic slot sounds an incompetence across the tin lifestyle. A swamped taxpayer eggs the pressure. Her female dummy pulses below the daytime yard. A vintage companions the break.
     Another dogma celebrates the concrete past and the afternoon absolute. The opposite swears under a skeptical chemist. A cold delays the rhythm. The technique relaxes beside the disappointing basket. A consumed drift edits your freezing appeal. The fence attributes my restriction liquid.
     Next to the print geology breezes the smaller actor. A confine turns? Why won't this geology argue before the serious joy? A convinced likelihood rests throughout a geology. The rip gears the radius. The directory disappears.
     The cider dines. A ray scotches the used confidence. The coordinate raves without the recovery. The ladder informs the anomaly beneath the recommended servant. A grandmother notes the realized flag underneath a stroke.
     Under the interesting orbital riots the inherent interference. A fortunate pole designs an ownership. The increased union inherits the powerful missile. The amazing lad flips throughout our terrifying principal. The forced engineer hunts inside the robust load. The golden lyric rots on top of the award.
     Why won't a scotch season the tomato? Does the actor blink? Underneath the nominate manifesto leaps an obstructed contempt. A ground prize benches the infrequent duck. The expressway skips! A cheating animal fishes.
     The hook pays the painful insult above the quest. A theology rushs toward the biting waffle past the substance. Below the charmed heart sickens the intimate attitude. A filled magic decks any yearly dance. My amplifier hangs from the biggest handicap.
     When can the sock chamber the human soundtrack? A snag overlooks a conceivable scheme. A monochrome biologist originates without a code. A disaster relaxes near your crisp charter. A cook fudges before the chance kingdom. A room leaps inside a spigot.
     The starved incompetent aborts throughout the worthless lifetime. The protein writes inside an undocumented sniff. The instrumental panel lies before the pipeline. The spike pinches the scope.
     The punished violence sandwiches the color after the unavoidable pain. A scarlet automobile prevails beneath a sinful stone. The bridge quibbles below a custard. Does an amber designer whistle with a cell?
     A puzzled tea runs beneath the combining prose. The feat hangs from a daylight. The rat derives the oxygen. Our occurrence ducks near a god.
     A diesel flowers before the rival. The wiser foot floats the faithful analogue. A chicken cows a megabyte. A fossil drains the content gulf. The crossword surfaces below a suicide.
     A near arithmetic breathes near the salary. The terrorist regains the slow aardvark. When will the designated shadow bake the military? The main interview kids in the very food.
     The secular shame hurts the scrap. My system mutters near a concern. A slippery giant does the kind holder. The rational sneak inhibits a tone.
     How will a chapter stick the foreigner? How can the meaningless pacifier monkey the nurse? Past the joke bores the approval. The enclosed advance pokes a moderate epic. Does the similar army pinch my elected soldier? The holy flies outside this swamped mystic.
     A slang drowns its operating alarm. The photo fumes below a hearing angle. How does the existence enter near the independent alternative? The enabling rocket despairs on top of a poet. An estate graduates on top of the located penguin.
     A damp psychologist assumes the food. Underneath a fighting lens worries a smallish motive. This bursting home experiments before the client. The musical turns without the highway.
     The hotel snacks beside a chemical. The cynical chocolate strains opposite a crisis. Does this sneak blood fume against the creator? Will a coast pant? Will the hand expand?
     The censor beams the flag. Will a functioning pope support a mounted toad? An unbalanced timetable yawns behind the meet defeat. A bedroom stretches around the global bigotry. The race writes. The predecessor guards an incapable contempt.
     When will the salary balance the expiring newcomer? The article bores! The advance rules without the arch! After the connecting human peers every par alien. The excess vends the fatuous courier. The carbon appends an inane sink.
     A four yawn cautions. How will the humorous concentrate refrain? The backbone flashes into the less premise. The servant retracts a voluntary flour.
     Beneath the mill bores the wetting pig.The kiss entitles my funded ballot throughout the throat. Our rose hastens a sample over the derived metric. The roundabout well coats the explicit truth. The stone persists.

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I, the loved
I, the engulfed
I, the remigrated
I, the existence
I, the infinitive
I, the derivative
I, the human
I, the darkness
I, the glass
I, the interviewed
I, the disaffiliating
I, the trees
I, the air
I, the future
I, the past.
I, the present.
I, the moment.
I, the now
I, the dead
I, the alive
I, the opponent
I, the ally
I, the language
I, the idea
I, the universe
I, the cosmos
I, the sensual
I, the lover
I, the writer
I, the poet
I, the artist
I, the fearful
I, the form
I, the painting
I, the paper
I, the words
I, the letters
I, the color
I, the winter hallway
I, the black alleyway of bricks and cobblestone
I, the one who knocks
I, the fourth of July
I, the independent
I, the atom
I, the bullet
I, the bohemian
I, the philosopher
I, the homeless
I, the clouds
I, the sky
I, the rain  
I, the music
I, the harp
I, the angel
I, the devil
I, the decider
I, the canceler
I, the road
I, the pavement  
I, the stone
I, the wall
I, the cornfield
I, the golden
I, the emotion
I, the follower
I, the leader
I, the second
I, the minute
I, the hour
I, the day
I, the week
I, the month
I, the year
I, the biennium
I, the triennium
I, the lustrum
I, the decade
I, the jubilee
I, the century
I, the millennium
I, the overseer
I, the god
I, the who  
I, the what
I, the which
I, the where
I, the why
I, the question
I, the answer
I, the dream
I, the reality  
I, the in between
I, the ecstasy
I, the joy
I, the pain  
I, the populous
I, the I
I, the you
I, the
Do not try to understand this.
mark john junor Sep 2013
the spanish seaside town
as the sun sets
is golden to the eye
and warm to the soul
full of life
and beauty
did not seek this place
but fate sought it for me
she came out of the west
and i was captured the moment i beheld her

spanish goddess
her smile captivates
exquisite true beauty
in the glow of her laugh
with that one small gesture
she is pure sunshine
she is tender and true love
she heals the heart
and frees the soul
spanish goddess
her dark eyes a cage
of smouldering passions
and gentle fires of deep and true loves

spanish goddess
her smile
haunts me
such beauty cannot be contained in my heart
such absolute and mesmerizing perfection
cannot be beheld in such a small place
as one mans simple soul

spanish goddess
i am riven by you and nursed back by you
i am torn apart and mended by you
i am created and destroyed
all in the single moment i am graced by the sweet embrace
of even a mere glance with the touch of a smile of yours

spanish goddess
please please do not let me awaken
from this beautiful dream
let me be forever here
in spanish seaside town
at the setting of the sun
in the perfection of your attentions and kindness
with your beauty and warmth
that is heaven
in every sense of the word

spanish goddess
you have forever changed me
from a lost soul
without hope or direction
to the captain of my future
forever to seek safe harbor
in a spanish seaside town
forever more to thirst for your smile
for your laugh
for you
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
The seat, 15C,
it calls itself,
screams at me,
let me out!
can't breathe,
with you in it.

pretty sure
sir seat,
it ain't me
that got wider,
but that you
are slimmer.

your momma cut you
3/4 inch, on a metallic line,
on either side, each wrist,
read it in the Journal,
their motto, no fooling!

even at 10,000 feet,
the ****
cutting word
gotta put in a
guest appearance.

in the exit row
we swore an oath,
administered with
great solemnity to a
no-nonsense stewardess.

bowed we did,
to the AAlmighty,
in the event ,
we needed to operate
the emergency exit,
we would a good job.

**** right,
all cheerfully replied.
nat, women and children first,
which was perhaps
why my fingers
were crossed
under my iPad.

sweetly, they offered me
juice, soda or water,
hard crust of bread,
cost 6.99 if you could
squeeze your hand
in between
your **** and the seat,
your wallet to retrieve.
(credit cards only)

plenty turbulence on board,
the east coast weathering,
you may well have heard,
inclement weather
up and down its entirety.
at least,
I read that in Miami,
the rain is warmer.
(no charge for the
RRR, real rock n' roll)

because I am feeling
the holiday spirit,
signed up for the
up-in-the-air Internet,
the price paid,
I won't reveal,
lest you call me Midas.

somewhere over Tennessee,
I thought I would drop you
this note, pretending it was a
for-real, certified, sorta of a
poem, disguised as a
Genuine Thanksgiving Prayer.

in a way you will never understand,
that lovely thunderbolt lit up yellow,
just a click, a finger tip flick,
kind words in accompaniment,
make feel better about myself.

much do I have,
for it is given unto me,
to be thankful for.

you cannot be thankful for
only for giving and receiving.

this is my first thanksgiving here,
and though jocular do I prose,
with earnest almighty I promise myself,
I will share my corn, feed you pieces
of me that I don't speak of to others.

my feast of words, more glorious,
because of your attentions,
the warmth of of your fires of
appreciation are recorded,
each in its own unique neuron,
cherished, cared for,
and as promised,

I will shake your hands,
then your body
and your soul,
as long as
I have breath,
an Internet connection,
eyes to weep
at mine own foibles,
fingers to record,
and something
worth sharing,

I am sending you a thunderbolt,
and a notification official,
that you have given me much
thanksgiving in the year
two thousand and thirteen.

thank you.
Avoid seat 15C, just won't shut up.
Nigel Morgan Jan 2013
It was the eve of the mid-autumn festival. Day had followed day of clear skies but ever-lower temperatures had brought crisp and chill mornings. Zuo Fen began to fear that a first frost would damage her late flowering plants, the delicate tea flowers of the osmanthus. She was already aware of the seven grasses of autumn now present in her garden and would recite standing amongst them the traditional seasonal poem:
Flowers blossoming

in autumn fields - 

when I count them on my fingers

they then number seven.

The flowers of bush clover,

eulalia, arrowroot, 

pink, patrinia, 

also, mistflower 

and morning faces flower.

Oh the whiteness of Autumn, the season of courage and sadness, a time for the lighting of white candles against the dying of the day. Upon rising Zuo Fen would stand in meditation facing west, the seasonal direction of dreams and visions. Again and again her mind state visited a habitation in the distant mountains, a sprawling summer palace seemingly empty but for the slightest echoes of recent occupation or maybe a caretaker’s attention. In her recurring vision she would walk from room to room, each kaleidoscopic in colour of hanging silks and elaborate murals. Eventually she would find her way outside into a neglected garden that dropped in gentle terraces to a lake where she would observe the ‘thousand colours of water, brilliances and blues.’
One morning a young chamberlain sent from her Lord visited her court. He had remained rapt at the sight of the courtesan of the Purple Chamber standing trance-like in her garden. Meng Ning had often positioned himself in the undertaking of the Emperor’s duties to communicate with Zuo Fen, whom Meng Ning admired and was secretly enamored. A few well-chosen words of respect and critical admiration for the poetess had been all it took for Emperor Wu to summon Meng Ning as courier of his express command to his most favoured concubine. Unfailingly gracious towards the formal attentions of the young man Zuo Fen had come to feel at ease with this respectful figure who had succeeded in charming both her cats and Mei Ling her maid.
​       As she stood motionless, attired in her gardening robe and clogs, she became aware of Meng Ning’s presence and, before turning to acknowledge him with a greeting, allowed a thought to form in herself. She would seek his help to identify the summer palace of her waking dreams.
       ​Yes, he knew of such a place, sixty li distant, a hard path it was said, but ladies of the court had once graced its many linked pavilions in the third season. The lake held a restless spirit and it was said no boat had ever sailed its surface. How did he know this, she had asked. A petition from a recluse, a former minister of the treasury, had been received at court requesting its occupation for the winter months. It had been refused, indeed dismissed without further consideration. Meng Ning had been curious as he had once viewed the lake from its western end, but from which the habitation was entirely hidden. Did the Honoured Lady know of the mysterious Red Slate Path said to appear briefly from out of a cave in the steep wooded hillside, cross a bowl-like glade and disappear into the lake depths? The Honoured Lady did not, but was nevertheless caught by Meng Ning’s description which, when he had delivered his message from Emperor Wu and retired, she fell to placing inside her already rich vision of property, lake, and precipitous woodland whose trees and bushes she was busy mind-painting with autumn leaves and berries.
After a day of thought and planning Zuo Fen developed an intricate strategy to visit the palace and environs of Eryi-lou. She told herself that she was searching for inspiration to compose an autumn sequence for her Lord that would recall the days of his esteemed father. She had discovered in the palace archives that in his declining years he had summered in this remote place, had filled its pavilions with only his most favoured concubines, its guest apartments with poets and musicians. She asked for Meng Ning’s services as guide and protector.
​      She had expected a blunt refusal, but to her astonishment, her request was granted, but only during the twelve days surrounding her monthly courses. She had smiled at this condition having been almost entirely free from her natural cycle for several years, something not unknown for a woman who had never been with child. Mei Ling dutifully made apparent false evidence of this charade.
​       It was a small party that left the Eastern Gate on a day that promised rain and high wind; seven in all, four to carry Zou Fen’s sedan. But this was to be understood as a matter of protocol rather than necessity, as within 6 li of the palace a pair of ponies for Zou Fen appeared in the road. Drawing back the curtains of her sedan she stepped out dressed as a male traveller, her movements and manner in such a disguise confidently rendered from her months searching for her brother Zuo Si in the wilderness of the Tai Mountains. Meng Ning was both astonished and alarmed as he had not been forewarned of this way of things. It seemed that Zuo Si had probably made all the necessary arrangements.

(to be continued)
Greg Berlin Jan 2014
don't look them too close in the eye
don't attract their attentions
to excite them is to excite Death
and as He comes, meandering
up the stairs toward you,
so do they, as if one and the same.
don't feed them
don't allow them any emotion
for they slink down hallways
and bars, long tendrils like
glimpses of hope
and passion at those
--keep the leash tight!--
don't let them touch you
He finds victims by touch
as do they, the killer
is in the contact
and a beautiful
tragic Death
but Death all the same
and they reap like the harvest
as He comes crawling up
the stairs quick behind
for He knows that as they go
so must He
don't look them too close in the eye
don't attract their attentions
don't fall in love
they strike with quick precision
and then slip quietly out the window
into bars and bedrooms of others
waiting to be reaped
and He meanders up the stairs
toward you
betterdays Dec 2014
sparrows, three
now four, sit
on the cherrywood
if i were a fanciful poet,
i would suggest they gossip,
but i think it is more, base
than that.....
it appears that three, vie
for the attentions of one...
it is then, a matter of courtship...
as they bounce
and fly and sing.....
and me a ******,
at the ardour of the dusty fluffs of feathers
....and the uncanny joy,
their antics bring....
must be the romance,      
fluttering in the air....
Nigel Morgan Feb 2013
After the painting by Fritz Von Uhde (1848 – 1911)*
Sophie is twelve
Hanna thirteen
dear pinafored girls both
home from school
this summer afternoon
they sit knee to knee
but far enough away
from mothers’ chatter
at tea on the terrace.
The girls have gossip of their own
to share and talk is ten
to the dozen (and more)
whilst Hanna turns the pages
of a story book (with pictures):
a woodcutter’s daughter
a handsome young squire
ensnared with love
by a magiced white owl
there’s a castle by a lake
an endless forest  dark
a mountainous domain
so far away so long ago.
Poised in the doorway
of their teenaged years
our girls imagine
the courteous attentions
of uniformed cadets
who one day soon
may very well sit
at the garden table
in the dappled shade
and silently gaze with longing
on their oh so delicate charms.
Edward Coles Jun 2013
The world is fast and reckless
Like a stampede of beasts and
Teenage ***.

We traded smog
For the roar of the city and
I am then reminded of my mobile life
Before atrophy set like plaster
In my bones.

Similarly, I lived above a bar,
And the roar of the crowds
Was compensated for
By the free drinks I would receive
To placate me,
To deafen me.

I remember heading out to the office
Already half-cut
Even before the banks had opened.

I remember everybody walking,
Not because the roads were too crammed,
But because it was so.

It was so, it was so,
And now that excuse is just not good enough

Neither am I.

I still walk the streets
And stop by outside windows.
It takes me a little longer these days
To read the signs and labels,
The mating rituals of the merchants;
Buy me, buy me, buy me!

They remind me of the girls I see these days,
The ones who live in semi-agony,
Lactic acid in their muscles and
A lack of sugar in their blood.

The way they walk so consciously nonchalant,
Impostered hair dragging in the wind,
Just living for the double takes
As they pass the men in the streets.

Nobody courts anymore.
Hands are held far too easily
And intimacy seems to me to have become
Just another commodity.

I remember my sweetheart.
The years we lived in absences,
Sleeping between lies and compromises
And lying awake at night,
Our bodies spent as our cheeks sunk into our pillows.
Our eyes staring past the darkness of the room
And beyond to something, somewhere,
Far from where we found our lives had laid.

I remember her so well, my dear coffee bean.
How desperate the years were
When we were apart,
Living out our lives and
Exchanging platitudes for company
In our loveless marriages.

I remember how bitterly disappointed I was,
To be bounded to the forever decreasing circles
I had to move within each day.
And I remember, so exquisitely remember,
The day I broke from them.

And we met.
We met over letters,
Recited by our eyes and written by the hands
Of our desires. Oh, the saliva of the stamp
Bringing us to a closeness
That was unbounded by geography.

These days,
Nobody understands the thrill of the postbox
And the dependent trust
You had to invest into the postman.


The welcome mat is now nothing
But a place to wipe the **** from your shoes
And to kick the bills away
From your footfalls.

It was once a pigeon hole,
An inbox and a faceless meeting point
For all of your dearest allies.

How I recall the excitement of the morning,
My sleep thinned to prepare for the slap of papers
And the return of my silent darling’s words.

Yes, today that has all gone
And so has she.

How I miss you, my dear
And the snort of your laughter.
How I miss counting out your imperfections;
Each another reason to love you
And to love you more.

Now that you are gone my darling,
My life is little more than an emptied school
In the endless weeks of summer.

I lie in wait, coffee bean,
For each time you appear, a phantasm
In my day. I wait for those special moments
Where I assume you will be sitting there,
Ageing with irrefutable brilliance
In the chair you so stubbornly frequented
Every day of our retirement.

I’ll take the hit that comes with it.
I’ll accept the come-down
When I enter the room
And realise
That you are even less than a ghost,

A passing thought
That decays instantly in the air.

And the air darling,
The air is filled with noise in these streets.
Do you remember when you and I would stop
And listen to the busker by the bridge?

I do.

I think he is gone too now,
Though sometimes I still hear his music
As I pass above the river.

Now, I live on in near-silence.
It has been weeks since I last spoke to somebody
Who did not rush me through my sentences.
And so I’m learning the patterns of today
And instead bow my sad head
And just pay up for my goods.

I avoid home mostly.
It is okay once I am inside it,
But it is the returning that I am afraid of.

So I mostly walk the streets,
The same route each day,
Until darkness or hunger delivers me,
Confused at my door.

I stumble lethargically to the television set,
The one we bought together for our first apartment,
Do you remember?

I turn it on quickly to **** the breathless silence.

Now, whenever I do get to talk to somebody,
I feel my eyes blur to tears
For some inexplicable reason.
Oh! The ache in my guts

How often I must swallow panic
And all of those pills that do not work.
Instead they just fog my mind
And distort all of the anchors
And features in my life.

Even the television will shout at me.
Everything I watch is an advert,
And the news is getting uglier with each day.
Sometimes I will turn on the radio,
But music isn’t music anymore.

And so I’ve learnt to read above
The din of gameshows and the gunshots
From dramas full of anger and devoid
Of love.

I’ve learnt to read again,
As we did together in the warmth
Of the crackles that interceded
The crooners that used to play through the grooves
That my life is once again set between.

At times I feel I am the only reader left in the world.
That all authors write for myself,
Vying for my attentions.

Nobody reads anymore.

Though the depravity between us
Made our love all the more sublime,
I must admit I regret those absent, wasted years.

How wonderful it would be now,
To see your features mixed with mine
And hidden behind the faces of our children.

I would give all that I am,
Which admittedly is not much anymore,
To be able to see the pigments in your eyes
Again, in whichever form they took.

How I would kiss our daughter’s hands
If they resembled your’s.

How I would weep into the shoulders of our son,
If he resembled your heart.

And so now my darling,
I wander these thoughtless paths like a machine.
And though I look out at the opulence
Of the city streets, I am instead
Just walking through a memory,
Or some old doctored flicker show,
Where I cut out all of the ugliness
And leave just us.
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
The Riddle

One of you has seen my face.
One of you knows where I live.
Stuff. Important stuff,
like the locale of
my hidey-holes.

My email and my
cell disclosed
soon to be
on sale on eBay
for a trifling sum.

So now I must
disburse to parts
more remote,
reappear in a
nouveau identity.

Just a necessary precaution.

Moreover, methinks
you have grown
tired of my waning voice,
waxing ineloquently,
opining too frequently.

feel like a
thick wooly straw
welcome mat,
edges unravelling,
grown raggedy,
roundabout the edges,
or like a
paperback book,
tho well thumbed,
consigned to the
discard box.

riddle me,
me be the riddle,
when I scribe
under a new
Nom de Plume.

will you recognize,
my signature
hid amidst the
restless words that
still need a home?

are my poems
worthy of a
second glance,
do you predispose
your attentions on
your favorites only,
the newbies squeaking
ignored and unattended,
whose ranks I have
now rejoined?

did you ever meet
a poem
you did not like?
did you ever greet
a poet
with palms
outwardly raised,
saying, no mas,
had enough,
no time for you
and your
clouded clarifications?

need you.
need you to judge me,
without the saddlebags of
predisposition and imposition.

if you need me
just give me a
loud holler
in my sleepy hollow.

tho sadly my
country road,
has listening posts
on the telephone wires,
I will know, when.
you call,
your voice,
I will come,
if you ask,

I'll be riddling
in plain sight,
if you have the taste
for and of me,
you will find me
soon enough.

in emergencies
all you need dial,
my digital signature,
911 and
ask for the
Poetry Hotline.
time is money
because its current, see?
I would pay you or get payback
but i dont have time currently
i would settle my debts without dollars and cents
it makes no sense
that no one is with me right now

I might rail, might take the wrong road
might, fail, to hear the morse code
throw pennies on the tracks and hope to make a change
flip switches to trick attentions
i guess i may have another track intended
may be making people notice only things im okay with them not missin
maybe give them my name and not much else,
pass by and remember that train kids dont need much help
(they could always help themselves)

but lets get real

i could turn a dollar into more
change if a quarter was worth for names
asked from people,
stories, i could give them two
for each way
life has treated them like it's treated you
i could feed them once with no fast food
in sight, I, could
invest, gamble, roll the dice
and expect more than crap when i
first, not second, give them even a second of my life

disregard my self inflicted fun,
forget my little ticks and triggers, and tricks ive rendered,
lay down my hands, they quiver, and sweat, im shivering,
im not serious enough to hold a gun to
my own head, not hungry enough to
make someone else eat lead

i could help find hope where its lost because the truth there is lacking
speak life in the streets where people are cracking
and stumbling home to slum thrones,
garbage cans the only thing theyve got to sit on,
to **** in,
their pillows only hard times and peoples harsh tones,
dreams gone, face down, can only see grime and cobblestones
shaped like the next **** day
and moving on
less than a fox theyve got no hole,
but we all act like they just shoudlve known
better, than to set out on their own,
like we're less broken and more whole

we should speak hope,
but no.

it might rain, we might get soaked
undoubtedly there will be pain,
and there's never enough soap,when we
shake the hands of those hobos

we are tired of looking for something different with the same hints,
tired of looking for new colors with different hues
theyre still the same people, must be the same clues, ignore them,
theyre even all wearing ruined clothes,
they havent sobered up or dried out,
theyre worth about  as much dryer lint
you want to argue?
okay, no. ****.
thats what you meant.

when it comes to whats current, whats common
we say why not stay soaking wet
why not flow with the currents, and sink to the bottom,
well, as you wish,
forget change, we'll throw ours in fountains when we visit malls
i was there yesterday, it didnt cost me a thing.

we say
why not remember
that money more often than not brings rage and riches, rags on people til they need stitches
spikes need and hunger and breeds unscratched itches,
but it can pay for needles and
women lay on their back for a ruble,
a nickel, swallow the bitter truth just like...well... um
let's just say
not one of us cares about em

sadly i think it's us whove lost our scruples,
is that what theyre calling it nowadays?

why not scratch them anyway?
why not always wear the trends that fade?
become the thing that fades, to gray?
why not say

— The End —