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Andrew Jun 2017
I have a light under my concrete
For others
It is fatally luminous
So it must be contained
I relegate rays to the darkest depths
So no light may exit
But then you walked on my blacktop
And cracks started to form in my road
Light began to escape
You were fascinated
I was terrified
Because the more you traversed my pavement
The further my road split
Brilliant flashes with increasing frequency surfaced
Your curiosities were piqued
Mine were plagued
By what lies underneath
And when it would blind you

I tried to warn you from inside my cocoon
You said you'd purchase sunglasses
You never understood
This light
Shatters glass like Stone Cold Steve Austin
It's intensity is a stunner
It may be the Sun itself
But you insisted on continuing
To travel down this path

As models import wrinkles
Potholes become sinkholes
Fears were realized
Senses overwhelmed
Skin burned
Blackened
Into something unrecognizable
As all signs of life fade
I'm stranded on a crumbled road
With only sightless cadavers to lead me home
marianne Oct 2018
I am
born on the prairie, stark clad
blue sky desert, blacktop desert, canola yellow desert
small in the great space
between us

I am
born of the mountains, wrapped
in forest standing strong-faced and tall, my
companions, rooted
my teachers

I am
born of the quiet
meadowlark prints in bright white snow, the buzz
and thrum of tall grass prairie quiet
measure of my soul

I am
born of bleached fluorescent flicker
drawn into the whirling hurry
longing for rainfall and
idleness

I am
born into the faith of my fathers, solemn
like their God, and righteous
holding fast to the book of their fathers
unwavering

I am
born of the rhythm of my mothers
of life-force and flutter
small hands and steaming pots in a hot kitchen
my church

I am
born of ghosts and tiny monsters
the hollow between their aching past
and tangled present,
alien

I am
born of old world order imposed
on new world freedom—
the image shifts
and I blur

I am
born of memory, my fingers carry secrets
daughter of the many mothers before me, their lives
tell the story
of mine

I am
born of the unknown, a swell in the stream
that spills into the ocean, I am
mother of many daughters
to come

Tell me who you are...
Butch Decatoria Aug 2018
There’s a distance, an echo
Of hollowness
Upon the blacktop
Asphalt concrete
Sidewalks 3 in the a.m.

I am more than
This
Heaviness
Like the iron bars
Of prisons.

Your faraway
Song, an echo
Of hallowed
Be

An Infinitesimal touch
Of infinite
Within the heart,
Fully filled by
Sublimity
Overcome to tears,

At dawn, like the sun’s
Brilliances.

Life
As evidence
Trillions all
In benevolence

Seeing
The light…

“I am more
Than this
Heaviness of

Emptiness
Within
My soul

I am
More
Than this …
shallow
Shadow’s
Hollow.”

I am ...
Bus Poet Stop May 2015
dedicated to all the better poets here...*


don't know much about a quatrain
don't know how to write a refrain,
surely could not compose a
courtyard elegy
maybe after
and still untilled,
I been buried,
'n checked out
the neighborhood competition...

as for limerick,
that is Dr. Seuss
and Ogden Nash's shtick
with whom, eye,
a believed descendant,
cannot compete...

Oh dear me,  
no ode node-ed within,
as for a pastoral,
kinda hard to feat,
where I live,
a pastoral is grass cracks
surviving under,
breaking through to the other side
of concrete and blacktop rulers

Maybe one of you
will haiku,
send us a senryu,
send off, see ya!

the doc once diagnosed
a severe case of inflamed iambic pentametery,
with antibiotics and a diet of Hamletery,
was cured most satisfactorily

this silly pen-man-sinking-ship
ain't capable of dat,
boy how 'bout
an epitaph
for a graveyard stone,
should be plenty of room...
as it will be plenty short...

all eye see and all eye know
is vignettes that birth in me
walking down the street,
that's my bread and butter,
my soul's delicacies...
and moments that recorded
here, for a posteriored posterity,
as noted in my all my living
testaments,
drinking and spilling the vin,
from the uninvented igniting vignettes
that consecrate and connect our
knowing each other though odds are
we will never meet...we can yet
drink together
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Don't know much about the French I took.
But I do know that I love you,
And I know that if you love me, too,
What a wonderful world this would be."
eyes eye eye ** ** ** ha ha ha
Robert Ronnow Sep 2015
Science can't save you, neither can religion,
at least Popper and Niebuhr, philosophers and poets,
are entertainers, which is why actors and athletes
are paid so much. Thanks for the summaries.
I was teaching Shakespeare's 92nd ridiculous sonnet
to my student who lays blacktop in the off season
Shakespeare bellyaching about dying without her love
a feeling foreign to a modern adolescent sensibility
although many teens are pretty far gone searching
for their mothers or fathers in their dazed lovers' eyes.
Which is why we call it "the wound that never heals."
Or the lesion that's always lengthening. And bleeding.

Muslim fundamentalists and their Christian counterparts
are a mystery to me. Pews and prayer rugs, the airless
indoor environment of religious worship, reading
scriptures, hypnotized by hymns and fainting from staring
at candles through stained glass windows, almost certain
the preacher is faking his certainty about the afterlife.
It's not my problem. A more immediate concern:
receding gums and tooth extractions, swollen joints,
poor lubrication and circulation, wave after wave
of viral infection, the occasional antibiotic-resistant
bacterial attack, usually urinary, and who knows
what internal organs are dividing and conquering
without mercy or cease, i.e. the wound that never heals.

It is wise not to overvalue your continued existence,
good not to be innumerate, unable to compare
a mere 80 years with say 6.0 x 109 or all of time
(to date) times the multiverse. Conversely,
it is interesting all of space and most of history is contained
in your little mind (realizing of course it's just a map
of the cosmos not the cosmos itself, or is it?). I'm
unable to wrestle free, tongue in that cavity
and locked in my memories, so separate and disparate
from the biomass in the crosswalks, even my spouse.
Alone, so alone, even your doctor can only devote
limited thought to your situational mortality through
the redress of poetry - also a wound that never heals.

Snow for eternity, that's what this February's been.
All to the good, for someone it's the final February
so enjoy it to the extent you can. By that I mean joy.
Joy at birth. Joy at death. All joy. All times. Anyway.
That was Shakespeare's message: even tragedies are comedies.
May, a Buddhist, chants each morning.
Her husband, Marc, who's Jewish, plays league tennis.
Their son, Aaron, will soon make Eagle scout.
How does it relate to your wound that never heals?
Luck runs out. For D.H. Lawrence in New Mexico
or Ulysses S. Grant in Ohio or Yasujiro Ozu in
Tokyo or Satyajit Ray in Bombay or Rabindranath
Tagore in Bangalore or at the Battle of the Atlantic in the Azores.

The night is a poultice, winter or summer solstice.
My anonymity will not affect the anomie ghettoside
seeing for myself how season by season
vacations and accomplishments accumulate, late in life
and early on, sunrise over mountains or moonrise over Bronx.
Masturbator, prisoner of war. Hospice of the Holy Roman Empire.
Numerous blue notes: the 3 flat, 7 flat, 5 flat,
the 6 flat and the 2 flat too. I don't get
what Wallace Stevens means by imagination.
When groundhog shows up as a totem, there is opportunity
to explore the mystery of death without dying.
This then is the purpose of purposelessness (and of eating less)!
Now what about that wound that never heals.

The Skeptical Observer column in Scientific American
was somewhat alarming when he accepted a paranormal
explanation for how his wife's grandfather's inoperable
transistor radio played music from its hiding spot
in his sock drawer on, and only on, their wedding day.
Now I'll have to believe my father (or mother!) is watching me
perform private ****** acts with (or without) partners
or that they could even know my thoughts. Or aliens
are attending our committee meetings and making
perfectly reasonable decisions given the available information
and the world is rotating just fine without humans.
These possibilities - angels, ghosts, aliens - are better
than holocaust and genocide. In this way,
and only in this way, does doom become endurable.
The wound that never heals in the end is all you'll feel.
www.ronnowpoetry.com
Dawn Bunker Jul 2018
On a long stretch of highway
his thumb to the road,
Leon set off to lighten his load.
No thoughts of tomorrow
no plans set in stone
just a few hundred bucks,
and a dream of his own.

Leon was weary of playing the game.
His boss and his girl,
they both thought the same.
Their griping and wanting
was keeping him tied
to a life that he loathed,
left him weary inside.

He would act on an impulse,
and finally be free
to do as he liked, and be who he'd be.
A fantasy stirring could finally come true!
No end to the wonderful things he could do.

For hours he walked,
while the headlights flashed by
light on his feet and a smile to the sky.
While on that same blacktop
Jenny drove on
anxious to make it to Phoenix by dawn.

It may have been fate or say what you will
that she spied him on time
as she came up the hill.
Surely this guy must be needing a ride
so she pulled to the shoulder,
letting Leon inside.

Jenny felt guarded while driving along,
not accustomed to helping who didn't belong
in the world that she lived,
and the life that she led,
ain't it funny how sometimes we do what we dread?

Her worries subsided in such a short while,
for he talked with such ease.
He had such a nice smile!
It's true what they say,
you just never know
who you might meet if you give it a go.

Just outside Phoenix the sun started rising
when Leon said "Jenny, ain't it surprising?
I feel like I've known you my entire life."
The last words she heard,
as he pulled out his knife.

Ain't it funny how sometimes we do what we dread?
Leon's still dreaming,
while Jenny lies dead.



.
Where Shelter May 2018
trigger warning:
Hate long poems?  move on.
Love words?  pleasure your self

<=>

drought and famine of the spirit,
over-staying summer
house guests in an overly sun blanched,
voided, white outed, mental abode.

faculties parched,
overly starched,
compositions lost in transition,
why can't they make it ashore?

It's after 2 AM, and though
ferries have stopped running,
mainland hangover hangerons are
working overtime to prevent
"author"izations, so all I get
when I press send is a whole lot of
"permission to cross," denied!

causes of vexation undisguised,
dual natured and manifold,
luxuriating and drowning in home grown,
city organic insipid,
makes one quick to blame
nobody in particular,
but yourself, repeatedly.

reasons many, the distractions of
rustling contradictions populate,
another life road fork looming,
a track record for choosing badly,
colors the blacktop even blacker and
ramps up desires for a janitorial,
but first do no harm, status quo.

Need a beer.
Need a distraction.
Need a homework assignment,
which I buy at the IGA market:

obey the eleventh commandment
which every writer knows;
you think you're Mr. Bigshot,
so pudding prove it,
write it,
one true sentence,
let it be a constitution for all,
with the lengthy consistency,
of a Hemingwayesque,
one true sentence.

dearth to riches occurs
as fast as a basketball
three second violation,
inspiration dripping like
windshield condensation,
got so many true sentences,
how ya gonna choose,

O sinner man?

sadly you don't hear or feel
my background music,
stringed surf sounds playing
Perlman's Mozart low to
the thunderous, sweltering,
swells of applause of
90+ degree heat
w/o a Crescent Beach breeze
to console the disowned

these superheated thoughts
now focused,
emerges a bill of sight,
lading my heart's many heresies,
staccato thoughts now,
rapid fire rebel,
a pre-discourse insurrection,
voices of words lash out -

pick me - immortalize me,
I wanna be,
a constitution for one,
one true sentence.

The Moment of Ownership.

Hillel did it,
standing on one leg,
a Sanskrit mantra,
not by me,
not for me,
not through me,
even more succinct.

full clarity unobtainable,
begin when fighting thru
the static of each nerve,
knowing that
each thought,
each emotion,
is a constitution
of sorts,
recognizing life is a series of
moments of ownership,
but that are truly ours
only when relinquished.

each one, a true sentence
when writ, spoke,
but only when disabused
of notions of possession
only true, when gifted away.

Lucian Freud painted those whom
he knew best, their portraits,
fully clothed but wholly naked,
a painter of revelation
thru the skin tones of the flesh.

exposeur of skins interior
displayer of old and ungainly,
left us eyesight more true
than an honest mirror,
with poetic brushstrokes overlay,
gained entry to what his
grandfather named id and ego,
artist's superego, his reflections,
a continuous judgment
on a pool of stretched canvas
that makes me despair that:

I will ere succeed
to cross the borderline
that modernity insists upon,
self preservation, neurotic fears,
impositions on my psyche and
that my moments of ownership
will be n'ere be stamped "transferred."

I take back my life,
by giving it away
this alphabetized self portrait,
a wrinkled sketch of me,
my ownings, undertakings
needs taking by you
so I can disown it.

these words are my own,
their conjunction is a
junction to you,
and a constitution for me.

once this expiation
is in your purview by the voted
election of Send,
bonded by a mutual
Moment of Ownership?

so net net,
bottom line,
these are my
one true sentences,
summarized, constitutionalized:
I am yours, for the taking,        
so come by, for and through me,
in many moments of ownership.


p.s. let us shelter together in place, an island growing
lost for many years; for Mary Winslow
zebra Mar 2018
sleep walking through you
dead brain with a hard ****

a man
all pretense
hiding behind your skirt
who hurt you like a cold razor bleeding
and who was hurt by you
like a bullet in the chest
your charms killer ray guns
making me collapse from the inside out
like a house in flames
screaming

left out of your dreams
oh dread
an empty shroud
with a charred mouth

who twisted your heart out
a man with a winter corpse for a soul
short ***** and dead tree eyes
who ravaged your bones
and ate your marrow with belligerence
crushing your fragrant garden
my feet pebbles and stones
trampling your bed
while you sped by me
in your new man's muscle car
sneering

you
a laughing hot *****
wearing cold silver sunglasses
and flaming lips
that ***** hearts

blacktop down
in a red fast car
like a rocket with fat Dunlap's
spewing
mud in my mouth

like me
he looked at other women endlessly
like rows of sprinkled cupcakes
for the eating
loving their form
imagining their slick glide
and wet kisses
insulting your tenderness
so you would believe in nothing
until you where an endless black pit
until i found out i needed you
and it was to late for us
your absence a lesson
that your presence could never teach
like snow in the summer

in youth, i was a deadbeat
somnambulist
struggling with angels and hellions
tedium and desire

i feel
remorse for all i have done
and did not understand
only now dusted white am i ready to love you
so please come to me
and we shall make a home
of this tortured cage
and turn it to
heavens tremulous kiss

i have finally learned my lesson
have you ?
Cap Oct 2017
I can’t save the girl who chases the
windblown white dust on the road
just to feel alive
Who chases smoke in the distance
to blur her anxieties

I can’t save the girl who lays in the street
Because she likes the rush of the cars as they go over her
But that rush she yearns for,
gets her run over again and again and again

I can’t keep being the white dashes on the street
Trying to keep her in line
Trying to keep her safe
My paint is fading
My heart is cracked
Striking against the contrast of the blacktop
as a final plea
to tell her to stand up and chase the stars
instead of the smoke
and the dashes instead of the dust
Because somewhere down this old cracking road
is the destination she’s been waiting for
all her life.
Ricki T Sep 12
If I were a steaming cup of tea-
Fresh from the kettle-
And you were a solid cube of ice
I’d melt you like a puddle, and we’d be one.

If I were a hot blacktop pavement-
Searing from the sun-
And you were a sticky piece of gum
I’d melt you like a puddle, and we’d be one.

If I were a pocket to a pair of overalls-
Tumbling from the dryer-
And you were a waxy type of crayon
I’d melt you like a puddle, and we’d be one.

If I were myself-
Sizzling from your love-
And you were yourself-
Going in for a hug-
You’d melt me like a puddle, and we’d be one.
This was my first semi-serious attempt doing a freeverse poem. I made this for my creative writing class, and I thought it was too cute to not share :)
Mike Hauser Nov 2018
You've heard tell the road to hell
Is paved with good intentions
I've been on that crew and so have you
Do I even need to mention

I've held the measuring tape as you paved the way
The blacktop hot with sorrow
As we looked away in our Ray-Ban shades
Saying we'll worry about that tomorrow

Mile after mile pouring doubt
Onto the hardened surface
With our best guess thinking, we've got this
Life down pat with purpose

Not realizing that what our pavement lacks
Is a heart that truly listens
One reason we can't help that the road to hell
Is paved with good intentions
Joel A Doetsch Jan 2012
He was definitely dead.  That much could be gathered.  He was standing over his own body, sixty feet away from the car.  fifty-nine feet away from  the telephone pole.  The pool of blood on the blacktop was rippling from the sheets of rain that were piercing it.  The rain bounced off of his lifeless eyes, staring on into the cloudy sky.   His shocked expression was forever frozen on his face.  He walked around the corpse, both fearful and excited.  He was dead....He was DEAD!  He was on the other side!  He looked around, searching for the 'white light',  but all he found  was a man dressed in a ratty  trench coat staring directly at him.  Rotting teeth smiled at him under a grungy  Fedora in a way that reminded him of a jack-o-lantern carved into the likeness of Indiana Jones that had been left out past Thanksgiving.  A withered hand beckoned him.

He was not hesitant.  He was not fearful.  

Those were emotions controlled by a brain that was currently about as useful as a bag full of gelatin.  He strode forward and took the man's hand.  It was neither hot nor cold.  They were no longer in the rain.  They were in a room with a large monitor
sitting in front of a station of various knobs, buttons, and switches.  A large leather chair apathetically awaited use .  He was aware that none of these objects  actually existed, because they were in the place where things don't exist.  Still, he sat down
and turned on the monitor.  He looked at the labels.  Some were obvious, such as P L A Y,  P A U S E, and S T O P.  Others were strange, like the ones labeled F I R S T S and L A S T S.  He pressed the former.  A list appeared with items as simple as "Kiss" to ones as specific as "Sprained Left Ankle in November".

He chose the former.

The screen went blank, then a video appeared.  It was a boy and a girl lying on a hill on a blanket at the onset of dusk.  The boy he instantly recognized as himself. The boy brushed his hand against hers.  She let him.  Fingers now entwined as they stared at each other.  At the time it had felt like hours, but it was less than a
minute before lips pushed apart to make way for tongues.  His first kiss.  It didn't take him long to figure out how the machine worked from that point on.  

He spent years going through every second of his life and reliving it from a new perspective. It didn't matter, he had all the time that never was and never would be.  He saw his mistakes and his triumphs, his loves and his heartbreaks.  Finally, he decided he was
finished.  It was time to go.  The man in the Fedora smiled.  Smiled that Cheshire smile

They were in a hallway.  It seemed to stretch for miles.  Every twenty paces or so, there was a person, standing on a platform, obscured in darkness.  He walked to the first one.
A light flickered on.  It was his mother.  She looked like she did when he was a boy, vibrant and full of life.  She never lost that, even as her body aged and her health declined, she always had something to smile about.  He talked to this apparition of his mother.   They talked for hours about his life, of random topics.  Things they had never had time to talk about when they were both alive.  After some time, she gave him one of her wry
smiles.  He nodded and made his way to the next person.  His father.  

He continued this for quite some time.  He talked to everyone from his brother to a guy he used to get high with in college.  Years passed as he said his final goodbyes to all the people in his life
that he had ever known.  All of them were happy for him.  All of them had something to tell him that he had never known about them in life.  None of them were real.  When he was done, he turned to the man in the fedora.  A smile.  A smile that had a personality all its own, a smile that simultaneously showed compassion and seething hatred.

The last room.  No one said it was the last room, but it had that feeling of finality to it. It was spartan, nothing in it except a marble floor that seemed to stretch for eternity in every direction.  It probably did.  In front of him were two pedestals.  On each of those
pedestals was himself.  The one on the left was wearing a fine tailored suit, had radiating skin and a smile that cameras feasted on.  The one on the right was a stark contrast.  The teeth he had left were hanging lazily from the roots.  His hair that he had left was thin, oily, and ridden with lice.  His mouth turned upwards in an insane grin that was only
matched by his thirsty, bloodshot eyes that seemed to bulge from his pockmarked skin

                                          They both spoke at once.

You were born on                                           You were born on
July 3, 1985.  Your                                           July 3, 1985.  Your
parents fed your                                         mother died when you
curiosity at a young                                     were 4.  Your father
age.  Your passion                                   turned to alcohol.  He
was art.  You painted                                 took his pain out on you.
your first work when                                     You dropped out of    
you were nine.  By the                                high school and moved
time you were 16, you                             as far away from this
were renowned as a                             life as you could.  You
artistic prodigy.  You                      quickly discovered a bad crowd.
attended the Art                                     You met a girl, Cindy.
Institute of Chicago                                       You got her pregnant.
on a full scholarship.                                   You started selling drugs
It was there that you                                     to make ends meet
would meet Claire,                                       for your accidental family
your future wife. By                                       It wasn't long before
the time you completed                                     You made a mistake
your school, every                                             and ended up in jail.
museum wanted a                                        years later, when you
piece of your work                                       were released
hanging in their gallery                               you found that Cindy      
Your work would be                                       had killed herself
remembered for                                                   and your son.
hundreds of years after                                       You had no job          
your death.  You had                                                 no skills
a wonderful family,                                        You spent your days
fame, fortune, and                                          doing odd jobs for
everything that came                                   money.  Money that
with it.  You lived                                           You spent on drugs
until 89, where you                                        Until the age of 45
died peacefully in                                       Where you froze on a
your bed, surrounded                           street corner, surrounded
by loved ones.  This                        by human excrement.  This
is your life's best                                           is your life's worst
possible outcome                                         possible outcome



He nodded, then looked at the man in the fedora.  That smile crept up.  A smile like a hyena. He snapped his fingers.  Two doors appeared.  One was Oaken and battered.  The grains of wood barely visible over years of neglect.  The other door was new and had just been  painted with a fresh coat of sky blue paint.  

The man spoke for the first time.

This is the last decision you shall ever make.  The door on your left will lead you to the  afterlife, and the judgement that awaits you.  Whatever is decided, that is where you will spend eternity.  The door on the right will allow you to be reborn as a new soul.  This one will no longer exist.

He gave it a good long ponder.  Had he been good enough in life to pass the judgement?  What if he ended up in a hellish nightmare for the rest of eternity?  Could he do better
if he started fresh?  The thoughts swirled about him like a whirlwind until finally.

Years later

He chose.

The man in the fedora smiled.
I'm aware this isn't a poem.  It started off as one, but then I kept writing.
Zeeb Jul 2015
Hotrod
Verse I

Wrenches clanging, knuckles banging
A drop of blood the young man spilt
A new part here, and old part… there
A hotrod had been built!
A patchwork, mechanical, quilt

Feelings of excitement not unlike those of Christmas mornings long past paid visit to the young man, his head under a raised hood, hands occupied, the job nearing completion.  Did building that Lionel train-set so long ago form some type of pattern in his brain, now being so pleasurably served?  The good feelings would dissipate though, as quickly as they came, as he cursed himself for stripping a bolt, or cursed someone else for selling him the wrong part, or the engineer whose design goals obviously did not consider “remove and replace”.  He cursed the “gorilla” that never heard of a torque-wrench, the glowing particle of **** that popped on to the top of his head as he welded, the metal chip he flushed from his eye, and even himself for the burn he received by impatiently touching something too soon after grinding.  He, and his type, cursed a lot, but mostly to their selves as they battled-on with things oily, hot, bolted, welded, and rusty – in cramped spaces. One day it was choice words for an “easy-out” that broke off next to a broken drill bit that had broken off in a broken bolt, that was being drilled for an easy out.    Despite the swearing, the good and special feelings, feelings known only to those with a true capacity for this type of passion, would always return, generally of a magnitude that exceeded the physical pain and mental frustration of the day, by a large margin.   Certifiably obsessive, the young man continued to toil dutifully, soulfully, occasionally gleefully, sometimes even expertly, in his most loved and familiar place, his sanctuary, laboratory… the family garage.

And tomorrow would be the day.
Fire extinguisher? “ Right there”
Battery? “Charged and connected”
Neutral?  “yes”
Brake?  “Set”
And with hard learned, hard earned expertise and confidence, in this special small place, a supremely happy and excited young man commanded his creation to life.

Threw  a toggle, pressed a switch
Woke up the neighbors with that *******

The heart of his machine was a stroked Chevy engine that everyone had just grown sick hearing about.  Even the local machine shop to which the boy nervously entrusted his most prized possession had had enough.  “Sir, I don’t want to seem disrespectful, but from what I’ve read in Hot Rod Magazine, you might be suggesting a clearance too tight for forged pistons…” then it would be something else the next day.   One must always speak politely to the machinist, and even though he always had, the usual allotment of contradictions and arguments afforded to each customer had long run out – and although the shop owner took a special liking to the boy because, as he liked to say, “he reminds me of me”, well, that man was done too.  But in the end, the mill was dead-on.  Of course from the start, the shop knew it would be; that’s almost always the case; it’s how they stay in business - simply doing good work.  Bad shops fall out quickly, but this place had the look of times gone by.  Good times.  Old porcelain signs, here and there were to be found, all original to the shop and revered by the older workers in honored nostalgia.  The younger workers get it too; they can tell from the men they respect and learn from, there is something special about this past.  One sign advertises Carter Carburetors and the artwork depicts “three deuces”, model 97’s, sitting proudly atop a flathead engine, all speeding along in a red, open roadster.  Its occupants a blond haired boy with slight freckles (driver), and a brunette girl passenger, white blouse slightly unbuttoned,  both in the wind-blown cool, their excited expressions proclaim… "we are free!" (and all you need is a Carter, or three).

The seasoned old engine block the boy entrusted to the shop cost him $120-even from the bone yard.  Not a bad deal for a good block that had never had its first 0.030” overbore.  In the shop, it was cleaned, checked for cracks, measured and re-measured, inspected and re-inspected.  It was shaped and cut in a special way that would allow the stroker crankshaft, that was to be the special part of this build, to have all the clearance it would need.  The engine block was fitted with temporary stress plates that mimic the presence of cylinder heads,  then the cylinders were bored to “first oversize”,  providing fresh metal for new piston rings to work against.  New bearings were installed everywhere bearings are required.  Parts were smoothed here and there.  Some surfaces were roughened just so, to allow new parts to “work-into each other” when things are finally brought together.  All of this was done with a level of precision and attention far, far greater than the old “4- bolt” had ever received at the factory on its way to a life of labor in the ¾ ton work truck from which it came.  They called this painstaking dedication to precision measurement and fit, to hitting all specifications “on the mark”, “blueprinting”, and it would continue throughout the entire build of this engine.  The boy stayed  worried the whole time, but the shop had done it a million times.

After machining, the block was filled with new and strong parts that cost the young man everything he had.   Parts selected with the greatest of effort, decision, and debate.  “ You can compromise on paint”,” live with some rust”, he would say,  “wait for good tires”, “but never scrimp on the engine”.  Right on.  You get one shot at getting that right, and this proclamation demonstrated wisdom but also provided ample excuse for the rough and unfinished look of the rest of his machine.  But it was just a look, his car was, in fact, “right”.   And its power plant?  Well the machine shop had talked their customer into letting them do the final engine assembly - even cut their price to do it.  They were looking out for the boy.  The mill in its final form was the proper balance of performance and durability, and with its camshaft so carefully selected, the engine's “personality” was perfectly matched to the work at hand.   It would produce adequate torque in the low RPM range to get whole rig moving quickly, yet deliver enough horsepower at red-line to pile on the MPH, fast.  No longer a polite-natured workhorse, this engine, this engine is impatient now.  High compression, a rapid, choppy idle - it seems to be biting at the bit – to be released.  On command, it gulps its mixture and screams angrily, and often those standing around have a reflexive jump - the louder, the better - the more angry, the better.  If it hurts your ears, that’s a good feeling.  If its bark startles, that’s a good startle.  A cacophony?  No, the “music” of controlled explosions, capable of thrusting everything and everyone attached, forward, impolitely, on a rapid run to “red-line”, and it keeps pulling hard and delivering power while spinning fast because it is breathing right and proper and producing the power that thrills, and the only reason to shift gears is to preserve connecting rods, eager as the engine may be to rev further!

This is the addictive sound and feel that has appealed to a certain type of person since engines replaced horses, and why?  A surrogate voice for those who are otherwise quiet?  A visceral celebration of accomplishment?    Who cares.  Shift once, then again - speed quickly makes its appearance.  It appears as a loud, rushing wind and a visually striking, unnatural view of the surrounding scenery.  At some point, in the sane, it triggers a natural response - better slow down.    


He uncorked the headers, bought gasoline, dropped her in gear, tore off to the scene
Camaros and Mustangs, an old ‘55
Obediently lined-up, to get skinned alive!


Verse II (1st person)

I drove past the banner that said “Welcome race fans” took a new route, behind the grandstands
And through my chipped window, I thought I could see
Some of the racers were laughing at me

I guess rust and primer are not to their taste
But I put my bucks mister in the right place

I chugged/popped past cars that dealers had sold
Swung into a spot, next to something old

Emerging with interest from under his hood
My neighbor said two words, he said, “sounds good”

The ’55 I parked next to was “classic rodding” in its outward appearance.  The much overused “primer paint job” channeled “Two Lane Blacktop”.  The hood and front fenders a fiberglass clamshell, pinned affair.  Dice hanging from the mirror paid homage to days its driver never knew, but wished he had.  He removed them before he drove, always.

If you know how to peel the onion, secrets are revealed.  Wilwood brake calipers can be a dead giveaway. Someone needs serious stopping power - maybe.  Generally, owners who have sprung the bucks for this type gear let the calipers show off in bright red, to make a statement, and sometimes, these days, it’s just a fashion statement.  Now, expensive calipers, as eye candy, are all the rage.  What is true, however, is very few guys spend big money on brakes only to render them inglorious and seemingly common with a shot of silver paint from a rattle can, and the owner of this ’55 had done just that. 

Two things seem to be at play here.  One, he needs those heavy brakes because he’s fast, and two, hiding them fits his style.   Really, the message to be found in the silver paint, so cleverly applied to make your eyes simply slide across on their way to more interesting things, was “sleeper”.   And sleeper really means, he’s one of those guys with a score to settle - with everyone perhaps.   The list of “real parts” grew, if you knew where to look.  Something I had defacto permission to do since my rod was undergoing a similar scrutiny.  
“Stroked?”, I asked.  That’s something you can’t see from the outside. “ No”, the racer replied.  
“Hundred shot?”  (If engines have their language, so do the people who love them).   Despite the owner’s great efforts to conceal braided fuel and nitrous lines, electrical solenoids and switches, I spied his system.  The chunks of aluminum posing as ordinary spacers under his two carburetors were anything but.   “No”, was his one-word reply to my 100- shot question.  I tried again; “Your nitrous system, how much are you spraying?”  “Two hundred fifty” in two stages, he said.  That’s more like it, I thought, and I then figured, he too had budgeted well for the machine shop – if not, he was gambling in a game that if lost, would fly parts in all directions.   Based on the overall vibe of the scene, and the clean work on display, I believed his build was up to the punishment he planned.   I knew exactly what this tight-lipped guy was about, seeing someone very familiar in him as it were, and that made the “sounds good” complement I received upon my arrival all the more valuable.

The voice on the loudspeaker tells us we’re up.

Pre-staged, staged, then given the green
The line becomes blurred between man and machine

Bones become linkage
Muscle, spring
Fear, excitement

Time distorts ….
Color disappears …
Vision narrows…
Noise ---  becomes music
Speed, satisfaction

End
Jenny Gordon Mar 10
This is what can happen if you let the fragment of a suggestion play itself out.  Dangerous?  Perhaps.



(sonnet #MMMMMMMDCCLX)


One dead leaf that October left fr'intents
Behind for old time's sake, 'non dances, pale
And lonely 'cross the naked blacktop, frail
Or homeless where snow skulks in cold suspense,
(To hunker down like yielding is pretense)
Its fragile essence like ours as th'exhale
Drives it on forward, March' winds chill detail
As our iniquities til Death.  Ah, whence?
I had this notion there was more as twere.
Like, if we bide our time, Spring shall 'gain woo
As wont.  But if you hear the Scriptures fer
Lo, even this dead leaf, all pales.  The crew
Of happy souls on Instagram, and poor
Lil me none knows, will answer, LORD, to...You.

10Mar19b
That's okay.  I didn't begin writing poetry because any soul other than me, myself, and I wanted to do it.  If nobody likes this, at least I did.  Hahaha.
Tom Spencer Aug 31
first car down the road
on a summer morning

scissortails and mockingbirds
scatter from the powerlines

rabbits bound ahead
and then dodge into the grasses

luxuriant and wild
grape vines

cloak the barbed wire
and smother the hackberries

cumulus clouds
still tinted pink and gold

rise lazily above
the freshly mown fields

with their stubble
and neatly rolled bales of hay

tires hum
leaves rustle in my wake

the heat has already
begun to pool

in shimmering illusions
that dissolve

on the blacktop ahead


Tom Spencer © 2019
Andrew Apr 2018
I drive all day
I drive all night
I drive to pray
I drive to fight
I drive
To survive
I drive
To thrive
I drive
Through lies
To criticize
**** eating flies
To minimize
My nocturnal cries

I drive until my hands bleed
No time to road sign read
I must satisfy my movement greed
Until I gain a glorious lead
And I may finally be envied

I drive all day
I drive all night
I drive through rain
To see the light
I drive through blame
To see who's right
I try to stay in my lane
But traffic is tight
I hear a car horn refrain
That's this road's blight

I drive until I hallucinate
But these visions are great
Much better than my fate
And as the hour gets late
The visions determine my state

I drive all day
I drive all night
I drive into clay
Once I lose sight
My car tires
Wrapped in barbed wire
Engine on fire
Like a funeral pyre
The ride has become shaky
From all the bumps I'm taking
In this massive bet I'm staking
That I'll brake before breaking

I drive until I fall asleep
Drifting down this pavement creek
But instead of crashing
Like a cigarette ashing
I fade away without a sound
Into the blacktop ground
And realize I love my car
After we traveled so far
But this revelation comes too late
As I approach heaven's toll gate
They’re all the same.
They’re all the same.
Sterile cubes to the horizon; snowy stains
Crew cut lawns of
Neon ball-field grass
Blacktop floors, silver chariots past
Barbed wire cages of pristine wood sides
Maples spaced mechanically
Mother Nature cyanide
Hospital sheeting, board room meeting
Hollow caskets of dead visions
Creative color fleeting.

They’re all the same.
They’re all the same.
Optic nerve trickery; I must be insane
So far the truthful eyes can see
Flawless cookie cutter plastic sheen
Synthetic golden palace gleam
Manicured daisies spaced between
Another and another; cloned dollhouse genes
Another and another; recurring cul-de-sac dreams
Criss-crossed patterns; golf course greens
Castles of pastel kings and queens.
Thanks! Any feedback appreciated
David boyer Jul 2018
West bound
kroooaaooo  kroooaaooo!
I stand at the door of an old Santa Fe car, snow falls silent,  dusting everything in visual sense, the better January air bites my cheeks ,as two hundred tons of steel push through the night.

kroooaaooo kroooaaooo!

One by one. The orange glow slumbering towns, passes  by
A Hudson rambles ,down the blacktop towards the crossings

kroooaaooo kroooaaooo!

I retrieve my zippo ,and light my cigar and melancholy ,takes over
The sun peeks over the horizon ,reflecting like a billion diamonds nestled in the snowy Fields.

kroooaaooo kroooaaooo!

I daydream of a diner with black coffee, cold marble counters eggs and bacon.
I daydream of a  cheap room ,with a soft bed to rest my aching mind
A gleeful sleep.
kroooaaooo kroooaaooo!

The whistle blows  Kroooaaooo ,leaving the sole evidence that we were there we push down the steel trail ,into the pale dawn with Miles.

Kroooaaooo!

Miles and miles with no sleep,
I miss Octobers copper air,                                                             ­                                   Old honest me,
I seek to find.
A full October moon,
A warm wind,
autumn leaves,
The sound of silence ,in All its distractions.

kroooaaooo!
Jenny Gordon Mar 22
Nope.



(sonnet #MMMMMMMDCCXCVI)


I lick my finger slowly, with a sense
In closing as of stealing frosting, pale
As aught compare, th'espresso's foam detail
Tinged subtly with milk's sweetness for intents,
Like that finale suited for it hence,
The rainy blacktop half dried in betrayl,
While minutes tiptoe by on wings more frail
Than insects' glassy touch we note from thence.
Prepare their lunch with baggies for as twere
Thin cleanliness, cuz honey's sticky to
A fault; cube our potato like in tour
What, eh?  I tossed my brother's typed note, knew
Not that twas worth aught, and discuss how poor
Tis that all's typed, not writ by hand.  And you?

21Mar19b
Interesting thought, eh?
Dee Sep 2018
you dream about the one that will **** you--
an accident on I-70 with the
windows down, cigarette hanging
from your fingers;
blown rubber on the blacktop
where you danced under
an eclipse
and drank three olives
from my lips.
Renn Powell Mar 23
taunting,
like my childhood bully
on the blacktop
of the elementary school i once attended.
poking me all over.
tormenting me.
the mocking laughter.
kicking me in the ribs,
until i ran out of air.
that's what our memories
feel like
Thera Lance Sep 2018
She is a star wrapped up in human form,
Unknown to herself
Unseen by those around her.

A cell dividing into itself, pulled her in
Around it,
Then, through it as it divided around her white light.

Growing up, nothing is remembered.
She may run too fast,
Sometimes sing in voices only trees can hear,
But human she is to herself.

What would it be like,
You think?
To be made of starlight,
To reach out hands in mother’s garden
Teasing brown and broken to green,
To walk barefoot on snow
Or searing blacktop and laugh softly.

Somehow, no one sees the angel inside the girl,
The one with hair of autumn leaves
And eyes of river blue.
Mike Hauser Nov 2018
The blacktop to these city streets
Has so much to say
Daily trampled under feet
As the conversation goes both ways

Standing at the crosswalk
Always in a hurry
As I watch the corner coffee shop patrons
Seem to leisure with no worries

While walking along the sidewalk
I hear a voice wish me good morning
Along with a word of warning
About the afternoon storm that's coming

From the giving to the taking
All that's left to say
Is these city streets take more from me
Than I could ever give away

Same routine day after day
Where left always seems right
As I make my way onto Main
The Broadway comes to mind
Had a blast writing with CJ and making a new friend!
Kara Ashley Jan 7
Dear Brother,

I was struggling.
Anxiety attacks and utter insecurity,
The pit in my stomach was a permanent crater
But I saw you
At recess, standing on the blacktop alone
And I forgot about myself

They told you you couldn’t play football with them.
Your limp was horrible, you didn’t understand the rules exactly
Boys running up to tap me on the arm
Yelling “Get him away from me”
“Tell him to leave me alone”
How am I supposed to tell my brother no one wants to be his friend
No one wants to talk to you Ryan because they can’t understand what you’re saying
They don’t even want to try.

Everyday the school called home, he’s hopeless
Detentions for yelling at the teacher,
The one who didn’t bother to notice he was trying
And he did try too, so hard
So hard he came home calling himself stupid
Because that is all he summed up to at the glories of public highschool

Mom cried, and Dad tried to give her hope
That someday people would treat you right
And I prayed that I wouldn’t keep hearing kids mutter your name in the hallways
Completely unknowing that you were my brother
And all the times your frustration built,
Holes in the wall and broken door frames
I never ever blamed you.

Now we stand side by side at graduation
And I want you to know,
I couldn’t be more proud of us.
Dear brother,
You will always be one of the best things that ever happened to me
In the place of no water, birds falling, eyes streaming sand
Dead camel horizons define arid land
The span of one half heart length
The fan blowing half melted ice cubes
The things you can lose, losing your mind
Watch it all unwind, like loose cloth slipping sideways
Heat rays on your back on the blacktop hunting AC
get it up to speed let's live fast
Watch the whole world pass by
They were running, you just woke up, late to the race, already stumbling
Jason James Aug 2018
Sitting on the broken love seat
Foot's asleep
A shepherd whose lost track of all his sheep
Keeping a lonely path up the hill,
Sitting still in quiet contemplation.
Omission not a sin.
Too late to begin again
And the journey is steep
But the only other way is down.
Fashioning a crown of thorns,
The cross waits at the top of the mountain
A fountain of blood and tears rain down upon the garden,
Baptizing the children in sadness and brutality,
Setting them free from these fleshly sins,
And riches given with Satan's strings attached.
Detached from earthly things,
Waiting on the promise heaven brings to the righteous
But long nights stave off the dawn.
Fires loom on the horizon.
A crucible to refine the pure of soul from natural, ******* evil.

And we walk barefoot on scorching blacktop and broken glass,
Many approach
Yet few pass through
With heads held low
And know
The true pain
Of salvation.
Jenny Gordon Mar 31
...and know that I am God."  



(sonnet #MMMMMMMDCCCXXXIV)


Some dog barks from the clustered houses' sense
Of sheer commun'ty, distant as th'all hail
As twere of sparrows and the Cardnal.  Pale
Warmth is a tender kiss we feel from hence
While frore winds drive last Fall's leaves sans suspense
Across the naked blacktop.  Donne's poems they'll
Assure us are good reading lies t'avail
Next me upon the stoop, and whither thence?
Hark! as the dove's soft coo wafts 'non in tour
Likeas a note from yonder.  Say we knew,
Yet would not dare acknowledge aught that'd stir
Except by halves, blind, deaf, and sorry to
A fault cuz we'd not praise Thee, LORD, in tour
Was it?  Nor give Thee thanks.  How firs call too.

31Mar19b
The final sentence culls to mind:  "Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein." (Hos 14:8-9
Jenny Gordon Mar 31
Ahem.  Rolling the first words of this sonnet over and over my tongue late Saturday afternoon--here it is finally



(sonnet #MMMMMMMDCCCXXXV)


Trash sidles 'long the weedy curb's detail,
To waltz out 'pon the blacktop, turning thence
And flipping oer to trip back for a sense
Of sheer caprice, and gambols through the pale
Dead grass 'til coming to a halt t'avail
My observation of likewise fr'intents
Some vague finale is't?  Were dinner hence
Not keen on my attention, I'd have bail.
Yet come, are not we like this trash in tour?
So lifeless as the dead leaves Scripture to
Effect declares we are, forsooth.  Winds stir
Our hapless selves akin to our vast crew
Of, lo: iniquities; to take us fer
All that far from Thee, LORD.  O what's to do?

31Mar19c  
"Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore." (Ps 105:4)
Lo, finally the answer, just as I finished typing this.  The LORD be magnified.
Graff1980 Apr 26
I am playful,
but impatient
and facing
my impatience
is costly,
costing
time and
self-amusement
for general
****** damage.

A fun run
forgets the bits
that stick out.
So, I trip
over the rusted
metal crap that
is bent in
a worming fashion
trying to rise from
the blacktop,

things that were meant to
hold concrete
pieces in place
to face
and stop
cars from moving
too far in
to the building.

This protrusion sends
me tripping,
skin scraping
through thin pants,
bruising and bleeding
the knees I am needing
to keep on moving.

I'm up in an instant
limping like an old man
with stiff arthritic legs.
Be water, gathering
The scariest knot is a frayed one
Because it's 'fraid of nothing'
Slumpin', back alley blacktop lavalamp
Soft, damp, been raining I guess
The storm came out of the west
tracking sideways
Byways, through the backroad be gone in a second
Just depends on if you wreck it
Nothing can resurrect it, this feeble thing
Bodies gone limp and cold in your eyes
A frayed knot for a heart, playing clarinet over disembowelment
Chewing mint harder than cement
Walking semi circular circles in your garden
We are in, already, you just didn't notice
A lotus floats, a sailor boats, a frog throat explodes
Trying to chain together to many loads
Whole **** thing went off halfcocked
Teeth scraped into the bedrock, limestone kiss
Another flaw to add to a long list

— The End —