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Gabriel Bonney Aug 2018
There are several books inside my mind,
one of which is a turning tide.
There are many rooms inside my dreams,
one where I balance on ceiling beams.
There are a couple bookshelves in my head,
one that hangs merely by a thread.

I have instances in my reality,
where I hold my breath cowardly.
I have a voice inside me, disguised,
that says I am a mad man and lies.
I have moments that tear me down,
so I fall and drown.

I have a God who fights my battles,
but still my head spins and rattles.
I've developed a tendency to do my own doing,
and that's why my fears are moving.
They move through the night out of sight.
But in reality, my hope is never losing.
Sometimes I'm able to let things get in the way of God. I even can let the artistic gifts God has given me take up more time that I read the Bible and pray, and even something so silly as that can give Satan a foothold and I can stray away from God. But praise Him for always being there for me to turn back to, for always loving me even when I doubt Him!

Shoutout to Hannah Christina S for the title of this poem, because before I couldn't think of one. Thank you, Hannah, and thanks for the inpirational comment
Gaby Comprés Jul 2017
the bookshelves in my room
are filled up with poetry books
and the bookshelves of my soul
keep their words
they keep the heart of the ones who wrote them
inside my heart
they keep stories like mine
and unlike mine,
a reminder that we’re all making art
and beauty out of our lives,
that we are making songs out of our days,
making our burdens and the things we carry lighter
and that we belong to each other.
Leo Jul 2018
Never what you were,
my retina dulled your rays.
Optics adrift in poetry, prose,
charity shop sweaters.

I spoke of dreamed ambition.
You nodded, morose.
Eyes chasing space.
Never what you were.

Bookshelves, potted plants, a bicycle bell ringing.
Coffee steam clawing New Zealand winds.
This and more flickered in our hazed tethering,
only snuffed when the tap of illusion ran cold.
Tyler Loeslein Nov 2012
It would be nice to be a worn book,
The dust on me interrupted with fingerprints,
Nestled safely on a shelf of your book case of favorite things,
The shelf that’s easiest to reach from bed,
So when the room is lit with only a desk lamp,
You can take me from the shadows, bring me to you,
And I will be the one that helps you get to sleep at night.
My words will be the ones that inspire your dreams.
When you need a break from reality…just open me.
And until those intimate moments, I wait patiently to be picked up.
Francie Lynch Jun 2015
My girlfriend has coveted
Installed bookshelves
For over thirty years.
She has imagined them
Bookending her hearth,
When a visitor walks up
To scan her collection.
She has books lying about
On her tables, my tables,
A few on outside tables.
She is an insatiable reader,
But never had shelves.
So, as a double gift,
I fabricated,
Installed and stained
To match her gum wood mouldings.
From vision to reality,
Better than Plato.
She's so pleased and proud
She refuses to use them;
To distract the viewer's looks
With books.
Crystal lived alone in the cabin Ray had built for her. Ray had left long ago but she thought of him often and sometimes went to see him in the city. She was an artist and a dabbler in many fields. Her house was a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows and half finished art projects. It was built almost entirely of wood with a beautiful stairway to a loft bedroom replete with a skylight window on the stars. Set in the mouth of a valley next to a clear stream the cabin looked almost as if it had grown there.

Crystal spent most of her time on her art projects, in fact she made her living that way. She was well known for the macabre nature of her works and they sold well at the local art fairs. Most of the scenes she painted could not possibly have existed on earth. Take for example the orange sky and purple mountains of Mariners Delight or the river of blood in Cosmic Conception.

Often Crystal would meet Ray at the art shows and they would discuss his books or her latest works. It was just such an occasion that preceded the first of her dreams.

Although Crystal had often dreamt of playing in a large meadow surrounded by reflections of her art work this dream had been different. She awoke from a scene in the woods where she had been the object of a grotesque conclave of creatures almost beyond description. There had been a huge goat like creature leading a chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba", for a group of creatures that resembled animals. There was a black toad sitting on a rock of seemingly impossible crystalline form, while an agile spider danced on the spokes of its luminous web above her. The smell of blood, the heat of the fire, and the constant and oppressive chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba" with all eyes directed at her. She woke with a start, it was early morning, her bed was a tangled mess, and she was covered with sweat. She felt she could almost smell wood smoke, and somewhere in her mind she could still hear the echos of the horrible chant.

It wasn't until almost a year later that the dream repeated itself. She had just completed what she considered her greatest work, a large mural like painting called Id Conclusion. It was a matrix of human forms in contorted and deformed conditions against a backdrop of misty images of human holocaust, war machines, and atomic clouds. She had gone to bed in a storm of thoughts on human depravation and greed. The scene was the same, the spider, the goat, the half human animals, all seemed the same, except for the chant, it was different. "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Raga mantra nestos reale, Yreba Yreba Shiva kommt da." Lightening cracked and a creature appeared. He seemed a man but was built more like a large monkey. Light seemed to follow him like an aura. He was the obvious master of the conclave and all stood back at his approach.

Crystal was lying on the stone altar in the center of the glade and although not bound she was incapable of motion while held in Yreba's gaze. That this creature was Yreba was obvious since all had bowed down now and the chant had changed, "Yreba Yreba teach us to grow." Crystals eyes were glazed and her naked body shown in Yreba's light. All her past works were floating across her mind like a collage. Lost in ecstasy she responded to his aggression like a wanton beast, screaming and writhing in the flow of his energy.

She woke to find her cabin in shambles and she was lying in the center of the living room on the floor, she panicked and ran to her car, slammed it into gear, and sped off down the road.

Ray was sitting in his office at the University that morning when Crystal burst into the room. "Ray, Ray, I've had a dream, a horrible dream, it was, I was!" "Slow down Crystal! You've had a what?" said Ray. Crystal sat down in a ball of frenzy and continued.

About an hour later Crystal had finished her story. Ray spoke, "So you say this is only the second time you've had this dream. Tell me more about Yreba. Does he resemble any of your art works?" "No", she said, "He seemed a lot more like that creature you told me about that day we were discussing witchcraft. The one who was supposed to be the personification of ****** desire evoked for the *** ****** of the ancient Persians."

Ray walked to his bookshelves (he was a professor of ancient mythology and religions) and pulled out a book called Necromancer by Abdule Azerod. "As I recall" he said "that creature was also a god of fertility." He thumbed slowly through the book, "yes, here it is. What did you say this creatures name was? Yreba? Very strange that's almost exactly this Persian deities name, Youruba. It seems he was evoked every year on the vernal equinox to assure ****** reproductivity and if you think that's frightening, feature this, last night was the vernal equinox." Crystal was stunned. "Do you think there's a connection" she stammered? "Don't be silly girl, this was three thousand years ago. Why don't we drive out to your cabin and see if we can find some clues."

Twenty minutes later they were standing in Crystal's cabin. What had seemed so disorderly to Crystal in the morning was now clearly a purposeful state of order. All of her sculptures were arranged neatly on the stairs to the loft, and her pictures were arranged so as to face the spot on the floor where she had awakened. On the floor where she had lain was a large five pointed star. "What does it mean Ray?" "I think it's a pentagram" he stated. "Is anything missing?" "Not that I can see" she said. "I don't think we had better stay" he said, "Find what you need and we'll go back to my house. You can stay there until we figure it out."

Crystal never returned to the cabin. Ray sold it for her and bought her a new house in the city.

Crystal got sick a few months later. She was sitting in the doctors office now awaiting his return. "I have good news" he said. "Good news" Crystal groaned. "Yes" he said, "Your pregnant."
Aliens can make you pregnant of mind, it's the hawkowl facts.
I named my bird dog Yreba.......I'm in so much trouble!!
Emma Liang Mar 2012
I bounce a volleyball as I walk to my dorm
just to hear that delightful sound, that satisfying, clean thud off the cement.

look up, see you in that grey hoodie that gives me bad dreams
and curse under my breath, eyes darting like a cornered fox,
            there is nowhere to hide.
we almost exchange eye contact, I almost taste blood in my mouth
            I hate how familiar you are.
you look down, cough;
I murmur a dusty hello-goodbye into the ground, hold my volleyball tighter
against my chest –
and hurry on, court sneakers straining on the pavement, trying too hard to forget your cracked smiles.

--

I remember how we used to pass for hours
no sound but the volleyball slapping against our forearms,
brushing off our fingertips,
echoing through that Choate gymnasium, that cold spring;

My head had barely reached the middle of the net,
but you were tall and brave and handsome, my Prince Charming, and
I was a freshman girl with her heart on her sleeve, who
hugged a warm volleyball to her heart and smiled,

thinking herself lucky.

--

Spring thawed your heart, eventually,
and you let me hold your hand;
you had long fingers, cold to the touch.
you taught me how to set, complimented my hands,
trained me to cradle the ball with my thumbs like it was made of glass,
your hands around mine.

I was braver than you were,
because everything felt fresh and exciting to me, like the
smell of crushed pine needles in the air;
you kissed me (I kissed you?) on that night
and I leaned forward, curious and eager, and wrapped my arms
around your neck.

--

The days melted into one another,
and we became
like chalk drawings blurring after rain,
like floor burns from sliding to save a falling ball –
but missing it, all the effort gone to waste;
the burns will still burn and still scar, for nothing.

May to June, June to July,
I hugged you and laughed, but my eyes
were cold; you said I love you
And I tried to say it back, but I couldn’t without
sticking a used to before the love –
            the honey words stuck in my throat.

Our kisses were routine, stale
like the crackers I left out the night before;
I tapped my foot and
tossed the volleyball quickly behind my back with nimble fingers
and counted the seconds before it was acceptable to pull back;
I had homework and volleyball practice and quizzes to study for, you know – I tried to smile but
it felt so wrong, I stopped –
you asked what was wrong, I shook my head, there are no answers for some questions.

--

It’s been four years since we’ve spoken,
shared secret moments under solemn oak trees, behind library bookshelves
that promised to keep us away from prying eyes,
smiled into each other’s lips,
blinked stories into each other’s eyes.
It’s been four years since people have teased you for not
hitting the ball when we passed – you gentleman, you –

I will not say I miss you, because I refuse to lie for your sake;
but sometimes as I set a ball perfectly to a hitter
I think of you for a split second, wonder where you are and if you remember as much
as I do, which is, honestly
not very much.

--

she writes letters to him and then burns them all, the smell of smoke fills the room.
It’s as if she is stealing the fury of the sun, which is cooling down, melting into lava at the horizon –
it will be another cold winter, there is already frost in the grass, the air smells chilly.

Dear you,

I broke up with you as nicely as I could –
there was no reason I fell out of love, the same way
there is no reason people fall in love.

you have no right ******* me out on the internet the way you did.
Every time I hit a volleyball I imagine your face on my palm, and I hit harder.
I will never forgive you for the things you wrote,
and I don’t know if I ever loved you at all,
because you are despicable.

Goodbye,
the girl of your dreams.


--

it’s the beginning of the end of July, everything is so hot.
the pavement is baking, the volleyballs are flat,
her arms feel weak and limp like overcooked noodles.

it’s hard to think straight. She can hardly remember
her own name before remembering that she has a boyfriend.
He calls, he says I love you and she tries to choke out that well-rehearsed lie –
what was it again? something like I love you too?

But it’s too hot, and she
can’t do it anymore –

she swallows hard and grips her volleyball tighter,
her hands sweating against the weathered sphere that has been through so much with her
as she prepares to say goodbye.
Ma Cherie Feb 2017
Many moons,
have passed over my headpiece,
as you leave me behind,
in moondust & ashes each night,

You collect on the bookshelves,
I keep here,
collecting on hearts with your light,
dusting my world with your beauty,
diminutives in bits of the white,

This is not the end of the journey,
 this a mere tiny part of the flight,
and I've not seen any more shiny,
or any star nearly as bright,

Though I am unable to see you now,
or touch your skin ever again,
or truly hear you with my ear,
I still miss you so my friend,

I know I cannot be near you now,
I cannot be where you are,
as you are but a twinkling light,
a brilliant & distant, star-

If it was not but for the moon dust,
my heart wouldn't,
be able to see you anymore either.

Ma Cherie © 2017
Idk inspired....and missing someone who has passed ❤ to you all! X - Ma Cherie!
Tell me about the Ace of Wands!
Tell me about the Ace of Wands!

This has been poorly imagined I admit:
The sunny penthouse
Open to the breeze
which presses and sways
through the sliding glass doors

Upturned champagne bottles
set in buckets of melting ice
A crystalline view of the Pacific
Or dusky Vegas lights

Strewn silken sheets
A **** carpet you can grab on to
The myriad of variations under a rising Moon

Yet Leather and Ecstasy are no where to be seen.
And though I wasn’t thinking of Sardinia
or of the Amalfi
That is a great idea

ROMP
noun
1. a spell of rough, energetic play.
2. a farce.

Eventually
(An earth-sign cusp is slow no matter how much air)
Eventually
creeping into my mind’s eye
(Thank you Time)
was my dodging of the slow-moving bullet
Alas, the lumpy bed in Hollywood awaits
with serviceable sheets
Encased in variations on a theme of
brown everything
A soul death in faux wood paneling
Someone else’s earring on a
grubby carpet floor
that offers you
burns for your back that won’t heal so fast
if that’s what you want
There’s the opening of the door
on the purring refrigerator
to look at cold nothing
And think nothing
Cystitis is on its way
And yes,
Too much dust

Don’t get me wrong
I have no real issues with dust
I have stood
Alone in the semi darkness before
In such a living room
Staring at this luminous particulate
On album covers
and in the glare of backlit windows
Floating in a beam from
a ceramic thrift store table-lamp

I was on my way to find the bathroom
Where a pair of pink ******* lay
drying
in wait for
me

Bachelor dust
Is old
I can write my name with my finger
in that which rests
upon the turntable’s hinged cover
In case you don’t remember
What they call me

As I’ve said
I’ve got nothing against it
Ask the dust
Go ahead
Ask it
Resting quite comfortably
on the bookshelves
If there are bookshelves
As if it had
something to do.
I ask it why?

my invading molecules subdivide
and grow more comfortable

Dust?
Why do I smell the stench of
chaste virgins and ***?
The intoxicating odor of foxed letters from an epistolary exchange regarding:
One Fair Maiden and the Devilish Pursuits to  Compromise Her Virtue?
The Opinions and Observations of Fallen Fruit
Here: The woman and her only true
possession
And Here: The sticky absconder who smells of fish.
They meet.
She blinks.

The dust replies
It’s a simple plan:
The Dear Lady is to be led
Astray
by pretty words and unspoken indiscretions
her dowry in the end, useless
She’ll be banished to the counties
To be a governess
or the
Bored companion
of the only living relative who will
Admit her services
Unpaid in silver coins
He is Blind and his Cook has left
Dyspeptic
Disagreeable
Cheap
and Mean.

She is Ruined.
Perhaps she will escape
to Italy
and die
Alone
in the sunshine.

The dust tells me another story
The same century still
This time, a miscreant princeling
surrounded by Trifles
Picking up one bob and then another
Preoccupied by uselessness
Perhaps a strawberry
Perhaps more claret and his mistress’s left breast
Tonight will be the scullery maid
Who will lose more in the end
Than she could ever possibly imagine
Tossed out of the kitchens
to Providence.
God bless Her.

The dust tells me
It’s mercantile, my dear
It’s all transactional
But look at me
I’m here for a time but am easily
Agitated and
Airborne
Aeolian driven
Ever blossoming fugitive clouds of swirling devils
Interstellar Reflection Nebulae
As you can see
I’m never in one place
So I say keep it movin’.
Kyle John Somer Oct 2012
We are all so very fragile.
Our sun kissed porcelain faces
are freckled with Achilles heel fault lines and chipped paint.
Shining through to our nervous nervous system and our tendency to over think things.
We hide so much inside of us.
Behind dance less masquerades
Our bodies held together only by cages of ivory bones
cages that cradle the thin winged heart beats of our chest
nervous moths stumbling around inside
knocking books off of shelves and
eating the sweaters that we use to keep our hearts from freezing over.

The autumn wind is cold like sad glaciers
and it's easy to break down at times like these.
Our bones ache and shriek like boiling tea kettles.
Making it hard not to shatter.

We are all so fragile.
Burnt out light bulb fragile.
Frozen lake fragile.
Defibrillated heartbeat fragile.
We are broken branch fragile
chronic alcoholics sobriety fragile.
The middles school girls reaction to the word “fat” fragile
We are the kind of fragile that set off big bangs.
We are, paranoid breakable.
And its got to the point where
we have begun taping up our light leak vulnerabilities
with perceptions of perfection and thoughts of rejection
spending our time in dark rooms as our minds just keep reeling
and trying to shut off feelings and unwind
but we have been over exposed to such ****.
To slides and slides of negative negatives

we used to burst apart with so much light.

but the sun isn't shining honest, the night sky is black
and its raining in all the wrong ways.
We're out of season.
sewing up the holes in our personality
with floods of insecurities and droughts of identity.
damning what matters.

****, its hard to know what matters.

But I am still trying to figure that one out
And the moths are still here
as the pendulum clocks keep ticking
eating the sweaters that we used
to keep our hearts from freezing over.

But we are freezing to the core.
The atoms inside of us splinting into half lives;
we haven't even lived half of our lives
yet we feel so ancient.
The dust piles growing on our slanted bookshelves shoulders
Our bright idea light bulbs flickering,
getting covered up by snowdrifts.

We are gas giants wrapping ourselves into open space darkness
hiding from the bright side of the moon.
Like a black cat superstition we are running from our own precondition
of lying about being ourselves
We pull dark black-hole hoods over our eyes
wincing at the light trails of shooting stars
though we, too, want to be brilliant.
We try to orbit the sun hoping that humanity is a symphony;
that being popular and having the most friends is what matters.
and we can be where the grass is always greener by fitting in and by being mirrors
Even though not being yourself is nauseating.

We can be nauseating, we can be mirrors.

Because we are scared that if we don't
hide who we really are
we may end up like Pluto.
Ostracized for existing.
floating around in space having stare downs with wormholes
A shivering rock entity with a complete loss of identity.

We already are so lost.
Our souls waning and waxing
Rocking back and forth
on wood beams and porches.
like an ADD moonbeam rocking chair.

But now its time to stop in one place and readjust our backbones.

Because I know that we are fragile, I know that.
I know that its hard filling in the cracks that have found their way down our back-stabbed spines
we all have our histories with being dropped and rejected.
But we weren't made to be cardboard box people,
packing tape and labels wrapped in all of the wrong places.
we are boxes full of wormholes into other dimensions
we are full of life and blood and bones,
full of oceans and stardust and daggers
There is so much more to us than our brown paper complexions.
So climb out of those kangaroo pouch caves that you have called home for the last few years
There's no need hiding anymore.
You can be safe in your own skin.
You can climb the Himalayas and scream out as many lightning rods as you want
we will all be listening as you burst apart into thunder claps.
As you bleed yourself into infinity

So, dim the lights

Throw your self at the world
and crash like waves into existence
you are perfect when you are yourself.
Grab that porcelain off of your face
and let your smile super nova fracture into a cosmic grin of constellations.

People will look up to you and be inspired.
A cardboard box rookie sprawled out in the stars.
Lighting up all of our faces with E.T. fingertips.
No longer hiding being reflective eclipses
There's only one person who can tell you who you are.
Only you can speak for yourself.

I know that your fragile
I know that.

We all are..,
Ira Sep 2018
Writing a story on a topic,
Hazing away at the microsoapics,
I write stories that aren’t meant to be fun,
Just the basic humdrum.

Reality is my Inspiration,
No matter the mood I’m in.

Dragons and Wizards are to be left on the bookshelves,
As I run to work,
And meet my colleagues for a day of writing reality.

We walk the world in actuality,
And see people with all different vitality.
People of all different ideas of reality.

They speak,
I listen,
I ask,
And they answer,
And we both learn about reality together.

I then write what I heard,
Tell what I saw,
And let the ideas fly like birds.

I've seen all people of life,
I've heard many of there trifes.

I laughed at their victories,
I cry at their lost,
And I hear all their vivid histories.

I write all types of reality,
From the memories of all different types of vitalities.

And as I write about how reality unfurls,
I write about the greatest dreams of this world
I'm in Journalism so I wrote a poem, about it.
Martin Narrod Feb 2015
Part I


the plateau. the truest of them all. coast line. night spells and even controlled by the dream of meeting again. the ribbon of darker than light in your crown. No region overlooked. Third picnic table to the drive at Half Moon Bay, meet me there, decant my speech there. the table by the restroom block. While the tide is in show me your oyster garden, 3:00p.m. at half-light here in the evilest torments that have been shed.---------------door locked.  The moors. Cow herds and lymph nodes, rancorous afternoon West light and bending roads, the cliffs, a sister, the need to jump. There is nothing as serious as this. There is nothing nor no one that could ever, or would ever on this side come between. Who needs sleep or jokes or snow or rivers or bombs or to turn or be a rat or a fly or ceiling fan or a gurney or a cadaver or piece of cloth or a bed spread or a couch or a game or the flint of a lighter or the bell of a dress; the bell of your dress, yes, perhaps. Having been crushed like orange cigarette light in a pool of Spanish tongues. I feel the heave, the pull; not a yawn but a wired, thread-like twist about my core. Up around the neck it makes the first cut, through the eyes out and into the nostrils down over the left arm, on the inside of the bicep, contorting my length, feigning sleep, and then cutting over my stomach, around and around multiples of times- pulled at the hips and under the groin, across each leg and in-between each nerve, capillary, artery, hair, dot, dimple, muscle, to the toes and in-between them. Wiry dream-like and nervous nightmarish, hellacious plateaus of leapers. Penguin heads and more penguin heads. Startling torment. The evilest of the vile mind. The dance of despair: if feet contorted and bound could move. The beach off Belmont. The hills and the reasons I stared. Caveat after caveat at the heads of letters, on the heads of crowns, and the wrists, and on the palms. Being pulled and signed, and moved away so greatly and so heavily at once in a moment, that even if it were a year or a set of many months it would always be a moment too taking away to be considered an expanse, and it would be too hellacious to be presumptuous. It could only be a shadow over my right shoulder as I write the letters over and again. One after another. Internally I ask if I would even grant a convo with Keats or Yeats or Plath or Hughes? Does mine come close? Does it matter the bellies reddish and cerise giving of pain? Does it have to have many names?


"This is the only Earth," I would say with the bouquet of lilies spread out on the table. Are lilies only for funerals, I would never make or risk or wish this metaphor, even play it like the drawn out notes of a melody unwritten and un-played: my black box and latched, corner of the room saxophone. Top-floor, end of the hall two-room never-ending story, I'm the left side of the bed Chicago and I see pink walls, bathrooms, the two masonite paintings, the Chanel books, the bookshelves, the white desk, the white dresser, you on the left side of the bed in such sentimental woe, **** carpet and tilted blinds, and still the moors and the whispering in the driver's seat in afternoon pasture. Sunset, sunrise, nighttime and bike room writing in other places, apartments, rooms where I inked out fingertips, blights, and moods; nothing ever being so bleak, so eerily woe-like or stoic. Nothing has ever made me so serious.

Put it on the rib, in a t-shirt. Make it a hand and guide it up a set of two skinny legs under a short-sheeted bed in small room and literary Belmont, address included. Trash cans set out morning and night, deck-readied cigarette smoking. Sliding glass door and kitchen fright. Low-lit living room white couch, kaleidoscope, and zoetrope. Spin me right round baby right round. I am my own revenge of toxic night. Attack the skin, the soul, the eyes, the mind, and the lids. The finger lids and their tips. Rot it out. Blearing wild and deafening blow after blow: left side of the bed the both of us, whilst stirs the intrepid hate and ousts each ******* tongue I can bellow and blow.

Last resort lake note in snow bank and my river speak and forest walk. Wrapped in blocks and boxes, Christmas packaging and giant over-sized red ribbons and bows. Shall I mention the bassinet, the stroller, the yard, several rings of gold and silver, several necklaces of black and thread? I draw dagger from box, jagged ended and paper-wrapped in white and amber: lit in candle light and black room shadow-kept and sleeping partisan unforgettable forever. Do I mention Hawaii, my mother dying, invisible ligatures and the unveiling of the sweat and horror? Villainous and frightening, the breath as a bleat or heart-beat and matchstick stirring slightly every friends' woe and tantrum of their spirit.

Lobster-legged, waiting, sifting through the sea shore at the sea line, the bright tyrannosaurs in mahogany, in maple, and in twine over throw rose meadow over-looks, honey-brimming and warehouse built terrariums in the underbelly of the ravine, twist and turn: road bending, hollowing, in and out and in and out, forever, the everlasting and too fastidious driving towards; and it's but what .2 miles? I sign my name but I'll never get out. I am mocked and musing at tortoise speed. Headless while improvising. Purring at any example of continue or extremity or coolness of mind, meddling, or temptation. I rock, bellowing. Talk, sending shivers up my spine. I'm cramped, and one thousand fore-words and after words that split like a million large chunks of spit, grime, and *****; **** and more ****. I might even be standing now. I could be a candle, in England, a kingdom, in Palo Alto, a rook in St. Petersburg. Mottled by giants or sleepless nights, I could be the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty, a heated marble flower or the figure dying to be carved out. I'm veering off highways, I'm belittling myself: this heathen of the unforgettable, the bog man and bow-tied vagrant of dross falsification and dross despair. I am at the sea shore, tide-righted and tongue-tide, bilingual, and multi-inhibited by sweat, spit, quaffs of sea salt, lake water, and the like. Rotten wergild ridden- stitched of a poor man's ringworm and his tattered top hat and knee-holed trousers. I'm at the sea shore, with the cucumbers dying, the rain coming in sideways, the drifts and the sandbars twisting and turning. I'm at the sea shore with the light house bruise-bending the sweet ships of victory out backwards into the backwaters of a mislead moonlight; guitars playing, beeps disappearing, pianos swept like black coffees on green walled night clubs, arenose and eroding, grainy and distraught, bleeding and well, just bleeding.






I'm at the sea shore, the coastline calling. I've got rocks in my pockets, ******* and two lines left in the letter. I’m at the sea shore, my mouth is a ghost. I've seen nothing but darkness. I'm at the seashore, second picnic table, bench facing the squat and gobble, the tin roof and riled weir near the roadside. .2 and I'm still here with my bouquet wading and waiting. I'm at the sea shore and there's nobody here. My inches are growing shorter by the second, cold, whet by the sunset, its moon men, their heavy claws and bi-laws overthrowing and throwing me out. The thorns stick. The tyrannosaurs scream. I'm at the sea shore, plateau, left bedside to write three more letters. Sign my name and there's nobody here.

I'm at the sea shore: here are my lips, my palms (both of them facing up), here are my legs (twine and all), my torso, and my head shooting sideways. I'm at the seashore and this is my grave, this is my purposeful calotype, my hide and go seek, my show and tell, my forever. .2 and forever and never ending. I was just one dream away come and keep me. I'm at the sea shore come and see me and seam me. I'm without nothing, the sky has drifted, the sea is leaving, my seat is a matchbox and I'm all wound up. The snow settling, the ice box and its glory taken for granted. I'm at the sea shore and there's nobody here. The room with its white sets of furniture, the lilies, the Chanel, the masonite paintings, the bed, your ribbon of darker on light, the throw rug **** carpet, pink walled sister's room, and the couch at the top of the stairs. I'm at the sea shore, my windows opened wide, my skin thrown with threat, rhinoceri, reddish bruises bent of cerise staled sunsets. I'm at the sea shore and there's nobody here. I'm at the plateau and there isn't a single ship. There are the rocks below and I'm counting. My caveats all implored and my goodbyes written. I'm in my bed and the sleep never set in. I'm name dropping God and there's nobody there. I'm in a chair with my hands on a keyboard, listening to Danish throb-rock, horse-riding into candle light on a wicked wedding of wild words and teary-eyed gazes and gazers. Bent by the rocking and the torment, the wild and the weird, the horror and everything horrifying. There is this shadow looking over my shoulder. I'm all alone but I feel like you're here.



Part II




I wake up in Panama. The axe there. Sleeping on the floors in the guest bedroom, the floor of the garden shed, the choir closet, the rut of dirt at the end of the flower bed; just a towel, grayish-blue, alone, lawnmower at my side, and sky blue setting all around. I was a family man. No I just taste bits of dirt watching a quiet and contrary feeling of cool limestone wrap over and about my arms and my legs. Lungs battered by snapping tongues, and ancient conversations; I think it was the Malaysian Express. Mom quieted. Sister quieted. Father wept. And is still weeping. Never have I heard such horrifying and un-kindly words.-----------------------It's going to take giant steel cavernous explorations of the nose, brain cell after brain cell quartered, giant ******* quaffs of alcohol, harboring false lanterns and even worse chemicals. Inhalations and more inhalations. I'm going to need to leap, flight, drop into bodies of waters from air planes and swallow capsules of psychotropics, sedatives beyond recalcitrance. I'm requiring shock treatments and shock values. Periodic elements and galvanized steel drums. Malevolence and more malevolence. Forest walks, and why am I still in Panama. I don't want to talk, to sleep, to dream, to play stale-mating games of chess, checkers, Monopoly, or anything Risk involving. I can't sleep, eat, treaty or retreat. I'm wickeded by temptations of grandeur and threats of anomaly, widening only in proverb and swept only by opposing endeavors. Horrified, enveloped, pictured and persuaded by the evilest of haunts, spirits, and match head weeping women. I can't even open my mouth without hearing voices anymore. The colors are beginning to be enormous and I still can't swim. I couldn't drown with my ears open if I kept my nose dry and my mouth full of a plane ticket and first class beanstalk to elysian fields. It's pervasive and I'm purveyed. It's unquantifiable. It's the epitomizing and the epitome. I have my epaulets set for turbulent battles though I still can't fend off night. Speak and I might remember. Hear and it's second rite. Sea attacks, oceans roaring, lakes swallowing me whole. Grand bodies of waters and faces and arms appendages, crowns and more crowns and more crowns and more crowns and more crowns and I'm still shaking, and I'm still just a button. And I still can't sleep. And I'm still waiting.

It is night. The moon ripening, peeling back his face. Writhing. Seamed by the beauty of the nocturne, his ways made by sun, sky, and stars. Rolled and rampant. Moved across the plateau of the air, and its even and coolly majestic wanton shades of twilight. It heads off mountains, is swept as the plains of beauty, their faces in wild and feral growths. Bent and bolded, indelible and facing off Roman Empires too gladly well in inked and whet tips of bolder hands to soothe them forth.-----------Here in their grand and grandiose furnaces of the heart, whipped tails and tall fables fettered and tarnished in gold’s and lime. Here with their mothers' doting. Here with their Jimi Hendrix and poor poetry and stand-up downtrodden wergild and retardation. I don't give a ****. I could weep for the ***** if they even had hair half as fine as my own. I am real now. Limited by nothing. Served by no worship or warship. My flotilla serves tostadas at full-price. So now we have a game going.-----------------------------------------------------------­------------------------  My cowlick is not Sinatra's and it certainly doesn't beat women. As a matter of factotum and of writ and bylaw. I'm running down words more quickly than the stanza's of Longfellow. I'm moving subtexts like Eliot. I'm rampant and gaining speed. Methamphetamine and five star meats. Alfalfa and pea tendrils. Loves and the lovers I fall over and apart on. Heroes and my fortune over told and ever telling. Moving in arc light and keeping a warm glow.

the fish line caves. the shimmy and the shake. Bluegrass music and big wafting bell tones. snakes and the river, hands on the heads, through the hair; I look straight at the Pacific. I hate plastic flowers, those inanimate stems and machine-processed flesh tones. Waltzing the state divide. I am hooked on the intrepid doom of startling ego. I let it rake into my spine. It's hooves are heavy and singe and bind like manacles all over me. My first, my last, my favorite lover. I'm stalemating in the bathtub. Harnessing Crystal Lite and making rose gardens out of CD inserts and leaf covers. I'm fascinated by magic and gods. Guns and hunters. Thieving and mold, and laundry, and stereotypes, and great stereos, and boom-boxes, and the hi-fi nightlife of Chicago, roasting on a pith and meaty flame, built like a horror story five feet tall and laced with ruggedness and small needles. My skin is a chromium orchid and the grizzly subtext of a Nick Cave tune. I've allowed myself to be over-amplified, to mistake in falsetto and vice versa. To writhe on the heavy metallic reverberations of an altercated palpitation. The heart is the lonely hunted. First the waterproof matchsticks, then the water, the bowie knife, crass grasses and hard-necked pitch-hitters and phony friends; for doing lunch in the park on a frozen pond, I play like I invented blonde and really none of my **** even smells like gold.--------------------- There are the tales of false worship. I heard a street vendor sell a story about Ovid that was worse than local politics. As far as intermittent and esoteric histories go I'm the king of the present, second stage act in the shadow of the sideshow. Tonight I'm greeting the characters with Vaseline. For their love of music and their love of philosophy. For their twilight choirs and their skinny women who wear black antler masks and PVC and polyurethane body suits standing in inner-city gardens chanting. For their chanting. The pacific. For the fish line caves. For the buzzing and the kazoos. For the alfalfa and the three fathers of blue, red, and yellow. For the state of the nation. But still mostly working for the state of equality, more than a room for one’s own.-------------------------------------------------------------­------"Rice milk for all of you." " Kensington and whittled spirits."
(Doppelganger enters stage left)MAN: Prism state, flash of the golden arc. Beastly flowers and teeming woodlands. Heir to the throes and heir to the throng.----------------------------------------------------------­--------------- The sheep meadow press in the house of affection. The terns on my hem or the hide in my beak; all across the steel girder and whipping ******* the windows facing out. The mystery gaze that seers the diplopic eye. Still its opening shunned. I put a cage over it and carry it like a child through Haight-Ashbury. At times I hint that I'm bored, but there is no letting of blood or rattle of hope. When you live with a risk you begin at times to identify with the routes. Above the regional converse, the two on two or the two on four. At times for reasons of sadness but usually its just exhaustion. At times before the come and go gets to you, but usually that is wrong and they get to you first. Lathering up in a small cerulean piece of sky at the end turnabout of a dirt road
Cullen Donohue Jul 2015
I stare at the ceiling
In a hotel room
In Duluth.

I wonder if
I will ever have a book
That finds its home
On shelves
At Barnes and Noble.

I wonder if
Former lovers
Will pick it up
Looking for
The poems I wrote

For them.
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
She was cold. Not enough layers worn under her coat to keep the combination of sea and mountain air at bay. But the afternoon was bright. A sky-blue Sunday. A day when there was space to think about something other than Martin, her coming week of lectures and tutorials, and ‘the book’, the necessary book on which her future, academic or otherwise, would appear to depend. And what was there to think about in this space? The quality of light, the colour of the sea, her new and still to be broken in boots, Jennifer Williams . . .
     She had arrived one morning at the Department's excuse for an office to find her door open and a slight, red-haired young woman browsing her bookshelves.
    'Have you read these or are they just for show,’ the redhead said, not turning round in greeting but reaching up to pick Foucault's Histoire de la sexualité, III: le souci de soi off the shelf.
    'No, it's just there to impress my students.’
    'Well, I'm impressed,’ she said pirouetting like a dancer to look Anne straight in the face with those dark brown eyes, eyes like chocolate, eyes that were to become Anne’s undoing.
     'Does Michel Foucault interest you?'
      'No, but I like the colour of the cover and the quality of type.’
     Anne put down her bag, removed her laptop, her lunch, an embarrassing attempt at some knitting, her National Trust magazine, and the latest Granta. Evidence of some kind of life perhaps, a statement. Just what does the contents of a bag say about who you are, she wondered?
     The young woman remained still and silent as her eyes followed Anne's 'getting organised for the day' movements around the room.
     'Are you going to offer me coffee?’ said the girl.
     Yes, she was just a girl Anne thought. 'How did you get in?'
     'The cleaner was here, I just walked in out of curiosity.’
     'Really'
     'I've seen you about. On the pier. Walking. Looking sad. Sadly beautiful. I came to ask if I might paint you'.
     Later, when she was naked in Jennifer's studio and she had been touched in a way no one had ever touched her before, Anne said.
     'I hope you are not a student.'
     'No, just an artist who picks up interesting-looking people on piers.’
     'What makes me look interesting?'
      'The way you move, so sadly, as though you don't know what you want from life.’
      'Oh.’
      Jennifer put her red head, her golden red hair against Anne's thigh, and stroking her foot said.
      'I saw you last Sunday all alone, so alone. I've dreamt of you. Dreamed I'd paint you into my stupid life. Be your companion, a dog for you to walk with, a cat for you to come home to, a warm body to hold you in bed.’
     Anne said nothing. She dressed. She kissed Jennifer very gently on her brow and on her right ear. She left the little flat with its view of the pier, the estuary and the mountains beyond. She knew then she had lost control of her life. She could and would from now on be the fictional person she had sought and imagined for so long.
This is from a collection of very short stories and prose poems titled 37 Minutes. This was the time it took to commute by train to my studio. I wrote something almost every day for six months. I've kept about twenty of these pieces.
Why is the poetry section at the bookstore
So small?
We're the misfits of the artistic spectrum
Why do they leave such a small hole for us?
Out of all the five star hotels, we're the only only art form that got a one star instead
We're going to need an umbrella, it's going to rain soon
Not because it's symbolic, but because the humidity is high
There needs to be a change in the literary frontier
I'm going to trick or treat, but i don't need no costume
I'm coming as myself
Ready to break through the barricades
And increase the size of these poetry shelfs for the future to embrace
More dreams and more elation than ever thought of before.
We may be the minority now, but it can change for the future
Don't buy a different crystal ball on me just yet
We're the eighth place team that will contend for the playoff
Just watch the curtains come undone
And the kids run
For that golden dream.
I try so hard to be a poet.

I'm writing you from the back of a coffee shop napkin because it's the only place I know you might see it.
I'm smoking cigarettes just so I remember to breathe,
And filling in the blanks between them
With meaningless words
That sound like they might give me a reason
Like "romantic" and "addiction"
And sometimes
Just your name
Over and over and over
Until I'm brushing ink off my fingers and onto my new jeans.

The earth is grasping at my fingertips.
It's 2AM and I don't know how I sleep at night.
(I don't)

Some nights I lie awake and think
About how there's a universe inside of you.
I'm shooting for the moon
But I'm coming out much closer to the sun than I expected.

I lie awake and picture,
In my head,
All the ways that this can go wrong
    Will go wrong
          Have gone wrong
I thought we were getting better
But it's more like
We're getting older every second.
We're just pennies in pockets of good luck addicts
We were born to make a change
But instead I'm watching re-runs of lifetime at 3 in the morning.
(Nothing ever changes)

Every night I tell myself
That tomorrow
I'm going to try a little harder
To try.
Every morning I tell myself
That tomorrow
Would be a better day to start.
(I live by the golden plated rule.)
I'm running out of room on the back of bookshop receipts,
And the woman behind the desk is telling me
That I'm running out of time
Until they close for the night.
What I hear
Is that I'm running out of time
To live forever.

When I was eight years old,
I told my mother
That I would never smoke a cigarette
And I've always thought it was funny
How we learn to break promises at an early age.
(You are not the exception.)
Now I measure daylight in smoke breaks
And starlight
In how many times I can be a contradiction to a former me.
(Eight and counting)

I try so hard to be a poet,
But the truth is
I can't make any promises.
AJ Mar 2014
Marissa Ann was a firecracker of a little girl.
For her, there was no fence too tall to climb, no bully too mean to face, no street too busy to cross.
She was all tangled hair and toothy grins.
And she'd yank the book right out of my hands and say, "Gabrielle, we have more important things to do than read."

In the jungle of our lives, Marissa was a lioness, queen of the pride.
I was a mouse not indigenous to these parts of the second grade.
The world was a terrifying place, and I had no problem cowering in the corner, knee-deep in a pile of Nancy Drew.
I tried to stay huddled behind my words, drowning in the ink, attempting to let the pages be my armor.
Marissa would not let me.
When I allowed bookshelves to be my shields, she came guns blazing, and kicked them all down, then stood me back up on my feet.
She'd grab my hand and pull me head first toward adventure.

Marissa was tough, and everyone knew it.
There was not a soul alive brave enough to pick on Marissa Ann.
But me? I was an easy target.
The other girls said I was "weird" with my enormous wire frames resting atop full cheeks, and my frayed jeans, a glowing reminder of my mother's lack of wealth.
I heard the whispers on the playground about the chubby girl who read, (can you believe it?), chapter books.

Brianna was a demon of a child.
She'd bat her pretty little eyelashes and everyone would melt.
She had the entire second grade class wrapped around her tiny little finger.
She'd corner me on the soccer field and do everything she could to remind me that I was different.
But one day at recess, she was nowhere to be found, until I made my way through winding halls, back to the warmth of our classroom.

There sat Marissa with a devilish glint in her eye, waving me over to sit in the desk beside her.
Behind us, a sniffling Brianna, looking forlornly at the teardrop stains on her pink lace skirt, her mouth pulled tight into a perfect straight line.
I looked back at Marissa with a curious glance, then intertwined her hand with my own.
The sound of stifled sobs behind us and the warmth of her skin on mine sealing an unspoken vow between two girls with puzzle piece fingertips that only fit each other.
Derick Smith Sep 2014
I love old books—
         their smell,
                  soft and softly mottled pages,
                  font-faces,
          and carefully illustrated frontispieces.

My bookshelves are lined:
         old copies of ancient classics.

I love buying old books—
         the lost treasures they are,
and the lost treasures they hide:
                      tram tickets,
                      letters,
                      not­es,
    two-dollar-notes,
              and scholarly students' scribblings.

I have some books I fear to open
         for fear they'll fall apart.

There are some who love old books—
         their possibilities,
                 malleabilities,
         and superficialities.

Their bookshelves aren't lined.
         But rooms of reams of bunting, and tables of origami.
                          (or soft and softly mottled picture frames)

They love buying old books—
         not for wisdom,
         nor connections to ancestors.

They've no fear of giants' shoulders;
         whole worlds are torn apart.
An experiment in visual affecting.
Mackenzie Murphy Nov 2012
My house will be filled with the things that I love;
Goldfish, dandelions,
Green sofas, Greek mythology,
Books of psychology.
Books. Lots of books with lots of words.
Multiple copies of the really good books too.
All stacked to the ceiling
on bookshelves adequate to
The height of the house
All equivalent to
My love of the place I’ll call home.
A sock monkey here or there,
pillows and throw blankets.
Pictures of Lake Louise, and a souvenir
If I’m ever lucky enough to go there.
I will print poetry, frame it, put it on my walls.
My walls will be yellow gray and blue,
I will have a boombox with speakers that go BOOM
(but at night it will sing me to sleep
with many sweet lullabies).
And it’s music will fade to the sound of voices
Voices of people I love and admire
Who can walk through the door,
of the place I aspire
To make my own,
To share and not waste
With the precious presence of others
And their ideas
And hopes and dreams
So if you aren't a thing I love,
You have to leave.
I’ll probably have a lot of lamps too.
Sara L Russell Sep 2009
I


"My dearest, sweetest love" the Baron said,
"Now that we two affianced souls are one,
What's mine is thine, for joy that we are wed
And through this house I bid thee freely run.

Enjoy the drawing room, the stately hall,
The bedchamber where thee and I shall play;
The blue room for each annual summer ball,
All draped in swags of blue and silver grey;

Enjoy the music room, my fine spinet,
The gilded harpsichord that sweetly sings,
With music to dispel all past regret -
Thou hast free rein of all my treasured things.

But go with caution to the library,
And only ever in my company."



II


With that, the Baron shewed her all around
His mighty chambers, all the corridors;
The quarters where the servants could be found,
The painted ceilings and mosaic floors.

The library he shewed her last of all;
The key hung on his chest, on a gold chain.
The secrecy thereof held her in thrall;
It seemed the library was his domain.

"Love, touch ye not the Book of Samothrace,
Don't venture to the pages held inside!
For when the sun hath turned about its face,
Malevolence finds shadow lands to hide!

The pages of our lives are clean and bright,
The Book of Samothrace is endless night!"



III


"My handsome sweetheart" Said the Baroness,
I'm humbled by thy generosity,
And when my maid has helped me from this dress,
Thou shalt discern how grateful I can be.

Thou gavest jewels for my neck and hair
That shine as well by day or candlelight;
And I shall kiss thee all and everywhere -
Prepare for not a wink of sleep tonight!"

With that, she led him to their master bed,
Undressed and pressed him down on sheepskin furs;
There proving true to everything she said
Till he declared his soul forever hers.

Anon, with trembling lips and blissful sighs,
Yielding to sleep, the Baron closed his eyes.


IV


How eloquent is beauty in repose
The Baroness reflected, as he lay
With lips half-open, like a dewy rose,
His night-black hair in tousled disarray;

And in the central furrow of his chest
One hand lay, as if half-protectively,
Next to the key more treasured than the rest -
The one that could unlock the library.

"Love touch ye not The Book of Samothrace"
She heard her love's words echo in her head.
Remembering, her heart began to race,
That such forbidden pages might be read.

Thus, yielding unto curiosity,
She let her fingers tiptoe to the key...



V


The golden catch was easy to undo,
Seconds before the Baron turned away
In blissful dreams of love. He never knew
How vicious time was leading fate astray.

The key was gone, while in the corridor,
His wife was creeping, ever-stealthily,
Drawn to the library's beguiling door,
Enchanted by base curiosity.

Only one lamp revealed the tall bookshelves
Which bore the most illustrious of tomes;
Huge hide-bound celebrations of themselves
Where God and science found unequal homes.

Herein her questing fingers came to trace
The cover of The Book of Samothrace.



VI


An ancient script met her enchanted gaze,
Whose Foreword mentioned a young sorcerer:
The fabled author of this book of days
And book of spells, unfolding now for her.

The spells were fashioned with one grand design,
To be recited in a secret place,
To call upon a spirit most malign -
A terrible demon, named Samothrace.

"...And mighty magick shall infuse the one
Who looks the longest in the daemon's eyes;
Undreamed-of power, burning like the sun,
With insights into Hell and Paradise.

Go to the garden seat and draw the ring,
Be seated and begin the summoning!"



VII


If hindsight were the author of our fate
We might find ways to live with less regret.
The Baron woke to realise, too late,
The secrets of his book were safer kept.

'Twere better had he mentioned not at all
The Book of Samothrace, so markedly,
For now she did not answer to his call
- He guessed she must be in the library.

He raced downstairs to find the door ajar,
The Book of Samothrace had gone astray,
Into the garden, yet it seemed too far -
He tried to walk, his legs would not obey.

Beyond the French door glass, a dreadful sight
Had rendered him immobile, mute with fright.



VIII


His wife sat rigid on the garden seat,
Her hair splayed like a sea anemone,
With a wine chalice lying at her feet,
Her mouth was open, screaming silently.

A doppelganger, like in every way,
Unto his mistress, with red splayed-out hair
Was screaming, still he could not turn away
To flee the image of her wild-eyed stare.

As time stood still, the Book of Samothrace
Floating on air, was burning by her side,
Eerie green smoke began to veil her face
The earth within the circle opened wide.

Out sprang the demon, withered, smoky-grey,
With cruel teeth and eyes as bright as day.



IX


Hereby the demon Samothrace was freed,
A great evil unleashed upon mankind,
That all life must remember how to bleed
Within a world grown dark and mercy-blind.

The terrible futility of war
Decay and all the tyranny of flies
Futility and struggle, all the poor,
A hidden curse on every new sunrise.

"Love, touch ye not The Book of Samothrace,
Don't venture to the pages held inside"
The Baron, frozen still in giving chase,
Watched and remembered, grieving for his bride.

The book, having now caused the demon's birth
Fell deep into the chasm in the earth.



-------END------


NOTE: This was inspired by a painting of the same title by the brilliant fantasy artist, Barry Windsor-Smith. I emailed the poem and was delighted to get a reply and positive feedback about it from him.
Tawanda Mulalu Aug 2015
I would have rather been Orpheus,
travelling to various hells for you
and singing songs to save you
even though you couldn't save yourself:
stop looking back. The flames aren't worth it.
Let my eyes burn brighter than the abyss.
Just whatever you do don't turn your face
away Eurydice. Hades will have his Persephone
and you are not her.

It's better this way I guess. I would have looked
back at you and watched you crumble into
a shadowy pillar of salt as did the wife of Lot
when she looked back at *****. I am faithless,
which is why I cannot sing like Orpheus. I am faithless,
which is why I would have watched you melt into
a shadowy memory of the underworld even if I could.

Instead, I was a messenger of these strange myths.

Wings on my feet, I raced against the multitudinous
skylines of the worlds I do not inhabit, skipped across
volumes and volumes of rows and columns of planets and
stars written by dead old men and women. They spoke presently
of the voluminous presence their absence had created, and did so
without having known of the secrets of this absence when
they wrote about their respective presents. Presents conferred
to winged-feet wishful thinkers who spiral uncontrollably with their mouths
to sudden and dangerous depths: Every serious reader remembers
the time they stopped whispering controversies and started shouting them
without knowing that they were shouting them: Ideas are messy things
that don't need loudspeakers: Decibels violently shudder themselves out
of being the moment you mention to your mother that God
might not exist and Camus said so: Existence itself implodes outwards
like how plants produce seeds that make themselves when novels
start at their ends which are really their beginnings: Children
**** their mothers through birth: Boys with wings on their feet
take the library too seriously.

This is
          how
and
          where
I flew towards you without a chariot

and found you in your various hells, one book at a time,
and why I would have rather have been Orpheus
because at least then I could have sang you songs
before you ended up retreating back into your various
selves. It could have been my fault then for looking back.

It could have been,
   could have been,
   could have been
you that was Orpheus. You who looked back.
You being the reason that I crumbled into a pillar of
shadow and salt because, as did Lot's wife, I looked back.

We both did, and watched the whole world invert itself
on its axis, then turn and twist and shift itself
into superimposed images and shapes and dreams
that changed you from muse to poet and
dream to dreamer
and Eurydice to Orpheus
and to Lot then his wife
and to this: which you always were.

              Those wings on your feet: When
the librarians changed the positions of the bookshelves-
and therefore our imaginations: our movements
and stanzas and scenes and days and nights-
               Those wings on your feet: When
that happened they must have stopped fluttering
for a second. I tried flying again and fell.

I haven't been much of a messenger since.
Mess, mess and more mess I guess.
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013
Photographs by Avedon

This was written in a friend's home in the Berkshire Mountains, on a Saturday morning, a few years ago.  Up early, I went exploring their bookshelves and found a book of Richard Avedon's photographs of average Americans out west.  Google "richard avedon photos of the american west" - then read the poem.  Please, for without seeing the faces, for this will make all the difference.  In the Berkshires, it is always chilly there, even in the summer sun.  This and other obscure references are better detailed in the notes.


Join my warmth and
my chill,
as the nine o'clock sun,
a 45 degree steeplechase
warms,
but still not
strong enough
to dispense
the lingering,
residual, remaindered,
breezy chill
of the prior eve,
that hides in,
emanates from,
the shadows
of the
deep wooded hillocks
of the
Berkshire Mountains.

Join my warmth
and my chill!

Upright jolted,
head kicked awake,
entranced and revolted,
excited and repelled,
emotive, yet, stilled.

For oh so casually,
this heroic city dweller,
brave and fearless
bookshelf explorer,
retrieves a book,
to find a new route
thru time and space
to the center of his brain.

Photographs by Avedon,
of my fellow Americans,
the Have Nots,
his "Havedons"
of the
American West.

These uncommon people
with whom I share
uncommonly little,
these drifters, the carneys,
the would-have-been cowboys,
busted blackjack dealers,
rattlesnake gut n' skinners,
coal and copper miners,
the hay truck drivers,
dirt so deep in
their pores ingrained,
colors and bloodies their souls,
browns their veins,
are the ones that
too oft,
go off first to
fight wars
in my name.

Photos untitled,
words unneeded.

In this far corner of our
shared contiguous space
called the
United States of America,
top of the line here
would be
insurance agents,
secretaries and maybe even,
the waitresses.

But their eyes,
oh their eyes!

Words I do not own
to fair share with you,
the clarifying gaze
of measured dignity and
immeasurable ache,
heritage pride,
heretical heartbreak,
that marks and unites
these disparate and dispirited
vessels of humankind.

Disjointed,
the noon suns finally,
raises my body temperature
browns my surface...

Yet, nothing eradicates
this ******* chill
in my soul
or calms my consternation,
as black and white
eyes discolor
my comfortable existence,
as I ponder
Avedon's words:

All photographs are accurate but none tell the truth

Pass over,
pass by,
The Evil Son at Passover
asks ever so sly,
what have they to do with me?

It is the Sabbath.
We luxuriate in our rest.
Rest is the greatest luxury

What is this Sabbath?
Heschel's cathedral -
existant both
in space and time,
and one enters
when and where
one can.

Do my distant,
(both in space and time)
American cousins
share my Sabbath?

Are they allowed
this luxury,
or is it endless exertion,
severity and deprivation,
all and every day
of their lives?

Constant risk every day.

Who cannot fail to see the
precipitousness of life
edged in the lines of their
hearts and minds?

Day to day hardens them
and teaches the
discipline of
severity unended.

Is the prudence of
self-forgetfulness,
their morning bitter pill
they must swallow
to carry on?

Among the resolutions
I need
to claim a
life fulfilled is this:

How to end this poem,
close this can of worms,
accidentally kicked open.

Will sunset end these
troubling questions
of which you have
your own,
more personal variations?
(what about the ...)

Perennials flower everywhere,
in Auschwitz,
along the Tigris,
even in Kabul and Somalia,
along the highways
that lead
to the mecca of
Las Vegas.

Perennials flower everywhere.

In warmth and cool,
in time and space,
they flower in my heart and
my brain and in
my prayerful tears.
flowing down my cheeks,
as I lay me down to sleep,
to dream these of
impoverished words

Havdalah^^ thoughts,
separations celebrated.

Distinctions noted,
even celebrated tween
holy and common,
light and dark,
Sabbath and
the six weekdays
of labor,
between sacred and secular
and
between me and
my American Brothers
of the American West.


I know
just one thing
to be true:

The Sabbath Cathedral is
open to all,
whatever day
you choose to
abide there

I await you,
my American cousins,
with wine and bread
and the
holy of holiest words
of comfort and sooth.

I will wash your feet and
lay you down to
restful sleep
in the
Sabbath Cathedral
in my heart.

Together,
at last,
we will be joined,
in warmth and chill.



August 29, 2010
Lanesboro, Mass.
----------------------
* "In The American West" by
Richard Avedon

** many of the phrases in this stanza were taken from an article "The Few, The Proud, The Chosen" in Commentary, September 2010

^ Abraham Joshua Heschel, a modern Jewish Philosopher.  Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God's creation, Abraham Joshua Heschel's The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication-and has been read by thousands of people seeking meaning in modern life. In this brief yet profound meditation on the meaning of the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an "architecture of holiness" that appears not in space but in time Judaism, he argues, is a religion of time: it finds meaning not in space and the material things that fill it but in time and the eternity that imbues it, so that "the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals."

^^ Havdalah is the ceremony to celebrate the end of the Sabbath, and realize the distinctions between the holy day and the workweek, the day and the night, light and day...
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2014
See  please, if you have not yet,
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/594328/this-filled-a-need-i-had-no-name-for/
                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

got myself in trouble,
found me a problem
all of my own making/creating,
all my own to solve,
all by my lonesome

put/found myself
in a room with no exit at all,
only bookshelves upon the wall


with bookshelves full of
great poets who when they wrote,
they filled a need that had no name

said to myself,
how am I going to
get out of here,
or
find a space for me on that bookshelf?
or both?

this new standard, self-imposed,
discovering, exposing, sensing,
filling the aches and hopes
with a new satisfaction

it occurs me this is the precise atomic second
that if, can place the keystone,
then, can build the edifice,
floor by floor,
room by room,
poem by poem

so, trapped in this electronic/platonic youthful room,
a room with too many words,
but none mine,
my problem begins

so I have begun to solve my own one-problem,
alpha bet, word, line, stanza, poem,
one at a time

and never post what never meets the highest
standard of mine own creation,
fulfill
*the need you did not know needs filling
I have drowned in the geyser up, the waterfall down of too many poems.  I have decided to post less, but hopefully better.  I will read more but say less.  
I will be among those anonymous reads,
of whom, oft wondered,
who are you, you, who read and move on
with a nary a moment to comment or like, or dislike?
Look for my messages tho, for via stealth technology, I will be present here.

To write special, and leave special on the table, my goal now.
From here on, I write for me and to the highest standard, expecting to fail, hoping to succeed.
Knowing this:
I define success when I put the pen down,
having left breath ,tears, a poet's and a child's dream, and sweet perfume
as the residue.  Those of you, the readers, who come along, treasured but fewer, share my meal and leave the table satisfied and tell me too,
that you too write to me,
you will fill a need that we did not know needed filling,
One poem at a time.



*“Get yourself in trouble. If you get yourself in trouble, you don't have the answers. And if you don't have the answers, your solution will more likely be personal because no one else's solutions will seem appropriate. You'll have to come up with your own.”

"society is much too problem-solving oriented. It is far more interesting to [participate in] ‘problem creation’ … You know, ask yourself an interesting enough question and your attempt to find a tailor-made solution to that question will push you to a place where, pretty soon, you’ll find yourself all by your lonesome — which I think is a more interesting place to be."*

― Chuck Close*
Crystal lived alone in the cabin Ray had built for her. Ray had left long ago but she thought of him often and sometimes went to see him in the city. She was an artist and a dabbler in many fields. Her house was a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows and half finished art projects. It was built almost entirely of wood with a beautiful stairway to a loft bedroom replete with a skylight window on the stars. Set in the mouth of a valley next to a clear stream the cabin looked almost as if it had grown there.

Crystal spent most of her time on her art projects, in fact she made her living that way. She was well known for the macabre nature of her works and they sold well at the local art fairs. Most of the scenes she painted could not possibly have existed on earth. Take for example the orange sky and purple mountains of Mariners Delight or the river of blood in Cosmic Conception.

Often Crystal would meet Ray at the art shows and they would discuss his books or her latest works. It was just such an occasion that preceded the first of her dreams.

Although Crystal had often dreamt of playing in a large meadow surrounded by reflections of her art work this dream had been different. She awoke from a scene in the woods where she had been the object of a grotesque conclave of creatures almost beyond description. There had been a huge goat like creature leading a chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba", for a group of creatures that resembled animals. There was a black toad sitting on a rock of seemingly impossible crystalline form, while an agile spider danced on the spokes of its luminous web above her. The smell of blood, the heat of the fire, and the constant and oppressive chant, "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Rada nema nestos Yreba" with all eyes directed at her. She woke with a start, it was early morning, her bed was a tangled mess, and she was covered with sweat. She felt she could almost smell wood smoke, and somewhere in her mind she could still hear the echos of the horrible chant.

It wasn't until almost a year later that the dream repeated itself. She had just completed what she considered her greatest work, a large mural like painting called Id Conclusion. It was a matrix of human forms in contorted and deformed conditions against a backdrop of misty images of human holocaust, war machines, and atomic clouds. She had gone to bed in a storm of thoughts on human depravation and greed. The scene was the same, the spider, the goat, the half human animals, all seemed the same, except for the chant, it was different. "Rada nema nestos Yreba, Raga mantra nestos reale, Yreba Yreba Shiva kommt da." Lightening cracked and a creature appeared. He seemed a man but was built more like a large monkey. Light seemed to follow him like an aura. He was the obvious master of the conclave and all stood back at his approach.

Crystal was lying on the stone altar in the center of the glade and although not bound she was incapable of motion while held in Yreba's gaze. That this creature was Yreba was obvious since all had bowed down now and the chant had changed, "Yreba Yreba teach us to grow." Crystals eyes were glazed and her naked body shown in Yreba's light. All her past works were floating across her mind like a collage. Lost in ecstasy she responded to his aggression like a wanton beast, screaming and writhing in the flow of his energy.

She woke to find her cabin in shambles and she was lying in the center of the living room on the floor, she panicked and ran to her car, slammed it into gear, and sped off down the road.

Ray was sitting in his office at the University that morning when Crystal burst into the room. "Ray, Ray, I've had a dream, a horrible dream, it was, I was!" "Slow down Crystal! You've had a what?" said Ray. Crystal sat down in a ball of frenzy and continued.

About an hour later Crystal had finished her story. Ray spoke, "So you say this is only the second time you've had this dream. Tell me more about Yreba. Does he resemble any of your art works?" "No", she said, "He seemed a lot more like that creature you told me about that day we were discussing witchcraft. The one who was supposed to be the personification of ****** desire evoked for the *** ****** of the ancient Persians."

Ray walked to his bookshelves (he was a professor of ancient mythology and religions) and pulled out a book called Necromancer by Abdule Azerod. "As I recall" he said "that creature was also a god of fertility." He thumbed slowly through the book, "yes, here it is. What did you say this creatures name was? Yreba? Very strange that's almost exactly this Persian deities name, Youruba. It seems he was evoked every year on the vernal equinox to assure ****** reproductivity and if you think thats frightening, feature this, last night was the vernal equinox." Crystal was stunned. "Do you think there's a connection" she stammered? "Don't be silly girl, this was seven thousand years ago. Why don't we drive out to your cabin and see if we can find some clues."

Twenty minutes later they were standing in Crystal's cabin. What had seemed so disorderly to Crystal in the morning was now clearly a purposeful state of order. All of her sculptures were arranged neatly on the stairs to the loft, and her pictures were arranged so as to face the spot on the floor where she had awakened. On the floor where she had lain was a large five pointed star. "What does it mean Ray?" "I think it's a pentagram" he stated. "Is anything missing?" "Not that I can see" she said. "I don't think we had better stay" he said, "Find what you need and we'll go back to my house. You can stay there until we figure it out."

Crystal never returned to the cabin. Ray sold it for her and bought her a new house in the city.

Crystal got sick a few weeks later. She was sitting in the doctors office now awaiting his return. "I have good news" he said. "Good news" Crystal groaned. "Yes" he said, "Your pregnant."
I named my bird dog Yreba, I'm in so much trouble!
sanch kay Jan 2016
pinecones are
childhood summers spent tripping over the syllables of dense forests
folded somewhere between real world Europe and my very real imagination,
nestled against each other on bookshelves made of pinewood -
a childhood game of hide and go seek pressed in photo albums
where a version of me lived;
a version of me who delighted my mother and father,
a version who to me remains a stranger -
smiling gap toothed, shoes in snow boots,
sticky fingers pressing pine cones against her nose -

the present, a fragrance;
the future, a rolling pine forest.

pinecones are what the years between 17 and 19 felt like
in perennial wanderlust,
soul spliced into shards trying to make sense of
everything I felt and everything I thought;
everything I needed and everything I still want.
pine cones perfume the edges of a dream
dipped in the streams and stories of far-off lands,
pine cones are the crutches of a crippled mind
still building a new home for itself
in the basements of other people’s hearts.

pinecones are
platforms which I danced from,
leaping limber, slaying fear, the win always near;
pine cones are a reminder that while
a man can break his shoulder trying to tear one from the tree,
the true mark of bravery lies in how well you can break free.

pine cones are
the skeletons upon which hang the colourless drapes of my future
before stepping into galactic puddles that splash colour
all over every unmade plan,
memories’ strands shining technicolour through translucent skin -
the touch of your fingers no longer feel like sins.

pine cones are young green and supple,
seeds of love lust and chance encounters
that blaze into fiery shades of yellows and oranges,
every colour turning a tinge darker, a daily time marker;
pine cones are what remain, dark and unyielding
after a lifecycle of fires starting
and dying
within the embers of consciousness.
hello, memory.
Marisol Quiroz Jun 2018
my past is part of who i am,
i cannot erase it.
it’s written in the books collected on the
bookshelves between my ribs,
stacked upon my spine.

the stories of who i am are carved into me,
scripted on my skin,
branded on my bone,
there is no part of me that is not built upon
this blood of black ink.

i am a collection of my own tragedies,
of my own comedies,
of my own romances.
a library of my own experiences.

not all the collection is good,
some books are quite damaged,
but not all the collection is bad,
my pages are still full of love.

you can pick out which books to read,
which stories you like
and which you’d rather leave,
but it’s still
there,
my past is still a part of me.


― personal library
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2016
the greater technique in writing poetry,
is not really associated with the
scholastic, well at least not with poets-in-residence
at university institution, esp. with the current
curb on free experience of expression
having to walk a ballerina sort of walk on
tip toe, even though a ballerina walk on
hard surfaces is an elephants stomp (swan lake?
the drumming of the ballerinas deafens the
music, what a crude sadistic art-form),
and should ballerinas practice the art-form on
cushions they couldn't do their tip-toe...
a ballerina sort of walk to not cause usurping
apathy by the bullish heart is a paradox...
because hard topics with a ballerina tread will
still become a piano hitting the ground...
and soft topics with a ballerina tread will
only become the agonising loss of firm footing,
and a torture of the trivial having to be danced
upon with such seriousness as the samba would
otherwise allow... the tip-toe having not firm
rooting... if that makes a sensual impression on you,
so be it, it's hardly senseless to write such words,
since you see the symbolic encoding with you words,
so unless these arrangements don't make you blind,
i'm assuming you will not allow anti-geometrics of
certain painters... and instead you're embracing
satisfaction with squares and triangles...
a rigid narrative of pre-planning an expedition to
Antarctica asking for the right provisions of fur,
tents and water and food... it's not up to me to play with
these words for interpretation, i've made the interpretation
a freedom only you can behold, i can't always be found
willing to interpret the arrangement for you,
i'm not into thought ******* and shackling,
and if you're into that... then you're just plain ******* lazy;
i mean, if i was a poet-in-residence at a university
and told to mind recognisable poetic technique
in the range of onomatopoeia and metaphor
and not accept a higher technique, the digression
via the kaleidoscope, the many diversion,
changed subject matters... i'd bore myself to death...
of course there's the rambling technique of
a poetic narrative, a sudden caffeine injection of
the elevated moment, but that technique calls for
a single subject matter - i'm talking explosions...
a return to ballerinas, if poets mind hard subjects,
heavy subjects, and they want to treat on them
gracefully like ballerinas in agony
they will have to embrace the fact that such
"grace" is actually an elephants stomp...
it's no good asking ballerinas to practice their
art by dancing on cushions... the two graces -
one of dance and the other of grace will never allow
you to walk around on tip-tope...
oh come on, interpret it with images of some sort
of comparison, like a ballerina on a tightrope...
i'm not going to be spoon-feeding you
anywhere from the page.

spring clean, the boiler-man came for an annual
check-up, i was working and kept my room
a bit un-kept...
cleaned the windows, hoovered the floor,
steamed it, cleaned the bookshelves from dust,
it smelt like a mint-conditioning comic after,
changed the bedsheets,
took all the empty cups from the shelves,
spotless clean...
but i'm telling you, if i get to see 2015's
best film *inside out
by pixar i'd give you
a clear analysis on the specific points,
at the moment i have this **** of thinking
about how the optics of man
only start engaging in memory after 4 years
upon birth...
spending nine months in the waters of the womb
(imagine coal miners trapped in
perpetual coal-mine for nine months,
they'd re-enter the light of day like moles,
having to wear sunglasses for the same number
of months before the eyes adjusted) -
it's no wonder that the parts of the body
passing fluids (well, **** in the form of
diarrhoea is pigeon ****) are weak...
why the ***** i'm saying...
why the mushy pulp of the apple purée
because the oesophagus is weak too and needs
to develop like bones, become hardened,
indeed these soft tissues need to become firm
paralleled with bones, baby bones are undeveloped
in terms of how we can't walk at the beginning
but crawl... forget the drawings of darwinism
of shortened historical explanation...
our's isn't with tail and hunched spine...
we're crawling...
but the pixar film inside out i will write a detailed
analysis when i see it again...
at first i can only relate one fascination...
the way we only become to actually consciously
see aged ~4... prior to that we have no
optical impression of the world with memory...
memory and seeing only enjoin
aged ~4... prior to that all the senses are based
in the unconscious, once the senses emerge from
the unconscious, actual faculties develop,
sight develops with memory...
i could say that speech develops with sounds...
but ba ba goo goo ma ma da da is actual
gibberish to consider since we become so eloquent
after, aided by the fact that we capture sounds
with phonetic optics of letters...
i'll stick my ground,
the first symbiosis is that of sight and memory,
which also becomes a symbiosis of
sight and memorising-imagination, or memory-in-itself...
and the clash of these two symbioses
creates a paradox of what actually happened
and what happened upon re-imagining...
like i said, i could expand on the theories within
inside out, with my re-evaluation as alt. outside in,
and i can say about a 1000 child psychologists could
be spawned from this single film...
but you never know, i might even theorise further
tonight once i drink enough and get a toilet break;
and bear in mind i'm about to cross the threshold
of being awake for 24 hours, after i miscalculated
my doctor's appointment for an amitriptyline (25mg)
prescription; the depth of the film is immense,
but i think it's harsh for so many psychological
undertones to be shown t children,
i think that it's a film for adults, even though
it's rated U... and indeed, more like a U-turn in
terms of thinking about life than suitable for
the under-aged
,
at first you get the early stages of child development,
by the end of the film of hopefully seeing adolescent
development, but that's cut short when
puberty obstructs sensitive sensible matters that
lead into sadomasochism in certain cases,
and in others into ****** carelessness as documented
by grooming examples in societies, like the ones
in england... or two girls today in mini-skirts with
the still cold spring nights, one ******* crouched
in an alley, the other trying to ease her on
while i walk past to finish it quickly...
i could, really could bombast you with my little
theory tool-kit... when joy becomes jealous of
sadness and wants to rob sadness of a prime memory...
the simple cutting of the umbilical chord of
being born in one place, but moving to another...
the sheer thoughtless release of tears in a classroom...
then the imaginary friend encounter...
never take short-cuts with that third cat,
third elephant, third dolphin character leading
you into the world of imagination,
the imaginary friend is actually a placebo figure in
this realm, he can't have imagined it all,
we couldn't have been the first prize pundit in it all...
he's the thief of ownership...
and then dragged into the cyst pit of those
characters real in life, celebrating your third birthday,
still blind to the world... the rainbows of life
and the darkness of the foetal mine...
the clown who's less horror but more a 5 year
student of acting reduced to cheap party tricks...
distorted not in life, but in your dreams,
as proof that you really didn't see the world
so early... you couldn't have, because if you had,
the dream world would not distort so profoundly...
and upon re-entry into the foetal position of sleep
your first 3 years are reflected in sleep...
such that when joy and sadness walked into
the realm of the imagination i thought they'd wake
the girl up by going to the cinema to watch a horror movie
like the one joy tried to block when the family
first moved to san francisco...
oh indeed the over-layering of the five crude expressions
of thought, memory and imagination...
i wonder why these chose those five...
and there was no hope among them - and hope's
triplet shapes of hope itself, love, and fear...
and when suddenly the imaginary friend dragged
the poor girl into the abyss of forgettable memories,
it dawned on me how the girl sat there holding
memories she wished to remember, a motherly
narcissism as to say: my own child...
but it felt so strange to imagine this child
holding onto memories like that, when in reality
without the five crude impressions of feelings
she would be unable to do so... this melancholic
reflection of joy suddenly dawned upon her
that the real sadness was the it too was sadness,
for if natural selection exists... so too much
cognitive selection, however dear some things are
to us... some of us have to remember
being able to give surgery, learn to drive buses,
teach mathematics... to be truly enjoined with humanity,
and not simple childish solipsists;
even as such... write poetry and weep.
Kathy Z Jun 2013
The most beautiful thing I've ever read-
was a love poem that I found,
hidden between the dusty cupboards of my mother's room,
filled with things that just
"didn't matter"
anymore.

It was flooding with thoughts I waved off as-
"foolish"
with fake plastic vows of love,  
not unlike those crisp, shiny valentine heart rings,
only given to the most attractive every February.

Stories of parting,
from which shone a glossy sparkle like that of a fake glass diamond,
labeled with black numbers as something worth a thousand.
I've always thought that if you were going to leave someone, you should be aloof and cold.
If you make "warm memories", won't the parting just be that much harder?

That sunset that was described as being unrealistically
ethereal,
I tried to see it myself,
even hooking my feet around the cold metal bars of the balcony,
and pretending that I could fly.
But that sunset was fake too, I discovered.
A synonym of those medals that you eagerly await to get, but in the end,
aren't gold,
or silver,
but just a sheet of mocking plastic,
thousands of identical ones of which have been made,
in a factory choking on smog,
thousands of miles away,
in China.

There was always that villain,
who would try to break the lovers apart.
Sometimes,
the villain was described as, "dark", and "Irresistible".
I was puzzled by that fact,
mulling obsessively over the idea,
Why didn't the protagonist get with the villain in the end?

I was undeniably jealous, of the heroine,
who seemed to draw everyone to her with a warm light,
that I didn't seem to have, no matter how hard I tried.
She was a perfect damsel in distress,
waiting for her partner, who would always,
always,
without fail, come to save her from danger and the unknown.
They were both risking everything for what they loved.

"Stereotypical love poem,"
I scoff,
willing myself to throw that piece of paper away with the trash,
But-
to this day, the most beautiful thing I have read,
is that stereotypical love poem,
now tucked between two bookshelves,
which are full of things, that
"matter"
now.
I was in the backseat of a 1988 Prelude
listening to Conor's sonnets and etudes,
moving my tongue in uncomfortable loneliness
because your passenger seat was occupied and
I couldn't decide if you were quiet or shy.
I hadn't met you yet.

Hennepin was good to us at 2AM and
gave us space to sip uncommon grounds
in the typically uncommon Uptown.
I saw bright eyes in your words
and unrecognized yellow birds.

I remember things and I don't know why.
I remember the paper mache lady on Nicollet and
I remember that you sang about how it's neat that we all own guns and
I remember wishing that I was born on Independence Day and
I remember walking past empty bookshelves at the end of the day and
I remember remembering when they were stocked and
I remember loving the way we talked
about Huxley.

and it's a year or so later and I'm your passenger
and the streets are still full of images and hidden messages
and faces with whiskers.
"I saved a cat from a tree once,"
and my cackle secured the shackles on my ankles that
I picked out myself off the mannequin.

and it's always just us because Vic is always
with Lucy, Molly, and Mary Jane and
they're having dreams and hearing secret frequencies
(like the ones you pointed out to me)
and doing drugs and discovering Christianity
and decorating themselves with ashes and ashes with Ashley.

and the people I used to know from St. Paul
are working and growing small and
trippin' and slippin' and sippin' gravy,
but we're still sippin' uncommon grounds
and we're all still living in these twin towns.
But none of them are wearing the matching heavy crowns
that you and I picked out ourselves off the mannequins.
They're the same shade of gold as the birds in your words and
they're the same shade of gold as the shackles on our shins
that mold our golden grins
that we had our faces when you said,
"This is the world where dreams come true, right?"

and we're confirmed by a blinding white light that shows through
the windows of the theater in Bryant-Lake Bowl that compliments us
like you compliment me, like I compliment your skinny tie
(the one that makes me want to die.)
But we can't die because this city doesn't have any double-decker buses
or any other us-es.

and I watch you program lazers into my heart
and I think;
What a beautiful old man
What a beautiful growing boy
What a beautiful perfect cylops
with an eye of my color green to shower me in scenic joy.

and as we dance to the records we bought from Minneapolis antique shops,
I look into the eye of my cyclops from a centimeter above the ground
and realize that this is the dream where the world comes true.
"Write a New York style poem about Minnesota."
"Okay, professor."
r Apr 2017
When I come home at night
I lock my doors
and draw my shades
like an allegory of something
long forgotten that itches
six inches deep
I turn my old radio on
and a song is sung
like a toothache
from sometime in the past
I set another place at the table
don't ask me why
for the same reason there are
no longer any shotguns
or guitars in my house
but there is lotion for my hands
each blister another
bloodshot moon
my yawn a blessing in disguise
I search the bookshelves
I built from lumber
from the tumbled down barn
I read books the dead light
their stoves with
and some that howl
like a pine on a ridge
and all these maps
these photographs
I wasted nails on
when they hung on the wall
but I'm tired of mending
all the small holes
so I leave them there
open and empty
to remind me where
the heart goes.
Brycical Nov 2012
Sometimes you just gotta smash
your laptop against the wall
Tear and gnash your your canvas,
burn your pens and paintbrush
into a colorful tye-dye fire
**** on the kitchen floor
and smash the whisky bottle
across the glass wine rack
kick a hole in that guitar
spinning with lighted matches
spinning with a numb-reckless-abandon
toppling over bookshelves
laughing like a monkey
tossing the toaster
into the bathtub
break the mirror with a head-but
and take a 2x4 to the porch light outside
smiling like a python
stomping on the oven door
taking a knife to the floor
because carpet angels are totally in
Inspired the song "Give it Back" by The Ting Tings: http://youtu.be/-EnlcP7rAlc
Now, moving in, cartons on the floor,
the radio playing to bare walls,
picture hooks left stranded
in the unsoiled squares where paintings were,
and something reminding us
this is like all other moving days;
finding the ***** ends of someone else's life,
hair fallen in the sink, a peach pit,
and burned-out matches in the corner;
things not preserved, yet never swept away
like fragments of disturbing dreams
we stumble on all day. . .
in ordering our lives, we will discard them,
scrub clean the floorboards of this our home
lest refuse from the lives we did not lead
become, in some strange, frightening way, our own.
And we have plans that will not tolerate
our fears-- a year laid out like rooms
in a new house--the dusty wine glasses
rinsed off, the vases filled, and bookshelves
sagging with heavy winter books.
Seeing the room always as it will be,
we are content to dust and wait.
We will return here from the dark and silent
streets, arms full of books and food,
anxious as we always are in winter,
and looking for the Good Life we have made.

I see myself then: tense, solemn,
in high-heeled shoes that pinch,
not basking in the light of goals fulfilled,
but looking back to now and seeing
a lazy, sunburned, sandaled girl
in a bare room, full of promise
and feeling envious.

Now we plan, postponing, pushing our lives forward
into the future--as if, when the room
contains us and all our treasured junk
we will have filled whatever gap it is
that makes us wander, discontented
from ourselves.

The room will not change:
a rug, or armchair, or new coat of paint
won't make much difference;
our eyes are fickle
but we remain the same beneath our suntans,
pale, frightened,
dreaming ourselves backward and forward in time,
dreaming our dreaming selves.

I look forward and see myself looking back.
r Feb 2016
A blue guitar, twelve pieces of silver-
ware, some feldspar, an essay on The Art
of War, two pine bookshelves, fifty-four books
about the past, a stone axe that must have
belonged to the last of the Mohicans, fifty more
books about bones, stones and famous pomes,
a sliver of glass from a mirror that shattered
the last six years like they didn't matter
plus one to go, a shitload of old liquor bottles,
a fossil of an inner earbone from a killer whale,
a spear-point older than 12,000 years+plus,
a tooth from a shark as big as a ****** bus,
dust marks from missing pictures of us.
Dusting off the Smundy blahs.
Aya Baker Sep 2013
he paints me
reading a book in my faded nightie
lounging on the armchair with a daisy in my hair
huddled by the window looking at the cars passing by
he never lets me see them.

i write of him
padding around our apartment in bunny slippers and
blue plaid boxers
thanking the people who buy his paintings
wiping the lenses of his glasses with the hem of his shirt
saving the world
i never let him read them.

we share
a tiny kitchenette we don’t use because we don’t
know how to cook
bookshelves that line our every wall
snapshots of the city, framed in matte black
wood and macaroni, in the hall
we don’t invite people over.

our parents
don’t send christmas cards anymore
stopped paying for university tuition
and his sister helen gave birth to a baby we
aren’t allowed to see

(but helen sends pictures in the mail)


they can’t take away our love.
Chris Voss Mar 2011
Mine is a generation of taboo.
We are tribal tattoos and cheap motel room honeymoons.
We are slander,
and slang,
and brittle teeth.
We are born-agains and suicides.
We are podium preachers and cracked-pavement prayers.
We are melted plastic and oxidized metal-
sometimes we gleam with the Liberty Green of corroded copper,
sometimes we crumble with rust and stain calloused hands.
We are the last stand of Art.
We are the manifestations of forbidden bloodlines
and insanity.
We are just as much our mothers
as we are our fathers,
and we are everything that they are not.

We are stigmata.
We are red paint on white canvas.
We are fast food coffee.

We were born to the sweet smell of formaldehyde
in rooms dressed in florescent white
that share plumbing with the morgues
beneath the linoleum floors.
We are the mix of ***** and innocence that lingers
in the kiss of a dimly lit basement.
We show and we tell but always only for the right price,
the wrong reasons,
or the promise of an exchange equaling to the feeling that
this is a mistake.
We are rosary beads counted between gnarled knuckles
and dragged across smooth palms that long
to sweep tear salt from flushed cheeks.

We are Heaven's lonely singles.

We are skin stretched out too thin over skeletons.
We are the complexities that machines can't calculate
much less imitate.
We are the futile cries that once tried to keep towers from falling
when the sky came crashing down.
We are the pardoned and the withered.
We are the hardened faces of those that have
worked too long
and been loved too little.
We have been told that the safest place for your soul
is in the hole of your chest,
but only if it's reinforced by
four inches of concrete and steel,
and strapped tight with a Kevlar vest,
because they said people,
at best,
are manslaughter.

But we have never been great listeners either;
when we were growing up
we pressed our hands to hot stoves
even though our mothers said not to,
because we couldn't just be told what it was to burn
we had to feel it for ourselves.
So every now and then we will crack open
our rib cages in the hopes that someone will come,
light a fire,
and decide to stay.

We hopelessly spray paint things like wings
On deserted brick buildings
So that, at the very lest, we can feed the
Hollow-eyed passerby the belief
That these streets still have guardians,
Even when we, ourselves,
Abandoned such ideologies in
backroad dumpsters
along with our deities’ infidelities.
  
We are the period at the end of the sentence.
(Or maybe we are the ellipses...)
We have redefined the American family
and proven that even Christianity knows how to hate.
We were raised by sixty-percent divorce rates,
yet we still believe that we are soul mates.
We are the jokers of the deck:
either smiling fools or wild cards.
We are cocked heads with smoke billowing from throats
coated with blisters and cough syrup.
We are back alley scavengers crawling on all fours.
We are the era of the Auto-Tuned voice,
proof that with a pretty enough face anyone can sing.
We are foggy mirrors with smiles drawn on them
by print-less fingertips.
We slip up the thighs of our lovers
and swirl down the drains of sinks with chipped paint.

We are the hearts in your hands-
Crush us into powder and brush us across your face like Indian war paint,
Give us up to the sky so that we can be revived by lightning,
Dance to the rhythm that we beat,
Squeeze us and watch as we seep through the cracks of your fist,
Conceal us in your pocket and only ever speak to us in a whisper,
Or,
with all your natural voice,
sing to us
songs about thunderstorms
to wet the dusty desert dirt around our rooted toes
in the hopes that we will blossom in the most vivid colors.

Just do something with us.

Don't sacrifice us to the tops of lost bookshelves
to collect dust
or rust in the rain with everything you once loved
but grew too old for.
C. Voss (2009)

— The End —