Kelsey Aug 2014

Sometimes I tell myself that it's okay to feel this way,
that God gets tired too,
that sometimes He is the small child
slaving over a sewing machine
turning thread into warmth,
but not every sweater He makes
is made without a few loose strings,
or pockets sewn shut
or mismatched buttons.
My knees sink into the end of my bed
as I rest my elbows on my window sill.
I think as our hands face each other
and touch for the millionth time,
it's like a silent clap
that only the angels can here,
sometimes I apologize
to those resting in peace
for making their home sound more like
the ending of the movie
instead of the end of the book.
I greet God the same way
I greet your headstone.
I ask Him how He is,
why He only speaks in light,
and then I pretend to talk to Him,
when really I am talking to myself
or your headstone...again.
I say, "It's okay to feel this way.
I think it's okay to watch,
to write in depth about strangers,
I think it's okay to detach
yourself from the weight of existing.
Everyone around me built
themselves kingdoms,
they kept fire breathing dragons,
rolled out their drawbridges like red carpets
and I built myself a cardboard castle.
I built it on the highest hill
with a view of all of the kingdoms
and you know what?
I was alone,
but I had room to breathe
and sometimes that's all  you can ask for;
an empty room with a closed door
and open window.
I said grace at dinner earlier,
but I said it out of tradition,    
not out of genuine thankfulness.
So, thank you for the empty room
with the closed door and open window,
I know you're tired,
I hope you can respond when you get a chance."

Time;
I remember
a time when
cities were made
of nothing but Legos
and one's imagination.

Still,
even now
I can't help
but wish harder
that the cities we walk
were still made of that stuff.

Cardboard,
took us miles,
and paper planes
really did bring us flight.

So,
I ask;
Please,
don't let
your imagination
fall into stagnation,
like a Lego block
that gathers
dust.

Emerald Jul 2013

stubbed  knees
and school yard loyalty
when a cardboard box
was a castle, under trees
we played all day
till the stars sung our names
i looked  to you
through the cut out doors
traced in blue
you said we can run away

in suede suitcases
filled with  tubes
if you knew the game
why did you push those needles
through
i always could of loved
you more

but how did you run  alone
through our castle door
hopped those speeding trains
fled to abandoned planes
and you filled those strangers beds
just to feel that lift
i was  your younger self
i believed in nothing more

leave the artists
alone with their dreams
all those hurtful days
will become their masterpiece

but I'm  a single wing
a monarchs arm
that rests on the peek
of our castles farm
you left me alone out here
with big shoes to fill
wearing my daisy dress
bleached with our mothers tears

i always thought you had it good
you where the silhouette
of my shadows dream

but in the end
of  this threaded world
i sit on a bench
filled with city birds
and i look past  the cracks
of our castle doors
to see my loneliness
apart from your beaten war.

Matthew Aug 2014

We're two one-sided cardboard pieces
Segments of a cloudy sky
It looks like we would fit together
But we won't
But we try.
But we try.

EC Pollick Jul 2012

What do you do
when you realize
your life as you know it
is a cardboard cutout,
a dollhouse scene,
Of what your life should be.
Of what it once was.

The people in my life are characters
A backdrop in the place of reality.
Scenery behind my doorstep.
Photographic fire in the fireplace.
Tiny kitchen cutlery that isn’t sharp.
Staged people in my living room
at literally, a lifeless party.
A fantastic picturesque magazine spread in Southern Living.

And I am a part of this falseness.
I am a creator of this un-reality.
I am a willing participant in this stagnant stage of my life.

This life, this love, this truth
Is a figment
Is a dream
Is a scene of a scene.

I remember when green was green
And blue was blue
And I breathed in newness in every breathe.
Reality bowed down in servitude
And I took every step into a setting sun
The world around me, my partner in crime
As I took it by storm.

The tragedy here
Is knowing that life and love and truth barren
Is knowing it naked
As it really is.
As it really was.

And knowing that you’ve settled for the cardboard cutout
is recognizing you’ve given up.
You’ve settled for second best.
You’re taking the doll house route to life.
You’d rather watch the movie than live it out.
It’s cowardice at its best.

Frank Ruland Nov 2014

You can come back all you like,
but I'm n e v e r going back
to the cage you locked me in
so long ago
So long ago.

I r a g e d for so long,
deep, down below
my own rendered skin.
A hole in my soul
where I didn't belong,
and I had no control.

Infernal infernos in my heart
and assumed so soon that doom
and I were sealed in a tomb.
I was made to fight the blight,
and before long
I tore the cage apart.

I c l a w e d my way
up from sin scorched
d e p t h s.
A special hellish maze
where the walls were forged
from my flesh
you left fraught with flak.

In time I mended
my bad blood and brain--
siphoned out the strain that s t a i n e d
all my good graces,
and wiped the shame from my face.
I was so much stronger,
all thanks to a parasite
behind the guise of a monster.

But now I'm at the crossroads
and the skies turn black.
You're staring me
d o w n,
but I won't stand for attack
because this place of grace
is hallowed.

Put up all your walls
once more with such callousness.
Wickedness befalls your face,
but that's no surprise
because I see with purged eyes.
Not even a glance--
you don't stand a chance.

A prison of pretense,
and the walls s-s-s h a k e in the breeze.
Control is disillusioned
and you're under delusion.
With my will set free
I unleash scorn and spleen
upon this sad strive
to shackle my soul.

Watch as your Cardboard Hell
comes crumbling down
as it all goes up in flames
I'm not the man that I was,
and you've lost your crown.
Hell and Heartbreak--
the one and the same,
but now I'm the one watching
as you're locked in a cell.

This poem is a departure from my usual, rigidly structured poetry. I owe it's creation to The Girl Who Loved Yous's urging to loosen up! Thank you :)
John F McCullagh Jun 2012

Lawrence Davis was a veteran
who died without a next of kin.
He's buried in the cardboard box
That the V.A. shipped him in.

Being dead, he cannot tell
cardboard from Mahogany.
We, the living, take offense
at the insult to this man's dignity.

Some men lie still in foreign fields.
Some sailors sleep beneath the waves.
Larry got a cardboard box
from a 'grateful' nation he helped to save.

World War II veteran buried by the V.A. in a cardboard Box in Florida
Katy Owens Sep 2014

Cardboard doubles
as shredded sheets
"Spare a little change,
trying to make ends meet
Just seeking refuge
from the cold and sleet"

Well, the Savior didn't have a place
to lay His head
So maybe they're closer to Him
than I am

But people see the signs
All they do is stare
Wonder, what's he done
and where's she been?
I couldn't cast the stone
cuz my record ain't clean

No one gave me
the judgement rod
And you, sir, don't look like God
Driving by
rolling up your windows and
down your nose
"Probably for drugs,"
your judgments say
"Lazy bum will
squander it away"

As if you and I
never fail, please don't forget
we've just been given
a better circumstance,
missed some unfortunate
happenstance
Do you squander love?
Waste your privilege?

We're all the same
Skin bones and blood
And I know I'm
begging for change
on the streets of human love
Forgetting I've been given grace
from the Divine
Covered by love that looks like
water blood and wine

Maybe my friend
the "homeless bum"
is really a bit closer
to the One

Brent Kincaid Jan 2016

I sleep in my cardboard cottage
That is my current job.
I keep it neat and clean as I can
I am not a slob.
I have my own place staked out
Everyone knows it’s mine.
It keeps the wind off as I doze.
It isn’t perfect but it’s fine.
Part of my job these days is easy;
I set out a cup and sing.
It doesn’t make me a million
But it is something.

When the weather warrants it
I sleep in the park
In the bright warm sunshine;
Stay awake in the dark.
It seems the citizens and cops
All leave me alone
Even though they still talk to me
With condescending tone,
Tsking at my laziness in general
Give the charity buck
Or maybe a quarter when they see
Since I’m down on my luck.

There’s this guy Hay Soose
But he spells it Jesus.
He could spell it that way
If he so pleases
But that don’t keep him dry
Whenever it rains
And it doesn’t stave most of the
Deep arthritic pains
From sleeping under cardboard
As his only roof.
Watch him shiver in winter if
You want some proof.

People have gotten to know me
As I’m here every day.
Some of the even come by with
Nice words to say.
And, I am used to the noise here;
The horns and the noise
Of the workaday world of these folks;
These grownup girls and boys.
Some tell me to go find some work,
I don’t get mad and shout.
I understand they have some hostilities
They have yet to work out.

Some of my neighbors here in cardboard
Dwell here because they
Can’t seem to work life out for themselves
In any other way.
People fire them from any employment
Because they act weird.
Some refuse to bathe or maybe it is
They refuse to cut their beard.
As for me I have had enough of it all;
The rattle and the hum.
I know society has a lot to offer but
I already had some.

charlie Aug 2014

I think that I was a pack of cardboard cigarettes
Hidden under your pillow
Or in  your worn down guitar case
You looked to me when your throat was closing up
When your head was pounding
And that guitar was strumming itself because it missed you as much as I did
You looked to me when it was raining
And lit me up just to watch me burn
Let me dangle in your mouth
And between your fingers
Before flicking me to the floor and putting me out
I think
I was a pack of robins egg blue
Cardboard cigarettes
And as soon as I was out
You would go get another pack
For 5.45 at the gas station
I am sitting in pieces where you left me
I know I killed you
I know I suffocated you
But thats the only thing I know how to do
Thats what I was made for
It's taken me a long time to figure it out
But I was made to destroy
And I don't regret making you my victim
Because you held me at four am and snuck away to be with me
And you promised me you enjoyed it
And you would love dying a death by something so beautiful
But I watched you in pieces
Grab another pack
Light it up
And let it dangle in your mouth
I think I was always just a pack of cardboard cigarettes

Helen Mar 2013

stacked high at the end of Seventh St
in a darkened alley, as high as seven feet
is a condominium of empty dreams and hope
falling down in the rain, slipping down the slope
home to many of one of the finally lost
coming home, breathing crystals of frost
averaged by the meaning of the total cost
Here, they are no more less, than garbage tossed
stacked high at the end of Seventh St
where home and hearth is just a heartbeat
where a pillow under the head is just concrete
there is nothing less than a lie, a thief or a cheat
and laying on the ground, with nothing to eat
is an act of defiance but the moment is fleet
stacked high the end of Seventh St
in an alley that echoes with the sound of defeat
compressed paper layers become home complete
here lays just one person,
inside his castle of cardboard,
blessing the Virgin Mary for his penthouse suite

will not do, really,
it may have to be wood,
from ikea
after all.

he made do with cardboard
boxes, sticky tape
for sound,
another room.

i have news of mrs ciano,
looking well, in the old hotel.

i cannot get there
to see her.

history.

sbm.

Patrick Kennon Oct 2010

A dreary September day, raindrops the size of quarters,
smacking into the windshield at 60 miles per hour.
Passing through this subdued city, a concrete jungle,
grown quiet in the tempest.
Gravel & broken glass tumble over flattened bottle caps
& cigarette butts, into the gutter.
A lone man in a white shirt & blue tie rushes for his car,
stomping through puddles, newspaper covering his bald head.
He must be thinking about getting out of the rain,
or getting back to his office, his tired cubicle life,
or how he's going to make it through another endless day.
Selling his soul & happiness for enough money to support
three kids, his wife & his mother, to put bread on the table.
To have a nice little house in a nice little suburb with a
nice little lawn, a tombstone, a paragraph in the obituaries.
Now we're crawling along the asphalt, the scene replaying itself,
a different story, but the same, always the same.
A figure strolling between dumpsters, looking for a dry spot,
a blur down an alleyway as we speed by.
If it wasn't raining, she'd be on the corner with a sign,
living on dollars a day, enough to buy a few beers &
forget about it all for a while, until the next day.
To many signs with "Veteran" or "I have children"
or simply "Help." To many people with signs.
Then you really begin to see them, crouching under balconies,
one or two at first, do you really even notice?
Just a nameless name, a faceless face among faces, a storyless
story, with so many stories to tell you.
Mismatched shoes, a shirt to small & to thin for this
ripping wind, this freezing, tearing wind.
Under overhangs in any dry place they can find,
a kingdom of soggy cardboard & pipe dreams.
But this is nothing compared to the overpasses,
every single one packed to the brim with the homeless,
escaping from the downpour, trying to find a place to sleep.
The night is coming and the rains still pouring, and the winds
still howling, and I have a warm bed to collapse on.
I have food in the pantry & food in my stomach, & clothes on
my back, & hope for tomorrow, such hope I have, such illusion.
I remember his face, as we sat at the red light,
waiting for the trivial green to wave us on our way.
Old enough to be my father, huddled in his blue poncho, slick
from the rain, shaking from the cold, waiting for the night.
Beard like tangled roots, hair gray as concrete,
just like concrete.
His eyes told of emptyness, of routine, clenching that
brown bag idly, watching the world pass by.
Another name that fell through the cracks, for no particular
reason, things piled up, what could you do?
No job would hire you, you were just a pink slip, then a
foreclosure, then it all went to shit.
Your eyes catch mine, for that brief second as we pull away,
& I finally see your sign, such beautiful handwriting:
"I am human."

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