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VESebestyen Jan 2011
i dont see
i dont feel
i dont taste anymore.

my eyes once untainted are
now swollen scabbed
by the cataracts
of love.

where once a delicate fawn
or a heart
lie,
there is nothing

but the spiders
and snakes beneath
earths life.
beneath the burning
forest fires and waterfall
valleys of love-
there-
there, i lie.

immune to everything
because i
can not
feel.

my finger tips once
danced the samba
of laughter and
ballet of courtship
among my lovers finest piece-
now numb to
it all by the callouses grown
by passion.

"i do not sense like before, skin"
what once was so nimble and fiery
now hums
and sighs-
sighs and settles

my tongue does not taste the savory
delicacies it once
knew,

my teeth do not sink into the fruit
and splatter the juice
licked up by my tongue.

no,
no i do not taste with this
desert sandpaper trap,
dull of flavor in my mouth
callouses of passion on my finger tips

cataracts of love in my eyes.
-V
Dawnstar Aug 2018
Down in the valley of the fleeting stream
Parched Sudanese tongues crying to you
Below, below, the sacred Nile
Pestilence took my sweetheart

She was dark, now she is blue
Like the cataracts dividing the stream
And the tearducts dividing my eyes
Below, below, the sacred Nile

Torn in our tumult
From the bleak savan'
Starve like we all her cherrious face
Now forever blemished

Therefore let us dine on hardtack
Suffer for the things of the marble world
Below, below, the sacred Nile
Where we'll go and prosper

Go receive heaven's reward
Long, long, the vaporous mile
Fast along the toiling road
To the land of reward, we go

I compared her to a flower
Fair a fragrance as ever conceived
To think her smile is a nest for ants
Below, below, the sacred Nile

Change these feelings about me!
I am eager to see her again
But I won't obey the winds
Below, below, the sacred Nile
As far as fragrance is concerned.
A song.
Rachel Lyle Jul 2014
My third eye has been clogged,
**** you.
Now you're merely
an optical illusion.

I'd just like to reinerate
that while I'm falling
like a child,
eating like a glutton,
prancing like a twit,
my blessed third eye
is clogged,
cannot see,
is blinded,
sewn shut.

So it is you who is disillusioned royalty,
Kind Tut.
Truth is,
You are merely a mut.
***** ****.
Kendra Canfield Mar 2013
in the past
lies pain
and in our pain
lies the ruin
that is longing

we take our moments
of clarity and replace them
with syllables to describe
what cries inside us

plights of solitude
tail us in our
desperation for inclusion
collide with memories
dragging our eyes
to the backs of our heads
inducing dreams
and dread
and emptiness
unparalleled
ANANDO SEN Dec 2009
Thirty feet tall Madonna, is one of the things-

My ultra-stylish city that grew up,

Rave, raunchy catwalks beneath those chandeliers-

The Toyota drives by the Manhattan Beach, amidst bikini wardrobe.

When I read those Taxi-dance barbettes-

I wish I could lost in their growling gowns,

All my wishes fulfilled one day and flew me down there-

My boasting finance job and some pals were African browns!

It was that ultimate visa down the Fashion Avenue-

Most of their lipstick glosses were supported by Chelsea revenue.

I could not breathe the invisible virus against my immunity,

The enigmatic pleasures that lived inside the skyscraper community-

I had no qualms while cherishing the barbeque restaurants poisoning,

My fascinations without imaginations had no logical reasoning-

Many of us at Saint Clair’s ward#3, NYC, were at once there fugitive-

Now moaning like chickens to be butchered, we are all *** positive!


Did you know that…

Pop diva Madonna is a gay icon and the gay community has embraced her as a pop culture icon. She was introduced to the gay community while still a teenager. It was her ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, a gay man, who first told Madonna that she was beautiful. He introduced her to the local gay community of Detroit, Michigan, often taking her to the local gay bars. Flynn encouraged Madonna to walk away from her full scholarship to the University of Michigan and to move to Manhattan.



The disease of AIDS…
Was first uncovered in homosexual men
From Manhattan


Synopsis

What happens when your dreams turn into reality? It’s a paradigm that you celebrate, live life to the fullest. There is however, life that exists beyond this celebration, sometimes good and sometimes not so good like you expected. And when it becomes not so good like you expected, you spat with bitterness and associate the term bad. Anything against your wish and will is then bad and one day you might fall into live with this bad. All I can say is that they are individual retrospection.

This is what Manhattan Dreams exactly captures. The first half can successfully open the door of fascinations that a college teenager in search of a lucrative career and living might jump into- “Style, fashion, exuberance, beaches, skyscrapers, stardom and what not!” Everything is colorful about Manhattan, even the way it is spelt and pronounced. A financial job inside a long cherished skyscraper, international friends, restaurants, pubs, smoking, the kind of gay evenings are not only meant for Hollywood films but can happen to someone like you. And then one day, the world economy complains your presence there as a fugitive, you are fired from your job and your world crashes to a clinic or a hospital confirming you *** positive. What will you do then?

That is what you are getting from the second half of the poem. As if the drama has reached a ****** like after the interval in a film. There seems a sudden pause in life from where there leads the road to uncertainty, disappointment and delusion. This is where the poem ends, because this is where the human mind stops thinking often. A never before kind of bitterness cataracts the dreamy visions and the object of your dream becomes an excuse of your current defeat.

Manhattan Dreams is not a criticism of the gay culture. Neither it attempts to de-criminalize the society nor does it pollute the appeal of Manhattan at all. It is the victim’s individual retrospection in the other side of his celebrated life which is no more a celebration now. The stylish Manhattan is both a dream and a reality. It has nothing to do with your personal glory or agony. Depending upon the situation in your life it might serve as your forefront or background.
High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught,
His proud imaginations thus displayed:—
  “Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!—
For, since no deep within her gulf can hold
Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen,
I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent
Celestial Virtues rising will appear
More glorious and more dread than from no fall,
And trust themselves to fear no second fate!—
Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven,
Did first create your leader—next, free choice
With what besides in council or in fight
Hath been achieved of merit—yet this loss,
Thus far at least recovered, hath much more
Established in a safe, unenvied throne,
Yielded with full consent. The happier state
In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw
Envy from each inferior; but who here
Will envy whom the highest place exposes
Foremost to stand against the Thunderer’s aim
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell
Precedence; none whose portion is so small
Of present pain that with ambitious mind
Will covet more! With this advantage, then,
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
More than can be in Heaven, we now return
To claim our just inheritance of old,
Surer to prosper than prosperity
Could have assured us; and by what best way,
Whether of open war or covert guile,
We now debate. Who can advise may speak.”
  He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,
Stood up—the strongest and the fiercest Spirit
That fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.
His trust was with th’ Eternal to be deemed
Equal in strength, and rather than be less
Cared not to be at all; with that care lost
Went all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,
He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:—
  “My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,
More unexpert, I boast not: them let those
Contrive who need, or when they need; not now.
For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest—
Millions that stand in arms, and longing wait
The signal to ascend—sit lingering here,
Heaven’s fugitives, and for their dwelling-place
Accept this dark opprobrious den of shame,
The prison of his ryranny who reigns
By our delay? No! let us rather choose,
Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at once
O’er Heaven’s high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms
Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
Infernal thunder, and, for lightning, see
Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Among his Angels, and his throne itself
Mixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,
His own invented torments. But perhaps
The way seems difficult, and steep to scale
With upright wing against a higher foe!
Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drench
Of that forgetful lake benumb not still,
That in our porper motion we ascend
Up to our native seat; descent and fall
To us is adverse. Who but felt of late,
When the fierce foe hung on our broken rear
Insulting, and pursued us through the Deep,
With what compulsion and laborious flight
We sunk thus low? Th’ ascent is easy, then;
Th’ event is feared! Should we again provoke
Our stronger, some worse way his wrath may find
To our destruction, if there be in Hell
Fear to be worse destroyed! What can be worse
Than to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemned
In this abhorred deep to utter woe!
Where pain of unextinguishable fire
Must exercise us without hope of end
The vassals of his anger, when the scourge
Inexorably, and the torturing hour,
Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,
We should be quite abolished, and expire.
What fear we then? what doubt we to incense
His utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,
Will either quite consume us, and reduce
To nothing this essential—happier far
Than miserable to have eternal being!—
Or, if our substance be indeed divine,
And cannot cease to be, we are at worst
On this side nothing; and by proof we feel
Our power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,
And with perpetual inroads to alarm,
Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:
Which, if not victory, is yet revenge.”
  He ended frowning, and his look denounced
Desperate revenge, and battle dangerous
To less than gods. On th’ other side up rose
Belial, in act more graceful and humane.
A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemed
For dignity composed, and high exploit.
But all was false and hollow; though his tongue
Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
Maturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—
To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds
Timorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,
And with persuasive accent thus began:—
  “I should be much for open war, O Peers,
As not behind in hate, if what was urged
Main reason to persuade immediate war
Did not dissuade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success;
When he who most excels in fact of arms,
In what he counsels and in what excels
Mistrustful, grounds his courage on despair
And utter dissolution, as the scope
Of all his aim, after some dire revenge.
First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filled
With armed watch, that render all access
Impregnable: oft on the bodering Deep
Encamp their legions, or with obscure wing
Scout far and wide into the realm of Night,
Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our way
By force, and at our heels all Hell should rise
With blackest insurrection to confound
Heaven’s purest light, yet our great Enemy,
All incorruptible, would on his throne
Sit unpolluted, and th’ ethereal mould,
Incapable of stain, would soon expel
Her mischief, and purge off the baser fire,
Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hope
Is flat despair: we must exasperate
Th’ Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;
And that must end us; that must be our cure—
To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,
Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost
In the wide womb of uncreated Night,
Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,
Let this be good, whether our angry Foe
Can give it, or will ever? How he can
Is doubtful; that he never will is sure.
Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,
Belike through impotence or unaware,
To give his enemies their wish, and end
Them in his anger whom his anger saves
To punish endless? ‘Wherefore cease we, then?’
Say they who counsel war; ‘we are decreed,
Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;
Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,
What can we suffer worse?’ Is this, then, worst—
Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?
What when we fled amain, pursued and struck
With Heaven’s afflicting thunder, and besought
The Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemed
A refuge from those wounds. Or when we lay
Chained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.
What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,
Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,
And plunge us in the flames; or from above
Should intermitted vengeance arm again
His red right hand to plague us? What if all
Her stores were opened, and this firmament
Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,
Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fall
One day upon our heads; while we perhaps,
Designing or exhorting glorious war,
Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,
Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and prey
Or racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunk
Under yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,
There to converse with everlasting groans,
Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,
Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.
War, therefore, open or concealed, alike
My voice dissuades; for what can force or guile
With him, or who deceive his mind, whose eye
Views all things at one view? He from Heaven’s height
All these our motions vain sees and derides,
Not more almighty to resist our might
Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.
Shall we, then, live thus vile—the race of Heaven
Thus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer here
Chains and these torments? Better these than worse,
By my advice; since fate inevitable
Subdues us, and omnipotent decree,
The Victor’s will. To suffer, as to do,
Our strength is equal; nor the law unjust
That so ordains. This was at first resolved,
If we were wise, against so great a foe
Contending, and so doubtful what might fall.
I laugh when those who at the spear are bold
And venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fear
What yet they know must follow—to endure
Exile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain,
The sentence of their Conqueror. This is now
Our doom; which if we can sustain and bear,
Our Supreme Foe in time may much remit
His anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,
Not mind us not offending, satisfied
With what is punished; whence these raging fires
Will slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.
Our purer essence then will overcome
Their noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;
Or, changed at length, and to the place conformed
In temper and in nature, will receive
Familiar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,
This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;
Besides what hope the never-ending flight
Of future days may bring, what chance, what change
Worth waiting—since our present lot appears
For happy though but ill, for ill not worst,
If we procure not to ourselves more woe.”
  Thus Belial, with words clothed in reason’s garb,
Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,
Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:—
  “Either to disenthrone the King of Heaven
We war, if war be best, or to regain
Our own right lost. Him to unthrone we then
May hope, when everlasting Fate shall yield
To fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife.
The former, vain to hope, argues as vain
The latter; for what place can be for us
Within Heaven’s bound, unless Heaven’s Lord supreme
We overpower? Suppose he should relent
And publish grace to all, on promise made
Of new subjection; with what eyes could we
Stand in his presence humble, and receive
Strict laws imposed, to celebrate his throne
With warbled hyms, and to his Godhead sing
Forced hallelujahs, while he lordly sits
Our envied sovereign, and his altar breathes
Ambrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,
Our servile offerings? This must be our task
In Heaven, this our delight. How wearisome
Eternity so spent in worship paid
To whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,
By force impossible, by leave obtained
Unacceptable, though in Heaven, our state
Of splendid vassalage; but rather seek
Our own good from ourselves, and from our own
Live to ourselves, though in this vast recess,
Free and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easy yoke
Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appear
Then most conspicuous when great things of small,
Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,
We can create, and in what place soe’er
Thrive under evil, and work ease out of pain
Through labour and endurance. This deep world
Of darkness do we dread? How oft amidst
Thick clouds and dark doth Heaven’s all-ruling Sire
Choose to reside, his glory unobscured,
And with the majesty of darkness round
Covers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar.
Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!
As he our darkness, cannot we his light
Imitate when we please? This desert soil
Wants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;
Nor want we skill or art from whence to raise
Magnificence; and what can Heaven show more?
Our torments also may, in length of time,
Become our elements, these piercing fires
As soft as now severe, our temper changed
Into their temper; which must needs remove
The sensible of pain. All things invite
To peaceful counsels, and the settled state
Of order, how in safety best we may
Compose our present evils, with regard
Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise.”
  He scarce had finished, when such murmur filled
Th’ assembly as when hollow rocks retain
The sound of blustering winds, which all night long
Had roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lull
Seafaring men o’erwatched, whose bark by chance
Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bay
After the tempest. Such applause was heard
As Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,
Advising peace: for such another field
They dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fear
Of thunder and the sword of Michael
Wrought still within them; and no less desire
To found this nether empire, which might rise,
By policy and long process of time,
In emulation opposite to Heaven.
Which when Beelzebub perceived—than whom,
Satan except, none higher sat—with grave
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seemed
A pillar of state. Deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone,
Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies; his look
Drew audience and attention still as night
Or summer’s noontide air, while thus he spake:—
  “Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven,
Ethereal Virtues! or these titles now
Must we renounce, and, changing style, be called
Princes of Hell? for so the popular vote
Inclines—here to continue, and build up here
A growing empire; doubtless! while we dream,
And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomed
This place our dungeon, not our safe retreat
Beyond his potent arm, to live exempt
From Heaven’s high jurisdiction, in new league
Banded against his throne, but to remain
In strictest *******, though thus far removed,
Under th’ inevitable curb, reserved
His captive multitude. For he, to be sure,
In height or depth, still first and last will reign
Sole king, and of his kingdom lose no part
By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His empire, and with iron sceptre rule
Us here, as with his golden those in Heaven.
What sit we then projecting peace and war?
War hath determined us and foiled with loss
Irreparable; terms of peace yet none
Vouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be given
To us enslaved, but custody severe,
And stripes and arbitrary punishment
Inflicted? and what peace can we return,
But, to our power, hostility and hate,
Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,
Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror least
May reap his conquest, and may least rejoice
In doing what we most in suffering feel?
Nor will occasion want, nor shall we need
With dangerous expedition to invade
Heaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,
Or ambush from the Deep. What if we find
Some easier enterprise? There is a place
(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heaven
Err not)—another World, the happy seat
Of some new race, called Man, about this time
To be created like to us, though less
In power and excellence, but favoured more
Of him who rules above; so was his will
Pronounced among the Gods, and by an oath
That shook Heaven’s whole circumference confirmed.
Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learn
What creatures there inhabit, of what mould
Or substance, how endued, and what their power
And where their weakness: how attempted best,
By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,
And Heaven’s high Arbitrator sit secure
In his own strength, this place may lie exposed,
The utmost border of his kingdom, left
To their defence who hold it: here, perhaps,
Some advantageous act may be achieved
By sudden onset—either with Hell-fire
To waste his whole creation, or possess
All as our own, and drive, as we were driven,
The puny habitants; or, if not drive,
****** them to our party, that their God
May prove their foe, and with repenting hand
Abolish his own works. This would surpass
Common revenge, and interrupt his joy
In our confusion, and our joy upraise
In his disturbance; when his darling sons,
Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curse
Their frail original, and faded bliss—
Faded so soon! Advise if this be worth
Attempting, or to sit in darkness here
Hatching vain empires.” Thus beelzebub
Pleaded his devilish counsel—first devised
By Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,
But
2010 one last remark about Mom she’s never had faith or trust in me she always doubts redirects me when i was little she continuously blamed me accusing me of being sick needing a psychiatrist at age 20 my parents committed me for disciplinary reasons to the Institute of Living a psychiatric hospital in Hartford Connecticut in a locked ward for 4 months Mom and Dad discouraged my aspirations to succeed as a painter/writer arguing the impracticality of my decision they thumbs downed Bayli even today she undermines my efforts to love protect her she scolds me for asking permission from my cousin Chris to allow his son Maynard to fly down here and help me pack then drive up to Chicago so i might get to know Maynard on a road trip she instructs hire professional packers for a $100. they’ll be glad to help you pack Mom has always stood in the way of my choices decisions



1975 Chicago in his parent’s kitchen Mom offers the cannolis are fresh from Kanella’s Bakery or try the chocolate fudge cake it’s absolutely delicious Odysseus replies are you trying to fatten me up or **** me with sweets Mom flirtatiously teases i’ve always been about your ruination Odys



2001 Tucson Mom comes for visit at Thanksgiving in her early 80s walking proud yet painfully on displaced hips she is an inspiration to Odysseus her eyes are clouded with cataracts yet she sees life as an eternal optimist since 1920 the world has changed so drastically yet Mom has learned to accept many things she previously did not tolerate she lives prudently on modest fixed income her fingers are arthritically deformed but she was once a great beauty many men desired her Odysseus asks if it was difficult for Mom to lose the power of her physical desirability he noticed her good looks waning in her 50s she answers she sensed her  attraction going in her 70s she still possesses regal qualities and is quite socially charming she chatters a flurry of familiar names events that keep her busy she travels around by herself Mom’s spirit endures but in reality she drifts further away with each passing season she is delicate and has difficulty remembering she echoes a distant past in the early evening of Thanksgiving Day they sit at table of elegant yet rather staid dining room of Mom’s choosing at Arizona Inn she says it reminds her of the way things used to be she wears tasteful black linen slacks black pumps thin silk knitted black turtleneck with string of pearls gold earrings her blonde hair coiffured in same fluffy sprayed style it has been for 50 years in his heart he knows a part of her wishes her son was more like Tom Steinberg who was a senior when Odysseus was a freshman at River Woods Academy The Steinbergs and Mom are still friendly Tom is a successful investment banker with a wife and child living in Winnetka Mom nervously touches the pearl strand around her neck she says you know Mort Rock’s wife Phyllis died i was such a good friend to her at her funeral they read how she said i was her best friend she left me 10 lousy thousand dollars in her will she’s worth millions it’s eating me up inside i needed that money desperately i can’t stop thinking about it 10 lousy thousand dollars went immediately to pay off loans i’m going to sell my jewelry i don’t know what i can get in the spring i’ll put the apartment up for sale or try to get a reverse mortgage from the bank i never told you kids before i’m not in good shape Odysseus comments i feel terrible i wish so much i could help maybe Phyllis Rock suspected you and her husband maybe all those years you were her best friend she read it as guilt and obligation Mom you need to be more truthful Mom cuts in i never had *** with Mort Rock that man drove me crazy he was nuts for me Mom orders the traditional turkey dinner Odysseus orders the Macadamia nut encrusted Hawaiian fish the waiter brings price fixed appetizers little circles of toasted bread with lightly browned melted cheese tiny triangular cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches roasted watercress nuts wrapped in bacon and little hot dogs pierced with fluffy ended toothpicks Mom begins to gobble as she remarks to Odysseus  why do you want to wear your hair like that? you look like you escaped from the camps Odysseus asks what camps are you referring to Mom? she replies the Concentration Camps! you’re a good-looking man and you still have a full head of hair why do you want to shave it off i don’t understand i think you should move back to Chicago Tucson has done nothing to offer look at you you’re all alone you don’t have any friends come home and be your old self again he answers my old self you don’t get it do you Mom do you remember my commodity trading debacle or my 40th birthday or you and aunt Rita’s ceaseless corrections Mom smugly retorts what do you mean your 40th birthday don’t you get smart with me you should be ashamed of yourself why must you keep bringing up the past you need to let go of the past you go into such details details i don’t remember what does it matter now it’s history we only wanted what we thought was best for you you never listened you were only interested in yourself plenty of other kids get beaten and come through just fine you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent it tears me up inside you talk like you had nothing to do with it i can’t take this abuse from you anymore her misshapen fingers hands begin trembling as her voice emotes you think i don’t realize we made mistakes with you you think we were such monsters i wasn’t a good mother i was a lousy ***** is that what you think answer me what are you a bump on a log Odysseus sits stiff in chair his voice shrinks he just sits there his legs shake under table Mom says your father was quick-tempered we were under so much financial pressure maybe we did send you away too soon if i had to do it again i’d do it differently what does it matter now it’s 50 years ago forget the past what do you want from me what can i do he listens silently wondering if Mom seeks some kind of redemption can her conceit permit it he knows he is ******* her he does not mean to be uncomfortable with his muteness Mom continues you were a difficult child remember all the trouble you caused look at you you’re still a difficult man he questions Mom can you hear yourself you think i’m difficult she answers you think we were such terrible parents you grew up in a house of violence his thumb and forefinger nervously touch his chin as he replies no you were good parents i was a problem child different from you you afforded me a beautiful home and brilliant education i wanted to investigate life and learn and grow you didn’t know what to do with a child like that as much as she tries Mom never has been a comfort for Odysseus or he for her he inadvertently stirs her to worry or snap and she in turn unthinkingly disturbs him nevertheless they love each other the waiter brings out salads Mom ordered iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing Odysseus chose the spinach salad he takes several bites Mom remarks use your salad fork not your dinner fork you know better than that suddenly it occurs to him Mom is more fragile than he he thinks to himself silently Mom i realize your life is closing in on you your mind drifts and you need to fake and cover-up more than ever do you want me to come home and take care of you i will take care of you then he remembers how miserable they were together during his throat cancer recovery in her 3 bedroom Lake Shore Drive condominium immersed in contemplation he pushes the fork through spinach leafs Mom says sit up in the chair and put a smile on your face she self-consciously peeks around the room having lost his appetite Odysseus looks down at napkin on his lap glances at half-eaten salad bowl he gazes up at Mom the waiter arrives making a pained smile he clears the salads then serves the entrees after the waiter departs Mom speaks Odys look at me when i’m talking to you i think about a lot of things i should have done after the fact sometimes even years later Max and i made a lot of incorrect choices when it came to you he cuts in Mom you don’t have to say anymore i love you always have loved you and know you love me too Mom says you know how much i appreciate your paintings you’ve made my life richer i‘ve always been supportive of you in fact i’m your biggest fan right Odys right? thank you Mom i’m grateful Mom says i’ve spoken with psychiatrists and they all tell me the same answer tell your son to forget it why must you dwell in the past what did we do so dreadfully wrong i don’t understand you’re a hard case i wish i could get through to you i hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us you’ll sleep better he questions you know about my insomnia restless sleep nightmares Mom says i can imagine Odysseus’s eyes begin to water Mom i love you i wouldn’t be who i am without you Mom says don’t get so emotional you sound weak take it from me you must be strong in life learn discipline and willpower i love you too son Odysseus wonders if maybe he agitates Mom because he is a constant liability lacking fiscal self-reliance deep down Mom is a giggling gossiping playful girl spoiled by her father she never wanted to grow up and be burdened with the tasks of parenthood what woman of rare beauty and charm would want to give up her privilege and freedom for some kid especially a *******-up kid maybe deep down Mom resents Odysseus he stares down at the Macadamia nut encrusted Hawaiian fish and silently prays he will be released from his life all his stupid sins regrets self-pity self-hatred his vain inconsequential existence



i move organize empty shelves cabinets drawers closets edit wrap tape pack wonder if moving back to Chicago is one more mistake heaped on top of a 1000 mistakes a 1,000,000 mistakes is going home to help Mom my biggest mistake ever i simply know i must try to protect my Mom
Late, my grandson! half the morning have I paced these sandy tracts,
Watch'd again the hollow ridges roaring into cataracts,

Wander'd back to living boyhood while I heard the curlews call,
I myself so close on death, and death itself in Locksley Hall.

So--your happy suit was blasted--she the faultless, the divine;
And you liken--boyish babble--this boy-love of yours with mine.

I myself have often babbled doubtless of a foolish past;
Babble, babble; our old England may go down in babble at last.

'Curse him!' curse your fellow-victim? call him dotard in your rage?
Eyes that lured a doting boyhood well might fool a dotard's age.

Jilted for a wealthier! wealthier? yet perhaps she was not wise;
I remember how you kiss'd the miniature with those sweet eyes.

In the hall there hangs a painting--Amy's arms about my neck--
Happy children in a sunbeam sitting on the ribs of wreck.

In my life there was a picture, she that clasp'd my neck had flown;
I was left within the shadow sitting on the wreck alone.

Yours has been a slighter ailment, will you sicken for her sake?
You, not you! your modern amourist is of easier, earthlier make.

Amy loved me, Amy fail'd me, Amy was a timid child;
But your Judith--but your worldling--she had never driven me wild.

She that holds the diamond necklace dearer than the golden ring,
She that finds a winter sunset fairer than a morn of Spring.

She that in her heart is brooding on his briefer lease of life,
While she vows 'till death shall part us,' she the would-be-widow wife.

She the worldling born of worldlings--father, mother--be content,
Ev'n the homely farm can teach us there is something in descent.

Yonder in that chapel, slowly sinking now into the ground,
Lies the warrior, my forefather, with his feet upon the hound.

Cross'd! for once he sail'd the sea to crush the Moslem in his pride;
Dead the warrior, dead his glory, dead the cause in which he died.

Yet how often I and Amy in the mouldering aisle have stood,
Gazing for one pensive moment on that founder of our blood.

There again I stood to-day, and where of old we knelt in prayer,
Close beneath the casement crimson with the shield of Locksley--there,

All in white Italian marble, looking still as if she smiled,
Lies my Amy dead in child-birth, dead the mother, dead the child.

Dead--and sixty years ago, and dead her aged husband now--
I this old white-headed dreamer stoopt and kiss'd her marble brow.

Gone the fires of youth, the follies, furies, curses, passionate tears,
Gone like fires and floods and earthquakes of the planet's dawning years.

Fires that shook me once, but now to silent ashes fall'n away.
Cold upon the dead volcano sleeps the gleam of dying day.

Gone the tyrant of my youth, and mute below the chancel stones,
All his virtues--I forgive them--black in white above his bones.

Gone the comrades of my bivouac, some in fight against the foe,
Some thro' age and slow diseases, gone as all on earth will go.

Gone with whom for forty years my life in golden sequence ran,
She with all the charm of woman, she with all the breadth of man,

Strong in will and rich in wisdom, Edith, yet so lowly-sweet,
Woman to her inmost heart, and woman to her tender feet,

Very woman of very woman, nurse of ailing body and mind,
She that link'd again the broken chain that bound me to my kind.

Here to-day was Amy with me, while I wander'd down the coast,
Near us Edith's holy shadow, smiling at the slighter ghost.

Gone our sailor son thy father, Leonard early lost at sea;
Thou alone, my boy, of Amy's kin and mine art left to me.

Gone thy tender-natured mother, wearying to be left alone,
Pining for the stronger heart that once had beat beside her own.

Truth, for Truth is Truth, he worshipt, being true as he was brave;
Good, for Good is Good, he follow'd, yet he look'd beyond the grave,

Wiser there than you, that crowning barren Death as lord of all,
Deem this over-tragic drama's closing curtain is the pall!

Beautiful was death in him, who saw the death, but kept the deck,
Saving women and their babes, and sinking with the sinking wreck,

Gone for ever! Ever? no--for since our dying race began,
Ever, ever, and for ever was the leading light of man.

Those that in barbarian burials ****'d the slave, and slew the wife,
Felt within themselves the sacred passion of the second life.

Indian warriors dream of ampler hunting grounds beyond the night;
Ev'n the black Australian dying hopes he shall return, a white.

Truth for truth, and good for good! The Good, the True, the Pure, the Just--
Take the charm 'For ever' from them, and they crumble into dust.

Gone the cry of 'Forward, Forward,' lost within a growing gloom;
Lost, or only heard in silence from the silence of a tomb.

Half the marvels of my morning, triumphs over time and space,
Staled by frequence, shrunk by usage into commonest commonplace!

'Forward' rang the voices then, and of the many mine was one.
Let us hush this cry of 'Forward' till ten thousand years have gone.

Far among the vanish'd races, old Assyrian kings would flay
Captives whom they caught in battle--iron-hearted victors they.

Ages after, while in Asia, he that led the wild Moguls,
Timur built his ghastly tower of eighty thousand human skulls,

Then, and here in Edward's time, an age of noblest English names,
Christian conquerors took and flung the conquer'd Christian into flames.

Love your enemy, bless your haters, said the Greatest of the great;
Christian love among the Churches look'd the twin of heathen hate.

From the golden alms of Blessing man had coin'd himself a curse:
Rome of Caesar, Rome of Peter, which was crueller? which was worse?

France had shown a light to all men, preach'd a Gospel, all men's good;
Celtic Demos rose a Demon, shriek'd and slaked the light with blood.

Hope was ever on her mountain, watching till the day begun--
Crown'd with sunlight--over darkness--from the still unrisen sun.

Have we grown at last beyond the passions of the primal clan?
'**** your enemy, for you hate him,' still, 'your enemy' was a man.

Have we sunk below them? peasants maim the helpless horse, and drive
Innocent cattle under thatch, and burn the kindlier brutes alive.

Brutes, the brutes are not your wrongers--burnt at midnight, found at morn,
Twisted hard in mortal agony with their offspring, born-unborn,

Clinging to the silent mother! Are we devils? are we men?
Sweet St. Francis of Assisi, would that he were here again,

He that in his Catholic wholeness used to call the very flowers
Sisters, brothers--and the beasts--whose pains are hardly less than ours!

Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos! who can tell how all will end?
Read the wide world's annals, you, and take their wisdom for your friend.

Hope the best, but hold the Present fatal daughter of the Past,
Shape your heart to front the hour, but dream not that the hour will last.

Ay, if dynamite and revolver leave you courage to be wise:
When was age so cramm'd with menace? madness? written, spoken lies?

Envy wears the mask of Love, and, laughing sober fact to scorn,
Cries to Weakest as to Strongest, 'Ye are equals, equal-born.'

Equal-born? O yes, if yonder hill be level with the flat.
Charm us, Orator, till the Lion look no larger than the Cat,

Till the Cat thro' that mirage of overheated language loom
Larger than the Lion,--Demos end in working its own doom.

Russia bursts our Indian barrier, shall we fight her? shall we yield?
Pause! before you sound the trumpet, hear the voices from the field.

Those three hundred millions under one Imperial sceptre now,
Shall we hold them? shall we loose them? take the suffrage of the plow.

Nay, but these would feel and follow Truth if only you and you,
Rivals of realm-ruining party, when you speak were wholly true.

Plowmen, Shepherds, have I found, and more than once, and still could find,
Sons of God, and kings of men in utter nobleness of mind,

Truthful, trustful, looking upward to the practised hustings-liar;
So the Higher wields the Lower, while the Lower is the Higher.

Here and there a cotter's babe is royal-born by right divine;
Here and there my lord is lower than his oxen or his swine.

Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos! once again the sickening game;
Freedom, free to slay herself, and dying while they shout her name.

Step by step we gain'd a freedom known to Europe, known to all;
Step by step we rose to greatness,--thro' the tonguesters we may fall.

You that woo the Voices--tell them 'old experience is a fool,'
Teach your flatter'd kings that only those who cannot read can rule.

Pluck the mighty from their seat, but set no meek ones in their place;
Pillory Wisdom in your markets, pelt your offal at her face.

Tumble Nature heel o'er head, and, yelling with the yelling street,
Set the feet above the brain and swear the brain is in the feet.

Bring the old dark ages back without the faith, without the hope,
Break the State, the Church, the Throne, and roll their ruins down the *****.

Authors--essayist, atheist, novelist, realist, rhymester, play your part,
Paint the mortal shame of nature with the living hues of Art.

Rip your brothers' vices open, strip your own foul passions bare;
Down with Reticence, down with Reverence--forward--naked--let them stare.

Feed the budding rose of boyhood with the drainage of your sewer;
Send the drain into the fountain, lest the stream should issue pure.

Set the maiden fancies wallowing in the troughs of Zolaism,--
Forward, forward, ay and backward, downward too into the abysm.

Do your best to charm the worst, to lower the rising race of men;
Have we risen from out the beast, then back into the beast again?

Only 'dust to dust' for me that sicken at your lawless din,
Dust in wholesome old-world dust before the newer world begin.

Heated am I? you--you wonder--well, it scarce becomes mine age--
Patience! let the dying actor mouth his last upon the stage.

Cries of unprogressive dotage ere the dotard fall asleep?
Noises of a current narrowing, not the music of a deep?

Ay, for doubtless I am old, and think gray thoughts, for I am gray:
After all the stormy changes shall we find a changeless May?

After madness, after massacre, Jacobinism and Jacquerie,
Some diviner force to guide us thro' the days I shall not see?

When the schemes and all the systems, Kingdoms and Republics fall,
Something kindlier, higher, holier--all for each and each for all?

All the full-brain, half-brain races, led by Justice, Love, and Truth;
All the millions one at length with all the visions of my youth?

All diseases quench'd by Science, no man halt, or deaf or blind;
Stronger ever born of weaker, lustier body, larger mind?

Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue--
I have seen her far away--for is not Earth as yet so young?--

Every tiger madness muzzled, every serpent passion ****'d,
Every grim ravine a garden, every blazing desert till'd,

Robed in universal harvest up to either pole she smiles,
Universal ocean softly washing all her warless Isles.

Warless? when her tens are thousands, and her thousands millions, then--
All her harvest all too narrow--who can fancy warless men?

Warless? war will die out late then. Will it ever? late or soon?
Can it, till this outworn earth be dead as yon dead world the moon?

Dead the new astronomy calls her. . . . On this day and at this hour,
In this gap between the sandhills, whence you see the Locksley tower,

Here we met, our latest meeting--Amy--sixty years ago--
She and I--the moon was falling greenish thro' a rosy glow,

Just above the gateway tower, and even where you see her now--
Here we stood and claspt each other, swore the seeming-deathless vow. . . .

Dead, but how her living glory lights the hall, the dune, the grass!
Yet the moonlight is the sunlight, and the sun himself will pass.

Venus near her! smiling downward at this earthlier earth of ours,
Closer on the Sun, perhaps a world of never fading flowers.

Hesper, whom the poet call'd the Bringer home of all good things.
All good things may move in Hesper, perfect peoples, perfect kings.

Hesper--Venus--were we native to that splendour or in Mars,
We should see the Globe we groan in, fairest of their evening stars.

Could we dream of wars and carnage, craft and madness, lust and spite,
Roaring London, raving Paris, in that point of peaceful light?

Might we not in glancing heavenward on a star so silver-fair,
Yearn, and clasp the hands and murmur, 'Would to God that we were there'?

Forward, backward, backward, forward, in the immeasurable sea,
Sway'd by vaster ebbs and flows than can be known to you or me.

All the suns--are these but symbols of innumerable man,
Man or Mind that sees a shadow of the planner or the plan?

Is there evil but on earth? or pain in every peopled sphere?
Well be grateful for the sounding watchword, 'Evolution' here,

Evolution ever climbing after some ideal good,
And Reversion ever dragging Evolution in the mud.

What are men that He should heed us? cried the king of sacred song;
Insects of an hour, that hourly work their brother insect wrong,

While the silent Heavens roll, and Suns along their fiery way,
All their planets whirling round them, flash a million miles a day.

Many an aeon moulded earth before her highest, man, was born,
Many an aeon too may pass when earth is manless and forlorn,

Earth so huge, and yet so bounded--pools of salt, and plots of land--
Shallow skin of green and azure--chains of mountain, grains of sand!

Only That which made us, meant us to be mightier by and by,
Set the sphere of all the boundless Heavens within the human eye,

Sent the shadow of Himself, the boundless, thro' the human soul;
Boundless inward, in the atom, boundless outward, in the Whole.

                                                *

Here is Locksley Hall, my grandson, here the lion-guarded gate.
Not to-night in Locksley Hall--to-morrow--you, you come so late.

Wreck'd--your train--or all but wreck'd? a shatter'd wheel? a vicious boy!
Good, this forward, you that preach it, is it well to wish you joy?

Is it well that while we range with Science, glorying in the Time,
City children soak and blacken soul and sense in city slime?

There among the glooming alleys Progress halts on palsied feet,
Crime and hunger cast our maidens by the thousand on the street.

There the Master scrimps his haggard sempstress of her daily bread,
There a single sordid attic holds the living and the dead.

There the smouldering fire of fever creeps across the rotted floor,
And the crowded couch of ****** in the warrens of the poor.

Nay, your pardon, cry your 'forward,' yours are hope and youth, but I--
Eighty winters leave the dog too lame to follow with the cry,

Lame and old, and past his time, and passing now into the night;
Yet I would the rising race were half as eager for the light.

Light the fading gleam of Even? light the glimmer of the dawn?
Aged eyes may take the growing glimmer for the gleam withdrawn.

Far away beyond her myriad coming changes earth will be
Something other than the wildest modern guess of you and me.

Earth may reach her earthly-worst, or if she gain her earthly-best,
Would she find her human offspring this ideal man at rest?

Forward then, but still remember how the course of Time will swerve,
Crook and turn upon itself in many a backward streaming curve.

Not the Hall to-night, my grandson! Death and Silence hold their own.
Leave the Master in the first dark hour of his last sleep alone.

Worthier soul was he than I am, sound and honest, rustic Squire,
Kindly landlord, boon companion--youthful jealousy is a liar.

Cast the poison from your *****, oust the madness from your brain.
Let the trampled serpent show you that you have not lived in vain.

Youthful! youth and age are scholars yet but in the lower school,
Nor is he the wisest man who never proved himself a fool.

Yonder lies our young sea-village--Art and Grace are less and less:
Science grows and Beauty dwindles--roofs of slated hideousness!

There is one old Hostel left us where they swing the Locksley shield,
Till the peasant cow shall **** the 'Lion passant' from his field.

Poo
Brent Kincaid Mar 2018
Rickrack, got cataracts
My vision is so blurry.
Surgery done, not much fun
I wish healing would hurry.
Zip zop, roota zoot.
Hate backless hospital suits!
Clap clap, standing ovation.
For a successful operation.

Wave pompoms, ziss boom bah
For magic modern medicine
In just one day, as they say.
The right eye is all fixed again.
Go back in a few weeks
And have the left one done.
Huzzah hurrah and yippee kai yay
And the healing has begun.

Colors I never noticed before
Are now bright and shiny.
If I had known that before I
Woulda been petulant and whiny.
But, nothing noticed, nothing lost
I am looking forward to the day
When I can see completely better.
Harroo and blinking hurray!
Irate Watcher Sep 2014
women: swipe left guys
who compliment your blue eyes.
they are cataracts.
Creativity takes effort. Compliments don't. Write me a f***in poem.
There was a town beyond the woods,
Ne’er there any water stood,
Alas, a Well, of the purest kind,
The aquifer under, is here described,
Beyond a thousand gallons under
The diamond-esque rubble and sunder.
But one bucket, at but one time,
Kind, the town, taking turns of rhyme,
This essence, used to bathe and cook,
To drink, to create, a cozy nook.
-
The happy town, the gorgeous shire,
The crops grown there as green as Ire,
No law exists, they live but civilly,
A fetching, quiet community,
But always there exists a one,
Who would want power, want this undone,
So it was said regretfully,
Poisoned their Well, emotionless he.
-
Now this village was quite secluded,
No one not there born, ne’er intruded,
Deep in the forest, behind a mountain,
Over a peak, under a cloudy curtain,
It existed in secret and abolition,
And one did seek its demolition,
Knowing the only flaw to here exist,
The essence of life, no man resists.
-
He crept at night, while the guard did sleep,
Promising the pure water to weep,
Dropping the genocide with bucket and crane,
Releasing its Demonic Alchemic Strain,
The Well did hiss as the poison moaned,
Recoiling at this unwanted drone,
The assailant then brought to his steady lips,
A cup and was first to take Devil’s Kiss.
-
On the morrow of the mentioned crime,
Busy bodies awoke to start the day’s time,
Queuing at bucket and awaiting turns,
Each family there a portion yearned,
Not one did from the water strafe,
Each then bathed, then drank, unsafe,
No one could tell different taste,
Water is water, but not today.
-
The plague did start like any disease,
Sore throat, fever, stopped nose, displeased,
The people sought the witchdoctor,
But he from bed, would rise no longer,
He caught ill too, and wouldn’t budge,
Afraid for his life, afraid of this grudge,
He knew this sickness, had heard before,
But told no one, the end was sure.
-
In a week, vomiting and nausea,
Nasal passages sealed, no nostalgia
Brought to memory of any like sickness,
The virus brought about decrepit afflictions,
But slowly and steady, worse and worse,
The people became, some saw the course
But kept silent, to avoid alerting,
The so many children in need of comforting.
-
In two weeks’ time, the pathogen,
Had taken wits of sensible men,
At night, they screamed in somber fright,
Their deepest fears, real now, and bright,
The lutes died out, the bards not singing,
An unfortunate time, but this was only beginning.
-
Fingernails rotting off at the cuticle,
Too much blood for any receptacle,
Leprositic, the fingers came next,
One by one, extremities hexed,
Children lost their legs to run,
From mothers’ faces rotted, undone,
In every other step, heard were bones breaking,
Kneecaps cracked open, shins splintering,
Eyes turned cadaverous, awake, but not seeing,
Cataracts formed, blinded from viral being,
In cradles were witnessed toddlers there suffering,
Their mothers watched with empty sockets, but listening
To the cries impossible to stifle,
The pain too much for these tiny disciples.
The dogs normally to their masters zealous,
Became of them mortally jealous.
They bit the hands that fed them well,
For watering them from the cryptic Well.
Men watched their sons dive right under,
The bridge that harnessed a valley of blunder
Hundreds of feet above sharp rocks and stumps,
Their namesakes leaped, impaled in clumps,
For those lucky enough to still have eyes,
Cried tears of acid for images despised
Sickness was spewed upon the walls,
Entrails adorned the Gathering Halls,
Some had turned to mutilation,
Blood-letting for some, abomination,
Some crazed enough to “cure” themselves,
Clawed throat and stomach til flesh dissolved,
Some rich with elixir tried to embezzle,
Upon some of the poor, tired and grizzled,
Riot broke out amongst the walking dead
Fortune or lack of, irrelevant,
Black pustules broke out that looked Bubonic,
But the cure for that failed, how ironic,
That it rather hastened the steadfast curse,
Faster than iambic verse,
Molecules turned to embryo,
Rising like a great Pharaoh,
They became flesh parasites,
Taking internal organs, slow and precise,
They started with the liver and spleen,
So there lasted hours of wretched screams,
The intestines of some would close and then
Becoming septic, they passed, bile in stem,
A few had throats seeming cauterized,
Friends watched friends closest, strangle alive,
There were in fact, some optimists,
Among them, talk of being “rid of this”,
They too died while clutching life,
Endeavoring their eternal flight,
From noses, there dripped blackened murk,
Thicker than combined oil and dirt,
It then secreted as sweat from all pores,
Fatigue then struck those left to the floor.
Upon broken knees some prayed,
Usually the skin under ribs was flayed,
Trying to understand what went wrong,
Dissecting the dead was not headstrong,
It only furthered viral progression,
The open corpses breathing infection,
The cadavers would move still, the fleshbugs active,
The horror of lifeless movement, corrosive,
The minds of the weak, it pure happenstance,
One found eating dead flesh for a cure, no chance.
All in all, this lingering curiosity,
Provided once good people with animosity,
One man turned good people to hate,
Their neighbors in ways that were irate.
-
The chaos was not anarchy,
For, as I said,
It was civilly,
But verily, I do decree,
That no one knew such misery,
The inhabitants of this village,
Did not suspect innocent visage,
Or perhaps, their cherished Well.
To be culprit behind this hell
So they drank and drank to remedy,
To recompense this malady,
To no avail did blood get thicker,
Alas, they got but sicker and sicker.
-
This hell, the townsfolk then realized,
Wouldn’t end til they all were nullified,
Eliminated they were, eradicated at that,
This pathogenic virus had verily spat
In the faces of the people here,
Decimated they were, not quenching their fear,
Murdered they were by a systematic
Suicidal psychopathic,
Inflamed in the mind of darkness thereafter,
Only satisfied by his own laughter.
Not many, til now, know of this town,
From lowly peasant, to “Godly” Crown.
An explorer found the deserted hamlet,
Body parts and questions then found the hermit,
He had heard of a town like this, he wrote:
“It was a new age Roanoke…”
But the village, not a town to cause commotion,
All that was left of them, a tree scratched, “CROATOAN”.
Charles Berlin Mar 2010
A pale clouded gaze betrays his depression
To observers of his pained expression
The cast of ghosts in his stories
Are joined in morbid succession
By faceless names that tangle
In webs indecipherabley knotted
Seldom unraveled are histories
Of faces so wrinkled and rotted
The tragedy of burrowed dreams
The eye's gleam down below
When they've already spotted
A grave before it's body's has been plotted.
Locksley Hall

by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Comrades, leave me here a little, while as yet 't is early morn:
Leave me here, and when you want me, sound upon the bugle-horn.

'T is the place, and all around it, as of old, the curlews call,
Dreary gleams about the moorland flying over Locksley Hall;

Locksley Hall, that in the distance overlooks the sandy tracts,
And the hollow ocean-ridges roaring into cataracts.

Many a night from yonder ivied casement, ere I went to rest,
Did I look on great Orion sloping slowly to the West.

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising thro' the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

Here about the beach I wander'd, nourishing a youth sublime
With the fairy tales of science, and the long result of Time;

When the centuries behind me like a fruitful land reposed;
When I clung to all the present for the promise that it closed:

When I dipt into the future far as human eye could see;
Saw the Vision of the world and all the wonder that would be.--

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin's breast;
In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one so young,
And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.

And I said, "My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me,
Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee."

On her pallid cheek and forehead came a colour and a light,
As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.

And she turn'd--her ***** shaken with a sudden storm of sighs--
All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes--

Saying, "I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me wrong";
Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin?" weeping, "I have loved thee long."

Love took up the glass of Time, and turn'd it in his glowing hands;
Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.

Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords with might;
Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, pass'd in music out of sight.

Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the copses ring,
And her whisper throng'd my pulses with the fulness of the Spring.

Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships,
And our spirits rush'd together at the touching of the lips.

O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more!
O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!

Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung,
Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!

Is it well to wish thee happy?--having known me--to decline
On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!

Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day,
What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with clay.

As the husband is, the wife is: thou art mated with a clown,
And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee down.

He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force,
Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.

What is this? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed with wine.
Go to him, it is thy duty, kiss him, take his hand in thine.

It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought:
Soothe him with thy finer fancies, touch him with thy lighter thought.

He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understand--
Better thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my hand!

Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace,
Roll'd in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.

Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of youth!
Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!

Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule!
Cursed be the gold that gilds the straiten'd forehead of the fool!

Well--'t is well that I should bluster!--Hadst thou less unworthy proved--
Would to God--for I had loved thee more than ever wife was loved.

Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter fruit?
I will pluck it from my *****, tho' my heart be at the root.

Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should come
As the many-winter'd crow that leads the clanging rookery home.

Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind?
Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?

I remember one that perish'd; sweetly did she speak and move;
Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.

Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore?
No--she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.

Comfort? comfort scorn'd of devils! this is truth the poet sings,
That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier things.

Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to proof,
In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.

Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the wall,
Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and fall.

Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken sleep,
To thy widow'd marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt weep.

Thou shalt hear the "Never, never," whisper'd by the phantom years,
And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears;

And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy pain.
Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow; get thee to thy rest again.

Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry.
'T is a purer life than thine, a lip to drain thy trouble dry.

Baby lips will laugh me down; my latest rival brings thee rest.
Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother's breast.

O, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due.
Half is thine and half is his: it will be worthy of the two.

O, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
With a little hoard of maxims preaching down a daughter's heart.

"They were dangerous guides the feelings--she herself was not exempt--
Truly, she herself had suffer'd"--Perish in thy self-contempt!

Overlive it--lower yet--be happy! wherefore should I care?
I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.

What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like these?
Every door is barr'd with gold, and opens but to golden keys.

Every gate is throng'd with suitors, all the markets overflow.
I have but an angry fancy; what is that which I should do?

I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground,
When the ranks are roll'd in vapour, and the winds are laid with sound.

But the jingling of the guinea helps the hurt that Honour feels,
And the nations do but murmur, snarling at each other's heels.

Can I but relive in sadness? I will turn that earlier page.
Hide me from my deep emotion, O thou wondrous Mother-Age!

Make me feel the wild pulsation that I felt before the strife,
When I heard my days before me, and the tumult of my life;

Yearning for the large excitement that the coming years would yield,
Eager-hearted as a boy when first he leaves his father's field,

And at night along the dusky highway near and nearer drawn,
Sees in heaven the light of London flaring like a dreary dawn;

And his spirit leaps within him to be gone before him then,
Underneath the light he looks at, in among the throngs of men:

Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping something new:
That which they have done but earnest of the things that they shall do:

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

So I triumph'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry,
Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the jaundiced eye;

Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are out of joint:
Science moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from point to point:

Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping nigher,
Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly-dying fire.

Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widen'd with the process of the suns.

What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his youthful joys,
Tho' the deep heart of existence beat for ever like a boy's?

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger on the shore,
And the individual withers, and the world is more and more.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears a laden breast,
Full of sad experience, moving toward the stillness of his rest.

Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the bugle-horn,
They to whom my foolish passion were a target for their scorn:

Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a moulder'd string?
I am shamed thro' all my nature to have loved so slight a thing.

Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman's pleasure, woman's pain--
Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain:

Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions, match'd with mine,
Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto wine--

Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah, for some retreat
Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began to beat;

Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil-starr'd,--
I was left a trampled orphan, and a selfish uncle's ward.

Or to burst all links of habit--there to wander far away,
On from island unto island at the gateways of the day.

Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and happy skies,
Breadths of tropic shade and palms in cluster, knots of Paradise.

Never comes the trader, never floats an European flag,
Slides the bird o'er lustrous woodland, swings the trailer from the crag;

Droops the heavy-blossom'd bower, hangs the heavy-fruited tree--
Summer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple spheres of sea.

There methinks would be enjoyment more than in this march of mind,
In the steamship, in the railway, in the thoughts that shake mankind.

There the passions cramp'd no longer shall have scope and breathing space;
I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my dusky race.

Iron-jointed, supple-sinew'd, they shall dive, and they shall run,
Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their lances in the sun;

Whistle back the parrot's call, and leap the rainbows of the brooks,
Not with blinded eyesight poring over miserable books--

Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my words are wild,
But I count the gray barbarian lower than the Christian child.

I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our glorious gains,
Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with lower pains!

Mated with a squalid savage--what to me were sun or clime?
I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time--

I that rather held it better men should perish one by one,
Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's moon in Ajalon!

Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, forward let us range,
Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change.

Thro' the shadow of the globe we sweep into the younger day;
Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay.

Mother-Age (for mine I knew not) help me as when life begun:
Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the lightnings, weigh the Sun.

O, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not set.
Ancient founts of inspiration well thro' all my fancy yet.

Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locksley Hall!
Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the roof-tree fall.

Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt,
Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt.

Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or fire or snow;
For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I go.
Natasha Jan 2014
I am but a single
dry dead leaf
laying beneath an endless willow tree
around the waters bend
close to the toadstool pow-wows
only inhabited by the faeries.

& the moon- she still shine,
captured but by a sphere, yet so free
her light may breathe
a chilling, frigid touch
between the memories you
have buried so deep.

So please do not fret your wondrous mind
over all of your insecurities,
though she may shine with a chilling reminder
I promise that in your eyes
a beautiful soul
is all she sees.

As my mind races I feel
I am unable to describe
the exact emotion you
have gently
injected into my mind.
My eyelids grow heavy
my minds afloat to space
all that is left in my world as I know it,
is the perfection on your face

      You see darling,
      I am a hija de la luna;
      the stars will align with
      Castor & Pollux
      Cancer, Aphrodite, & Fortuna.
      They greet me as old friends,
      join me in my nights of fantasy.
      tell me darling what do these strange constellations mean?

Oh how I pity thy cataracts
eyes white & glassy
but I promise the warmth will melt your frozen gaze
& in time, you will see.

       The horizon shifts as I do to you,
      how long do you wish to be at sea?

Alas, you know my poison  
doubt seeps into my skin
like an 80 patch.
Through thick & thin,
even on the sorest of feet
I will skip merrily along your path.

      Round my head I gaze,
      The sky has been stained
      with fuchsia & clementine
      among the blues.
      tell me again, how may I find your presence within the hues?

Wrap yourself within my blanket
of ease & security.
Trust me with your life or not,
for I want to be
there, when you most
need me

      You cannot help
      you are a broken bird
       I cannot deny my psyche as it worries
      does a dove not care about her nest back home
       when she soars above
       the sea?


Next to the beating arrhythmia
you try hold dear ‘twixt your ribs
my favourite poem of yours has changed
where I will weave a small nest
dream of your lips
& the sound of rain.
Robert C Howard Aug 2013
Western Sources

Mist, rain and snowmelt gather
And soak the Montana crests.
A trio of rivulets carves the slopes,
Grow to rivers that braid into a single course
And the Missouri is born at Three Forks.

Shoshone and Hidatsu rest from the hunt,
Kneel and cup their hands
To raise life giving liquid to their lips
While horses bow beside them
Bellies filled with the refreshing waters.

The river flows north dividing the tall grasslands,
Plunges over the cataracts at Great Falls,
Churns on the rocks below
And drives inexorably toward the sea.

*Mandan and Sioux


Soft flute sounds drift from the Mandan village
Intertwining with the riffling music of the river.
By its banks a coarse French trapper roasts a rabbit
To share with his Shoshone child-bride.
Sacagawea sings softly beside him -
Charboneau's son stirring in her womb.

Sioux warriors on horseback
Stand guard by the shores.
How many travelers have passed?
How many are yet to come?
Beyond the rolling hills
A buffalo stumbles and falls
Pierced by Lakota arrows and spears.

Boats in the Water

At *River du Bois
where the Missouri
Collides with the Mississippi,
Forty men slip into boats and take to the oars
To interpret Jefferson’s continental dream -
Their keelboat laden with sustenance,
Herbs, weapons and powder.
They carry trinkets to dazzle the natives
And cast bronze medals to give them
Bearing images of their "Father in Washington"
That none had asked to have.

*May,  2004
Young Soda Dec 2014
supple and orange to the taste
like a water slide to a desert
in a wild goose chase
just a hair short of a bone
ninety nine of the smallest ones

cracked open ventilating
dancing vapor
a slow shift in flowing feel.
soak up the gray
you turn to cellophane

only on the inside
you're alright
the ball keeps on rolling
around that big old fire

the cushion smiled
warmed by your seat
pressed into a drowse
you catch the change

wonder the time
about that
settled cataracts
smooth rolling cadillacs
big old Adirondack
smiling in the cottage.
Lawren Jul 2015
I am excellent.
Not because I conform
To someone else's standards,
Beliefs, or expectations of me,
But because I choose to live with integrity.
I strive to be the best I can be
Without expecting perfection.
As I am also human.
I falter and fail.
But failure is not the absence of excellence,
It is simply the cataracts that cloud my eyes
And prevent me from seeing
My own arete.
For when I look in the mirror,
All I see is dark spots, blemishes.
And no matter the angle from which I view,
I am inferior, a mistake.
I must first accept my perfect imperfection
And ask for help,
Before the flawed lenses with which I was born
Can be replaced,
And I can finally see with unwavering clarity
That I am a person of worth.
I have significance.
And though I may not always trust
What I know to be true,
It is my intrinsic value as a being,
And not a doing,
That makes me excellent.
The Virtue of Excellence
Give me truths,
For I am weary of the surfaces,
And die of inanition. If I knew
Only the herbs and simples of the wood,
Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain, and pimpernel,
Blue-vetch, and trillium, hawkweed, sassafras,
Milkweeds, and murky brakes, quaint pipes and sundew,
And rare and virtuous roots, which in these woods
Draw untold juices from the common earth,
Untold, unknown, and I could surely spell
Their fragrance, and their chemistry apply
By sweet affinities to human flesh,
Driving the foe and stablishing the friend,—
O that were much, and I could be a part
Of the round day, related to the sun,
And planted world, and full executor
Of their imperfect functions.
But these young scholars who invade our hills,
Bold as the engineer who fells the wood,
And travelling often in the cut he makes,
Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not,
And all their botany is Latin names.
The old men studied magic in the flower,
And human fortunes in astronomy,
And an omnipotence in chemistry,
Preferring things to names, for these were men,
Were unitarians of the united world,
And wheresoever their clear eyebeams fell,
They caught the footsteps of the SAME. Our eyes
Are armed, but we are strangers to the stars,
And strangers to the mystic beast and bird,
And strangers to the plant and to the mine;
The injured elements say, Not in us;
And night and day, ocean and continent,
Fire, plant, and mineral say, Not in us,
And haughtily return us stare for stare.
For we invade them impiously for gain,
We devastate them unreligiously,
And coldly ask their pottage, not their love,
Therefore they shove us from them, yield to us
Only what to our griping toil is due;
But the sweet affluence of love and song,
The rich results of the divine consents
Of man and earth, of world beloved and lover,
The nectar and ambrosia are withheld;
And in the midst of spoils and slaves, we thieves
And pirates of the universe, shut out
Daily to a more thin and outward rind,
Turn pale and starve. Therefore to our sick eyes,
The stunted trees look sick, the summer short,
Clouds shade the sun, which will not tan our hay.
And nothing thrives to reach its natural term,
And life, shorn of its venerable length,
Even at its greatest space, is a defeat,
And dies in anger that it was a dupe,
And, in its highest noon and wantonness,
Is early frugal like a beggar's child:
With most unhandsome calculation taught,
Even in the hot pursuit of the best aims
And prizes of ambition, checks its hand,
Like Alpine cataracts, frozen as they leaped,
Chilled with a miserly comparison
Of the toy's purchase with the length of life.
Gunner May 2017
Skin.
Skin by definition is a thin layer of tissue forming a natural outer covering of the body.
Skin is for people to tan, to clothe, apply make up to... to touch.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

Mosquito bites.
Mosquito bites by definition are the itchy bumps that appear after mosquitoes use their proboscis to puncture your skin and feed on your blood.
Mosquito bites are for people to feel, to itch, to bleed, to scab and repeat. The entire cycle.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

Summer.
Summer by definition is the warmest season of the year.
Summer is for t-shirts, shorts, exposure, swimming, tanning, skin, skin, skin, skin, skin.
"It's Summer, put on some shorts."
"It's Summer, why aren't you wearing a t-shirt?"
"It's Summer, let's go swimming!"
Summer is a time for these questions, these statements, these words to fester, to breed like muosquitos, to sting like the bite of a bug.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

Dermatologist.
A Dermatologist by definition is a doctor that treats diseases, in the widest sense, and some cosmetic problems of the skin, skin, skin, skin, skin.
The Dermatologist tells me to use this and to use that. Lotions and potions, as my mother would say. Slather, rub, treat, swallow.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

Skin care.
Skin care by definition is the range of practices that support skin integrity, enhance its appearance and relieve skin conditions.
Get up, shower, sterilizing soap, body oil, steroid cream, medicated lotion, drink water and repeat the process before bed. My daily cycle.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

Seesaw.
A Seesaw by definition is to change rapidly and repeatedly from one position, situation, or condition to another and back again.
Seesaw, to push off the ground, into the air with a sense of victory and joy, only to fall hard to the ground with stinging ankles and sore calf's.
This isn't a playground anymore.
The Dermatologist says that if I don't get better, they'll have to put me on the pill.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.

The Pill.
The Pill is an oral treatment for my condition. My eczema.
One pill every morning at seven AM with food and an entire glass of water.
The risk associated with the pill- Osteoporosis,  Muscle weakness, Mood and Behavioral changes, Increase in chance of developing cataracts,  Stomach Ulcers and Liver Failure.
One pill every morning at seven AM with food and an entire glass of water. The daily cycle.

Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab, repeat.
Itch, bleed, scab.... **** it.

I would rather my liver fail and my bones go brittle then to be stared at on the street!
"What is that?"
"Are you okay?"
"What's wrong with her?"
"Is it contagious?"
"Don't touch me!"
I itch, my nails dragging over my scarred skin and pulling at wounds. I bleed, the welts that crack and leak drops from the red river that flows silently beneath my skin. I scab, leaving horrible lumps of ugly, hardened flesh to coat the once smooth area. I repeat....

Well, I don't want to repeat! I want to be able wear the clothes I want, to walk the streets with out the judging and questioning eyes of the passersby on me, to be held and touched by a significant other without the fear that their fingers will fall upon my skin and recoil in disgust!

Without looking in the mirror and wondering when I can finally begin to love myself.

I decided that today is the day! No more Itching! No more Bleeding! No more Scabs! It's time to break this ******* cycle.
sweatshop jam Jan 2014
I am reading this poem,
late, in the snug familiarity of my bed,
with gentle night-light and sable night-sky,
stars swimming beyond the glass,
warm breaths fogging up the panes.
I am reading this poem,
curled on a beanbag in a library with her my by side,
breaths stirring against my skin,
like the winds of time, of change, taking me away from here.
I am reading this poem,
in a room that is abound with remembrance and days gone by,
where the bedclothes are heaped, fresh and steaming with warmth,
with the same freedom that the open valise speaks of,
a journey ending in success, a triumphant flight.
I am reading this poem,
as the underground train screeches to a halt,
and before heading up the stairs,
towards the love that life has bestowed on me.
I am reading this poem,
by the glow of the laptop screen,
where the headlines flash and flicker,
for once, joy is splashed across the monitor.
I am reading this poem in a waiting room,
of meeting eyes and crinkling smiles, more friends than strangers,
without fear.
I am reading this poem by firelight,
in the simple joy and jubilation of the young who know they matter,
and live with hope and inner liberation, from the earliest of ages.
I am reading this poem,
freed of the curved lenses, the cloudy cataracts,
and I can see the letters for what they are and I read on,
because this freedom is precious.
I am reading this poem as I sit by the radiator,
the milk is already warm (electricity isn’t cut these days)
child in my arms, book in my hand,
because life is waiting for me to live it,
knowing it is never too short or too long but just right.
I am reading this poem not in my language,
while she sits at my side and helps me translate,
because tongues are free to roam now.
I am reading this poem listening for something,
stopping to savour the taste of freedom,
to be able to refuse the task I cannot turn to.
I am reading this poem because I can,
and there is so much left to read
I have now and forever,
to soar untamed with wings unclipped, clothed as I am.
Give me truths,
For I am weary of the surfaces,
And die of inanition. If I knew
Only the herbs and simples of the wood,
Rue, cinquefoil, gill, vervain, and pimpernel,
Blue-vetch, and trillium, hawkweed, sassafras,
Milkweeds, and murky brakes, quaint pipes and sundew,
And rare and virtuous roots, which in these woods
Draw untold juices from the common earth,
Untold, unknown, and I could surely spell
Their fragrance, and their chemistry apply
By sweet affinities to human flesh,
Driving the foe and stablishing the friend,—
O that were much, and I could be a part
Of the round day, related to the sun,
And planted world, and full executor
Of their imperfect functions.
But these young scholars who invade our hills,
Bold as the engineer who fells the wood,
And travelling often in the cut he makes,
Love not the flower they pluck, and know it not,
And all their botany is Latin names.
The old men studied magic in the flower,
And human fortunes in astronomy,
And an omnipotence in chemistry,
Preferring things to names, for these were men,
Were unitarians of the united world,
And wheresoever their clear eyebeams fell,
They caught the footsteps of the SAME. Our eyes
Are armed, but we are strangers to the stars,
And strangers to the mystic beast and bird,
And strangers to the plant and to the mine;
The injured elements say, Not in us;
And night and day, ocean and continent,
Fire, plant, and mineral say, Not in us,
And haughtily return us stare for stare.
For we invade them impiously for gain,
We devastate them unreligiously,
And coldly ask their pottage, not their love,
Therefore they shove us from them, yield to us
Only what to our griping toil is due;
But the sweet affluence of love and song,
The rich results of the divine consents
Of man and earth, of world beloved and lover,
The nectar and ambrosia are withheld;
And in the midst of spoils and slaves, we thieves
And pirates of the universe, shut out
Daily to a more thin and outward rind,
Turn pale and starve. Therefore to our sick eyes,
The stunted trees look sick, the summer short,
Clouds shade the sun, which will not tan our hay.
And nothing thrives to reach its natural term,
And life, shorn of its venerable length,
Even at its greatest space, is a defeat,
And dies in anger that it was a dupe,
And, in its highest noon and wantonness,
Is early frugal like a beggar's child:
With most unhandsome calculation taught,
Even in the hot pursuit of the best aims
And prizes of ambition, checks its hand,
Like Alpine cataracts, frozen as they leaped,
Chilled with a miserly comparison
Of the toy's purchase with the length of life.
Third Eye Candy Jan 2013
Flecks of violet, patch-quilt  loofah skin of  sponge-green iris, gold dusted
Emerald  eyes... wet stones in flesh tone, parachute baskets; paratroop lids
Descend... thin paradigms slip ; adrift upon a Seam of Tears. A saline Sea - with
Glass floor; lensing starlight over mint pink trampolines
covered in tiny copper filings,

And two Black Pools that Expand.
Two Sunbathing Night Blossoms -

Dead center. Unmanned...

Her cheekbones encroach upon Cataracts of Vacancy.
Lipid lathes of Lethe ; lips departed... red zeppelins, moist and mute . pontoons
Plump and mindless. Bee stung -
Open.

Soft mimes, glide
Over bleach and stain; over -
bone white; glide
Over Nicotine sigils, hiding -
in off-white
Enamel...

like anonymous petroglyphs for Dentists.
or Rosetta Stones for a lethargic Tongue.



II


Theta-wave turbines, throw rods and spark nods ... as others speak.
She resembles a dream-catcher’s mitt.
Words hiss now, and solid mist, twist the tell o' gram.
Into Fable's Armada !

Fog.... fog rolls in...   She rolls in, Beneath  a New Between. of Chasms
Hazardous grammar spasms, stammering -
Deaf tones of Diction -
All This ....In the Good Ear.
An Ear Of Cornucopias Delete.... The Dry Cob
Of  Annulled
Speech. [ but Morphine ]

Maybe a half-dozen kernels of distinct cream ; velveteen vague...
Or vivid - pleats in pure radiation.
?
Perhaps,  varicose inanities are expiation enough to drown a Kraken ?  Maybe God Happens ?

Let Ampule be the Judge.  Let Pack Mules be Priests.

As Others speak, Our Lily,  decrypts languidly left of linear... dislodged -
from Lexicons ....with long Odds, Against...
She Relents, Relentlessly-  And Utterly

Utterly Regardless...

She aborts pregnant ( .... )
pauses.

All this Fog rolls in... Agnostic.
She Robs
The Cuckoo... She De-bones the Soup
with Disjoint Comments.
And Scuttles
The Broth.

She's all Starlings and Polaroids.... Savage Pinwheels  and Aurora Vandals.

She's  All Plasma...
And Rapture -
with No Handles ...

She's Both Ends ... Burning
NOooo Candle .

A Wee Atlas; Shouldering A Loss
Ever Since Her World  
Was  Dismantled ..  A  Burden ( ... )
Lily
Phantom
Shrugs  

And Random Drugs..Atlantis.
The doctor of Geneva stamped the sand
That lay impounding the Pacific swell,
Patted his stove-pipe hat and tugged his shawl.

Lacustrine man had never been assailed
By such long-rolling opulent cataracts,
Unless Racine or Bossuet held the like.

He did not quail. A man who used to plumb
The multifarious heavens felt no awe
Before these visible, voluble delugings,

Which yet found means to set his simmering mind
Spinning and hissing with oracular
Notations of the wild, the ruinous waste,

Until the steeples of his city clanked and sprang
In an unburgherly apocalypse.
The doctor used his handkerchief and sighed.
alena Sep 2014
"Love is Blindness"
                        is inaccurate

Love is the buffer
            That sees all imperfections
                                     Makes them perfect

Love is the cataracts
                      Blurring all troubles
                           Into a milky sweet balance of good and great
                              Because bad days are now still good

Love are the pupils
                        For life
                                Letting in nothing but light
                                    Blocking out at  darkness

Love is syrupy sweet brown eyes...
                         Even though you thought you liked blue
                              But Sweet Browns now hold your universe

Love acts as the glasses
                  Sharpening everything you used to see
                             Creating the picture of where you were meant to be

Love is the depth perception
                                   For feeling
                                      Used to calibrate all emotions

Love is You
but mostly
                                          Love is sight

Because of Love
                               I can see
I can see the world in your eyes
robin Feb 2015
look me in the eyes oh my god please cut it all off,
my limbs have grown too long legs like ropes
anchoring me on a mortal plane.cut up careless fingertips, blood and sentience in a wineskin trap.
every day a dream in the way that makes you sick,christ is this real?
am i real?angles jutting in ways they shouldnt.everything bends the world bows to me
while i try to rip cataracts from my eyes.
this could be a hymn but its more of an envoi, a sacrament or a sacrifice -
honey i hurt all over please bury me at sea, the marsh is too full for me to fit NINETEEN YEARS OLD AND ON MY DEATHBED FOR THE PAST FIVE, KISSING CARNIVORES JUST TO TASTE THE BLOOD BURN OFF THE UVULA SO I DONT GAG PLEASE STICK YOUR TONGUE DOWN MY THROAT I WONT PUSH YOU AWAY THIS TIME, BLOOD
BLOOD
BLOOD & SWEAT & FIREWORKS, entoptic panoptic neurotic too heavy to move my hands,
shackled to a sense of dread, something is happening.something is coming.december salt,
drooling vitriol and vanity,
flooding the floor with apotheosis.suitheism soaking through my shoes.i am
unclenching, fingers uncurling like petals.feet deep in decomposing verses,
gospel of judas, gospel of mary.im blooming a sick flower: titan arum, corpse plant
GOD SPEAKS THROUGH THE FILM OF THE SKY TO DEEM ME UNWORTHY GOD PEERS THROUGH THE CRACKS IN MY HANDS THE FILTH BOILS AND I BLEED LIKE A BROKEN DAM ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR, THERE ARE HUNTERS IN THE WOODS AND YOU THINK OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEER AND HUMAN RIBS BREAKING YOUR WRISTS PROSTRATED BY SPEEDING CARS,OH, CHRIST! OH GOD! THESE TEETH ARE TOO SHARP FOR MY MOUTH AND MY LIPS ARE IN RIBBONS BURSTING LIKE MOLD FROM THE GAPS IN THE FLOOR, YOU THINK THERES HONOR IN BLOOD ON THE KNUCKLES YOU THINK THERES GLORY IN PUNCTURED LUNGS, shrapnel summers damp & hot like
cotton against your bleeding gums,
shivering in august sun.yellowed bruises like old bones, stained teeth,
varying stages of illness.dry throats begging for salt.your milksop mouth,
chipping your teeth on glaciers, apologizing to the arctic you never meant to grow so cold
you never meant to turn so sour, STICKING PINS THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHS I AM TRYING, I AM TRYING, I SWEAR TO GOD IM TRYING OH MY GOD GIVE ME THE RAPTURE LEAVE ME CONVULSIVE ON AN EMPTY EARTH SEE THESE RUPTURES THESE WOUNDS ARE STIGMATA I AM HOLY I AM HOLY I AM HOLY I AM CROWN-DEEP IN THE MARSH WITH AN OPENED MOUTH YOUR HANDS ON MY WAIST MY THUMBS IN YOUR EYES IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED IS THIS HOW YOU THOUGHT ITD BE, YOU SUPINE ON THE RIVER FLOOR AND I THRASH IN THE DALLES I WEAPONIZED MYSELF,
i carved all my soft edges into things that ****, shocked when i became
alone. i made myself into a knife and now i dont know why everyone i touch
bleeds. is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive? is this how it feels to burn alive?
Zach Gomes Feb 2010
The mine shaft’s gaping mouth
yawns like the throat of an old, useless god.
Gnats hover by the scattered rocks.
This is real not a set, or a scene,
a spit of dirt shot through the sluice, all things like
a picture cut to kiss my America expectation.

In the surrounding bush, tamaracks curve towards the clouds.
The clouds where, above the furry tips of conifers, cataracts
plummet down mountainwalls, and ask:
“afraid?” And I am, I am.  I fear the sheer
slopes of tough granite slashing the giant sky
in two; the hard-edged mountain face.  The expansive air.

And this split is brooding old and unknowable
tunneling briskly into the unfamiliar, bruising
Montana a grisly purple-red
when the sun swings underground
and shades the hot **** by the mine with cool night as
behind it, the mine appears to growl.
st64 May 2013
choo choo

next stop.....perdition

(no, not really...no-one believes this Stygian opacity)


1.
look how Time doth ravage thee
look what it did to thy visage
in smithereens, lies youth
it so artfully takes away
what is held so dear

rivers and streams
valleys and hills

arching to ecstatic heights
plunging to abysmal lows

into the ravine of chance
stirred by the spoon of Time
slowly around the cauldron
brews the self-same mixture
then poured into chasms of forgetfulness

using the eternal sledgehammer
it
smashes the foundation of thought
grinds the nutmeg of speed
pulps the fruit of mentality
slows the pulse of sensation

and pardons none.


2.
what was once sensuous and voluptuous lips
now are merely two dry slits on your face

once stared-into eyeballs, now glass over
vitreous cataracts steadily grow, ****-like

toned into lithe elastic bands now stretch
away into forever, a pale platform to walk on

life's morn is encompassed by years' slanting
clouded and bedimmed by mists of age

butterfly's existence outweighs a man's
by mere night-veiled windowpane of true sight

draw the curtains; close the shutters; screen the eyes
the time has come to shed all blinkers and face the sun.



3.
crimp
sag
limp
drag

mud cracks down a dipping dale
scalding pain sears sore half-foot

yes, time is but a disease
ravaging all
without fear or favour

sunken eyes
slower reflexes
tardier mind
scraggly body


hides not
condescends not
forgets not

the glimmer of ....
a time of ...


4.
cathedral invites the walker in
cool and calm recesses
sit silent
wait....

then *they
walk in, carrying
one who had but a lucky half-score lot

clear soprano note becomes a rudderless bleat
announcing the folly of stifling ego

now shorn of burning frost of circuitous fervour
beams of mercy cast a final look-see
jump the barriers of
time
to
carry thee off.



pipe *****-stops are pulled out



(art thee ready?  platform number 5)



S T,  9 May 2013
How age doth touch the brow of one and all.

Looking at pictures of and being inspired by the writing of esteemed Anglo-American writer W. H. Auden (born in 1907, York, UK - died in 1973, Vienna).


Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
    doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Robert C Howard Nov 2015
Earth (Pangaea)

Pangaea heaved and shifted
beneath the fire-storm sky.
Colliding plates and spewing mountains
shook, roared and thundered
under the brutal chaos
of torrential cataclysms.

In time she yielded her ire
to millennia of pacific rains -
her severed crust
set adrift across the oceans
like gigantic earthen rafts.

Jungles sprang up and terrible lizards
came, grazed and left their bones.
Forests, grains and multifarious beasts
grew and perished in accord
with their past and future destinies.

So here we are - earthbound,
tossed from our mothers' wombs -
fated to live and breed
by the grace of miracles
far beyond our ken.

Beloved mother Gaia,
from whose dust we are raised,
nurture and sustain us
and sing us to our mortal sleep.

2. Air

Air - earth's miracle brew of
     oxygen, nitrogen and all the rest
          meted out in perfect harmony.

Air - silent and still on a moonlit night -
     driver of sheeted rain on window panes -
          and winds that shake the trembling aspens.

Air - author of land and ocean squalls -
     bringer of that ominous pallor
          that presages a tornado's furor

Air - invisible aerial highway
     for majestic eagles and turbo-jets -
         medium of rhetoric and symphonies.

Air – window to the cosmos
      and our fragile life–giving broth -
          unwitting conveyer of toxic alchemy.

Keep watch my sisters and brothers:
     the air we breathe is what we make it
          or rather what we let it be.

3. Water

Water like a capricious deity
     wanders through time and topography -
     cherished and cursed for
     what it gives and what it takes away.

Gentle rains and strident gales
     sculpt rivers and streams
     through forests and plains
     bound for union with the open sea.

Diurnal tides ebb and wane
     at the whim of the charismatic moon.
     Ice mountains advance and retreat;
     rock-strewns moraines left in their wake.

Turbulent currents
     soar over jagged cataracts,
     spraying pastel prisms
     across the misted valleys.

Beneath our all too fragile skins,
     secret sanguine rivers navigate
     our veins and arteries
     bathing organs, limbs and sensors
     with curative balm and sustenance.

Wellspring of all elements,
     fill our daily ladles
     and grant us the will and empathy
     to bequeath the same to our progeny.

4. Fire*

Two hundred million years ago
our Paleolithic cousins
seized branches from a burning forest
and stepped into a bold new world.

By the glow of fire-lit caves,
and the scent of searing venison,
they gathered wits and tools
to craft shelters and weaponry.

Their children's children would design
forges and furnaces, factories
and build engines that run on fire.

But their anxious siblings in despair
snatched lightning from the sky
and twisted by fits of anger pride
made also muskets, missiles, bombs
and nuclear Armageddons.

Loki, god of nobler flames
open our blood-stained eyes
and show us the means
to stay our arson lust and
abide by the light of reason.

Revised and integrated version, December, 2015
These four poems are aligned with a set of piano preludes of the same title completed 12-21-2016. Here is a link to the music https://clyp.it/user/1qruizko
Oh that those lips had language! Life has pass'd
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine--thy own sweet smiles I see,
The same that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else, how distinct they say,
"Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!"
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.

       Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
Oh welcome guest, though unexpected, here!
Who bidd'st me honour with an artless song,
Affectionate, a mother lost so long,
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own;
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my relief--
Shall steep me in Elysian reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.

       My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead,
Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed?
Hover'd thy spirit o'er thy sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun?
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unseen, a kiss;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss--
Ah that maternal smile! it answers--Yes.
I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nurs'ry window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu!
But was it such?--It was.--Where thou art gone
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting sound shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens griev'd themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of a quick return.
What ardently I wish'd, I long believ'd,
And, disappointed still, was still deceiv'd;
By disappointment every day beguil'd,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learn'd at last submission to my lot;
But, though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot.

       Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more,
Children not thine have trod my nurs'ry floor;
And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capt,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we call'd the past'ral house our own.
Short-liv'd possession! but the record fair
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm that has effac'd
A thousand other themes less deeply trac'd.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou might'st know me safe and warmly laid;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionary plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd;
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and brakes
That humour interpos'd too often makes;
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,
And still to be so, to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorn'd in heav'n, though little notic'd here.

       Could time, his flight revers'd, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flow'rs,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I *****'d them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Would'st softly speak, and stroke my head and smile)
Could those few pleasant hours again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart--the dear delight
Seems so to be desir'd, perhaps I might.--
But no--what here we call our life is such,
So little to be lov'd, and thou so much,
That . I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.

       Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast
(The storms all weather'd and the ocean cross'd)
Shoots into port at some well-haven'd isle,
Where spices breathe and brighter seasons smile,
There sits quiescent on the floods that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay;
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reach'd the shore
"Where tempests never beat nor billows roar,"
And thy lov'd consort on the dang'rous tide
Of life, long since, has anchor'd at thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distress'd--
Me howling winds drive devious, tempest toss'd,
Sails ript, seams op'ning wide, and compass lost,
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosp'rous course.
But oh the thought, that thou art safe, and he!
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not that I deduce my birth
From ***** enthron'd, and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise--
The son of parents pass'd into the skies.
And now, farewell--time, unrevok'd, has run
His wonted course, yet what I wish'd is done.
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem t' have liv'd my childhood o'er again;
To have renew'd the joys that once were mine,
Without the sin of violating thine:
And, while the wings of fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic shew of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft--
Thyself remov'd, thy power to sooth me left.
M Clement Feb 2013
Cataracts in her eyes told her differently
But the world continued to lie
"My dear, my dear
The world is so much better when you can see;
all you have left to do is cry."
For a good time, she believed
What she heard
Her blindness meant she was lacking
That she was lesser
She fell to self pity
Fell to self ruin
And on the brink of despair
She tried to knock on Death's door.

She's lucky Death doesn't like solicitors

Instead she walked back to herself
From spirit back to flesh
And with a gasp of life, she realized how precious
The things around her were
Not the "things"
Not her possessions
But the people
The life she can give
And that people give to her
She has cataracts, sure
But she sees so much more.
what a waste Mar 2018
I’ve now seen this rerun some obscene sum.
Gone, I’m off staring at the sun a tad too long.
The part that focuses the fun was last seen wrong.
Worn, like the cliches you so casually parade.
Me? I got cataracts to the hate.
I’m dodging them cats,
while you’re stuck stalking their tracks.
Once again I’m late, but this time I think I’ll stay.

I could cut you with a blade of grass.
I’m nice.
Brigade both sides of The Crusades with a laugh.
I’m tight.
It’s all in the way you read the light,
but sometimes that sun be too bright.
Got drive though,
won’t stop 'til they say DeadBeat can write.
How is it that I am now so softly awakened,
My leaves shaken down with music?--
Darling, I love you.
It is not your mouth, for I have known mouths before,--
Though your mouth is more alive than roses,
Roses singing softly
To green leaves after rain.
It is not your eyes, for I have dived often in eyes,--
Though your eyes, even in the yellow glare of footlights,
Are windows into eternal dusk.
Nor is it the live white flashing of your feet,
Nor your gay hands, catching at motes in the spotlight;
Nor the abrupt thick music of your laughter,
When, against the hideous backdrop,
With all its crudities brilliantly lighted,
Suddenly you catch sight of your alarming shadow,
Whirling and contracting.
How is it, then, that I am so keenly aware,
So sensitive to the surges of the wind, or the light,
Heaving silently under blue seas of air?--
Darling, I love you, I am immersed in you.
It is not the unraveled night-time of your hair,--
Though I grow drunk when you press it upon my face:
And though when you gloss its length with a golden brush
I am strings that tremble under a bow.
It was that night I saw you dancing,
The whirl and impalpable float of your garment,
Your throat lifted, your face aglow
(Like waterlilies in moonlight were your knees).
It was that night I heard you singing
In the green-room after your dance was over,
Faint and uneven through the thickness of walls.
(How shall I come to you through the dullness of walls,
Thrusting aside the hands of bitter opinion?)
It was that afternoon, early in June,
When, tired with a sleepless night, and my act performed,
Feeling as stale as streets,
We met under dropping boughs, and you smiled to me:
And we sat by a watery surface of clouds and sky.
I hear only the susurration of intimate leaves;
The stealthy gliding of branches upon slow air.
I see only the point of your chin in sunlight;
And the sinister blue of sunlight on your hair.
The sunlight settles downward upon us in silence.
Now we ****** up through grass blades and encounter,
Pushing white hands amid the green.
Your face flowers whitely among cold leaves.
Soil clings to you, bark falls from you,
You rouse and stretch upward, exhaling earth, inhaling sky,
I touch you, and we drift off together like moons.
Earth dips from under.
We are alone in an immensity of sunlight,
Specks in an infinite golden radiance,
Whirled and tossed upon silent cataracts and torrents.
Give me your hand darling! We float downward.
On the ocean of life I
Dropped  thought-pebbles
Resonances in winds
Rebounding in ripples
Actions born in countless waves
Triggering counter-actions!

Cataracts of wonders, suddenly
Vomiting volumes of gold
Pouring golden flames
Into life ocean purities
Bouncing up hills and valleys
In voyage of expectations
Creating realities in emeralds!

Tumbling air in blues
Skies beatific glory binges
In endless waves in azure skies
Echoing sounds of depth
Deeper than the deep
Launching into the Deep
Harvesting immortal gold
Reaping eternal glory!
Victor D López Dec 2018
Your husband died at 40, leaving you to raise seven children alone.
But not before your eldest, hardest working son, Juan, had
Drowned at sea in his late teens while working as a fisherman to help
You and your husband put food on the table.

You lost a daughter, too,
Toñita, also in her early teens, to illness.
Their kind, pure souls found
Their way back home much too soon.

Later in life you would lose two more sons to tragedy, Paco (Francisco),
An honest, hard working man whose purposeful penchant for shocking
Language belied a most gentle nature and a generous heart. He was electrocuted by
A faulty portable light while working around his pool.

And the apple of your eye, Sito (José), your last born and most loving son, who
Had inherited his father’s exceptional looks, social conscience, left of center
Politics, imposing presence, silver tongue, and bad, bad luck, died, falling
Under the wheels of a moving train, perhaps accidentally.

In a time of hopelessness and poverty, you would not be broken.
You rose every day hours before the dawn to sell fish at a stand.
And every afternoon you placed a huge wicker basket on your head and
Walked many, many miles to sell even more fish in other towns.

Money was tight, so you often took bartered goods in
Exchange for your fish, giving some to those most in need,
Who could trade nothing in return but their
Blessings and their gratitude.

You walked back home, late at night, through darkness or
Moonlit roads, carrying vegetables, eggs, and perhaps a
Rabbit or chicken in a large wicker basket on your strong head,
Walking straight, on varicose-veined legs, driven on by a sense of purpose.

During the worst famine during and after the Civil War, the chimney of your
Rented home overlooking the Port of Fontan, spewed forth black smoke every day.
Your hearth fire burned to to feed not just your children, but also your less
Fortunate neighbors, nourishing their bodies and their need for hope.

You were criticized by some when the worst had passed, after the war.
“Why work so hard, Remedios, and allow your young children to go to work
At too young an age? You sacrifice them and yourself for stupid pride when
Franco and foreign food aid provide free meals for the needy.”

“My children will never live off charity as long as my back is strong” was your Reply.
You resented your husband for putting politics above family and
Dragging you and your two daughters, from your safe, comfortable home at
Number 10 Perry Street near the Village to a Galicia without hope.

He chose to tilt at windmills, to the eternal glory of other foolish men,
And left you to silently fight the real, inglorious daily battle for survival alone.
Struggling with a bad heart, he worked diligently to promote a better, more just
Future while largely ignoring the practical reality of your painful present.

He filled you with children and built himself the cross upon which he was
Crucified, one word at a time, leaving you to pick up the pieces of his shattered
Idealism. But you survived, and thrived, without sacrificing your own strong
Principles or allowing your children to know hardships other than those of honest work.

And you never lost your sense of humor. You never took anything or
Anyone too seriously. When faced with the absurdity of life,
You chose to smile or laugh out loud. I saw you shed many tears of laughter,
But not once tears of pain, sorrow or regret. You would never be a victim.

You loved people. Yours was an irreverent sense of humor, full of gentle irony,
And wisdom. You loved to laugh at yourself and at others, especially pompous fools
Who often missed your great amusement at their expense, failing to understand your Dismissal, delivered always with a smile, a gentle voice and sparkling eyes.

Your cataracts and near sightedness made it difficult for you to read,
But you read voraciously nonetheless, and loved to write long letters to loved ones and friends. You were a wise old woman, the wisest and strongest I will ever know,
But one with the heart of a child and the soul of an angel.

You were the most sane, most rational, most well adjusted human being
I have ever known. You were mischievous, but incapable of malice.
You were adventurous, never afraid to try or to learn anything new.
You were fun-loving, interesting, kind, rambunctious, funny and smart as hell.

You would have been an early adopter of all modern technology, had you lived long
Enough, and would have loved playing—and working—with all of my electronic
Toys. You would have been a terror with a word processor, email, and social media
And would have loved my video games—and beaten me at every one of them.

We were great friends and playmates throughout most of my life.  You followed
Us here soon after we immigrated in 1967, leaving behind 20 other Grandchildren.
I never understood the full measure of that sacrifice, or the love that made it
Bearable for you. I do now. Too late. It is one of the greatest regrets of my life.

We played board games, cowboys and Indians, raced electric cars, flipped
Baseball cards and played thousands of hands of cards together. It never
Occurred to me that you were the least bit unusual in any way. I loved you
Dearly but never went far out of my way to show it. That too, I learned too late.

After moving to Buenos Aires, when mom had earned enough money to take
You and her younger brothers there, the quota system then in place made it
Impossible to send for your two youngest children, whose care you entrusted
Temporarily to your eldest married daughter, Maria.  

You wanted them with you. Knowing no better, you went to see Evita Peron for help.
Unsurprisingly, you could not get through her gatekeepers.  But you were
Nothing if not persistent. You knew she left early every morning for her office.
And you parked yourself there at 6:00 a.m., for many, many days by her driveway.  

Eventually, she had her driver stop and motioned for you to approach.
“Grandmother, why do you wave at me every morning when I leave for work?”
She asked. You explained about your children in Spain. She took pity and scribbled a
Pass on her card to admit you to her office the next day.

You met her there  and she assured you that a visa would be forthcoming;
When she learned that you made a living by cleaning homes and washing clothing,
She offered you a sewing machine and training to become a seamstress.
You thanked her but declined the offer.

“Give the sewing machine to another mother with no trade. My strong back and hands
Serve me well enough and I do just fine, as I have always done.”
Evita must have been impressed for she asked you to see her yet again when the
Children had arrived in Buenos Aires, giving you another pass. You said you would.

You kept your word, as always. And Evita granted you another brief audience,
Met your two youngest sons (José and Emilio) and shared hot chocolate and
Biscuits with the three of you. You disliked and always criticized Peron and the Peronistas,
But you never forgot Evita’s kindness and defended her all your life.

You were gone too quickly. I had not said “I love” you in years. I was too busy,
With school and other equally meaningless things to keep in touch. You
Passed away without my being there. Mom had to travel by herself to your
Bedside for an extended stay. The last time I wrote you I had sent you a picture.

It was from my law school graduation.
You carried it in your coat pocket before the stroke.
As always, you loved me, with all of my faults that made me
Unworthy of your love.

I knew the moment that you died. I awoke from a deep sleep to see a huge
White bird of human size atop my desk across from my bed. It opened huge
Wings and flew towards me and passed through me as I shuddered.
I knew then that you were gone. I cried, and prayed for you.

Mom called early the next day with the news that you had passed. She also
Told me much, much later that you had been in a coma for some time but that
You awoke, turned to her without recognizing her, and told her that you were going to
Visit your grandson in New York. Then you fell asleep for one last time.

I miss you every day.

[   To hear a YouTube reading of this poem in its entirety, you can visit the following URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX6w1Pwe7gI   ]
from Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems 2011, 2018
Valsa George Feb 2017
The old man gazed at the sun about to set
And its molten core soon to dissolve in the sea
Scratching his head with tremulous hands
And running his fingers on the stubble of his unshaven face
He held once more tight to his wheel chair

Casually he had a glance at his hands
Those dry, weak and shriveled hands
Gone wrinkled with passing years!
His hands once so busy are now limp
His days once so brisk are now long and dull

He noticed the discolored patches on his skin
Under them the lattice of tortuous veins on the dorsum
They run down to join with the bigger ones
Like small rivulets flowing towards larger rivers

      He remembered how the streams from summits
So vigorously come down with a gush
Also the noisy cataracts somersaulting down,
Leaving reverberating echoes all around
But they produce only a soft musical sound
As they join with the rivers and pass through plains
And finally end in a kind of hushed stillness
Just before merging with the sea!

The old man philosophized;
Life too, is like a river
Fierce and ferocious when one is young
Gentler and sedate after middle age
And slow and sloppy in old age
With this calm acceptance of the need to de accelerate
Wrapping himself in the shawl against the growing cold
He turned away from the window.

Pushing his wheel chair,
He moved forward,
Knowing no haste…..
Towards his bed for another night’s tired sleep!
Though I dread old age, I love old people especially those who are uncomplaining, spending the evening of their life in quiet resignation! I was inspired to write this after a visit to an old man- a distant relative of me, now on a wheel chair!
Terry O'Leary Jan 2019
.             <Well, ShallowMan’s ne’er at a loss>
              <for voicing shallow thoughts that gloss.>
              <With trenchant wit he reaps the dross>
              <when seeking sense in applesauce.>

              <But to his aid flies FactoidMan>
              <who always has a Fact at hand;>
              <with him, who needs a whether-man>
              <to answer “if?” or “but?” or “and?”?>

“Oh ShallowMan, let me explain
the Facts of life to you, so plain,
yet flush with truthful thoughts arcane.
When understood, you won’t maintain
that callowness you think urbane.”

                              “Oh FactoidMan, give benedictions,
                              save me from all contradictions
                              with your knowledge, no restrictions
                              finding Facts, avoiding fictions.”

“Well, when in doubt, you always may
request my help to find your way
through shades of black and white and gray,
and from the Facts you’ll never stray.
Yes, ShallowMan, I’ll make your day.”

                              “Since yesteryear I’ve wondered why
                              I’m served a piece of humble pie
                              whene’er attempting to descry
                              just what’s a Fact, and what’s a lie,
                              and which be Facts one can’t deny.
                              With candor, can you edify
                              me with some recondite reply?”

“Well, as you know, my Facts are Facts
which naught nor nothing counteracts
and things that do, mere artifacts
in dim myopic cataracts.”

“A lie’s a thing which disagrees
with Facts I utter, if you please,
and hides the forest from the trees
ignoring all my verities.”

“And this reminds me of my youth,
with axioms defined as truth
which I selected as a sleuth
(abetted by a sweet vermouth);
I being now so long of tooth,
to contradict me’s hardly couth.”

                              “That certainly helps me clarify
                              whom I can trust: yeah, you’re the guy!  
                              Now, furthermore I’ve wondered why
                              the moon can’t fall and clouds can fly.  
                              What’s called that law those facts defy?
                              And mightn’t I just give a try
                              to make a guess to verify?”

“If you link your facts to law
(ah, please excuse a gruff guffaw)
you’ll certainly flaunt a flimsy flaw
that strains belief and breaks the straw
of what you’ve heard and thought you saw.
(I‘ll leave you with some bones to gnaw
that leave you holding me in awe
when once you’ve grasped and gasped ‘aha’).
So tell me now your ideas, raw,
but keep it short, your blah, blah, blah.”

                              “Umm, could it be just gravity
                              (well, something like a theory
                              that some call Relativity)
                              which pulls the apple from the tree
                              and puts a strain upon my knee;
                              or is that fact absurdity?”

“Ahem, a theory’s just a theory,
not a Fact, it’s all so eerie,
something which should make you leery
as explained until I’m weary.”

                              “If Relativity’s a theory,
                              and a theory’s not a Fact,
                              is it a fiction I can query
                              when I’m falling, ere I’m whacked?”

“Though theories might be based on Fact,
a theory is, in fact, not backed
by any cause, effect or act
which might be salvaged when attacked.
For you, this Fact may seem abstract,
plumb depths where shallow thoughts distract.”

“Yes, what goes up must soon come down
is quite a Fact of world renown.
But theory’s just a heathen gown
to deck the naked King in town,
and when he falls, he breaks his crown
which leaves him wearing but a frown.”

“It surely should be obvious,
the property of Heaviness
(like Godliness and Heaven-ness)
defines the cosmic edifice,
refuting Newton’s flakiness
and Einstein’s spooky emphasis  
on space-time’s 4-D flimsiness.
Yes, Facts like these are copious
(I count them with my abacus);
to argue would be blasphemous
displaying mental barrenness
about the push and pulling stress
when bouncing ***** rebound, unless
one views elastic laziness
as evil Satan’s stubbornness.”

                              “Well now I think I understand,
                              that gravity seems somewhat grand,
                              but’s just, in fact, a rubber band
                              that stretches through our earth-bound-land
                              constricting us when we expand.”

“Yes, ShallowMan, you finally got it,
just as I’ve long preached and taught it.
I’m so happy that you’ve bought it.
(Not a question nor an audit -
you’re so shallow, who’d have thought it?)”

              <Once ShallowMan dipped into science>
              <seeking FactoidMan’s alliance>
              <gaining, hence, a strong reliance>
              <on the Facts and their appliance,>
              <justifying strong compliance,>
              <turning down those in defiance.>

                              “Hey, FactoidMan, another topic
                              leaves me reeling, gyroscopic,
                              dealing with the microscopic
                              in a world kaleidoscopic.”

                              “Within the realm of vacuum loops
                              Dark Energy in quantum soups
                              of anti-matter sometimes swoops
                              across inflation’s Big Bang stoops
                              where space-time ends and matter droops.
                              Do you believe, or just the dupes?

“It’s nothing but a passing phase,
(a theory that in fact betrays
obscure occult communiqués
that fevered fantasy conveys)
of those who thump creation days.
Just check! The vacuum state portrays
perfection in your shallow ways
reflected in that vacant gaze
you cast upon the dossiers
of all my Facts that so amaze.”

                              “And what about the quantum theory?
                              Particles not hard but smeary,
                              just like waves? It’s kinda eerie!
                              Facts could not be quite so bleary
                              leaving Bohr, well, sad and teary.
                              FactoidMan, just tell me, dearie,
                              what the Facts are, bright or dreary.”

                              “And then again what are those holes
                              (as black as ravens bathed in coals)
                              wherein the past and future strolls
                              exploiting fields that Higgs controls
                              beneath the shady shallow shoals
                              between magnetic monopoles.”

“The science lab’s a ‘fact’ory
concocting stuff that cannot be
(like unknown realms and notably
those tiny things NoMan can see
with naked eye on bended knee
neath microscopic scrutiny)
and claim they’ve found reality;
they call their god a ‘Theo’ry
(a fig-ment of the Yum-Yum tree)
that leads them to hyperbole
about the singularity
that’s dipped in dazed duplicity
denying all eternity.”

“Here’s my advice that seems to work:
ignore the ones with ‘facts’ that lurk
behind their ‘proofs’ (which always irk),
and being challenged have the quirk
of stepping back within the murk
(indulged, I chuckle, smile or smirk).”

              <Now ShallowMan is quite content>
              <receiving FactoidMan’s consent>
              <to quibble and express dissent>
              <as long as keeping covenant>
              <with fingers crossed and belfry bent>
              <when viewing Facts in sealed cement:>

                               “The Facts you give me circumvent
                               those ‘truths’ your chuckles supplement;
                               although they might disorient
                               they can’t be wrong, I won’t dissent,
                               just using ones which you invent.“
“(No need of source in that event).”

                               “Your wise advice is simply sound
                               in cases where a game is bound
                               to parcel points out round by round
                               or else on verbal battleground
                              where know-it-alls are duly crowned.”

              <Though ShallowMan is kinda slow>
              <he still takes time to learn and throw>
              <his facts and theories to and fro,>
              <amazing facts which seem to show>
              <that theories sometimes come and go,>
              <returning strengthened with the glow>
              <of new found facts (for which to crow)>
              <that fill the gaps of long ago.>

                               “Oh FactoidMan, just tip your cap!
                               I’ve found a piece to fill the gap
                               that simplifies a mouse’s trap:
                               if triggerless, it still will clap
                               to give the mouse a mighty zap
                               that makes its tiny back bone snap.”

                               “With mousetrap type simplexity,
                               reducible complexity
                               helps arguments’ duplexity
                               with twists of crude convexity.”

“Ha-ha! That serves to prove my case:
for each gap filled, two in its place,
each growing at the doubled pace;
for unfilled gaps, I’m saying grace
(they help, indeed, for saving face)
Trying to get out of neutral....
don't know whether I'm in first or reverse...
Matalie Niller Jun 2012
Ever seen the inside of a Teletubbie's belly?
I did
that **** gave me cataracts and glaucoma
which lead to injesting large amounts of guacamole
got huge
mostly in the head-
found a homeless man, let him sleep on my couch
he liked to tell stories about his encounters with celebrities
oh which he was one
back in the day, I think he was on Rosanne
never watched it but he was cool enough
we biked to the overpass to drop waterballoons on those who needed them most
like fake-tanned blondes in convertibles
and bicyclers.
I love all kinds of people and can forgive their beligerence
though mine are quite strange
I like canoing in trees and making mosaics from bone fragments and rubies
just a bit of a mind juggler
smacking singles on counters for pregnancy tests and breath mint
tell a tubby his belly is wide
and boy you'll be scoutin' a whole new skull.
Casper J Nov 2013
The green combusts, the cherry sclerotized mask dances above
the invisible paper carapace.
Stuffed full with Rotten skunk innards and burning,
tongues of heat sweat away its crystalline hairs.
Aren is hunched and crooked, all teeth and lungs,
under the mixed halogens of suburban porchlight,
being bathed in bluescale waves from the
strobe of the neighbor's telescreen.
Ropes of smog pour from the slats between his picket fence ivories and get frayed.
I drink the filth, choking down the viscera of the vermin.
It doesn't seem to get easier.

Stumbling inside, my feet detach and I throw myself on the door
until I've locked out the sickly tide pool light of dawn,
and I'm rolling toward his bedroom.
Jolting and sputtering, and
grasping at the hands of the clock,
listening for the steady metronome to
count me through.
And then numbness.
I know the feeling, and next come the
pins, digging into my
fingertips and the pads of my
toes, and then I'm all body and silent prayers.
And I'm whispering sick thoughts to Aren -

"Those adrenaline demons
will do me in,
and if only I could relax,
and my dear mother
used to have a stalker,
and I almost got run down
by a car on the highway when I was five,
and asthmatics are five times as likely to have a
generalized anxiety disorder."


The adrenaline demons gather my tendons in pincushion palms,
tugging at the strings,
panicked arthritis and my fingers are
twitching and curling backwards
while I glare on with shallow breaths and cataracts.
The organs moan in the cavern of my body,
with thick wet air pouring from the opening.
I'm standing now,
a fetishized devil doll,
shaking out the pins
and the needles
and the sick splinters of glass
and the long holy skewers
and I'm breathing again
and I sit and
I breathe.

— The End —