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FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

Hell even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
hickory dickory dock the mouse lived in the clock chewing all the wood
he chewed and chewed and chewed till it was no good
chewed at all the numbers all around its face
nibbled at the fingers in each and every place
he chewed everthing till everthing had gone
left his clock abode and simply just moved on
King Panda May 2016
rain
mud and grass
common prayer
good weather
good people
art
and umbrella bags
because who wants to
get wet?
unless it’s with you
I could
I would
jump into the lake
for that rock
sew
cleanse
initials made in sharpie
and unclamp
we run
around the park
the afternoon surrounds us
the woman in the bikini
passes
and we laugh
iced tea
decaf coffee
cake without teeth
and that airstream camper
you always wanted
I could live in your
backyard
I could live somewhere
not here
in silver
prostrated
with my back to the
moon
like dead
like a mummy
like a mirror
and life would make sense
life would be beautiful
like this run
with perfect amounts of sweat
and conversation that runs
waves in the sand
and tells the squirrels
goodnight, tractor
see you tomorrow

and the land that billows
is dug up
and chewed
like a goodnight poem
this run with you
takes rest
on my soul
and I crack my ribs
to take the spring’s
twilight
aroma
Cyril Blythe Sep 2012
I followed him down the trail until we got to the mouth of the mines. The life and energy of the surrounding maples and birches seemed to come to a still and then die as we walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelt of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a slimy smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” He rolled his eyes.
“Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. In my blinding anger I lost track of his lantern. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I did in Peru.
I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Somewhere in front of me the canary chirped.

When I first got the job in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack said. He handed me the manila case envelope. “He’s lived in rural Vermont his entire life. Apparently his family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When the accident happened the whole town basically shut down. There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly after. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He ships them to other mining towns across the country now. We want to run a piece about the inhumanity of breeding animals to die so humans won’t.” I stood in silence in front of his deep mahogany desk, suddenly aware of the lack of make-up on my face. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”

“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers? Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.” Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me. He relit the oily lantern and turned his back without another word. I reluctantly followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” and hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants interspersed in-between. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good nights sleep and defeat this towns fear of John Delvos tomorrow.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag and pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC. I stepped out onto the dirt in front of my door and lit up. I looked up and the stars stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except it’s sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the stars dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off.
“I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Waters, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Waters, are you new to town?”
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
The stars tiptoed in their tiny circles above in the silence. Then, they disappeared with a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the stars dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Waters. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the cold dust beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed, “See that yellow notch?” Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to find out where to find this elusive Mr. Delvos and his canaries.”
“You don’t have to,” he knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree, “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The stars dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary chirped and Delvos stopped.
“This is a good place to break out fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky this morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Waters.” Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I hurriedly stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased, “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers, I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with flickering yellow brushes and songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so of course I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the birds little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was ‘Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
The canary chirped, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines, but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?” He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast.
“Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Waters, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the CEO’s for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Waters.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Waters. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the little, yellow canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up and the memory of his green and brown wooded homestead fled from my memory as the mine again consumed my consciousness. Dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.
The canary chirped.
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelt of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The Canary was flitting its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminating the surrounding gloom. All was completely still and even my own vapor seemed to fall out of my mouth and simply die. The canary was dancing a frantic jig, now, similar to the mating dance of the Great Frigate Bird I shot in the Amazon jungle. As I watched the canary and listened to its small wings beat against the cold metal cage I begin to feel dizzy. The bird’s cries had transformed into a scream colder than fire and somehow more fierce.
The ability to fly is what always made me jealous of birds as a child, but as my temple throbbed and the canary danced I realized I was amiss. Screaming, yellow feathers whipped and the entire inside of the cage was instantaneously filled. It was beautiful until the very end. Dizzying, really.
Defeated, the canary sank to the floor, one beaten wing hanging out of the iron bars at a most unnatural angle. Its claws were opening and closing, grasping the tainted cave air, or, perhaps, trying to push it away. Delvos unclipped the cage and sat it on the floor in the space between us, lantern still held swaying above his head. The bird was aflame now, the silent red blood absorbing into the apologetic, yellow feathers. Orange, a living fire. I pulled out my camera as I sat on the ground beside the cage. I took a few shots, the camera’s clicks louder than the feeble chirps sounding out of the canary’s tattered, yellow beak. My head was spinning. Its coal-black eyes reflected the lantern’s flame above. I could see its tiny, red tongue in the bottom of its mouth.
Opening.
Closing.
Opening, wider, too wide, then,
Silence.


I felt dizzy. I remember feeling the darkness surround me; it felt warm.

“I vaguely remember Delvos helping me to my feet, but leaving the mine was a complete haze.” I told the panel back in D.C., “It wasn’t until we had crossed the stream on the way back to the cabin that I began to feel myself again. Even then, I felt like I was living a dream. When we got back to the cabin the sight of the lively yellow canaries in their coops made me cry. Delvos brought me a bottle of water and told me I needed to hit the trail because the sun set early in the winter, so I le
Amy Jan 2015
I thought I knew myself better than anyone,
The hours I spent
Stood in front of the mirror
Picking new masks to hate every
Day, Hour, Minute

I thought there was nothing more to me,
The pale skin, chewed fingernails,
The tired eyes
Reflecting the sleepless nights- the morning coffee
I thought I was worth nothing.

One night the stars sent me you,
I still see you as a gift
So delicate and fragile;
One mistake and you'd slip through my fingers
Gone. To someone who deserves you.

You unfurled galaxies in my eyes
Flowers in my mind
And feeling in my veins,
You breathed life into my lungs
Sang promises into my ear -

Filling my head with the thought of you.
You have hold of my heart
As though it was precious to you,
But I know better than anyone, if you let it go
then Darling, so will I.
His stump finger nails traced your shoulder blades, and you couldn't feel that sensation anymore; he chewed it away. And he chewed it away unknowingly, but truly, he should have known... Should have known he was gnawing at you every time he was anxious, or angry, or wouldn't listen or COULDN'T UNDERSTAND. Every time he. Just wasn't. THERE... He just wasn't there anymore...He chewed himself away... He chewed and chewed until there were only smears of blood and pus, and nothing left to reflect on but a hang nail. A hang nail, now, just waiting awhile longer to grow a short length longer so something, SOMEONE... or anything... Could manage to clip it. Tear It. RIP. IT. OUT. As quickly as you could, as quickly, as a band aid. One, that turned out to be such a temporary solution, the irony being he was the stepping stone he had once thought you were, the irony being you were the whole pond, the one you had once thought he was... maybe... So Kicking, and screaming... Yeah, maybe. but that hang nail will be out and that hang nail will be healing. That hang nail will go away, so YOU. One made of such goddesses fire, who forges worlds with such fire like lies, but with such a body and soul to behold. You, who left a love which had left him so inspired; will be okay, and YOU will be alright... Because when his stump fingers traced your body, the only trail that he left behind was that of two beings, who were soaked in blood, with a love gone, a love un-stoked. You will be okay because the only thing you had left to feel, was something that once was, and the only feeling that's left of this whole ordeal seems to be... Something, is so, so, far away... A feeling, feeling much like someone screaming, "What, used to be?.."
I'm all to blame then... I wish you spoke more openly about what I was doing to you...
all my life
i've been preparing faces
to meet the faces that
i've met

friends
family
the man who delivers newspapers
at our doorstep each morning

i've laughed at their silly jokes
as they tossed their heads from side to side
in naive stupidity and their sheer ignorance
a pompous lot, the human race i tell you

i've acknowledged their staunch morals
and tried to make them my own
as they scorned at the girl in a skimpy dress
and chewed on mutton bones gluttonously

all my life, i've been trying hard
to blend in
with people who've shown me
that i don't belong with them

and tonight when i shed gallons of tears
i have only my bed and pillow to share
i've learnt that my sadness
is my very own
just a sad girl writing to survive
Paul Hardwick Sep 2012
Pink panted then chewed
in her Pink perplex active
state this is all she did
but really inside she died a bit
but still felt alive
and chewed.
Wade Redfearn Sep 2018
The first settlers to the area called the Lumber River Drowning Creek. The river got its name for its dark, swift-moving waters. In 1809, the North Carolina state legislature changed the name of Drowning Creek to the Lumber River. The headwaters are still referred to as Drowning Creek.

Three p.m. on a Sunday.
Anxiously hungry, I stay dry, out of the pool’s cold water,
taking the light, dripping into my pages.
A city with a white face blank as a bust
peers over my shoulder.
Wildflowers on the roads. Planes circle from west,
come down steeply and out of sight.
A pinkness rises in my breast and arms:
wet as the drowned, my eyes sting with sweat.
Over the useless chimneys a bank of cloud piles up.
There is something terrible in the sky, but it keeps breaking.
Another is dead. Fentanyl. Sister of a friend, rarely seen.
A hand reaches everywhere to pass over eyes and mouths.
A glowing wound opens in heaven.
A mirror out of doors draws a gyre of oak seeds no one watches,
in the clear pool now sunless and black as a cypress swamp.

Bitter water freezes the muscles and I am far from shore.
I paddle in the shallows, near the wooden jail.
The water reflects a taut rope,
feet hanging in the breeze singing mercy
at the site of the last public hanging in the state.
A part-white fugitive with an extorted confession,
loved by the poor, dumb enough to get himself captured,
lonely on this side of authority: a world he has never lived in
foisting itself on the world he has -
only now, to steal his drunken life, then gone again.

1871 - Henderson Oxendine, one of the notorious gang of outlaws who for some time have infested Robeson County, N. C., committing ****** and robbery, and otherwise setting defiance to the laws, was hung at Lumberton, on Friday last in the presence of a large assemblage. His execution took place a very few days after his conviction, and his death occurred almost without a struggle.

Today, the town square collapses as if scorched
by the whiskey he drank that morning to still himself,
folds itself up like Amazing Grace is finished.
A plinth is laid
in the shadow of his feet, sticky with pine,
here where the water sickens with roots.
Where the canoe overturned. Where the broken oar floated and fell.
Where the snake lives, and teethes on bark,
waiting for another uncle.

Where the tobacco waves near drying barns rusted like horseshoes
and cotton studs the ground like the cropped hair of the buried.
Where schoolchildren take the afternoon
to trim the kudzu growing between the bodies of slaves.
Where appetite is met with flood and fat
and a clinic for the heart.
Where barges took chips of tar to port,
for money that no one ever saw.

Tar sticks the heel but isn’t courage.
Tar seals the hulls -
binds the planks -
builds the road.
Tar, fiery on the tongue, heavy as bad blood in the family -
dead to glue the dead together to secure the living.
Tar on the roofs, pouring heat.
Tar is a dark brown or black viscous liquid of hydrocarbons and free carbon,
obtained from a wide variety of organic materials
through destructive distillation.
Tar in the lungs will one day go as hard as a five-cent candy.

Liberty Food Mart
Cheapest Prices on Cigarettes
Parliament $22.50/carton
Marlboro $27.50/carton

The white-bibbed slaughterhouse Hmong hunch down the steps
of an old school bus with no air conditioner,
rush into the cool of the supermarket.
They pick clean the vegetables, flee with woven bags bulging.
What were they promised?
Air conditioning.
And what did they receive?
Chickenshit on the wind; a dead river they can't understand
with a name it gained from killing.

Truth:
A man was flung onto a fencepost and died in a front yard down the street.
A girl with a grudge in her eyes slipped a razorblade from her teeth and ended recess.
I once saw an Indian murdered for stealing a twelve-foot ladder.
The red line indicating heart disease grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating cardiovascular mortality grows higher and higher.
The red line indicating motor vehicle deaths grows higher and higher.
I burn with the desire to leave.

The stories make us full baskets of dark. No death troubles me.
Not the girl's blood, inert, tickled by opiates,
not the masked arson of the law;
not the smell of drywall as it rots,
or the door of the safe falling from its hinges,
or the chassis of cars, airborne over the rise by the planetarium,
three classmates plunging wide-eyed in the river’s icy arc –
absent from prom, still struggling to free themselves from their seatbelts -
the gunsmoke at the home invasion,
the tenement bisected by flood,
the cattle lowing, gelded
by agriculture students on a field trip.

The air contains skin and mud.
The galvanized barns, long empty, cough up
their dust of rotten feed, dry tobacco.
Men kneel in the tilled rows,
to pick up nails off the ground
still splashed with the blood of their makers.

You Never Sausage a Place
(You’re Always a ****** at Pedro’s!)
South of the Border – Fireworks, Motel & Rides
Exit 9: 10mi.

Drunkards in Dickies will tell you the roads are straight enough
that the drive home will not bend away from them.
Look in the woods to see by lamplight
two girls filling each other's mouths with smoke.
Hear a friendly command:
boys loosening a tire, stuck in the gut of a dog.
Turn on the radio between towns of two thousand
and hear the tiny voice of an AM preacher,
sharing the airwaves of country dark
with some chords plucked from a guitar.
Taste this water thick with tannin
and tell me that trees do not feel pain.
I would be a mausoleum for these thousands
if I only had the room.

I sealed myself against the flood.
Bodies knock against my eaves:
a clutch of cats drowned in a crawlspace,
an old woman bereft with a vase of pennies,
her dead son in her living room costumed as the black Jesus,
the ***** oil of a Chinese restaurant
dancing on top of black water.
A flow gauge spins its tin wheel
endlessly above the bloated dead,
and I will pretend not to be sick at dinner.

Misery now, a struggle ahead for Robeson County after flooding from Hurricane Matthew
LUMBERTON
After years of things leaving Robeson County – manufacturing plants, jobs, payrolls, people – something finally came in, and what was it but more misery?

I said a prayer to the city:
make me a figure in a figure,
solvent, owed and owing.
Take my jute sacks of wristbones,
my sheaves and sheaves of fealty,
the smell of the forest from my feet.
Weigh me only by my purse.
A slim woman with a college degree,
a rented room without the black wings
of palmetto roaches fleeing the damp:
I saw the calm white towers and subscribed.
No ingrate, I saved a space for the lost.
They filled it once, twice, and kept on,
eating greasy flesh straight from the bone,
craning their heads to ask a prayer for them instead.

Downtown later in the easy dark,
three college boys in foam cowboy hats shout in poor Spanish.
They press into the night and the night presses into them.
They will go home when they have to.
Under the bridge lit in violet,
a folding chair is draped in a ***** blanket.
A grubby pair of tennis shoes lay beneath, no feet inside.
Iced tea seeps from a chewed cup.
I pass a bar lit like Christmas.
A mute and pretty face full of indoor light
makes a promise I see through a window.
I pay obscene rents to find out if it is true,
in this nation tied together with gallows-rope,
thumbing its codex of virtues.
Considering this just recently got rejected and I'm free to publish it, and also considering that the town this poem describes is subject once again to a deluge whose damage promises to be worse than before, it seemed like a suitable time to post it. If you've enjoyed it, please think about making a small donation to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund at the URL below:
https://governor.nc.gov/donate-florence-recovery
ryn Oct 2014
Escape pods*
Ferried fears
  Gaping heart
   Falling tears
    Dishevelled mind
     Emotional unrest
    Watered ground
    Familiar guest
   Questioned answers
  Unanswered questions
  Glassy eyes
   Increased tension
    Dissipating hope
     Chewed confidence
    Broken spirit
   Unwelcomed sentence
  Failing health
Unstable mind
Choked fingers
Flying blind
 Pathetic plea
  Stretched thin
    Battered insides
     Uncomfortable skin
      Eventual stop
       Frightful frights
        Perceived freedom
         Within sight
        Bruised being
     Absent gods
    Relying upon
   *
Escape pods
Don't ask...I don't even know...
India May 2018
We perpetuate heartbreak culture,
teaching girls the man who holds her loves her despite the bruises,
or it was her fault; she looked older.
We fetishes shoulders,
prize youth from the young in return for pre-chewed gum,
swallowing tired ideals from those who still wield them like flags,
waving their patriotism on poles of bone before a throne of medieval *******.
They chant mantras with beer stained breath about how 'our' country 'bested' the rest,
but what about the brutality?
The blood split on foreign soil in return for prehistoric oil?
Our land is deemed pure so long as the violence on our hands never reaches our shores,
but the ocean is red and staining our sands.

How can you have pride in a country who's sole identity is based off having the worlds largest navy?
Congratulations. You bombed your way through countless continents, collecting cultures to gather dust on pedestals and alters
We sin on Sundays, drink till we're ****** then wave at the seven deadly's (they don't apply to us here).
We teach preschoolers nationalism before they can walk,
indoctrinate our children before they can talk.
George killed the dragon.
Hood gave to the poor.
we all jumped on the bandwagon before we realised the princess had no choice and the rich still ruled.
There was no voice in the tale for those whose wail could be ignored.

What about those without lines in the script?
Those kicked to the curb, then kicked from it?
Our pavements have no room for nonconformists,
they're tailored to for same mind, same mindless wanderer,
squandering on the lasted polyesters even though that mouth on the street hasn't eaten in over a week.
'God save the Queen' from the vermin;
the homeless have been tossed out of the trash.
Why help them when you could save your cash by turning a blind?
After all, out of sight, out of mind.
Welcome to England, we hope you like what you find
Because we’re not changing it.
when people leave me, i just let them go

cos I'd rather be a chewed gum

that was thrown away in the trash can

than be a sticky gum under your shoe

and be dragged and stepped on by you.
september 28, 2015
saw this when im reading my 2015 journal
zebra Jun 2016
she came to me one day
the *****
beautiful like a girls choir
singing Latina L'Amour
moving her bottom
like a metronome

her ******* a cascade of kindness
that break the hearts of men
they die
for those
blouse muffins
her smooth legs and feet
made for *** art
lickity splits and ****** contortions
while her wiggly *** and ****
tell you
what heaven would be like
hips that sway  traffic
causing pile ups
and fender benders
and make good boys
hopeful about being chosen
perhaps anointed
and judged worthy
but alas  
turn good boys into
chronic *******-rs
in dim midnight closets
or trawling *** criminals

at the very sight of her
my soul buckled
i wanted her
like darkness
needs a lantern
like blood
needs cells

she looked at me
with ****** in her eyes
it would make my **** wet to hurt you
she said with a soft tremor
ill **** yours for hours
tongue toy
losange
gullets prey
girl food

will you earn your suffering
adore my goddess ***
and lick it **** and span
kiss my beautiful feet
with tender devotion
pray for cruel ***** abuse
be consumed
by ******* jaws
thrill me
love me
flood me
with blood
and ****
die for me
my love

as i looked into
her hollowed
desperate soul
so eager
and felt deeply her need
and loved her to tears
to broken hearts mend

to struggle with
the dark angle
unrequited love
to expunge
years of vacant stares
of nameless women
and empty beds
to forget foreboding
bath cabinets bereft
of girly things
like
lolly pop pink lipstick
cherry sherbet nail polish
lacquered hardened coats  
aerated perfumed clouds
of vanilla candies
and fashionable
demonic party masks
over black brooding mascara
on almond eyes
hiding hot embers
cool and staring hungry

while wrenched obsessive
for the feminine
that drag my soul
through long coffin
hollow gullies
that drive me
to invocations
of Hecate
sacrificial blood rituals
voodoo trances
god forms
and black art astrologers
who have the power
to move planets
through space
and change fates

oh so wrong
yet i must
for loves sake
say yes to her
yes to her for pleasures sake
even if in the end
i am left to moan
to howl at a blood moon
with in the confines
of her dark edged
appetite
ascending in sin
as she ***** me
like she hates me

yes my beloved
to vanquish numbness

she consoles
my willingness  
excites
i felt her adoration

be brave for me
she murmured
sadists are cowards
teach me surrender
you are glorious
in my clutches

i made my self ready
positioned my self
as per her instructions
face down
legs apart
on a bed of nails
happy in my pit
as she played
a whole lotta love
by led zeppelin
blood swollen ****
oozy
for her tender kisses
and brutal schemes

the masochists tao

to denigrate oneself
to kiss your goddess feet
to lick your perfect ****
to adore your prim rose ****
to taste your lips of fire
to tangle in your silky locks
to see your eyes a blaze
to drink your saliva nectar
to eat your crumbs
to lick your *** clean
to be beaten
to your satisfaction
to drown in your *******
to hold you close
to take pleasure
in your cruelty
to suffer for your delight
to be
the sacrificial lamb
to be a victim
in an ****** dream
with jaws and teeth

she took me inside
smiled  like a feral
lust twisted child
took out a
scalped handled knife
brushed it across
my tummy and *****
terror brewed
excitement struck
my **** got so hard
she grinned
and salivated
like a Satanic Cheshire
in bloom

she devoured ***** warm butter
as it poured in waves
into her black lipsticked
pink wet mouth temple

oh she said
i like it a lot
do you mind a small incision
my darling

mommy needs
a little taste of hell

her face shape shifted
into a warbled shadow
as she licked her lips
and tickled
her *******
with gooed fingers

cut me i implore
im in the mood
you sweet savage

she opened me slow
o o o o ooow
ooh the sting
don't stop i begged
loving her
voluptuous greed
as she covered me
with heavens kisses
eyes desperate
devouring
drenched through ******
and bestowed
upon me
eager  licks
that swoon
and savage wounds

she took charge
with curvilinear cutlery
she gave it to me hard
oooofff
then good again
aaahhh
then deep and threw
like a spoon through Crisco
a surgeon from hell house
oh so fun she said
she licked my ****
fingered my ***
****** my *****
frenetic
then stuck me with a fork
giggling
not done yet she mused
and then
required of me
that my tongue
obediently pay homage
to her naked mouth ****

i was the pig for slaughter
needles and knives
burned *******
bruised ****
a bleeding torn
pin cushion
eyes teared
back arched
torso writhing
cherry cheeks
blood gusher
her *******
and belly ****
soaked in my blood
commanded me to lick
my own pools
of red plush
for her amusement

a couple at play
in Satan's temple of lust
her face turned to mischief
in a demons trance
her soul
like hyenas
and clawed weasels
all trapped villeins

im done ****** around
with you she quipped
her **** on fire
like a burning house
she plunged a blade deep in my gut
her eyes wide and glaring
like blazing head lights
possessed by hell bats

oh my goddess
for you
over the summit
as i shuddered
arching in torment
curling into a ball
squirming
like a severed worm

her face contorted
with horrors fun
her **** pored forth
tremulous quivers
and hells
brimstone gasms
ecstatic

oh she drank my blood
****** my ****
with kaleidoscopic tongue
like a devils bride banshee
licked my *** clean
filthy *****
defaced me with a drooling ****
and brooding ****
strangled me with nylons
until my lips ran numb
until my tongue dragged
like a corpse in a car wreck
she  whimpered and cooed
suffocated me with her **** ***

stepped on my face
with feet i adore
chewed off my *****
a black mambas kisses
filled my mouth
with hot rocks
that melted my skull
oh cry to heaven
wheres Jesus
as i scummed
up-leaping

the  last words
i ever heard
*** you sure to kick a lot
im cu cu cu cu cu cu *******
for you blood boy
dead dead dead
floppy floppy head
**** like cherry pie
one April dusk the
sallow street-lamps were turning
snowy against a west of robin’s egg blue when
i entered a mad street whose

mouth dripped with slavver of
spring
chased two flights of squirrel-stairs into
a mid-victorian attic which is known as
O ΠΑΡΞΕΝΩΝ
                      and having ordered
yaoorti from
Nicho’
settled my feet on the

ceiling inhaling six divine inches
of Haremina   in
the thick of the snick-
er of cards and smack of back-

gammon boards i was aware of an entirely
***** circle of habitués their
faces like cigarettebutts, chewed
with disdain,     led by a Jumpy

***** who played each
card as if it were a thunderbolt red-
hot     peeling
off huge slabs of a fuzzy

language with the aid of an exclamatory
tooth-pick
And who may that
be i said exhaling into

eternity as Nicho’ laid
before me bread
more downy than street-lamps
upon an almostclean

plate
“Achilles”
said
Nicho’

“and did you perhaps wish also shishkabob?”
zebra Dec 2018
come here with the jackknife and see what I'm made of
i'm **** candy she said
taffy and blood
a steaming deli
doomed chicken of the sea
doll parts, splayed pomegranates
femurs left in a ******; wish bones
eviscerations to admire
peaches and cream sprinkles
skin like cold grey soap
barbed wire ******'s spas
like a toilet flushing
spirographic squiggles
at the museum of modern art

video girl
video girl
video girl
like
butter flies flutter bye

dead movie star dancing
a matinee cyclops
everybody wants a glitter ****
incandescent candy store
a piece of her to take home in little bite size chunks
in a heart shaped pink box leaking red meat
enshrined crucifix; kosher
an **** of heretics like me
and maybe like you

god is whatever is in your heart

i pray to modernism
to be saved
by *** death and resurrection
and a bigger ****
impregnation ghoul
like a solar ******* hero
*** heroine
a Bedouin and a Jew ******* each other off
in a New York City
Holiday Inn
while the Kabbalah and Koran read each other

I packed the suit case
with a yellow mucous colored rubber tube, a razor and stockings
I don't know what ill do with it, but ill think of something

God spins death
so why cant you; or are you to good for that
albeit a narrow construction
to carve my fate in such short order

ill get into my short short funeral skirt and girly bobbles
ill go up and down on you like a yoyo
sea Venus foaming *******
til you flip me over
a deli sandwich
and cut me in two
splattered ketchup
on the blue plate special; extra mayo
while a huddled sabbath of *******, extra ******
groan like Pisgah turned to mulch
indigo shards suicide note
ending in
i don't mind
and precise instructions
please chew slowly while I **** on your teeth
stuck rot
while still kissing you
better bring a napkin and floss

you know I would get hot,
seeing my one way ticket next to your return one

wish we could
**** candy
pastel chew
blood bubblegum
melts in my mouth like quicksand
hissing fruity drops looping
you go down like squid
clawing your way back up half chewed with that hurt look
making wet mud holes blink
dark vapors tear my eyes

you wont need a head stone
your feet will look good sticking out of the ground
with anklets
a fashionista
except upside down
your funeral; a foot kissing ritual
religion; follow dead feet, to paradise

head down *** up
you know; the position of power

your the new aeon
grave stone arches with toe ring twinkles
rectitude striving
hot head buried in dirt
antagonizing worms
because your to hot to chew
like molten core
a zombie ******
velvet tabernacle
smooth leg art
and pretty pointy toes
ascending
where glitter lights shine
pickle brine
green
in a
Promethean ******* ballet
phantasmagorias dark embrace

this is no ordinary love
dialog of paraphilias
surreal horror subversive
a poem about the non-rational sacred
untethered poetry
song of a shattered world


Across the spectrum of religious experiences—from the archaic and chthonic experience of sacred power to organized religion—surrealism arises in that elusive threshold between the sacred and the profane, between the illuminations and of everyday life and the more formal expressions of the sacred. The mysterious, contradictory nature of this liminal zone is embodied in surrealist literature and art: matter becomes metaphor; the ordinary object becomes extraordinary; and images evoke emotional disturbance and ambiguity rather than specific ideas. The ambivalent force of the surreal resists conventional rational categories of intellectual discourse. Behind its elusive potency of mood and charged associations lie the fundamental ambivalence and non rational power of the sacred.
—Celia Rabinovitch, Surrealism and the Sacred
Styles Oct 2014
You seeing me rapping will never happen
Before that I’ll start cappin
Walk off like nothing happened
Since I’ve mastered this art of war
I tend to take things too far
Don’t give a **** who you think you are
Your rap handle doesn’t exist anymore
My rhythms galore, your rhythms manure
Best left in a bag
On your steps
At your front door
Hottest your rap crap will ever get
I’m so polished this is a blemish not a scrimmage
I treat you little *******
Like a teacher’s pet
Up against a Vietnam war vet
Giving you your first shoots
Flipping the script
Double barrel twelve gauge extended clip
Special grip pressed against your lip
Having a hard time talking ****
A pistol whip left your tooth chipped
Fake rappers rapping hard
No street creed; they ain’t legit
This wack imitation ****
Got me *******
Don’t get me started
you rip offs should get lost at all cost
dealing with a real boss I can handle a loss
Testing me lyrically, you must be previously *******
Now you are dearly departed
I’m styling on you I’m wilding
Bloodline of Goliath  
So go ahead start a riot
With my mic on autopilot
You can get chewed like trident
Eating wack MC’s
essential part of my diet
this ain’t even a battle verse
it’s a gift and a curse
running its course
on my high horse
Mischelle Aug 2014
the coffee shop on 1st street
you told me my eyes were warm and belonged here
I shrugged and gulped my coffee even though it burned my tongue
the bookstore on 2nd street
you told me my hands were made of love from the pages I've turned
I glanced at you and nervously chewed my fingernails until it hurt
the music store on 3rd street
you told me my heart was an acoustic guitar that'd been misplayed
I tripped over my shoelace and madly tied them up along with my heart
the arcade on 4th street
you told me my smile was worth all the time and effort because I deserved it
I went to the bathroom and before I left I smiled in the mirrors a little too hard
the beach off 5th street
you asked me what I was so afraid of that kept holding me back
I let the sand crumble between my fingers and told you that I was the sand and you were the waves
city of flips May 2018
the rude gesture when one seeks the inelegant simplicity of
no words;

no words
suffice to say,
magnitude of some offenses requires physicality;
a physicality that injures nothing but the
surrounding atmosphere of
its pride

for it’s pride
that goeth before the fall,
the pursuit of dishonor and dishonoring,
given that,
it shames the giver as much if not more so

dishonor
for words are our truest masters

I'd rather you gave a round shout out of
*******,

for as the parents say these days

use your words

rather than show me your
nail chewed runty midfielder

ah, words...I do so love them beasties
#flipping #thebird
Did you know that
if you pour fat on a stone
God will eat it and
chip his teeth
becoming, ...angry?

Did you know that?

Is that, ...literal?
in meaning...
did God once bite a man's flesh
consuming his shoulder;
like a pork shoulder?

Did God do that?

Maybe God just shouldered,
...the burden of...
silly men and teacher's tales?
Maybe he didn't chip his teeth at all?
Perhaps he swallowed something ridiculous?

I don't know,
Believe what you like...

From space the Peloponnese,
appear like a chewed-up shoulder.


Don't they?
Patricia Tsouros Sep 2013
I thought and thought
I hoped and believed
I cried and mourned
I screamed and laughed

Then I realised it was passion.

My gorgeous
Every moment with you
Crazy for you
The fluff of your paw
Touches my soul
You gnaw at my heart
Endless days
Shortened nights
Awaken to the mystery of life
Picasso book
"Art Can Only be ******"
Chewed
My babe forgiven all
You daze into my eyes
Lips so soft
I am insane for you
Our affection entwined
You lay on my chest
I feel every breath

And I realise it's Passion

Forever crazy for you
This poem is about my new 7 week old puppy Olliepop- I love love him.
Juhlhaus Mar 2019
From where the bridge was, after the first plunge
Soothed the sunburnt skin and the hay-splinters
Loosed the straw stuck in ears
After I left you under the porch light
I stood alone on the other side of the night
Where poplars reached for the moon and stars
And the cows chewed on bits of memory from when
In the cobwebs and calf pens
They were brought to life by your gentle hands

You crossed two worlds to find me in the darkness
But I was not the one you were searching for
You prayed for miracles while
God stood by, arms crossed
Taking in the sunset and the clouds
Like an old tree beside a grave carefully fenced
To keep it disheveled amid tended fields
Thus the cancer had its way and I could not
Fill the void left in your heart or mine

With no more tears to soften dry leather
I put both our hearts on skewers and held them
Over the bridge's burning planks
Too close and they were immolated
Not carefully spun to stay golden and warm inside
So I packed my hollow heart full of nothing
Filled the passenger seat, until
There was only room for me and the steering wheel
And no way to turn
Pagan Paul May 2017
.
So here I am once more, in the playground of the broken hearts.
One more experience, one more entry in a diary self-penned.
Yet another emotional suicide,
overdosed on sentiment and pride.
To late to say I love you, to late to re-stage the play.
Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday'.



The first words you killed me with.
The first Script to make me cry.
The opening song on a plate of sorrow.
The opening sight of my Poets eye.

Your words soaked my childlike mind
as I lost on the roundabouts and swings.
The Jester stands with violin and quill,
composing tears on his broken strings.

I sat and chewed those daffodils
and I still struggle to answer why.
I grew up and left that playground
but its the place where my heart died.

So I never did write that love song,
My words just never seemed to flow.
The martyrs twisted smile haunts me,
my Harlequins head dreams in sorrow.

The game is over.
The game is over.

© Pagan Paul (22/05/17)
.
*First verse from the title track of 'Script for a Jesters Tear' by Marillion.
First heard this song when I was 14, I always wondered why Fish's lyrics spoke so deep with me. I only understood when I started to write poetry.
The album is their first, and the first of a trilogy that also includes Fugazi and Misplaced Childhood.
I am the Harlequin. PPx
.
ceara Jan 2011
I tried
to throw it out
along with the bubbles,
the yellow duck,
and the knickers the dog crudely
chewed

pushed it amongst silled plants,
now it stands,
between Thick Cut Marmalade
and Chlorine Free Baking Cups
a token, painted green with white
Maori dots, symbolizing
the small dreamings
of a tortoise
                                                    
and since this house
is my body, see
how I have placed you
in the kitchen

and I cannot get beyond,
the simple meaning,
of daily needing
love like water, air

and how I don't seek
to see it fully
yet often find myself
checking if its there.
any suggestions on layout??
Cyril Blythe Nov 2012
I followed Delvos down the trail until we could see the mouth of the mine. The life and energy of the surrounding birches and sentential pines came to a still and then died as we left the trees shelter behind and walked closer, closer. The air was cold and dark and damp and smelled of mold and moths. Delvos stepped into the darkness anyways.
“Well, girl, you coming or aren’t you?”
I could see his yellowed tobacco teeth form into a smile as I stepped out of the sun. It was still inside. The canary chirped in its cage.
“This tunnel is just the mouth to over two hundred others exactly like it. Stay close. Last thing I need this month is National Geographic on my *** for losing one of their puppet girls.”
“Delvos, ****. I have two masters degrees.” I pulled my mousey hair up into a tight ponytail. “I’ve experienced far more fatal feats than following a canary in a cave.”
He rolled his eyes. “Spare me.” He trotted off around the corner to the left, whistling some Louis Armstrong song.
“I survived alone in the jungles of Bolivia alone for two months chasing an Azara’s Spinetail. I climbed the tallest mountain in Nepal shooting Satyr Tragopans along the cliff faces. In Peru I…” Suddenly I felt the weight of the darkness. I lost track of his lantern completely. I stopped, my heartbeat picked up, and I tried to remind myself of what I had done in Peru. The mine was quiet and cold. I wiped my clammy, calloused hands on my trail pants and took a depth breath.

In through the nose. Out through the mouth. This is nothing. I followed a Diurnal Peruvian Pygmy-Owl across the gravel tops of the Andes Mountains, no light but the Southern Cross and waning moon above. I am not scared of darkness. I am not scared of darkness.
I stopped to listen. Behind me I could hear the wind cooing at the mouth of the mine.
Taunting? No. Reminding me to go forward. Into the darkness.
I shifted my Nikon camera off my shoulder and raised the viewfinder to my eyes, sliding the lens cap into my vest pocket. This routine motion, by now, had become as fluid as walking. I stared readily through the dark black square until I saw reflections from the little red light on top that blinked, telling me the flash was charged. I snapped my finger down and white light filled the void in front of me. Then heavy dark returned. I blinked my eyes attempting to rid the memories of the flash etched, red, onto my retina. I clicked my short fingernails through buttons until the photo I took filled the camera screen. I learned early on that having short fingernails meant more precise control with the camera buttons. I zoomed in on the picture and scrolled to get my bearings of exactly what lay ahead in the narrow mine passageway. As I scrolled to the right I saw Delvos’ boot poking around the tunnel that forked to the left.
Gottcha.
I packed up the camera, licked my drying lips, and stepped confidently into the darkness.

When I first got the assignment in Vermont I couldn’t have been more frustrated. Mining canaries? Never had I ever ‘chased’ a more mundane bird. Nonetheless, when Jack Reynolds sends you on a shoot you don’t say no, so I packed up my camera bag and hoped on the next plane out of Washington.
“His name is John Delvos.” Jack had said as he handed me the manila case envelope. He smiled, “You’re leaving on Tuesday.”
“Yes sir.”
“Don’t look so smug, Lila. This may not be the most exotic bird you’ve shot but the humanity of this piece has the potential to be a cover story. Get the shots, write the story.”
I opened the envelope and read the assignment details in the comfort of my old pajamas back at my apartment later that night.
John Delvos has lived in rural Vermont his entire life. His family bred the canaries for the miners of the Sheldon Quarry since the early twenties. When “the accident” happened the whole town shut down and the mines never reopened. . There were no canaries in the mines the day the gas killed the miners. The town blamed the Delvos family and ran them into the woods. His mother died in a fire of some sort shortly before Delvos and his father retreated into the Vermont woods. His father built a cabin and once his father died, Delvos continued to breed the birds. He currently ships them to other mining towns across the country. The question of the inhumanity of breeding canaries for the sole purpose of dying in the mines so humans don’t has always been controversial. Find out Delvos’ story and opinions on the matter. Good luck, Lila.
I sighed, accepting my dull assignment and slipped into an apathetic sleep.


After stumbling through the passageway while keeping one hand on the wall to the left, I found the tunnel the picture had revealed Delvos to be luring in. Delvos reappeared behind the crack of his match in a side tunnel not twenty yards in front of me
“Do you understand the darkness now, Ms. Rivers?” He relit the oily lantern and picked back up the canary cage. “Your prestigious masters degrees don’t mean **** down here.”. He turned his back without another word. I followed deeper into the damp darkness.
“Why were there no canaries in the mine on, you know, that day?” The shadows of the lantern flickered against the iron canary cage chained on his hip and the yellow bird hopped inside.
“I was nine, Ms. Rivers. I didn’t understand much at the time.” We turned right into the next tunnel and our shoes crunched on jagged stones. All the stones were black.
“But surely you understand now?”
The canary chirped.

When I first got to Sheldon and began asking about the location of the Delvos’ cabin you would have thought I was asking where the first gate to hell was located. Mothers would smile and say, “Sorry, Miss, I can’t say,” then hurriedly flock their children in the opposite direction. After two hours of polite refusals I gave up. I spent the rest of the first day photographing the town square. It was quaint; old stone barbershops surrounded by oaks and black squirrels, a western-themed whiskey bar, and a few greasy spoon restaurants. I booked a room in the Walking Horse Motel for Wednesday night, determined to get a good night’s sleep and defeat this town’s fear of John Delvos the following day.
My room was a tiny one bed square with no TV. Surprise, surprise. At least I had my camera and computer to entertain myself. I reached into the side of my camera bag, pulled out my Turkish Golds and Macaw-beak yellow BIC, and stepped out onto the dirt in front of my motel door and lit up. The stars above stole all the oxygen surrounding me. They were dancing and smiling above me and I forgot Delvos, Jack, and all of Sheldon except its sky. Puffing away, I stepped farther and farther from my door and deeper into the darkness of Vermont night. The father into the darkness the more dizzying the star’s dancing became.
“Ma’am? Everything okay?”
Startled, I dropped my cigarette on the ground and the ember fell off. “I’m sorry, sir. I was just, um, the stars…” I snuffed out the orange glow in the dirt with my boot and extended my hand, “Lila Rivers, and you are?”
“Ian Benet. I haven’t seen you around here before, Ms. Rivers. Are you new to town?” He traced his fingers over a thick, graying mustache as he stared at me.
“I’m here for work. I’m a bird photographer and journalist for National Geographic. I’m looking for John Delvos but I’m starting to think he’s going to be harder to track than a Magpie Robin.”
Ian smiled awkwardly, shivered, then began to fumble with his thick jacket’s zipper. I looked up at the night sky and watched the stars as they tiptoed their tiny circles in the pregnant silence. Then, they dimmed in the flick of a spark as Ian lit up his wooden pipe. It was a light-colored wood, stained with rich brown tobacco and ash. He passed me his matches, smiling.
“So, Delvos, eh?” He puffed out a cloud of leather smelling smoke toward the stars. “What do you want with that old *******? Don’t tell me National Geographic is interested in the Delvos canaries.”
I lit up another stick and took a drag. “Shocking, right?”
“Actually, it’s about time their story is told.” Benet walked to the wooden bench to our left and patted the seat beside him. I walked over. “The Delvos canaries saved hundreds of Sheldonian lives over the years. But the day a crew went into the mines without one, my father came out of the ground as cold as when we put him back into it in his coffin.”
I sat in silence, unsure what to say. “Mr. Benet, I’m so sorry…”
“Please, just Ian. My father was the last Mr. Benet.”
We sat on the wooden bench, heat leaving our bodies to warm the dead wood beneath our legs. I shivered; the star’s dance suddenly colder and more violent.
“Delvos canaries are martyrs, Ms. Rivers. This whole town indebted to those tiny yellow birds, but nobody cares to remember that anymore.”
“Can you tell me where I can find Mr. Delvos and his, erm, martyrs?” The ember of my second cigarette was close to my pinching fingertips.
“Follow me.” Ian stood up and walked to the edge of the woods in front of us. We crunched the dead pine needles beneath our feet, making me aware of how silent it was. Ian stopped at a large elm and pointed. “See that yellow notch?” he asked. Sure enough, there was a notch cut and dyed yellow at his finger’s end. “If you follow true north from this tree into the woods you’ll find this notch about every fifty yards or so. Follow the yellow and it’ll spit you out onto the Delvos property.”
“Thank you, Ian. I really can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am.
“You don’t have to.” He knocked the ash out of his pipe against the tree. “Just do those birds justice in your article. Remember, martyrs. Tell old Delvos Ian Benet sends his regards.” He turned and walked back to the motel and I stood and watched in silence. It was then I realized I hadn’t heard a single bird since I got to Sheldon. The star’s dance was manic above me as I walked back to my room and shut the door.

The canary’s wings and Delvos stopped. “This is a good place to break our fast. Sit.”
I sat obediently, squirming around until the rocks formed a more comfortable nest around my bony hips. We had left for the mines as the stars were fading in the vermillion Vermont sky that morning and had been walking for what seemed like an eternity. I was definitely ready to eat. He handed me a gallon Ziploc bag from his backpack filled with raisins, nuts, various dried fruits, and a stiff piece of bread. I attacked the food like a raven.
“I was the reason no canaries entered the mines that day, Ms. Rivers.”
Delvos broke a piece of his bread off and wrapped it around a dried piece of apricot, or maybe apple. I was suddenly aware of my every motion and swallowed, loudly. I crinkled into my Ziploc and crunched on the pecans I dug out, waiting.
“Aren’t you going to ask why?”
“I’m not a parrot, Mr. Delvos, I don’t answer expectedly on command. You’ll tell me if you want.” I stuffed a fistful of dried pears into my mouth.
Delvos chuckled and my nerves eased. “You’ve got steel in you, Ms. Rivers. I’ll give you that much.”
I nodded and continued cramming pears in my mouth.
“I was only nine. The canaries were my pets, all of them. I hated when Dad would send them into the mines to die for men I couldn’t give two ***** about. It was my birthday and I asked for an afternoon of freedom with my pets and Dad obliged. I was in the aviary with pocketfuls of sunflower-seeds. Whenever I threw a handful into the air above me, the air came to life with wings slashing yellow brushes and cawing songs of joy. It was the happiest I have ever been, wholly surrounded and protected by my friends. Around twelve thirty that afternoon the Sheriff pulled up, lights ablaze. The blue and red lights stilled my yellow sky to green again and that’s when I heard the shouting. He cuffed my Dad on the hood of the car and Mom was crying and pushing her fists into the sheriff’s chest. I didn’t understand at all. The Sheriff ended up putting Mom in the car too and they all left me in the aviary. I sat there until around four that afternoon before they sent anyone to come get me.”
Delvos took a small bite of his bread and chewed a moment. “No matter how many handfuls of seeds I threw in the air after that, the birds wouldn’t stir. They wouldn’t even sing. I think they knew what was happening.”
I was at a loss for words so and I blurted, “I didn’t see an aviary at your house…”
Delvos laughed. “Someone burnt down the house I was raised in the next week while we were sleeping. Mom died that night. The whole dark was burning with screams and my yellow canaries were orange and hot against the black sky. That’s the only night I’ve seen black canaries and the only night I’ve heard them scream.”
I swallowed some mixed nuts and they rubbed against my dry throat.
“They never caught the person. A week later Dad took the remainder of the birds and we marched into the woods. We worked for months clearing the land and rebuilding our lives. We spent most of the time in silence, except for the canary cries. When the house was finally built and the bird’s little coops were as well, Dad finally talked. The only thing he could say was “Canaries are not the same as a Phoenix, John. Not the same at all.”
We sat in silence and I found myself watching the canary flit about in its cage, still only visible by the lanterns flame. Not fully yellow, I realized, here in the mines but not fully orange either.

When I first walked onto John Delvos’ property on Thursday morning he was scattering feed into the bird coops in the front of his cabin. Everything was made of wood and still wet with the morning’s dew.
“Mr. Delvos?”
He spun around, startled, and walked up to me a little too fast. “Why are you here? Who are you?”
“My name is Lila Rivers, sir, I am a photographer and journalist for National Geographic Magazine and we are going to run an article on your canaries.”
“Not interested.”
“Please, sir, can I ask you just a few quick questions as take a couple pictures of your, erm, martyrs?”
His eyes narrowed and he walked up to me, studying my face with an intense, glowering gaze. He spit a mouthful of dip onto the ground without breaking eye contact. I shifted my camera bag’s weight to the other shoulder.
“Who told you to call them that?”
“I met Ian Benet last night, he told me how important your birds are to this community, sir. He sends his regards.”
Delvos laughed and motioned for me to follow as he turned his back. “You can take pictures but I have to approve which ones you publish. That’s my rule.”
“Sir, it’s really not up to me, you see, my boss, Jack Reynolds, is one of the editors for the magazine and he...”
“Those are my rules, Ms. Rivers.” He turned and picked back up the bucket of seed and began to walk back to the birds. “You want to interview me then we do it in the mine. Be back here at four thirty in the morning.”
“Sir…?”
“Get some sleep, Ms. Rivers. You’ll want to be rested for the mine.” He turned, walked up his wooden stairs, and closed the door to his cabin.
I was left alone in the woods and spent the next hour snapping pictures of the canaries in their cages. I took a couple pictures of his house and the surrounding trees, packed up my camera and trekked back to my motel.

“You finished yet?” Delvos stood up. The mine was dark, quiet, and stagnant. I closed the Ziploc and stuffed the bag, mainly filled with the raisins I had sifted through, into my pocket.
Delvos grunted and the canary flapped in its cage as he stood again and, swinging the lantern, rounded another corner. The path we were on began to take a noticeable ***** downward and the moisture on the walls and air multiplied.  
The lantern flickered against the moist, black stones, sleek and piled in the corners we past. The path stopped ahead at a wall of solid black and brown Earth.
The canary chirped twice.
It smelled of clay and mildew and Delvos said, “Go on, touch it.”
I reached my hand out, camera uselessly hanging like a bat over my shoulder. The rock was cold and hard. It felt dead.
The canary was fluttering its wings in the cage now, chirping every few seconds.
“This is the last tunnel they were digging when the gas under our feet broke free from hell and killed those men.”
Delvos hoisted the lantern above our heads, illuminatin
food
the requirement of life
comes in all shapes and tastes
   and smells and quantities

to the starving
   a bowl of rice
   the bottom barely covered
to the obese
   a five-course meal
   or piles of junk food
   in bright packaging

the starving
celebrate their meals
   in quiet concentration
each grain of rice
   is tasted carefully
   and chewed with care
extracting to the full its scant nourishment

the last one disappears
   with unheard sighs
when junk food and the five-course meal
   have long been finished
Christian Ek Sep 2014
So numb I feel like chewed up gum.
Turning into the black blown out smoke from my lungs. Reduced life span, who knows when it could be done. So how much do you value life ? Will you leave the city's cage and go on the run, chasing the sunset, drunk of ***, in search of love. Some choose money as the total sum of success. It is too easy of a hunt. I'm embarking on an expedition to uncover the mystery of total freedom. To put it bluntly, I will never slow down like a slug. You can't hold me down until I've found my treasure hidden somewhere on this globe. One day i'll disappear and become unknown. Because birds leave the nest and my turn is next.
Miles Hartfelder Jun 2012
open field, ***** hands, chewed-down nails

I stood at my door and had a fine breakfast:
warm breeze over-easy on a gravel-bagel,
a side of spiced bird calls tasted envious,
baked humidity that I ate with my feet,
O, to be a head chef of intention.
Build in a very humble way
Its architecture redolent of Europe,
Plain and honest in structure,
The vestibule at the entrance
Replete with old hardbound books
Dust covering the jackets
In their agony of human oblivion,
Every section has shelves under lock
Only to be open on permitted access.

Located in the desert like an oases,
But the desert of readers not waters,
But like any other oasis, it is useful,
At most to the genuine users.

There are books and books all over,
Windows only open after adjustment,
You start at the door step with classics,
Indian, European, American and global classics,
I pumped into Leo Tolstoy at the first glance,
Finely juxtaposed; Anne Karenina after War and peace.

I opened war and peace and I chanced on Napoleon
Then thrill of intellect and bliss of art
Began flowing into my guts like a river
I kept on wandering why Leo Tolstoy
Never became a Christian sub religion,
To be added to the two testaments,
For it to begat the post-modern holy Bible.

My physical peregrination of the hand
Led me to a vase of rosy wine
Its intellectual whiff surpassing all,
The psalms of David and songs of songs
This was nothing but precious discovery;
A thousand Rubiyats of Omar Khayyam
The shoulder of wisdom and love of God
The hero of Sufism and demystifier of heaven,
When in fact I came unto his 69th Rubiyat;
I have heard people say
that those who love wine are ******.
That can't be true, that clearly is a lie.
For if lovers of wine and love are bound for hell,
heaven would be quite empty!

I chewed and chewed fortune out of Rubiyats,
I went through all the thousand Rubiyats,
Only hot Sun and desert sand storms of Lodwar
Are my witnesses among the myriads of bystanders
As life of a reader is similar to the life a writer,
They both derive energy from solitude’s power.

I moved on again to Alfred Jarren
The son of France, the father of mystery;
Pataphysics the science of fantasy
It has the realm beyond metaphysics,
His survey of pataphorical world
Has remained witchcraft
Beyond my simple soul’s grasp.

Paradox is one other worldwide wonder
As I look at an illiterate Turkana Man,
Guarding the library, club in his hand,
His ever week from stubborn hunger,
His sires never go to school, perhaps culture
I looked at him often in my pause for muse,
Why guard knowledge that you can’t use?

I again came upon the Quran
I read it voraciously over and again,
In expectation of great knowledge
Always making Muslims to be noisy,
I have found nothing great in the Quran,
Only regular subversions of Biblical grammar,
Let Muslims sober up to respect Jesus Christ,
His sermon on the Mountain is perfectly enough
as an impeachment to crazed pataphoricals
That Muslims often dare the world with.

I read the Bible again in repetition
Of what I had did ten years ago,
I read psalms, Job and Isaiah,
Gospels and epistles are more nice,
Chronicles and Habakkuk are so dull,
Lamentations are somber poems,
Revelations are esoteric lies,
Kings and Samuel full of chauvinism,
Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are mere clichés
My idea is; mankind can fear God
Minus Jewish intervention.

Now I chanced upon The synagogue of Satan,
A book written by one other crazy American,
His name is Andrew Hitchcock Crichton,
The book is long and spellbinding,
Having historical facts from early centuries,
Chronicling mysterious growth of Jewish empire,
Arranging facts one after another
Dismissing Bush’s anger against Arabs,
Over the bombing of the twin towers
When they are the Jews who Bombed America
As a decoy to induce American wrath,
Thus twin towers bombing was Jewish war ploy
To put Arabs into a rat’s corner.

I came across one funny book
Written by a Indian sage
Its title was Secrets of ***
From male perspective,
I don’t liked the book
For its prurient content,
But to my sad chagrin it was the most read
Its leaves were dog eared and use worn
I spied into the rumour about its tearing,
T it was a hot cake among nuns and priests
Presently living at Lodwar cathedral.

You could also wonder my dear brother
Why a Christian library has works of Marx?
This was my muse as I read Karl Marx,
I mean everything written by Karl Marx,
From Das Kapita to Germany Philosophy,
Selected works to Poverty of philosophy,
18th Brumaire to Integral calculus,
The Manifesto to the letters,
I read Karl Marx as if I was in Russia,
I wondered why Catholics are Liberal
They fear not those who contradict them.

The Holy Grail is visibly placed
In fact at right hand corner,
At the far end on your entrance
I chose to read it
Because of its voluminousity,
The book is about ****** life
Of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene,
This book shares out that;
One time Jesus was found hiding,
Kissing Mary Magdalene, the Grail
In the most affectionate manner ever.

The catholic Library at Lodwar is bad news
It swallowed me like waters of Indian Ocean,
It is located at place called Lokiriama,
It was established by Bishop Mahoni
One other man deserving my respect
He was humble and catholically wise,
Very intelligent and consciously bookish,
His mission was to make the Turkana people
A modern community, but he failed,
He was so disappointed to his hilt
He transferred to the Archdioceses of New-York
Where he began facing problems of the law
On allegations of him being a *******,
I curse the devil for such temptations.

I did meet Yan Martel in this dome of books
His famous book; Life of Mr. Pi
It was my eye opener?
It transformed me from a village bumpkin
To a modern reader of global literature,
I read this book amid my fear of Tigre
But I was thrilled, to my bone marrow
When the main character drunk the blood,
Warm salty blood of the sea turtle.

I got another book with folded pages,
At its mid was the red book marker
Baring the name of the respected priest,
The book was entitled; How to excel as
A ****-******, chapter one focused on gays
Chapter two  focused on lesbians,
But the rest of the book was all homosexuality,
In nothing else, but rosiest terms.

On such encounters I once again went back,
To re-read 89th Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam
It has the following quatrain to echo;
Looking for peace on earth? Foolishness.
Believing in eternal calm? Foolishness.
Once dead your sleep will be short. You may
be reborn as a clump of weeds that will be
trodden underfoot, or as a flower that
will wither in the sun's heat.

African writers were stuffed on one shelve
Labeled African books of English expressions,
But on my request to the project manager,
His name was Peter Kebo, he was Flamboyant
And physically indifferent to Turkana poverty,
We agreed with him to rename the shelves
As; African literature in English Language,
Nobel Laureates are in this section;
Soyinka, Lessing, Coatze and Gordimer
Not forgetting the Egyptian literary tiger
In the name of Mahfouz or Maguiz
I clearly don’t know,
Sembene Ousmane is also here
I read him again for the fourth time,
It’s when I found out the simple truth,
That God’s bits of wood, translates as;
The wretched of the earth,
I read Lessing’s Grass is singing,
She likes ***,
I read Gordimer’s July’s people,
She likes menstrual blood,
I read everything here
As published by James Currey
In his Africa writes back,
I also read the White African Nobelite
Joshua Maxwell Coetzee
He is a wizard of Narrative literature,
I read his life of Mr. K.
I found amusing plots and amusing themes,
I also read Ngugi’s Wizard of the Crow
It is nice; Ngugi is still fighting dictatorship,
Not physically but in a metaphysical manner.

I was again lucky enough
To chance on Caribbean literature,
Is when I read Vitian S Naipaul
The humourist Marxist of Marxists,
I read his Mr. Biswas’s house,
With avidness of an aphrodisiac cur,
His characters like taking a long time
In the toilets, Naipaul is good,
I again chanced on George Flamming
In the Castle of my skin
Caribbean literature stinks of slavery
And counter-slavery.

My landing to the shelve of Latin America,
Was a total blessing; Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Stood out like tor of literature among others,
I began with his Big Maria’s Funeral,
Then I moved on to Love in Times of Cholera,
And then You Can’t Write to the Colonel,
As I spiced my intellect with Melancholic *****,
Then finally I revisited his Stories from Africa
And the Hundred Years of Solitude,
The following morning when I came back,
I read in the newspaper that;
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is dead!
It was sad and poor of me, I mourned him
With long essays and somber poetry,
Then I fell in love with the literatures
of Spanish origin in language sense,
I read Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda
From Octavio I enjoyed coda,
Between Coming and Going and so on,
Neruda thrilled me with his sense of Marx
Especially his poem; on burying the dog.

European classics section arrested me
I never easily moved out of there,
I chanced on ****** and annals of Goebbels,
Reading Russians like Tolstoy,Chenkov,
Gorky, Gogol and Shelynetsyn was lively,
Chewing Shakespeare from cover to cover
Not spearing Pushkin nor Homer,
Victor Hugo was a relish. Emile Zola
And Maugham, I too enjoyed…

Then my holiday in Lodwar was finally over,
But I am soon going back for my Xmas,
I will directly go back to the European section,
I also remember having come by;
The Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie,
I will have to  re-read it with passion,
It is my prayer that this time comes
For I to resume my holy duty
In the Catholic Library at Lokiriama
In Lodwar Dioceses of Turkana County
In the Savannah desert in North West
Regions of my country Kenya.
Sofia Von Jul 2014
Suicidal serial killer bashes the bones hoping to feel nothing
because that would be something
A Swelling self-image pops in the distance
is chewed,
then inflated over and over
this routine never fails to cycle, disappoint, and please
Ethanol injections cuz oral doesn't do ****
give it to me *******
***** I'll munch your muffin just fo nuthin like I'm ****** with y'all
Cuz I surf to fall and smoke to die
In the high where life is inconsequential
to question and I feel less than short
Of supernatural

Who are these new kids?
They dress in tights and pick fights
I can't see your face but I trust the feeling
Damsel's are rescued
blood is spewed
Yet insanity is gushing
The drugs are running out
We might just be super
We might just be heroes

Entropy enters me ripping the glamour and with a stammer I know
This isn't a comic book
Marvel
In awe at these elaborately induced fabrications
and schemes to change the pecking order or chisel
the universe to perfection

The line of schizophrenic and degenerate flees
for the hills
that now have eyes
Aparna Mar 2013
The sugar, the ice, glazed upon the cream buns.
An array of plates of delicacies.
The roasted pig, grunted while being chewed.
Or perhaps, that was the man who chewed it.

She stood in rags waiting to be served.
'What would 2 pence get me?'
They snickered and giggled as she,
Bought a stick of butter for dinner.
light cursed falling in a singular block
her,rain-warm-naked
                                   exquisitely hashed

(little careful hunks-of-lilac laughter splashed
from the world prettily upward,mock
us….)
         and there was a clock.   tac-tic.   tac-toc.

Time and lilacs….minutes and love….do you?and
Always
            (i simply understand
the gnashing petals of *** which lock
me seriously.

                       Dumb for a while.my

god—a patter of kisses,the chewed stump

of a mouth,huge dropping of a flesh from
hinging thighs
                       ….merci….i want to die
nous sommes heureux

                                    My soul a limp lump

of lymph
               she kissed
                                and i

                                       ….chéri….nous sommes
Ken Pepiton Oct 2018
cliche. click
I'm lost without you

you glanced my way and said,
"how do you know?"

I don't.
I won't.
I can't.

You glance away and say,
"maybe so."

Life's the test.
----
stand alone or be rejected
objected
the subject of the action word
conjecturing the meaning

Hector's pride brought the mass.
Was that made sacred? Yechhh.

Higgs's made real,  massive change
end of the world
as we knew it, 2012, mass means more than x-mas

The message in the messenger from Greece's God,
"Hold fast, hold on, Hector, be
hold-- what a drag"

Achilles, shoulda had anger management.

Suppose, Achilles's momma had trusted
whatever the protection was to be,
divine, that kind o' dad,
it warn't gonna let 'im drown.

She coulda just tossed 'im in,
sink or swim, knowing, in her inner parts,
the protector's promise,
memorized, since the red tent.

Pandora's last hope trumps fire,
and flood,

Wee Achilles woulda squirmed, and swam,
invincible, every inch soaked,

it could been, but, you know,
Achilles's momma could not let go.

And the rest is mythtery.

---
the sign said follow the money,

but money is invisible, so I played like
I could see what other folk
saw.

Lot o'them took time to tell me,
"Only believe", or "trust, and obey".
Streets of gold,
we'll slide back
down on silk stockings
hung on spider thread

above the flames

that boil the kettle in the center of
the whole round world,

nobody in our family ever once
believed the world is flat,

nor that Jesus once was blue and had four arms,

stop me.
I was wrong, I, myself, can imagine
Jesus dressed as Rama,
who was blue and had four busy arms, in truth.

hallowed ev'ening of the light,
settling sun, lead in the night, when all
see monsters, every where,

no one will notice me. Watch and see.

OH OH, ****** me by my pigtail, lift me to the third
floor, two stories past tellestial,
kingdom come,
which the mormon at my door testified
the angelic ***** had told Brigham 'n'em,

in the spirit, he agreed, not face to face.

tellestial is as close to hell as a Mormon man can go,
and,
he said, "If you could see it, you'd die to go.
It's so much better than this."

Joe Smith, said that, according to his agent.

I pondered,
chewed a cud, as I could recall, holy cows do.

I leaned back, put one boot to rest,
on the bricks behind my knee,

A modified Crane pose, I suppose.
I folded my arms and stared that boy
right in the eye.

I said, "Wanna try?"
"We gotta bridge up the road a piece,
sure as haell,
we'll see if it's a lie, at least."

Then I repented.
That hell imagined by Joe and all them zionic-messengers,
they was guesses, at the best. But the feelers at my door,
they was bein' tempted
to put their own faith to the test.

I grow bolder. The experiment worked.
I know.
Same ol' story...

-She said it tasted,
okeh,
first time that word was ever heard or tasted.

Cool,
****, cold, evil, winter, summer, sweat, mosquitos, evil cold,
I'm sorry!

How do you know?
What's blame?
Oh, that, and shame, I know that,

epi genetically be guile-ish. gullibility
gone in one bite.

Taste and see, he saw her say, or thought
he did

Like a switch, with more capacitance,
than the cells of knowing can resist,
in the first few months of being matter in time.

Knock a fella in the head
with knowing all the hows of evil,
along with all the why of not,

the most beautiful woman in the world,
no contest,
naked, and he knows.

Thinkin' straight ain't in the plan.
Precedent set forever,
no plan survives first sight of a naked woman after learning what naked means,

according to the tutor in blame,
who sat glumly on Adam's shoulder
explaining as the jist
of the story unrolls, "naked is evil,
you are naked", no word, just
thinkin'

good luck if yer helpin' him stand,
Wham

spoken words heard and
obey essence initial instantiation
revere
lionize,

oops, Idols. The idea of idols. Don't imagine anything like that.

Gabriel came with that very message all over his face.

Knowin' evil and doin' it, not the same.
Learn to drive and do the math,

Then we talk about artifice beyond the ken of mortal minds,
not worry,
it is written, We have the mind of Christ,

but as an augmentation really,
we can fact check,
but, honest,
a heretic has to use any augmentations right,
or the being powers will

objectify his reason for being, and reject him, for

the sin of defining the happiness he ensues.

You with me?
----
This was to be my comment,
but it called out for search engine priority of purpose

Nothin', I was thinkin' --
we never get trick or treaters,
tho' an occasional Mormon team will try to climb my hill,
then I un cussed my thoughts
with my inner self and we agreed.
He who would catch fish,
must venture his bait.
Net criticism's needed, if anything is to get better than this.
Wise ones say, it ain't easy,
but true rest,
I can testify, it's found along the way.

Hallowed be your even-ing, level up,

trick or treat?
not on that old man's hill,
somethin' weird, too peaceful there.
Nothin', I was thinkin' -- we never get trick or treaters, tho' an occasional Mormon team will try to climb my hill,then I un cussed my thoughts with my inner self and we agreed. He who would catch fish, must venture his bait. Net criticism needed, if anything is to get better than this.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
Mashup

Part I

I mashup me, myself, and perhaps thee too.


Excerpts from my poems about poets, poetry and the process of compositions. In chronological order, earliest to latest.
---------------------------------------------------------­------------------

With words we paint,
With syllables we embrace,
Tasked and ennobled,
We are forever fully employed,
Missionaries to all,
You too, are one as well,
Your fate can't be renounced,

when the rusted unborn poem notion is almost done,
but remains unpublished,
for no beginning, no title, can be found,

Then I recall the cornucopia days,
when poems spilled forth like
there would never be a when they wouldn't,

I revisit my old friends, couplets, twins and triplets,
seeded inside every tear, happy or sad,
sweetly and freely,

my old friends, reread,
words rearranged in new combinations,
old poems, plants bearing new fruits,
re-titled all of them, one name,
a collection entitled,
My Solace.


My eyes, my eyes, see only the
Totality of this moment.
When mastery of multi-tasking
Is the single best poem this man ever
Penned with his entirety,
Of which not word survived
For its unspoken silence was its glory.

My compact with you is to
remind us all, through
music, dance, words (poetry) and love,
This is the only compact
with the power of human law.


Color me flesh ****,
Color me blue bottled,
Red ripped asunder,
The sweetness ascribed to my love poetry,
A subtraction of the bitterness of a failed life.
Colorist of my seams, my woven words,
I am white now, my canvas completed,
Waiting for another poet to write over it,
And chaining new words to what was prior writ.

Al,  what you did not ask was this:
With each passing poem,
I am lessened within, expurgated,
In a sense part of me, expunged,
Part of me, passing too,
Every poems birth diminishes me.


You ask me how I find the time,
(To write)
But time is not the issue,
For they, are all prepared, needing only recognition,
For they, are all in readiness, needing only composition.

For who's who in poetry
is all of us!
saviors and failures,
recorders and decoders,
night writers of the oohs and aahs
of dreams and nightmares.

When this poet cannot,
no longer, anymore,
tastes his poems upon your lips,
keep your poems within his heart,
then he breathes no more,
and becomes one who was, yet is,
because of you, in poetry.

Awful poetry, some good, you will write.
But write and write till your heart be calmed,
For even ancient kings felt the anguish  of the soul,
And we profit even today by King David's psalms.


This wizened fool has his hands full,
Mouths to feed, bread to earn and bake,
As midnight is almost nigh,
He rests prone and adds a verse to this old poem
He long ago scribbled down, grimace-smiles now,
Realizing there is little difference tween him and the
Sad Eyed Teenagers of the Lowland.

For poetry salves his wounds still, even now,
Unashamedly, he thinks, hallelujah!

The poem is the afterbirth,
A conflicts resolution, an outcome,
Battlefield debris, the residue of
An exacting vision, a sentiment surging,
And your army of words, inadequate to the task,
Fighting to capture that insight flashed,
Each word a soldier, disheveled,
Crying, let me live, let me be saved,
Let me make a poem,
Let it be inscribed upon my victorious flag.

The poem is the sweat left upon the brow,
Having exercised the five senses,
The salt of struggle and debate,
It's completion, each word,
Both a victory and a defeat.

To write but a single line,
That uplifts the heart,
Eases pain, gives delight to strangers,
And makes you laugh out loud
With shivery pleasure,
That usurps a whole day and night,
That is a poet's true measure.

Mastery of the poetic,
Measured not in quantity,
But in tears of satisfaction
When others love the taste
Of newly born stanzas
Upon their lips,
couplets born and transcribed
In the wee hours of the morn.


You can have my love, my soul,
But leave to me the labor of poetry.
Loving you with words is my domain,
The speciality of my terrain,
So no more hasta la pasta if you please,
And by the bye, I would love some
Tonight, say around eight,
At a restaurant where the moon is
The only light illuminating our faces.

Until you have bent your ear to Shakespeare's sonnets,
Till you have laughed with Ogden Nash,
Wept with Frost, visited Byron's ghost,
Read the songs of King Solomon,
And once you
Despair of being their equal,
Shed your winter coat of worry,
***** your courage to the sticking point,
Begin to write then with reckless courage,
Unfettered abandon, make a fool of yourself!

Scout the competition.
Weep, for you and I will never surpass
The giants who preceeded us, and yet,
Laugh, cause they thought the same thing as well...


All I can say is
En Garde!
I will be coming back soon enough.
because you are my best poem,
and the there will always be another stanza needed...

I am no Houdini, it's quite simple,
After 5 years, I read her like a book,
A book of my poems that she has inspired,
Entitled the Mysteries of True Love.


Each letter, a morsel in your mouth,
Each phrase, a fork full of pleasure,
Each stanza, a full fledged member in a tasting menu,
Perfect only in conjunction with the preceding flavor,
and the one that follows,  and the one that follows.

Taste each poem upon thy tongue and then pass it on,
you know how....

Each word, whether chewed thoroughly,
or lightly placed upon a bud for flavor,
needs the careful consideration of your mouth.

When I hear Shakespeare
My own voice is stilled, it's poverty exposed,
I am ashamed of every word I ever wrote.
Hush me not, for t'is true,
Yet I write on for an audience of one, on but one subject,
A subject, a life, mine,
yet, still unmastered, even after decades of trying.

My poverty exposed, unmasked
for what it is worth, or not.


Lest you think this is paean to men
Another grand male boast,
Be advised this ditty be writty
By a man who, while no longer gritty,
Just put jelly on his scrambled eggs
And ketchup on his toast!

Mmmmmmm there might be a poem
Lurking in that too...

So baby,
shut it down,
turn me on,
make me warm for real,
glide your now practiced fingertips on my grizzled cheek,
whisper a phony "ugh,"
cause I know, you will read
this iPad love poem
and cherish us for evermore.


Soul of brevity, poetically,
I'll never be, this insightful critique,
("Your poems are too long")
I've received in multiplicity, from sources internationally,
perhaps, lucky me, you've read this far?

Surely still a chance that an angel will touch my lips,
my internal parts sign a final treaty, inside an armistice,
night sweats sighs a thing fully forgot,
poetry writing can now be dispatched,
maybe that will be my Act III,
if I can stay awake for it.

Walk a Single Word.
To write a poem, a single word select,
embrace it with a fullness that lovers, family and friends
and the *** who cut you off in the middle lane
do daily provide

Grasp said word, walk it onto a yellow, blue lined, legal pad,
touch said word with the whisper of a single tear, a single curse,
like a pebble in a pond,
said word will miracle expand
hugging you with concentric circles of lines of poetry,
visionary words and stanzas that almost complete themselves
and you

The rhymes you will require, the meter you will select,
no need to struggle, hug your child and as Abraham told Isaac,
God and Google will provide

The simple trickster, a wordsmiths, even your average poet laureate,
got nothing on you that you don't already possess, to offer them
Plenty stiff competition.


Therefore,
My life is mine to take,
Should I wish to choose the
Place, date, the time
To let the poetry cease,
I will announce it mostly gladly
with a blessing of
Shehecheyanu* and a
Smiling "by your leave."

Sometimes the pen, unnecessary.
The poem, fully formed, in his mouth, born.

Silent back labor, unbeknownst the existence
Of such a thing, yet knowing now
His contractions, coming fast and furious,
Eyes many centimeters dilated,
The sac's fluid breaks upon the poet's tongue,
He pronounces in a single breath his
Immaculate Completion

When his hand to mouth, goes,
Like Moses, when he touched the burning coals,
The words are signaled, freedom!
The words announce:
We are now created, conceived and
This new oxgenated atmosphere is now our
final resting place.

This child, the poem, this exhalation,
Once freed, is lost to him,
It's been renamed, retitled,
by hundreds of newly adopted parents as
Ours.


Words needed to create another love poem for my beloved,
Nose and toes, ******* and eyes all regularly poetically,
Cherished,
Now I have knuckled under
And competed a full poetic body scan
And have paid tribute to each n'every part of you,
Even your knuckles...which I am busy kissing
While writing this poem in my distracted mind.

The next time it be for the morning meal,
I will eat it in bed,
far from their kitchen hiding places,
And celebrate my heroics with original
Frosted Flakes and milk,
And extra sugar just for spite!
The bedroom fairies, living under the pillow,
Emerge to beg in iambic pentameter,
Won't get nary a bite,
Until they they return the poems they stole
From my midnight dreams.


I am exhausted. So many gems to decorate
My body, my soul. I must stop here,
So many of you have reached out, none of you overlooked.

Overwhelmed, let us sit together now
And celebrate the silence that comes after the
Gasp, the sigh, that the words have taken from
Our selves, from within.


On and on thru the night,
Riffing, rapping, rambling, and spitting,
Ditties and darts, couplets and barbs,
Single words and elegies,
Free verse and a lot of fking curse words,
It was a moment, a time
that deserved
to be preserved,
and so this poem got writ

You may think this story apocryphal
Which is another way of saying untrue,
But I got his boarding pass and it is signed,
To this crazy poetry dude, long may you rasp,
And it is signed by Mr. P. Simon, a big fan,
And it has never since that day,
Left my grasp


Some poems never end,
Nor meant too.
Alliterative phrases, invitations,
Add a verse, a word, even a sound,
An exclamation of delight,
A stanza in its own right.

Unfinished work, forever additive, collaborative.
Modify mine, pass it on.

Read somewhere some poems never end,
Now I understand that better,
Cause there are no bandages, stitches that can close,
Cause there are no pills, switches that can shut off,
The ripping sound, the cutting noise, the raging inside
Heard blocks away, almost reaching a house where you live,
And dying in the same **** place that
Poems come from after midnight.


And even if I am stranger now,
I'll prove useful to have around,
Giving you poetry precisely couture designed by command,
So I fully expect to be hugging you happy
Soon enough.
You'll see.

No matter combo or organized, a good nights sleep
Elusive
So poetry is my default rest position,
My screen savior.

**So when I warn,
All my poems are copywrighted,
My meaning simple, words crystal,
They belong to us, but mostly to you
Who are reading these words
Mashup Part II  Is now posted.

It appears that I write a lot on this topic.   Anyway all theses are indeed snippets from poems  I wrote  and have posted here.  Started with the oldest poems May 18 and working my way thru 'em
Ken Pepiton Nov 2018
life more abundant calls forth an expandable reality primo,
thus wisdom, the principal thing when-ce all other
things may be made

machine level codifiers ifying
meaning back into idle words.

Keep the secret. Answer the call,
who will help the widow's son?

You, Templar, what message bear ye to my child?,
asked the widow.
Fi-del-e-tus. with a squeeze and a tap,
wink and grin

Poet, who named the prophet?
who named the teller to tales?
who gave thee hearing ear and seeing eye?

Some mind imagined those as yet unformed in forever past.
You agree. You experienced living, so far.

So good, we move on, figurative re re re al-it if-ity
Haps apt to appear be fore your veri variety of being even
hapt as a thing thought, imagined made for a function, as yet

undone. Conserve the NULL set, that whole idea is dangerously
close to fading…

Have you seen those videos of soap bubbles filled with H
and no O?
You should see those, to recall the phenomenonal pre-dictatorial
image, see the bubble, invisible but
for reflection of ambient ambits in our epigenetic radiosphere,

bubbles collapse, and for a flash, flame orange shaped
as the bubble was.
No ex-plo sion it-a-tivity, mere dis cipation,
loss of grip on the shape of things that were, now
con forms to re per ceive,

try again, get a good grip, swing and a miss, go again
take a Mulligan, I think, some game has such a rule,

We can use it here. We can scroll back up,
like a rope lift on the bunny hill at Big Bear, back when…

wheels in wheels, bubbles in bubbles, forms in forms

this is the information age I was informed. Adamkind, those
qubitical, ambitical little images of

Who, who? would a name comfort-you worth more than a breath?
Fresh air after a minuted moment twixt out and in again,

Power, create ific power haps twixt out an in again,
the cipitation, the d was missed, what if it were not?

re-read, religion once meant that, re-connect, too,
religion meant that state of having re-read the map,
re-tied the worth carrying,
stacked the worthless by the trail so
some hapless stranger may see
the treasure it was and is, to any who care to

receive, or con ceive it for the
truth I found in it and kept, which I leave to you
here:
Both treasure and truth are where ye find them,
and shall be for ever, when ever starts for you.

Ezekial, judge my riddle, please. The fool missed the
point of conception…
No, no no no

A fool's dance in a Phrygian cap with useless, symbolic wings…
gee, Phrygian, means nothing to you? Google it, you live in the future.
Later,
A time upon which a Mercury dime would comfort
a rich American Tyrant, son of the Flim-flam man,
no lie, this is mythic, you can't make this stuff up
its history. Hysterical, right
John D. Standard-for-Petropower-manifestation,
the dead's carbon footprints bubbling up
to fire and fridgin' ice, whoa, who broke the world,

I was distracted. Did you know the planet is
as self healing as those scabs on my grandkids knees?

ah, caper, eh? Capere, to grasp, to take,
ceive means accept by taking,
be liefing an idea ceived ex nihilo, is likened unto

Drinking from a still pond in a distant land. Sults,
results. may result in,
Dear Rhea revenging Montezuma, at a gut level.

However, a sort of how in an open mind facing forever,
a sort of omni-directional saliency
seeing further,
--Bomb, Jesus-bomb--

At least two reasons for thinking Jesus is objective, out side
you or inside you. You aren't Jesus. Jesus is a friend of mine,
in my mind, object-if-I-try
to pray, listen pray hopes
happen
shapes form
forever from ever point, every point, not of, in buy

a why..
why does a y on the end of every mean any thing?

That's the y-factor. You will learn why wise men still seek those.
As treasure, they are light, and the taste is beyond

the grasp of tongue to tell

that whole class of moded-ever words weave wards
whenever, forever, however, whatever
used proper, everafter,
that will save Dresden, some time, we think.

However, now, Rhea by name has entered the game.

Who is this named femofame? What game is she good in?
Or does she just knock the **** out of lying spirits?
Cool.

Ah, mother of all the gods, I recall, I mean
I meant to say
I remember, then I for got the power words hold here
exactly heare in eleven metrixed mentions,

this point, in time, not of time.
In the world, not of the world, you've heard the pharse?
The allusion is not lost on you, you know the phrase,

In the world, not of the world, holier men than I have
claimed to be, while I follow a few fine words,
linguistic kief, sprinkled fairy dust, like the stuff
captured in the gleaming film on your
microscopic-outer eye

see a salient point in time.

A pin point 'pon which one,
no more,
one story begins for ever, a gain in good net
value, if

we have tasted that word, chewed the gristle,
indigestible ligaments and sin-yews and such,
which once anchored meat to bone,

value is first good. Good e nough, nough
Gut genug, okeh,
maybe not my best, my best is yet to come, they say.

sufficient for today
------

enough (adj.)
c. 1300, from Old English genog "sufficient in quantity or number,"
from Proto-Germanic compound *ganog "sufficient"
(source also of Old Saxon ginog,
Old Frisian enoch, Dutch genoeg,
Old High German ginuog, German genug,
Old Norse gnogr, Gothic ganohs).
First element is Old English ge- "with, together"
(also a participial, collective, intensive, or perfective prefix),
making this word the most prominent surviving example
of the Old English prefix,
the equivalent of Latin com- and Modern German ge- 
(from PIE *kom- "beside, near, by, with;" see com-).
Second element is from PIE *nok-, from root *nek- (2)
"to reach, attain"
(source also of Sanskrit asnoti "to reach,"
Hittite ninikzi "lifts, raises,"
Lithuanian nešti "to bear, carry," Latin nancisci "to obtain").

As an adverb, "sufficiently for the purpose,"
in Old English; meaning
"moderately, fairly, tolerably" (good enough) was in Middle English. Understated sense, as in have had enough "have had too much" was in Old English (which relied heavily on double negatives and understatement).

As a noun in Old English,
"a quantity or number sufficient for the purpose." As an interjection, "that is enough," from c. 1600. Colloquial 'nough said is attested from 1839.

From <https://www.etymonline.com/word/enough#etymonlinev8703>
Godliness with contentment is great gain, a precept I was chewing on following a ritual holy day of gratitude to goodness for goodness sake in my cultural gut genug state of mind.
Tea Oct 2013
You cant tell that behind my red lipstick
And matching clothes I wear a secret
I live out of a bag, but not out of regrets
My life is a story that no one had the time to read yet
Its deep, long but filled to the brim in secrets
Someone sees me and wouldn’t believe me
When I say
I am
homeless
Life happens and that’s okay
I took a chance and it didn't go my way
And I walk through a autumn day and see homeless people
Just
Like
me

I walk through the wit past the deer head painting on the bridge
A homeless man who always sits says
Good morning
I give him a grin and I can tell it made his day
Some kinda sad bearing down, as it begins to rain

I remember when I was moving out into the world
Boxes packed,rain fell in sheets
I gave out boxes of coats, and hope for warm feet
And someone said it was nice of me
Something
died
in me

Would you not do the same for me?
What happened to humanity?
I wonder what would happen
if my friends were different
if a couch wasn't an option
I'll move on then
I see myself in an old mans crazed eyes
As he sits at the bus station voided and deprived
And something inside of me dies a little
When everyone sees
With cast away eyes
Difference in a little
lipstick
Age
Time
A little more life
That didn’t go right
Without this break I wouldn’t have got
The full time job
My way back on top

And they key to his heart
Is as simple as socks
You should look away
Feel some kind of shame
You can at least say good morning
Remember his name
or at least see him as human
I wonder what would happen
If I didn’t have red lipstick
Life had chewed me up a little longer
Would you walk past me
In your Cold steel armor?
homeless
or hopeless
you pick the title
palladia Jun 2013
awkward is a promiscuous word. it flirts unintentionally. it seduces mentally. but most of all it's so disruptionally absurd even the first-come-first-serve basis comes 15 feet behind the typical quota. but it really isn't that serious. it would be awkward plus if i wasn't active right now. does that sound appealing to anyone? well it better. i'm no vanguard when it comes to distribution of emotions. they'll be distributed equally, thank you, and don't worry about getting more 'cause they'll be pieced out safe and fair. lord jesus, we need some sorrow-getter-overs in here! i'm always telling those who ask me for advice to relinquish the suffering and let the good times roll. not that it'll save their hides, i snicker mimically and divert the attention to something inappropriately interesting, like a ***** bumper sticker or a animal corpse on the side of the road. and you are gonna turn into one if you don't stop that crying! man i need some fresh air and i'm not talking about the innocent kind. it's more of the obvious, over-cynical cyanide-soaked air that formaldehyde would blush over. there are two r's in sorrow because the s and the o and w need to be capsized into one rowboat. i never thought i would compromise intimacy with loudspeaker attention-grabbers and then the sailboat does a belly-flop and lands head first in the witches' cauldron. which is like Hamlet's, but a lot less systematic and bunches more pagan. it's synthetically miserable but enigmatically moral. dance of the morals is another program i like. it has to do with the regard of selfish hope and loose pragmatism. pagan! ****** i know it's pagan but it's pigheaded trash like that which gets stuck in the garbage disposal ever so often and we don't have no time to clean it out. i use a fish net that once occupied a corner near the stove which had the net chewed through by ***** rats that inhabit the lower quarters of the bathhaus. it's nothing significant really but more or less a principle in not making leftovers from the unknown trashpile near the barn. attention: entrance alert. "too bad for" who cares. i'm sick of this. "too bad for". that's all said? "let's chat a lot" what? i thought maureen was coming over at 7? who left the cat out again--the dog's gonna have a field day playing cops and robbers, and there are always reallive guns. and i'm stuck back at square/ground one/zero figuring out how i'm gonna get the next day's meal without having to cut off my head or make the microsoft paper clip icon appear with those embarrassing clips telling you how you should appear to your boss on your first interview. and find out that he's a man after all. and ultimately regret what you said every two minutes. wish i had contributed crescents more to the goodness, and not brush over like a stuckist's paintbrush. he's actually using blood instead of acrylics- that's when i get running. wish i hadn't have done that. wish i hadn't. we "hadn't" too much, you know? i wish we had to have "hadn't" before it hadn't have been created. still my emotions are sold and i've cast a mold far too ugly to be a stupid cupid. can we get on with the show, please? no thank i've had enough cranberry pie for right now, maybe buttercup the parrot can have the rest? the cat hates water. then why is he swimming in the dog dish? i'm not complaining, just hesitating to say how i feel when i want it. yeah, i know you're looking at me make a sucker outta myself on your camera. all those poses weren't hard to accomplish but you aggrandize the bad and disregard that i actually have good talent after all. crazy 8s. thought i'd never compromise. thought i'd never make a sport out of tantalizing the shopkeeper's parakeet. yeah, they're playing that game everyone calls a bore cuz it is one. why not roast a marshmallow then find a salamander caught between the chocolate and the *******. and we can't have them crackers anyways cuz there's got gluten in them. can we take a walk, i have something to tell you? i have to tell you about my personal life. i don't care if you're bored. darwin was never bored, fyi. i don't want to hear your juvenile complaints anymore. you're always telling me your problems but you never let me talk. but why would you care? and no way am i gonna share? not there. still. you're still not coming around cuz you're crying and i can't take it anymore. stop the tears, i already told you just take another pill and you'll relax. your life can stop in a heartbeat because some freak told you to stop ******* with the power outlet and make an attempt on making it right. how am i gonna make it right? seems good to me to get up and go and never return. seems right to let it all hang lose and think of excuses as a way to win some money. i'm not the principle breadwinner around here, but i'd bake enough bread to feed an army if i had to. a whole cohort of emotional bigots who don't care anything about their stupid, money-******* societies. it's leveled to the drain again, yeah i know you don't understand. i'm done asking. please? do it for me? don't you know i'm hurting myself because... i'm not listening. don't you want to know i'm cutting my flesh because... i have to water the garden. oh dear what was that? whew! almost another collision with a bee. whew--another close one. what about the spiders in the cabbage bed? what why didn't you tell me? yeah, the cabbage patch has produced more memories than heads, and no not those types of heads. a mashup of what i hate most and what i hate least scourged outta me in a whirl. she's going to take a walk. the radio's on and it's hot in here. those maudy days of summer, but i love every shred of them like i do a coat in the winter. the radio's playing my song: doomsday magnificat! i like leather and metal combinations that are sold in a 60s oz town. you can tie and whip me if you conscience can, but not now. it's another adage gone to the birds. oh no the shopkeeper's parrot is out again and i didn't do it! how come i'm blamed for things i don't do? get over it. another fact of life. another testimonial head my way. dodge! that was a flying saucer that almost razed your head. you wouldn't care though because enough has happened today to make your head spin even faster than it already is. and they're real-live which makes me keeping fumbling my too-short curls disintegrated by sheer chauvinism and belated princeness. that's alright. i know how you feel. i know how the world feels because i am the world. and the world is my canvas. and i may dictate what you are allowed and i may waver onto what laws of principalities are shooting up everywhere, but it's okay 'cause there's a lot more to shoot than good time. and those wacked people can form an alliance and take down the stronghold because in reality, you know that you are wacked yourself to say that. i'm sorry you did. the world will keep spinning, snipers will keep killing, conservatives will keep protesting, parents will keep levitating, children will keep withholding, the days will keep heating, the pool will be more refreshing, and yeah mrs. renttib is still coming over. the world is new. and i am young. but we will all stay safe and good in this empyrean. because and i created it. and i established the surveillance cameras, which are everywhere, but don't feel pressed. yes, i'll forever watch your every move, and even though you've done good, i'll still send you to hell. because you belong there. you may begin now. make your tread strong yet gentle. it's not my expense, the water is cooler out here,
                                                                ­                             anyways.
i've had a rotten day, but i wasn't involved, rather- others force it upon me, for condolence's sake.

ah, you've got plenty to be thankful about so why bother complaining? i often try to analyze this, because my life isn't perfect and i'm often ****** into an uncomfortable state, even when i had nothing to do with it. this was written during (+ after) a family argument about help and those who shouldn't help us, and telling others first, and letting everyone know. i think it's better to keep it to yourself or see a psychologist than starting a whole mess like this again. i know people hate that i don't like opening up and sharing but i'm doing it for the good of everyone. i'm the breadwinner of myself; others will only make me file more tax returns, it seems! so i'm upset and nervous and kind of scared. i want to explore it in a different angle and if i have to be crass and confrontational to do it, i say "full speed ahead!"

— The End —