Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
howard brace Oct 2012
Stood rigidly to attention either side of the hearth, the two bronze fire-dogs had been struggling to maintain that British stiff upper lipidness, which up until earlier that evening had best befitted their station in life... indeed, for the last half hour at least had become brothers in arms to the dying embers filtering through the bars of the cast-iron grate, passing from the present here and now, having lost every thermal attribute necessary to sustain any further vestige of life... to the shortly forthcoming and being at oneness with the Universe... only to fall foul of the overflowing ash-pan below.  This premature cashing in of the coal fire's chips could only be attributed to the recent and prolonged thrashing from the Baronial poker... and a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the family retainer, whom it appeared, required spurring along in a like manner... and while unseen mechanisms were heard to be engaging, then resonating deep within the Hall... that unless summoned... and quickly, the housekeeper had little intention of making an appearance of her own choosing and re-stoke the Study fire while the BBC Home Service were airing 'Your 100 Best Tunes' on the wireless, leaving the heavily tarnished pendulum to continue measuring the hour.

     An indistinct mutter and snap of a closing door latch sounded in the immediate distance as the unhurried shuffle of domestic footsteps... not too dissimilar from those of Jacob Marley's spectral visitation to Scrooge... echoed ever closer along the ancient, oak panelled hallway without.  Their sudden cessation, allowing the housekeeper ingress to  the book lined Study, was by way of sporadic groans from unoiled hinges, door furniture that voiced the same overwhelming lack of attention as that of the fire-grate set in the wall opposite and presumably, from the same overwhelming lack of domestic servitude.
     "Had his Lordship rang...?" the Housekeeper wailed dolefully, giving her employer what might casually pass for a courteous bob... and in lieu no doubt, of Marley's rattling chains, padlocks and dusty ledgers... "and would there be anything further his Lordship required..." before she took her leave for the evening.  The notion of a sticky mint humbug warming the cockles of his ancient, aristocratic heart gave her pause for thought as she rummaged through her pinafore pockets, then thought better of it, after all, confectionary didn't grow on trees...  In bobbing a second time she noticed the malnourished, yet strangely twinkling coal-scuttle lounging over by the hearth, whose insubstantial contents had taken on an ethereal quality earlier that evening and had now transferred its undivided attention to the recently summoned Housekeeper, who was quite prepared to offer up a candle in supplication come next Evensong were she mistaken, but the coal-scuttle's twinkle bore every intimation of giving what appeared to be a very suggestive 'come-on' in return... and had been doing so since she first entered the room... 'and did she have any plans of her own that particular evening', the coal-scuttle twinkled suavely, 'perchance a leisurely stroll down by the old coal cellar steps...'  Now perhaps it was the lateness of the hour which had caused the Housekeeper's confusion that evening, or perhaps an over stretched imagination, brought on through domestic inactivity, but it wouldn't take a great deal to hazard that a lingering fondness for Gin and tonic played no small part towards her next curtsey, which she did, albeit unwittingly, in the unerring direction of the winking coal-scuttle.

     With the household keys as her badge-of-office, jangling defiantly from the chain around her waist, the housekeeper began inching back the same way she came, back towards the study door and freedom... and back into the welcoming arms of her 1/4 lb. bag of peppermint humbugs and the pint of best London Gin she'd had to relinquish prior to 'Songs of Praise...' and which was now to be found... should you happen to be an inquisitive fly on a particular piece of floral wallpaper... half-cut, locked arm in arm with the bottle of Indian tonic water and in the final, intoxicating throws of William Blake's, 'Jerusalem...' hic.

     "Ha-arrumph..." the elderly gentleman cleared his throat... "ah Gabby" he said, lowering his book and placing it face down upon the occasional table set beside him.  The flatulent groan of tired leather upholstery made itself heard above the steady monotony of the mantle-piece clock as he stood and chaffed his hands in the direction of the bereft fire, "Oh! I'm sorry your Lordship, then there was something...?" as she maintained her steady but relentless backwards retreat unabated, the double-barrelled bunch of keys taking up a strong rear-guard action and away from the well disposed coal scuttle... "and was his Lordship quite certain that he required the fire stoking at such a late hour..." she dared, "perhaps a nice warming glass of port and brandy instead" gesturing towards the salver, long since tarnished by the half hearted attentions of a proprietary metal polish... "and would he care for..." then thought better of offering to plump the chair cushions herself, having discovered Mort, the household mouser in the final stages of claiming them as his own, deftly rearranging the Victorian Plush with far more than any noble airs or graces.

     "Poor Mrs Alabaster, you will recall Sir, I'm sure..." a pained expression crossed the Housekeepers face as she collided with a corner of the Georgian writing bureau and bringing her to an abrupt halt... "her late Ladyships lady" she continued, indiscreetly rubbing her derriere, "whose services your Lordship dispensed with at the onset of last Winter, shortly after the funeral, God rest her late Ladyship... when you made her redundant... and how she's been unable to find a new situation ever since on account of her lumbago flaring up again, seeing as how it's been the coldest January in living memory", which in all likelihood meant since records began... "and SHE didn't have any coal either... or a roof over her head for all anyone cared... begging yer' pardon, yer' Lordship", letting her tongue slip as she attempted yet one more curtsey... "and it's wicked-cruel outside this time of year Sir, you wouldn't turn a dog out in it..." and how ordering the coal used to be Mrs Alabaster's responsibility...

     "Oh no, Sir", as she unsuccessfully stifled a hiccup...she would be only too delighted to rouse the Cook, especially after that dodgy piece of scrag-end they'd all had to suffer during Epiphany, but it was only last week that the Doctor had confined Cookie to bed with the croup... "as I'm sure your Lordship will recall..." as she attempted a double curtsey for effect, the despondent coal-scuttle now all but forgotten, "that below-stairs had been dining on pottage since a week Friday gone... and it tends to get a little moribund after almost a fortnight your Honour... and that Mrs Cotswold's rheumatism was still showing no signs of improvement either by the looks of things... and was having to visit the Chiropodist every fortnight for her bunions scraping... and how she's been advised to keep taking the embrocation as required".

     As a young woman, any disposition her grandmother may have had towards sobriety or moral virtue had quickly been prevailed upon by the former Master's son taking intimacy to the next level with the saucy Parlour Maid's good nature.   Shortly thereafter, having been obliged to marry the first available Gardener that came along, she was often heard to say "a bun in the oven's worth two in the bush" for it was with stories 'of such goings-on'  that made it abundantly clear to the Housekeeper, that it was far more than old age creeping up... and that if she didn't keep her wits wrapped tightly about her, as she threw a sideways glance at the winking philanderer... then who would.

     As for the Gardener, "well... he couldn't possibly manage the cellar steps at this late hour, yer' Lordship, wot' with the weather being the way it is right now Sir, seasonal... and him with his broken caliper... and bronchitis playing him up at every turn, even though his own ailing missus swore by a freshly grown rhubarb poultice first thing each morning", but oddly enough, "how it always seemed to work better if the young barmaid down in the village rubbed it on, especially around opening time..." even his brother, Mr Potts Senior, ever since their Dad passed away... "God rest his eternal soul", as she whirled, twice in as many seconds, a mystical finger in the air... had said how surprised he'd been to discover that it could be used as a ground mulch for seed-cucumbers... it was truly amazing how The Good Lord provided for the righteous... and even as she spoke, was working in mysterious ways, His Wonders to Behold... "Praised-Be-The-Lord".

     And how the entire household, with the possible exception of Mrs Alabaster, her late Ladyships lady, who doggedly refused to be evicted from her 'Grace n' Favour cottage...' the one with pretty red roses growing around the door, that despite a string of eviction notices from the apoplectic Estate manager... had noticed what a fine upstanding Gentleman his Lordship had steadfastly remained since her late Ladyships sudden demise... "God-rest-her-immortal-soul..." and may she allow herself to say, "how refreshing it was to have such a progressively minded and discerning employer such as his Lordship at the helm, one filled with patient understanding and commitment towards the entire household..." much like herself...

     Fearing an uncontrollable attack of the ague, which invariably took the form of a selfless and unstinting dereliction to duty and always flared up at the slightest suggestion of having to roll her sleeves up and do something... which incidentally, was the first mutual attraction by common consent to which her parents, some forty years earlier had discovered they both held in tandem... and "would his Lordship take exception..." feigning a sudden relapse as she gestured towards the nearest chair, were she to take the weight off her feet... she plonked herself solidly upon the Chippendale before his Lordship could decline... "perhaps a recuperative drop of brandy" she volunteered, "just for medicinal purposes", she swept her feet onto the footstool, then crossed them with a flourish that would have caused Cyrano de Bergerac to hang up his sword... "the good stuff, if his Lordship would be so kind, in the lead-crystal decanter... over in the corner by the potted plant", she caught sight of the adjacent cigarette box, also tarnished... "just to keep body and soul together, may it please 'Him upon High'..." and just long enough to brave the coal cellar steps and refill the amorous scuttle... "if only it were a little less chilly", she gave an affected cough... on account of her diphtheria acting up again, she felt sure that his Lordship understood...  Moving over to one of the book lined alcoves, the elderly Gentleman lifted several tomes from the shelves... 'My Life in Anthracite', an illustrated compendium' "to begin with, I think... followed by... hmm!" 'The History of Fossil-Fuels, a comprehensive study in twelve breath taking volumes' "and we'll take it from there" as he threw the first on the barely smouldering embers...

                                                      ­     ...   ...   ...**

a work in progress.                                                        ­                                                         1859
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2016
i'm not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!
i'm not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!'m not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!i'm not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!i'm not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!'m not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!'m not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!i'm not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!'m not moralising, i see the toilet as the throne for the trinity of my excavations, like a coal-miner, i have my **** (the helmet and light bulb), i have my urinary duct (my chisel)... and i have my testicular duct (my shovel)... well... can't miss out on all the fun you peeps are having and not join in.*

verboclasm is real,
in england it's basically
f@!& etc., and in america
it's ****** (n@!&#£
if you prefer political
sensitivity and a blanket
and a ***** and a nanny);
unlike germ- -any (+)-
where they love to **** on each
other in the shadow
of the crucifix procreating for films,
while in england they're
into children;
owning a use of a word,
venerating its usage:
where's the Schengen vocabulary?
i want to be there -
free flow of words like spotting
a kestrel in my garden one time,
while the traffic shovels hours
into comparison with sea waves
and a traffic-jam becomes a static tsunami
for the eyes.
The Trumpoet Apr 2017
In West Virginia they dig tunnels or a great big hole,
to extricate from Mother Earth the substance known as coal.
For centuries the coal was burned and smoke would fill the air,
but coal became outmoded and demand's no longer there.

So many miners were laid off as mines did stall or close,
and in Coal Country incomes dropped and unemployment rose.
But Donald Trump made promises to fix the miners' strife,
by saying he'd bring Old King Coal a-roaring back to life.

So Trump reduced the regulations that bring jail or fines
for harm to the environment from power plants or mines.
But all this is irrelevant - Trump has no magic spell
to make the world want coal again. To whom will these mines sell?

Trump may as well have promised to bring back the horse and cart;
for tinkers, whalers, schooner sailors, a rich and brand new start.
For Trump will promise anything and sell his very soul.
Next Christmas his reward should be... a big old lump of coal.
You can also see this and my other Trump poems at:
Link to video of this poem:
Written: April 1, 2017
A diamond or a coal?
  A diamond, if you please:
Who cares about a clumsy coal
  Beneath the summer trees?

A diamond or a coal?
  A coal, sir, if you please:
One comes to care about the coal
  What time the waters freeze.
Sonu kumar Jan 2018
No one likes the black
No one likes the Tyro

whats difference between coal and diamond?
there is just small difference between color
cola is black while diamond is white
and world loves white over black

i am as dull as coal
i am as cheap as coal
i am as black as coal
i am as useless as coal

look deep from the heart,
the coal is even white
i know you don't need to look deep into diamond
coz is very shiny from outside

i am happy to be a coal
than to be a fake shiny diamond

what is use of that diamond,
which is just to show
At least coal is of some use
but still coal get rejection
just because it is black

I do except it's all my fault
because i am black
He’d never forgotten the heap of ****
That sat beside the mine,
It blocked the sun from his morning walk
With its shadow, so sublime,
It grew to hover above his home
From the time that he was three,
Its overpowering vastness grew
Not slow, but steadily.

And every time that the wind would blow
Its dust would fill the air,
Would saturate every cranny, even
Darken his mother’s hair,
The coal dust strangled their garden bed
So not a thing would grow,
And filled up his father’s lungs with dust
Each time that he went below.

The more that they mined the deeper coal
The higher it grew, the heap,
It spread away from the poppethead
Was covering up the street,
They tried to manage the monster but
It grew out of control,
With every truckload of **** they dumped
From where they mined the coal.

At night it loomed like a giant bat
With its shadow on the ground,
Gleaming black in the moon’s pale beam
It terrorised the town,
‘I don’t like walking at night out there,’
You’d hear the women say,
‘That heap is covering Satan’s lair
We need to get away.’

But nobody ever got away,
At least, not with their soul,
They’d sold their souls to the devil, and
Were tied to the monster, coal,
The men came home with their faces black
And their hands all scarred and torn,
For coal mining is the sort of job
You are cursed with, when you’re born.

And he was taken to work the mine
When he’d barely turned just six,
His father said, ‘Well, I think it’s time,
You can leave behind your tricks,’
They showed him how he could work the fan
To fill the mine with air,
And there he worked twelve hours a day
While he learned the word ‘Despair’.

His father died when a prop collapsed
And they had to leave him there,
Under a hundred tons of coal
But the owners didn’t care,
They simply began another drive
To make up the owner’s loss,
Whether the miners lived or died
Their lives were seen as dross.

So Andrew, that was the orphan’s name
Went down between the shifts,
He took some fuel and matches down
He’d long been planning this,
He managed to start a coal seam fire
That roared by the morning sun,
And smoke poured out of that poppethead,
While they raged, ‘What has he done?’

But Andrew never emerged again
To pay for the thing he’d done,
He’d told his sister to write a note,
‘I did it for everyone!’
His bones lie charred where his father fell,
Under a hundred ton,
They couldn’t put out the coal seam fire,
The father lies with the son.

David Lewis Paget
Terry Collett Aug 2012
At the back
of the coal wharf
you and Fay
picked up coal pieces

that fell through
the iron railings
and put them
in an ******* from home

Fay looked
at her blackened fingers
and said
if my daddy sees

these fingers
and finds out
what I’ve been doing
he’ll spank me

for sure
you gazed at her
beside you
and said

you can wash your hands
at my place
she looked around
at the bombsite behind you

the evening sun
slowly going down
behind the railway bridge
and nearby buildings

what if someone sees you
she asked
picking up these pieces?
no one worries about this

all the kids do it
you replied
my daddy says
it is evil to steal

she said
you put a black piece
of coal in the bag
and lifted it

to feel the weight
that’s enough
you said
too much

and I won’t be able
to carry it
Fay stood up
and looked around

at the darkening sky
you held the bag
in one hand
and scanned

the area around you
let’s go
you said
and so you both

walked away
from the coal wharf
into Meadow Row
by the public house

where piano music played
and down towards
the flats
where you lived

and after climbing
the concrete stairs
to your landing
you opened the door

and put the bag
by the indoor
coal bunker
and showed Fay

where to wash her hands
turning on
the cold water tap
you both washed

your hands
with the red
Life Buoy soap
her hands near yours

her wet flesh
touching yours
the black water
running away

and another adventure
and another day.
Brady D Friedkin Jan 2016
Suffocation; the torture of life without breath
Debt; the torture of being trapped without way of getting out

We signed away our souls and our very livelihoods
So that we might find treasures deep into the earth
In vain we gave ourselves to this cause
We became bankrupted and we became slaves to our toil
We inhaled our work and it poisoned our bodies
We owed our souls to the company for which we worked

We dig deep into the earth
In search of ancient treasures formed long long ago
Seeking to find riches beyond belief and beyond compare
Beginning a noble crusade for good things
But then continuing on to become a misadventure where there is little redemption
Oh what an ignorant odyssey we had begun!

In a manmade cavern, we dig for riches
Our faces becoming covered with black soot
As we invest into the dreams of the treasures for which we dig
And yet then further and further falling into debt
Until we are not only suffocated merely by the soot of coal but also by our debts
And as if the danger of this mine were not enough before the the mines began to fall onto our very heads

We toil for years upon years in this dark mine of coal
Losing all we knew and all we were for the sake of unsatisfying treasure
Our friends die day after day suffocated by the matter of our toil
We inhale our work and our lungs become so filled and poisoned with the soot of the coal
Many could no longer breathe or bear the pain of the poison in their lungs
And then they die in the depths of the dark caves searching for treasure in vain

Not knowing we had signed a death wish
To toil deep into the depths of the mantle of the earth searching for forsaken treasure
Believing that we were searching for good things
That we truly were in the midst of a noble crusade
Not even knowing of the reality in which we stood
That there truly was a terrible hell in which we were living

To this point we knew not of the soot slowly suffocating our lungs
And we knew not of the blood pouring out of our wounds
We knew not of the utter blackness that covered our faces
Or that no oxygen flowed to our ever so needy lungs
We knew only of the importance of our mission
And the necessity to find the treasures for which we were sent out

But the reality of this deep and dark quarry was a hell never before known
And the unknown need of fresh air was as heavy as a newborns need for his mother's milk
Yet we knew not of the need for fresh air
For our eyes were set on the prize
To mine the treasure for which we had so long toiled
And we forgot of our need to live and seek good things

Not knowing the depths of our manmade cavern and our lostness
Our faces so covered with dried soot and blood
Longing for new air to freshen our dying lungs
And longing for Holy Water to wash clean our coal-filled and coal-covered bodies
Yet we knew not any of this
And we knew not of the depths of our pain and our suffering

Yet then one day we break through the surface of the earth
We see the light of the sun, and we see good things
The light of day shines onto us
And a cool breeze blows onto our faces
Then we take a collective breath of the new air
A breath of fresh air more satisfying than a thousand breaths in the depths of the horrid coal mine

We see something we had not seen in years, freedom
And as our eyes set upon the world which we had nearly forgotten
We see the beauty that we had indeed forgotten
We realize the hell that we had clearly been enduring
And in a moment it all becomes clearer than ever before
The treasure of the coal mine had so deceived our hearts and our judgement and our very sanity

For we knew not of the depth and gravity of the terror of the hell we were in
We thought we were simply searching for gold, but we had truly sold our souls
Digging deep into the depths of the planet toward the core
And we lost ourselves in the darkness and depravity of the shaft
Suffering in blindness and lostness, unable to find any good things
Until finally we found the Light from above

Our debts had been cleared and our bodies had been made new
How sweet the wind was upon our sweaty, soot-covered, bloodied faces as we emerged from the cave
And then we were washed clean of all of our pain and suffering
The blood was washed from our faces, and our wounds were healed
The soot from the thick coal was scrubbed from our flesh, and our poisoned lungs were healed
And we were freed from the terror of our suffering

For out of the depths of the earth with squinted eyes and limp limbs
We emerged into great Light never before seen
And as our eyes adjusted, so did our understanding
The understanding of just how lost we had been
And just how close to death we came with each and every day
But the breath of fresh air, and the sight of new light resurrected us

From the great horror of our past we were healed
And from our ever-growing debts we had been released
We were freed from our self-imprisonment and given new life
And not on our own accord in the slightest
But by the great love of Christ Jesus
For Jesus is our great deliverer
A narrative poem about the great love of Christ through even the deepest depths and the darkest darkness
Terry Collett Jan 2013
Janice helped you
to gather up
the loose pieces of coal
on the cobbled road

leading to the coal wharf
off Meadow Row
you watched as she put
the pieces in the sack

you’d brought with you
as the evening mist
settled upon the scene
her red beret placed

at an angle
her hair
smooth as water
is this allowed?

she asked
looking around
at the back of houses
still standing after

the wartime bombing
finders keepers
you said
or so Granddad told me

the other week
when I saw him
she gazed at you

but put in more
of the black pieces
you handed to her
what will my gran say

when she sees
my blackened hands?
Janice said
I can’t tell her

or she’ll tan my hide
as she calls it
you looked
at her coal stained fingers

the way they held
and placed the coal
you can wash your hands
at my place

you said
Mum won’t mind
she likes you anyway
Janice looked at you

her lips spreading
into a smile
nice to know
she said

maybe when we’re grown
and married
she’ll like me better
the sky had darkened

the mist heavy
the moon glowing
I guess so
you said

wondering if her gran
would see it that way
if she lived
to see the day

that should be enough
coal now
you said
taking the sack

from her blackened hands
noticing the thin fingers
she rubbing her hands
together against the cold

the dark
and winter weather.
robin May 2013
there is black at the end of every miracle
and the base of every rainbow where the colors drip
and mix in the sickest sort of chorus.
color and rain and atmospheric moisture,
you kneeled under a rainbow and prayed;
water in your alveoli paint in your bronchi,
you inhaled all your art
to make yourself prettier on the inside -
{but that doesn't work when everything you paint
is uglier than anything else:
broken ***** girls
and rusted knives and rotten fruit -
how can you expect to be beautiful with a rotting apple
for a heart?
you're an abandoned orchard,
falling to seed when you once fed a nation,
dry earth dead trees rotten rotten fruit
remember your glory days and cry}
you were a blackbird but time plucked all your feathers
you were a blackbird but now, oh,
with all your yellow blood,
canary in a coal mine you knew it was too late.
you were the first to be tragic.
the first to choke on coaldust -
the road to el dorado is paved in coal
and all the gold is smudged in black from the men who sought riches
but brought with them misery.
canary in a coal mine you died in el dorado,
canary in a coal mine you died in a city
of your blood.
there is black at the end of every miracle and the beginning of every tragedy
but if all goes well it'll be all
blues and reds
by the end of the story.
drowned and bled,
primary colors for your finale.
you knew these colors would be your end, blue and red blue and red
and you sought out yellow,
canary in a coal mine, ***** el dorado,
yellow hope yellow fear
primary colors like building blocks,
carbon the base of the universe
blueredyellow the base of the paintings you inhaled,
blueredyellow and carbon coal.
you were a blackbird and blueredyellow in the reflections of your wings,
oily rainbows on your back
primary colors in your lungs,
and all your gaunt thoughts envelop you you never should have tried
to be beautiful -
a tragic hero can only do so much before falling apart
a tragedy can only go so far before it becomes comedy.
you inhaled all your paintings and they live in your lungs
live and rot and cry because you never painted happiness
{it's hard to paint something that doesn't exist,
it's hard to paint something you've never known -
abandoned orchard you rot beside the highway and cry.
tell yourself happiness doesn't exist,
cause that's better than knowing
it's there
but you're just
blackbird canary-blood apple-heart
do you even know who you are anymore?
all the broken ***** girls in your lungs
and the crying boys in your mind -
you never knew who you were,
fragmented as you are -
all your masks are just
sick echoes of the parts of you that wouldn't burn,
all your paintings are just sick echoes of the parts of you
scattered over el dorado.
gather yourself up,
knit yourself back together -
make your nest in a flak suit and sleep dreaming of you.
the coal burns around you and you don't stop singing
you will not be the only tragedy in this mine.
lil silver Sep 2013
walking worn streets
passing alleyways
I see them again
they are standing where they always do
I yearn to join them
but cannot
for I am coal

they sneer their distaste
"go home," they growl
"you're not welcome"

dogs in the alleyway
bark as they chase a cat
poor cat
cat that is coal

we are coal
not wanted
***** filth
better burned

longing to be wanted
we are not
for we are coal

when will they see
that within the coal
there is a diamond
waiting to shine
Anneke Nov 2014
I am dead weight
to everyone around me.

Like coal,
I was a sizzling and crackling inferno,
until the only thing left
was a clump of

I burden other people
leaving marks
on those
I've barely touched.

I am everyone's coal.
The baggage everyone carries.
The trash thrown away.
The item disregarded, not worthy of living.
Not even given a chance to make a name of itself.
Olivia Kent Jul 2015
Saw the man coming.
Bringer of warmth in a tatty old wagon.
Scruffy old horse with tangled once flowing mane,
Deteriorated into a matted mess.
Coal man's direction in perfection.
Old bay gelding standing patient at the road edge.
Waiting on the coal man to ducking into our yard.
Heard the cellar lid lifting,
He tipped the coal inside.
Asked him when I went to the gate.
Can I trot along for the ride.
Coal fella said "no time today".
Another day maybe.
Said "I'll see".
Never got to ride on top.
Times changed, bought coal from the shop
Many folk switched fuel to gas.
The coalman's assistant put out to grass.
It was the other day.
Sky shone brightly without warning.
A black shiny horse in funeral regalia.
Glass coach with a casket within.
Sign on the side easy to see.
Informed me that the coalman was free.
Driven away in a hearse,
By a friend.
Dependable horse.
Finale for he,
The coalman.
His end.
Reminded me of my childhood.
When life was peaceful and times were good.
"Tara coalman!"
A Gouedard Jun 2014
The Miner, Absolom
(a haibun)

green hill where sheep graze
white bones and coal, buried, held
seasons all the same
My grandfather worked in the mines from age thirteen to seventy. His life was closed in by mountains, the green one at the back, the dark looming one at the front and the pit head along the valley., winding the men in and out of the shaft, day after day, dawn until dusk when they came home singing  

boots ring on the road
deep valley voices echo
backyard starlit smoke

They worked on their bellies or crouched, often in water for days, water that undermines rock. Shaft collapses where frequent. Life was cheap. He came home covered in coal dust to his wife and two sons, sons he was determined to keep out of the mines. Yet he loved that coal - coal that he always polished with care before lighting a fire, brushing dust off black diamond surfaces.

water breaks through rock
with wood and straining shoulders
man becomes the beam

He saved twenty lives that day, men he had known from boyhood. When his lungs were affected they laid him off, no pay, no pension, no life. He bought an insurance book with the money he had and every day he trudged over the mountains and valleys gathering pennies that would help to secure some livelihood to the widows who lost their men in the mines. He never told his wife that when a family couldn't pay he put the pennies in for them rather than leave them unprotected.

winter, summer, fall
the mountain hangs over all
tired to the backbone

When the mines were nationalised my grandfather went straight back to the coal face despite his age. He wasn't going to miss those days of glory. Safety was suddenly the watchword and changes were made very fast. Hot showers were installed at the pit head and the miners came home clean at last.

men stripped to the skin
hot water, steam, baptised
brothers singing hymns

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

The night before,
20 below zero
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.

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,

Kansas City,
St. Louis,
New Orleans,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.
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.

an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

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

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'.

I think its hardy.

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

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

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.

and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in 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,
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

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
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!


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
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
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,
long underwear,
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,
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

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
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!

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

the nation,
its people
with its

A blessing,

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!

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,
row houses,
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
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,
for a new start.
Poor and
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

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


Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago

Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
When I was a windy boy and a bit
And the black spit of the chapel fold,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of women),
I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,
The rude owl cried like a tell-tale ***,
I skipped in a blush as the big girls rolled
Nine-pin down on donkey's common,
And on seesaw sunday nights I wooed
Whoever I would with my wicked eyes,
The whole of the moon I could love and leave
All the green leaved little weddings' wives
In the coal black bush and let them grieve.

When I was a gusty man and a half
And the black beast of the beetles' pews
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of *******),
Not a boy and a bit in the wick-
Dipping moon and drunk as a new dropped calf,
I whistled all night in the twisted flues,
Midwives grew in the midnight ditches,
And the sizzling sheets of the town cried, Quick!-
Whenever I dove in a breast high shoal,
Wherever I ramped in the clover quilts,
Whatsoever I did in the coal-
Black night, I left my quivering prints.

When I was a man you could call a man
And the black cross of the holy house,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of welcome),
Brandy and ripe in my bright, bass prime,
No springtailed tom in the red hot town
With every simmering woman his mouse
But a hillocky bull in the swelter
Of summer come in his great good time
To the sultry, biding herds, I said,
Oh, time enough when the blood runs cold,
And I lie down but to sleep in bed,
For my sulking, skulking, coal black soul!

When I was half the man I was
And serve me right as the preachers warn,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of downfall),
No flailing calf or cat in a flame
Or hickory bull in milky grass
But a black sheep with a crumpled horn,
At last the soul from its foul mousehole
Slunk pouting out when the limp time came;
And I gave my soul a blind, slashed eye,
Gristle and rind, and a roarers' life,
And I shoved it into the coal black sky
To find a woman's soul for a wife.

Now I am a man no more no more
And a black reward for a roaring life,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of strangers),
Tidy and cursed in my dove cooed room
I lie down thin and hear the good bells jaw--
For, oh, my soul found a sunday wife
In the coal black sky and she bore angels!
Harpies around me out of her womb!
Chastity prays for me, piety sings,
Innocence sweetens my last black breath,
Modesty hides my thighs in her wings,
And all the deadly virtues plague my death!
When I was a windy boy and a bit
And the black spit of the chapel fold,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of women),
I tiptoed shy in the gooseberry wood,
The rude owl cried like a tell-tale ***,
I skipped in a blush as the big girls rolled
Nine-pin down on donkey's common,
And on seesaw sunday nights I wooed
Whoever I would with my wicked eyes,
The whole of the moon I could love and leave
All the green leaved little weddings' wives
In the coal black bush and let them grieve.

When I was a gusty man and a half
And the black beast of the beetles' pews
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of *******),
Not a boy and a bit in the wick-
Dipping moon and drunk as a new dropped calf,
I whistled all night in the twisted flues,
Midwives grew in the midnight ditches,
And the sizzling sheets of the town cried, Quick!-
Whenever I dove in a breast high shoal,
Wherever I ramped in the clover quilts,
Whatsoever I did in the coal-
Black night, I left my quivering prints.

When I was a man you could call a man
And the black cross of the holy house,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of welcome),
Brandy and ripe in my bright, bass prime,
No springtailed tom in the red hot town
With every simmering woman his mouse
But a hillocky bull in the swelter
Of summer come in his great good time
To the sultry, biding herds, I said,
Oh, time enough when the blood runs cold,
And I lie down but to sleep in bed,
For my sulking, skulking, coal black soul!

When I was half the man I was
And serve me right as the preachers warn,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of downfall),
No flailing calf or cat in a flame
Or hickory bull in milky grass
But a black sheep with a crumpled horn,
At last the soul from its foul mousehole
Slunk pouting out when the limp time came;
And I gave my soul a blind, slashed eye,
Gristle and rind, and a roarers' life,
And I shoved it into the coal black sky
To find a woman's soul for a wife.

Now I am a man no more no more
And a black reward for a roaring life,
(Sighed the old ram rod, dying of strangers),
Tidy and cursed in my dove cooed room
I lie down thin and hear the good bells jaw--
For, oh, my soul found a sunday wife
In the coal black sky and she bore angels!
Harpies around me out of her womb!
Chastity prays for me, piety sings,
Innocence sweetens my last black breath,
Modesty hides my thighs in her wings,
And all the deadly virtues plague my death!
Derrek Faraday Jan 2019
Pigeon-striped with a polyester hat
How can he look so nice and feel so sad?
“It’s a momentary lapse in sadness
Brewed in prudence and gladness”

Fret not for the velvet shoe that stalks you
Cry a well for all the leather hides
That you wear upstairs for kindred brides
Another lover bred to love untrue

“Is there something else I’d like to say?
Efficiency is drenched in dismay
Jewelled epaulettes on deafened shoulders
Something more incise, I shall solder"

Heaven delivered our coal
Sat atop a gilded pole
Heaven delivered our coal
By lawful life, we are loveless moles

Ruby-haired and lilac-nailed
How can she arouse yet taste so stale?
“Hold my vindication in a brooch
Open my heart in reproach"

Fret not for the saddle in your ‘mare
It will take you to a mining town
There, you will earn yourself a gown
And fall on the soldered stairs

“Is there something else I’d like to say?
I am to be blackened for my pay
Else I resign to a red ribbon
And use almighty love as a weapon"

Sweet life, what’s to surmise?
Moths in the corners of our eyes
Writing as a fly in a frame
Spot the hideous, spotted dame

Watch your place, hold your pace

Heaven delivered our coal
Sat atop a gilded pole
Heaven delivered our coal
By lawful life, we are loveless moles
"--you know, I've either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
but now
I've sold my house, I've found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
the light.
for the first time in my life I'm going to have a place and
the time to
no baby, if you're going to create
you're going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you're going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you're on
you're going to create with part of your mind and your
body blown
you're going to create blind
you're going to create with a cat crawling up your
back while
the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don't create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses
Bassam A Oct 2014
When i saw your lips
I was wow
to see burning coal
on top of ice

But the coal is still burning
and the ice is not melting
Layla Mar 2013
We do not compare to one another.
My skin is the coal the people used. 

Your skin is the powder the flappers adore.
My soul is deep and my heart is pure.
Pure as white!
Your soul is shallow and your heart is dark.
Darker than the skin my people hold.

We may not compare, but you are my brother.
Not by blood
or by class. 

We are fused-

Fused by lives we live and the past we lived 

We are connected forevermore. 

There was a master and he was cruel. 

The crackle of the whip was the electric shock of my greats. There was no hope for the slave that cried.
There was no voice for the slave that remained strong.
Flight was the tantalizing thought.

The slave hadn't a chance to live in flight or freedom.
Their was only the need to fight. 

Fight to live and fight to breathe. 

Those greats so far down kept on fighting. 

They kept on preserving. 

They had their beauty that could never be touched. 

White Man, White Man listen to me. 

I was the coal that was used. 

I was the coal that was taken from its home. 

I was the coal that was discarded and given freedom. 

The flappers are young and they love their powder. 

You will be used and you will become the slave. 

I am the coal that is free. 

You are the powder that is used. 

My beauty will never will fill a white mans body. 

Too much has been seen and too much has been lived. 

No white can hold my strength and no white can hold my beauty. 

They are mine and forever will be.

My soul is deep and my heart is pure.
I shall not be condemned to this life no more.
This is a historical poem.
Emma Chatonoir Oct 2014
They said she was nearly flawless
A tragic beautiful soul
But why do they say that now
When her body resembles coal?
When she was alive did you tell her
She was beautiful, inside and out?
More importantly, did you mean it?
That's something I really doubt
Most girls are told in times of sadness
That they are truly pretty
But usually that is from strangers
Who offer a sense of pity
They say they would miss her if
She decided to take the gun and blow
But how can one say that about someone
They just heard about a minute ago?
A stranger's compliments can make someone's day
But why should someone listen?
When you are truly in the dark
Hope doesn't help as a glisten
Telling her the scars don't matter
Is like saying it's not bad
To continue making them multiply
They'll be more than she ever had
Apparently the girls who want to die
Are more beautiful than those who don't
But what if a fragile girl wants to be beautiful
Follow normal standards, she won't?
With over a thousand followers of the coal girl
On social networks, she will spend
Reading all these comments and pictures
And seeing depression is the newest trend
She thinks you can only be beautiful
If there are lines on your wrist
Maybe the world will be better
If she didn't exist
She'll draw the lines on her wrist
Talk about her fake smile
Then one day she'll end it all
No one else would know she was suicidal
This is what happens when you glorify
The girl that has a body of coal
More might follow in her footsteps
And that isn't the goal.
This poem was born out of inspiration from another poem on here and reading the comments from the #blithe tag.  Reaching out for support like that generates fake people offering fake help.  While I recognize that there are genuine cases of depression, I will never understand why young teenagers "self diagnose" themselves...
Terry Collett Apr 2016
We were on the grass
in front of Banks House
looking at the coal wharf
lorries being loaded with coal
and a few horse-drawn wagons
waiting there too

they must get *****
Janice said
with coal all day

I guess they do
I said
and have to climb up
all those stairs of the flats
with a heavy sack of coal
on their back
and then have to tip it
into those coal bunkers
in the kitchen/bathroom

Gran doesn't like it
when they come
making a mess
and she has ago at them
if they drop
any coal on the floor
Janice said

I passed her the Tizer bottle
I'd bought from the shop
over the road
and she unscrewed the top
and took a mouthful
then put the lid back on
and past it to me

I unscrewed the top
and took a gulp
and *******
the lid back on

want a bun?
I asked her
I've got 6

she said

and I opened the paper bag
for her and she took one
and nibbled it

I took one
and took a big bite

Gran's canary says
a few words
of the Lord's Prayer
Janice said
holding the bun aside
from her lips

what words does it say?

deliver us from evil
Janice said

who taught the bird that?
I asked

Gran did
said it was a reminder to us
Janice said

doesn't it say the words
I taught it?
I said

no not anymore
Gran was not happy
about that
Janice said
and I nearly got a smacking
because she thought
I'd taught him

sorry about that
I said
it seemed funny
at the time

Gran didn't think so
Janice said

I offered her
the Tizer bottle again
and she took another mouthful
and gave it back to me

I took a gulp
and put the bottle
on the grass

is your gran religious then?
I said

o yes
Janice said
she takes me to church every Sunday
do you go?

now and then
I said
usually to the gospel place
down Rockingham Street
by the railway bridge

is it good there?
she said

yes it's all right
some old girl plays the piano
and we sing hymns and such
and then have biscuits
and orange juice afterwards
and one of the blokes
talks about God or Jesus
they're having a trip
to the seaside soon
want to come?
I said

is it dear to go?
she said

no it's free
paid by the gospel group
I said

could I go?
she said

course I'll see
One-Eye about you
I said

who's One Eye?
she said

he's one of the organisers
only got one eye

how comes he's
only got one eye?
Janice said

lost it the war I think
I said

I'll ask Gran
if I can go
she said

I said

and we lay on the grass
looking up at the clouds
in the blue sky

I told her about
the Treasure Island book
I bought from the shop
through the Square

she said nothing
but lay there
with a wide-eyed stare.
Chrystos Minot May 2015
Laughter < > the balm of the soul
Loving touch < > inner vision for the 'mole'
Imagination < > the flame nascent within the coal
Evolving into my true self < > the goal
The life gourmand's avarice < > my dangerous shoal
I think of my Dad tonight, & his paperweight of coal
I remember his impregnable wonder, and I start to again feel whole
Imagination < > the flame nascent within the dark coal
David Messmer Jun 2013
I'm trying to see things your way but correct me if I'm wrong.  pretending I'm you  I've always been lonely growing up.  I've been hurt and abused and scarred for life.  I wish so much to forget it all, and then, one day, I do.  I forgot because I finally found the person I didn't know I was looking for.  Because someone finally called me the B-word and he meant it.  The love I felt burned so bright and hot I... I couldn't explain it, but somehow he was perfect.  He knows how to hold my heart gently and make my soul want to sing... But the dreaded six days are over and he says "I don't know.  I'm not sure if I'm up for a long distance relationship" and I know its a mistake but I let him make it anyway.  People are calling his name to get on the bus, but I haven't said goodbye yet.  I grab his attention and lean in for one last kiss before he leaves.  I'm hurting inside but I want him to see my smile.  Too late.  The tears start to flow and they just don't stop.  I bury my face in his safe embrace... and I watch him walk away for the last time.  I get back from summer camp and my tears have dried but the pain never went away.  I tried to text him but he always cut the conversations short.  It was like he avoided me... like he didn't love me. I hated him but I couldn't stop loving him, but the pain I felt was far too great.  My friends tried to help me but it was like sending care packages to Hell; All I could see was His fire and coal he left all around me.  One friend in particular tried his hardest to save me and suddenly he wasn't just a friend.  He was my relief and I needed him as much as he wanted me.  Suddenly I found my hero... to save me from the pain... to save me from the one that hurt me.  I made him my storybook Prince Charming and everything he touched turned to gold.  He covered the coal and I no longer felt the burn of the fire.  I was grateful, but eventually I missed the boy with fire.  I went through old photographs and found one of Us sitting on the ground in front of the barracks and I felt warm once again.  Although my hero was the Golden Boy, I longed for the warmth of the fire and then I saw something amazing.  The gold in the fireplace started to melt and I remembered that's where my hero buried the burning coals of the Bad Man... but... but it felt good and my heart began to thaw.  It brought back the pain but the fire started to burn and I started to feel... to feel the way  I felt those months past at Summer Camp and the question comes up.  "Why didn't he stay?," because I need a different answer, a real answer.  He replies to my text, but he can't give an answer.  He began whispering sweetly in my ear of how he wishes he could take it back, how he wants a redo, how he misses me.  Now my heart is melted and it spills onto the hard golden floor as my Golden Boy tries to catch me but he only caught 3/4 of my heart as the rest spilled into the fire.  My Golden Boy wants to fix my broken heart again but he doesn't understand that war was declared and that the fire won't retreat.  I think to myself that maybe i can force my heart back into place but I'm confused.  The harder I try to force it, the farther my heart retreats into the fire.  By now the room is blazing hot and my heart is beating faster and faster.  Now I see the battle unfold:  The Golden Boy Vs. The Flame on the opposite side of the room, but there is no victor because the Flame can't leave its coal and the Golden Boy is too ready to accept the stalemate.  The Flame starts to go out and whispers softly "Please, will you feed my fire once more?" and I start leaking slowly from the hands of my Golden Boy.  Suddenly, I remember where to find my coal but hesitate wondering if I can handle the burn and if I can make it last 12 more months of cold weather in the presence of my motionless Golden Boy.  I ask myself the question and wonder "which king do I want? I, the queen have to choose which one I'll side with, but I'll ponder this more."  The fire went out but the Coal starts to get hotter and my melted heart screams at me to pick it up and put it in my pocket and so I do.
LD Goodwin Jan 2013
Near an old Kentucky town
I made my livin' underground.
And seldom would I see the light of day.

Where coal once was king,
I made may hammer ring.
That's a sound that will not soon fade away.

But now the coal train’s turned to rust,
and my lungs are full of dust.
And my time on this earth is through.

For forty years I dug their coal,
till the minin' took its toll.
Now all I ask is this favor of you.

When I die, when I'm gone,
o'er my body sing a song.
So the angels will come and take my soul.

Dig my grave neath the pines,
on a hill far from the mines.
Make my tombstone out of number nine coal,
make my tombstone out of number nine coal.

Near an old Kentucky town,
while the leaves were fallin' down,
a family lay their kin to rest.

While they sang "Amazing Grace",
with a tear on every face,
a miner got his last request.
Pineville, KY    2007  
Inspired by a mining documentary.  It wrote itself.
Terry Collett Sep 2013
You and Ingrid
bummed a ride
on the back
of the coal truck

the spring holiday underway
said the coal truck driver
but keep

your heads down
don't want to get
pulled over
by the rozzers

and so you both
climbed in the back
of the truck
settling down

between sacks of coal
covered over
by tarpaulin
with just a slit

for light and air
and you and she
just sitting there
she clothed

in an old green dress
and  cardigan of grey
brown scuffed shoes
and grey socks

you in jeans
and blue shirt
open necked
and sleeveless

patterned jumper
never been
in the back
of a coal truck before

Ingrid said
mustn't get too *****
in case Dad finds out
and leathers me one

you watched
as she sat there
in the semi-dark
gazing out

through the slit
at the thin
aspect of sky
hands on her knees

biting her lip
been once before
with Jimmy
but then it rained

and we got drenched
you said
what did your parents say?
Ingrid asked

nothing much
you replied
Mum moaned a bit
but the old man said nothing

just stared
as he blew smoke
from his cigarette
through his nose

God my dad'd go mad
if I had done that
she said
pulling her knees

together hands
holding on the top
I'd not be able
to sit for a week  

he'd beat me such
she added
with the movement

of the truck
you said nothing
knowing her old man
seeing him often

walking through the Square
swaying with the *****
or seeing her mother
bruised and battered

crossing to the shops
enduring neighbours' whispers
for a while she was silent
looking through the slit

as the sky drifted by
as the truck moved
you swayed
side to side

her shoulder
against yours
her arm touching yours
the smell of wet washing

and of yesterday's dinner
captured on her clothes
seeping in your nose
now and then

she spoke
of this and that
of kids at school
of names called

of hair pulled
and how she liked it
when she saw you
enter school

and your kind words
and helpful ways
and when the driver
pulled off the tarpaulin
to get out sacks of coal
daylight blew out
your eyes
and made you smile

and cheered your hearts
you shared the sandwiches
you'd brought
and bottle of lemonade

factory made
sitting on the truck floor
she nibbling a sandwich
and drinking shyly

from the lemonade bottle
after you'd wiped
the top with the palm
of your hand

her eyes on you
her lips open for words
her knees pressing together
to keep the balance

as the truck
moved on and away
just you and she
on a bright spring day.
Terry Collett Feb 2013
You used to cross
Rockingham Street
to the bakers
on the corner

of Meadow Row
and buy 6 crusty rolls
and a white loaf of bread
and carry them back home

to the fifth floor
of the flats
where your mother said
keep the change for going

and you pocketed the change
to save for the 6 shooter gun
you’d seen in the toy shop
along the New Kent Road

and your mother
would butter a roll
and put in a slice of cheese
and you would go sit

in the window
over looking
the railway
shunting yard

and eat
taking in the rail trucks
loaded with coal
being shunted into

the yard and the trucks
unload and the coal
would fall down through
to the coal wharf below

and then you saw
the coal carts loaded
with sacked up coal
and the horses in harness

waiting to go
and you imagined
one of those horses
in saddle and you

taking off across
the Wild West
with your new 6 shooter
in your hand

tracking the bad cowboys
and dropping into
the public house
for a glass of redeye

or lemonade
don’t be too long
your mother said
nearly time for school

and as you ate
the last few crumbs
and sipped
the last drops of milk

from the glass
and wiped your mouth
with the back of your hand
a steam train

crossed the bridge
and you thought
of the bad cowboys
on Bank’s House Ridge.
Francie Lynch May 2014
It was the cheap Polish coal
Sweeping down from chimney and slate,
Staining windows, levelling off
At doors, settling on walks
Where evidence showed me hurrying
To my bed-sitting room
In prints of snow and soot.
The roses dipped,
Foxgloves closed
Against the odour.

It was the kitchen.
Tomatoes, carrots, onions
Slicing vaporous air hanging
Veil-like on dark windows.

I coughed.
Too many cigarettes?
My nose bled.
I pulled out a hankie
And coughed again.
When I removed my coat
My eyes were red.
You'd notice.

Perhaps it was a combination .
You knew my eyes.

Weeks are still less tolerable.
Smoke, soot, salads,
Which really doesn't matter,
Strangely mix, tossing  off our years.
Cheap Polish coal. **** cheap Polish coal.
Wexford, Ireland.
Many a miner has gone
into the deep pit
to receive the dust of a kiss,
an ore-cell.
He has gone with his lamp
full of mole eyes
deep deep and has brought forth
Jesus at Gethsemane.
Body of moss, body of glass,
body of peat, how sharp
you lie, emerald as heavy
as a golf course, ruby as dark
as an afterbirth,
diamond as white as sun
on the sea, coal, dark mother,
brood mother, let the sea birds
bring you into our lives
as from a distant island,
heavy as death.
Eleanor Rigby Oct 2018
Spilling your coal black insides
In coal black ink,
Into a snow white sheet.

Your twisted coal black
Little cunning friends
All have the same breath.

Some are demons,
Some are whispers,
And one of them is death.

-- Eleanor
PoserPersona Dec 2018
Iron and coal fused into a steel sword
torn from the comforts of an idle home
Against both will and wish into the forge

Mere foot to pedal unshackles the horde
onto that which was ****** into the dome
Iron and coal fused into a steel sword

Crude earth melts into an effulgent form
that once cooled will become harder than stone
Against both will and wish into the forge

Burning is sequestered by drowning boards
that go unnoticed but for hissing moan
Iron and coal fused into a steel sword

New pain begins despite what came before
anvil and hammer fashion the unknown
Against both will and wish into the forge

Those who endure will still need to be honed,
to be, of their own soul, the highest lord.
Iron and coal fused into a steel sword,
against both will and wish into the forge
“Mastering others requires strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” -Lao Tzu
Ashley Nicole Feb 2015
A lump of coal
Tossed into the fire
Before it even stood a chance
Of becoming a diamond

And all it needed was time
Mateuš Conrad Feb 2016
.before i come to the food topics, here's a pet peeve... language... how the pakistanis might / might not be offended by the laziness of the english, shortening their denotation to a prefix: ****-... and i'm like... is that really offensive? with the -stani suffix missing? o.k. o.k., iraq: iraqi... iran: iranian... pakistani: ****- / pakistani... so what about afghanistan? afghan, or afghanistani?! i'm pretty sure it's afghan... a person is afghani and not afghanistani... so what's wrong with ****-? it must be an english-****'stani thing from the 1960s or something... ******* as sensitive as french footballers... this has to be hard-pressed... this instance... because i hardly think it's a racial slur to stick to the prefix and not include the suffix, given the example from afghanistan - just like the "problem" of calling a jew a ***-, borrowed prefix from... yiddish! now for the food:

a. would you trust a skinny chef? i know i wouldn't trust a chef who's also a healthy-eating gym bro maniac, i bet he would never cook with lard or pork trimmings, with that calorie calculator lodged up his head that represents an ******* is not much to go with when taste is prime... 6ft1 253.5pounds, that's where i stand... i would never trust a health-freak to cook for me, let alone all the proofs rattling anorexic examples...

    b. "***** take your shoes off and get into the kitchen!" what a ****** joke, chauvanism rampant... mind you... who the hell said that women belong in the kitchen? they don't... i don't want a woman in the kitchen... i've had two dinners cooked by my fwends' mothers when still in my early teens... 1. over-cooked pasta... my fwends father would pretend to eat the dinner, before driving me home while stopping off at a sikh diner and took to the take-away (cooked by men), another example beside the over-cooked pasta? under-cooked spring potatoes - after all... the men on ships and submarines that kept the other men firing did all the cooking... men can cook... or at least: that's the least they should do... think: organic chemistry experiments...

eating a raw herring
in piquant mayonnaise
of reminiscence of a
granny-smith and pickled
cucumber tickle...
slurping it up into
a workout of the oesophagus
might remind many
of oral ***: but after all...
it's only a raw herring being eaten.

p.s. well perhaps gulping down
a raw oyster does feel familiar
to performing oral *** on a woman...
but since you're not really
chewing the oyster,
or licking it... but gulping it whole...
i can only compared performing
oral *** on a ***** to
                eating a raw herring.

            and why all of this talk of food?
well... what's on the menu for tomorrow?
a bangers & mash stew,
    old recipe from the days of the british
empire... mind you: why did they
call sausages bangers back then?
well, during the war, they put a lot of
water into the sausages...
and when water mixes with warm oil?
bang! bang!

                 'i was five and he was six,
   we rode on horses made of sticks,
he wore black and i wore white,
   he would always win the fight...
   bang! bang!
  he shot me down!
  bang! bang!
                 i hit the ground...
bang! bang!
   that awful sound...
bang! bang!
   my baby... shot me down!'
              (audio bullys ft. nancy s.) -

so obviously i had to take a walk
and buy the key ingredient...
        and when they were stationed
in the raj, and the troops were receiving
  the standard beer wouldn't last the trip,
going off...
     and dark port was too sweet...
so indian pale ale was invented:
   more potent alcohol content and brewed
based more on hops than barley or wheat...
bitter: but my god, what a strand of beer,
like your typical irish stout...
   which is why i never figured out
  the bud to be the king of beers...
   fermentation of rice? sure... it's crisp...
but also the sort of toddler **** you'd expect
from rice fermentation:
no body, no *****, no blood,
no palette...
      easy stew:
      onions, garlic, celery, carrots,
     a bottle of i.p.a.,
   some to degrease the pan the sausages
and veg were fried on, the rest for the jacuzzi...
some water, bay leaf, salt to taste,
   tomato purée and 2tbsp
  of muscovado sugar to bite through
   the extra hops... mash on the side...
                  and an array of veg on the side too...

i still don't know where the idea
that women belong in the kitchen came from:
perhaps when the men were coal-miners,
and when the kitchen wasn't filled
with all the current day appliances
of convenience...
   when women worked as hard in the kitchen
as the men who worked in the coal-mine...
perhaps then, in the early part of the 20th
century... when spaghetti dough was hand-made
at home...
then a woman could take pride in her
   now? now i guess: the same sort of melancholic
voice bound to nancy sinatra singing...
because once upon a time it was hard
work, running the house...
                       and then "suddenly"
everything became simple...
a man could walk into a coal-mine,
come back home and...
              make himself a decent meal...
  looking at what the english woman buy
in the supermarket?
      couch potato maidens...
       ready meal after yet another ready meal...
things have become so easy
that easy isn't enough...

      let me tell you a culinary ***** of a story...
the scurge of making homemade
ravioli! believe me... once a year is enough...
sure, it tastes great...
                  but once a year is enough.
RAJ NANDY Sep 2018
Dear Poet Friends, Torin Galleshaw from Charlotte NC, a Member of this Site, had requested me to compose about the Rise of Third *****. Therefore, I have commenced with the causes for its Rise in my Part One posted below. Planning to compose Part Two with ******’s Blitzkrieg campaign of Poland later. It is unfortunate that I am unable to post related Maps & Photos for better appreciation of my Readers! Such options are not available for us here! However, I have managed to post a copy with maps & photos in the E-mail ID of my friend Torin!  Kindly give comments only after reading this researched work of mine, during your spare time.  Thanking you, - Raj, New Delhi.

                            RISE OF THE THIRD *****
                                       By Raj Nandy

In this part I shall mainly deal with the causes leading to the Second World War,
Which had also created favourable conditions for the rise of Third ***** under ******.
The word ‘*****’ derives from old German word ‘rihhi’ meaning ‘realm’;  
But is also used to designate a kingdom or an empire in a broader sense.
Historically, the First ***** was the Medieval Holy Roman Empire which lasted till the end of the 19th Century.
While the Second ***** was the First German Empire from 1871 to 1918, when dynamic Otto Von Bismark had united all of Germany,
Which ended with its defeat in World War One and birth of the Weimar Republic.
The Third ***** refers to the **** German Empire under ******, Which lasted from 1933 till 1945, for twelve traumatic eventful years!
Historians opine that the ending of a war is equally important as
its beginning;
Since the causes for the start of a war is often to be found embedded in its ending!
The First World War came to an end on 28th of June 1919 as we all know.
With the signing of the Treaty at Versailles by the German Foreign Minister Hermann Muller and the ‘Big Four’.  (Britain, France, America, & Italy)
Yet it is rather ironical, that this Peace Treaty of Versailles, considered as President Woodrow Wilson’s ‘brain child’,
Had sowed the seeds of discontent resulting in the outbreak of the Second World War, and Adolf ******’s dramatic rise!

Though several causes are attributed for the outbreak of the Second World War by our Military Historians.
Let me try to summarise those causes which are considered to be more relevant.
Commencing with the harsh Treaty of Versailles, the British and French Policy of Appeasement, followed by Hyperinflation and the Great Depression of 1929, and failure of The League of Nations to maintain peace;  
Are relevant factors which collectively combined resulting in the outbreak of the devastating Second World War, scarring human memories for all time!
But not forgetting ******’s forceful and persuasive eloquence which mesmerised the Germans to rise up as a powerful Nation once again.
Since ****** promised to avenge the humiliation faced by Germany following the Treaty of Versailles,
Which was drawn up with vengeance, and dictated by the victorious Allies!

Armistice means a truce for cessation of hostilities, which provides a breathing space for negotiating a lasting peace.
Now the Armistice ceasing the First World War was signed inside the railway carriage of the Allied Supreme Commander Marshal Foch, in the Forest of Compiegne,
On the 11th of November 1919, sixty km north of Paris, between the victorious Allies and vanquished Germany.
But in the meantime naval blockade of Germany had continued, and the German Rhineland was evacuated and partly occupied by the combined Allied troops!
Release of Allied POWs interned civilians followed subsequently; And the Reparations Clause of monetary compensation was strictly imposed on Germany!
Now, following a wide spread German Sailor’s Revolt towards the end of October 1918, Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II had abdicated;
And on the 9th of November Friedrich Ebert, as the new Social Democrat President of Germany, authorised his representative to sign the Compiegne Armistice.
We should remember here that this Armistice seeking cessation of hostilities did not stipulate any unconditional surrender;
And the signing of the Armistice by the German Social Democrats, was considered as ‘a stab in the back of the German army’ by majority of the Germans!
These issues get repeatedly mentioned by Adolf ****** in his eloquent speeches subsequently,
To arouse the spirit of German Nationalism, and resurgence of the ‘Master Aryan Race’ of the Germans, - in Germany!

The Versailles Treaty was signed on 28th of June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which had sparked World War One.
Let me mention few aspects of this Treaty which was detested by the Germans!
Germany lost 13% of its land, 12% of its people, 48% of its iron resources, 15% of its agricultural production, and 10% of its coal, following its implementation!
German army was reduced to 100,000 men, its Navy reduced to 36 ships with no submarines, its Air Force banned, and its union with Austria forbidden.
Now to use a Shakespearean phrase the ‘unkindest cut of all’ came in the shape of Article 231,  the ‘War Guilt Clause’ of the Versailles Treaty,
Which provided the legal basis for the payment of war reparations by Germany.
The reparation amount of 132 billion gold marks (US $33 billion) to cover the civilian damage caused during the war, now had to be paid by Germany!
Thus the humiliation, resentment, and the virtual economic strangulation following the Versailles Treaty,
Was exploited by extremist groups such as ******’s **** Party.
And in the decades to follow, ******’s Nazis would take full control of Germany!

NOTES: Following Versailles Treaty, Alsace-Lorraine captured by Germany in 1870 was returned to France. The SAAR German coalfield region was give to France for 15 yrs. Poland became independent with a corridor to the sea dividing Germany into two. Danzing, a major port in East Prussia, became a free city under the League of Nation. Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, & Czechoslovakia became independent. Industrial area of German Rhineland, forming a buffer zone between Belgium &France,was

American President Wilson was an idealist and a visionary, who in a speech to the US Congress on 8th Jan 1918,
Introduced a 14 Point Charter as a platform for building global peace, based on the principles of transparency, self-determination, and Democracy.
But for the first time in US history, the Republican-led US Senate rejected this Peace Treaty, and prevented America from joining the newly created League!
The US Senate wanted to retain its sovereignty without external entanglements;
Free from the League of Nation’s political dictates in its foreign commitments!
The Irish immigrants refused to support Wilson's Fourteen Points because Wilson was concerned about stopping WWI, rather than forcing the British to set Ireland free.
Many Jews also refused to back Wilson, since he was paying too much attention to the War, and not enough to the Balfour Declaration of 02 Nov 1917, -
Which promised an Independent Jewish State with a distinct Jewish identity.

The League of Nations had emerged from Wilson’s 14 Points on the 10th Jan 1920, with its HQs at Geneva, Switzerland, but it had no peacekeeping forces those days!
The League had failed to prevent invasion of Chinese Manchuria in 1932 by Japan;
Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935; annexation of Sudetenland and Austria by Germany!
The Axis countries Germany, Italy, and Japan, withdrew from the League subsequently.
Thus the League of Nations was disbanded in 1946 officially!
But President Wilson’s ceaseless efforts for global peace did not go unrecognised,
Since on the 10th of December 1920, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!
While his disbanded League of Nations, as the first global humanitarian organisation,
Continued to survive in spirit with the establishment of United Nations Organisation on the 24th October, 1945.

Germany emerged from the First World War with loss of 25,000 square miles of territory;
Loss of seven million inhabitants, and a staggering debt imposed by the Versailles Treaty!
The Wiemar Republic, after abdication of Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm-II  to Holland,
For the first time in German history, established a Democratic Constitution with Friedrich Ebert as its first President.
But The Republic first had to consolidate itself by squashing the Spartacist Revolt of January 1919 led by the extreme Leftists, and inspired by the Russian Bolshevik Communists!
The Freikorps, in March 1920, an Ex-Soldiers Rightist Group, tried to overthrow the Wiemar Republic with support of their Rightist allies and their own veteran troops!
This was soon followed by a Communist attempt to takeover of the Industrial Rhur;
But fortunately, all these uprisings against the Republic were effectively subdued!
But the 33 Billion Dollars of Reparations hung over the Wiemar Republic like the legendary ‘Sword of Damocles’, followed by the Great Depression of 1929;
Coupled with the ‘Policy of Appeasement’ practised by the British and the French;
Became the most important causes for ******’s expansionist ambition and his short- lived meteoric rise to fame!

Gold Mark was the currency used by the German Empire from 1873 to 1914 only.
But to pay for the costs of the ongoing First World War, Germany suspended the gold standard, and decided to fund the war by Borrowings entirely,
Hoping to pay back the loans after Germany achieves Victory.
But having lost the war, and faced with a massive debt imposed by the Allies,
Exchange rate of the Mark against the US Dollar steadily devalued and declined!
Papiermark became the German currency from 04th August 1914 onward, when link between the Mark and gold reserve was abandoned,
In order to pay for the ongoing expenses of the First World War with paper marks, which was constantly being printed!
But later after the war, when the London Ultimatum of May 1921 demanded payment of war reparations in gold or in foreign currency only,
Even more paper marks got printed by the Republic to buy those foreign currency !
By December 1922 hyper-inflationary trends emerged, when the US Dollar became equivalent to 7,400 German Marks, with a 15-fold increase in the cost of living !
By the fall of 1922 when it became impossible for Germany to make further payments,
The French and Belgium armies occupied Germany’s Ruhr Valley area, its prime industrial region!
French and the Belgians hoped to extract payment in kind, but a strike by the workers of the Ruhr area their hopes belied!
The Wiemar Republic printed more paper notes to pay and support the workers of the Ruhr area,
When hyperinflation had peaked at 4,210,500,000,000 German Marks, to a US Dollar!
Paper currency having become worthless, some form of ancient barter system began to be used instead!

Following the hyperinflation Chancellor Josef Cuno’s cabinet resigned in August 1923,
When Gustav Stresemann became the new Chancellor of Germany.
Stresemann’s Government had introduced the Rentenmark as a new stable currency,
To end the hyperinflation which had plagued Wiemar Germany.  
Rentenmark was backed by real goods, agricultural land and business,
Since gold was not available in a beleaguered German economy those days!
When One Rentenmark was equivalent to One million, million, old German Mark;
While One US Dollar was equivalent to only 4.2 Rentenmarks.
Though Stresemann’s Government lasted for 100 days only, Stresemann continued to serve as the Foreign Minister in successive Coalition Governments of the Republic,
Till his death in the month of October 1929, but working for the betterment of Germany all the while!
His ‘Policy of Fulfilment’ stabilised German economy with a 200 Million Dollars loan from America under the Dawes Plan in 1924,
Which had also ensured the evacuation of France from the occupied Ruhr area, with their future reparations payments ensured.
Stresemann’s signing of the Locarno Pact in London on 1st Dec 1925 with France, Belgium, Great Britain, and Italy, was considered as his achievement and a feat!
Since it made Germany to enter the League of Nations ensuring stability and peace;
While the Noble Peace Prize was awarded to Stresemann for his efforts in 1926!
Later, the Young Plan of 1929 further reduced German reparations payment by 20%, while extending the time frame for the payments to 59 years!
But following a sudden Wall Street Stock Market Crash in late October of 1929,
The American Banks were forced to recall money from Europe and the Young Plan;.
Which created acute financial distress when unemployment soared to 33.7%  in Germany in 1931, and quickly rose to 40% during the following year!
Lausanne Conference was held in Switzerland in 1932 by Great Britain, Germany, and France, to further reduce the War Debts imposed by the Versailles Treaty.
But in Dec 1932, the US Congress had rejected this Allied War Debt Reduction Plan completely.
However, no further payments were made by Germany due to the Great Depression;
And by 1932, Germany had paid only 1/8 of the total sum required to be paid as per their pending wartime reparations!

NOTES: Rentenmark was issued on 15 October 1923 to stop the hyperinflation in Wiemeer Germany. Reichmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 to 20 June 1948 in West Germany , when it was replaced by the Deutsche Mark; but had continued in East Germany until 23 June when it was replaced by East German Mark.
During the Stresemann Years of Stability from 1924 to 1929, (prior to the onset of the Great Depression), with help of American financial aid, created more housing & production in Germany. Dada & Expressionist Art forms flourished, followed by modern architecture; also the Philosophy of Existentialism of Thomas Mann – influenced the Western culture. Paul Whiteman's Band for the first time brought in American Jazz to Germany, and Jazz signified the liberation of German youth and women folks of the younger generation generally. But the US Stock Market Crash had unfortunately ended this short lived euphoria, and as it soon became a global phenomena!                                

Last Days of Wiemar Republic:
Ever since Otto Von Bismarck that ‘Man of iron and steel’, united Germany into a single Empire in the year Eighteen Hundred & Seventy One,
For the first time a Constitution for a Parliamentary Democracy was drawn up in August 1919, in the eastern German city of Wiemar.
Wiemar was the intellectual centre of Germany associated with musicians like Franz List, and writers like Goethe and Schiller.
The Wiemar Republic of Germany which had lasted from 1919 till 1933 had seen,
20 different Coalition Governments, with frequent elections and changing loyalties!
Due to a system of proportional representations, and the presence of very many political parties those days,  
No single party could obtain absolute sole majority in the Reichstag Parliament!
The longest Coalition Govt. was under Chancellor Bruning, which had lasted for only 2 years and 61 days!     (From 30 March 1930 to 30 May 1932)
Now, to understand the reasons for the failure to maintain a Democratic form of Government by the Wiemar Republic,
It becomes necessary to monitor its ‘dying gasps’ during its closing years so to speak!
Since faced with the economic depression Chancellor Bruning had worsened the unemployment situation by adopting stringent and unpopular measures!
Thereby having lost popular political support, Bruning with the approval of President Hindenburg, invoked emergency powers under Article 48, to survive his last few months and years!
During the years 1931 and 1932  it is seen, Bruning had used this Emergency Clause 44 and 66 times respectively!
Thus his so-called ‘Presidential form of Govt.’ had undermined Wiemar Democracy!
If Burning was the ‘Republic’s Undertaker’, now remains a debatable issue of History!
But Burning’s vigorous campaign made Hindenburg to get re-elected as the President;
Thereby he had removed the defeated Adolf ****** out of the Presidential race!
Therefore, later when ****** became the Chancellor on 30 Jan 1933, Bruning had very wisely fled from Germany!

Following Bruning’s resignation in May 1932 came Chancellor Papen’s ‘Cabinet of Barons’ consisting of individuals who were not members of the German Reichstag!
While in the election of July 1932 ******’s **** Party won 230 seats, making it the largest party in the Reichstag.
But ****** refused to form a coalition with Papen, because he wanted to become the Chancellor himself !
Now General von Schleicher advised President Hindenburg that the German Army,
Would not accept Papen’s use of Article 48 to remain as the Chancellor of Germany!
Therefore following Papen’s resignation, Schleicher took over on the 04th of December 1932 as the new German Chancellor.
Schleicher tried to restore a democratic form of government to get the Wiemar Republic back on its feet.
But in the ensuing political power struggle Papen wanted to take revenge on Schleicher for his removal from power and defeat.
So Papen persuaded Adolf ****** to become the Chancellor, and retain for himself the post of Vice-Chancellor.
In doing so, Papen mistakenly thought that he would be able to reign in the self-assertive Adolf ******!
Papen finally made President Hindenburg agree to his proposal, and on 30th of Jan 1933,
****** became the New Chancellor, with approval of the President!
A month later a sudden fire in the Reichstag made ****** invoke Article 48, in order to squash the suspected Left Wing Communists;
But while doing so, the Press was muzzled, and many Civil Rights of the German people were abolished, inclusive of their right of assembly and free speech!
****** acted swiftly, and by passing the Enabling Act on 23 March, 1933, armed himself  with dictatorial powers for enacting laws without the approval of the Reichstag whenever necessary!
Thereby ****** threw Democracy to History’s wasteland most unfortunately!
Following the death of Hindenburg on 29 June 1934, ****** combined the powers of the President and the Chancellor, and became known as the FUHRER!
Historians generally agree the Enabling Act of 1933, as the date for establishment of The German Third *****.

The horrors of trench warfare with the rattling of machine guns and bursting of poisonous nerve gas shells,
Even after 20 years remained fresh, in the minds of all World War One participants!
Therefore, it was natural for British and French Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Edouard Daladier initially,
To grant political and material concessions to an aggressive Germany, for the sake of peace and stability.
Thus the diplomatic stance of Appeasement between 1935 and 1939 followed by the French and the British, was mainly to avoid another dangerous armed conflict!
But the trusting Mr. Chamberlain had underestimated ******, who had served in the German Army as a Corporal, winning the Iron Cross during the last Great War!
****** was not afraid of war, but wanted to avenge the Treaty of Versailles and its punitive dictated peace;
And also establish for the superior German Aryan race a lasting Third *****!
Therefore, having consolidated his power as the Fuhrer along with his trusted **** Party cronies, he withdrew from the League of Nations in October 1933.
Introduced conscription in March 1935 in Germany, and embarked on a mission to rebuild a new modernised German Army for combat on land, air, and sea!
In March 1936, in another open violation of the Versailles Treaty, ****** re-occupied the demilitarised Rhineland, followed by a Treaty of Alliance with Japan and Italy.
The much desired Anschluss (or merger) with Austria, the country of birth of ******,
Saw the German Army in March 1938, triumphantly and peacefully marching into Vienna!
Now with the Munich Conference of 19 September 1938, this Policy of Appeasement is said to have reached its climatic peak!
The Sudetenland area, consisted of 3 million Germans were made
to join Czechoslovakia when the frontiers were drawn in 1918-19,
Much against the wishes of the Germans!
When ****** wanted to annex this Sudetenland area, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, met at Munich to diffuse an explosive situation peacefully.
It was agreed at Munich that once Sudetenland joins Germany, ****** will not invade Czechoslovakia and honour the terms of peace.
But on 15th March 1939, in violation of the Munich Agreement, ******’s army invade and occupied Czechoslovakia, thereby openly flouting the Policy of Appeasement!

NOTES: ******’s desire for ‘LEBENSRAUM’ or ‘increase of living space’ for the Germans, commenced with his ‘Border Wars’, which soon turned into a Global War because of the ‘appeasement policy’ of the Allies. ****** had secured his Eastern Front with a treaty with the Stalin, since fighting on two fronts would have been very difficult for the Germans.

Now when ******’s army invaded Poland on 1st of September 1939, it became ‘the last straw on the camel’s back’ for the Western Allies!
Committed to the Anglo-Polish Defence Pact of 25 August, 1939, both Britain and France declared war on Germany,
Which I propose to narrate in Part Two of my Second World War Story.  
The Policy of Appeasement no doubt gave some time for Britain, to regain its depleted military strength,  but Adolf ****** had viewed it as a sign of weakness!
With Russia and America initially as non-participants, ****** became more confident and arrogant!
Thereby turning his border wars into a global conflagration lasting six long years.
When the use of advanced technology, resulted in greater loss and casualties;  
Which was followed by the holocaust and unprecedented human suffering!
I would like to conclude my present narration with a poem by English soldier-poet Seigfried Sassoon, who participated in the First World War on the Western Front.

DREAMERS  -  by Siegfried Sassoon
Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
Some flaming, fatal ****** with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats,
And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with ***** and bats,
And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
And going to the office in the train.
Thanks for reading patiently, from Raj Nandy of New Delhi.
Canaan Massie Nov 2012
I feel your love,
Yet your marksmanship is poor,
For towards me your love aims not.
Your intentions aimed elsewhere.

A past lover.
And I am not he.

Malicious Misery pushed you too far.
Too far this time.
Your life is precious to me,
Yet a treasure you seek not.

It dwindles within these machines,
Like a strand of seaweed.
Being crashed upon by the waves,
Of this poison you endowed yourself with.

Much a tragedy this is.
Yet not that of Shakespeare.
No, this much too real,
To take a form of fictitious imaginings.

This, much more complicated,
Than a Shakespearean masterpiece.
For if so,
Your love would be aimed at I.

But it is not,
And in resent, I mourn this tragedy.
Yet, I must let love,
Travel upon its everso hellbound path.

My eyes lie upon thee,
And my heart within the feeble hand of yours.
Yet your mind lies elsewhere,
And your desires lie with your mind.

Upon he.
The one currently at your arms reach.
The one at your desires demand.
The one you truly love.

I must not resent this,
For love hath struck thee as it struck I.
And Cupid's arrow hath stuck he as well.
I can see it in his sorrowful stare.

He loves you in a way that I cannot.
A consentful love.
For I am just a scapegoat.

Well now you've quenched your desire.
You've acquired what you sought.
Love of he.
(And I, for whatever its worth.)

His love is a precious gold,
And mine a mere coal.
Black, unwanted.
Only able to provide temporary warmth.

Pardon me for obstructing.
Love hath stolen my precious vision,
And wandered, I,
Into the meadow in which you hunt.

As a poor marksman,
Thou cast thine arrow of love upon me,
And realized I am but a scapegoat,
When the white stag is what you seek.

Once before,
you lined him in your sights.
But evasive is this mystical creature.
And once, he escap'd.

If your life so solidifies,
I shall replinish my vision,
Banish my love,
And obstruct thee no more.

I must prosper in silence and patience.
Shun my hearts desires,
And let thee hunt.

I apologize for my inconvenience.
I shall groom each of your horses,
So that you may ride into,
The meadow of love together.

Hence, beware of hunters,
And wandering creatures.
Teach thine unsteady hand,
And this time...

Don't miss.
SM Feb 2014
A young she wolf is born
Scorched fur of molten lava and heated coal
Flames consume her path
She leaves a soot trail
Ember eyes shine the spark of life
The animal instinct to hunt
And so she will hunt
Through the hell that surrounds her
The hell she creates
A paradise of flames
“The Fire in this Wolf lives”

— The End —