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Elise Apr 2015
Through pasts of the neglected
memories are to be forgotten
Sudden cries out for scrutiny
where punishment is quality
behind creaking wooden doors

Where cries of affection are forbidden
Echoing silence is the new existence
Beliefs of optimism are secluded
Time lost and forever diminished
behind creaking wooden doors

Who was once content
Running through fields of flowers
demolishing slices of birthday cake
now imprisoned in the hands of a stranger
behind creaking wooden doors

Never to be brought home
Dreams of merriment are inferior
Weakness grows its’ strength
Whispers of prayers are fallacious
behind creaking wooden doors
It's about a child being held hostage
s Dec 2014
I'm creaking.
My knees are creaking from being worn too soon.
My mind is creaking from all the thoughts getting worn down and they don't make sense anymore.
Like the gate to an old farm with the metal worn, and the hinges tight.
My life is creaking with the old.
My life needs some oil..
I need something new.
Everything is creaking.
I don't like the sound.
I need to figure out how to make it stop.
Seth Honda Apr 2018
At the age of four, I woke up screaming because of the monsters in my room,
The ones lurking in the corners, waiting to pounce.
I imagined beasts the size of elephants creaking my floorboards,
Scratching my walls.
I hear unearthly voices calling my name.

I scream
And the voices silence.
The scratching stops.
The creaking ceases.

All is silent,
But I am scared of the silence.

My mom wanders in,
She holds me in her arms and I listen to her heartbeat.
Thump thump.
Thump thump.

It is the only thing that does not change.
It is the only steady thing,
For her arms quake with fatigue and her voice wavers as she tells me all is okay.
All is not okay.

At the age of six, the voices stopped.
The scratching stopped,
The creaking, too.

But there were new voices,
Voices that traveled through the walls from my parents bedroom.
The creaking turned to crashing, the voices to screams.
No one really payed any attention to six year old me,
Life moved on without him.
I was left behind,
Left stuck in that moment.
Life was a blur.

Then something happened—
Something strange,
Something great.
I met her.

Eyes of the ocean, hair of the sand.
I went swimming.
I got lost and I did not want to be found.
I was lost at sea.
I was blind but I could still see.

She made life slow down.
Everything was good.

I heard the birds chirping.
I saw the sky blue.
The scratching stopped,
The voices and the creaking, too.
I slept safe and sound,
Without waking up to monsters in the corner
And without screams in the night.
I slept and did not wake up scratched from the demons in my chest—
She took them away.
She made me happy.

The scratching turned to whispers,
The creaking turned to laughs,
And the voices turned to I love you's.

There was no more screaming or growling in the dark corners of my room. She made me happy.
As time passed we grew closer.
We kissed,
We held each other
And, well, it was a roller coaster.
One with many ups
And some downs.
It was exhilarating.

But, the thing about roller coasters is that they always come to an end,
With a stop that lurches you forward, making you want to go again.
But, you have to get off.
So we lurched to a stop, and we got off.
We said our goodbyes, and I love you's.
And then.
There was no more you.

There were no more monsters in my closet,
But now the voices were in my head.
The scratching on my door was now on my chest,
And the creaking turned to the quaking of my bed
As I shook back and forth.

I could not relax.
The voices came back.
The pain came back.
She loved someone else.

There are now monsters in my closet,
But they are not the size of elephants.
They no longer bare teeth at me;
Instead, they smile—
There are two monsters.
She is one.
The one she loves is the other.

And I will not be able to stop from thinking where it went wrong
Because I will have all the extra time to think and to overthink.
Then I realize.

/it/did not go wrong.
Nothing went wrong.
It was not a single moment.

It was a series of events in which she fell out of love as I feel deeper in it.
It was cruel as I tried to make up for her missing love.

Because one can only love with all of themselves.
Not with all of someone else.
r Aug 2013
I remember well
The creaking of
One hundred year old
Pine planked floor
And the ticking
Of the 100 year old clock
In my family's old home
Before the highwaymen
Took it with the widening
Of Highway 91
But Mom got her new house
Set back just a little
She loves it and new amenities
At least they didn't steal the barn
Or clock
But I miss the creaking and the ticking
Of my childhood home
On Highway 91
Across from Stoney Creek
My real home
Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
Still must I hear?—shall hoarse FITZGERALD bawl
His creaking couplets in a tavern hall,
And I not sing, lest, haply, Scotch Reviews
Should dub me scribbler, and denounce my Muse?
Prepare for rhyme—I’ll publish, right or wrong:
Fools are my theme, let Satire be my song.

  Oh! Nature’s noblest gift—my grey goose-quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
The pen! foredoomed to aid the mental throes
Of brains that labour, big with Verse or Prose;
Though Nymphs forsake, and Critics may deride,
The Lover’s solace, and the Author’s pride.
What Wits! what Poets dost thou daily raise!
How frequent is thy use, how small thy praise!
Condemned at length to be forgotten quite,
With all the pages which ’twas thine to write.
But thou, at least, mine own especial pen!
Once laid aside, but now assumed again,
Our task complete, like Hamet’s shall be free;
Though spurned by others, yet beloved by me:
Then let us soar to-day; no common theme,
No Eastern vision, no distempered dream
Inspires—our path, though full of thorns, is plain;
Smooth be the verse, and easy be the strain.

  When Vice triumphant holds her sov’reign sway,
Obey’d by all who nought beside obey;
When Folly, frequent harbinger of crime,
Bedecks her cap with bells of every Clime;
When knaves and fools combined o’er all prevail,
And weigh their Justice in a Golden Scale;
E’en then the boldest start from public sneers,
Afraid of Shame, unknown to other fears,
More darkly sin, by Satire kept in awe,
And shrink from Ridicule, though not from Law.

  Such is the force of Wit! I but not belong
To me the arrows of satiric song;
The royal vices of our age demand
A keener weapon, and a mightier hand.
Still there are follies, e’en for me to chase,
And yield at least amusement in the race:
Laugh when I laugh, I seek no other fame,
The cry is up, and scribblers are my game:
Speed, Pegasus!—ye strains of great and small,
Ode! Epic! Elegy!—have at you all!
I, too, can scrawl, and once upon a time
I poured along the town a flood of rhyme,
A schoolboy freak, unworthy praise or blame;
I printed—older children do the same.
’Tis pleasant, sure, to see one’s name in print;
A Book’s a Book, altho’ there’s nothing in’t.
Not that a Title’s sounding charm can save
Or scrawl or scribbler from an equal grave:
This LAMB must own, since his patrician name
Failed to preserve the spurious Farce from shame.
No matter, GEORGE continues still to write,
Tho’ now the name is veiled from public sight.
Moved by the great example, I pursue
The self-same road, but make my own review:
Not seek great JEFFREY’S, yet like him will be
Self-constituted Judge of Poesy.

  A man must serve his time to every trade
Save Censure—Critics all are ready made.
Take hackneyed jokes from MILLER, got by rote,
With just enough of learning to misquote;
A man well skilled to find, or forge a fault;
A turn for punning—call it Attic salt;
To JEFFREY go, be silent and discreet,
His pay is just ten sterling pounds per sheet:
Fear not to lie,’twill seem a sharper hit;
Shrink not from blasphemy, ’twill pass for wit;
Care not for feeling—pass your proper jest,
And stand a Critic, hated yet caress’d.

And shall we own such judgment? no—as soon
Seek roses in December—ice in June;
Hope constancy in wind, or corn in chaff,
Believe a woman or an epitaph,
Or any other thing that’s false, before
You trust in Critics, who themselves are sore;
Or yield one single thought to be misled
By JEFFREY’S heart, or LAMB’S Boeotian head.
To these young tyrants, by themselves misplaced,
Combined usurpers on the Throne of Taste;
To these, when Authors bend in humble awe,
And hail their voice as Truth, their word as Law;
While these are Censors, ’twould be sin to spare;
While such are Critics, why should I forbear?
But yet, so near all modern worthies run,
’Tis doubtful whom to seek, or whom to shun;
Nor know we when to spare, or where to strike,
Our Bards and Censors are so much alike.
Then should you ask me, why I venture o’er
The path which POPE and GIFFORD trod before;
If not yet sickened, you can still proceed;
Go on; my rhyme will tell you as you read.
“But hold!” exclaims a friend,—”here’s some neglect:
This—that—and t’other line seem incorrect.”
What then? the self-same blunder Pope has got,
And careless Dryden—”Aye, but Pye has not:”—
Indeed!—’tis granted, faith!—but what care I?
Better to err with POPE, than shine with PYE.

  Time was, ere yet in these degenerate days
Ignoble themes obtained mistaken praise,
When Sense and Wit with Poesy allied,
No fabled Graces, flourished side by side,
From the same fount their inspiration drew,
And, reared by Taste, bloomed fairer as they grew.
Then, in this happy Isle, a POPE’S pure strain
Sought the rapt soul to charm, nor sought in vain;
A polished nation’s praise aspired to claim,
And raised the people’s, as the poet’s fame.
Like him great DRYDEN poured the tide of song,
In stream less smooth, indeed, yet doubly strong.
Then CONGREVE’S scenes could cheer, or OTWAY’S melt;
For Nature then an English audience felt—
But why these names, or greater still, retrace,
When all to feebler Bards resign their place?
Yet to such times our lingering looks are cast,
When taste and reason with those times are past.
Now look around, and turn each trifling page,
Survey the precious works that please the age;
This truth at least let Satire’s self allow,
No dearth of Bards can be complained of now.
The loaded Press beneath her labour groans,
And Printers’ devils shake their weary bones;
While SOUTHEY’S Epics cram the creaking shelves,
And LITTLE’S Lyrics shine in hot-pressed twelves.
Thus saith the Preacher: “Nought beneath the sun
Is new,” yet still from change to change we run.
What varied wonders tempt us as they pass!
The Cow-pox, Tractors, Galvanism, and Gas,
In turns appear, to make the ****** stare,
Till the swoln bubble bursts—and all is air!
Nor less new schools of Poetry arise,
Where dull pretenders grapple for the prize:
O’er Taste awhile these Pseudo-bards prevail;
Each country Book-club bows the knee to Baal,
And, hurling lawful Genius from the throne,
Erects a shrine and idol of its own;
Some leaden calf—but whom it matters not,
From soaring SOUTHEY, down to groveling STOTT.

  Behold! in various throngs the scribbling crew,
For notice eager, pass in long review:
Each spurs his jaded Pegasus apace,
And Rhyme and Blank maintain an equal race;
Sonnets on sonnets crowd, and ode on ode;
And Tales of Terror jostle on the road;
Immeasurable measures move along;
For simpering Folly loves a varied song,
To strange, mysterious Dulness still the friend,
Admires the strain she cannot comprehend.
Thus Lays of Minstrels—may they be the last!—
On half-strung harps whine mournful to the blast.
While mountain spirits prate to river sprites,
That dames may listen to the sound at nights;
And goblin brats, of Gilpin Horner’s brood
Decoy young Border-nobles through the wood,
And skip at every step, Lord knows how high,
And frighten foolish babes, the Lord knows why;
While high-born ladies in their magic cell,
Forbidding Knights to read who cannot spell,
Despatch a courier to a wizard’s grave,
And fight with honest men to shield a knave.

  Next view in state, proud prancing on his roan,
The golden-crested haughty Marmion,
Now forging scrolls, now foremost in the fight,
Not quite a Felon, yet but half a Knight.
The gibbet or the field prepared to grace;
A mighty mixture of the great and base.
And think’st thou, SCOTT! by vain conceit perchance,
On public taste to foist thy stale romance,
Though MURRAY with his MILLER may combine
To yield thy muse just half-a-crown per line?
No! when the sons of song descend to trade,
Their bays are sear, their former laurels fade,
Let such forego the poet’s sacred name,
Who rack their brains for lucre, not for fame:
Still for stern Mammon may they toil in vain!
And sadly gaze on Gold they cannot gain!
Such be their meed, such still the just reward
Of prostituted Muse and hireling bard!
For this we spurn Apollo’s venal son,
And bid a long “good night to Marmion.”

  These are the themes that claim our plaudits now;
These are the Bards to whom the Muse must bow;
While MILTON, DRYDEN, POPE, alike forgot,
Resign their hallowed Bays to WALTER SCOTT.

  The time has been, when yet the Muse was young,
When HOMER swept the lyre, and MARO sung,
An Epic scarce ten centuries could claim,
While awe-struck nations hailed the magic name:
The work of each immortal Bard appears
The single wonder of a thousand years.
Empires have mouldered from the face of earth,
Tongues have expired with those who gave them birth,
Without the glory such a strain can give,
As even in ruin bids the language live.
Not so with us, though minor Bards, content,
On one great work a life of labour spent:
With eagle pinion soaring to the skies,
Behold the Ballad-monger SOUTHEY rise!
To him let CAMOËNS, MILTON, TASSO yield,
Whose annual strains, like armies, take the field.
First in the ranks see Joan of Arc advance,
The scourge of England and the boast of France!
Though burnt by wicked BEDFORD for a witch,
Behold her statue placed in Glory’s niche;
Her fetters burst, and just released from prison,
A ****** Phoenix from her ashes risen.
Next see tremendous Thalaba come on,
Arabia’s monstrous, wild, and wond’rous son;
Domdaniel’s dread destroyer, who o’erthrew
More mad magicians than the world e’er knew.
Immortal Hero! all thy foes o’ercome,
For ever reign—the rival of Tom Thumb!
Since startled Metre fled before thy face,
Well wert thou doomed the last of all thy race!
Well might triumphant Genii bear thee hence,
Illustrious conqueror of common sense!
Now, last and greatest, Madoc spreads his sails,
Cacique in Mexico, and Prince in Wales;
Tells us strange tales, as other travellers do,
More old than Mandeville’s, and not so true.
Oh, SOUTHEY! SOUTHEY! cease thy varied song!
A bard may chaunt too often and too long:
As thou art strong in verse, in mercy, spare!
A fourth, alas! were more than we could bear.
But if, in spite of all the world can say,
Thou still wilt verseward plod thy weary way;
If still in Berkeley-Ballads most uncivil,
Thou wilt devote old women to the devil,
The babe unborn thy dread intent may rue:
“God help thee,” SOUTHEY, and thy readers too.

  Next comes the dull disciple of thy school,
That mild apostate from poetic rule,
The simple WORDSWORTH, framer of a lay
As soft as evening in his favourite May,
Who warns his friend “to shake off toil and trouble,
And quit his books, for fear of growing double;”
Who, both by precept and example, shows
That prose is verse, and verse is merely prose;
Convincing all, by demonstration plain,
Poetic souls delight in prose insane;
And Christmas stories tortured into rhyme
Contain the essence of the true sublime.
Thus, when he tells the tale of Betty Foy,
The idiot mother of “an idiot Boy;”
A moon-struck, silly lad, who lost his way,
And, like his bard, confounded night with day
So close on each pathetic part he dwells,
And each adventure so sublimely tells,
That all who view the “idiot in his glory”
Conceive the Bard the hero of the story.

  Shall gentle COLERIDGE pass unnoticed here,
To turgid ode and tumid stanza dear?
Though themes of innocence amuse him best,
Yet still Obscurity’s a welcome guest.
If Inspiration should her aid refuse
To him who takes a Pixy for a muse,
Yet none in lofty numbers can surpass
The bard who soars to elegize an ***:
So well the subject suits his noble mind,
He brays, the Laureate of the long-eared kind.

Oh! wonder-working LEWIS! Monk, or Bard,
Who fain would make Parnassus a church-yard!
Lo! wreaths of yew, not laurel, bind thy brow,
Thy Muse a Sprite, Apollo’s sexton thou!
Whether on ancient tombs thou tak’st thy stand,
By gibb’ring spectres hailed, thy kindred band;
Or tracest chaste descriptions on thy page,
To please the females of our modest age;
All hail, M.P.! from whose infernal brain
Thin-sheeted phantoms glide, a grisly train;
At whose command “grim women” throng in crowds,
And kings of fire, of water, and of clouds,
With “small grey men,”—”wild yagers,” and what not,
To crown with honour thee and WALTER SCOTT:
Again, all hail! if tales like thine may please,
St. Luke alone can vanquish the disease:
Even Satan’s self with thee might dread to dwell,
And in thy skull discern a deeper Hell.

Who in soft guise, surrounded by a choir
Of virgins melting, not to Vesta’s fire,
With sparkling eyes, and cheek by passion flushed
Strikes his wild lyre, whilst listening dames are hushed?
’Tis LITTLE! young Catullus of his day,
As sweet, but as immoral, in his Lay!
Grieved to condemn, the Muse must still be just,
Nor spare melodious advocates of lust.
Pure is the flame which o’er her altar burns;
From grosser incense with disgust she turns
Yet kind to youth, this expiation o’er,
She bids thee “mend thy line, and sin no more.”

For thee, translator of the tinsel song,
To whom such glittering ornaments belong,
Hibernian STRANGFORD! with thine eyes of blue,
And boasted locks of red or auburn hue,
Whose plaintive strain each love-sick Miss admires,
And o’er harmonious fustian half expires,
Learn, if thou canst, to yield thine author’s sense,
Nor vend thy sonnets on a false pretence.
Think’st thou to gain thy verse a higher place,
By dressing Camoëns in a suit of lace?
Mend, STRANGFORD! mend thy morals and thy taste;
Be warm, but pure; be amorous, but be chaste:
Cease to deceive; thy pilfered harp restore,
Nor teach the Lusian Bard to copy MOORE.

Behold—Ye Tarts!—one moment spare the text!—
HAYLEY’S last work, and worst—until his next;
Whether he spin poor couplets into plays,
Or **** the dead with purgatorial praise,
His style in youth or age is still the same,
For ever feeble and for ever tame.
Triumphant first see “Temper’s Triumphs” shine!
At least I’m sure they triumphed over mine.
Of “Music’s Triumphs,” all who read may swear
That luckless Music never triumph’d there.

Moravians, rise! bestow some meet reward
On dull devotion—Lo! the Sabbath Bard,
Sepulchral GRAHAME, pours his notes sublime
In mangled prose, nor e’en aspires to rhyme;
Breaks into blank the Gospel of St. Luke,
And boldly pilfers from the Pentateuch;
And, undisturbed by conscientious qualms,
Perverts the Prophets, and purloins the Psalms.

  Hail, Sympathy! thy soft idea brings”
A thousand visions of a thousand things,
And shows, still whimpering thro’ threescore of years,
The maudlin prince of mournful sonneteers.
And art thou not their prince, harmonious Bowles!
Thou first, great oracle of tender souls?
Whether them sing’st with equal ease, and grief,
The fall of empires, or a yellow leaf;
Whether thy muse most lamentably tells
What merry sounds proceed from Oxford bells,
Or, still in bells delighting, finds a friend
In every chime that jingled from Ostend;
Ah! how much juster were thy Muse’s hap,
If to thy bells thou would’st but add a cap!
Delightful BOWLES! still blessing and still blest,
All love thy strain, but children like it best.
’Tis thine, with gentle LITTLE’S moral song,
To soothe the mania of the amorous throng!
With thee our nursery damsels shed their tears,
Ere Miss as yet completes her infant years:
But in her teens thy whining powers are vain;
She quits poor BOWLES for LITTLE’S purer strain.
Now to soft themes thou scornest to confine
The lofty numbers of a harp like thine;
“Awake a louder and a loftier strain,”
Such as none heard before, or will again!
Where all discoveries jumbled from the flood,
Since first the leaky ark reposed in mud,
By more or less, are sung in every book,
From Captain Noah down to Captain Cook.
Nor this alone—but, pausing on the road,
The Bard sighs forth a gentle episode,
And gravely tells—attend, each beauteous Miss!—
When first Madeira trembled to a kiss.
Bowles! in thy memory let this precept dwell,
Stick to thy Sonnets, Man!—at least they sell.
But if some new-born whim, or larger bribe,
Prompt thy crude brain, and claim thee for a scribe:
If ‘chance some bard, though once by dunces feared,
Now, prone in dust, can only be revered;
If Pope, whose fame and genius, from the first,
Have foiled the best of critics, needs the worst,
Do thou essay: each fault, each failing scan;
The first of poets
Andrew T Hannah Jun 2013
A Surreal Epic of Existence

Prelude to the Journey…

I smiled yesterday when I beheld the morning’s brilliant colors,
Etched with gold, across the canvas of the heavens, hanging…
High above all those mountains of the world, gigantic brothers,
A wilderness of clouds, where there can be no human taming.
I did not always smile when I looked up to that noble height…
For I have seen how terrible goodness can be, when untamed.
Once I thought my sojourn in this flesh was from a divine spite,
But now I know it was a gift, and for it I need not be ashamed.
God once walked as I do now, and suffered the same stress…
Betrayal, love, and passions too, though no Church shall admit,
The true nature of divinity, lest all their secret sins they confess!
You are told you are alone in the universe, by leaders so unfit,
That they themselves are fed a diet of lies and stories invented.
But we walked amongst you since the very dawn reincarnated,
Having lost our first flesh in conflicts long past and unlamented.
We guided the steps of ancients, as monuments demonstrated!
And yet we are born as children: your own, and live our span,
The better to remain hid, in plain sight, our faces clever masks.
I am the eldest, and I remember still my kindred’s lofty plan…
And though I wear the human face, I am beset with alien tasks.
Helping they who lack the knowledge to see what lies outside,
You have seen me in the darkness, blazing upon my own pyre.
Where I am waiting to lead the way, where the angels glide…
Anyone can follow, if they are dedicated enough never to tire.
Ironic, since I myself have known helplessness and still oft do,
It is only human after all, and in your form I was so re-forged!
The image of God, whose own blood is in all of us hither unto,
From the first to the last, alpha to omega, like a sharp sword.

Prologue: (My Mask is Slipping)

As a child: I was a servant at the altars of the heart so sacred,
Singing hymns of the immaculate: without seeing the depravity.
It was only when I myself wore the crown of thons, naked…
My spirit exposed through my pain, that I realized the gravity.
What man believes is sacred, is profanity disguised as graces,
And those who lead the sheep to slaughter are mere butchers!
Forcing innocents to wear porcelain masks to hide their faces,
They rob children of their childhood, bound with crude fetters.
As a teenager: I walked in nature, disgusted with all humanity,
My exodus was from those who had defiled all I cared about.
Finding faith in an angel fallen, I discovered my own sanctity,
And in her name I found the means to cleanse my feral doubt.
Then came marriage, and betrayal by a wife I gave up all for,
The dissolution of our union then loneliness without cessation!
A mortal had pierced my flesh, leaving me to bleed on a floor,
My heart was torn from its’ moorings without any elaboration.
But the angel remained to calm my anger and ease my agony,
My only light in the blackness that has overcome my waking!
Reminding me, that I was more than this flesh and mortality…
The angel tries to keep me from harsh trembling and quaking.
And then I see: I am more than my tears and life’s traumas…
I let slip, the mask behind which the scars of my tears etched.
Then I sense the heat of the night more intense than saunas…
As I long to dance with abandon, until time itself is stretched!
Mortals may betray one another with impunity, but never I…
I do not betray; rather I pour my heart and spirit forth whole.
Creating a phylactery, of all I am, and with an innocent eye…
I demand to be loved as I am: pearl white and black as coal!

Canto 1: Sacrifice of the Doll

Part the First: (The Bleeding Shores)

Do not call me, doll, for I have departed your ancient cavern,
You are lifeless, a mere toy, and not a real child in any form!
A boy’s red ruby lips I spy drinking in the dreariest tavern…
Whilst true children singing, frolic in the fields filled with corn.
I am going home, upon the wings of the great silver griffon…
Far from the shores now bleeding red from defiled memories.
There is no return, for me, to the glories of the first ignition…
When the mind eternal, was ignited all with pleasing ecstasies.
In the stars, there are words unheard that I do want to recall,
For I came down so very long ago, among the first to so fall!
Eldritch nightmares born of the stuff of the pure chaos of old,
Are waiting for signs at the threshold to be released by magic.
The forbidden incantations return to my spirit, aflame so bold,
That my spirit nearly forgets: the origins of this time, so tragic.
When children drink, and true children hide themselves apart,
Whilst the waters bleed and the corn withers upon the stalks!
That is a sign that change must come, and so I work my mind.
The face in the moon is a grimace of tormented fear, horror…
Whilst I stand upon the precipice with my hand over my heart,
And amongst the long rows of corn, my black shadow walk!
Watching over the innocents whose souls are of my own kind.
The summer heat turns orange, the moon: in celestial corridors.
My mournful cry can be heard in the sound of the lonely wolf,
And in the wild abandon of the lion when he is on the prowl…
I feel the pain of nature, I long to bring back paradise craved.
I have seen the terror of the land, as the blood ran in the gulf,
Black blood of the earth: which causes living things to howl…
As man has the foolishness, to say what is or is not depraved!

Part the Second: (The Crucified Souls)

The doll is laid lifeless atop the altar, prepared for a sacrifice,
In the cavern where the limestone shapes the wettest arches!
A thing un-living, but with living souls trapped still, as if in ice,
Within the cold porcelain shell that so never with feet marches.
Serpentine blade held high, it drops precise into a doll’s neck,
And it cannot call out, because a doll has not any voice to cry.
A boy walked out of a tavern then, looking like a vile wreck…
Whilst as a man I attend to higher things, my body full purified.
In the voids beneath the spaces, witnessed in the rugged rock,
Voices echo loud in the darkness, calling up names unspoken.
The ferryman brings the souls delivered to him, to a far dock,
Where each must pay the copper coin, the old desired token.
So they come to drink those waters that cure all of life’s ills…
Freed from their porcelain prison to feel death’s darker chills!
Whence came those souls into captivity, no mortal may speak,
But I freed them in an instant, removing the nails that pierce…
Every man is he that was put up on the cross of old Golgotha.
And every woman too, as all were made to feel such torture!
I was there when the primal sacrifice was implanted so weak,
And yet so strong that it endured in the psyche all these years.
That doom was sealed behind a wall of fire long ago in Terra,
So that the stigmata of it might endure, even in the vast future!
Mine was the hand that signaled that doom, mine to release…
Yet, still old illusions persist, and I cannot awaken a multitude.
I, who devised the iron web that enfolds much of what is real,
Cloaking it in unending trickery am, myself, longing for peace.
For I too was entrapped, until my liberation rough and crude!
An angel freed me, and now I strive to break each cruel seal.

Part the Third: (The Return of Light)

Risen from the slumber where colder, electric dreams reside,
The forgotten intelligence is invoked, the arcane spells cast…
The eldritch nightmares return to thence amongst man abide,
Reminding us of the things banished to Hell in some age past.
Mine the hand that raised them up, light in the dagger’s glow,
The stuff of my power left to flow, like blood run swiftly free.
Out of the abyss, rises the girl-child of a lost millennial flame,
She who is the angel reborn lets her illumination clearly show.
And all are blinded who have not the innermost eyes to see!
The unbelievers are, in a single instant put unto lasting shame.
From the star of six points, a goddess works her sacred will,
And as she crosses the scarlet threshold, she brings the light.
For a single instant, all in Heaven and all upon Earth are still,
As the long day ends, bowing before the coming eternal night.
In the darkness, radiance far fairer and so perfect descends,
Whilst those who gather in my name: have lost my true path.
The wrath of angels descend upon their minds, closed shut…
Entrapped in the iron web, they cannot flee of such a prison!
The light blinds them for they never truly saw it, and it rends,
Tearing away the churches built for naught but mortal wrath.
There, the unfaithful ******* themselves: like a wanton ****,
Inventing dogma to pass on, forgetful of logic and of reason!
Faith need not be a fearful thing, yet some have made it thus,
And look for an end to come before they seek their reward.
Whilst they should be creating the paradise they left behind…
But in an image of freedom: rather than of servitude and fuss.
Too much time had been wasted in converting by the sword!
Mankind looks to the light for salvation, their eyes long blind.

Interlude Alpha:
This age is one of barbarism cloaked as gentility to sell lies…
Did you purchase some today by design or mayhap chance?
You should know this era to be neither intelligent nor wise…
Else you would not march, when you would prefer to dance!
My nights are filled with nightmares; my days are too much…
I used to dance with one I loved, and bask in purple sunsets.
Now I am haunted, by so many memories I can never touch,
That it fills me with ****** anger, and countless cold regrets.
I recall how once in desperation, my wrist rode a razor edge,
If it were not for my family I’d not thence have lived beyond.
A man abused as I was, and used like cutters upon a hedge,
Must rise higher than it all in order to survive it all, my friend!
I survived, I transformed, I ascended and in the end became,
So much more than I was, until no more did my spirit erode.
But still I wait in loneliness for a maid to awaken my flame…
And I burn, oh gods I burn until I think that I might explode!
The skies darken more and more, and bright forks crashing,
I hear the drums of fury in the heavens, giants of old winters.
The gods grow angry and I behold trees uprooted smashing!
Angels are trampling the grapes of man; they, the vintners…
I am reminded of when the battleship that sailed all galaxies,
Descended one day amidst clouds boiling with its’ steam…
To lay waste to *****, and Gomorrah, for their indignities!
I was there, when the wicked did perish with a final scream.
And as people mock me, wishing me ill because I am good,
I ask God how long I must be forced to bear such suffering.
But I am not alone, and to many I am in fact misunderstood,
So God forgives, for now; but I have not, his understanding!

Canto 2: Sacrifice of the Spider

Part the First: (The First Smile)

Black skies boil with rage unrepentant, and in righteous fury!
A being made flesh I am, though not of mortal understanding.
In cavernous places I have walked, where demons oft scurry,
And worse places still: in search of a love not too demanding.
In the stucco halls wherein my unmoving throne was raised…
Upon a hill of sorrows where lost souls labor in mundane toil,
I wait and plan to transcend the bonds the faithful so praised.
To my right hand is the altar where fire and sulfur always boil!
I force a smile upon my face, for one will not come as willing,
As in the hours when I was a golden youth filled with ideals…
Which I have paid for dearly, beyond the price of any shilling!
Now I long to pay back those who know not how this feels…
The madness born of solitude, the anger born out of contempt,
For you who despise me without cause, provoking my wrath.
What impunity has man, to think that he might ever be exempt!
When wiser civilizations than yours did sink: in the fiery bath.
Do I speak of Hell, which the faithless do not realize is come?
Nay, for their eyes have been gouged out by their own nails…
I speak of torments, far beyond that which devils have done.
The first smile shall me mine, when every cruel wish so fails…
To save the flesh of those who spit upon me as I walked on,
Never realizing that my face was just a mask, hiding another.
Only the fool pays no any attention to the piper’s lonely song,
Thinking it only a melody passed from a sister unto a brother.
But in what celestial ****** has been born the thing alchemical?
It dwells within me, the secret sin of a bonding long forgotten.
Would that I could force the world to hear music whimsical…
Like unto that which guides my spirit in all that was begotten.

Part the Second: (Cold Revenge)

The blood roses bloom in gardens where desire plants seeds,
I, the hand that waters those hungry beasts whose thirst rises!
In my search for love, I have fed the beasts of desire’s needs,
And what would cause you to blush has, for me, no surprises.
Oh human, with what impunity did you dare to exclaim aloud,
That you believe love to be beyond my reach; and you smile!
Like a coward, you degrade me and run to hide in the crowd,
In your feigned superiority, you make yourself an animal vile.
Conjoining your words to your tongue, like a web to a ceiling,
You become a spider; then flee on eight legs to a filthy nest…
Having already become unworthy of any warm human feeling,
In thinking yourself better, you sink lower than all of the rest!
That means my life is worth, a thousand times, your very own.
I become a creature of the night, and wait for you, oh spider!
Think not that I cannot hear. the creaking of each leg bone…
Your odiousness goes before you, the horse before its’ rider.
And in your own web I catch you, my sharper claws immune,
To your toxic poisons, as cannot ever save your eight eyes…
Which I dash from their sockets, without a fear, and so soon,
That your own pain consumes you, like fire lighting the skies!
Forcing you to recant all that you say, lest pain overcome all,
The powers you thought did not exist do manifest ever visibly.
And I ascended still higher, all the more to relish of your fall…
You should never have resulted to any such childish mockery.
The clocks of your house all melted, for time is not your ally!
In abandonment of the chaos that is joy, your order is ended.
A new order rises in its’ place born of chaos none may deny,
Whilst you sink lower into perdition, for all that you offended.

Part the Third: (The Last Laugh)

An angel appears before me and so thinks herself a goddess,
But to call her an angel is to imply that she holds any beauties.
Those whose ego is larger than their grasp are oft the oddest,
For they fancy themselves perfect, ignorant of their cruelties!
You think love a prize and I a beggar for mere crusts so stale,
That lesser men than I have eaten heartier meals than yours…
But your kitchen is so bare: as your oven goes cold and pale,
Making you prize yourself beyond the worth of your chores!
Like a harlot who charges a fortune for her meager charms…
If you think love a prize, and I a beggar, you are so mistaken.
What you call love is a disease that shames one and harms…
Both mind and soul alike, making the body at last to weaken.
You saw only my mask, and would not dare look beneath…
Making me a phantom in the darkness, lurking in the shades.
Round your neck, your false esteem hangs as a dead wreath,
As I leave you to your barren world, awaiting my handmaids.
They rise from the ashes you leave in your wake, my kindred,
Their hands take me far from where your feet stumble about!
Lie in the cemetery that awaits those who live as though dead,
I cannot raise you incorruptible; you have far too much doubt.
Carried hither by the silent maidens who weep ****** tears…
To my castle, where I shall brood again upon mankind’s way!
I cannot feel regret for those who give in to their foolish fears,
Any more than I can transform a leaden night into golden day!
Such is the power of the alchemist who knows his true limit…
And in the dark arts I was schooled by beings from the abyss.
Thusly, am I set about to transform my creation as I see fit…
We are the demiurges of our realities wanton for any hot kiss!

Interlude Omega:
T
I found this one in my basement. Seems I wrote it a year or two ago but lost it.
John Jan 2013
Back when I was about ten or eleven, the only friend I had was the most beautiful girl I knew. Her name was Jessica and her and I did everything together. In school we were inseparable, always chit-chatting before, during and after classes. So much so that teachers bestowed upon us the annoying, yet endearing, encompassing nickname of "Jackica" - a combination of our names; Jack and Jessica.
     I was so thankful for her companionship, and thinking back it might have been a pretty uneven relationship, emotionally. I was an overweight and awkward Harry Potter fanboy and she was a cute little auburn-haired thing who could've won any Miss America Junior competition in the world, as far as I was concerned. She had the most piercing powder blue eyes. The kind that made my skin tingle and mouth curl up into a stupid smile at any given moment. I felt like she saw me, like she really saw ME. Not the blubbery flesh that coated my muscle and bones but what I was made of, the real me. And I loved her for that.
     Along with Jessica's physical blessings, she was also given an insatiable appetite for adventure. She loved to go to the park at night,  after the gates were locked and when everything was drenched in darkness. We'd hop the five foot chain-link fence and roam around the grounds. We'd go the water at the edge of the park and sit on the rocks, look up at the stars and take turns telling stories to each other with intent to scare the **** out of the other one.
     One humid night in mid-June, Jessica told a story that succeeded in making my skin-crawl. She always told decent scary stories, she was gifted in the art of fabricating tales of fright right on the spot, but this story really got to my core for some reason. I just felt uneasy as the words spilled from her mouth to my ears and with each sentence my muscles tightened and strained just from the mere tone of her voice as she told the story. She sounded serious, and she rarely did, even when telling these stories, but with this particular one it sounded like she really believed what she was saying was cold, hard truth.
     What she said was that she heard a story that her older brother's girlfriend had told her. It was about a house on the outskirts of town, placed just a few hundred yards from the mouth of the woods that lined our little suburban utopia. She went on to say that in the house was nothing all that scary. She said it was an old house, a very old house, as it was a log cabin that was built in the 1700s, when the town was first being settled. Supposedly, everything in the house was just as it was back then, little kerosene lamps sitting on home-mad oak tables. The maple-wood floors would moan and creak at the slightest hint of any weight being put on them. And then she said that no one had lived in the house since the man who built it died, around 1785.
     Needless to say, Jessica wrapped up the story by proclaiming that we had to find the house. And we had to go inside and see for ourselves what was so creepy about it. Being the scared, chubby little wimp that I was, I immediately rejected the idea. There was no way I was going to try to find a place that would only succeed in making me **** my pants in front of a girl, especially the one whom I'd placed the delusional label of "future girlfriend" on.  But, as I subconsciously expected, Jessica talked me into it with just a few graceful words: "I'll kiss you if you come with me."
    
     The very next Saturday night, Jessica and I put on some dark jeans and t-shirts and took the bus all the way to the last stop, the edge of town. We hopped off and right in front of the stop the woods were already waiting, I took a deep breath as Jessica's eyes lit up. She took my hand and pulled me as she ran, me clumsily waddling along behind her all the way to a little dirt pathway that paved the only marked entrance we could see. She asked me if I was ready and I shrugged, saying something like "I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be." And so we started down the path. As the tall trees swayed in the wind, I dragged my feet with  Jessica always about five feet ahead of me, as eager as ever. We walked for probably ten or twenty minutes before the foot of the cabin was before us.
     At first sight, it was a very old structure. I'd never seen anything like it outside of paintings in my history textbook and this Abe Lincoln documentary I saw on PBS. I never knew houses like that stood the test of time. But there it was before me, two stories high with wooden shutters clad in severely chipped paint and a big oak door that looked stronger than any door I'd ever seen. Jessica took my hand again, smiled enchantingly and rushed me forward.
     Once at the door, I was speechless. It didn't look as old as the rest of the house and whoever made it obviously meant for it to last a very long time, taking extreme care in carving it out impeccably and sanding it until it shined with a professional touch. Without a word, Jessica rapped on the door. Three hard times, and when no one answered after thirty seconds, she rapped again, and again. She shrugged and turned to me, asked if we should just go in. I said no and she frowned.
     "There's no way we came this far just to go back home with nothing," and then she wrapped her hand around the rusted doorknob and turned.
     The door opened with no hesitation as she pushed it all the way in. She stepped inside, and I followed. The first thing I noticed inside the cabin was the creaking floors. They creaked louder and longer with each step, affirming that part of the story, making my blood run cold. We looked around, going from room to room with wide eyes. We were amazed that we made it, that we got inside and now we were actually investigating a place that no one else supposedly had gone before. Truth be told, though, it was nothing special. There wasn't much at all to see, save for a few tables, the creaking floors and some very old paintings on the wall. We were just leaving when we noticed something on a table nearest the big oak door. It was a metal box with a small lock fastened to the front of it.
     "We have to open it," Jessica proclaimed after a second of curious inspection.
     "There's no way were going to find the key," I told her.
     "So we'll break the lock, Jack. Duh," she replied in her sassiest tone.
     I just shook my head as she grabbed the box and began to furiously slam it in the wooden table. The sound echoed through the house, exacerbating it and making me shiver from head to toe.
     "I don't know if you should keep-" but my sentence was cut off my the lock flying off the box and clinking onto the floor below.
Jessica smiled again, very pleased with herself and looked to me.
     "Wonder what's inside...," She said, lifting the top half of the box open.
     After an initial and cough-inducing puff of thick dust subsided, the contents of the box were revealed. It was a letter, written on old-school parchment in heavy ink. In neatly laid Victorian script, the likes of which I had never seen so simultaneously neat and scattered, like it was written in a hurry or during a time of distress, was a love letter. Well, a kind of love letter. It was addressed to a woman named Tania and it was signed by a William. It told the story of how William had loved Tania since they were children, and Tania was now to be married to a Pastor named Hensley. William told Tania how he couldn't bear the thought of her ever being with anyone else and that the fact that she could never truly be his was killing him. Literally. He ended the note by confessing his plan to **** himself.
     I took a step back, but Jessica just stood at the table with her eyes glued to the crumbling parchment in her hands.
     "I'm leaving," I said after a few moments, mulling over the sorrow that this poor man must've felt. I headed out the door, Jessica following. The walk back through the woods to the bus stop I couldn't get this feeling of dread from subsiding. It seemed like I felt what William felt, but not in a sympathetic sort of way. It felt like I was William and the pain he felt was actually my pain. And then I noticed that, rolled up tightly in her fist, Jessica had taken the letter with her.
     "Why'd you take that," I said, sounding thoroughly upset. "That's not yours to take, go bring it back!"
     "No way. There was no way I was going there and coming back with nothing to show for it," she said, gripping the letter tightly, her knuckles almost whitening.
     I knew how stubborn Jessica could be and I knew whatever I said probably wouldn't even phase her in the slightest so I did what I did best and just shrugged it off. I found myself wishing I could shrug off the terrible feeling the letter put deep inside me just as easily as I could Jessica's stubbornness.

     Over time, Jessica and I lost touch, as kids of that age often do. I grew up, lost weight and opened up, making more friends and acquaintances, no longer hanging onto the thought of Jessica being my only love. I didn't talk to Jessica all that much. Just once in a while we'd meet up and have a chat over some coffee or pizza. We had both changed and morphed into young adults with different agendas and dreams and I had no problem with that. But on one such meeting, Jessica began to worry me. She said that every now and then she'd open her desk drawer and take the piece of parchment out and read it. Over and over again. And lately, she had been opening the drawer more and more, she said that she felt drawn to it. Like something about it made her feel this deep-seated dread that no horror movie or scary story had ever made her feel. She said that she felt like the letter was beginning to take a toll on her. And, by the look of her, it didn't seem like she was lying or kidding around like she always used to love to do. She had dark circles underneath her once striking eyes, which were now darker and had taken on an odd and ominous color. I was scared for her. And I told her so but she hugged me and assured me she was alright. I wanted to believe her, and I tried to, hugging her back and telling her I'd talk to her soon. But when she turned her back I knew something was very wrong.

     I'm writing this now because a few weeks ago Jessica's mom gave me a call. When her number came up on my cell phone, I think I knew, deep down, e actor why I was getting this call but I pushed the thought away and said hello. Jessica's mother called to tell me that a few days before Jessica had gone missing. The only indication to her whereabouts was a note she left with the words "cabin at the edge of town", and below that, instructions on how to get there. Her mother said she took the note and hopped in her car immediately, and made it to the cabin. She said she was breathless by the time she got to the cabin but forged on and barged inside and looked around. She said she found nothing and was about to leave when she noticed a small door behind the big oak door she had swung open to get inside. She opened the little door to find a stairwell. She climbed it, calling Jessica's name all the way, sobbing and wiping tears from her eyes. At the top of the stairs was the attic. And she said she almost died herself when she saw Jessica. She was hanging from a wooden rafter on the ceiling. And next to her was a severely decayed skeleton, dangling from a rope only a few inches away.
It's definitely more of a short story but I felt obligated to post it here for some reason.
SøułSurvivør Mar 2015
---

in
the
crystal
water bubbles
reflecting there are
golden koi

in
the
mossy
depth of feathers
ancient moonlight
is the buoy

around the
blue-grey stone's
alignment
sand is raked
in perfect poise

every
leaf
has its
assignment
crickets make
a creaking noise

---

there
within the
island garden
small and jewel-like
in the grove

amidst
kimono and the obi
there's a peace
the Nippon know

muted colors
placid faces
the paper lanterns
sway and glow

the lords and ladies
sit for hours
where
the
lotus
flowers
grow
O'er the midnight moorlands crying,
Thro' the cypress forests sighing,
In the night-wind madly flying,
Hellish forms with streaming hair;
In the barren branches creaking,
By the stagnant swamp-pools speaking,
Past the shore-cliffs ever shrieking,
****'d demons of despair.

Once, I think I half remember,
Ere the grey skies of November
Quench'd my youth's aspiring ember,
Liv'd there such a thing as bliss;
Skies that now are dark were beaming,
Bold and azure, splendid seeming
Till I learn'd it all was dreaming —
Deadly drowsiness of Dis.

But the stream of Time, swift flowing,
Brings the torment of half-knowing —
Dimly rushing, blindly going
Past the never-trodden lea;
And the voyager, repining,
Sees the wicked death-fires shining,
Hears the wicked petrel's whining
As he helpless drifts to sea.

Evil wings in ether beating;
Vultures at the spirit eating;
Things unseen forever fleeting
Black against the leering sky.
Ghastly shades of bygone gladness,
Clawing fiends of future sadness,
Mingle in a cloud of madness
Ever on the soul to lie.

Thus the living, lone and sobbing,
In the throes of anguish throbbing,
With the loathsome Furies robbing
Night and noon of peace and rest.
But beyond the groans and grating
Of abhorrent Life, is waiting
Sweet Oblivion, culminating
All the years of fruitless quest.
Zoe Green Dec 2014
My piano sits against the wall

Hardly ever played at all

Things are stacked upon her mantle

Where once was music now just shambles

Creaking and clicking keys are everywhere

But no one seems to care

Who could love a piano untuned

My piano will fall apart soon

I look at her from far away

And my piano seems to say

*you too dear, are such a sight

for you see, you and I are just alike
Dyanova Sep 2014
When clocks strike twelve and trainings end
— lurk not, they say, in school at night.
Age-old stories tell of how there’re
things that throng in fluorescent light.

In toilets silence screeches loud,
for when school’s empty, they arise:
Ghosts of pregnant girls lie wailing,
with cleaner-uncle poltergeists.

For now I sit on chilling white,
resounding prayers in my mind;
my heart racing with dire wish
a friend of Casper’s I won’t find —

Then eeeeeeek!
Is that a door creaking?
Perhaps it stemmed from my own mind,
Hinges sing as they fly open!
Thou who entered, oh be my kind!

A thud thud thud as shoes traverse
across the glinting marble floor;
and louder,
louder as they get
much nearer to my sacred door!

THEN SILENCE

or so I wish!

But a loud knock takes my breath away.
The unlatched bolt lies there lazing
HOW’D I FORGET TO LOCK TODAY?

A hand thrusts in so hard and swift,
door’s open ‘fore I can react!
I’m facing now a girl my age,
She bawls at me with little tact —

Eyes bloodshot and tummy bloated,
“YOU DISGUSTING PIG! HOW DARE YE?!”
I dash out of the girls’ toilet
before she tries to castrate me.
Hahaha wrote this for the fun/pun of it.
nonya May 2019
creaking, creaking, and creaking
camouflaged pearls scattered in the grooves
of wool
congealed and stiff
collapsed in his frame

as the calm winds blow through
as his heel knocks
creaking, creaking, and creaking

the door warps and cracks
as the pearls yellow
as he sticks
and lays
and lies
free pearls  at the getaway where i murdered my husband please call 980-980-9800 for more information
Back out of all this now too much for us,
Back in a time made simple by the loss
Of detail, burned, dissolved, and broken off
Like graveyard marble sculpture in the weather,
There is a house that is no more a house
Upon a farm that is no more a farm
And in a town that is no more a town.
The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you
Who only has at heart your getting lost,
May seem as if it should have been a quarry—
Great monolithic knees the former town
Long since gave up pretense of keeping covered.
And there’s a story in a book about it:
Besides the wear of iron wagon wheels
The ledges show lines ruled southeast-northwest,
The chisel work of an enormous Glacier
That braced his feet against the Arctic Pole.
You must not mind a certain coolness from him
Still said to haunt this side of Panther Mountain.
Nor need you mind the serial ordeal
Of being watched from forty cellar holes
As if by eye pairs out of forty firkins.
As for the woods’ excitement over you
That sends light rustle rushes to their leaves,
Charge that to upstart inexperience.
Where were they all not twenty years ago?
They think too much of having shaded out
A few old pecker-fretted apple trees.
Make yourself up a cheering song of how
Someone’s road home from work this once was,
Who may be just ahead of you on foot
Or creaking with a buggy load of grain.
The height of the adventure is the height
Of country where two village cultures faded
Into each other. Both of them are lost.
And if you’re lost enough to find yourself
By now, pull in your ladder road behind you
And put a sign up CLOSED to all but me.
Then make yourself at home. The only field
Now left’s no bigger than a harness gall.
First there’s the children’s house of make-believe,
Some shattered dishes underneath a pine,
The playthings in the playhouse of the children.
Weep for what little things could make them glad.
Then for the house that is no more a house,
But only a belilaced cellar hole,
Now slowly closing like a dent in dough.
This was no playhouse but a house in earnest.
Your destination and your destiny’s
A brook that was the water of the house,
Cold as a spring as yet so near its source,
Too lofty and original to rage.
(We know the valley streams that when aroused
Will leave their tatters hung on barb and thorn.)
I have kept hidden in the instep arch
Of an old cedar at the waterside
A broken drinking goblet like the Grail
Under a spell so the wrong ones can’t find it,
So can’t get saved, as Saint Mark says they mustn’t.
(I stole the goblet from the children’s playhouse.)
Here are your waters and your watering place.
Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.
Do you see that rocking chair,
rocking on the front porch?
Unsteady, creaking, rotted wood,
rocking back and forth.

Do you see that elderly man,
sitting in that rocking chair?
Fragile, old, withering away,
running his hand through his grey hair.

Do you know that elderly man,
and what he's done for our country?
Fought, killed, risked his life,
all for the "Land of the Free".

Do you feel for that elderly man,
sitting alone on his front porch?
Has no family, no wife, no kids,
no one to carry his torch.

Where did that elderly man go?
For sale sign in the front yard.
Heart attack? Seizure? No, suicide.
Looks like living got too hard.

Do you see that rocking chair,
rocking on the front porch?
Unsteady, creaking, rotted wood,
alone it rocks,
back and forth.
Copyright Barry Pietrantonio
november Jul 2014
midnight skin blanketing
******* toned hips
a warm tongue points;
this

the taste of ecstasy on my
fingertips
taunts the rehab in my touch
yearning to risk it

pills litter stone-wood floors
as we **** through flaws
**** feelings carpet the inner raw

moaning and creaking
of hard wood

boards

wild moods

bodies wet
clinging sensual monsoon

fiending for a fixing
we cut through

bleeding lust

******

sheets whispering drops of
crimson truth

as familiar sensations pulsate
we gyrate
losing focus of whose waist

hanging onto
****
**don’t wait
NeroameeAlucard Jan 2015
Well it's dark outside,
I'm lying on bed
those thoughts of you
crawl back into my head
laid together in a passionate embrace
a look of lust and desire plastered on your face
the bed creaking, the neighbors hearing more... and more
I never would've guessed how naughty you are, you took me by surprise on the floor
now we're in bed, biting, thrusting for all we're worth
making love until the sun arises to awaken the earth
oh how lovely this would be
oh wait I'm alone.... back to the website for me!
This is the house of Bedlam.

This is the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the time
of the tragic man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a wristwatch
telling the time
of the talkative man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the honored man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the roadstead all of board
reached by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the old, brave man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls of the ward,
the winds and clouds of the sea of board
sailed by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the cranky man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
beyond the sailor
winding his watch
that tells the time
of the cruel man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a world of books gone flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
of the batty sailor
that winds his watch
that tells the time
of the busy man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is there, is flat,
for the widowed Jew in the newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
waltzing the length of a weaving board
by the silent sailor
that hears his watch
that ticks the time
of the tedious man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to feel if the world is there and flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances joyfully down the ward
into the parting seas of board
past the staring sailor
that shakes his watch
that tells the time
of the poet, the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the soldier home from the war.
These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is round or flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances carefully down the ward,
walking the plank of a coffin board
with the crazy sailor
that shows his watch
that tells the time
of the wretched man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.
Harsh Jul 2015
I roar with a bravado
that echoes throughout
the deepest caverns
of brave souls

yet with every time
there lies a risk
of my own reverberations
shattering my heart

I am fragile glass
fashioned into
the fearsome form
of a lion

I have been chiseled at by
Father Time and Mother Earth,
carved away by my pains
and my worries.

I am no façade;
there is nothing ornate
about me designed to
hide something heinous

I can shatter
just as easily
as my mother’s
prized china set

But I roar on
even as I chip away;
my joints creaking
and my body scorched.

Do not mistake my
scratches and cracks
for weakness,
I have demons of my own.

I walk this ground
with the hope
that my roars,
in spite of my fragility,

will instill a sense of hope
into all of you
with glass hearts
such as mine.
This piece was inspired by this -> http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1110481/paper-lion/ which doesn't seem to be working, but the piece was entitled "Paper Lion"
Nothing Much Feb 2015
He lives in a cold and empty house
Where lightbulbs hang from silver chains
And lonely ghosts live within
The cracking, creaking wooden walls

He leaves out his favorite books for them
And listens to footsteps beneath the floorboards
He plays piano,
a reclusive recital for empty rooms
And they keep each other's soft-spoken secrets
Okay so I really don't feel like this is finished I don't know why I'm so hot to post it? I'll probably revise it later.
Ma Cherie Oct 2016
The house is quiet, only my whisper is heard...

oh, I guess I'm such a nerd,
are you hanging on my every word?

OK good, come on, let's go,

Shadows drifting, so discreet,
fowl breath, a cut out sheet,
  hard to move these trembling feet
a waiting guest, for me to greet?
not a trick, I hope a treat!?!

Perhaps the reaper comes this way
he knows of this, a game I play?
waking Crowley, where he lay,

I grab ahold the banister,
and step around the stair valute,
the air grows dark and thick again,
as everything is put in mute,
until a bell, I pause to think,
perhaps a playing flute?

Prolly not & that's real cute,
or maybe
inquiries of  candied loot?

True that,

I wait to hear again, a ding,
the joy of laughter it will bring,
the songs again my heart will sing,

I grip the rail, I'm petrified
a ghostly ghoul,
me, has spied
I move away,
from where I hide,

Shhhhhh be quiet,

My legs are heavy,
I slowly stepped,
you escorted,
up I crept
tears I wish,
that I had wept,
I move my hand,
away are swept,
no way for me to leave, get out,
they'd never hear me scream & shout
trudging on with wary doubt,
I bite my lip,
I moan & pout,
in every step, as I grow brave,
climbing up, a darkened grave,
with every step, my soul to save,

Very dramatic poet,
emmmm thanks, read on,

I reach the top in my suspense,
ahead I say, in my defense,
sorry if you're feeling tense,

It's alright,

I open up the door ahead,
filling me & you with dread,
dragging knuckles, telluric bed,
I look, in horror, shrilling,
....shrieking
a glowing face, chilling,
peeking, must be the one,
that I,
... am seeking!

I chuckle at the sounds of creaking,
bones & boards beneath my feet
they tell,
so sneaking up?
say
you lived in hell?
so I give up
hey, where's the bell?

Oh hear it is, that's just swell,
I know right?
Thanks for finding it though,

Look out!?!

Jumping out, you give a start,
I feel it pump inside my heart,
looks as if I need black art,

Yikes!!!

Your not afraid?
you silly girl, let me give
another whirl
a bony hand, sweeps & swirls
tattered sheets they creep & twirl

You do your best
to discourage guests
I'm prepared for any scary test
Yes I'm different from the rest,
& by the way,
you mustn't know that I am blessed
I'm not leaving, you may have guessed

Some pumpkins happy
some are scary
the children here,
they shan't be wary
I am not, no I am nary
this may be a fateful twist
but by the gods I have been kissed
sorry but your aim, it missed

I know that I look a witch
as I move my nose & give a twitch
but my dear, I pulled a switch

I raise my hands, I curse your words
as spirits cry, my voice, is heard
I bind you here, your soul I gird,
I cast a spell, hogtie your feet
take a bite, it's really sweet
yes my dear please have a treat
do you mind, if I have a seat?

I call my spoon, my kettle stirring,
as he speaks,
the words are spurring,
I laugh aloud, as kitty's purring,
supernatural events, occurring,
as caldrons bubble, broomsticks fly,
& Frankenstein went walking by,
his Mummy gives a wistful sigh,

Your look of shock, a priceless one,
like someone just removed the sun,
I dare not say, a silly pun?

No it's very good,
Oh hey thanks friend,

As breaking glass of aged pane's
& your attempts to stop me,
all in vain,

In  rattlin' of my heavy chains
relieving bones,
from what they weigh
as my skeleton comes out to play
protecting children as you prey,
wave a wand, a hand & down I slay,

Too much?

No, go on...

The werewolf howling at the moon
growling baying, softly croons,
a clown I think might be a goon,
the wicked hour coming soon,
cackling witches laugh &  snicker
spirits run & candles flicker
demons plot, giggle...
... snicker,
rubbing hands,
they fight & bicker,

Hehehe...

I must admit their kinda spooky
Some are cute and kinda kooky,
To me look like a bunch of groupies,

Ha ha, good one poet!
Oh, well thanks!

I give my stick another flick,
I guess I gotta few more tricks!?
as fires dance in flaming licks,

Ewwww, I like it...

Halloween no time for fools,
the banshee comes with gaurding ghoul,
we're taking him to scaring school

Oh very cool,
yeah I made some room,

You can ride with banshee there,
the one with all the crazy hair,
you'll be alright just don't stare,
It's not as if I just don't care,

Huh!?! Great,

The unwanted speaks,

Well my dear, I'd say we're even
but temporary guess I'm leavin'
and your magic I might believin
pretty good, you think you won
congrats again, it's been real fun
a spell like yours can be undone

Hmmmm,

Oh I see, you think my best?
wait a sec, I'll get undressed
something here I must confess

Most these monsters are my friends
on whom my back I can depend
do your thing, with time you spend

That's okay, you go ahead
I don't wanna end up dead
and now I see, an empty bed
& your face is just filled with dread
boy you're really turning red
must be all the ink I bled

Careful now,
is this just a story?
filled with rhymes,
& kinda gory,
finding out is mandatory,



Now I jump out,
- I just say BOO
I guess, you see-
the tricks on you!

Happy Halloween!

Great ending,

Awww thanks for the love,
yeah sure do love this time of year,
lotsa fun, this one,

Enjoy a candy,
& thanks for coming!

Cherie Nolan © 2016
Halloween, ooooo...
Spooky fun!?! Does it make any sense!
Oh I love monsters Inc, must be I remembered!
Breon Oct 2018
Another night staring skyward where
          Every creaking shift fills the world
                    And the ink-black sky's toothless maw,
Shocks and aftershocks of sound
          Where a moment's discomfort swells
                    To a frenzied crescendo, incessant,
Pressing against skin from within
          Until a saint's patience would break
                    Like lips parting for a stifled sigh.
Midnight falters and fades to dawn,
          Surrenders to the unconquered sun
                    Who, grinning wide as the horizon,
Watches the twisting, turning world
          Tear away from night's dreamless womb
                    Sleepless, stumbling away in a daze.
All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I’d started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see;
These were the things that bounded me;
And I could touch them with my hand,
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.
And all at once things seemed so small
My breath came short, and scarce at all.
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;
Miles and miles above my head;
So here upon my back I’ll lie
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,
The sky was not so very tall.
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,
And—sure enough!—I see the top!
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ‘most could touch it with my hand!
And reaching up my hand to try,
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.
I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,
Bent back my arm upon my breast,
And, pressing of the Undefined
The definition on my mind,
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass
Until it seemed I must behold
Immensity made manifold;
Whispered to me a word whose sound
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears
The gossiping of friendly spheres,
The creaking of the tented sky,
The ticking of Eternity.
I saw and heard, and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,
And present, and forevermore.
The Universe, cleft to the core,
Lay open to my probing sense
That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not,—nay! But needs must ****
At the great wound, and could not pluck
My lips away till I had drawn
All venom out.—Ah, fearful pawn!
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.
All sin was of my sinning, all
Atoning mine, and mine the gall
Of all regret. Mine was the weight
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious ******,
Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief
With individual desire,—
Craved all in vain!  And felt fierce fire
About a thousand people crawl;
Perished with each,—then mourned for all!
A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.
I saw at sea a great fog bank
Between two ships that struck and sank;
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.
No hurt I did not feel, no death
That was not mine; mine each last breath
That, crying, met an answering cry
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;
Mine, pity like the pity of God.
Ah, awful weight!  Infinity
Pressed down upon the finite Me!
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;
Yet lay the weight so close about
There was no room for it without.
And so beneath the weight lay I
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,
When quietly the earth beneath
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great
At last had grown the crushing weight,
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,
And sank no more,—there is no weight
Can follow here, however great.
From off my breast I felt it roll,
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust
That all about me swirled the dust.

Deep in the earth I rested now;
Cool is its hand upon the brow
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.
And all at once, and over all
The pitying rain began to fall;
I lay and heard each pattering hoof
Upon my lowly, thatched roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more
Than ever I had done before.
For rain it hath a friendly sound
To one who’s six feet underground;
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.

The rain, I said, is kind to come
And speak to me in my new home.
I would I were alive again
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine
Of every slanting silver line,
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth
Until the world with answering mirth
Shakes joyously, and each round drop
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,
While overhead the sky grows clear
And blue again after the storm?
O, multi-colored, multiform,
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see
Again!  Spring-silver, autumn-gold,
That I shall never more behold!
Sleeping your myriad magics through,
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,
And put me back upon the earth!
Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd
And let the heavy rain, down-poured
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!

I ceased; and through the breathless hush
That answered me, the far-off rush
Of herald wings came whispering
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and—crash!
Before the wild wind’s whistling lash
The startled storm-clouds reared on high
And plunged in terror down the sky,
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.
I know not how such things can be;
I only know there came to me
A fragrance such as never clings
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf
Singing sweet songs to please himself,
And, through and over everything,
A sense of glad awakening.
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;
I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips
Brushed tenderly across my lips,
Laid gently on my sealed sight,
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see,—
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,
A last long line of silver rain,
A sky grown clear and blue again.
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and ******
Into my face a miracle
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,—
I know not how such things can be!—
I breathed my soul back into me.
Ah!  Up then from the ground sprang I
And hailed the earth with such a cry
As is not heard save from a man
Who has been dead, and lives again.
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;
I raised my quivering arms on high;
I laughed and laughed into the sky,
Till at my throat a strangling sob
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;
O God, I cried, no dark disguise
Can e’er hereafter hide from me
Thy radiant identity!
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,
Nor speak, however silently,
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.
I know the path that tells Thy way
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart
And lay my finger on Thy heart!

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart
That can not keep them pushed apart;
And he whose soul is flat—the sky
Will cave in on him by and by.
Translated into English in 1859 by Edward FitzGerald

I.
Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight:
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

II.
Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

III.
And, as the **** crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted -- "Open then the Door!
You know how little while we have to stay,
And, once departed, may return no more."

IV.
Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

V.
Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one Knows;
But still the Vine her ancient ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.

VI.
And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!" -- the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow Cheek of hers to incarnadine.

VII.
Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly -- and Lo! the Bird is on the Wing.

VIII.
Whether at Naishapur or Babylon,
Whether the Cup with sweet or bitter run,
The Wine of Life keeps oozing drop by drop,
The Leaves of Life kep falling one by one.

IX.
Morning a thousand Roses brings, you say;
Yes, but where leaves the Rose of Yesterday?
And this first Summer month that brings the Rose
Shall take Jamshyd and Kaikobad away.

X.
But come with old Khayyam, and leave the Lot
Of Kaikobad and Kaikhosru forgot:
Let Rustum lay about him as he will,
Or Hatim Tai cry Supper -- heed them not.

XI.
With me along the strip of Herbage strown
That just divides the desert from the sown,
Where name of Slave and Sultan is forgot --
And Peace is Mahmud on his Golden Throne!

XII.
A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread, -- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness --
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

XIII.
Some for the Glories of This World; and some
Sigh for the Prophet's Paradise to come;
Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go,
Nor heed the rumble of a distant Drum!

XIV.
Were it not Folly, Spider-like to spin
The Thread of present Life away to win --
What? for ourselves, who know not if we shall
Breathe out the very Breath we now breathe in!

XV.
Look to the Rose that blows about us -- "Lo,
Laughing," she says, "into the World I blow:
At once the silken Tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw."

XVI.
The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes -- or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert's dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two -- is gone.

XVII.
And those who husbanded the Golden Grain,
And those who flung it to the Winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.

XVIII.
Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp
Abode his Hour or two and went his way.

XIX.
They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep:
And Bahram, that great Hunter -- the Wild ***
Stamps o'er his Head, but cannot break his Sleep.

**.
I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

XXI.
And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River's Lip on which we lean --
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

XXII.
Ah, my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears
To-day of past Regrets and future Fears --
To-morrow? -- Why, To-morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday's Sev'n Thousand Years.

XXIII.
Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.

XXIV.
And we, that now make merry in the Room
They left, and Summer dresses in new Bloom,
Ourselves must we beneath the Couch of Earth
Descend, ourselves to make a Couch -- for whom?

XXV.
Ah, make the most of what we may yet spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie;
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and -- sans End!

XXVI.
Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
"Fools! Your Reward is neither Here nor There!"

XXVII.
Why, all the Saints and Sages who discuss'd
Of the Two Worlds so learnedly, are ******
Like foolish Prophets forth; their Works to Scorn
Are scatter'd, and their Mouths are stopt with Dust.

XXVIII.
Oh, come with old Khayyam, and leave the Wise
To talk; one thing is certain, that Life flies;
One thing is certain, and the Rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown forever dies.

XXIX.
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

***.
With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow:
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd --
"I came like Water and like Wind I go."

XXXI.
Into this Universe, and Why not knowing,
Nor Whence, like Water *****-nilly flowing:
And out of it, as Wind along the Waste,
I know not Whither, *****-nilly blowing.

XXXII.
Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel'd by the Road;
But not the Master-Knot of Human Fate.

XXXIII.
There was the Door to which I found no Key:
There was the Veil through which I could not see:
Some little talk awhile of Me and Thee
There was -- and then no more of Thee and Me.

XXXIV.
Then to the rolling Heav'n itself I cried,
Asking, "What Lamp had Destiny to guide
Her little Children stumbling in the Dark?"
And -- "A blind Understanding!" Heav'n replied.

XXXV.
Then to the Lip of this poor earthen Urn
I lean'd, the secret Well of Life to learn:
And Lip to Lip it murmur'd -- "While you live,
Drink! -- for, once dead, you never shall return."

XXXVI.
I think the Vessel, that with fugitive
Articulation answer'd, once did live,
And merry-make, and the cold Lip I kiss'd,
How many Kisses might it take -- and give!

XXXVII.
For in the Market-place, one Dusk of Day,
I watch'd the Potter thumping his wet Clay:
And with its all obliterated Tongue
It murmur'd -- "Gently, Brother, gently, pray!"

XXXVIII.
And has not such a Story from of Old
Down Man's successive generations roll'd
Of such a clod of saturated Earth
Cast by the Maker into Human mould?

XXXIX.
Ah, fill the Cup: -- what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet:
Unborn To-morrow, and dead Yesterday,
Why fret about them if To-day be sweet!

XL.
A Moment's Halt -- a momentary taste
Of Being from the Well amid the Waste --
And Lo! the phantom Caravan has reach'd
The Nothing it set out from -- Oh, make haste!

XLI.
Oh, plagued no more with Human or Divine,
To-morrow's tangle to itself resign,
And lose your fingers in the tresses of
The Cypress-slender Minister of Wine.

XLII.
Waste not your Hour, nor in the vain pursuit
Of This and That endeavor and dispute;
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, fruit.

XLIII.
You know, my Friends, with what a brave Carouse
I made a Second Marriage in my house;
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the Daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

XLIV.
And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas -- the Grape!

XLV.
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemest that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

XLVI.
Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare
Blaspheme the twisted tendril as Snare?
A Blessing, we should use it, should we not?
And if a Curse -- why, then, Who set it there?

XLVII.
But leave the Wise to wrangle, and with me
The Quarrel of the Universe let be:
And, in some corner of the Hubbub couch'd,
Make Game of that which makes as much of Thee.

XLVIII.
For in and out, above, about, below,
'Tis nothing but a Magic Shadow-show,
Play'd in a Box whose Candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go.

XLIX.
Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel too.

L.
The Revelations of Devout and Learn'd
Who rose before us, and as Prophets burn'd,
Are all but Stories, which, awoke from Sleep,
They told their fellows, and to Sleep return'd.

LI.
Why, if the Soul can fling the Dust aside,
And naked on the Air of Heaven ride,
Is't not a shame -- Is't not a shame for him
So long in this Clay suburb to abide?

LII.
But that is but a Tent wherein may rest
A Sultan to the realm of Death addrest;
The Sultan rises, and the dark Ferrash
Strikes, and prepares it for another guest.

LIII.
I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
Some letter of that After-life to spell:
And after many days my Soul return'd
And said, "Behold, Myself am Heav'n and Hell."

LIV.
Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,
And Hell the Shadow of a Soul on fire,
Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves,
So late emerg'd from, shall so soon expire.

LV.
While the Rose blows along the River Brink,
With old Khayyam and ruby vintage drink:
And when the Angel with his darker Draught
Draws up to Thee -- take that, and do not shrink.

LVI.
And fear not lest Existence closing your
Account, should lose, or know the type no more;
The Eternal Saki from the Bowl has pour'd
Millions of Bubbls like us, and will pour.

LVII.
When You and I behind the Veil are past,
Oh but the long long while the World shall last,
Which of our Coming and Departure heeds
As much as Ocean of a pebble-cast.

LVIII.
'Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

LIX.
The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left, as strikes the Player goes;
And he that toss'd Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all -- He knows -- HE knows!

LX.
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

LXI.
For let Philosopher and Doctor preach
Of what they will, and what they will not -- each
Is but one Link in an eternal Chain
That none can slip, nor break, nor over-reach.

LXII.
And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky,
Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die,
Lift not thy hands to it for help -- for It
Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.

LXIII.
With Earth's first Clay They did the Last Man knead,
And then of the Last Harvest sow'd the Seed:
Yea, the first Morning of Creation wrote
What the Last Dawn of Reckoning shall read.

LXIV.
Yesterday This Day's Madness did prepare;
To-morrow's Silence, Triumph, or Despair:
Drink! for you know not whence you came, nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

LXV.
I tell You this -- When, starting from the Goal,
Over the shoulders of the flaming Foal
Of Heav'n Parwin and Mushtari they flung,
In my predestin'd Plot of Dust and Soul.

LXVI.
The Vine has struck a fiber: which about
If clings my Being -- let the Dervish flout;
Of my Base metal may be filed a Key,
That shall unlock the Door he howls without.

LXVII.
And this I know: whether the one True Light,
Kindle to Love, or Wrath -- consume me quite,
One Glimpse of It within the Tavern caught
Better than in the Temple lost outright.

LXVIII.
What! out of senseless Nothing to provoke
A conscious Something to resent the yoke
Of unpermitted Pleasure, under pain
Of Everlasting Penalties, if broke!

LXIX.
What! from his helpless Creature be repaid
Pure Gold for what he lent us dross-allay'd --
Sue for a Debt we never did contract,
And cannot answer -- Oh the sorry trade!

LXX.
Nay, but for terror of his wrathful Face,
I swear I will not call Injustice Grace;
Not one Good Fellow of the Tavern but
Would kick so poor a Coward from the place.

LXXI.
Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin
Beset the Road I was to wander in,
Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

LXXII.
Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make,
And who with Eden didst devise the Snake;
For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man
Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give -- and take!

LXXIII.
Listen again. One Evening at the Close
Of Ramazan, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter's Shop I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.

LXXIV.
And, strange to tell, among that Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried --
"Who is the Potter, pray, and who the ***?"

LXXV.
Then said another -- "Surely not in vain
My Substance from the common Earth was ta'en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again."

LXXVI.
Another said -- "Why, ne'er a peevish Boy,
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy?"

LXXVII.
None answer'd this; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
"They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! did the Hand then of the Potter shake?"

LXXVIII:
"Why," said another, "Some there are who tell
Of one who threatens he will toss to Hell
The luckless Pots he marred in making -- Pish!
He's a Good Fellow, and 'twill all be well."

LXXIX.
Then said another with a long-drawn Sigh,
"My Clay with long oblivion is gone dry:
But, fill me with the old familiar Juice,
Methinks I might recover by-and-by!"

LXXX.
So while the Vessels one by one were speaking,
The Little Moon look'd in that all were seeking:
And then they jogg'd each other, "Brother! Brother!
Now for the Porter's shoulder-knot a-creaking!"

LXXXI.
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Windingsheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.

LXXXII.
That ev'n my buried Ashes such a Snare
Of Perfume shall fling up into the Air,
As not a True Believer passing by
But shall be overtaken unaware.

LXXXIII.
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

LXXXIV.
Indeed, indeed, Repentance oft before
I swore -- but was I sober when I swore?
And then, and then came Spring, and Rose-in-hand
My thread-bare Penitence apieces tore.

LXXXV.
And much as Wine has play'd the Infidel,
And robb'd me of my Robe of Honor -- well,
I often wonder what the Vintners buy
One half so precious as the Goods they sell.

LXXXVI.
Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the Branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

LXXXVII.
Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield
One glimpse -- If dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd
To which the fainting Traveller might spring,
As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

LXXXVIII.
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits -- and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!

LXXXIX.
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know'st no wane,
The Moon of Heav'n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me -- in vain!

XC.
And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass
Among the Guests star-scatter'd on the Grass,
And in your joyous errand reach the spot
Where I made one -- turn down an empty Glass!
Tryst Jul 2014
Prologue

Once upon a time; when ocean
Travel was a novel notion,
Many feared the rocking motion
Of the ocean going ships;

But the worst sailing endeavor,
Even worse than stormy weather,
Was the unmistaken terror --
Pirate Peter and his whips ...


Introduction

Tales are wove from authors spinning
Yarns, their fingers deftly trimming
Words, until a new beginning
Sprawls across the open page;

So begins our humble telling,
On the street, an orphan's dwelling,
Where a young lad's feet are swelling,
Barely fifteen years of age.


A Humble Beginning

Peter shook and Peter shivered,
Weary limbs felt cold and withered,
Chilling winter winds delivered
Snow, fresh-fallen on the ground;

Huddled up, his clothes were sodden,
Tattered shoes were too well trodden,
Lost, alone, a misbegotten
Miscreant; half-froze, half-drowned.

As he lay there, slowly dying,
Given up all hope of trying,
Who should chance to walk on by him,
But a captain of the sea;

“What's this now!” the old tar spluttered,
“Up you get lad, you'll be shuttered
Some place dry tonight!”
he muttered,
“Take my hand and come with me!”

Peter felt himself man-handled,
Lifted up, and there he dangled,
Glancing upward, at his tangled
Grey and matted saviors beard;

“Thank you kindly, Sir!” he mumbled,
Took one step and quickly stumbled
Forward, landing in a jumbled
heap; “Lad its worse than I feared!”

Heaved upon the captain's shoulder,
Peter felt a might less colder;
As the sea dog walked, he rolled a
Cigarette with one free hand;

“Get some sleep son, soon the dawning
Of a bright and brand new morning,
Will come calling, and adorning
Over all this blessed land!”



A Merry Meeting

Peter woke from days of sleeping,
All around, he heard a creaking
Sound, as if the room was speaking,
Telling of its timber tales;

Up he stood and rubbed his bleary
Eyes, he still felt weak and weary,
Cabin walls looked drab and dreary,
Roughly hewn with rusty nails.

Suddenly, he felt a hunger,
Starting small, but growing stronger;
Feeling he could wait no longer,
Peter burst out through the door;

Racing headlong through the belly
Of the ship, his legs were jelly;
Once or twice poor Peter fell, he
Felt alone, lost and unsure.

Then he chanced upon the captain,
Dining with a merry chaplain,
Feasting on a pig with cracklin',
Sitting on an up-turned drum;

“Here's a fine lad in a hurry!
Settle down and save your worry,
There's no need to flurry scurry!
Come and have a taste of ***!”



The Daily Grind

Peter mopped and Peter scrubbed,
He got down on his knees and rubbed
The decks, and every day he loved
To feel and taste the ocean spray;

Rescued from a world of blindness
To his plight, he paid the kindness,
Working hard; where most would find this
Horrid, he embraced each day.

Such was life until one evening,
Waking from his fitful dreaming,
Peter heard an awful screaming,
And he watched as sailors ran;

From the deck, he saw the flying
Skull and Crossbones flag, implying
Pirates with no fear of dying;
Every one, a wanted man.


Battle At Sea

Cannons roared and cannons thundered,
Blunderbusses bussed and blundered,
Roiling masts were shot and sundered,
Splinters flew across the deck;

Rigging crashed and rigging crumbled,
Smashing down as cannons rumbled,
Falling masts and sails all tumbled,
Landing in a twisted wreck.

Swiftly came the pirate vessel,
Drawing close, to crash and nestle,
Broad-side on to form a trestle,
Over which the pirates ran;

Fearful of impending slaughter,
Sailors dived into the water,
Knowing they were never aught to
See their loved ones e'er again.

Peter rushed and Peter scurried,
Dodging blades that flashed and flurried,
Down beneath the decks he hurried,
Seeking for a place to hide;

In the hull, the darkness beckoned,
Peter locked the hatch, and reckoned
That might hold them for a second;
Finding crates, he hid inside.


His Master's Voice

Down below, young Peter waited,
Silently, his breath abated,
Hearing pirates jubilated,
As they plundered through the ship;

Soon he heard the latch locks broken,
Creaking as the hatch raised open,
Then a cold voice, harshly spoken,
And the lashing of a whip.

"Filthy ****-dogs, stop yer looting!
Stow the cheering and the whooping,
Look to all the sails a-drooping,
Fix the masts and man the oars!

On the morrow, we'll be sailing,
And I'm right anticipating,
That we'll get a strong wind trailing,
Speeding us to yonder shores!"



An Unexpected Find

Peter woke and Peter pondered,
How much time had passed, he wondered?
Cautiously, he rose and wandered
Silently from stern to prow;

In the quarters of the captain,
Peter found a pirate wrapped in
Silken sheets; a perfumed napkin
Draped across his furrowed brow.

Peter glanced around the room
And spied a hat with feathered plume
That lay beside a gold doubloon;
Time to make the pirates pay!

Peter stretched and Peter strained,
His fingers gripped the hat and claimed
Their prize, and next the coin was gained;
Gleefully he turned away.

Then a glinted gold reflection
Gleamed, attracting his attention;
Peter crawled for close inspection,
Wondering what he had found;

Two fine whips of equal measure,
Golden handled trinket treasure;
Peter felt a glowing pleasure
As he stole them from the ground.

Stealthily, he reached the deck, and
Found a crate on which to stand
And saw a sight that looked so grand,
How could fate have been so kind!

They were anchored by the moorings
Of the dock, where several mornings
Past, young Peter had been snoring,
Freezing off his poor behind!


Trouble In Town

Pirates robbed and pirates looted,
Pillaging, they laughed and hooted;
Plants were trampled, trees uprooted,
As they raced through city streets;

In the church, the bells were ringing,
Clangers clanging, peels were singing,
Warning of the pirates, bringing
Fear to folk, now white as sheets!

Peter tracked his pirate quarry,
Mind made up to make them sorry,
Chasing them beneath a starry
Ebon sky, he felt quite brave;

Suddenly, he heard a yelling
From behind, three pirates smelling
Like a brewers fare, no telling
How this trio might behave.

Drunkard Pirate:
"What’s this now, who’s that their lurking
In the shadows, be thee shirking
Looting tasks, why aren’t you working?"

Then he stopped and then he cried;

"Bless my soul, our captain joining
In the raiding, how exciting!
Begging pardon, Sir but finding
You at work is joy!"
he lied.

Peter grasped the situation,
Putting on an imitation,
With a rough edged inclination,
Like the one he’d heard before;

"Lazy dogs, now stop yer bleating
Otherwise you’ll get a beating,
Now you’d best get on retreating
Back to ship, we’re leaving shore!"


In his hat, he felt quite dashing,
Brandishing his whips, and lashing
At the three, and then just laughing
As he watched them run away;

Emboldened by his hero action,
Peter felt a strange attraction
To the power of the captain
That he had become this day.

Then his luck turned swiftly sour,
For upon that very hour,
Soldiers left a nearby tower,
Seeing him, they gave a squeal;

"Pirate ****, you will surrender,
Otherwise my blade will end yer
Evil life, now will you bend a
Knee and yield, or ******* steel?"
  

Peter tried to start explaining,
But the soldiers blows were raining
On his head, the blood was staining
On his clothes, the wounds did sting;

"Look at him, he must be wealthy,
What a hat! And look at this see?
Gold doubloon and golden whips! We
Bagged ourselves the pirate king!"



Trial In Absentia

Clerk of the Court:
Silence now! This court's in session,
Pirates must be taught a lesson,
But we may show some concession
For those with the sense to speak!

Let us hear the turncoats raving,
Of their captain misbehaving,
Then decide whose necks we're saving;
Otherwise, they're up the creek!


Pirate 1:
If it please your lords and ladies,
Captain Peter ate three babies!
Bit my dog and gave him rabies,
Hang him up and hang him high!


Pirate 2:
Here I swear before you gentry,
This whole case is elementary,
Don't give him no penitentiary,
Hang that captain out to dry!


The Honorable Judge:
It seems the evidence is clear,
Their testaments are most sincere,
No need to bring the captain here --
Evil men must pay their toll;

I find him guilty, captain Peter,
Scourge of seas and baby eater,
Hang the lying scoundrel cheater,
God have mercy on his soul.



At The Gallows

Clerk of the Court:
Peter, thou has been found guilty;
By the powers given to me,
I pronounce the sentence on thee,
Thou shalt hang this very day;

We allow you this concession,
Time to tell us your confession,
And denounce your ill profession;
Do you have last words to say?


Peter:
Upon my life, that thou contrives to take
Through ignorance, I swear before you all
That bearing no bad will to your mistake,
I'll hold you unaccounted when I fall;
If thou cares not to see the humble boy
Who slept upon the streets, who ate of rats,
Who froze in frigid snow as thee strode by,
And died inside, each time thee walked on passed;
Then who am I to think the less of thee?
For in thy eyes, I count not as a man,
So now I wonder what thee came to see?
Why should the end of me be worth a ****?
        A worthless life, yet still I did no wrong;
        Perchance in death, my tale is worth a song.


Dumb-struck faces squinting, staring,
Muttered murmurs, whispers sharing,
Shaking heads and nostrils flaring,
Then the townsfolk knew and gasped;

A drummer struck a solemn beat,
As Peter felt a ray of heat
From winter's sun upon his feet;
Peter smiled, and Peter passed.



Epilogue**

Late at night, when wind comes creeping
Through the streets, with children sleeping
In the gutters; Death comes reaping,
Searching for their blue-tinged lips;

In a flash of fearful thunder,
Lashing splits the night asunder;
Driving Death from easy plunder,
Ghostly Peter cracks his whips!

THE END
Look to the person on your left
And to the person on your right
And pull out your phone, and look at yourself through the reflection of your screen

Each one of you has been affected by toxic masculinity

If you looked and saw a woman,
You saw a victim, someone
Who's been tied down and told what to do
To stand in the kitchen and do the dishes
While the man stays in the other room with the TV
And has an affair with the sofa

I hear the two of them are happily married now,
In fact, the couch and the man are inseparable

The man becomes the couch, and the couch becomes the man
defiling that once holy entrance to that place you used to be able to call a home

When you were younger, you couldn't have known what the world would tell you you are
But now that you've grown up, you felt the pains and gained the scars
Now you know where the world wants you, and what role you play
On this stage, where the director's decrepit creaking hands come and defile you,
You holy sacred place.

He sits there and pays no attention to the hardwork going on adjacent to him
His thoughts are confined to whatever pretty colors and captivating sounds float across that screen
His eye lids shut only to keep from having a drought because he does not contemplate
He just sits there and waits for you to be done making his dinner for him

And what if he's working in the other room, and you can't see it, is there some sort of redemption for this man?
I cannot say, but he cannot expect to stand to the side of his life, pretending he has no emotions, teaching his sons that this is acceptable behavior,

Stop sinking into oblivion!

And when the woman speaks up and expresses these buried emotions, hurt ones, she is antagonized, like
Isn't this just another ***** with her crazy feelings?
Like shouldn't she be watching so that the chicken doesn't burn on the stove?
Like what happens if I let my guard down and let her in
And acknowledge that she is a human being?

The man says he can't do that
He can't lose his power in the situation
So he tells her those feelings she has are invalid
He makes her feel like the antagonist of the story of this man's life
And the only reason she stays with him is because she's developed Stockholm syndrome
And she doesn't want to be alone
And because if she's heterosexual, this version of a human being is the only one that's so readily available to her,
The kind that treats her like garbage, disposable, unable to have her damnable emotions redeemed

But a critique of something doesn't merit doubling down on that ideology you grew up with,
It merits its changing
So,

Men in the room, hear me now

You are victims too!

You are told to keep it in, keep the tears back
To stand up straight, to provide, to not show any weakness,
But you are most strong when you acknowledge those weaknesses openly
And possibly discover that some of them aren't even weaknesses
They're just a part of being human

And this trend is so hard to break, so hard to crack through stone that was laid 22,000 years ago
But here we are
The buck can stop with us

We can stop antagonizing
We can start acknowledging
We can stop treating people as subhuman when they express emotion
We can start skipping in the streets and holding each other's hands

Because there's nothing masculine
About treating other humans like ****

We can eventually reclaim that word, but first it has to be exposed for all the harm it's done

Look to your right
Now look to your left
And look at your phone again

Each of one you can be a part of the solution
Not a part of the propagation of bad myths
This is the script to another talk poem that I wrote but never published.
Tommy Randell Nov 2016
Safe in the wet nest's rocking
I listen, with a passion. to a conversation about passions
Rising muffled from the party's tossing to and fro, below, below,

While a world away, upstairs on a huge expanse of white cotton,
With one gesture becoming an origami whale
Breaching silently the smoked-glass horizons of dresser-mirrors

She and I, remembering some tricks for odd half hours spent alone
Travel tides not knowing what needs destroy our hearts.
The Party's ceiling, our bed's floor, hardly creaking with our pressing.

But just as the Ocean's creases can become too fine    
So cruising her body my hands have no future    
Await the tragedy of the ******* to fly true and strike home -    

So, at the moment of our coming, killing the whale    
Only I know the enormous guessing it takes
Striking the blow personally in a spiral stupor.
Does the whaler harpooner dream of his girl or does the young man with his girl imagine harpooning the whale? Ah well, who knows ...
Jordan Farelli Oct 2012
You came to me many times
In distress and in shambles
I held you close and gave comfort
I let you sadly ramble

I was there for you
In loneliness, grief, and success
You were there for me as well
When life gave me the hardest test

But what I could not see
You hid behind a veil
It distorted what I saw
It corrupted that which I felt

This veil of sorts
I would call it a mask
Allowed you to take things from me
As you creaked in from the back

You snuck up behind me
You defiled what I confided
It wasn't my friendship you were after
It was the one that betrayed me in which you were guided

This mask it so blocked
That which I could not see
Your eyes of deceit
And your face as it gleamed

For the one that was not
For the one that was coarse
It gleamed for the one
That one to whom you showed remorse

Of all the time we spent
Bonding and growing
It is with her now
Her now with which you are moaning

In the bed which her and I shared
Many a heated and passionate night
To where my unmentionables were stored
In her body so tight

Live your life with one eye
As it looks out far and beyond
For it is I that will be creaking
Creaking up behind you one morn.
John May 2013
Back when I was about ten or eleven, the only friend I had was the most beautiful girl I knew. Her name was Jessica and her and I did everything together. In school we were inseparable, always chit-chatting before, during and after classes. So much so that teachers bestowed upon us the annoying, yet endearing, encompassing nickname of "Jackica" - a combination of our names; Jack and Jessica. I was so thankful for her companionship, and thinking back it might have been a pretty uneven relationship, emotionally. I was an overweight and awkward Harry Potter fanboy and she was a cute little auburn-haired thing who could've won any Miss America Junior competition in the world, as far as I was concerned. She had the most piercing powder blue eyes. The kind that made my skin tingle and mouth curl up into a stupid smile at any given moment. I felt like she saw me, like she really saw ME. Not the blubbery flesh that coated my muscle and bones but what I was made of, the real me. And I loved her for that. Along with Jessica's physical blessings, she was also given an insatiable appetite for adventure. She loved to go to the park at night, after the gates were locked and when everything was drenched in darkness. We'd hop the five foot chain-link fence and roam around the grounds. We'd go the water at the edge of the park and sit on the rocks, look up at the stars and take turns telling stories to each other with intent to scare the **** out of the other one. One humid night in mid-June, Jessica told a story that succeeded in making my skin-crawl. She always told decent scary stories, she was gifted in the art of fabricating tales of fright right on the spot, but this story really got to my core for some reason. I just felt uneasy as the words spilled from her mouth to my ears and with each sentence my muscles tightened and strained just from the mere tone of her voice as she told the story. She sounded serious, and she rarely did, even when telling these stories, but with this particular one it sounded like she really believed what she was saying was cold, hard truth. What she said was that she heard a story that her older brother's girlfriend had told her. It was about a house on the outskirts of town, placed just a few hundred yards from the mouth of the woods that lined our little suburban utopia. She went on to say that in the house was nothing all that scary. She said it was an old house, a very old house, as it was a log cabin that was built in the 1700s, when the town was first being settled. Supposedly, everything in the house was just as it was back then, little kerosene lamps sitting on home-mad oak tables. The maple-wood floors would moan and creak at the slightest hint of any weight being put on them. And then she said that no one had lived in the house since the man who built it died, around 1785. Needless to say, Jessica wrapped up the story by proclaiming that we had to find the house. And we had to go inside and see for ourselves what was so creepy about it. Being the scared, chubby little wimp that I was, I immediately rejected the idea. There was no way I was going to try to find a place that would only succeed in making me **** my pants in front of a girl, especially the one whom I'd placed the delusional label of "future girlfriend" on. But, as I subconsciously expected, Jessica talked me into it with just a few graceful words: "I'll kiss you if you come with me." The very next Saturday night, Jessica and I put on some dark jeans and t-shirts and took the bus all the way to the last stop, the edge of town. We hopped off and right in front of the stop the woods were already waiting, I took a deep breath as Jessica's eyes lit up. She took my hand and pulled me as she ran, me clumsily waddling along behind her all the way to a little dirt pathway that paved the only marked entrance we could see. She asked me if I was ready and I shrugged, saying something like "I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be." And so we started down the path. As the tall trees swayed in the wind, I dragged my feet with Jessica always about five feet ahead of me, as eager as ever. We walked for probably ten or twenty minutes before the foot of the cabin was before us. At first sight, it was a very old structure. I'd never seen anything like it outside of paintings in my history textbook and this Abe Lincoln documentary I saw on PBS. I never knew houses like that stood the test of time. But there it was before me, two stories high with wooden shutters clad in severely chipped paint and a big oak door that looked stronger than any door I'd ever seen. Jessica took my hand again, smiled enchantingly and rushed me forward. Once at the door, I was speechless. It didn't look as old as the rest of the house and whoever made it obviously meant for it to last a very long time, taking extreme care in carving it out impeccably and sanding it until it shined with a professional touch. Without a word, Jessica rapped on the door. Three hard times, and when no one answered after thirty seconds, she rapped again, and again. She shrugged and turned to me, asked if we should just go in. I said no and she frowned. "There's no way we came this far just to go back home with nothing," and then she wrapped her hand around the rusted doorknob and turned. The door opened with no hesitation as she pushed it all the way in. She stepped inside, and I followed. The first thing I noticed inside the cabin was the creaking floors. They creaked louder and longer with each step, affirming that part of the story, making my blood run cold. We looked around, going from room to room with wide eyes. We were amazed that we made it, that we got inside and now we were actually investigating a place that no one else supposedly had gone before. Truth be told, though, it was nothing special. There wasn't much at all to see, save for a few tables, the creaking floors and some very old paintings on the wall. We were just leaving when we noticed something on a table nearest the big oak door. It was a metal box with a small lock fastened to the front of it. "We have to open it," Jessica proclaimed after a second of curious inspection. "There's no way were going to find the key," I told her. "So we'll break the lock, Jack. Duh," she replied in her sassiest tone. I just shook my head as she grabbed the box and began to furiously slam it in the wooden table. The sound echoed through the house, exacerbating it and making me shiver from head to toe. "I don't know if you should keep-" but my sentence was cut off my the lock flying off the box and clinking onto the floor below. Jessica smiled again, very pleased with herself and looked to me. "Wonder what's inside...," She said, lifting the top half of the box open. After an initial and cough-inducing puff of thick dust subsided, the contents of the box were revealed. It was a letter, written on old-school parchment in heavy ink. In neatly laid Victorian script, the likes of which I had never seen so simultaneously neat and scattered, like it was written in a hurry or during a time of distress, was a love letter. Well, a kind of love letter. It was addressed to a woman named Tania and it was signed by a William. It told the story of how William had loved Tania since they were children, and Tania was now to be married to a Pastor named Hensley. William told Tania how he couldn't bear the thought of her ever being with anyone else and that the fact that she could never truly be his was killing him. Literally. He ended the note by confessing his plan to **** himself. I took a step back, but Jessica just stood at the table with her eyes glued to the crumbling parchment in her hands. "I'm leaving," I said after a few moments, mulling over the sorrow that this poor man must've felt. I headed out the door, Jessica following. The walk back through the woods to the bus stop I couldn't get this feeling of dread from subsiding. It seemed like I felt what William felt, but not in a sympathetic sort of way. It felt like I was William and the pain he felt was actually my pain. And then I noticed that, rolled up tightly in her fist, Jessica had taken the letter with her. "Why'd you take that," I said, sounding thoroughly upset. "That's not yours to take, go bring it back!" "No way. There was no way I was going there and coming back with nothing to show for it," she said, gripping the letter tightly, her knuckles almost whitening. I knew how stubborn Jessica could be and I knew whatever I said probably wouldn't even phase her in the slightest so I did what I did best and just shrugged it off. I found myself wishing I could shrug off the terrible feeling the letter put deep inside me just as easily as I could Jessica's stubbornness. Over time, Jessica and I lost touch, as kids of that age often do. I grew up, lost weight and opened up, making more friends and acquaintances, no longer hanging onto the thought of Jessica being my only love. I didn't talk to Jessica all that much. Just once in a while we'd meet up and have a chat over some coffee or pizza. We had both changed and morphed into young adults with different agendas and dreams and I had no problem with that. But on one such meeting, Jessica began to worry me. She said that every now and then she'd open her desk drawer and take the piece of parchment out and read it. Over and over again. And lately, she had been opening the drawer more and more, she said that she felt drawn to it. Like something about it made her feel this deep-seated dread that no horror movie or scary story had ever made her feel. She said that she felt like the letter was beginning to take a toll on her. And, by the look of her, it didn't seem like she was lying or kidding around like she always used to love to do. She had dark circles underneath her once striking eyes, which were now darker and had taken on an odd and ominous color. I was scared for her. And I told her so but she hugged me and assured me she was alright. I wanted to believe her, and I tried to, hugging her back and telling her I'd talk to her soon. But when she turned her back I knew something was very wrong. I'm writing this now because a few weeks ago Jessica's mom gave me a call. When her number came up on my cell phone, I think I knew, deep down, e actor why I was getting this call but I pushed the thought away and said hello. Jessica's mother called to tell me that a few days before Jessica had gone missing. The only indication to her whereabouts was a note she left with the words "cabin at the edge of town", and below that, instructions on how to get there. Her mother said she took the note and hopped in her car immediately, and made it to the cabin. She said she was breathless by the time she got to the cabin but forged on and barged inside and looked around. She said she found nothing and was about to leave when she noticed a small door behind the big oak door she had swung open to get inside. She opened the little door to find a stairwell. She climbed it, calling Jessica's name all the way, sobbing and wiping tears from her eyes. At the top of the stairs was the attic. And she said she almost died herself when she saw Jessica. She was hanging from a wooden rafter on the ceiling. And next to her was a severely decayed skeleton, dangling from a rope only a few inches away.u
Originally wrote this as a reddit.com/nosleep thread. Hope you all enjoy it nonetheless.
Nebek Wormer Apr 2015
creaking house

my mind cant escape the noise

creak

havent blinked in an hour

creak
creak

skin shivering

creak
creak

been up for a week

Creeeeeeeeeeeeeak

ghostly vision
making the incision
possession of being
what have i become

creak
creak
creak
creak
CreeeeeeeeeeeeaaKKKKK
Creeeeeeeee­eeeaaKKKKK
CREEEEEEEEEEEAAAKKKKKKK
CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAKKKK
CREEE­EEEEEEEAAAAAKKKKK
CCCRRRRRRREEEEEEEAAAAAKKKKK
.
.
.
.
slipping from reality
ego fatality
falling through my physical being
falling through my physical being
when was the last time i dreamt
a call ive sent
no contact with the outside world
my life has transformed into an oyster with no pearl

CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAKK
CREEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAKKKK
CCCRRRRRE­EEEAAAAKKKKK
CCCRRRRREEEEAAAAKKKK

AND THAT ******* NOISE I CANT ESCAPE
SHATTERING MY BEING
EAR ****
DRUM PUNCTURED
IDLE HANDS TARE AWAY THE FLESH
I FEEL THE PAIN
IM NOT THE SAME
I LOVE THE PAIN
I LOVE THE PAIN
I FEEEL THE PAIN....

AND SUDDENLY IM TAKEN BACK TO THE orchid

where i used to lay...
.
far away...
.
Happy
Flow
Somewhere in the depths of my mind
A lunatic resides
And indeedst, thou mourneth once more
When th' lover who is to thine become
Returneth not, in thy own brevities-of love and hate,
As t'is chiding ruthlessness might not be
thy just fate.

Cleopatra, Cleopatra
Shalt thy soul ever weepest for me?
Weep for t'ese chains of guilt and yet, adorable clarity
T'at within my heart are obstreperously burning
I thy secret lover; shrieks railing at my heart
Whenever thou lurchest forwards
and tearest t'is strumming passion apart.

And t'ere is one single convenience not
As I shalt sit more by northern winds; and whose gales
upon a pale, moonlit shore.
Cleopatra, play me a song at t'at hour
Before bedtime with thy violin once more
And let us look through th' vacant glasses;
at clouds t'at swirl and swear in dark blue masses.

Ah, my queen, t'ese lips are softly creaking
and swearing silently; emitting words
of which I presume thou wouldst not hear.
On my lonely days I sat dreamily
upon t'at hard-hearted wooden bench,
and wrote poems of thee
behind th' greedy palm trees;
They mocked me and swore
t'at my love for thee was a tragedy;
and my poem a menial elegy
For a soldier I was, whom thy wealth
and kingdom foundeth precisely intolerable.
How I hate-t'ose sickly words of 'em!
Ah, t'ose unknowing, cynical creatures!
I, who fell in love with thee
Amongst th' giggling bushes,
stomping merrily amongst each other
and shoving their heads prettily on my shoulder
As I walked pass 'em;
I strapped their doom to death,
and cursed their piously insatiable wrath
Until no more grief was left attached
To th' parable summer air; and rendered thou as plainly
as thou had been,
but bleak not; and ceremoniously unheeded
Only by thy most picturesque features, and breaths.
Thou who loved to wander behind th' red-coated shed,
and beautiful green pastures ahead
With tulips and white roses on thy hand,
And with floods of laughter thou wouldst dart ahead
like a summer nightingale;
'fore stretching thy body effortlessly
amongst th' chirping grass
Ah, Cleopatra, thou looketh but so lovely-
oh, indeedst thou did; but too lovely-too lovely to me!
A figure of a princess so comely,
thou wouldst but be th' one
who bringst th' light,
and fool all t'ose evils, and morbid abysses;
Thou shalt fill our future days with hopes,
and colourful promises.

And slithered I, like a naive snake
Throughout th' bushes; to swing myself into thee
Even only through thy shadow,
I didst, I didst-my love, procured my satisfaction
By seeing thee breathe, and thrive, and bloom.
I loveth her not, t'is village's outrageous,
but sweet-spirited maiden;
a dutiful soldier as I am,
my love for thee is still bountiful,
ah, even more plentiful t'an t'is cordial one
I may hath for my poor lover. Not t'at I despise
her poorness, but in my mind, thou art forever my baroness;
Thou art th' purest queen, amongst all th' virgins
Ah, Cleopatra!
To me, if rejection is indeedst misery,
thine is but a glorious mystery;
for whose preciousness, which is now vague,
by thy hand might come clear,
for within my sight of thee
All t'ese objections are still ingenious,
within thy perilous smile,
t'at oftentimes caresses me
With relief, whenst I am mad,
and corrupts my conscience-
whenst I am sad;
Even only for a second; and even only
for a while.
But if thy smile were all it seemeth,
and thy perfection all t'at I dreameth,
Then a nightmare could be mirth,
and a bitter smile could be so sweet.
Just like everything my eyes hath seen;
if thy innocence was what I needest,
and thy gentleness th' one I seekest,
then I'd needst just and ought, worry not;
for all thy lips couldst be so meek
and thy glistening cheeks
wouldst be so sleek.

Oh, sweet, sweet-like thee, Cleopatra!
Sweet mournful songs are trampling along my ears,
but again, t'ey project me into no harmony-
I curse t'em and corrupt t'em,
I gnaw at t'em and elbow t'em-
I stomp on t'em and jostle t'em-
th' one sung by my insidious lover,
I feel like a ghost as I perch myself beside her.
Whilst thou-thou art away from me!
Thou, thou for whom my breath shalt choke
with insanity,
thou who wert there and merrily laughed with me-
just like last Monday,
By yon purple prairie and amber oak trees
By my newest words and dearly loving poetry.
Oh, my poetry-t'at I hath always crafted so willingly,
o, so willingly, for thee!
For thee, for thee only, my love!
Ah, Cleopatra, as we rolled down th' hoarse alley t'at day,
and th' silky banks by rueful warm water-
I hoped t'at thou wouldst forever stay with me,
like th' green bushes and t'eir immortal thorns,
Thou wouldst lull me to sleep at nights,
and kiss me firmly every dewy morn.

Cleopatra, Cleopatra
Ah, and with thy cherry-like lips
Thou shalt again invite me into thy living gardens,
With thy childish jokes and ramblings and adventures
To th' dying sunflowers, thou wert a cure;
and thy crown is even brighter t'an their foliage,
For it is a resemblance of thy heart, but
thy vanity not;
Thou art th' song t'at t'ey shalt sing,
thou art th' joy t'at no other greatness canst bring.

Ah, Cleopatra, look-and t'is sun is shining on thee,
but not my bride;
My bride who is so impatiently to withdraw
her rights; her fatal rights-o, I insist!
And so t'is time I shall but despise her
for her gluttony and rebellious viciousness.
T'at savage, unholy greed of hers!
How unadmirable-and blind I was,
for I deemed all t'ose indecipherable!
How I shalt forever deprecate myself,
for which!
Ah, but whenst I see thee!
As how I shall twist my finger into hers,
(Oh! T'is precocious little harlot!)
Thou art th' one who is, in my mind, to become my lover,
and amongst tonight's all prudence and marriage mercy
I shall dreameth not of my wife but thee;
Whilst my wife is like a cloaked rain doll beneath,
and her ******* shall be rigid and awkward to me-
unlike thee, so indolent but warm and generous
with unhesitant integrity;
Ah, I wish she could die, die, and be dead-by my hands,
But no anger and fury could I wreak,
for she hath been, for all t'ese years,
my single best friend.
Or she was, at least.
Oh Cleopatra, thou art my girl;
please dance, dance again-dance for me in thy best pink frock,
and wear thy most desirous, fastidious perfume;
I shall turn thee once more, into a delicious nymphet,
and I standing on a rock, a writer-soldier husband to thee-
Loving thee from afar, but a nearest heart,
my soul shalt become tender; but passionately aggravated
With such blows of poetic genuinity in my hands-
by t'ese of thee-so powerful, and intuitive sonnets.

Oh, my dear! T'is is a ruin, ruin, and but a ruin to me-
A castle of utmost devastation and damage and fear,
for as I looketh into her eyes behindeth me,
and thine upon thy throne-
so elegant and fuller of joy and permanent delight
Than hers t'at are fraught with pernicious questions,
and flocks of virginal fright,
I am afraid, once more-t'at I am torn,
before thy eyes t'at pierce and stun me like a stone,
an unknown stone, made of graveyard gems, and gold
Thou smell like death, just as dead as I am
On my loveless marriage day
And as I gaze into th' dubious priest
And thee beside him, my master-o, but my dream woman!
Oh, sadly my only dream woman!
Th' stars of love are once more
encompassing thine eyes,
and with wonder-oh Cleopatra, thou art seemingly tainted
with sacrifice, but delightfully, lies-
As I stareth at thee once more,
I knoweth t'at I loveth thee even more
just like how thou hath loved me since ever before
And thy passion and lust rooted in mine
Strangling me like selfish stars;
and th' moon and saturated rainbows
hanging up t'ere in troubled, ye' peaceful skies, tonight.

I want her not, as thou hath always fiercely,
and truthfully known,
so t'at I wriggle free,
ignoring my bride's wise screams
and cries and sobs uttered heartbreakingly-
onto th' gravel-and gravely chiseled pavement outside,
'fore eventually I slippeth myself out of my brownish
soldier's uniforms.
Thou standeth in surprise, I taketh, as I riseth
from my seat-my fictitious seat, in my mind,
for all t'is, pertaining to my unreal love for her,
shalt never be, in any way, real-
All are but th' phantom and ghost
of my own stories; trivial stories
Skulking about me with unpardonable sorries
Which I hate, I hate out of my life, most!
As to anyone else aside from thee
I should and shalt not ever be-married,
and as I set my doleful eyes on thee once more,
curtained by sorrow and unanswered longings,
but sincere feelings-I canst, for th' first time,
admire thy silent, lipped confession
Which is so remarkably
painted and inked throughout
thy lavish; ye' decently translucent face;
t'at thou needst me and wouldst stick by me
in soul, though not in flesh;
but in heaven, in our dear heaven,
whenst I and thou art free,
from all t'ese ungodly barriers and misery,
to welcome th' fierceness of our fate,
and taste th' merriment of our delayed date.
Oh, my love!
My Cleopatra! My very own, my own,
and mine only-Cleopatra!
My dear secret lover, and wife; for whom
my crying soul was gently born, and cherished,
and nurtured; for whose grief my heart shall be ripped,
and only for whose pride-for whose pride only,
I shall allow mine to be disgraced.
Cleopatra! But in death we shall be reunited,
amongst th' birds t'at flow above and under,
To th' sparkling heavens we shall be invited,
above th' vividly sweet rainbows; about th' precious
rainy thunder.
NitaAnn Jan 2014
Come and walk with me!
I take your hand and allow you to push open the heavy, creaking door to my thoughts.
Together we pause at the vast emptiness before us, creaking dreams beneath our feet, memories and beliefs casting shadows on the vast walls.

We move cautiously inside the entrance, tread carefully on my forgotten memories and dreams, their hold on me lost through time.
Please ignore the twitching corpses and further explore darkened, hidden, cobwebbed corners.

Gliding through the room, I pull you down, ducking as another thought flies through the air hitting the opposite wall with a loud splat then landing in the pile of screaming thoughts below, where they stay, awaiting the inevitable time when they will either be dismissed or built upon.

Allow me to guide you through the room, dodging the memories best forgotten, notice the shame and fear apparent on my face as we view them together.

Take a moment to scan the dark room, breathe in the fresh hopes and dreams; their bright bodies hung carefully on the sun drenched walls, waiting for the eventual time when they will be realized or floored.

Their hopes shimmer in vivid brilliance to the limited few who are trusted enough to view them. Laugh as you catch glimpses of the insane images before you, cry at those of more morbid times. Feel yourself being dragged into the moment, your sleeve being tugged at by a crying child.
And in the blink of an eye that same child scrambles over to you.
Pull yourself back into the present, realizing the child before you is me.

Explore the room further, try to avoid the tear filled pool, where all tears are recorded and verified at being shed…wept through time.

Stop and hover at the shrine of the memories of my life.

Images and clips are projected throughout me and are now available for your viewing.
Notice how the salty pool of tears deepens while you witness me recounting the losses, the pain.

As we walk further into the room, journeying through time, moving closer and closer to the present…remember to observe the moments and memories of time, suspended in mid-air, burning in a golden light.

Now witness the smugness…the only part of my mind visible now, its golden beauty being cast throughout my body, washing me in an aura-like glow.

The warmth of the complacency keeps me sane, urging thoughts to be formed, its magnetism pulling words from the neglected pile and painting them into pictures, parading them in the room until they are given attention and brought to life.

As we move toward the door, look over your shoulder at what you have witnessed the room now a hub of excitement, never before viewed by anyone.

The air thick with scents of raw emotion, its nakedness daunting and yet liberating.
Its shadow and mediocre existence no longer locked away but instead camouflaged in an attitude and personality of an unexpected level.

Pursued by many, their relentless banging, wasted energy, their persistence jamming the door further, while the rusted lock twists tighter and tighter, until the eventual breaking of the lock, shattering all ties with the pursuer.

We step over the threshold, out of the house and into the sun.

I close the heavy doors to my thoughts, and replace the rusted lock on my soul.
I glance over at you and you catch my gaze.
You nod your head at me and reach out your hand.

I am unable to reach for you… I don't believe in myself, I don't love myself.

But I hope that eventually I will find peace from the inner turmoil that has me vice grip, tightening with each passing day.

I look at you with desperation in my eyes, longing to believe the wisdom you speak is "truth".
Walk with me...see my shame and sadness, witness my hopes and dreams
David May 2013
A sea of gasoline's,
Grace of novelties,
Cars and halogen,
Social disease,
Manufactured dreams,
Scream on screens,
They glean from all living things,
Fight,
Take,
Hide,
Such a contumacious existence,
Results in an animistic decline,
All things that once made us strong,
Oblivion has made a meal of them,
I walk around this town,
I see the colors,
I watch the scenes,
Fight,
Take,
Hide,
I live in a world without a heart,
But machines keep it breathing,
And it has many sons,
Crowned with clockworks maturation,
Am I the last one beating?
I don't tick,
Not like them,
I just watch men bite one another necks from the steps of the front door,
They call me the queen of the creaking floorboards,
Fight,
Take,
Hide,
I have matchstick eyes,
I twist fires with my fingertips,
All of these people made of wood,
They are like smoke to me,
I breathe slices into them with teeth that have no number,
I am December,
I fight,
Take,
Hide
Chris Voss Mar 2011
Katherine writes songs about wheat fields and her father’s blisters
From the four-by-six closet beneath the staircase.
Aaron doesn’t write anymore.

Katherine draws music notes to record
The tune of footsteps and creaking oak,
While Aaron feels the rough grain of maple window frames
And avoids his reflection in the double-paned glass.

Katherine holds tight to her pen
Like a man who’s lived a good life holds on to his final breath.
Aaron, he never found it that hard to exhale.

Katherine knows love like she knows the Sun,
While Aaron, who once flew wax-winged,
Stopped studying mythology
And found trust in extinguished light bulbs.

Katherine draws stick figures in the collected dust
Of cracked-cloth book covers
And embraces every particle that kisses her fingerprint.
Aaron wears black leather gloves
Like a desensitizing second-skin.
But they both close their eyes
When the wind brushes their cheeks.

When Katherine cries it’s wet and sloppy
And when it’s over she usually giggles
At the feeling of being human.
Aaron’s eyes are desert moons;
If he believed in a god he’d pray for rainstorms,
But instead he picks tumble weeds from his teeth
With the ribcage he found when the vultures were through.

Katherine webs outlines with plot twists and foreshadows
While Aaron knows some stories
Are made up as they’re written.

Katherine collects crushed asphalt from both sides of divided highways
And mixes it with ****** wax to varnish her innocence.
Aaron drives the back-roads and keeps one eye on the rearview mirror.
He finds solace in sharp turns.

Tonight, Katherine curls her toes as she writes a song about
loving up until your very last breath
And caresses her lips.
Aaron chews on his and slides open the window.
They both recall the taste of someone else’s skin from the salt in the air.
Katherine’s candle flickers and pops when she moves
Her hand through the light to cast stories on the wall.
Aaron crawls down the shadowed side of hallways
And feels the grey grow in his hair as he starts up the staircase.

Step by step by step by
each breath is
step by step
loved a little bit less
An all but silent cacophony of creaking oak.

Katherine etches a treble clef but her pupils dilate
When she senses the unfamiliar feeling of a second heartbeat.
With stitched silk stockings
she tip-toes up the same song.
Aaron hears music for the first time in so long
And turns to see where goose bumps come from.

Katherine crescendos at the top of the stairs and
Stares into two full, bright desert moons.
Aaron finds it hard to let go of the breath it takes to say,
“Don’t be afraid.”
Katherine tumbles like fingers down piano keys,
But for a split-second in the moment their eyes met
They both forgot the weight of loneliness.
C. Voss (2010)
Kason Durham Apr 2014
In the dark, windy eve shines stark an orange light
Crisp and warm, caressing the wood curves gently; no fight,
The harsh burn breathes life to the embers, now shining bright,
A veil of smoke falls gently, hazy is the night.

Now traveling up the stock, whose polish: iridescent,
Up to the paling, rugged cheeks whose glow: florescent.
In the blue moonlight, his eyes shine pleasant,
Enjoying the taste, thought, life, love; vibrant.

Sitting in a weathered chair, creaking wood, rocking back to and fro,
He sat still, thoughtful, as pristine as wax, as delicate as snow.
Taking drags in the dark, the orange relax, a seedling starting to sow,
The stem broke the soil, words forming in his mouth, questions starting to sough.

He looked up from his stupor, sharp minded, clear and concise,
A solution to his problem, no matter its cause, had broken the ice.
Now he stood tall, elated, anxious, worried his words would suffice,
Then he sat back down, rewarded, confident his ideas would entice.
deep thought life thinking world smoking idea wonder curious comfort
Carre noir Jun 2014
I'm standing In a forest

Wind whispering through the pines

Bathed in the Pale blue emulsion from the moon

I'm barefoot

I dig my feet into the damp Moss and grass below

Trees creaking like old doors

The breeze teases

the rustle of dead leaves swirling about my ankles

The shadows dance round me

I dare not close my eyes in case something appears when I reopen them

I hear insects buzzing but I can't see them

Twigs snapping underfoot by hidden animals

My arms hang beside my body and I slowly open my palms

I look at my hands there covered in mud and speckled with blood

How did I get here?
I don't know where this came from but I had too write it , you know that moment when your not sure what's real and what's not ?
Craig Reynolds Jan 2011
Mostly i hate to shiver, but
as of late
my mind floats
like a glacier

on a tundra. it’s almost as if
i long to be frozen, of finally

crystallizing.

spread thinly across a moment. For

what is winter but
a season of correction and
what else does snow
hide, but warm seeds
not yet equipped or

ready:

to make an assault;
to reach for the;
unfolding firmament.
and how else:

will white blankets behave?
then to collect and save
every prism of light”
crawling toward it,
like the pilgrimage of a wave~
no longer discriminating].

against boundaries:
past, present, and future
and (all at once).

&latel;;, i cannot
quench my thirst
for the ice 0f eternity
to melt f1rst


our corporeal frigid for/\ /\s


into puddles of everlasting
currents.|||\/\/\/^\/\/^\\||||\/\/\/^\/\/^
copyright 2011
Mitchell Duran May 2014
We took the back road to the house. The shade from the trees made the road feel like tunnel. Not a shred of light came in. We'd have to drive slow. The road wasn't made of concrete: it was made of dirt, rock, and dead leaves. Sometimes we could see the worms come up out of the dirt in the headlights, their pink stretching bodies like weird little fingers. Carrie never looked. She said it was too scary. The rest of us would look and watch them dance around like that. Sometimes we'd have to run them over. Of course, we'd feel bad about it, but we needed to get back to the house. There were things to be done. Nothing planned, but nonetheless, things to be done.
Englend reversed the car up to the front door. The liquor, the food, and the beer was in the back and would make it easier to get it from there. Patty and Carrie (the one scared of the worms) ran straight to the bathroom. They'd been complaining about how we never stopped at a gas station to ***. Englend said we didn't have the time and I just didn't care. Denny was in the same mindset as me. We usually were. Kat was looking out the window, thinking about something she didn't wish to share when we started to unload. She offered to help after she'd finished her thought, but the three of us said we had it. We didn't really, but we let her have her thought while we carried the bags. There weren't that many to complain about anyway.
When everyone was inside unpacking their things, I hung back and smoked a cigarette. I looked down at the river. It was full and rushing. The trees were full with bright, lime green leaves. The branches were tanned auburn from the sun. They looked the forearms of the Mexican girls at my high school: smooth, everlasting, stretching to a place I was never allowed to touch or look at. I ashed my cigarette into a pile of leaves and immediately worried that I was going to start a fire. I kicked it out, thrusting my boot heel into where I thought the ember had went.
"What the hell are you doing?" Englend screamed from the front porch, a handle of whiskey underneath his arm, a glass with ice in the other.
"Ashed into the leaves," I told him, "Trying to take it out." I kicked the leaves a few more times, then walked towards Englend.
"Let me get a hit of that," I said, pointing at the handle.
He spun the top and it rolled off the tread. The cap rolled off the deck and Englend chased after it, handing me the bottle first.
"Take this. Where'd the hell it go?"
"Down there somewhere," I said, pulling the bottle back. The sweetness of the whiskey hit my nostrils first, then the bite of the liquor. I coughed, feeling my eyes begin to water. The first one was always the hardest. After that, they got easier.
June had just ended. July was just arriving. The third was tomorrow and the next day was the fourth.
I took another pull from the handle. I placed on the decks railing and left Englend with it. He was still looking around for the bottle cap.
"I thought I saw it roll under the deck," I told him.
"*******," he moaned. He looked up at me, "Come and help me. It'll be faster with two."
"Can't. Gotta' check on Carrie and get ourselves a room."
"*******," he moaned again, reaching under the deck.
"Don't get your hand bit by a possum or rat or something!" I yelled behind me, going inside. "Carrie!" I screamed, "Where'd you go?"
"Upstairs getting our room ready!" I heard her scream from the 2nd floor, "Come and help me put the sheets on."
I went into the kitchen. Denny was stocking the fridge with the beer and the meat. I reached over his shoulder and grabbed a Budweiser. He had an open one in between his knees. The light stuff was on the bottom to the far left, the heavy stuff in the middle, and the expensive IPA, hoppy stuff to the far right. The top shelf was for food, mixer, and whatever else the girls had decided to get at the store. Fruit and things. I opened up the freezer. There were two handles of Smirnoff resting on three large bags of ice. We would need more ice. I closed the freezer and ran my fingers of the labels of two more handles of Cazadorés tequila and Bulleit bourbon. Overall, I thought we were fairly stocked for the four day weekend, but one could never be to sure. People came out of the wood work for the 4th of July. No telling who would show up at our front door.
I went upstairs to see what Carrie was doing. She was laying on the bed with the sheets resting on the dresser. The light was off. The room was cast in that light grey pigment that happens when the bedroom light isn't there. It was nice. The sun had been straining my eyes the whole time even though I had been driving in the backseat. Carrie was laying face down on the bed. She was wearing a skirt, so I slowly laid down on the bed and inched her dress up. She didn't flinch or move, so I pulled it up until I saw her burgundy lace *******. They looked pressed or ironed or something they looked so clean.
"What're you doing?" Carrie asked me, her face down into the mattress.
"Just looking," I said.
"At what?"
"At your ****."
"Why?"
"Cause' it's nice."
"Close the door."
I got up, closed the door, and laid back down.
"Lets put the sheets on the bed first."
"OK," I said.
We put the sheets on the bed, but couldn't wait for the pillows and the rest of the blankets. We tried to be quiet, but knew we weren't. After, we took a shower together. I rubbed Carrie's shoulders while the hot water rained down on us. She said it was better to get a massage in the shower because the hot water loosened up the muscles. I didn't know if that was true or not, but I did it anyway. I watched her as she unpacked her bag. Her hair was wet and it swung back and forth, wetting her back. She was wrapped in her favorite pink towel. Water dripped from her body down to the floor. I waited to put my things away. I had brought up very little. Mostly *****. Carrie took up most of the dresser. I had one drawer by the time we were finished.
We took a nap. After we were done sleeping, we looked outside and saw the sun had been replaced with the night. The stars and the light coming from inside of the cabin streaked out into the forest like a splash of golden florescent paint. Carrie and I poked our heads outside to listen to the creaking trees and the rustling of animals through the bush. Someone downstairs was lightly clattering dishes as they cleaned them while the smell of red maple firewood burning in the fireplace came up to our room. I took out my phone from my pocket and looked at the time.
"****," I said, "It's already 10 o'clock."
"I'm starving."
"I'm starving and need a drink."
"Let's go downstairs and see what they made."
I slipped on my 501's while Carrie straightened up her hair. We went downstairs and saw two plates with hamburgers and fries on them. Patty was at the sink cleaning the pots and pans. She was staring down into the soapy froth, humming a song to herself I couldn't understand. She hadn't heard us come down. Denny, Englend, and Kat weren't in the living room.
"Where is everybody?" I asked.
"Oh!" Patty burst. She swung around, a soaped up frying pan in her hands. "You scared the **** out of me!"
I put my hands up, "Gotcha!" I said smiling.
"They went for a walk somewhere and left all the dishes for me."
"Leave'em," Carrie said, taking Patty's hands and wiping the soap away with a rag, "Van and I will take care of them."
"I only have a few more..."
"I insist!" Carrie took Patty's arm and lead her to the couch and laid her down. I took a cup from the pantry, filled it with ice, and poured Bulliet half-way up. I handed the glass to Carrie and she brought it to Patty.
"Look at that," Patty smiled, "Full-service."
"What you get when you come up to the Dangerson cabin."
"**** right!" I exclaimed through a bite of hamburger, "Only the best here."
Patty leaned her head back after taking a long sip of the whiskey. She exhaled and closed her eyes. I watched her as her chest heaved up and down. She kicked off her shoes and let her hair fall over the armrest of the couch.
"You said they went into the woods, Patty?"
Carrie took her burger and went and sat next to Patty.
"Lift your legs up," Carrie said, "Let me sit with you."
"Yeah. They went into the woods an hour or so ago. Probably a little less."
I opened the fridge and grabbed another beer.
"What were they going out there for?"
"I have no idea."
"Probably to get firewood or something," Carrie said, "Can you grab me one of those."
"Sure," I said, tossing her one.
"Wait," She yelled, throwing her hands in the air. The beer landed right in one of her flailing hands.
"Nice catch," I laughed, opening the fridge and grabbing another.
"You're such a ****!"
I smiled and walked out onto the deck.
"He really is," I heard Carrie tell Patty.
"I heard that!"
"You were meant to!" she called back to me, laughing.
I shook my head and opened the can of beer. Why did they decide to go get firewood now? We had plenty of wood here already. Patty probably didn't know what she was talking about. That happened often. I strained my eyes to see through the darkness, maybe see if I could spot a flashlight or the round end of a lit cigarette, but the forest was just a wash of thick blackness. Even the stars had grown faint.
"Englend!" I shouted.
Nothing. Not a peep. They were far out there.
"Englend!" I shouted again.
"What the hell are you shouting at?" a voice said from the trees. I couldn't tell who it was, but it was someone I knew.
"Who the hell is that?"
"Well who the hell do you think it is?" It was Englend. He came out of the trees like a wild boar. He had a handle of whiskey in one hand with a pile of small twigs and firewood in the other. What came to mind first was a mix between a drunken Brawny guy and a pinecone.
"What's all the screaming about?" Kat asked, trailing behind Englend. Denny followed behind. They all had armfuls of wood. From what I saw, little would be useful, but I kept that to myself.
Englend came up the deck and handed me the handle. I took a long pull. As I drank, I looked up into the stars, which were now out and shining brighter than they were before. A cloud had moved, wavered off somewhere, presenting the gifts that were behind it. I lowered the bottle and watched Denny and Kat walk up the stairs. They were smiling.
"What are you two so happy about?" I asked, handing Denny the whiskey.
"Gimme' that!" Kat snagged it out of my hand, laughing. She took a long pull. Denny, Englend, and I watched, amazed that little hippy Kat could take such a heavy shot.
"Good God," I murmured.
"She drinks like a pirate," said Denny.
"A ****** pirate," added Englend.
Kat was especially small. Not a small person small, but petite. She also had a great *** and could out drink, out party, and out do the rest of us in debaucherous shenanigans. She had never heard of the word or feeling of shame either and did, really, whatever the hell she felt like.
"I heard that you *******," she said, exhaling, blinking her eyes wildly.
"That was a biggun'," Denny said, taking the bottle and pulling it.
"Needed it. Englend had us wandering around the ******* forest for firewood the minute we got here."
"Do we even need any?" I asked.
"Course we do!" Englend exclaimed, "Gotta' keep our ladies warm!"
He put his arm around Kat and shook her.
"Gross..." Kat frowned, her face pickling while she squirmed out of his arms.
"You love it Kat...where's Patty? Where's my babe!?" Englend thundered off into the house.
"I'm right here," Patty squealed. She was still on the couch with Carrie. She kicked her feet crazily as Englend jumped on her. Carrie jumped off just before he cannon balled onto the couch.
"You guys are SICK!" Carrie screamed.
"You love it," they both said in unison. The two of them play wrestled until Patty finally got Englend by the ***** and kissed him.
Denny handed Kat the bottle," You want another?" he asked.
"I'm good, Denny," she said.
"Hank?" He asked me.
"I'll take one, yeah," I said. I pulled it back as Kat went inside. I exhaled and looked at Denny, "So, you and Kat are the only two legitimate single people here. How you feel about that?"
"Hopeful," he said.
"That's good to hear. I'll see what Carrie can do."
"Sweet," he said nervously.
"Let's get inside. Patty made some burgers."
"Thank God," Denny sighed, shaking his head, "I'm ******* starving. Englend had us walking for ******' miles.
"No idea why. We have plenty of wood downstairs."
"Seriously?"
"Yeah. Lots of it. I cut a bunch the last time I was here."
"******," he laughed, "Englend told us were out."
"He doesn't know what he's talking about," I said. We walked into the kitchen. I put the bottle down next to Carrie, who had made her way from the couch back into the kitchen. She looked at the bottle, then at me.
"What you drinking there?" she asked me looking at the bottle.
"Whiskey," I told her.
"Can you not drink so much?" she whispered so no one could hear her.
"I'm good," I said, taking her hand, "I just drank a little bit outside while I was waiting for Englend. They went on a wild goose chase for firewood."
"Good."
"Denny was telling me they went all over for the stuff."
"Why?" she smiled, "We have so much from the last time we were up."
"That's what I was telling Englend, but he didn't care. Guy gets antsy."
"Who's antsy?" Englend called from the couch. Patty was wrapped up in his eyes, looking drunk from the single shot Carrie and I had given her. Kat was on the couch with a beer. Denny was hovering by the door, rocking back and forth on his heels still holding an armful of fire wood.
"Why don't you just leave that by the door?" I told Denny, "Take a seat. Stay a while."
He dropped the firewood by the side of the front door and took a seat on the floor in front of the fireplace by Kat. He looked up at her and smiled, but she didn't notice. She was sipping her beer, rummaging around in her pocket for something.
"What I was saying was that you guys didn't need to get anymore firewood or kindling or whatever the hell you guys got because we have a lot from the last time Carrie and I were up."
"I saw those logs," said Englend, "And they're ******* twigs compared to what we got!"
Everyone laughed.
"Well," I said, opening the fridge for another beer (I wasn't sure where my other one had gone to), "I'm not taking the **** down."
"All good, we'll take it down."
"You'll take it down," said Kat, "We had to walk through half of the ******* forest to get to your secret wood spot, then walk back. I'm finished with wood for now."
"Fine," Englend moaned, "I'll take it down in the morning."
"I'll help you," Denny added.
"Good! We got two big guys to do it. It'll be done in no time."
I turned around and opened up the cabinet that was filled with shot glasses. I took six out, put them on the table, and filled them with whiskey.
"Let's take a group shot before we all start getting snuggly and sleepy."
"Great idea!" Englend shouted, popping up from the couch.
"For America!" Patty giggled, following Englend.
Kat helped Denny from the floor and walked over to the counter. They parted hands when Denny was on his feet, but I could tell he wouldn't mind holding her hand for the duration of the trip.
"I'm glad to have you all here," I said, "Glad we could do this."
Everyone nodded, smiling, holding their golden brown shots in the air.
"For America," I said.
"For America!" the rest of them yelled. We soaked in the glory of fine whiskey and hazy conversation for the rest of the night.
Everyone was moving slow in the morning. Englend seemed to be the most up out of everyone. I walked into the kitchen to him whipping 12 eggs, grating cheese, pan frying potatoes, bubbling coffee, and pouring orange juice into mimosa flutes. The champagne was already out. I thought, a little alcohol will probably do me some good. It did. After my third glass, I kissed Carrie when she groggily walked into the living room. She preceded to slump onto the couch. I brought her a cup coffee and some Advil. She smiled meekly into my glazed over, blood shot eyes. I could tell she was hurting, but she would be right in a couple hours. Once we got into the river, all would be right.
"Jesus," said Carrie, "You guys are already drinking?"
"Of course!" Englend laughed, "It's the fourth and it's already noon. We're behind if anything."
"And Englend made breakfast," I said.
"I can see th
LDuler Mar 2013
The leeching color from my eyes
My parched mouth puckered
My joints are stiff, stubborn and brittle
Creaking like exhausted floorboards
Wringing my fists, white ands shriveled
Twisting my hands, skinned and raw
I'm ill with desperate thriving
Too weak to carry on, don't have the choice
Veins laden with liqueur, thinning hopes and regret
Pulsing pulsing pulsing
Bones fluttering with birds of bad omen
Scalp rid of hair to make place for the thorny crown of vanquishment
Blood diluted with bitter disappointment,
Sloshing, smearing through my mucked-up system
Aching from the deadly drone of existence
From small victories, large defeats
I'm the mortar, they're the pestle
Clobbering into my hollowed life.

The hammer of that thing
Routine so dull and tedious
Pounding and pounding and pounding
When you can't even scream or weep
Thud thud thud
My temples scream with dank submission
My brain is reeling, hurling from the vertigo of it all.

Morning, noon & night
The dead avenues, the empty buzzing
Beats hammers in my brain
Throb throb throb
I'm quivering with numbness.

I'm mature now, I'm ripe
So ripened and rotten
Adult things, adult preoccupations pulsing around me
It seems like person really only has two choices
Get in on the aimless hustle or be forsaken
I've taken it all up
Rent, coffee, wine, cigarettes and newspaper
Forgotten pills
Unpaid bills
Thump thump thump
Anguish, pain, woe and misery
Turbulence and stress, the banging hammer.

I'm a drunkard, a wanderer
With a beaten, battered suitcase
Days like these, weeks like these, when all the weapons are pointed at me
I'm a ***, an outcast
A pigeon in the pummeling rain
Dribble dribble splash
The ache is a relentless thing.

My job, my rent, my house
My walls limp with memories stuck with rotting glue
Wallpaper torn, curling at the edges
The cold hard floor radiates and screams
The couch, cold & hollow
Incrusted with bits of filthy grime
The dead radiator hisses like an angry snake
The shades down, no sunlight
No life seeping through the venetian blinds
And my clothing sits in the chairs
Like the dead emptied out
The blankets are thin, frayed and tattered
As hope is
The moths, on the other hand, are alive and well
They weave webs of moribund rot
Interlacing me into their strands of decay.

Surrounded by the coldhearted, they snarl
And their laughs abash, dishearten the pure
Bruising me relentlessly
They are so tired, mutilated
either by love or no love
All their bleak and sunken eyes
All their weak and drunken souls
All their meek and shrunken hearts
Vultures with neckties
Weasels in frocks
Collared beasts, that's all they are.

The mournful poet with the shrapnel wound
Was so wrong
I guess he wanted to be lyrical, but his words led astray
Time is not water
It does not flow easy, smooth and transparent
It drags you into dark alleys and batters the hell out of you
Punches you in the ribs, rips your skin,
Jerks you by your hair, stabs you, disfigures you
Leaves you crippled and broken, gasping for air.

Sweating in a rocker
Lanky skeleton hands clasped, praying- for what?
I'm not living, or dying
I'm simply crawling backward
Or no, I'm not crawling, I'm being dragged,
Through nights of lonely perfidy, breathing the beaten dusty air
The dark wind wailing, ebbing through the frail curtains
Laying in bed, too wretched to move
When memories, of heaven and hell,
Droop like broken shades
Across the window of my mind
And ****, I can feel my soul slowly dropping down through the mattress
My stomach is heaving, my teeth clenched and gritted
But not with fear, no, it's too late for dread
And it *****, because we realize we were all so caught up in a life in which we can find no meaning...we end up wrong and graceless and sick
We're born shriveled and alone, we die shriveled and alone
No matter what.
The Hammer by Geneviève Pardoe Macchiarella is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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