Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Jasper Bayani Apr 2016
This may be my finest hour
As I topple down my crimson tower
I lick my lips as I breathe to speak
Yet dashed hearts have already broken seals:

I profess a deepest regret, my dear
For I shame to wear a heart so dark
To leave you unknowing, I fear
That you've already made your mark

Many moons on end, I rebuked each beat
For I dreaded to wear a heart so light
I shunned the ambience of the writhing heat
But my gaze burned as you indulged my sight

Dashed hearts creep through shadowed lights
That were left ajar by starry nights
Blanketed under its seductive mist
Locked against a grasping fist

Those longing eyes pierce across dying skies
Dashed hearts unnerved by logic’s lies
A glint of your smile begs the question
‘Have angels left their maiden bastion?’

Nevertheless, ecstasy does not last indefinitely
Dashed hearts unravel webbed truths,
And must therefore admit to their carrier’s dishonesty

But I refrain from speaking more, my dear
For my dashed heart is too young to shatter
Which sadly serves as a double-edged dagger
That is my regret which I yearn to falter

‘To revel in love?
Or only remain to admire?’

A decision that only you can answer, my dear
When these words  stretches farther than the bounds of insignificant  paper,
My voice will be heard.
Yet as each phrase pours out of dry lips, my mind would wonder,

If the end would lead on, lead on, lead on to dashed hearts,
Or would it smudge recent history and collapse reality to only be dashed hearts.
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
I'm on a train.

One of those red ones with black trimmed windows you can imagine rolling through the suburbs on the way to NYC. Not a subway car but a classier vintage with proper rows of cushioned seats and a lever to pull if there is an emergency. There are sparse shrubberies on one side of the tracks and the ocean on the other. Young trees and bushes stroll by.  A little wind is pushing off the ocean, massaging the car ever so gently back and forth as we move along. A gentle click-clack is on the tips of our ears.

We got on together. I hadn't known you for very long but the connection was stronger than anything I had ever felt or have since. You practically sat on top of me for the first few miles. Couldn't keep your hands off me,  staring in my eyes like you were searching for something lost but you couldn't remember what. The edges of your lips turned upwards permanently as if you were always at the verge of a laugh. You interlaced my fingers with yours and held on like you would be ripped away if your grip loosened for even a second. Slender fingers holding so tightly that they were becoming red.

You were excited to to be riding with me, about where we were going and all the things we would do when we got there. I would see you peer out of the corner of your eye, then lean over to brush your soft cheek against my budding stubble. Kissing and gently biting my lips insatiably. The suns rays coming in at an angle and lighting up your perfect smile and dimple.

I had to remind you we were in public.

I was lost in your blonde curls and the incense of your neck. I had fallen incredibly hard and so fast that my face hurt from smiling and my heart beat with vibrations I had never known. Not even a whiff of anxiety or neurosis. Some of the best memories of my life, as fleeting as they turned out to be.

I yawned and you put your finger in my mouth. I bent over to tie my shoe and you would poke my **** and laugh with your own reflection in the window, like this was the first and best joke of all time. Maybe it was and maybe it is.

The waiter came and informed us that a thing called "the bar car" existed. We both jumped at the idea. I didn't exactly notice at the time, during our excitement, but that's when the train started going faster and everything out the windows began to blur.

The bar car was a wild ride and we took advantage of our lo'cal. All kinds of fine wine, liquors and illicit substances were available. We tried them all. You were beautiful, your laugh infecting everyone around you, I was charming and held a captive audience.   It was a dark, loud and glorious blur. We were the life of the party and it chugged on till dawn.

We woke up in our seats, disheveled and discombobulated. It was dark out already. Did we sleep through the entire day? The train was slowing down, maybe approaching a station. The party was amazing but we were certainly paying the price for the black out. You moved over to the seat across from me to have some more space and lay down. I saw myself in the reflection. My hat, charm and smile from the night before had vanished. I must have left them in the bar car the night before.
      You had changed, beauty uninterrupted but different somehow. I couldn't put my finger on it. Irritated maybe? I invited you to cuddle and battle the hangover together but you ignored me. Like you couldn't hear me or didn't want to. I decided to let you be.

I got up to use the bathroom and thought I would go look for my scattered belongings. Maybe I could find a scrap of leftover dignity while you rested. I inquired to the conductor who directed me to the bartender in the bar car. He hadn't changed a bit, somehow untouched and unaffected by last nights antics that had effected me so dramatically.  Same black suspenders and white pressed shirt with impeccably slicked hair. I asked him what happened and if I had an open tab. While slowly polishing a rocks glass he looked up and made eye contact for a split second before looking away.
He said:  "Oh the bar car takes its toll. In the end we all end up paying one way or another". I still don't know what he meant by that or if he knew.
      I asked him if he found my hat and he said he would check the camera. We walked in to a small back room, while he was reviewing the tape, over his shoulder I noticed a tragedy.

We were drunk. I was going on to a group of new friends on one side of the bar, they were hanging on my words and I was eagerly explaining whatever nonsense they were drooling over. You were in the corner wearing that red dress I love, with your hair up in a tight bun. A few curls had escaped and brushed your high cheekbones, a thin line of pearls dancing delicately across your perfectly symmetrical collar. You were stunning and inebriated, swaying with each bump and motion of the train. A man wearing my hat put his hand on your side to keep you from swaying over and then he left it there.
I took a sharp breath.

It looked like you put your hand on his hand to move it but then it stayed and you both swayed together. As the air left my lungs and the blood drained out of my face I watched your lips touch the strangers. A small piece of my soul slipped away forever. I couldn't watch any further. When I asked the bartender how long it went on he fidgeted for a moment and uncomfortably muttered "quite some time". I never found my hat or the other part of me that left that day.  

The train slowed. I walked to the back, as far away from you as I could get, in utter disbelief. How could you? I thought to myself.
I mourned the loss of the you as I knew you yesterday, quietly and to myself. A tear  escaped my eye and rolled down my now fully formed stubble as I fell in to a random seat in mild shock. There were a few passengers back there so I had to pull together relatively quickly. After gaining some composure I knew it was time to get off. I knew we could never get back to yesterday morning though I would have said or done anything to do so.

The train had stopped. I went back to my seat and you were sleeping. I took my coat and gathered my things. The conductor looked at me confused as to why I would leave something so magnificent, I assume he had no idea what had transpired.   

I walked to the rear of the car and slid the door open slower than required. I stepped to the stairs and put one foot down on the step and the other on the ground. I stopped, rooted with my hand on the railing, lingering between two very different paths.
     I knew that it was time to get off, I knew this was the sensible thing to do, that I couldn't get past this offense regardless of how I had felt earlier the day before. The whistle screamed from the locomotive. The conductor looked at me and shook his head, I'm not sure if he was trying to tell me to stay or go but a decision had to be made.

The train lurched forward and I watched as the station slip away slowly. I sat in between the cars for a while and watched the ocean and birds. With a heavy heart and shoes I walked back to my seat. You were waiting. Crying. You knew. The bartender had told you. You didn't mean do do it, didn't realize what you were doing and thought it was me. He was wearing my hat and the whole world was blurry and dark.

I believed you. Self anguish mixed with alcohol was dripping from your pores. I knew you didn't mean it and were drunk, but could I ever forgive you or trust you again?

I loved you still.

I caught a glimpse of my reflection, a weaker version of myself looked back. As if an invisible chip in my teeth had developed and my shoulders lowered. The charming, confident man from the bar car the day before had been replaced. Something was off but not enough for anyone else to notice, just enough to know a change has happened.
       The train started to pick up speed again as we distanced ourselves from the station.  I second guessed my decision to stay but I didn't look back.

I found the man with my hat and punished him with a few blows in the dark. He knew he ****** up, apologized and took the beating like a man. I never got the hat back.

The engineer announced that we would be going through a tunnel soon and to turn on our lights and keep our hands in the windows.

It would be dark.  

We stayed away from the bar car for a while but the draw was irresistible. After a few hours we were there again but you never left my side.  Then you did. I was looking for you but you would disappear and not answer me when I called you name. The tunnel went deeper and darker and I didn't know where you were and I suspected you liked it that way. The train began to slow down again as we exited the tunnel.

I finally found you back at our seat, you had moved one row away from me. I asked you to come back, tried to hold your hands but you pulled away with vehemence. When I came back from the bathroom you had moved another row farther.
I knew I was losing you.
I begged you to return but you told me calmly that it was time for you to get off. At some point in the tunnel you had decided that you didn't want to go anymore . Your mind was made. You were going to catch another train at the next station.

When the train stopped I thought for sure you would reconsider but you didn't. Didn't even give it a thought. You just grabbed your coat and hat with one big bag under your arm. You kissed me on the cheek like a french stranger and were off. Going somewhere else on a different train. Just like that.

I rode the rails for quite some time by myself , many people getting on and getting off, passing me by. Every once in a while I would think I saw you at a station or in a **** though the window of another train. I often thought I could smell you but when I breathed deeper it was always gone. A ghost dancing on the edge of my senses.

A young girl in a headband got on the train. She was listening to headphones and dancing to herself as she bobbed along. She sat down in the seat next to me flashing a smile. She had a wedding ring on and I dismissed her immediately.  She didn't move from the seat or stop glancing my way. Eventually she confessed that she wanted to talk. I told her I wasn't interested but she persisted.  I hadn't talked to anyone on the train for quite some time and after some more mild persistence, I gave in.

We had a lot in common. We were both riding alone, desperately wanted attention and were thrilled to receive some.  After a few laughs she slid her hand in to mine and interlaced her fingers. I left it there. It was warm, comforting and wrong. She was married but I had been riding alone so long it felt good to have some company. She stayed and we talked. She was broken and I had a knack for fixing things. After a few hours of dramatic conversation I fell asleep with her head on my shoulder.

When I woke up  the train was flying up the track on the side of a mountain. Trees and rocks were a blur of green and grey. The engineer must be trying to make up for lost time I thought to myself.

The girl was asleep with her head on my lap. I looked down at her hand and the rings were gone. I woke her briefly to ask where they went. She said she didn't need them anymore and had thrown  them out the window.  She could of sold them, I said, but she said she just wanted them gone so she could be mine and fell back to sleep.  All of a sudden I couldn't breath. This train was roaring down the tracks, the once gentle click clack had become a loud hum. Suddenly too loud. This girl in my lap who had just gotten on the train wanted to stay. I considered her for a while as she looked up at me with big blue eyes, shining and wet, like a puppy in the shelter, terrified of rejection and desperate to be adopted.

At the peak of the mountain, just when the train began to even out, you waltzed back in to the car with a champagne flute in one hand and your bag in the other.

I don't know when or where you got back on, must have been a few stations ago when I stopped looking for you. Maybe you were wearing a disguise, who knows what you had been up to while you were gone. I'm not sure how long you were away but it was quite some time. That you had been through something was obvious, a new wrinkle had formed on your brow and you're once confident stride had changed to a cautious stroll. What actually happened out there I don't know.  I never asked and I don't want answers.

You looked at me and smiled. It was good to see that smile, like sun on my face on a brisk day.  You took a step toward me and then I looked down in my lap at the girl at the same time you did. I looked up. You and your smile were gone.

Everything I had begun to feel for this broken, head banded girl in my lap dried up like a puddle in  the dessert.  I quietly and gently nudged her awake and told her I had to use the bathroom. She put her head down on my coat and fell back into what ever trance she had been in, eyelids gently fluttering, eyes searching beneath them for what I would never give her.

I dashed up the isle and threw open the door, almost shattering the glass. The conductor glared at me and rolled his eyes as I barged past to the space between the cars.

There you were. Standing on the stairs with your head out the opening. The wind was blowing your perfectly formed curls around your head like a blonde explosion of familiarity. I yelled your name and you dove in to me. My senses erupted, my mind went numb as the train was nearing another station and I inhaled your essence greedily.

We moved to another car. I abandoned my coat with the married girl and never looked back. I hope she found what she was looking for. I  never could have been the answer she was so desperately seeking but I know I  helped steer her towards it.

You told me you had encountered some other people out there on the rails and they had reminded you of what we had when we first left the station. I never forgot.  

The train started to rock and get going again. We were back in the bar car and starting to brown out. We had to get off of this train right ******* now. In a desperate moment we looked at each other and put our hands, together, on the emergency brake cord. I looked in your eyes with your hand on top of mine. You kissed me while yanking down on the cord. Time slowed, the breaks squealed and everything exploded throwing luggage, people and the entire contents of the bar car in to a nondiscriminatory chaos . We got up off the ground, ran to the end of the car, dove off the side in to a soft patch of grass and rolled down a small incline. We watched as the conductor sifted through  the mess and interrogated the passengers, trying to ferret out the party responsible for pulling the brake. He spotted us off the side of the tracks and shook his fist while shouting every conceivable obscenity combination.

We laughed, held each other in the grass and kissed deeply.

We watched the train pick up speed and disappear in to the hills as relief spread over me.

You interlaced your fingers in to mine and we both looked out to where the tracks disappeared into the horizon, wondering how far of a walk it was to the next station.
Alyssa Underwood Dec 2015
When all of worldly beauty's lost
When form and face have borne the cost
Of life's sojourn upon this earth
A greater glory then springs forth

When vanity is cast aside
With long-dashed dreams and fallen pride
At last a better hope I see
One anchored in eternity

When no one gives a second glance
Or offers promise of romance
I know the One whose love is true
Who looks beyond what most men do

When wit and charm have fled from thought
And company's no longer sought
There's still One friend who longs to hear
My every word, desire and fear

When awkwardness is more the rule
Than competence and being cool
His words I hear so gently spoken,
"Come, poor in spirit and all who are broken."

When those around me criticize
With disapproval in their eyes
He spreads His arms with full embrace
And wears acceptance on His face

When kindred spirit can't be found
And understanding's wayward bound
The One who knows me best will be
Thinking precious thoughts toward me

When foot is slipping, mind astray
From trying to fix things my own way
He rescues me with hourly grace
And sets me in a spacious place

When all my naught attempts at fame
Lie crushed beneath a weight of shame
I seek the fame of Him instead
Who calls my name and lifts my head

When youth and vigor fade away
And triumph seems an ancient day
My strength can rest in One who brings
Fresh power to soar on eagle's wings

When my last breath some day I take
Death's shadowed crossing, hence, to make
Upon Christ's nail-scarred feet I'll fall
To kiss that One who is my ALL
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

~~~

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtzAciGlgKE&spfreload=5
Julian Jul 2016
Hip Service
By Julian Malek

The zeal of cobblestone tolerance arrayed in fashionable hues masquerading as crimson secrecy, elevates the tide of man but some boats leak in their foundations. Therefore a cork to every exuberance and a triumphant torch for every sorrow lives onward in collective time. Larks that abound because prescience and PUGET sound, that brown has become the new orange which in turn prowls as a concealed swarthy black. To antagonize the willful and frenetic pace, a prodrome of lasting but memorialized disgrace. Should I move to a state by first or last name, or is the final appellation worthy of much more lasting fame. I scurry down the aisles, bemused by shimmering tiles and the beguiled audiences who see much in my limitation but doubt little about my debited elation. Ringmaster Barnum, how much horticulture is needed for assured superstardom, how many cloisters must we evacuate from the incendiary plumes of a metaphorical Harlem..  But know that no virtual reality can supplant the reality that does truly exist, or at least our time is too infernal and purblind to resist. Carrey the tops of mountains in the humor of wellsprings and fountains, we engage a menagerie of egos lilting of an etiolated pragmatic concern. Evicted from paradise, littered with say-cheese demise ensnaring three blind mice eaten alive by snake-eyed vice. To feel good without incorporated tyranny, we must see blue and red as alternatives to the same destiny. A world that reckons with the futilitarianism of pacified malcontent and astroturf monikers that lead the impressionable into a slaughter shed. Established or not, any enchantment under the sea must include fishes once a pastiche of me, but to them I avoid their courtesy flush and never even faintly blush as my egalitarian statements are lavish thrush.

Five TO Won baby one in 99, everyone here aboard the titanic stays alive, you got your boat baby and I got mine, gonna make it with babies numbered in surreal primes. Halt the slots game the nines, a stitch in time is going to turn out to be Mine. Flanger goals, girded piles, liminal like an aborted Harry Styles, we climb mountains we issue tithes, and the turmoil is etched into 45-notched bludgeons and two-tucked knives. Excuse you, where have you been all day, have you been sauntering in a gentle rain or a genteel pain, have you wallowed beyond the mires of doubt and ranked above David Blaine. I hope you tell me of your magic tricks, rather than your other flicks endeared I stand to fight an ineradicable itch. But if not, you placid pond dented by so many rocks and so many ripples give your heart over to me, before I clinch the special Olympics *******, we ran, we span the homespun garments of your left and right hand, but death is a specter that ghoulishly carouses along the carousel terminal disease we call life. I beseech your deepest affection and want to console you for your deepest struggle, to be there every time wed with time rather than a throttled scuttle. Moons make you guarded but maroons leave me desiccated, don’t ever let that wilted flower die, always water it with a rich but gentle ties and widened deck for all to at once marvel and pry.  Monsters of Mars Attacks once flanked my bed, as though the **** brain scared every gooseflesh and restrained every frisson of mystery. I lampoon myself for those cold Dark Knights and the protection ended by the plight of the poor mattering nothing to the deliberately internecine rich. I struck gold in a valley somewhere, an oxymoron of paradox that now you have the privilege to dock, to stay aboard to be a vessel of peace less widely deplored. Even if we don’t sprout wings, we garner the exactitude of measured things and our glass elevator though easily shattered by the glower of enslavement is actually our vista to heaven or listening to brethren tingles for rich mans trinkets and other things. For humanity deserves a legend and a princess, a regimented desuetude and a flanged lust but in our mistakes wildly flouted in momentary moments we become purified by the temptations of an alabaster palace.

***** the left-field wisdom of a pragmatic paragon ellipsis in prison, slip between the cracks and let my suburban muse become your urban ruse. To enchant a caged world beyond a reality delicately and deliberately unfurled. Squirming toads on highways enchanted but dead, are graves for the blue becoming purple in every dignified red. Gainsay assaults me with platitude, a repeated hitter quit on the first bunted ball into foul-line territory. Those gripes are swiped right in all circumstance no matter the plight. The pronged hearing of a trident sensitive to ambient collection, and suddenly we are all in the mad house even though the house of profaned pain is much worse. Glimpses of gambits that gambol for nickels in transit as occult grenades and known dice waddle through without artifice or device, and the laughter and slaughter that trains collegiate minds, differs no more than the tropes of a glamorous violence articled in sordid rhymes. This surfing movie means so much more than Surf Wax America pristine in limited but sacrilege nirvana. Teen spirits smell muskier than 90s pop dreams, the grasp and grunge of gouged eyes becomes a mummified staid, a scarecrow to those who disobey. Childhood flashes with blinding light, and new sight illuminates darkening blight, A blight eradicated only by two magazines and including one that houses the bullets that ***** themselves between death and comatose dreams both within astral sight. Littoral harbor on a seaside town, a shanty with a brackish gown that glides the gourmand to the cosmopolitan eatery on the outskirts of lost & found. But forever lost in embonpoint and forever gained in chavish that exonerates the gaunt, the etiolated prince in heart becomes irrefutable marrow in minded souls.

If I am a spy you are an ESPY, and if I cry than you are a baby,but since neither are the case my wiseacres will cultivate lava lamp dreams for a new generation and suddenly Boston bets on Harvard, but who knows of this piped blather squirming for relevance rather than voguish but temporary chatter. My regatta knows how to swim, my life now knows how to cringe and yet still win and in stilted plays of bungled sincerity the God of peace reminds us of our transcendent personalities. That we in sincerity top the barnacles of invention a novelty but a rarity. But the guillotine quill of emboldened unscripted parvenus ruthless in their eager dues, outdate and outlive the sued swayed blues that indemnify Clinton and make the atomic dog an amazing Winston hill a church often in sheltered disuse. Imps and urchins sting the sentiment, cloy the alimony of repentant betterment, but neither touches the gilded skies of pleonasm striving for raspy disguise as to dissuade further diatribe investigation. Lurking in those scared days of youth, the gore of unalloyed horror scourged me with a limp, that compassion itself could ever become a gimp. Now years later athletics better and scoring goals making the mildew sweat and the years wetter, not a global warming that can be alarmed by global mourning. Take peace at heart if distanced spears of separation make Idiocracy as a pastiche look exceedingly smart. And spar only with the true antagonists bridging malevolence with expedience. Killjoys sure, will joy even more sure, but still boys fluttered heart stopping dead at a stop-watched alarm the worst tragedy of our sordid sort. Give an African Child a real home rather than a spatial roam, a palatial desiccation of momentary Jonas Brothers snapping back at captives with sexualized foam.

Narrative blinds shuttered in an Island among mountains hardly ever wiser to sanitize the sanitarium among the wasps of stung power. Police crumple their uniforms as they prowl down the avenues, looking for misfits and widened platitudes. Somehow that the vigilance of those corrupted by their very career choice, look even worse when megalomania of private is the limelight of public, to their defense few turrets I can muster but castles in the sky will be the apartheid judge. Those that cling to virtue to eradicate Porsche-driven faked or real deaths at the most breakneck speed, that Fast & Furious operation if disclosed completely would turn the Shire of the ring into the hatred curtailed by a song in Sing-Sing. Immunity must not Yoda implore, that livery Liverpool marooned on islands can also to deplore the R.E.D. and still whet the sharpened stead and the fly-by-night Manchester United alights like militant peer pressure for wranglers in tights. But beating the Beatles at a game of Walruses and egg-shelled eyeful towers likely impedes rinkside hockey from anything over bellicose ballyhoo…it exists as a transient fixated glower. But who knows about soccer speculation when love is the transcendent temptation, when nest-egg hens rather than neglecting rig Bens of clockwork and clocked words designed arise better for their token ken. Do I must repeat the subtext of submarines, yellowed as though ugly unused as though unseen, as though the quixotic earthquakes of tintinnabulations Avatar dreams. Wafted souls console the disheartened thoughts of a dashed dream that Berlin hates more than a Furor’s unbridled and useless scream.
Demotic clips slinging from the bedridden silence of a token moon and its token friends, swimming in a shore of ambiguity whether history mellows or whether its furor melts away momentary doubts. I want to avoid the sting rays exorcised by due providence and become the amalgamated talents gentry and of course the upstart swagger of Jack Dawson. But with the psy-op going on, the people manipulated on all sides of a gray picket fence will the relationship bloom without muttered dissent or pretended smiles. Will we take upon the shuffled shuttle and dig with shovels deep-rooted Christmas trees and toast our lives to Dos Equis. We may never go out of style, but the treacle of illuminated imagery when divorced from sentiment bristle shows a swagger that prioritizes rather than amalgamates all love. I love being brash and brazen and honest because when she finally ditches the grandstand of delayed frenemies fandoms of other tinsel decorations without any substance beyond meretricious thrill. You want a roller coaster on some days, but most often you want the nutcracker to elope to secret hiding places. Swim with adventure not just in love, not just in affection with the starlight now matter how luminous, sixpence all the richer is no centuries any poorer and we could be that gilded couple of star and screen and if we ever have to scream, let our screams unite us in passion, rather than a milquetoast deference to pedestaled beauty. but of course the end times don’t laugh at your crumpled wizened relapse. Not out of convenience wed by a discriminating genetic harvest moon but a deeper engagement that flatters when stylish and bristles when romantic but never defiled, never riled of specious pretense. Promise me that you will always remember me in my flaws and my faults, in my scause factory destructions and the penults of PEN-ULTIMATE wisdom that comes before the grace of God in the annihilation of passion for eroded omission. If your goal is to be remembered, check that out…but the most admirable goal is as the propinquities of souls dusted in the wind returning to a spring equinox of passion and if you find in yourselves reservations do not depart from sacred land, and never jilt me because of a boisterous and menacing friend. You are everything to me right now, and I Hope this persists despite the vicissitudes of star-favored afflictions mixed with utter benediction without the pontification of stilted Benedictines  or rather the hyped ludic effrontery of termagants being made of younger and younger women. Leave it at this ,32 leaves the royal secret in royal hands and the Knights Templar and us we altogether hold hands, if only a prelude for a masquerade ball. But the stilted embarrassment of crestfallen time, let that be relegated and emphatically lets embrace what is like to not ever need a real white horse to get back into your favor, because we never go out of style we can brandish the best elements and reject the sentiments of the too newfangled and the too stodgy. We in our crenellated pleonasm can eager ride the lightning to another tomorrow and another yesterday and if even not that, we virtually make an indelible impression of embroidered love not too distant in ivory towers and not to vulgary( catering to popular sentiments) to become a trash glam movement. We soar, others deplore but let their purblind doubts render them blind to our burgeoning love.

Forget the brisk trees dangled in the wind on winding paths through haunted forest or remember them because of ghoulish fortress but with our apotropaic lamp we can avert most evil and call the rest fun and gains and shun but fames never profaned, never inalterable a destiny to magical to be some whimpered catcall. Or we could linger beneath lambent street lights disguised as though wilted garb, attrition of circumstance waiting patiently for the matinee and the vintner to escort us beyond the garb of pretense in a city so abundant with it that it deserves castigation. But I digress, a beachside cliff overlooking tepid waters tumultuous in their power but august in their noises, the cadence of love will sing a half-moon bay on full-moon nights and we will frisk each other like grasping at straws of permanent tracks trammeled of the elite and a sidetracked basque bet. Trim those antlers and instead grow metaphorical wings, to us we all sing but few can match your elegance and everyone would be crazy not to see your ennobled age and together thrilling songs to emulate thriller in sales we will collaboratively sing.
Haughty sneers from lifeless lycanthropy straggling furtively along the pastiched sidewalks of grime, livid because they can’t share the lingering limelight, with as many guarded perks of privacy clambering like a hive of snarky sharks. Lets ditch the big town dreams in terms of posh and stature if only for a caressed moment beneath the unadulterated stars and if you find spars **** to the extent they are amiable than I say guess what my name is Lars! Or wait a second, paused in the big city spotlight our stenciled hearts will guide whatever progeny is yours or mine or ours together we will sing the most comforting lullaby, and caves no longer must we abide. Yearn and earn every inch, as I gripe with my delicate saddened pinch but I think the innuendo speaks . Ripen with our trips to Napa, long afternoon sunsets swim in our hearts as we taste the vanguard’s toast on elegant wine.I console with entreaty to disavow the omen of that San Franciscan church October 2008, the doom implied by Einstein, the raillery of a world grinding down the endless decadence of a railed future inalterable in destiny or partialy amenable to widespread coquetry.

Forget those rumbles in your past that made you feel partial to insecurity and learning the ropes you transcended all and live in all eternity. Thimble and brook, tolerant of all those tokes I took your rebellious side flattens the yeast of Exodus raspy in its begrudged clapping. But the Pharaoh of the modern world sheltered me under his prickly thorns, shielded me from the sickly things that life adorns. We have the numbers on our side, the weight of destiny on our shoulders, dedicate yourself to yourself and I will preen the most vibrant wisdom and love will leap like Apollo across all borders not for camel-****** hoarders. We are culminated destiny in the wings of the best daydream
Life, Love and No Mathematics to God and Gain
Joseph Dazzio Jun 2015
Comfort and joy I have pursued
To secure my life until my death.
Simple and humble joys I chase, issued
To me through labor, hell, and dragon's breath.

This cup of joy that all men seek,
It's contents: love, companionship, and cash
Has proven elusive and when in hand to drink
Is dashed and spilled among the ash

Created on the trek to find
This cup, the cup which is the author
Of every tragedy combined.

The cup is sought and to obtain
The goal, one must crawl through
Hell, stagger half-way the earth in strain
With broken legs and heart construed.

Impossible tasks are made
Our missions on the path to shade.
We preform miracles and set our bones
After the battle against the world.

Crouching in the brush filled with pain.
We see across the field, the cup's estate.
A-lush with greatness and delight;
"After pain and death, my struggle ends tonight."

O! Alas, my humble protagonist,
For through the field and past the guards
You will reach the cup. When you but kissed
The rim, it's contents, the Bards

Of life, are seen and evermore desired,
Your life is to conclude it's pain in a moment's passing
When, the Hand of Fate dashed the Cup from your grip
And spilled the contents among your life's work and pain.
All gone down the drain.

Then the Hand of Fate will throw you
Across the land, back to where you
Began. Your trek of life
Reset. Now suicide seems better than more strife.

And yet, out of the depths you rise, and after yet more tries,
Undergo greater pain, the cup is reached again.
And dashed. While the tragedy doubles in size
And back you are sent to the pit of pain.

And after ruin, you make inquiry.
"What caused my failure to arise
And Fate, my joy to compromise?
For I slew every obstacle that came to me."

For our lonely character shall find
The root of his ruin. The seed of rue
Was planted by none but him and grew,
Unbenounced and out of sight of any kind.

And when the seedling arose as bud,
Our mighty hero tripped with a thud.
"For the most minute of things caused
Your ruin," the lone Muse sings.

The place of your rest,
Where you sat at church,
The brightness of the Moon
Or where a hat and cloak rest.

These are reasons for a good family's ruin.
So avoidable and small,
Yet they cause the mighty to fall
And despair and pain to live in.

And so we sit and kick ourselves
For the mistakes we made that caused our death
When our energy and hope were squeezed drier than sand
And cup was dashed from our calloused hand.

The weeping lover, in arms his love.
The pitiful prisoner, cursing above.
The torn brother, his own flesh dead.
Are all results of the cup dashed
After their very souls bled.

Truly, "All the earth is but a stage
And its people actors!" 'Tis good sense.
The stars are weeping in the sky,
Our vast, eternal audience.
Musings over the tragedy of "Spanish Maine" by PC Wren.
Written on 6-17-15
Bouazizi’s heavy eyelids parted as the Muezzin recited the final call for the first Adhan of the day.

“As-salatu Khayrun Minan-nawm”
Prayer is better than sleep

Rising from the torment of another restless night, Bouazizi wiped the sleep from his droopy eyes as his feet touched the cold stone floor.

Throughout the frigid night, the devilish jinn did their work, eagerly jabbing away at Bouazizi with pointed sticks, tormenting his troubled conscience with the worry of his nagging indebtedness. All night the face of the man Bouazizi owed money to haunted him. Bouazizi could see the man’s greasy lips and brown teeth jawing away, inches from his face. He imagined chubby caffeine stained fingers reaching toward him to grab some dinars from Bouazizi’s money box.

Bouazizi turned all night like he was sleeping on a board of spikes. His prayers for a restful night again went unanswered. The pall of a blue fatigue would shadow Bouazizi for most of the day.

Bouazizi’s weariness was compounded by a gnawing hunger. By force of habit, he grudgingly opened the food cupboard with the foreknowledge that it was almost bare. Bouazizi’s premonition proved correct as he surveyed a meager handful of chickpeas, some eggs and a few sparse loaves. It was just enough to feed his dependant family; younger brothers and sisters, cousins and a terminally disabled uncle. That left nothing for Bouazizi but a quick jab to his empty gut. He would start this day without breakfast.

Bouazizi made a living as a street vendor. He hustles to survive. Bouazizi’s father died in a construction accident in Libya when he was three. Since the age of 10, Bouazizi had pushed a cart through the streets of Sidi Bouzid; selling fruit at the public market just a few blocks from the home that he has lived in for almost his entire life.

At 27 years of age, Bouazizi has wrestled the beast of deprivation since his birth. To date, he has bravely fought it to a standstill; but day after day the multi-headed hydra of life has snapped at him. He has squarely met the eyes of the beast with fortitude and resolve; but the sharp fangs of a hardscrabble life has sunken deep into Bouazizi’s spleen. The unjust rules of society are powerful claws that slash away at his flesh, bleeding him dry: while the spiked tendrils of poverty wrap Bouazizi’s neck, seeking to strangle him.

Bouazizi is a workingman hero; a skilled warrior in the fight for daily bread. He is accustomed to living a life of scarcity. His daily deliverance is the grace of another day of labor and the blessed wages of subsistence.

Though Allah has blessed this man with fortitude the acuteness of terminal want and the constant struggle to survive has its limits for any man; even for strong champions like Bouazizi.

This morning as Bouazizi washed he peered into a mirror, closely examining new wrinkles on his stubble strewn face. He fingered his deep black curls dashed with growing streaks of gray. He studied them through the gaze of heavy bloodshot eyes. He looked upward as if to implore Allah to salve the bruises of daily life.

Bouazizi braced himself with the splash of a cold water slap to his face. He wiped his cheeks clean with the tail of his shirt. He dipped his toothbrush into a box of baking powder and scoured an aching back molar in need of a root canal. Bouazizi should see a dentist but it is a luxury he cannot afford so he packed an aspirin on top of the infected tooth. The dissolving aspirin invaded his mouth coating his tongue with a bitter effervescence.

Bouazizi liked the taste and was grateful for the expectation of a dulled pain. He smiled into the mirror to check his chipped front tooth while pinching a cigarette **** from an ashtray. The roach had one hit left in it. He lit it with a long hard drag that consumed a good part of the filter. Bouazizi’s first smoke of the day was more filter then tobacco but it shocked his lungs into the coughing flow of another day.

Bouazizi put on his jacket, slipped into his knockoff NB sneakers and reached for a green apple on a nearby table. He took a big bite and began to chew away the pain of his toothache.

Bouazizi stepped into the street to catch the sun rising over the rooftops. He believed that seeing the sunrise was a good omen that augured well for that day’s business. A sunbeam braking over a far distant wall bathed Bouazizi in a golden light and illumined the alley where he parked his cart holding his remaining stock of week old apples. He lifted the handles and backed his cart out into the street being extra mindful of the cracks in the cobblestone road. Bouazizi sprained his ankle a week ago and it was still tender. Bouazizi had to be careful not to aggravate it with a careless step. Having successfully navigated his cart into the road, Bouazizi made a skillful U Turn and headed up the street limping toward the market.

A winter chill gripped Bouazizi prompting him to zip his jacket up to his neck. The zipper pinched his Adam’s Apple and a few droplets of blood stained his green corduroy jacket. Though it was cold, Bouazizi sensed that spring would arrive early this year triggering a replay of a recurring daydream. Bouazizi imagined himself behind the wheel of a new van on his way to the market. Fresh air and sunshine pouring through the open windows with the cargo space overflowing with fresh vegetables and fruits.

It was a lifelong ambition of Bouazizi to own a van. He dreamed of buying a six cylinder Dodge Caravan. It would be painted red and he would call it The Red Flame. The Red Flame would be fast and powerful and sport chrome spinners. The Red Flame would be filled with music from a Blaupunkt sound system with kick *** speakers. Power windows, air conditioning, leather seats, a moonroof and plenty of space in the back for his produce would complete Bouazizi’s ride.

The Red Flame would be the vehicle Bouazizi required to expand his business beyond the market square. Bouazizi would sell his produce out of the back of the van, moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. No longer would he have to wait for customers to come to his stand in the market. Bouazizi would go to his customers. Bouazizi and the Red Flame would be known in all the neighborhoods throughout the district. Bouazizi shook his head and smiled thinking about all the girls who would like to take rides in the Red Flame. Bouazizi and his Red Flame would be a sight to be noticed and a force to be reckoned with.

“EEEEEYOWWW” a Mercedes horn angrily honked; jarring Bouazizi from the reverie of his daydream. A guy whipping around the corner like a silver streak stuck his head out the window blasting with music yelling, “Hey Mnayek, watch where you push that *******.”

The music faded as the Mercedes roared away. “Barra nikk okhtek” Bouazizi yelled, raising his ******* in the direction of the vanished car. “The big guys in the fancy cars think the road belongs to them”, Bouazizi mumbled to himself.

The insult ****** Bouazizi off, but he was accustomed to them and as he limped along pushing his cart he distracted himself with the amusement of the ascending sun chasing the fleeting shadows of the night, sending them scurrying down narrow alleyways.

Bouazizi imaged himself a character from his favorite movie. He was a giant Transformer, chasing the black shadows of evil away from the city into the desert. After battling evil and conquering the bad guys, he would transform himself back into the regular Bouazizi; selling his produce to the people as he patrolled the highways of Tunisia in the Red Flame, the music blasting out the windows, the chrome spinners flashing in the sunlight. Bouazizi would remain vigilant, always ready to transform the Red Flame to fight the evil doers.

The bumps and potholes in the road jostled Bouazizi’s load of apples. A few fell out of the wooden baskets and were rolling around in the open spaces of the cart. Bouazizi didn’t want to risk bruising them. Damaged merchandise can’t be sold so he was careful to secure his goods and arrange his cart to appeal to women customers. He made sure to display his prized electronic scale in the corner of the cart for all to see.

Bouazizi had a reputation as a fair and generous dealer who always gave good value to his customers. Bouazizi was also known for his kindness. He would give apples to hungry children and families who could not pay. Bouazizi knew the pain of hunger and it brought him great satisfaction to be able to alleviate it in others.

As a man who valued fairness, Bouazizi was particularly proud of his electronic scale. Bouazizi was certain the new measuring device assured all customers that Bouazizi sold just and correct portions. The electronic scale was Bouazizi’s shining lamp. He trusted it. He hung it from the corner post of his cart like it was the beacon of a lighthouse guiding shoppers through the treachery of an unscrupulous market. It would attract all customers who valued fairness to the safe harbor of Bouazizi’s cart.

The electronic scale is Bouazizi’s assurance to his customers that the weights and measures of electronic calculation layed beyond any cloud of doubt. It is a fair, impartial and objective arbiter for any dispute.

Bouazizi believed that the fairness of his scale would distinguish his stand from other produce vendors. Though its purchase put Bouazizi into deep debt, the scale was a source of pride for Bouazizi who believed that it would help his profits to increase and help him to achieve his goal of buying the Red Flame.

As Bouazizi pushed his cart toward the market, he mulled his plan over in his mind for the millionth time. He wasn't great in math but he was able to calculate his financial situation with a degree of precision. His estimations triggered worries that his growing debt to money lenders may be difficult to payoff.

Indebtedness pressed down on Bouazizi’s chest like a mounting pile of stones. It was the source of an ever present fear coercing Bouazizi to live in a constant state of anxiety. His business needed to grow for Bouazizi to get a measure of relief and ultimately prosper from all his hard work. Bouazizi was driven by urgency.

The morning roil of the street was coming alive. Bouazizi quickened his step to secure a good location for his cart at the market. Car horns, the spewing diesel from clunking trucks, the flatulent roar of accelerating buses mixed with the laughs and shrieks of children heading to school composed the rising crescendo of the city square.

As he pushed through the market, Bouazizi inhaled the aromatic eddies of roasting coffee floating on the air. It was a pleasantry Bouazizi looked forward to each morning. The delicious wafts of coffee mingling with the crisp aroma of baking bread instigated a growl from Bouazizi’s empty stomach. He needed to get something to eat. After he got money from his first sale he would by a coffee and some fried dough.

Activity in the market was vigorous, punctuated by the usual arguments of petty territorial disputes between vendors. The disagreements were always amicably resolved, burned away in rising billows of roasting meats and vegetables, the exchange of cigarettes and the plumes of tobacco smoke rising as emanations of peace.

Bouazizi skillfully maneuvered his cart through the market commotion. He slid into his usual space between Aaban and Aameen. His good friend Aaban sold candles, incense, oils and sometimes his wife would make cakes to sell. Aameen was the markets most notorious jokester. He sold hardware and just about anything else he could get his hands on.

Aaban was already burning a few sticks of jasmine incense. It helped to attract customers. The aroma defined the immediate space with the pleasant bouquet of a spring garden. Bouazizi liked the smell and appreciated the increased traffic it brought to his apple cart.

“Hey Basboosa#, do you have any cigarettes?“, Aameen asked as he pulled out a lighter. Bouazizi shook the tip of a Kent from an almost empty pack. Aameen grabbed the cigarette with his lips.

“That's three cartons of Kents you owe me, you cheap *******.” Bouazizi answered half jokingly. Aameen mumbled a laugh through a grin tightly gripping the **** as he exhaled smoke from his nose like a fire breathing dragon. Bouazizi also took out a cigarette for himself.

“Aameem, give me a light”, Bouazizi asked.

Aameen tossed him the lighter.

“Keep it Basboosa. I got others.” Aameen smiled as he showed off a newly opened box of disposable lighters to sell on his stand.

“Made in China, Basboosa. They make everything cheap and colorful. I can make some money with these.”

Bouazizi lit his next to last cigarette. He inhaled deeply. The smoke chased away the cool air in Bouazizi’s lungs with a shot of a hot nicotine rush.

“Merci Aameen” Bouazizi answered. He put the lighter into the almost empty cigarette pack and put it into his hip pocket. The lighter would protect his last cigarette from being crushed.

The laughter and shouts of the bazaar, the harangue of radio voices shouting anxious verses of Imam’s exhorting the masses to submit and the piecing ramble of nondescript AM music flinging piercing unintelligible static surrounded Bouazizi and his cart as he waited for his first customers of the day.

Bouazizi sensed a nervous commotion rise along the line of vendors. A crowd of tourists and locals milling about parted as if to avoid a slithering asp making its way through their midst. The hoots of vendors and the cackle of the crowd made its way to Bouazizi’s knowing ear. He knew what was coming. It was nothing more then another shakedown by city officials acting as bagmen for petty municipal bureaucrats. They claim to be checking vendor licences but they’re just making the rounds collecting protection money from the vendors. Pocketing bribes and payoffs is the municipal authorities idea of good government. They are skilled at using the power of their office to extort tribute from the working poor.

Bouazizi made the mistake of making eye contact with Madame Hamdi. As the municipal authority in charge of vendors and taxis Madame Hamdi held sway over the lives of the street vendors. She relished the power she had over the men who make a meager living selling goods in the square; and this morning she was moving through the market like a bloodhound hot on the trail of an escaped convict. Two burly henchmen lead the way before her. Bouazizi knew Madame Hamdi’s hounds were coming for him.

Bouazizi knew he was ******. Having just made a payment to his money lender, Bouazizi had no extra dinars to grease the palm of Madame Hamdi. He grabbed the handle bars of his cart to make an escape; but Madame Hamdi cut him off and got right into into Bouazizi’s face.

“Ah little Basboosa where are you going? she asked with the tone of playful contempt.

“I suppose you still have no license to sell, ah Basboosa?” Madame Hamdi questioned with the air of a soulless inquisitor.

“You know Madame Hamdi, cart vendors do not need a license.” Bouazizi feebly protested, not daring to look into her eyes.

“Basboosa, you know we can overlook your violations with a small fine for your laxity” a dismissive Madame Hamdi offered.

Bouazizi’s sense of guilt would not permit him to lift his eyes. His head remained bowed. Bouazizi stood convicted of being one of the impoverished.

“I have no spare dinars to offer Madame Hamdi, My pockets are empty, full of holes. My money falls into everyone’s palm but my own. I’m sorry Madame Hamdi. I’ll take my cart home”. He lifted the handlebars in an attempt to escape. One of Madame Hamdi’s henchmen stepped in front of his cart while the other pushed Bouazizi away from it.

“Either you pay me a vendor tax for a license or I will confiscate your goods Basboosa”, Madame Hamdi warned as she lifted Bouazizi’s scale off its hook.

“This will be the first to go”, she said grinning as she examined the scale. “We’ll just keep this.”
Like a mother lion protecting a defenseless cub from the snapping jaws of a pack of ravenous hyenas, Bouazizi lunged to retrieve his prized scale from the clutches of Madame Hamdi. Reaching for it, he touched the scale with his fingertips just as Madame Hamdi delivered a vicious slap to Bouazizi’s cheek. It halted him like a thunderbolt from Zeus.

A henchman overturned Bouazizi’s cart, scatter
Three years ago today Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire igniting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011.
It is full summer now, the heart of June;
Not yet the sunburnt reapers are astir
Upon the upland meadow where too soon
Rich autumn time, the season’s usurer,
Will lend his hoarded gold to all the trees,
And see his treasure scattered by the wild and spendthrift breeze.

Too soon indeed! yet here the daffodil,
That love-child of the Spring, has lingered on
To vex the rose with jealousy, and still
The harebell spreads her azure pavilion,
And like a strayed and wandering reveller
Abandoned of its brothers, whom long since June’s messenger

The missel-thrush has frighted from the glade,
One pale narcissus loiters fearfully
Close to a shadowy nook, where half afraid
Of their own loveliness some violets lie
That will not look the gold sun in the face
For fear of too much splendour,—ah! methinks it is a place

Which should be trodden by Persephone
When wearied of the flowerless fields of Dis!
Or danced on by the lads of Arcady!
The hidden secret of eternal bliss
Known to the Grecian here a man might find,
Ah! you and I may find it now if Love and Sleep be kind.

There are the flowers which mourning Herakles
Strewed on the tomb of Hylas, columbine,
Its white doves all a-flutter where the breeze
Kissed them too harshly, the small celandine,
That yellow-kirtled chorister of eve,
And lilac lady’s-smock,—but let them bloom alone, and leave

Yon spired hollyhock red-crocketed
To sway its silent chimes, else must the bee,
Its little bellringer, go seek instead
Some other pleasaunce; the anemone
That weeps at daybreak, like a silly girl
Before her love, and hardly lets the butterflies unfurl

Their painted wings beside it,—bid it pine
In pale virginity; the winter snow
Will suit it better than those lips of thine
Whose fires would but scorch it, rather go
And pluck that amorous flower which blooms alone,
Fed by the pander wind with dust of kisses not its own.

The trumpet-mouths of red convolvulus
So dear to maidens, creamy meadow-sweet
Whiter than Juno’s throat and odorous
As all Arabia, hyacinths the feet
Of Huntress Dian would be loth to mar
For any dappled fawn,—pluck these, and those fond flowers which
are

Fairer than what Queen Venus trod upon
Beneath the pines of Ida, eucharis,
That morning star which does not dread the sun,
And budding marjoram which but to kiss
Would sweeten Cytheraea’s lips and make
Adonis jealous,—these for thy head,—and for thy girdle take

Yon curving spray of purple clematis
Whose gorgeous dye outflames the Tyrian King,
And foxgloves with their nodding chalices,
But that one narciss which the startled Spring
Let from her kirtle fall when first she heard
In her own woods the wild tempestuous song of summer’s bird,

Ah! leave it for a subtle memory
Of those sweet tremulous days of rain and sun,
When April laughed between her tears to see
The early primrose with shy footsteps run
From the gnarled oak-tree roots till all the wold,
Spite of its brown and trampled leaves, grew bright with shimmering
gold.

Nay, pluck it too, it is not half so sweet
As thou thyself, my soul’s idolatry!
And when thou art a-wearied at thy feet
Shall oxlips weave their brightest tapestry,
For thee the woodbine shall forget its pride
And veil its tangled whorls, and thou shalt walk on daisies pied.

And I will cut a reed by yonder spring
And make the wood-gods jealous, and old Pan
Wonder what young intruder dares to sing
In these still haunts, where never foot of man
Should tread at evening, lest he chance to spy
The marble limbs of Artemis and all her company.

And I will tell thee why the jacinth wears
Such dread embroidery of dolorous moan,
And why the hapless nightingale forbears
To sing her song at noon, but weeps alone
When the fleet swallow sleeps, and rich men feast,
And why the laurel trembles when she sees the lightening east.

And I will sing how sad Proserpina
Unto a grave and gloomy Lord was wed,
And lure the silver-breasted Helena
Back from the lotus meadows of the dead,
So shalt thou see that awful loveliness
For which two mighty Hosts met fearfully in war’s abyss!

And then I’ll pipe to thee that Grecian tale
How Cynthia loves the lad Endymion,
And hidden in a grey and misty veil
Hies to the cliffs of Latmos once the Sun
Leaps from his ocean bed in fruitless chase
Of those pale flying feet which fade away in his embrace.

And if my flute can breathe sweet melody,
We may behold Her face who long ago
Dwelt among men by the AEgean sea,
And whose sad house with pillaged portico
And friezeless wall and columns toppled down
Looms o’er the ruins of that fair and violet cinctured town.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry still awhile,
They are not dead, thine ancient votaries;
Some few there are to whom thy radiant smile
Is better than a thousand victories,
Though all the nobly slain of Waterloo
Rise up in wrath against them! tarry still, there are a few

Who for thy sake would give their manlihood
And consecrate their being; I at least
Have done so, made thy lips my daily food,
And in thy temples found a goodlier feast
Than this starved age can give me, spite of all
Its new-found creeds so sceptical and so dogmatical.

Here not Cephissos, not Ilissos flows,
The woods of white Colonos are not here,
On our bleak hills the olive never blows,
No simple priest conducts his lowing steer
Up the steep marble way, nor through the town
Do laughing maidens bear to thee the crocus-flowered gown.

Yet tarry! for the boy who loved thee best,
Whose very name should be a memory
To make thee linger, sleeps in silent rest
Beneath the Roman walls, and melody
Still mourns her sweetest lyre; none can play
The lute of Adonais:  with his lips Song passed away.

Nay, when Keats died the Muses still had left
One silver voice to sing his threnody,
But ah! too soon of it we were bereft
When on that riven night and stormy sea
Panthea claimed her singer as her own,
And slew the mouth that praised her; since which time we walk
alone,

Save for that fiery heart, that morning star
Of re-arisen England, whose clear eye
Saw from our tottering throne and waste of war
The grand Greek limbs of young Democracy
Rise mightily like Hesperus and bring
The great Republic! him at least thy love hath taught to sing,

And he hath been with thee at Thessaly,
And seen white Atalanta fleet of foot
In passionless and fierce virginity
Hunting the tusked boar, his honied lute
Hath pierced the cavern of the hollow hill,
And Venus laughs to know one knee will bow before her still.

And he hath kissed the lips of Proserpine,
And sung the Galilaean’s requiem,
That wounded forehead dashed with blood and wine
He hath discrowned, the Ancient Gods in him
Have found their last, most ardent worshipper,
And the new Sign grows grey and dim before its conqueror.

Spirit of Beauty! tarry with us still,
It is not quenched the torch of poesy,
The star that shook above the Eastern hill
Holds unassailed its argent armoury
From all the gathering gloom and fretful fight—
O tarry with us still! for through the long and common night,

Morris, our sweet and simple Chaucer’s child,
Dear heritor of Spenser’s tuneful reed,
With soft and sylvan pipe has oft beguiled
The weary soul of man in troublous need,
And from the far and flowerless fields of ice
Has brought fair flowers to make an earthly paradise.

We know them all, Gudrun the strong men’s bride,
Aslaug and Olafson we know them all,
How giant Grettir fought and Sigurd died,
And what enchantment held the king in thrall
When lonely Brynhild wrestled with the powers
That war against all passion, ah! how oft through summer hours,

Long listless summer hours when the noon
Being enamoured of a damask rose
Forgets to journey westward, till the moon
The pale usurper of its tribute grows
From a thin sickle to a silver shield
And chides its loitering car—how oft, in some cool grassy field

Far from the cricket-ground and noisy eight,
At Bagley, where the rustling bluebells come
Almost before the blackbird finds a mate
And overstay the swallow, and the hum
Of many murmuring bees flits through the leaves,
Have I lain poring on the dreamy tales his fancy weaves,

And through their unreal woes and mimic pain
Wept for myself, and so was purified,
And in their simple mirth grew glad again;
For as I sailed upon that pictured tide
The strength and splendour of the storm was mine
Without the storm’s red ruin, for the singer is divine;

The little laugh of water falling down
Is not so musical, the clammy gold
Close hoarded in the tiny waxen town
Has less of sweetness in it, and the old
Half-withered reeds that waved in Arcady
Touched by his lips break forth again to fresher harmony.

Spirit of Beauty, tarry yet awhile!
Although the cheating merchants of the mart
With iron roads profane our lovely isle,
And break on whirling wheels the limbs of Art,
Ay! though the crowded factories beget
The blindworm Ignorance that slays the soul, O tarry yet!

For One at least there is,—He bears his name
From Dante and the seraph Gabriel,—
Whose double laurels burn with deathless flame
To light thine altar; He too loves thee well,
Who saw old Merlin lured in Vivien’s snare,
And the white feet of angels coming down the golden stair,

Loves thee so well, that all the World for him
A gorgeous-coloured vestiture must wear,
And Sorrow take a purple diadem,
Or else be no more Sorrow, and Despair
Gild its own thorns, and Pain, like Adon, be
Even in anguish beautiful;—such is the empery

Which Painters hold, and such the heritage
This gentle solemn Spirit doth possess,
Being a better mirror of his age
In all his pity, love, and weariness,
Than those who can but copy common things,
And leave the Soul unpainted with its mighty questionings.

But they are few, and all romance has flown,
And men can prophesy about the sun,
And lecture on his arrows—how, alone,
Through a waste void the soulless atoms run,
How from each tree its weeping nymph has fled,
And that no more ’mid English reeds a Naiad shows her head.

Methinks these new Actaeons boast too soon
That they have spied on beauty; what if we
Have analysed the rainbow, robbed the moon
Of her most ancient, chastest mystery,
Shall I, the last Endymion, lose all hope
Because rude eyes peer at my mistress through a telescope!

What profit if this scientific age
Burst through our gates with all its retinue
Of modern miracles!  Can it assuage
One lover’s breaking heart? what can it do
To make one life more beautiful, one day
More godlike in its period? but now the Age of Clay

Returns in horrid cycle, and the earth
Hath borne again a noisy progeny
Of ignorant Titans, whose ungodly birth
Hurls them against the august hierarchy
Which sat upon Olympus; to the Dust
They have appealed, and to that barren arbiter they must

Repair for judgment; let them, if they can,
From Natural Warfare and insensate Chance,
Create the new Ideal rule for man!
Methinks that was not my inheritance;
For I was nurtured otherwise, my soul
Passes from higher heights of life to a more supreme goal.

Lo! while we spake the earth did turn away
Her visage from the God, and Hecate’s boat
Rose silver-laden, till the jealous day
Blew all its torches out:  I did not note
The waning hours, to young Endymions
Time’s palsied fingers count in vain his rosary of suns!

Mark how the yellow iris wearily
Leans back its throat, as though it would be kissed
By its false chamberer, the dragon-fly,
Who, like a blue vein on a girl’s white wrist,
Sleeps on that snowy primrose of the night,
Which ‘gins to flush with crimson shame, and die beneath the light.

Come let us go, against the pallid shield
Of the wan sky the almond blossoms gleam,
The corncrake nested in the unmown field
Answers its mate, across the misty stream
On fitful wing the startled curlews fly,
And in his sedgy bed the lark, for joy that Day is nigh,

Scatters the pearled dew from off the grass,
In tremulous ecstasy to greet the sun,
Who soon in gilded panoply will pass
Forth from yon orange-curtained pavilion
Hung in the burning east:  see, the red rim
O’ertops the expectant hills! it is the God! for love of him

Already the shrill lark is out of sight,
Flooding with waves of song this silent dell,—
Ah! there is something more in that bird’s flight
Than could be tested in a crucible!—
But the air freshens, let us go, why soon
The woodmen will be here; how we have lived this night of June!
Crestfallen Jul 2013
Do you remember back in grade eight how we sat next to one another in algebra class?
You'd pester me for answers on everything and I'd help you.
You were always my partner even if we tended to clash.
But once the bell rang you dashed out of my view.

We only existed in the time span of over an hour.
I never told you how it felt to listen to music with you while we graphed slopes
Our classmates complained and still we played it louder.
I never would've imagined that the whole time you had hopes
That we could be together someday , somehow.

Maybe that's why I started to love math so much.
Robert G Page Dec 2011
by
rgpage

in times long past young lovers dashed
to reach their secret space.
to kiss and ***** and plan and hope
their future's goals are placed.

never mind their path be lined
with unknown strife and pain.
their love is strong they'll carry on
with carefree youthful gain.

they don't see their life to be
past cupid's hot embrace.
as hot breath blends with kiss' deep
young lovers start their chase.

young love is hot and secrets not
shall block their youthful nest.
when young men dare and young girls share
young lovers start their quest.

its saturday night, dad's packard's right
with half a tank of gas.
with comb to hair in the bathroom mirror
he's thinking 'bout his lass.

its only been a week gone past
his greatest dream came true.
he staked his claim, with hopes on high
and pinned his Peggy Sue.

they talked of passages young men take
to cross that great divide.
to walk the way of their father's
and yes to take a bride.

in the grown up world so long past school
the grown ups just don't see.
teen love is true and made to last
the way it was meant to be.

he got on base with his varsity pin,
the base is numbered two.
this place before he'd never been
he hardly knew what to do.

his body went through changes great
his thoughts a swirling brook.
he cupped his prize with shaky hand
when before he could only look.

tonight's the night he's waited for
yes perhaps go all the way.
to walk with those who've beat love's quest
to become a man this day.

the time is ripe as is the night
it's planned in every way.
she won't resist his manly charms
WHAT MONTHLY FRIEND?
how long does she plan to stay?

and what's her visit to do with us
away from the lights of the city?
who is this friend to ruin this night?
his plans be dashed more the pity.
Cné Aug 2017
Casting spells in a song of lust
with such beauty undenied.
He's chased her half a lifetime
and have lost but all his pride.

Sailing all the oceans blue
He's left his ship dashed on the rocks.
Begging for that enchanted kiss
from his mermaid as she mocks.

Her voice to call within a gale
scent heady upon the waves.
Nets shredded trying to capture her
yet every night he craves.

To nary catch a fleeting glimpse
of her golden hair or tail.
He's chased her 'cross the storming seas
as winds and rain did wail.

Forever calling out her name
He's come to rest in every port.
On moonlit nights he hears her song
attempts to see her, she does thwart.

The scent of salt does show his years
but still he sails to her song.
Forever on the shifting waves
is where his heart belongs.
Kate Eddy Jun 2019
The blaze took the house with great speed,
Those inside at once had fleed,
But all was not as it appeared,
For when at last the smoke had cleared,
Among the husk of the home
The children discovered they were alone.

They dashed about at a frantic pace,
Looking around for the smallest trace,
Fearing the worst was yet to pass,
One last glance the children cast,
It was then they noticed her cloth of blue,
And the fate of their mother they finally knew.

Running to where their mother laid,
They knew a farewell they'd have to bade,
Knowing that they couldn't stay
For their only relative live far away,
When their mother was put to rest at last
Julie knew she had to push them past.

Leaving the ashes of their past behind,
Hoping a new home they would find,
Julie did for her sisters all she could,
Knowing that reliving the past would do no good.
And so at last Julie and sisters journey began
To reach their home was the only plan.

When the sky turned black as night,
Julie knew something was not quite right,
Stopping their ride Julie and Linda can tell
That something must not be going well,
As they returned they were alarmed to see
Their sister Clotild drowning in the sea.

Julie at once knew what to do,
Into the water at once she flew,
Clotild's head went slowly down below,
The fate of her sister Linda afraid to know,
But when Julie came to the surface at last
Seeing Clotild, Linda knew the danger had passed.

"Clotild, what were you thinking?" they wished to know,
Clotild answered simply saying she was hot and wished to go,
To cool her feet with the fresh feel of the sea
At the time not seeing where the fault could be,
Please don't do that again, they'd scold,
For had they not known, a different story would of been told.

Racing to where the smoke had led,
Each took in the scene with dread,
As flames spread across the little town
Chaos had evidently ensued all around,
Julie looked about the destroyed land,
Knowing what it was like to see the damage firsthand.

What Julie saw then made her blood go cold,
For upon a burning threshold
A girl lay unconscious in need of aid,
Julie knew if she stayed
Or if she delayed-
A heavy price the girl would of paid.

Julie ran as fast as she ever had before,
Diving last minute towards the floor,
Dragging the girl safely away,
The girl opened her eyes as if to say,
She felt she was going to be okay,
Julie couldn't imagine how she'd come to be alone,
Thankfully, evidence of life had clearly shown.

Many had seen what had transpired,
The courage of Julie they had all admired,
But when asked why she put herself in harm's way,
She said, I couldn't very well let her stay,
Julie then took her to where Linda and Clotild stood
Knowing that she'd done all that she could.

It was clear that the girl had no home,
As tattered clothes had clearly shown,
Julie realized that there was one thing she could do,
Knowing that the girl's options were few,
She decided to offer her a chance to restart,
For with them she'd always be a part.

Frightened she was when she finally awoke,
Noticing in gentle tones the sisters spoke,
What happened? They wished to know,
Tears at once began to flow,
They listened to the tale she wished to be told,
As the story of Chloe began to unfold.

I'm an only child, I only had my mom and dad,
In fact they were the only family that I had,
I had to do homeschooling for we were too poor,
Yet, even with that I'd been happy as none before,
Then today fire took my home and the next I'd known
I was fighting for life on my own.

Julie didn't know what to say,
Yet she noticed even now Chloe seemed to be okay,
As if she'd accepted what had passed,
Hoping her parents would feel peace at last,
Linda and Clotild felt like they could relate,
It seemed as if tragedy was the common trait.

As they continued on their way,
Julie and her sister's story they relay,
Finishing with when they had met,
There was something Chloe couldn't forget,
She looked at Julie asking,"Why help me?"
For the reasoning she did not see.

Julie looked at her kindly and without hesitation said,
If I didn't move I knew you'd be dead,
I knew I couldn't leave you there to die
Hopeless though it seemed at the time I had to try,
I took a emergency class a few weeks ago you see,
And the first thing I was taught was never to flee.

The spell of silence was suddenly shattered,
When Julie noticed a girl pale and battered,
Who suddenly collapsed in a heap
As if she'd fallen fast asleep,
Julie went at once to her side,
Sweat thick on her brow she spied.

They knew something had to be done,
Already the setting of the sun had begun,
Julie drove as fast as she could,
And into view a little town stood,
Spotting a doctor's office the girls go,
Hoping the illness the doctor will know.

Slowly the girl began to groan,
Opening her eyes confusion shown,
Seeing her awake Chloe asked her name,
Instead of an answer a blank look came,
The doctor took the girl into another room
Returning a few moments later with a look of gloom.

"Please, she said gesturing to some seats,
With a critical look she asked,"How'd you meet?"
We were driving along when we saw her in the road,
The girls said as their concern clearly showed,
The girl sat in quiet destress as the doctor stressed
This poor child's memory is quite a mess.

"What could you possibly mean?" Julie asked at last,
The doctor answered as a pitiful glance she cast,
She doesn't know who she is or where she's from,
Linda asked," Then for her.....what is to come?"
She will have to go into foster care I'm afraid,
Yet as she said that the girl had swayed.  

Julie was at her side rather quickly,
As the girl appeared even more sickly,
Against Julie the girl then went,
As if to show her energy was clearly spent,
Julie and Linda laid her in a bed,
Knowing she heard all that was said.

The next day when the first ray of sun appeared,
The girl's condition seemed to have cleared,
She said to the doctor as if to get her to see,
I think those girls are my only family,
Julie heard what she said wondering where this would lead
For it appeared as if she planted a seed.

The doctor went to the girls asking if this was true,
"Yes, was the answer that Julie threw,
As the doctor could not prove them wrong,
The girl was allowed to come along,
Leaving the little town behind,
All appeared to have recent events on mind.

Finally Julie asked the girl as she wished to understand,
What was it that made it so she lied to change the plan,
The girl said at last, I felt a bit safer with you,
And I'm not saying that the doctor wouldn't know what to do,
But you helped me , even though you didn't know me at all,
I didn't want to be alone, she said appearing small .

They looked at the girl in a kind way,
At first not knowing what to say,
Finally, Linda asked if she remembered her name,
The girl responded with much disdain,
I'm afraid no name comes to mind,
And I want to leave my past behind.

It's time I start again she proclaimed,
As things can never be the same,
I think we should start with who I am,
So you can call me and all can understand,
How do you like Lucy as a name?
I think that will do nicely as it is simple and plain.

And Lucy was what the girl was to be known,
As if to show how she felt, relief was what had shown,
Lucy then listened to their adventure,
Ending with when they'd met her,
Lucy looked at Julie in a new light,
Saying, "now I know my decision was right."

When the day had come to an end ,
A night under the stars the girls did spend,
Do you ever think about that day ? Asked Clotild
Her voice was sadness filled,
Julie and Linda glanced at her and with pity said,
Clotild we've got to move ahead.

Clotild said nothing and proceeded to bed,
As if to shut out her sister's presence instead,
The next day away from her sisters Clotild did stay,
And not one word did she say,
They came at last to a city to see,
And angry mob corner a girl while she looked back defiantly.

The girls went at once to the scene,
So the situation they could glean,
Linda asked what they were doing,
The mob answered saying, a thief is who we're pursuing,
Linda got in front of the girl asking, "what has she stolen?"
A shop owner pointed saying, it's in the bag she's pullin.

Linda took the bag and looked inside,
In which many foods did reside,
The group glanced at the girl asking the cost,
Paying for the items they had lost,
As the mob slowly trickled away –
the girls asked why she didn't pay .

The girl hung her head Shamed,
you can't blame me she claimed,
at first they had not caught on,
it was then that a girl came along ,
she doesn't have any Home,
she's with me and we're on our own.

My name is Nancy and this is Carol she said,
saying this as if on thin Ice they did tread,
Julie stepped forward and said then,
We won't hurt you, we are friends,
Linda went to them with the bag
knowing that it was all they had.

Once the bag was in their possession,
Nancy said as her weariness began to lessen,
"Thank you for all that you did,"
and with that the farewell they bid
later that night where the girls stayed,
an unexpected visit Nancy and Carol paid.

Hey , Chloe said is everything okay?
Carol answered saying we decided not to stay,
the girls looked at each other asking where they go,
as all of them now wish to know ,
Nancy looked at the girls with hopeful pleasure,
Hoping to find a life that was better.

We were wondering if we could join you guys
and find out where our future lies,
Come and join us, Lucy said to them,
for now they only saw friends,
it was then their story they began to tell,
and at once silence fell.

We are sisters you see,
For so long we'd no where to be,
Believe it or not we had a home,
Better than any have ever known,
For a minute not a word was said,
Carol continued with a look of dread.

"We were well off because of our parents occupations,
The girls listened with much anticipation,
My mom was a doctor and dad was a lawyer you see,
That's why we were such a wealthy family,
One day, said Nancy picking up the story, that changed
Dad came and with mom words were exchanged.

Apparently, dad was being sued,
For as far as his client viewed,
Dad hadn't done all that he could,
Therefore to his client he was no good,
I don't know how much they took,
But the nerves of our parents it clearly shook.

Soon word spread throughout our town,
And eventually people stopped coming to him all around,
Soon mom had to pay for all of bills on her own,
And the stress of it had clearly shown,
One day our parents argued whether or not to send us away,
Carol and I didn't bother to stay.

The girls looked at them with dismay,
Wishing there was something they could say,
Nancy continued saying, the next day we packed our bags,
As she said this  her shoulders sagged,
We knew then that we'd never see our home again,
I thought Carol and I eventually mend.

We ran away from every place we were sent,
Even though no unkindness any family meant,
Since that time we've been alone with nowhere to go,
Sighing, Nancy said, now our story you know,
Julie put her hand reassuringly on Nancy's shoulder,
Thanks for letting us know, she had told her.

What about you? The two sisters wish to be told ,
So to the sisters the story did unfold,
Nancy and Carol stared at Julie with the look of awe,
As if realizing only now who it was that they saw,
Is this really true? They asked as if yet to believe,
It's true, they said as if to show they didn't deceive.

"We've heard of you! Carol said suddenly,
As if the memories of those events surfaced finally,
You were on the news a few days ago,
She looked at Nancy as if she'd know,
Yes, Nancy slowly said as if the story began to return,
Julie was surprised at what the news people had learned.

I just helped those who I thought I could,
Just like I think anyone should,
Carol and Nancy smiled at Julie as if happy to know,
To a new home with Julie they would go,
Several weeks had passed since their journey began,
And out of Europe they were as they planned.

Six days later in New York they came,
And though tired they were happy to be on land all the same,
Through the vast city the girls drove,
Right down New York's main roads,
Throughout the day many had noticed the girls go,
As recognition slowly began to grow.

Comments circled about them regularly,
"Can't we be left alone!", Clotild said sullenly,
Linda and Julie glanced at Clotild momentarily,
She was worse then they thought, they noticed worryingly,
They went to a park and set up camp for the night,
Somewhere that was out of sight.

The glow of the moon lit up their camp in soft light,
Julie and Linda had a feeling that Clotild wasn't alright,
She hardly paid them any heed,
And when they approached she'd recede,
They wished they could make her feel better,
But she was just too bitter.

The next day the girls went through  to Nebraska's state,
Clotild what's wrong? Chloe asked seeing a look of hate,
"I'm fine!" Clotild said violently,
The girls stared at her silently,
It was then that Linda and Chloe swapped,
As the others continued to look at Clotild shocked.

A village came out of the blue,
Those in the village had looked at them as if the girls they knew,
As they set up camp villagers watched in awe
Not believing who it was that they saw,
A girl said, " mommy it's the girl from tv,
The mother glanced in their direction saying-it is indeed.

Looking in their direction Julie sees,
Sheltered in the shade of the shops a girl looked on miserably,
Julie went at once to her to see what was wrong,
All at once had withdrawn,
As the girl noticed and began to retreat, Julie shouted wait!
Catching up Julie noticed that she was pale and under weight.

Are you okay? Lucy asked then,
As a cut Julie did tend,
Linda went and got her food and drink,
And looking at the girl Julie began to think,
Looking at the girl seeing the bleeding,
Julie asked her what was wrong and she said," I was fleeing."

Julie glanced at the others with concern,
Trouble at once they began to discern,
Julie took the girl into her tent,
The other girls to guard the tent they went,
An hour later Julie came out at last,
How bad is it? They asked noticing the look she cast.

Her name is Rose and she's frightened and has good reason,
Julie said this her voice began to lessen,
Last night her parents were robbed and killed,
She witnessed it Julie said her voice with concern filled,
After a minute she continued, apparently the robber knew,
She ran because she didn't know what to do.

She's still in shock unfortunately,
Since no one's caught him he's still at large you see,
She no longer has a home,
She's afraid and she's on her own,
We can't leave her alone with that man on the run,
Okay we'll leave tomorrow at the rising of the sun.

The next day at first light the girls left the village behind,
Each one with the thought of home on their mind,
The sky was crystal clear the air crisp and sweet,
For a minute a pair of eyes Julie did meet,
It was a figure of a boy her age she saw then,
She did not see him again.

For the rest of the day Julie's attention seemed to stray,
To that boy that didn't stay,
Who was it who she had seen?
Was it an illusion or a dream?
As she watched the smoke from their fire burn into the night,
Something went across Julie's sight in flight.

Julie got up and said,"whose out there?"
As this reaction seemed quite fair,
It was then a boy had appeared as a silhouette in the night,
Julie went up to him before he went out of sight,
Why are you following us? she asked her voice tight,
Looking at him Julie can tell something's not right.

Hello Julie, I've come to warn you,
So when the time comes you'll know what to do,
There is one among you you call your friend,
That person you'll lose in the end,
Julie glaring said, " What do you mean then?"
The boy said," the one you call a friend will betray you in the end

Beware he said on and on,
Then as suddenly as he appeared he was gone,
Julie looked at the place where the girls laid,
Suddenly feeling very afraid,
She didn't know why for she thought it couldn't be true,
So to bed she went and thoughts of that night flew.

The next day into Colorado they appeared,
For all the girls weariness at last had cleared,
As each knew their journey was about to end,
And soon all of them would have a home again,
Keeping that in mind, the girls look until a clearing they find
Where a cabin lay with trees behind.

The group went to work setting up camp,
As the air turned cool and damp,
The girls sat to eat dinner at 6:00 that night,
Finishing they feel tired and Julie knows something isn't right,
Because try as they did to stay awake,
Julie knew a drug was placed in something they ate or drank.

As Julie was the last to go down,
The closing of a door was her last sound,
When she woke at last around a room a glance was thrown,
As this room she had not known,
Wondering where you are? Asked Clotild in a mocking tone,
Julie looked at her as confusion shown.

Clotild what.....Julie stopped as understanding grew,
Julie felt as if she'd been hit in the face as she said,"It's you!"
"Why? Julie asked, what have any of us done to deserve this?"
Looking at the others who she originally missed,
Clotild glared as she said, " you don't care or know
To hear Julie this and Julie that wherever you go.

Yet even with that- before any of this began,
Instead of taking command,
You left mom in that fire to die,
And you didn't even bother to try!
So yes Julie, it was me
Because I had every right to be.

"Clotild, how could I have known this would of occurred?"
Yet even as she said this, she knew she wasn't heard,
Goodbye Julie, said Clotild as she stood,
"Clotild, Julie said realizing it'd do no good,
Julie tried to stand only to find her hands and feet tied,
Clotild ran out the door as the binds she tried.

When Julie freed herself to the door she went,
Without luck opening the door her energy she spent,
The others finally woke with a groan,
All went to Julie as she sat alone,
Linda came to her asking, Where are we?
And where is Clotild? For it was her they didn't see.

As they looked at Julie they knew something was wrong,
For she had an expression that didn't belong,
Julie told what happened and the girls began to dispute,
"It's true, said Julie at last , an answer they couldn't refute,
"What are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?
The answer of which nobody knew.

The door was locked from the outside,
And yet no matter how hard they tried,
The door had stayed in it's place,
It seemed like too much for the girls to face,
When all seemed lost and hopeless then,
The door opened revealing only a friend.

The boy Julie had met came at once to her side,
As a look of depression on her face he spied,
"Who are you? asked Rose suspicion clear in her voice,
I'm a friend and I'm here to help, he said by choice,
"How did you find us?" asked Julie her annoyance plain,
"I followed your sister as she took you away", he claimed.

We might as well leave as there is no reason to stay,
"Be wary, your sister intends to make you pay,
What on earth could you mean? asked Linda upset,
Wondering how much worse things could possibly get,
But again as suddenly as he had come to their aid,
He vanished as if to show they were too much delayed.

Their journey home they still went,
To each other their strength they lent,
Not one word had anyone said,
For due to recent events their hearts were filled with lead,
Finally a town came into sight,
As they came they noticed a girl in flight.

From trouble the girl ran,
Behind her as she went she scanned,
Glancing to where her eyes lead,
The group at once to guard the girl they sped,
For a few thieves at once took chase,
Stop! Julie said intent on putting them in their place.

They stopped asking, And why would we listen to you?
At once a fist Julie threw and away they flew,
At last the girl the group had found,
Julie went to her saying, "they're gone, no one's around."
The girl glanced shyly about,
Sure it was now safe she then came out.

"Why bother to help me when you didn't know me at all?"
With them after me, I don't see why on you responsibility'd fall,
They had no right to take from you,
And I knew there was something I could do,
The girl said, I don't even have a home,
I was going to try and  find a life of my own.

Would you like to come with us? asked Rose,
Really...yes please the girl said as the door on her past closed,
What is your name? asked Rose facing their new friend,
Sky, said the girl as a note of confidence she did send,
Where you heading? asked Sky as they left the town behind
Linda said, we're hoping our dad we'll find.

Sky asked confused, what could you mean?
So the girls explained how their journey came into being,
Sky was so amazed that for a minute she could only say,
Julie there's no way
They looked at her and Lucy said, it's true,
And her admiration of Julie quickly grew.

Sky then said, I am sorry that your sister lost her way,
For the wound was still fresh and twas a heavy price to pay,
Thank you, Julie said to break the ice,
For silence had latched on as a vice,
At long last to their father's house they came,
Realizing to each girl life wouldn't be the same.

Knocking on the door as anticipation did build,
Throughout Julie's being fear had filled,
For Clotild's eyes Julie had met,
A look Clotild sent as if to say Julie's actions she'd regret,
At once Clotild took flight-
Quickly vanishing from Julie's sight.

"We need to get inside now, Julie said urgently,
The girls glanced at Julie not seeing what the trouble could be,
Julie? Asked Linda with growing concern,
Seeing what she could learn,
She's here, was all Julie had said,
The girls heard and looked around with dread.

The door opened to show a man with a serious look,
Asking angrily," where is the money that you took?
Your money was stolen? Was it by a girl with blond hair?
The man looked annoyed saying yes as if he'd despaired,
We'll get it back, Julie said taking off with speed,
To the place where Clotild had fleed.

Clotild was hiding in a group of trees in view of all,
"Clotild, Julie's voice did call,
Don't make this harder than it needs to be,
Julie ran into the area as the threat she didn't see,
Running at Julie blind with rage a knife she drew,
Yet as the knife was ****** in Julie it didn't go to.

For right as it came it was Rose who took the blow,
And slowly to the ground she did go,
Dropping the knife Clotild ran,
As she noticed the failure of her plan,
"Rose, Julie said as she sank into her arms weakly,
Her breath came rather futility.

Rose weakly noticed all the girls had gathered around,
They watched shocked and no one made a sound,
Julie asked her voice sad "Why did you jump in front of me?"
Rose smiling said, Julie you taught us all what we should be,
Wincing she said, I didn't want my friend to die,
So futile though it appeared at the time, I knew I had to try.

Rose had tears in her eyes,You gave more than I ever dream of,
Julie cried as Rose went to be with the ones she loved,
After everything Rose had been through,
Julie felt peace for she knew
At last her wish came true,
At once Clotild Julie went to pursue.  

But Julie didn't have to go long,
Seeing Clotild's hands tied Julie's eyes were drawn,
For next her a boy stood tall,
Seeing Julie a serious look did fall,
The money taken to their dad they returned,
Julie then to her dad she turned.

Do I know you? Her dad asked looking at her hard,
Suddenly appearing on guard,
"Dad, It's me Julie, she said as her voice cracked,
"Julie, is it really you? Her dad said as to react,
Why are you here? And why are these girls with you?
So introducing the girls, Julie explained what they'd been through.

For a while, Joe hung his head in shame,
Your mother's dead? As if he was to blame,
"It's not your fault!"Julie said with conviction,
"Yes it is, he said looking stricken,
I was a cop and I promised our plan wouldn't change,
For a time it worked until...as he said this he aged.

What? Julie said wanting to understand,
Joe didn't meet her eyes, my job kinda took command,
I missed our anniversary and your birthday,
After a time your mother said she couldn't stay,
That was the last I'd heard from her unfortunately,
For years you girls were all I wanted to see.

"Dad,  we can be a family again,
Linda said jumping in hoping strength she'd lend,
Joe looked up with a sad look in his eyes,
But why would Clotild blame us for your mother's demise?
Julie said, She's broken and just looking for someone to blame,
I'm sad to say, she is not at all happy we came.

Joe looked at his girls and said, you truly wish to live with me?
Wondering where the reasoning could be,
Yes, said Julie I promised these girls a chance to restart,
I told them with us they'd always be a part,
Then yes, you can come and live with me here,
Hearing the girls did cheer.

Turning to the boy Julie smiled back,
You like me, she said as if it were fact,
What makes you think that? the boy asked in a mocking tone,
Looking up Julie noticed a smile had shown,
So why then did you come to our aid?
Because to the those girls survival a huge part you played.

So who are you? Julie asked then,
A tone of curiosity she did send,
My name is john if you really wish to know,
And as of now I don't intend to ever go,
Leading John into her home
A happy ending the girls at last had known.

Until we meet again  -
I have 2 words and they're The End
This is the first epic poem I've ever written. It's based on a story I wrote as a kid.
Cindra Carr Dec 2010
Last night I dreamed again.
I tripped the soul right out of me.
Danced dashed against the moon.
I dove through the night.
Skinned through it to get to you.
Slipped flitted out of my body.
Just slunk over to you.
I screamed my rage at you!
Tore out my heart for you.
If sleep is the little death,
Then I'll see you again tonight.

cc1210
Margaret Feb 2013
My ****** betrays me
It yearns to be touched, kissed, caressed
Drawn to the point of ecstasy
But perhaps lingering at the edge
To relish the pleasure for a moment
A moment
Longer

My ****** betrays me
Always wanting more
More
More
Never consolidating with the others parts
The brain
The heart
And we are not speaking in terms of anatomical correctness
No, but in terms of
Emotions
I said it

My ****** betrays me
My heart yearns
They argue
The heart wants intimacy, human touch, connection
The feeling of looking into the eyes of another and knowing
In that instant
That second
That moment
Everything is okay
And even if it isn’t
It doesn’t matter
Nothing will matter
Except
This
Moment

My ****** betrays me
My heart yearns
And they argue
But my brain
My logic
The voices within
They speak up, naturally of course
Please the ****** for the night
Intimacy
Ha
Intimacy
Have you looked inside
For your insides are as hideous as the out
Do not believe otherwise

My ****** betrays me
My heart yearns
They argue
But my brain
My brain does the most damage
It controls them all
The betrayal, the yearning
My brain betrays me
My brain wants what it cannot ever have
My brain desires things so far from its reach
My brain imagines the impossible
Love

My ****** betrays me
My heart yearns
They argue
Then my brain
My brain goes off
Thoughts passing by at the speed of light
Each one, so very important
My brain is in charge.
It supplies the salty wetness that falls from my eyes
The emptiness I feel within

My ****** betrays me
My heart yearns
They argue
But my brain
My brain destroys all
My brain burns the cities down
The dreams
Dashed against the rocks
My desires
Meaninglessly quenched
My emptiness
Forever there

My brain betrays me
My brain yearns
And within, is an argument
Within
Within is the problem
No one will ever know, So fear not
Let the brain betray
Let it yearn
For the mouth
Perhaps, that is who really is in charge
The mouth shall not betray
The eyes may
The eyes do
But who catches them long enough to see inside?
No one has, No one will

My brain betrays me
My brain yearns
An argument, within
But my mouth
Shall
Never
Betray
Me
It shall remain closed
Sealed tight
Strongest of clay bricks
Guarding my secrets
Guarding what lies within
The confines of my soul
Emotions

Emotions betray me
Emotions yearn
Emotions cause me to argue within
But my mouth
My
Mouth
Shall
Remain
Loyal
1.

From our
safe windows,
we crane our necks,
rubbernecking
past the slow
motion wreckage
unfolding in Homs.

We remain
perfectly
perched
to marvel at
the elegant arc of
a mortar shell
framing tomorrows
deep horizon,
whistling through
the twilight to
find its fruitful
mark.

In the now
we keep
complicit time,
to the arrest
of beating hearts,
snapping fingers
to the pop
of rifle cracks,
swooning to
the delicious
intoxication of
curling smoke
lofting ever
upward;
yet
thankfully
remain
distant
enough to
recuse any
possibility
of an
intimate
nexus
with the
besieged.

2.

From our
safe windows,
we behold the
urgent arrivals of
The Friends of Syria
demanding
clean sheets
and 4 Star
room service at a
Tunisian Palace
recently cleaned
and under new
management
promising a
much needed
refurbishment.

The gathered,
a clique of
this epochs
movers and shakers,
a veritable
rouges gallery of
ambassadorial
prelates, Emirs and
state department
bureaucrats
summoned
with portfolio
from the
darkest corners
of the globe.

They are
eager to
sanctify
the misery
of Homs,
deflect and
lay blame
with realpolitik
rationalizations,
commencing
official commissions
of inquiry,
deliberating
grave considerations,
issuing indictments
of formal charges for
Crimes Against
Humanity
while
remaining
urgently
engrossed
in the fascination
of interviewing
potential
process servers
to deliver the bad news
to Bashar al-Assad
and his soulless
Baathist
confederates,
if papers
are to be
served.

Yes, the diplomats
are busy meeting
in closed rooms.

In hushed circles
they whisper
into aroused ears,
railing against
Russia’s
gun running
intransigence
and China’s
geopolitical
chess moves.

Statesmen
boast of the
intrepid justice
of tipping points
and the moving poetry
of self serving tales,
weighing the impact
of stern sanctions
amidst the historical
confusion of the
asymmetrical
symmetries
of civil war.

Caravans
of Arab League
envoys roll up
in silver Bentleys,
crossing deserts
of contradictory
obfuscations,
navigating the
endless dunes
with hand held
sextants of
hidden agendas.

The heroic
Bedouins are
eager to offload
their baggage
and share
on the ground
intelligence from
their recent soirées
across Syria.

They beg
a quick fix,
the triage of a
critical catharsis
to bleed their
brains dry
of heinous
recollections,
pleading
release from a
troubled conscience
victimized by
the unnerving paradox
of reconciling
discoveries of
perverse voyeurism
with the sanctioned
explanations
of their respective
ruling elites.

The bellies
of these
scopophiliacs
are distended;
grown queasy
from a steady diet
of malfeasance
an ulcerated
world parades
in continuous loop;
spewing the raw feeds
of real time misery;
forcibly fed
the grim
visions of
frantic
fathers
rushing
the mangled
carcases
of mortally
wounded
children
to crumpled
piles of smashed
concrete that were
once hospitals.

We despondently
ask how
much longer
must we
look into
the eyes
of starving
children
emaciated from
the wanton
indifference
of the world?


3.

From our
safe windows
we wonder
how much
longer can
the urgent
burning
ambivalence
continue
before it
consumes
our common
humanity in
a final
conflagration?

My hair already
singed by the
endless firestorms
sweeping the prairies
of the world.

How can we survive
the trampling hoards,
the marauding
plagues of acrimony
fed by a voracious
blood lust aspiring to
victimize the people
of Homs and a
thousand cities
like it?


4.

From my safe
window I stand in witness
to the state execution of
refugees fleeing the
living nightmare
of Baba Amr.

The ****** of innocents,
today's newly minted martyrs,
women and children
cornered, trapped
on treacherous roads,
mercilessly
slaughtered and
defiled in death
to mark the lesson
of a ruthless master
enthralled with the
power of his
sadistic fascist
lordship.

I cannot avert my eyes
marking sights
of pleading women
begging for the
lives of their children
in exchange for
the gratification
of a sadists
lust.

My heart
is impaled
on the sharp
spear of
outrage
beholding
careening
children mowed
down with the
serrated blades
protruding
from marauding
jeeps of laughing
soldiers.

I drop
to my knees
in lakes of
tears
reflecting
a grotesque
horror stricken
image of myself.

My eyes have
murdered my soul.

The ghastly images
of Homs have chased
away my Holy Ghost
to the safety of a child's
sandbox hidden away
in a long forgotten
revered memory.


5.

From my safe window
I seethe with anger
demanding vengeance,
debating how to rise
to meet the obscenity of
the Butcher of Damascus.

The sword of Damocles
dangles so tantalizingly close
to this tyrants throat.  

The covered women
of Homs scream prayers
“may Allah bring Bashar to ruin”

Dare I pray
that Allah trip the
horsehair trigger
that holds the
sword at bay?

Do I pick up
the sword
a wield it
as an
avenging
angel?

Am I the
John Brown
of our time?

Do I organize
a Lincoln Brigade
and join the growing
leagues of jihadists
amassing at the
Gates of Damascus?

Will my righteous
indignation fit well
in a confederacy
with Hamas and
al-Qaeda as my
comrades in arms?

Do I succumb to
the passion of hate
and become just
another murderous
partisan, or do I
commend the power
of love and marshal
truth to speak with
the force of
satyagraha?

I lift a fervent prayer
to claim the justice
of Allah’s ear,
“may the knowing one
lift the veil of foolishness
that covers my heart in
cloaks of resent, cure
my blindness that ignores
my raging disease of
plausible deniability
ravaging the body politic
of humanity.”

6.

Indeed,
physician heal thyself.

I run to embrace my
illness.

I pine to understand it.

I undertake the
difficult regimen
of a cure to eradicate
the terrible affliction.

This
pernicious
plague,
subverting
the notion
of a shared
humanness
is a cunning
sedition that
undermines
the unity of
the holy spirit.  

The bell from
the toppled steeples
still tolls, echoing
across the space of
continents and eons
of temporal time.

The faithful chimes
gently chides us
to remove the wedge
of perception that
separates, divides
and undermines.

Time has come
to liberally
apply the balm
that salves the
open wounds
so common to
our common
human condition.

The power of prayer
is the joining of hands
with others racked
with the common
affliction of humanness.

Allah,  
My eyes are wide open,
my sacred heart revealed,
my sleeves are rolled up,
my memory is stocked,
my soul filled with resolve,
my hand is lifted
extended to all
brothers and sisters.
Lift us,
gather us
into one
loving embrace.

Selah


7.

From the safe
windows of
our palaces
we live within
earshot of
the trilling
zaghroutas
of exasperation
flowing from
the besieged
city smouldering
under Bashar’s
symphony of terror.

Our nostrils
fill with the
acrid plumes
of unrequited
lamentations
lifting from the
the burning
destruction
of shelled
buildings.

Our eyes spark
from the night
tracers
of sleeking
snipers
flitting along
the city’s
rooftops.

The deadly jinn
indiscriminately
inject the
paralysis of
random fear
into the veins
of the city
with each
skillful
head shot.

These
ghoulish
assassins
lavish in their
macabre work;
like vultures
they eagerly
feast on the
corpses of their ****,
the stench of bloated
bodies drying in the
sun is the perfume
that fills their nostrils.


8.

From our
safe window
we discern the
silhouettes of militants
still boldly standing
amidst the
mounting rubble of an
unbowed Homs
shouting;

Allah Akbar!!!
Allah Akbar!!!
Allah Akbar!!!

raising pumped fists,
singing songs
of resistance,
dancing to
the revelation of
freedom,
refusing to
be coward by
the slashing
whips of a
butchers
terrible
sword.


9.

From my
safe window
my tongue laps
the pap
of infants
suckling from
the depleted
teats of mothers
who cannot cry
for their dying
children;
tears fail
to well from
the exhaustion
of dehydrated
pools.

10.

From my
safe window
my heart stirs
to the muezzin
calling the
desperate faithful
from the toppled
rubble of dashed
minarets.

We can
no longer
shut our ears
to the adhan
of screams
the silent
voices that echo
the blatant injustice
of a people under siege.


11.

From my
safe window,
I pay
Homage to Homs
and call brothers
and sisters to rise
with vigilant
insistence
that hostilities
cease and
humanity be
upheld,
respected and
protected.


12.

From my safe
window
I perceive
the zagroutas
of sorrow
manifest as a
whiling hum,
a sweeping
blue mist,
levitating
the coffins
from the rubble
of ravaged streets.

The swirling
chorus of
mourning
joins my
desperate
prayers;
rising in
concert
with the
black billows
of smoke
dancing
away
from the
flaming
embers
of scorched
neighborhoods.


13.

From my
safe window
I heed
the fluttering
wings
of avenging
angels
furiously
batting
as they
climb
the black
plumes,
lifting from
the scattered bricks
of the desecrated
city.

It is the
Jacob’s
Ladder
for our
time;
marking
a new
consecrated
place
where
a New Adam
is destined
to be formed
from the
pulverized
stones of
desolation.

14.

From our
safe windows
we peer into
resplendent
mirrors
beholding
the perfect image of
ourselves
eying
falling tears
dripping blood,
coloring death
onto the
blanched sheets
of disheveled beds.


15.

From our
safe windows
our voices are silenced,
our words mock urgency
our thoughts betray comprehension
our senses fail to illicit empathy
our action is the only worthy prayer


16.

From my
safe window
I hear the
mortar shells
walking toward
my little palace,
the crack
of a ******
shot
precedes
the wiz of a
passing bullet
whispering
its presence
into my
waxen
ear.


17.

From my
safe window,
my palms scoop
the rich soil
of the flower boxes
perched on my sill.
I anoint the tender
green shoots of  the
Arab Spring
with an incessant flow
of bittersweet tears.

Music selection:
John Coltrane
A Love Supreme
Acknowledgment

Oakland
2/28/12
jbm
Ken Dec 2016
The laughter of leaves
whisper testament
over cool caverns,
ancient moss
the absurdity of clocks
dashed upon rocks
while they dance,
backlit with sunglow,
at the true speed
of life
daring us to defy
the timeless tapestry
in which all are woven
Do stones large and small
not rustle
like leaves
in the eye of the mountain?
and is the leaf not as solid
as stone, to the aphid?
And what lives between
two lover-friends?
It is no brief candle
measured with ticks
on numbered dials
It moves not with the flash
of a single spark
Nor with the slow glow
of dawn
In gentle illumination
it is a soft gentle kiss
drifting on mist,
and it moves
at the speed of love,
with the rhythm of life

Copyright © 2016 K. Rush
Ivan Brooks Sr Jan 2018
Before all of this, even after all of this, I will forever be a patriot.
Before the poet in me matured and I started talking like a parrot,
The dogs of war barked and I climbed exile's fence on my own
And there I have dwelled, with nothing tangible to bring me down.

I have been on this fence so long and I will remain there forever!
Especially since the premature child is still in the incubator.
From this vantage point, I have learned never to trust any politician
I've always looked at them with mistrust, disdain, and suspicion,

Before all of this  and before I ran and climbed the exile fence,
I was once mercilessly flogged, dragged and made to dance
By drugged up and coerced child soldiers with a rubber cable
They tied and spread me like a dog on the market table
I watched as innocent people were killed with a rusty knife
There, I vowed to become a fence dweller for the rest of my life!

I've been a patriot all my life but I have done it from here..safer.
From here I have seen blood spilled, hearts broken, hopes dashed,
progresses stalled, mullions embezzled, promises broken, lies told
people changed, games played, party surfed, interests prioritized.
And from this vantage point, I have learned never ever to trust any politician
I have always been right...though I have looked on with disdain, suspicion,
and operated with caution but through it all, I have remained a true patriot and a fence dweller.

.✍️©️✍️IvanBrooksPoetry.✍️©️✍️
''Fence dweller'' was a phrase I coined in justification of my neutrality and abstinence from politics in my homeland, Liberia.This piece encapsulates a fringe of the story of the ****** civil war, carnage and horrible things that we saw and had to endure as a people and nation.
The screaming
children of Gaza
torment the sleep
of a troubled world,
and remain a real-time
unending nightmare;
anointing The Levant’s
fevered brow
with a diadem of
incessant grief.

Gaza is a burning
ankh that sears the
madness of sorrow
upon Egypt’s skull.

Gaza,
an unblinking
third eye
of shame,
peers into
Lower Egypt’s
closed window
ever reproaching
it’s turbulent
conscience;
chiding fellow
Muslims with
the ugly memory
of abject affliction,
the endless images
of a living Guernica
suspended in the hell
of indefinite imprisonment
all Palestinians are forced
to suffer.

As Zionists ***** the
steep walls of Apartheid to
extend its occupation
of Palestine, it
condemns the youth
of Gaza to a life of
incarceration with no
possibility of parole;
hardening the hearts
and steeling the resolve
of a new generation of
militants to demolish the
walls and the wardens
that imprison them.

The Zionist jailers
bestow upon
Ishmael’s Children
phylacteries of shame,
wearing the rolled
prayers of wailing pain
scribed with bits of
dust from the
the broken walls of
demolished buildings
and desolate homes
beyond habitation,
now housing grief
of trampled souls,
forcing recitations
of deliverance
to Allah while
davening an
incessant drone
of anguish at
the Wailing Wall
of Resentment;
decrying the
blood lust of
undying acrimony,
victimization and
the slaughter of
innocents, carried on
with the imperial license
of state sanctioned impunity.


Father Ibrahim's
feuding children may
share a sacred paternity
but remain the
divided brothers
of different mothers;
stoking a sibling rivalry
more bitter then
Cain and Abel.

Our anguish
never dissipates,
the gnawing
impulse of empathy
to assist the distressed
of Gaza is dashed
by omnipotent
powers recusing
the ability to act.

Sympathy is
embargoed
in the black
obfuscation
of religious
partisanship
while timely
assistance
to aid the
distressed
lie netted in
blockades of
realpolitik
affinities.

Gaza, where
Hashim is granted
his eternal rest,
restlessly inhabits
his unknown grave
from the destitution of
his profaned homeland.

Ghazzat,  “the stronghold”
countlessly conquered,
falling to Roman Emperors,
Lionhearted Crusaders
Ottoman Caliphates,
and British Mandates;
slipping from Egypt’s
geopolitical grasp as
as a casualty of
The Six Day War.

Gaza is now a stronghold of
resent and desperation for a
desperate conquered people.

Ghazzat, the prized city of
the western Mediterranean,
a four star Phoenician port of
caravansaries now unable
to trade with any partners
due to ungodly blockades.

Gaza, has grown wholly
dependent on the largess
of UN aid and meager
subsistence portions
doled out by well
meaning NGO’s.

Gaza, the foot stool of
the Levant and surely
the pathway Father
Ibrahim, Jacob,
Joseph and Jeremiah
traveled to escape
Canaan's famine;
finding at the close
of their sojourn
a table set with the
plenteous bounty
the Blue Nile
unconditionally offered;
the veritable feast
of abundance,
the generous yields
of the blessed delta
that sustained the
Prophets of Judah
and a thousand
generations of the
Nile’s Children.

Gaza, the Achilles
heal of Middle East
peace, land of the
Canaanites, Philistines
and Old Testament
heroes.

Gaza, a fortress for
Philistines who
imprisoned the storied
Sampson, revered for
breaking the chains of
imprisonment and righteously
destroying a pagan temple
in a suicidal act of heroism.

Gaza, where the myths and
legends of rapacious
holy crusaders captured
the western imagination
with the chivalrous gallantry
of religious warfare and
valiant last stands of
Templar Knights employing
the tactical imperatives
of terrorism in service to their
higher God.

Gaza, an oasis
by the sea now
lies dry and brittle
as the precious Hebron
waters of Wadi Ghazza
are diverted to serve
the agriculture of
Judah; condemning
a dehydrated Gaza
panting of thirst
to an imposed drought
and a war of
self preservation
to remove
the dammed rivers
of justice controlled
by intractable powers
laying upstream beyond
Gaza’s mean borders.

The Qassams
lunched by Hamas
are desperate
expressions of
exasperated people,
eager to call
world attention
to the growing
insufferable plight
of a people living
in a perpetual
state of siege.

Its a modern day
David slinging rocks
against an armor
clad Goliath.

Each Katusha
serves as
a justification
for Zionist
intransigence
and condemns
any possibility
for peaceful
coexistence
of a Two State
Solution.

The pointless attacks
invite massive
disproportionate
retaliation and succeed
in prolonging and
increasing the
measure of Gaza’s
agony.

The mystic grace,
the divine power
of satyagraha
-a non-violent
response to the
cruel enforcement of
Apartheid- is Allah’s
way to secure the
moral high-ground
and the surest way
for Palestinians to
expose it’s unholy
adversaries innate
contempt for civil rights
and a refusal to
recognized the
shared humanity of
all of Father Ibrahim’s
wayward progeny and
recalcitrant prodigal sons.

Mubarak’s fall
has allowed the
Rafah Gate
to swing open again.

The concertina
wire that separates
Gaza and Egypt
has been removed.

The prisoners
of Gaza have
an open portal
of freedom.

It is a Day of
Jubilee, a day
of pardon for
for the inmates
of prisons built
for victims.  

It is a day of
possibility for peace.  

It is a day to declare an
Exodus from the land
of bitterness.

Humanity is
offered the hope
of escape from
the prisons of
acrimony, to
freely move across
the staid borders
of intractability
and exclusion.

The hearts and
minds of Palestinians
and Egyptians
are free to connect
and unite once again.

Liberation is
possible only
when we uphold
and honor the
affirmation
of all humanity.

Music Video:

Silk Road
We Will Not Go Down

Oakland
2/9/12
jbm
a poem from the epilogue section of Tahrir Square Voices
Lysander Gray Oct 2012
Her mouth glittered agape
With sacred promise,
Like a box of unused
Engagement invites
Christening invites
Birthday invites
Still in the wrapper
For sale at a
Lifeline.

When you’d rather live
In a car
Than the zombie stance
Of a modern house,
Clean and soulless
With a hermetically sealed lawn,
Winter pageantry draws to a close
With bogan’s shooting-
Pearly eyed paupers
With constellations in their gaze.
With eyes full of hope and stars
That burnt bright and fade for
Flickering lens light.

Their voices murmur soft
Through catacomb
And underbrush
As only the ephemeral things are whispered of –
Dreams.
The addicts of ideals
The junkies of hope
The drinkers of despair
Have tiger soft tongues.

They lap and feast gladly,
From broken vessels
Chipped with hazardous teeth
That seek to fill their
Ermine mouths with the ******
Draught
Of truth.
Stumbling through wine-hour
They swarm, with tongues ******
And all constellations burnt out.

The hyacinth rides wild
Upon her shoulder,
Writhes in the silver brunt
Of moonlight,
Writhes in the stillness of dead perfume.

Marching to the beat
Of my enemies drum,
My hands inside my pockets.

Little bluebirds spun from dream
Sit on the holy perch,
A branch in all innocent minds.

The redeemed and patient
Make a subtle art from
Long distance perversions.

Similarly as we chase ghosts over Daffodils.

Fields of winter
under lunar glow
sway without us.

Long distance love
lingers with loose lust
along Regret street.

I hung it next to the memory
Of childhood cooking and Indian summers
Without further thought.

It slipped into the novel that took the form
Of an old coat, slipping into the lined pocket
It sank with a sigh.
Satisfied with itself.

Bombarded by the pounding
Dead eyed stare of ***** goddesses,
Broken by the undisputed angelic
And unglued ones,
All moon faced
All hopelessly optimistic
All lawfully rebellious
With green serenity
We pasted our dreams
On a wall so real it shone gossamer.
He counted the imperfections in the glass
With mind hesitation
As the whole world went black,
In a sea of much deserved discontent,
Wishing for the soft.

A moment of pure luck?
Jesus was an astronaut
Smoking Zen by the fire.

Suicidal angst
never had you in sonnets?
What a ******' shame.

Our life is but a song
We never hear.

I chipped away at the excesses
of my baroque person,
each strike took a
Railing
mounting
wall
decoration
desire
demand
exclamation
from the battlements.
All left now, a hill.

I paid for my banquet
with a sip of loneliness
and left behind the question
that asked all quiet poets
the meaning of love,
that asked all quiet poets
to answer with a villanelle
shouted from every
distant peak.

They sent the troopers
to greet me instead,
and my library was put in shackles,
and I kissed their ***** feet.

I answered that I carved this mountain
from the baroque bedrock
upon which they laid their city.
They smiled and asked about the aqueducts.
I wept and spoke of kitchenettes.

A meal provided
on a lead cast plate
my jailor asked about freedom
I answered with defeat.

There were two atoms
One questioned the meaning of existence
The other the existence of meaning.
             -Regardless they looked the same.

An apple on a branch,I took
The same way history takes a footnote.

The same way cashiers are all doctorates.
The same way trains find the station.
The same way you sing like a bird (and I like a cow).
The same way we never really wish to be writers.
The same way our final friend is made of pine.
The same way all streets lead to nowhere.
The same way all jobs **** society.
The same way we always lie to our children.
The same way a man loves a woman.
The opposite way we ****.
The opposite way we make love.
The way that I know a man who’s totem animal is a worker ant and he is unemployed by choice.
The same way we take old memories and turn them into fashion.
The very same way all sacred things become profane and all profanity becomes sacred in the eyes of many.

Dying relic of the Optimistic Seventies,
A new coat of paint for the old irony
     -slap dashed with obscurity.
Although I wear the costume of my enemy,
I will write the exaltation in blue smoke
As **** by an unsuspecting victim
Occurs in the dark.

The face of another love stares down at me.
I smile.
Yet I know it is not her.
I weep.
A sudden method sparks revival.

Jackie Pleasure wore a gray smile,
The anthem of a lost generation:
‘Happiness is lost in smiling.’

You are dead to me,
the boatman calls
I will not taste of your amber lips
I will not taste.

The welfare of all never hinged on darkness as we fear the fall,
A multitude of angels sang their songs
And never learnt to say goodbye
Or cast a long distance eye
Over half spent desire.

Drawn out caricatures,
Paraded intoxication
Flirt with our mistress death
And have her pick up the tab.
She pays with silent music.

The ***, we learn, is a bridge
Between all words and waltz’s,
Our Light Brigade to conquer art.

In the twilight of this, our mansioned night
Let us ring out true with indulgence,
Excess, abandon and the call of ‘yes’
Kali rang on the wire of a golden telephone.
Her name
“Kali, Kali…”
Like a quarrelsome minotaur
Flew through the waves of silk ideal
And strangled the babe
With cool breath.

There was ice (oh yes!) and fire and song.
With our candles burnt down to the ash of all streets
We walk then. We walk.
All life is but a song.

The ghosts of all forgotten stamps
Now echo on the wind of speech.
On High! Oh speak!
Of songs sung but never danced
With our broken dream.
When starlight meets the dust, and
Shadow eats the snow,
All our stories are satin sheer
And all our wants are gone.
We watch the memories march, until
They find a sliver of chrome that showed that place
Where all piano’s live and breathe.
My father in the wishing well,
My mother played trapeze.
My sister never saw the light,
My brother never born.
That was that,
Where stars meet dust
And floorboards sing off key.
Over the course of several months, I carried a small notebook in which I kept random musings and poetic snippets that came to me. This is the compilation of that.
The First Voice

HE trilled a carol fresh and free,
He laughed aloud for very glee:
There came a breeze from off the sea:

It passed athwart the glooming flat -
It fanned his forehead as he sat -
It lightly bore away his hat,

All to the feet of one who stood
Like maid enchanted in a wood,
Frowning as darkly as she could.

With huge umbrella, lank and brown,
Unerringly she pinned it down,
Right through the centre of the crown.

Then, with an aspect cold and grim,
Regardless of its battered rim,
She took it up and gave it him.

A while like one in dreams he stood,
Then faltered forth his gratitude
In words just short of being rude:

For it had lost its shape and shine,
And it had cost him four-and-nine,
And he was going out to dine.

"To dine!" she sneered in acid tone.
"To bend thy being to a bone
Clothed in a radiance not its own!"

The tear-drop trickled to his chin:
There was a meaning in her grin
That made him feel on fire within.

"Term it not 'radiance,'" said he:
"'Tis solid nutriment to me.
Dinner is Dinner: Tea is Tea."

And she "Yea so? Yet wherefore cease?
Let thy scant knowledge find increase.
Say 'Men are Men, and Geese are Geese.'"

He moaned: he knew not what to say.
The thought "That I could get away!"
Strove with the thought "But I must stay.

"To dine!" she shrieked in dragon-wrath.
"To swallow wines all foam and froth!
To simper at a table-cloth!

"Say, can thy noble spirit stoop
To join the gormandising troup
Who find a solace in the soup?

"Canst thou desire or pie or puff?
Thy well-bred manners were enough,
Without such gross material stuff."

"Yet well-bred men," he faintly said,
"Are not willing to be fed:
Nor are they well without the bread."

Her visage scorched him ere she spoke:
"There are," she said, "a kind of folk
Who have no horror of a joke.

"Such wretches live: they take their share
Of common earth and common air:
We come across them here and there:

"We grant them - there is no escape -
A sort of semi-human shape
Suggestive of the man-like Ape."

"In all such theories," said he,
"One fixed exception there must be.
That is, the Present Company."

Baffled, she gave a wolfish bark:
He, aiming blindly in the dark,
With random shaft had pierced the mark.

She felt that her defeat was plain,
Yet madly strove with might and main
To get the upper hand again.

Fixing her eyes upon the beach,
As though unconscious of his speech,
She said "Each gives to more than each."

He could not answer yea or nay:
He faltered "Gifts may pass away."
Yet knew not what he meant to say.

"If that be so," she straight replied,
"Each heart with each doth coincide.
What boots it? For the world is wide."

"The world is but a Thought," said he:
"The vast unfathomable sea
Is but a Notion - unto me."

And darkly fell her answer dread
Upon his unresisting head,
Like half a hundredweight of lead.

"The Good and Great must ever shun
That reckless and abandoned one
Who stoops to perpetrate a pun.

"The man that smokes - that reads the TIMES -
That goes to Christmas Pantomimes -
Is capable of ANY crimes!"

He felt it was his turn to speak,
And, with a shamed and crimson cheek,
Moaned "This is harder than Bezique!"

But when she asked him "Wherefore so?"
He felt his very whiskers glow,
And frankly owned "I do not know."

While, like broad waves of golden grain,
Or sunlit hues on cloistered pane,
His colour came and went again.

Pitying his obvious distress,
Yet with a tinge of bitterness,
She said "The More exceeds the Less."

"A truth of such undoubted weight,"
He urged, "and so extreme in date,
It were superfluous to state."

Roused into sudden passion, she
In tone of cold malignity:
"To others, yea: but not to thee."

But when she saw him quail and quake,
And when he urged "For pity's sake!"
Once more in gentle tones she spake.

"Thought in the mind doth still abide
That is by Intellect supplied,
And within that Idea doth hide:

"And he, that yearns the truth to know,
Still further inwardly may go,
And find Idea from Notion flow:

"And thus the chain, that sages sought,
Is to a glorious circle wrought,
For Notion hath its source in Thought."

So passed they on with even pace:
Yet gradually one might trace
A shadow growing on his face.

The Second Voice

THEY walked beside the wave-worn beach;
Her tongue was very apt to teach,
And now and then he did beseech

She would abate her dulcet tone,
Because the talk was all her own,
And he was dull as any drone.

She urged "No cheese is made of chalk":
And ceaseless flowed her dreary talk,
Tuned to the footfall of a walk.

Her voice was very full and rich,
And, when at length she asked him "Which?"
It mounted to its highest pitch.

He a bewildered answer gave,
Drowned in the sullen moaning wave,
Lost in the echoes of the cave.

He answered her he knew not what:
Like shaft from bow at random shot,
He spoke, but she regarded not.

She waited not for his reply,
But with a downward leaden eye
Went on as if he were not by

Sound argument and grave defence,
Strange questions raised on "Why?" and "Whence?"
And wildly tangled evidence.

When he, with racked and whirling brain,
Feebly implored her to explain,
She simply said it all again.

Wrenched with an agony intense,
He spake, neglecting Sound and Sense,
And careless of all consequence:

"Mind - I believe - is Essence - Ent -
Abstract - that is - an Accident -
Which we - that is to say - I meant - "

When, with quick breath and cheeks all flushed,
At length his speech was somewhat hushed,
She looked at him, and he was crushed.

It needed not her calm reply:
She fixed him with a stony eye,
And he could neither fight nor fly.

While she dissected, word by word,
His speech, half guessed at and half heard,
As might a cat a little bird.

Then, having wholly overthrown
His views, and stripped them to the bone,
Proceeded to unfold her own.

"Shall Man be Man? And shall he miss
Of other thoughts no thought but this,
Harmonious dews of sober bliss?

"What boots it? Shall his fevered eye
Through towering nothingness descry
The grisly phantom hurry by?

"And hear dumb shrieks that fill the air;
See mouths that gape, and eyes that stare
And redden in the dusky glare?

"The meadows breathing amber light,
The darkness toppling from the height,
The feathery train of granite Night?

"Shall he, grown gray among his peers,
Through the thick curtain of his tears
Catch glimpses of his earlier years,

"And hear the sounds he knew of yore,
Old shufflings on the sanded floor,
Old knuckles tapping at the door?

"Yet still before him as he flies
One pallid form shall ever rise,
And, bodying forth in glassy eyes

"The vision of a vanished good,
Low peering through the tangled wood,
Shall freeze the current of his blood."

Still from each fact, with skill uncouth
And savage rapture, like a tooth
She wrenched some slow reluctant truth.

Till, like a silent water-mill,
When summer suns have dried the rill,
She reached a full stop, and was still.

Dead calm succeeded to the fuss,
As when the loaded omnibus
Has reached the railway terminus:

When, for the tumult of the street,
Is heard the engine's stifled beat,
The velvet tread of porters' feet.

With glance that ever sought the ground,
She moved her lips without a sound,
And every now and then she frowned.

He gazed upon the sleeping sea,
And joyed in its tranquillity,
And in that silence dead, but she

To muse a little space did seem,
Then, like the echo of a dream,
Harked back upon her threadbare theme.

Still an attentive ear he lent
But could not fathom what she meant:
She was not deep, nor eloquent.

He marked the ripple on the sand:
The even swaying of her hand
Was all that he could understand.

He saw in dreams a drawing-room,
Where thirteen wretches sat in gloom,
Waiting - he thought he knew for whom:

He saw them drooping here and there,
Each feebly huddled on a chair,
In attitudes of blank despair:

Oysters were not more mute than they,
For all their brains were pumped away,
And they had nothing more to say -

Save one, who groaned "Three hours are gone!"
Who shrieked "We'll wait no longer, John!
Tell them to set the dinner on!"

The vision passed: the ghosts were fled:
He saw once more that woman dread:
He heard once more the words she said.

He left her, and he turned aside:
He sat and watched the coming tide
Across the shores so newly dried.

He wondered at the waters clear,
The breeze that whispered in his ear,
The billows heaving far and near,

And why he had so long preferred
To hang upon her every word:
"In truth," he said, "it was absurd."

The Third Voice

NOT long this transport held its place:
Within a little moment's space
Quick tears were raining down his face

His heart stood still, aghast with fear;
A wordless voice, nor far nor near,
He seemed to hear and not to hear.

"Tears kindle not the doubtful spark.
If so, why not? Of this remark
The bearings are profoundly dark."

"Her speech," he said, "hath caused this pain.
Easier I count it to explain
The jargon of the howling main,

"Or, stretched beside some babbling brook,
To con, with inexpressive look,
An unintelligible book."

Low spake the voice within his head,
In words imagined more than said,
Soundless as ghost's intended tread:

"If thou art duller than before,
Why quittedst thou the voice of lore?
Why not endure, expecting more?"

"Rather than that," he groaned aghast,
"I'd writhe in depths of cavern vast,
Some loathly vampire's rich repast."

"'Twere hard," it answered, "themes immense
To coop within the narrow fence
That rings THY scant intelligence."

"Not so," he urged, "nor once alone:
But there was something in her tone
That chilled me to the very bone.

"Her style was anything but clear,
And most unpleasantly severe;
Her epithets were very queer.

"And yet, so grand were her replies,
I could not choose but deem her wise;
I did not dare to criticise;

"Nor did I leave her, till she went
So deep in tangled argument
That all my powers of thought were spent."

A little whisper inly slid,
"Yet truth is truth: you know you did."
A little wink beneath the lid.

And, sickened with excess of dread,
Prone to the dust he bent his head,
And lay like one three-quarters dead

The whisper left him - like a breeze
Lost in the depths of leafy trees -
Left him by no means at his ease.

Once more he weltered in despair,
With hands, through denser-matted hair,
More tightly clenched than then they were.

When, bathed in Dawn of living red,
Majestic frowned the mountain head,
"Tell me my fault," was all he said.

When, at high Noon, the blazing sky
Scorched in his head each haggard eye,
Then keenest rose his weary cry.

And when at Eve the unpitying sun
Smiled grimly on the solemn fun,
"Alack," he sighed, "what HAVE I done?"

But saddest, darkest was the sight,
When the cold grasp of leaden Night
Dashed him to earth, and held him tight.

Tortured, unaided, and alone,
Thunders were silence to his groan,
Bagpipes sweet music to its tone:

"What? Ever thus, in dismal round,
Shall Pain and Mystery profound
Pursue me like a sleepless hound,

"With crimson-dashed and eager jaws,
Me, still in ignorance of the cause,
Unknowing what I broke of laws?"

The whisper to his ear did seem
Like echoed flow of silent stream,
Or shadow of forgotten dream,

The whisper trembling in the wind:
"Her fate with thine was intertwined,"
So spake it in his inner mind:

"Each orbed on each a baleful star:
Each proved the other's blight and bar:
Each unto each were best, most far:

"Yea, each to each was worse than foe:
Thou, a scared dullard, gibbering low,
AND SHE, AN AVALANCHE OF WOE!"
King Panda Oct 2015
we are monsters
from the boutique to the
embroidered throw pillows the
pen dashed around the neck
stage 5 bone cut
sawing ossification to the
hollow core

we are monsters
hooting in tunnels lined
with bats coming out to feast
creation
to scrape the streets
shimmy the walls
bust the coffin and
succckk

we are monsters
who can't enter under the
doorframe
fearful of being burned by
the sun silver stake
rat poison holy water sickle
and windmill ash

we are monsters
sewed stapled dead meat
skin hair plugs ceramic
teeth tested and tasted by
rats

we are monsters
jumping high over white
fences frenzied explosion
running through corn
angrily bled in a field shot and
hunted like embarrassing
waterfowl in the jaws of
mammalia

we are monsters
of flaming brilliance flashing
in your inbox
read us and gnaw
braised
roasted
grilled limbs
watch
as we watch you
be scared and
stab
I promise we don't die.
Upon the mighty raging sea, whirlpools of fiery sparks, Catherine wheels of light and mist mix with the foam of time. Tossed by unseen movements a tiny globe is floating on the tides and flotsam swirls around its contours, attracted by invisible smooth ripples. Dashed to smooth curves, rare and precious treasure pebbles dance in the flotsam, around the tiny globe, lost in that vast sea, tossed aside by finned entities. Together they ride the foam of endless ocean.

Upon his bed of green soft flotsam, in peaceful tranquillity, gazing out at other treasure pebbles, upon the most precious jewelled blue sapphire, swimming in the azure sea, the purple man soaks up the rays of green made by the yellow globe.

The purple man sees and understands.

The lines of his world are shining silver light, for him there is no darkness in the night. Beset by cares he glances at the fractal flotsam and sees himself reflected, unfolding, timeless. Cares melt in mellow green.

The purple man fades and expands, his nebula fills the ocean wide and everything folds, unfolds; breathes in and out. Allfather stands beside the gate.

Where the fish swim and water snakes, where rivers run and wash the mountains silt upon the shore, there one day the star man came descending from a ship that sails the ocean Sky. The purple man was dreaming as before. From far away where people live in light, from where there is no hunger, fear or pain, where none deceive because there is no gain, where power is within and all are free, Wayland came.

Sitting by the river in the mud his fingers sinking into rich red clay he saw this world so full of music and in love, he sought the matrix seeds that dormant lay. Weaving the matrix then this Wayland made a pair of people from the clay and calling to the green fire of life, he gave them this garden free, to care for and in which to learn and play.

The purple man, who on his misty pillow lay said to Wayland then,

“Will you not stay?” The star man answered,

“I have so far to go and there is so much I want to see, you stay here awhile and tell them this: they are the keepers now of flotsam Zu, and you can teach them all that they must know. Say to them and get it right, 'you are the children of the light, travel where you will; you are not bound here by the clay. In all who say, “I am“ there is the life, and all who live are one in truth, this moment does not pass away.' I will return to visit you one day.”

Purple light shines green around the gate and all pass to and fro. There were the flying elephants of old, bright butterfly wings and iridescent scales, and fire within they blew and rose to mate high in the careless foam of space.

“I see, I see,” the purple man exclaims, “And I will leave a legacy.” Then taking out his notebook draws a stone and then another, places both together high upon the hill.

“All shall know!” he cries and gives them eyes and crowns. Thrones they hold with firm rock fingers, king and queen in rock of jewels tiny crystal shimmers. Eyes gaze out along the silver lines of truth, eyes of stone, and he cuts a small notch in the place the eyes alight their vision.

“Now all will know.” He spreads his cloak and sleeps beneath the hill in quiet satisfaction but dreams he did the task and lost in thought forgets. Stones stand waiting in dreams of eyes that only dreamers see and ride the light that only globe green rays can ride in pale yellow day.

“Forget, forget.” The whispers of the shining huntress sing sweetly and the residents of the butterfly house are soothed and filled with wonder. Dancing light reflects from yellow sand. Lifting hot feet to cool in baking oven rays.

Skating on tension, walking on invisible support a fish jumps from the water of a lake, cascading diamond spray around golden wings, then plunges back into the familiar world. Together all are one and life renewed. Wisps of purple smoke rise from a burning pile of old splendid green boughs now brown and brittle and delicious waves cook as chatter rises in anticipation. Toes muddy and wet warm as much as they dare and faces shine as globe of green gives energy. Wisteria sweet twists its tendrils on the gatepost and spreads its fingers wide to reach the stars.

The white and shining orb that, with full sails, is dancing with the flotsam sapphire tells her story in the ripples of a darkened pool. As in each drop the orb is, so it is with all and in all flows the green.

A grey cat-wolf with silky coat, who sweetly purrs sinks her teeth into feathers and warm nourishment flows from vein to vein. Carrying proudly to the doorstep leaves the gift but pricked purple fingers drip blood as tears flow for the tiny, feathered form.

Misunderstanding of the gift and weary sleep claim the mourner. In the corner stands a child of dusty clothes, untidy and ragged feathers. Grey coloured and brown his hair, face, and hair all dusty and brown. In mind of purple song was singing sad songs of green trees and fields of flowers and seeds. The child turns and eyes as old as time look deep as hands are stretched to greet. The purple man takes outstretched hands and they dance to music of the ocean deep.

“It cannot end, the green can never end, it just returns.” and round they dance, as the child is filled with light and transparent power touches purple hands and spirit surges to pull the purple man to stand before the gate.

Purple man rides on steed of unicorn; who sheds his twisted horn of white and says,

“With this you may write and tell the keepers of Zu to teach their subjects true.” His purple fingers hold the shining torch as on the saddle of his steed he carves the key, the binary. “All is here!” he shouts, “it is enough for all to be and all who will to see! Freedom is my gift to humanity!” Walking to the golden shore, he breathes the green fire to his steed, “Fly now and take my pattern home for all to learn.” The unicorn, now dragon born and horse is manifest, with fiery nostrils and shining fins swims into the long and winding currents of the thread of gold.

From that island home is cast the stone and off it goes into the seas of time, the circle seas. Music wafts around the globe as jewelled pebbles sing. The purple man, his eyes upon the depths, his head on soft flotsam pillow looks horizontally and wanders paths of space between.

A king of Zu in earnest thought upon the shore, a hornless unicorn has caught. A dragon horse who will not bear but shakes his saddle, burden gone he flies into the air. This trinket fine will grace the royal belt and a medallion the king does wear; magic token lost in time as those who knew could not stay and to the music danced away. Beyond the gate, into the ocean deep they to while away, until the wafting air lifts up the drops to bear.

Within the turbulence of that wild sea of calmness where regular tides disguise, mountains are ground, their pieces smashed and broken into shimmering beads of light. Each piece the matrix seed does hold within its crystal frame and life its energy. They shoot forth in forces, travel star to star, globe upon globe they circumnavigate and chaos brings movement to the stagnant ponds of flotsam, pools stirring, breathing life.

In Zu, the wanderers, who had no houses yet, who lived among the stars and trees, gathered round fires to eat their fruit and seeds at Mothers knee and told their oral histories.

Memories of mine and theirs and time distorts the tales so pictures made they to endure but meanings lost as careless child is watching dripping fat of meat and mouth is watering at the food to eat. Within the ring of warmth and fire the wild beast fears, the stories fall distorted on deaf ears.

“Remember well the lessons here: Once our world was full of fear. The seas rose up and swallowed whole the land of Zu, the air was cold. The globe its shining rays of green was hid beneath a reddish sheen of fire as worlds collided higher. The cold it came, the ice giants walked upon the land, so I was taught. Now eat this meat the hunter men have brought.” Within the shamans cave the purple man sleeps and walks on paths of many feet.

On bellies laid upon a hill of hot dry golden sand, the purple man looks down with his band of friends upon the tall city gate below. Beyond he sees the golden domes and tall white towers of so fair a place. A white wall stretches far as he can see and by the gate two fierce lions guard with swords of shining steel.

“I know not how to enter there.” he says, but then finds he is inside, alone and the white city walls are high around him. Trepidation grips his thought and on tiptoes he intrudes in wonder, clinging to the walls. The giant who stoops to lift him smiles, gold flashes from ornaments, turquoise beads on olive skin, and strong muscular arms pick up the purple man who looks around and down to see the white towers are but square pools of proportion huge. The strong hands plunge him down into clear water cool, so fresh it cleans, from showers of silver droplets a babe is raised up to the shining pale blue sky.

Seeing a tortoise then beside the waters edge, the purple man, still having horn of unicorn, inscribed the pattern of the nine with movement of the all, so that he would remember all that Wayland said. Then silence and dreams were once more inside his head.

Purple man sat at the foot of a great tree. A red furred squirrel ran up and down the bark, collecting food and going deep to keep its secret safe. Above the tree the globe was shining bright and yellow light was all around. The good folk who dwell in light transparent crystal vessels sang their song for all to hear and as the squirrel gathered food she heard their voices clear. Then, scampering along the ground quietly in case the purple man should wake, she buried down to the deep pools where three watch the water that feeds the sap. She hummed the song but had not listened to the words and got it wrong before those there to guide the destiny.

“Oh, careless child who listens not when at the fire, who now will tell the history?” The purple man saw the green sap of the tree within and understood.

“Make a machine!” the keepers say, “for you are bound by clay. Rip out the sapphires heart and give us power so that in darkness is the light of day. We have the words and wisdom here,” the keepers fight and hide the secret words, “the nine is ours not yours to know, we only have the power, is it not so? We are your keepers, guardians true; we would not lie to you.

“We took the power from Mother of the tribes to keep you safe from beasts who roam. They would not stay outside the ring of warmth and fire but come inside, devour you in your home.

“The seas rose up before and swallowed Zu, the people perished all except a few. Those few were chosen by the unicorn and here to us a tortoise bore its horn. We stole the fire that came on flotsam Zu, we have the lightening here entombed, the stars that fell in dire punishment, we kept them to remind you of your doom.

“We took the prophets all and kept their words, we wrote them down and only we can give those words to you. He who was here is gone for now but will return, to judge all those who will not heed our rule.

“We must make war to punish those who hate, we must sacrifice to please the beast. Then within our boundaries you will be safe in service to our cause for we are wise.”

The slaves of Zu who toil and sweat all day, all fearful of whatever comes their way; the slaves who have no water and no food and not because they have not loved the good, the slaves who weep for flotsam Zu, the ones who try to do what they believe is true, all listened to the keepers and were quiet, they had no heart to war and die in riot. They had no heart to disobey the rules well taught from their first day. Some turned and struck their fellows in dismay.

The feet upon the pavement hard in hardness crunch and shocks run up the legs and bounce the brains of those who cannot see. Purple streaks the sunrise comes and petals yawn to greet the sailing globe of yellow breathing green. Herded and obedient, the subjects of the kingdom of Zu wake and queue politely as keepers set the tasty morsels. Wheels and tides, time and ocean turn as globe spins in eddies and careless diamonds sprinkled in the flakes of cornfields tell the story unfolding.

Shadows play. The sickle shines its ****** sweetness horned and lovely; sparks of stars surround the misty blue. Knees and cries on time forget the sly insertions and nourish soon forgotten virtues.

A bell is ringing on the shore. Sound bounces wave to wave and lost in purple wandering a passing bee remembers that it cannot fly and hurriedly taking scissors cuts a fine raft of leaf, pointed as a ships bow and hops aboard to surf and glide on currents of the sky.

From the deep oceans light, Wayland sees and sends a whisper from his mind, the purple man is dreaming still among the many others of his kind.

“Its time to wake now, of slumber is enough. Zu needs to have its gardeners intact, its time to plant the Iris bulbs to grow in pasture and in desert before the ice comes back. Seeds of the rainbow must be sown on every track. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into the hearts of seeds that sleep, come now its time for growing. Plough the furrows deep. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into cold frost hardened hearts. Awake, its time for knowing!”

The purple man in forest sees green light of yellow globe is shining energetically its light on all, and one with all he walks in joyful song. Along a branch a leg is stretched, a long leg, there a person sits within the tree, smiling song of life,

“He's just like me!” the purple man does not intrude but curiosity is wakened as the man is standing tall and then is gone before his eyes of sight. A figure dressed in light, not vaporous, a solid man who flickers on and off he sees. The purple man perplexed is wondering, when at his side a figure tall and grey is standing, branches on his head, without a face in the full light of day. The purple man looks for the face, the seat of senses known to know who is it there and meets an eye as old as universe. The eye is looking for the same and as they meet in trap of combined senses all, there is a spark and purple man is travelling then, he is not in the planet Zu at all. The visitor who comes to show the way gives him a choice of paths to take, he forward walks along a narrow lane with strange and pointed leaves of maize. Rustling in the plants the other chases past, he greets him at the other side, and man of light is shining on and off out of the gate the purple man to guide. The rainbow bridge connecting all the worlds, the green path that all who live must share, the purple man looks for the visitor but turning finds that nothing's there. Then rippling wave of green comes flowing through the woodland and the day, it passes through all that lies before, and purple man is standing in its way. Green fire! The life! The sap of tree! I see! His spirit soars as Wayland flies away.

Looking down at hands and feet with rainbows shine, in great delight he finds he is not purple now but made of light sublime and at his step the irises spring bright.
Mel Harcum Jan 2015
There’s a certain disharmony in the way of things,
and how it turns humans into monsters. I saw a monster turn a girl
into a woman with her clothes on the floor,

and he carved ‘liar’ on her chapped lips. I reached out when
she stood before me, holding a razor in one hand and whiskey
in the other. She had dashed lines on her wrists

and shattered glass at her feet. I feel like screaming, but my gums bleed
from a mouth full of broken metal wire.
I cannot tell you the story that sits on my shoulders like a child,
too young to understand the weight of himself.

Now my eyelids have been peeled from my face and
I cannot look away from the girl when she comes home after school
and asks me for help with her homework
because the least I can do is solve a few math problems.
This poem contains a trigger warning for self-harm and ****, which I have tagged as well.
Derrick Jones Aug 2018
Part 1: Birth

There is only flow when I go to the unknown
I roam an abandoned home
It looks like ancient Rome, frescoes and domes
I call out, the echoes tell me I’m alone
No phone service, I am nervous
I wander through these haunted halls
The size of a million shopping malls
I begin to feel so small
A sudden flash and I am dashed to the realm of vision
A photon’s silent fission causes a collision in my eyes
Chemicals climb my nerves like vines
They activate my brain
I gain the gift of sight
I can finally see the light
Technicolor sprites ignite from the night
They surround me and confound me
Dizzy with the brightness
My body dissolves to lightness
I am one with a firework show
I am an ember, drifting to and fro
I am the spark, the flame, the afterglow

Part 2: Escape

This house that was haunting me
Is less daunting in reality
To my surprise, I realize my eyes describe a scene I can’t contextualize
I’ve lost my corporeal form
I’m tossed but never torn
I am the fabric of the universe
I fold, tesselate, invert
There is no ground, no up or down
As I fill this infinite space
My mind is racing
My self erasing
I am carved into a simple tracing
I am a thought confined inside a casing
Cut down to size I rise to the surface
Shot into the sky, I gain a purpose
I stream toward an enormity  
I reach escape velocity
I smash into reality

Part 3: Dissemination

I am a thought that was caught
Shot into the moment
Because I am where the mind went
Sent into the present
A representation of an inner mentation
A random rumination
A rogue communication
An intuition loaded like ammunition
Fired from a rifle
Too late to stifle
I ram through the fog of resistance
I slam into existence
It’s survival of the fittest
If I fail to catch attention
I will fall out of this dimension
I am rescued by a mention!
My salvation is conversation
I am converted into sound
I reverberate through air and ground
My vibrations travel through eustachian tubes and neural grooves
I move the chemicals in your head
Make you think of me instead
Now I am yours to spread
Exhaled like vapor
Written on paper
Cell phones are my savior
With digital capabilities
I avoid temporal instabilities
Evade deletion by replication
Copy and pasted
Then excreted
I’ve been tweeted!
I spread through the interwebs
Integrate into inner webs
And now I am a part of you
Weaved into the heart of you
There’s no reprieve, no undo
I will influence the future
A humble contributor
Whether I bring shame or glory
I am a part of this story
For more poetry and essays, follow my blog on Medium at https://medium.com/words-ideas-thoughts
Thanks for reading!
Matt Jun 2015
Earth’s sixth mass extinction has begun, new study confirms


How long before the rhino joins the list? Gerry Zambonini, CC BY-SA
We are currently witnessing the start of a mass extinction event the likes of which have not been seen on Earth for at least 65 million years. This is the alarming finding of a new study published in the journal Science Advances.

The research was designed to determine how human actions over the past 500 years have affected the extinction rates of vertebrates: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians. It found a clear signal of elevated species loss which has markedly accelerated over the past couple of hundred years, such that life on Earth is embarking on its sixth greatest extinction event in its 3.5 billion year history.

This latest research was conducted by an international team lead by Gerardo Ceballos of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Measuring extinction rates is notoriously hard. Recently I reported on some of the fiendishly clever ways such rates have been estimated. These studies are producing profoundly worrying results.

However, there is always the risk that such work overestimates modern extinction rates because they need to make a number of assumptions given the very limited data available. Ceballos and his team wanted to put a floor on these numbers, to establish extinction rates for species that were very conservative, with the understanding that whatever the rate of species lost has actually been, it could not be any lower.

This makes their findings even more significant because even with such conservative estimates they find extinction rates are much, much higher than the background rate of extinction – the rate of species loss in the absence of any human impacts.

Here again, they err on the side of caution. A number of studies have attempted to estimate the background rate of extinction. These have produced upper values of about one out of every million species being lost each year. Using recent work by co-author Anthony Barnosky, they effectively double this background rate and so assume that two out of every million species will disappear through natural causes each year. This should mean that differences between the background and human driven extinction rates will be smaller. But they find that the magnitude of more recent extinctions is so great as to effectively swamp any natural processes.


Cumulative vertebrate species recorded as extinct or extinct in the wild by the IUCN (2012). Dashed black line represents background rate. This is the ‘highly conservative estimate’.  Ceballos et al
Click to enlarge
The “very conservative estimate” of species loss uses International Union of Conservation of Nature data. This contains documented examples of species becoming extinct. They use the same data source to produce the “conservative estimate” which includes known extinct species and those species believed to be extinct or extinct in the wild.

The paper has been published in an open access journal and I would recommend reading it and the accompanying Supplementary Materials. This includes the list of vertebrate species known to have disappeared since the year 1500. The Latin names for these species would be familiar only to specialists, but even the common names are exotic and strange: the Cuban coney, red-bellied gracile, broad-faced potoroo and southern gastric brooding frog.


Farewell, broad-faced potoroo, we hardly knew ye.  John Gould
These particular outer branches of the great tree of life now stop. Some of their remains will be preserved, either as fossils in layers of rocks or glass eyed exhibits in museum cabinets. But the Earth will no longer see them scurry or soar, hear them croak or chirp.

You may wonder to what extent does this matter? Why should we worry if the natural process of extinction is amplified by humans and our expanding industrialised civilisation?

One response to this question essentially points out what the natural world does for us. Whether it’s pollinating our crops, purifying our water, providing fish to eat or fibres to weave, we are dependent on biodiveristy. Ecosystems can only continue to provide things for us if they continue to function in approximately the same way.

The relationship between species diversity and ecosystem function is very complex and not well understood. There may be gradual and reversible decreases in function with decreased biodiversity. There may be effectively no change until a tipping point occurs. The analogy here is popping out rivets from a plane’s wing. The aircraft will fly unimpaired if a few rivets are removed here or there, but to continue to remove rivets is to move the system closer to catastrophic failure.

This latest research tells us what we already knew. Humans have in the space of a few centuries swung a wrecking ball through the Earth’s biosphere. Liquidating biodiversity to produce products and services has an end point. Science is starting to sketch out what that end point could look like but it cannot tell us why to stop before we reach it.

If we regard the Earth as nothing more than a source of resources and a sink for our pollution, if we value other species only in terms of what they can provide to us, then we we will continue to unpick the fabric of life. Remove further rivets from spaceship earth. This not only increases the risk that it will cease to function in the ways that we and future generations will depend on, but can only reduce the complexity and beauty of our home in the cosmos.
https://theconversation.com/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-has-begun-new-study-confirms-43432
Alyssa Underwood Jul 2017
When all of worldly beauty's lost
When form and face have borne the cost
Of life's sojourn upon this earth
A greater glory then springs forth

When vanity is cast aside
With long-dashed dreams and fallen pride
At last a better hope I see
One anchored in eternity

When no one gives a second glance
Or offers promise of romance
I know the One whose love is true
Who looks beyond what most men do

When wit and charm have fled from thought
And company's no longer sought
There's still One friend who longs to hear
My every word, desire and fear

When awkwardness is more the rule
Than competence and being cool
His words I hear so gently spoken,
"Come, poor in spirit and all who are broken."

When those around me criticize
With disapproval in their eyes
He spreads His arms with full embrace
And wears acceptance on His face

When kindred spirit can't be found
And understanding's wayward bound
The One who knows me best will be
Thinking precious thoughts toward me

When foot is slipping, mind astray
From trying to fix things my own way
He rescues me with hourly grace
And sets me in a spacious place

When all my naught attempts at fame
Lie crushed beneath a weight of shame
I seek the fame of Him instead
Who calls my name and lifts my head

When youth and vigor fade away
And triumph seems an ancient day
My strength can rest in One who brings
Fresh power to soar on eagle's wings

When my last breath some day I take
Death's shadowed crossing, hence, to make
Upon Christ's nail-scarred feet I'll fall
To kiss that One who is my ALL
~~~

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary,
but what is unseen is eternal."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

***

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtzAciGlgKE&spfreload=5

***

Repost
And Ulysses answered, “King Alcinous, it is a good thing to hear a
bard with such a divine voice as this man has. There is nothing better
or more delightful than when a whole people make merry together,
with the guests sitting orderly to listen, while the table is loaded
with bread and meats, and the cup-bearer draws wine and fills his
cup for every man. This is indeed as fair a sight as a man can see.
Now, however, since you are inclined to ask the story of my sorrows,
and rekindle my own sad memories in respect of them, I do not know how
to begin, nor yet how to continue and conclude my tale, for the hand
of heaven has been laid heavily upon me.
  “Firstly, then, I will tell you my name that you too may know it,
and one day, if I outlive this time of sorrow, may become my there
guests though I live so far away from all of you. I am Ulysses son
of Laertes, reknowned among mankind for all manner of subtlety, so
that my fame ascends to heaven. I live in Ithaca, where there is a
high mountain called Neritum, covered with forests; and not far from
it there is a group of islands very near to one another—Dulichium,
Same, and the wooded island of Zacynthus. It lies squat on the
horizon, all highest up in the sea towards the sunset, while the
others lie away from it towards dawn. It is a rugged island, but it
breeds brave men, and my eyes know none that they better love to
look upon. The goddess Calypso kept me with her in her cave, and
wanted me to marry her, as did also the cunning Aeaean goddess
Circe; but they could neither of them persuade me, for there is
nothing dearer to a man than his own country and his parents, and
however splendid a home he may have in a foreign country, if it be far
from father or mother, he does not care about it. Now, however, I will
tell you of the many hazardous adventures which by Jove’s will I met
with on my return from Troy.
  “When I had set sail thence the wind took me first to Ismarus, which
is the city of the Cicons. There I sacked the town and put the
people to the sword. We took their wives and also much *****, which we
divided equitably amongst us, so that none might have reason to
complain. I then said that we had better make off at once, but my
men very foolishly would not obey me, so they stayed there drinking
much wine and killing great numbers of sheep and oxen on the sea
shore. Meanwhile the Cicons cried out for help to other Cicons who
lived inland. These were more in number, and stronger, and they were
more skilled in the art of war, for they could fight, either from
chariots or on foot as the occasion served; in the morning, therefore,
they came as thick as leaves and bloom in summer, and the hand of
heaven was against us, so that we were hard pressed. They set the
battle in array near the ships, and the hosts aimed their
bronze-shod spears at one another. So long as the day waxed and it was
still morning, we held our own against them, though they were more
in number than we; but as the sun went down, towards the time when men
loose their oxen, the Cicons got the better of us, and we lost half
a dozen men from every ship we had; so we got away with those that
were left.
  “Thence we sailed onward with sorrow in our hearts, but glad to have
escaped death though we had lost our comrades, nor did we leave till
we had thrice invoked each one of the poor fellows who had perished by
the hands of the Cicons. Then Jove raised the North wind against us
till it blew a hurricane, so that land and sky were hidden in thick
clouds, and night sprang forth out of the heavens. We let the ships
run before the gale, but the force of the wind tore our sails to
tatters, so we took them down for fear of shipwreck, and rowed our
hardest towards the land. There we lay two days and two nights
suffering much alike from toil and distress of mind, but on the
morning of the third day we again raised our masts, set sail, and took
our places, letting the wind and steersmen direct our ship. I should
have got home at that time unharmed had not the North wind and the
currents been against me as I was doubling Cape Malea, and set me
off my course hard by the island of Cythera.
  “I was driven thence by foul winds for a space of nine days upon the
sea, but on the tenth day we reached the land of the Lotus-eater,
who live on a food that comes from a kind of flower. Here we landed to
take in fresh water, and our crews got their mid-day meal on the shore
near the ships. When they had eaten and drunk I sent two of my company
to see what manner of men the people of the place might be, and they
had a third man under them. They started at once, and went about among
the Lotus-eaters, who did them no hurt, but gave them to eat of the
lotus, which was so delicious that those who ate of it left off caring
about home, and did not even want to go back and say what had happened
to them, but were for staying and munching lotus with the
Lotus-eater without thinking further of their return; nevertheless,
though they wept bitterly I forced them back to the ships and made
them fast under the benches. Then I told the rest to go on board at
once, lest any of them should taste of the lotus and leave off wanting
to get home, so they took their places and smote the grey sea with
their oars.
  “We sailed hence, always in much distress, till we came to the
land of the lawless and inhuman Cyclopes. Now the Cyclopes neither
plant nor plough, but trust in providence, and live on such wheat,
barley, and grapes as grow wild without any kind of tillage, and their
wild grapes yield them wine as the sun and the rain may grow them.
They have no laws nor assemblies of the people, but live in caves on
the tops of high mountains; each is lord and master in his family, and
they take no account of their neighbours.
  “Now off their harbour there lies a wooded and fertile island not
quite close to the land of the Cyclopes, but still not far. It is
overrun with wild goats, that breed there in great numbers and are
never disturbed by foot of man; for sportsmen—who as a rule will
suffer so much hardship in forest or among mountain precipices—do not
go there, nor yet again is it ever ploughed or fed down, but it lies a
wilderness untilled and unsown from year to year, and has no living
thing upon it but only goats. For the Cyclopes have no ships, nor
yet shipwrights who could make ships for them; they cannot therefore
go from city to city, or sail over the sea to one another’s country as
people who have ships can do; if they had had these they would have
colonized the island, for it is a very good one, and would yield
everything in due season. There are meadows that in some places come
right down to the sea shore, well watered and full of luscious
grass; grapes would do there excellently; there is level land for
ploughing, and it would always yield heavily at harvest time, for
the soil is deep. There is a good harbour where no cables are
wanted, nor yet anchors, nor need a ship be moored, but all one has to
do is to beach one’s vessel and stay there till the wind becomes
fair for putting out to sea again. At the head of the harbour there is
a spring of clear water coming out of a cave, and there are poplars
growing all round it.
  “Here we entered, but so dark was the night that some god must
have brought us in, for there was nothing whatever to be seen. A thick
mist hung all round our ships; the moon was hidden behind a mass of
clouds so that no one could have seen the island if he had looked
for it, nor were there any breakers to tell us we were close in
shore before we found ourselves upon the land itself; when, however,
we had beached the ships, we took down the sails, went ashore and
camped upon the beach till daybreak.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, we admired
the island and wandered all over it, while the nymphs Jove’s daughters
roused the wild goats that we might get some meat for our dinner. On
this we fetched our spears and bows and arrows from the ships, and
dividing ourselves into three bands began to shoot the goats. Heaven
sent us excellent sport; I had twelve ships with me, and each ship got
nine goats, while my own ship had ten; thus through the livelong day
to the going down of the sun we ate and drank our fill,—and we had
plenty of wine left, for each one of us had taken many jars full
when we sacked the city of the Cicons, and this had not yet run out.
While we were feasting we kept turning our eyes towards the land of
the Cyclopes, which was hard by, and saw the smoke of their stubble
fires. We could almost fancy we heard their voices and the bleating of
their sheep and goats, but when the sun went down and it came on dark,
we camped down upon the beach, and next morning I called a council.
  “‘Stay here, my brave fellows,’ said I, ‘all the rest of you,
while I go with my ship and exploit these people myself: I want to see
if they are uncivilized savages, or a hospitable and humane race.’
  “I went on board, bidding my men to do so also and loose the
hawsers; so they took their places and smote the grey sea with their
oars. When we got to the land, which was not far, there, on the face
of a cliff near the sea, we saw a great cave overhung with laurels. It
was a station for a great many sheep and goats, and outside there
was a large yard, with a high wall round it made of stones built
into the ground and of trees both pine and oak. This was the abode
of a huge monster who was then away from home shepherding his
flocks. He would have nothing to do with other people, but led the
life of an outlaw. He was a horrid creature, not like a human being at
all, but resembling rather some crag that stands out boldly against
the sky on the top of a high mountain.
  “I told my men to draw the ship ashore, and stay where they were,
all but the twelve best among them, who were to go along with
myself. I also took a goatskin of sweet black wine which had been
given me by Maron, Apollo son of Euanthes, who was priest of Apollo
the patron god of Ismarus, and lived within the wooded precincts of
the temple. When we were sacking the city we respected him, and spared
his life, as also his wife and child; so he made me some presents of
great value—seven talents of fine gold, and a bowl of silver, with
twelve jars of sweet wine, unblended, and of the most exquisite
flavour. Not a man nor maid in the house knew about it, but only
himself, his wife, and one housekeeper: when he drank it he mixed
twenty parts of water to one of wine, and yet the fragrance from the
mixing-bowl was so exquisite that it was impossible to refrain from
drinking. I filled a large skin with this wine, and took a wallet full
of provisions with me, for my mind misgave me that I might have to
deal with some savage who would be of great strength, and would
respect neither right nor law.
  “We soon reached his cave, but he was out shepherding, so we went
inside and took stock of all that we could see. His cheese-racks
were loaded with cheeses, and he had more lambs and kids than his pens
could hold. They were kept in separate flocks; first there were the
hoggets, then the oldest of the younger lambs and lastly the very
young ones all kept apart from one another; as for his dairy, all
the vessels, bowls, and milk pails into which he milked, were swimming
with whey. When they saw all this, my men begged me to let them
first steal some cheeses, and make off with them to the ship; they
would then return, drive down the lambs and kids, put them on board
and sail away with them. It would have been indeed better if we had
done so but I would not listen to them, for I wanted to see the
owner himself, in the hope that he might give me a present. When,
however, we saw him my poor men found him ill to deal with.
  “We lit a fire, offered some of the cheeses in sacrifice, ate others
of them, and then sat waiting till the Cyclops should come in with his
sheep. When he came, he brought in with him a huge load of dry
firewood to light the fire for his supper, and this he flung with such
a noise on to the floor of his cave that we hid ourselves for fear
at the far end of the cavern. Meanwhile he drove all the ewes
inside, as well as the she-goats that he was going to milk, leaving
the males, both rams and he-goats, outside in the yards. Then he
rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the cave—so huge that two and
twenty strong four-wheeled waggons would not be enough to draw it from
its place against the doorway. When he had so done he sat down and
milked his ewes and goats, all in due course, and then let each of
them have her own young. He curdled half the milk and set it aside
in wicker strainers, but the other half he poured into bowls that he
might drink it for his supper. When he had got through with all his
work, he lit the fire, and then caught sight of us, whereon he said:
  “‘Strangers, who are you? Where do sail from? Are you traders, or do
you sail the as rovers, with your hands against every man, and every
man’s hand against you?’
  “We were frightened out of our senses by his loud voice and
monstrous form, but I managed to say, ‘We are Achaeans on our way home
from Troy, but by the will of Jove, and stress of weather, we have
been driven far out of our course. We are the people of Agamemnon, son
of Atreus, who has won infinite renown throughout the whole world,
by sacking so great a city and killing so many people. We therefore
humbly pray you to show us some hospitality, and otherwise make us
such presents as visitors may reasonably expect. May your excellency
fear the wrath of heaven, for we are your suppliants, and Jove takes
all respectable travellers under his protection, for he is the avenger
of all suppliants and foreigners in distress.’
  “To this he gave me but a pitiless answer, ‘Stranger,’ said he, ‘you
are a fool, or else you know nothing of this country. Talk to me,
indeed, about fearing the gods or shunning their anger? We Cyclopes do
not care about Jove or any of your blessed gods, for we are ever so
much stronger than they. I shall not spare either yourself or your
companions out of any regard for Jove, unless I am in the humour for
doing so. And now tell me where you made your ship fast when you
came on shore. Was it round the point, or is she lying straight off
the land?’
  “He said this to draw me out, but I was too cunning to be caught
in that way, so I answered with a lie; ‘Neptune,’ said I, ’sent my
ship on to the rocks at the far end of your country, and wrecked it.
We were driven on to them from the open sea, but I and those who are
with me escaped the jaws of death.’
  “The cruel wretch vouchsafed me not one word of answer, but with a
sudden clutch he gripped up two of my men at once and dashed them down
upon the ground as though they had been puppies. Their brains were
shed upon the ground, and the earth was wet with their blood. Then
he tore them limb from limb and supped upon them. He gobbled them up
like a lion in the wilderness, flesh, bones, marrow, and entrails,
without leaving anything uneaten. As for us, we wept and lifted up our
hands to heaven on seeing such a horrid sight, for we did not know
what else to do; but when the Cyclops had filled his huge paunch,
and had washed down his meal of human flesh with a drink of neat milk,
he stretched himself full length upon the ground among his sheep,
and went to sleep. I was at first inclined to seize my sword, draw it,
and drive it into his vitals, but I reflected that if I did we
should all certainly be lost, for we should never be able to shift the
stone which the monster had put in front of the door. So we stayed
sobbing and sighing where we were till morning came.
  “When the child of morning, rosy-fingered Dawn, appeared, he again
lit his fire, milked his goats and ewes, all quite rightly, and then
let each have her own young one; as soon as he had got through with
all his work, he clutched up two more of my men, and began eating them
for his morning’s meal. Presently, with the utmost ease, he rolled the
stone away from the door and drove out his sheep, but he at once put
it back again—as easily as though he were merely clapping the lid
on to a
Tryst Jan 2015
Dashing hither, dashing thither,
Dashing in the winter weather,
John the dashing haberdasher
Dashed a hat upon his head

Not some lace cap fit for ladies,
Nor a bonnet stitched for babies,
John the dashing haberdasher
Dashed a top hat there instead!

Never had a hat so fine,
So tall and silken, so refined,
Regaled upon the daily grind
Of prince or pauper in the Strand

Ladies stalled to see it's lustre,
Swooned and swayed before it's bluster,
Fell and fainted in a fluster,
Startled by a hat so grand!

Children screamed in dreadful fright
And yelping dogs began to bite
As crowds began to brawl and fight
And riots claimed the London street

In the chaos thus ensuing,
Folks began to run, pursuing
John the dashing haberdasher
Chasing him from Strand to Fleet!

John was taken to the prison,
Chided by the crowds derision,
There to wait the Mayor's decision
On his wanton heinous crime

Charged with breaching lawful peace,
He paid a fine for his release
And ordered to desist and cease,
He left his top hat well behind

Thus is told the tale of John
Who dared to bravely dash and don
A silken top hat high upon
His noble head in London town

Heed his tale and take this warning,
When you wake one winter morning
With desire to be less boring,
Careful how you dress that crown!
Poem based on an event that occurred this day in history.
John Hetherington, a London haberdasher, is reported to be the first person to wear a top hat, this event occurring on the 15th January 1797.  The event caused a riot with women fainting at the sight, children screaming and dogs yelping.  He was forced to pay a £500 bond for breach of the peace.

First published 15th January 2015, 06:20 AEST.
Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus, that brought
countless ills upon the Achaeans. Many a brave soul did it send
hurrying down to Hades, and many a hero did it yield a prey to dogs
and vultures, for so were the counsels of Jove fulfilled from the
day on which the son of Atreus, king of men, and great Achilles, first
fell out with one another.
  And which of the gods was it that set them on to quarrel? It was the
son of Jove and Leto; for he was angry with the king and sent a
pestilence upon the host to plague the people, because the son of
Atreus had dishonoured Chryses his priest. Now Chryses had come to the
ships of the Achaeans to free his daughter, and had brought with him a
great ransom: moreover he bore in his hand the sceptre of Apollo
wreathed with a suppliant’s wreath and he besought the Achaeans, but
most of all the two sons of Atreus, who were their chiefs.
  “Sons of Atreus,” he cried, “and all other Achaeans, may the gods
who dwell in Olympus grant you to sack the city of Priam, and to reach
your homes in safety; but free my daughter, and accept a ransom for
her, in reverence to Apollo, son of Jove.”
  On this the rest of the Achaeans with one voice were for
respecting the priest and taking the ransom that he offered; but not
so Agamemnon, who spoke fiercely to him and sent him roughly away.
“Old man,” said he, “let me not find you tarrying about our ships, nor
yet coming hereafter. Your sceptre of the god and your wreath shall
profit you nothing. I will not free her. She shall grow old in my
house at Argos far from her own home, busying herself with her loom
and visiting my couch; so go, and do not provoke me or it shall be the
worse for you.”
  The old man feared him and obeyed. Not a word he spoke, but went
by the shore of the sounding sea and prayed apart to King Apollo
whom lovely Leto had borne. “Hear me,” he cried, “O god of the
silver bow, that protectest Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos
with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your
temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or
goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon
the Danaans.”
  Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. He came down
furious from the summits of Olympus, with his bow and his quiver
upon his shoulder, and the arrows rattled on his back with the rage
that trembled within him. He sat himself down away from the ships with
a face as dark as night, and his silver bow rang death as he shot
his arrow in the midst of them. First he smote their mules and their
hounds, but presently he aimed his shafts at the people themselves,
and all day long the pyres of the dead were burning.
  For nine whole days he shot his arrows among the people, but upon
the tenth day Achilles called them in assembly—moved thereto by Juno,
who saw the Achaeans in their death-throes and had compassion upon
them. Then, when they were got together, he rose and spoke among them.
  “Son of Atreus,” said he, “I deem that we should now turn roving
home if we would escape destruction, for we are being cut down by
war and pestilence at once. Let us ask some priest or prophet, or some
reader of dreams (for dreams, too, are of Jove) who can tell us why
Phoebus Apollo is so angry, and say whether it is for some vow that we
have broken, or hecatomb that we have not offered, and whether he will
accept the savour of lambs and goats without blemish, so as to take
away the plague from us.”
  With these words he sat down, and Calchas son of Thestor, wisest
of augurs, who knew things past present and to come, rose to speak. He
it was who had guided the Achaeans with their fleet to Ilius,
through the prophesyings with which Phoebus Apollo had inspired him.
With all sincerity and goodwill he addressed them thus:-
  “Achilles, loved of heaven, you bid me tell you about the anger of
King Apollo, I will therefore do so; but consider first and swear that
you will stand by me heartily in word and deed, for I know that I
shall offend one who rules the Argives with might, to whom all the
Achaeans are in subjection. A plain man cannot stand against the anger
of a king, who if he swallow his displeasure now, will yet nurse
revenge till he has wreaked it. Consider, therefore, whether or no you
will protect me.”
  And Achilles answered, “Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon
you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose
oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand
upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth—no, not
though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the
Achaeans.”
  Thereon the seer spoke boldly. “The god,” he said, “is angry neither
about vow nor hecatomb, but for his priest’s sake, whom Agamemnon
has dishonoured, in that he would not free his daughter nor take a
ransom for her; therefore has he sent these evils upon us, and will
yet send others. He will not deliver the Danaans from this
pestilence till Agamemnon has restored the girl without fee or
ransom to her father, and has sent a holy hecatomb to Chryse. Thus
we may perhaps appease him.”
  With these words he sat down, and Agamemnon rose in anger. His heart
was black with rage, and his eyes flashed fire as he scowled on
Calchas and said, “Seer of evil, you never yet prophesied smooth
things concerning me, but have ever loved to foretell that which was
evil. You have brought me neither comfort nor performance; and now you
come seeing among Danaans, and saying that Apollo has plagued us
because I would not take a ransom for this girl, the daughter of
Chryses. I have set my heart on keeping her in my own house, for I
love her better even than my own wife Clytemnestra, whose peer she
is alike in form and feature, in understanding and accomplishments.
Still I will give her up if I must, for I would have the people
live, not die; but you must find me a prize instead, or I alone
among the Argives shall be without one. This is not well; for you
behold, all of you, that my prize is to go elsewhither.”
  And Achilles answered, “Most noble son of Atreus, covetous beyond
all mankind, how shall the Achaeans find you another prize? We have no
common store from which to take one. Those we took from the cities
have been awarded; we cannot disallow the awards that have been made
already. Give this girl, therefore, to the god, and if ever Jove
grants us to sack the city of Troy we will requite you three and
fourfold.”
  Then Agamemnon said, “Achilles, valiant though you be, you shall not
thus outwit me. You shall not overreach and you shall not persuade me.
Are you to keep your own prize, while I sit tamely under my loss and
give up the girl at your bidding? Let the Achaeans find me a prize
in fair exchange to my liking, or I will come and take your own, or
that of Ajax or of Ulysses; and he to whomsoever I may come shall
rue my coming. But of this we will take thought hereafter; for the
present, let us draw a ship into the sea, and find a crew for her
expressly; let us put a hecatomb on board, and let us send Chryseis
also; further, let some chief man among us be in command, either Ajax,
or Idomeneus, or yourself, son of Peleus, mighty warrior that you are,
that we may offer sacrifice and appease the the anger of the god.”
  Achilles scowled at him and answered, “You are steeped in
insolence and lust of gain. With what heart can any of the Achaeans do
your bidding, either on foray or in open fighting? I came not
warring here for any ill the Trojans had done me. I have no quarrel
with them. They have not raided my cattle nor my horses, nor cut
down my harvests on the rich plains of Phthia; for between me and them
there is a great space, both mountain and sounding sea. We have
followed you, Sir Insolence! for your pleasure, not ours—to gain
satisfaction from the Trojans for your shameless self and for
Menelaus. You forget this, and threaten to rob me of the prize for
which I have toiled, and which the sons of the Achaeans have given me.
Never when the Achaeans sack any rich city of the Trojans do I receive
so good a prize as you do, though it is my hands that do the better
part of the fighting. When the sharing comes, your share is far the
largest, and I, forsooth, must go back to my ships, take what I can
get and be thankful, when my labour of fighting is done. Now,
therefore, I shall go back to Phthia; it will be much better for me to
return home with my ships, for I will not stay here dishonoured to
gather gold and substance for you.”
  And Agamemnon answered, “Fly if you will, I shall make you no
prayers to stay you. I have others here who will do me honour, and
above all Jove, the lord of counsel. There is no king here so
hateful to me as you are, for you are ever quarrelsome and ill
affected. What though you be brave? Was it not heaven that made you
so? Go home, then, with your ships and comrades to lord it over the
Myrmidons. I care neither for you nor for your anger; and thus will
I do: since Phoebus Apollo is taking Chryseis from me, I shall send
her with my ship and my followers, but I shall come to your tent and
take your own prize Briseis, that you may learn how much stronger I am
than you are, and that another may fear to set himself up as equal
or comparable with me.”
  The son of Peleus was furious, and his heart within his shaggy
breast was divided whether to draw his sword, push the others aside,
and **** the son of Atreus, or to restrain himself and check his
anger. While he was thus in two minds, and was drawing his mighty
sword from its scabbard, Minerva came down from heaven (for Juno had
sent her in the love she bore to them both), and seized the son of
Peleus by his yellow hair, visible to him alone, for of the others
no man could see her. Achilles turned in amaze, and by the fire that
flashed from her eyes at once knew that she was Minerva. “Why are
you here,” said he, “daughter of aegis-bearing Jove? To see the
pride of Agamemnon, son of Atreus? Let me tell you—and it shall
surely be—he shall pay for this insolence with his life.”
  And Minerva said, “I come from heaven, if you will hear me, to bid
you stay your anger. Juno has sent me, who cares for both of you
alike. Cease, then, this brawling, and do not draw your sword; rail at
him if you will, and your railing will not be vain, for I tell you-
and it shall surely be—that you shall hereafter receive gifts three
times as splendid by reason of this present insult. Hold, therefore,
and obey.”
  “Goddess,” answered Achilles, “however angry a man may be, he must
do as you two command him. This will be best, for the gods ever hear
the prayers of him who has obeyed them.”
  He stayed his hand on the silver hilt of his sword, and ****** it
back into the scabbard as Minerva bade him. Then she went back to
Olympus among the other gods, and to the house of aegis-bearing Jove.
  But the son of Peleus again began railing at the son of Atreus,
for he was still in a rage. “Wine-bibber,” he cried, “with the face of
a dog and the heart of a hind, you never dare to go out with the
host in fight, nor yet with our chosen men in ambuscade. You shun this
as you do death itself. You had rather go round and rob his prizes
from any man who contradicts you. You devour your people, for you
are king over a feeble folk; otherwise, son of Atreus, henceforward
you would insult no man. Therefore I say, and swear it with a great
oath—nay, by this my sceptre which shalt sprout neither leaf nor
shoot, nor bud anew from the day on which it left its parent stem upon
the mountains—for the axe stripped it of leaf and bark, and now the
sons of the Achaeans bear it as judges and guardians of the decrees of
heaven—so surely and solemnly do I swear that hereafter they shall
look fondly for Achilles and shall not find him. In the day of your
distress, when your men fall dying by the murderous hand of Hector,
you shall not know how to help them, and shall rend your heart with
rage for the hour when you offered insult to the bravest of the
Achaeans.”
  With this the son of Peleus dashed his gold-bestudded sceptre on the
ground and took his seat, while the son of Atreus was beginning
fiercely from his place upon the other side. Then uprose
smooth-tongued Nestor, the facile speaker of the Pylians, and the
words fell from his lips sweeter than honey. Two generations of men
born and bred in Pylos had passed away under his rule, and he was
now reigning over the third. With all sincerity and goodwill,
therefore, he addressed them thus:-
  “Of a truth,” he said, “a great sorrow has befallen the Achaean
land. Surely Priam with his sons would rejoice, and the Trojans be
glad at heart if they could hear this quarrel between you two, who are
so excellent in fight and counsel. I am older than either of you;
therefore be guided by me. Moreover I have been the familiar friend of
men even greater than you are, and they did not disregard my counsels.
Never again can I behold such men as Pirithous and Dryas shepherd of
his people, or as Caeneus, Exadius, godlike Polyphemus, and Theseus
son of Aegeus, peer of the immortals. These were the mightiest men
ever born upon this earth: mightiest were they, and when they fought
the fiercest tribes of mountain savages they utterly overthrew them. I
came from distant Pylos, and went about among them, for they would
have me come, and I fought as it was in me to do. Not a man now living
could withstand them, but they heard my words, and were persuaded by
them. So be it also with yourselves, for this is the more excellent
way. Therefore, Agamemnon, though you be strong, take not this girl
away, for the sons of the Achaeans have already given her to Achilles;
and you, Achilles, strive not further with the king, for no man who by
the grace of Jove wields a sceptre has like honour with Agamemnon. You
are strong, and have a goddess for your mother; but Agamemnon is
stronger than you, for he has more people under him. Son of Atreus,
check your anger, I implore you; end this quarrel with Achilles, who
in the day of battle is a tower of strength to the Achaeans.”
  And Agamemnon answered, “Sir, all that you have said is true, but
this fellow must needs become our lord and master: he must be lord
of all, king of all, and captain of all, and this shall hardly be.
Granted that the gods have made him a great warrior, have they also
given him the right to speak with railing?”
  Achilles interrupted him. “I should be a mean coward,” he cried,
“were I to give in to you in all things. Order other people about, not
me, for I shall obey no longer. Furthermore I say—and lay my saying
to your heart—I shall fight neither you nor any man about this
girl, for those that take were those also that gave. But of all else
that is at my ship you shall carry away nothing by force. Try, that
others may see; if you do, my spear shall be reddened with your
blood.”
  When they had quarrelled thus angrily, they rose, and broke up the
assembly at the ships of the Achaeans. The son of Peleus went back
to his tents and ships with the son of Menoetius and his company,
while Agamemnon drew a vessel into the water and chose a crew of
twenty oarsmen. He escorted Chryseis on board and sent moreover a
hecatomb for the god. And Ulysses went as captain.
  These, then, went on board and sailed their ways over the sea. But
the son of Atreus bade the people purify themselves; so they
purified themselves and cast their filth into the sea. Then they
offered hecatombs of bulls and goats without blemish on the sea-shore,
and the smoke with the savour of their sacrifice rose curling up
towards heaven.
  Thus did they busy themselves throughout the host. But Agamemnon did
not forget the threat that he had made Achilles, and called his trusty
messengers and squires Talthybius and Eurybates. “Go,” said he, “to
the tent of Achilles, son of Peleus; take Briseis by the hand and
bring her hither; if he will not give her I shall come with others and
take her—which will press him harder.”
  He charged them straightly furthe
Arya Arun Jul 2014
STRANDED

Shards of glass and scraps of metal
As the sand finally settled
I stared at the plane; a total wreck
Stranded, in hot soup we had landed

Quickly, we fled
Thoughtlessly, we ****** ahead,
Onto a lost, unknown trail
Unaware of what time would unveil

Days flew by without notice,
Every drop of water was bliss
Several miles away from home,
Stranded in what could be our tomb.

Tears rolled down our cheeks
Definitely, our future was bleak
Death was hiding under every stone
We were terrified, hungry and cold

We soon got bored
Our hopes were dashed
The situation was rather like a game show
We were stranded and so full of woe

Soon, Superman came,
But it was nothing like the video games.
Oh, at least we were alright,
Far, far away from the crash site

We were soon in the limelight,
Part of international affairs, just overnight
With parents, we reunited
No longer stranded, but certainly undecided
Loosely based on the book Walkabout
Lewis Hyden Dec 2018
The end of Second Summer's day
When rain and snow have ceased to be
Will see the end of our delay
And mark the death of our decree.

Elsewhere the despondent souls
Of smoke-stacks rise up from the coals...


As plastic melts beneath the glare
And long the Dream was dashed ashore,
Then will smog-clouds light the air
And cast the fires across the moor.

... Then, far beyond, the wand'ring mirth
Will strike the land, and scorch the Earth...


Until the sky is raised in flame
We'll walk the trail of frail regrets,
And once the world glows hot with shame
Shame will then our end beget.

... And so our doing will blaze the sky
By MMXXVII
.
A poem about global warming.
#29 in the Distant Dystopia anthology.

© Lewis Hyden, 2018
And on the day when
He shall gather them all together:
O assembly of jinn!
you took away a great part of mankind.
And their friends from among the men shall say:
Our Lord! some of us profited by others
and we have reached our appointed term
which Thou didst appoint for us.
He shall say:
The fire is your abode,
to abide in it, except as Allah is pleased;
surely your Lord is Wise, Knowing.

Holy Quran
The Cattle
6:128

Do you build on every height a monument? Vain is it that you do:
And you make strong fortresses that perhaps you may
And when you lay hands (on men) you lay hands (like) tyrants;

Holy Quran
The Poets
26: 128-130


The desert Jinn of Cairo
flit and dance
upon the burning waters
of the Nile.

The midnight streets gasp
with the turgid fragrance
of tear gas and jasmine

The stink of the
ungrateful dead
riles the nostrils
of indifferent gods
laughing
at the litter of corpses
strewn along
torpid boulevards
in this city of lament

Unbounded crowds dash
amongst fleeting shadows
the agitated ghosts
of undead generations
refusing to stay buried
blink to life
in epileptic frenzy

The timeless city
civilizations
fertile floodplain
authored
western cultures
opening chapters
housed mythic libraries
erected mysterious
stone tributes
esteemed
monarchical opulence
now yields
frenetic outbursts
of Arab fury
writing
an epilogue
to a despots rule
the blessed end
to an imperial age

Rampant corruption
asphyxiating bureaucracy
malicious suppression
syphilitic exploitation
rabid oppression
enforced ignorance
human defilement
are the bitter
sediments
of degradation
layered in crushing piles
upon the lowly masses
on this delta of sorrows
breeding revolution
to unravel a tyrants
specious claim
to perpetual rule

The city
streets
flood with
militant
insistence.

Emboldening
a peoples will
to rise up
beating hearts
pounding
a sonic drum
resonating
through
this age
foretelling
a turn
in history's
creaking wheel.

Allah Allah
Allah Akbar!
bleats
from parsed lips
from underground
brotherhoods
the rising words
sharper then
Saladin's Sword

The Holy Quran
flows like boiling blood
in agitated hearts
dissidents pound
bloodied fists
against intractable walls
of monolithic power

Visions of liberation
a democratic paradise
an infinite harem
of compliant virgins
swim in the heads
of dissidents in motion
as baying throats
exhort comrades
shouting brave
seditious slogans
to engage
bullets
batons
water cannons
and unsure outcomes.

I heard a young woman say
"I have faith in my people
and faith in my country."
Never a more foolhardy sentiment been expressed,
nor braver words have I ever heard.

As the laughing Jinn of Cairo
flit and dance
atop the burning waters
of the Nile.

A city
self immolating
atop a pyre
of blood stained stones
dry constricting fables
passed down along
marching epochs
hieroglyphic puzzles
recorded on
crumbling papyrus
wrapped in
holy legends
of mystical pharaohs
receiving an exiled
Father Ibrahim
fresh from
the destruction
of *****
cedes to the
Lord of Fear
spawns a lie
and gives
Sister Sarai
over to the
unholy whims
of profane
magistrates

Abe's skin saved
soul preserved
the generations
multiply
more numerous
then the countable stars
in a known universe
not vast enough
to find room for
Hagar's cursed progeny
-call him Ishmael-
a wild ***
exiled to
Desert of Paran
siring many
lesser Semites
becoming
a strong archer
in the vast legions
in timeless
service to
an uninterrupted line
of deranged Pharaohs

This scorned land
grew the
grievous reeds
swaddling
Baby Mussa
who turned
the river of
his arrival
into a flood
of gushing blood
who split the waters
to consume
the raging armies
of marauding charioteers
bent on the annihilation
of their chosen
Semitic half brothers

The shame
agitates
the simmering
rage of ambivalence
gladly sacrificing
these historic
treasures
on angry
bonfires
tipping
the glories
of Alexandria
into the sea
once again

Up stairways
down dark alleys
the Jinn of Cairo
dance
haunting ruins
hurling stones
burning buildings
looting stores
smashing artifacts
cursing the bitter bread
of tyrants
chasing
the black echos
of deadly gunfire

Nasser's
dead soldiers
gather in corporeal legions
a proud nations
undead generation
mythic heroes
dashed in Six Days
rise from
shallow graves
of Sinai
shame is loosed
to stalk targets
heated enemies
setting aflame
the burning waters of
a very blue
unsettled Nile

The unholy platoons
Sadat's assassins
hurl grenades
like thunderbolts
from jealous Zeus
implores Mars
to join the fray
rousting the specter
of dead kings
and a terrorized
President
living in the black days
of his final nights

Tell Ole Pharaoh
to go back to the hell
from whence he came
as the laughing
Jinn of Cairo
dance on  the
burning waters
of the Nile.


Music Selection:
Randy Weston: Blue Moses
(WIP)
1/31/11
Narrowed visions of the limitless heights of hope
Dreams deferred not dashed or shattered like glass
Head held high to the sky
Feet always grounded never caught off guard

Hopeless

Dark clouds Dark Thoughts
Altered by substances poisoning the community
These hands Those hearts hardened by this cold existence
His hands Her thighs Their minds killing the hopes of the future

Savage

The stench of failure and poverty reeks throughout the streets
Hunger pains and dope fiends screams vibrate the streets like a sick beat
Cries of the children young and old scatter the air with grief and unbearable pain
A young man dead A young woman ***** harsh realities simmer in this mixing bowl of misery

Numb

Hopes Dreams fears ignored by the outside looking in
The mindset of a hustler taught to struggle and fight the hard way
A better life shown in the gleam of a child eye
Reality worsens with the smell of death

Ghetto Dreams
Ghetto Dreams was  written on December 20, 2008, it paints a picture of inner city life, painted many times before, but nothing is ever done to improve the conditions. We are not ignored we are just selectively noticed mainly for the negative aspects of our society.
He was a Grecian lad, who coming home
With pulpy figs and wine from Sicily
Stood at his galley’s prow, and let the foam
Blow through his crisp brown curls unconsciously,
And holding wave and wind in boy’s despite
Peered from his dripping seat across the wet and stormy night.

Till with the dawn he saw a burnished spear
Like a thin thread of gold against the sky,
And hoisted sail, and strained the creaking gear,
And bade the pilot head her lustily
Against the nor’west gale, and all day long
Held on his way, and marked the rowers’ time with measured song.

And when the faint Corinthian hills were red
Dropped anchor in a little sandy bay,
And with fresh boughs of olive crowned his head,
And brushed from cheek and throat the hoary spray,
And washed his limbs with oil, and from the hold
Brought out his linen tunic and his sandals brazen-soled,

And a rich robe stained with the fishers’ juice
Which of some swarthy trader he had bought
Upon the sunny quay at Syracuse,
And was with Tyrian broideries inwrought,
And by the questioning merchants made his way
Up through the soft and silver woods, and when the labouring day

Had spun its tangled web of crimson cloud,
Clomb the high hill, and with swift silent feet
Crept to the fane unnoticed by the crowd
Of busy priests, and from some dark retreat
Watched the young swains his frolic playmates bring
The firstling of their little flock, and the shy shepherd fling

The crackling salt upon the flame, or hang
His studded crook against the temple wall
To Her who keeps away the ravenous fang
Of the base wolf from homestead and from stall;
And then the clear-voiced maidens ‘gan to sing,
And to the altar each man brought some goodly offering,

A beechen cup brimming with milky foam,
A fair cloth wrought with cunning imagery
Of hounds in chase, a waxen honey-comb
Dripping with oozy gold which scarce the bee
Had ceased from building, a black skin of oil
Meet for the wrestlers, a great boar the fierce and white-tusked
spoil

Stolen from Artemis that jealous maid
To please Athena, and the dappled hide
Of a tall stag who in some mountain glade
Had met the shaft; and then the herald cried,
And from the pillared precinct one by one
Went the glad Greeks well pleased that they their simple vows had
done.

And the old priest put out the waning fires
Save that one lamp whose restless ruby glowed
For ever in the cell, and the shrill lyres
Came fainter on the wind, as down the road
In joyous dance these country folk did pass,
And with stout hands the warder closed the gates of polished brass.

Long time he lay and hardly dared to breathe,
And heard the cadenced drip of spilt-out wine,
And the rose-petals falling from the wreath
As the night breezes wandered through the shrine,
And seemed to be in some entranced swoon
Till through the open roof above the full and brimming moon

Flooded with sheeny waves the marble floor,
When from his nook up leapt the venturous lad,
And flinging wide the cedar-carven door
Beheld an awful image saffron-clad
And armed for battle! the gaunt Griffin glared
From the huge helm, and the long lance of wreck and ruin flared

Like a red rod of flame, stony and steeled
The Gorgon’s head its leaden eyeballs rolled,
And writhed its snaky horrors through the shield,
And gaped aghast with bloodless lips and cold
In passion impotent, while with blind gaze
The blinking owl between the feet hooted in shrill amaze.

The lonely fisher as he trimmed his lamp
Far out at sea off Sunium, or cast
The net for tunnies, heard a brazen *****
Of horses smite the waves, and a wild blast
Divide the folded curtains of the night,
And knelt upon the little ****, and prayed in holy fright.

And guilty lovers in their venery
Forgat a little while their stolen sweets,
Deeming they heard dread Dian’s bitter cry;
And the grim watchmen on their lofty seats
Ran to their shields in haste precipitate,
Or strained black-bearded throats across the dusky parapet.

For round the temple rolled the clang of arms,
And the twelve Gods leapt up in marble fear,
And the air quaked with dissonant alarums
Till huge Poseidon shook his mighty spear,
And on the frieze the prancing horses neighed,
And the low tread of hurrying feet rang from the cavalcade.

Ready for death with parted lips he stood,
And well content at such a price to see
That calm wide brow, that terrible maidenhood,
The marvel of that pitiless chastity,
Ah! well content indeed, for never wight
Since Troy’s young shepherd prince had seen so wonderful a sight.

Ready for death he stood, but lo! the air
Grew silent, and the horses ceased to neigh,
And off his brow he tossed the clustering hair,
And from his limbs he throw the cloak away;
For whom would not such love make desperate?
And nigher came, and touched her throat, and with hands violate

Undid the cuirass, and the crocus gown,
And bared the ******* of polished ivory,
Till from the waist the peplos falling down
Left visible the secret mystery
Which to no lover will Athena show,
The grand cool flanks, the crescent thighs, the bossy hills of
snow.

Those who have never known a lover’s sin
Let them not read my ditty, it will be
To their dull ears so musicless and thin
That they will have no joy of it, but ye
To whose wan cheeks now creeps the lingering smile,
Ye who have learned who Eros is,—O listen yet awhile.

A little space he let his greedy eyes
Rest on the burnished image, till mere sight
Half swooned for surfeit of such luxuries,
And then his lips in hungering delight
Fed on her lips, and round the towered neck
He flung his arms, nor cared at all his passion’s will to check.

Never I ween did lover hold such tryst,
For all night long he murmured honeyed word,
And saw her sweet unravished limbs, and kissed
Her pale and argent body undisturbed,
And paddled with the polished throat, and pressed
His hot and beating heart upon her chill and icy breast.

It was as if Numidian javelins
Pierced through and through his wild and whirling brain,
And his nerves thrilled like throbbing violins
In exquisite pulsation, and the pain
Was such sweet anguish that he never drew
His lips from hers till overhead the lark of warning flew.

They who have never seen the daylight peer
Into a darkened room, and drawn the curtain,
And with dull eyes and wearied from some dear
And worshipped body risen, they for certain
Will never know of what I try to sing,
How long the last kiss was, how fond and late his lingering.

The moon was girdled with a crystal rim,
The sign which shipmen say is ominous
Of wrath in heaven, the wan stars were dim,
And the low lightening east was tremulous
With the faint fluttering wings of flying dawn,
Ere from the silent sombre shrine his lover had withdrawn.

Down the steep rock with hurried feet and fast
Clomb the brave lad, and reached the cave of Pan,
And heard the goat-foot snoring as he passed,
And leapt upon a grassy knoll and ran
Like a young fawn unto an olive wood
Which in a shady valley by the well-built city stood;

And sought a little stream, which well he knew,
For oftentimes with boyish careless shout
The green and crested grebe he would pursue,
Or snare in woven net the silver trout,
And down amid the startled reeds he lay
Panting in breathless sweet affright, and waited for the day.

On the green bank he lay, and let one hand
Dip in the cool dark eddies listlessly,
And soon the breath of morning came and fanned
His hot flushed cheeks, or lifted wantonly
The tangled curls from off his forehead, while
He on the running water gazed with strange and secret smile.

And soon the shepherd in rough woollen cloak
With his long crook undid the wattled cotes,
And from the stack a thin blue wreath of smoke
Curled through the air across the ripening oats,
And on the hill the yellow house-dog bayed
As through the crisp and rustling fern the heavy cattle strayed.

And when the light-foot mower went afield
Across the meadows laced with threaded dew,
And the sheep bleated on the misty weald,
And from its nest the waking corncrake flew,
Some woodmen saw him lying by the stream
And marvelled much that any lad so beautiful could seem,

Nor deemed him born of mortals, and one said,
‘It is young Hylas, that false runaway
Who with a Naiad now would make his bed
Forgetting Herakles,’ but others, ‘Nay,
It is Narcissus, his own paramour,
Those are the fond and crimson lips no woman can allure.’

And when they nearer came a third one cried,
‘It is young Dionysos who has hid
His spear and fawnskin by the river side
Weary of hunting with the Bassarid,
And wise indeed were we away to fly:
They live not long who on the gods immortal come to spy.’

So turned they back, and feared to look behind,
And told the timid swain how they had seen
Amid the reeds some woodland god reclined,
And no man dared to cross the open green,
And on that day no olive-tree was slain,
Nor rushes cut, but all deserted was the fair domain,

Save when the neat-herd’s lad, his empty pail
Well slung upon his back, with leap and bound
Raced on the other side, and stopped to hail,
Hoping that he some comrade new had found,
And gat no answer, and then half afraid
Passed on his simple way, or down the still and silent glade

A little girl ran laughing from the farm,
Not thinking of love’s secret mysteries,
And when she saw the white and gleaming arm
And all his manlihood, with longing eyes
Whose passion mocked her sweet virginity
Watched him awhile, and then stole back sadly and wearily.

Far off he heard the city’s hum and noise,
And now and then the shriller laughter where
The passionate purity of brown-limbed boys
Wrestled or raced in the clear healthful air,
And now and then a little tinkling bell
As the shorn wether led the sheep down to the mossy well.

Through the grey willows danced the fretful gnat,
The grasshopper chirped idly from the tree,
In sleek and oily coat the water-rat
Breasting the little ripples manfully
Made for the wild-duck’s nest, from bough to bough
Hopped the shy finch, and the huge tortoise crept across the
slough.

On the faint wind floated the silky seeds
As the bright scythe swept through the waving grass,
The ouzel-**** splashed circles in the reeds
And flecked with silver whorls the forest’s glass,
Which scarce had caught again its imagery
Ere from its bed the dusky tench leapt at the dragon-fly.

But little care had he for any thing
Though up and down the beech the squirrel played,
And from the copse the linnet ‘gan to sing
To its brown mate its sweetest serenade;
Ah! little care indeed, for he had seen
The ******* of Pallas and the naked wonder of the Queen.

But when the herdsman called his straggling goats
With whistling pipe across the rocky road,
And the shard-beetle with its trumpet-notes
Boomed through the darkening woods, and seemed to bode
Of coming storm, and the belated crane
Passed homeward like a shadow, and the dull big drops of rain

Fell on the pattering fig-leaves, up he rose,
And from the gloomy forest went his way
Past sombre homestead and wet orchard-close,
And came at last unto a little quay,
And called his mates aboard, and took his seat
On the high ****, and pushed from land, and loosed the dripping
sheet,

And steered across the bay, and when nine suns
Passed down the long and laddered way of gold,
And nine pale moons had breathed their orisons
To the chaste stars their confessors, or told
Their dearest secret to the downy moth
That will not fly at noonday, through the foam and surging froth

Came a great owl with yellow sulphurous eyes
And lit upon the ship, whose timbers creaked
As though the lading of three argosies
Were in the hold, and flapped its wings and shrieked,
And darkness straightway stole across the deep,
Sheathed was Orion’s sword, dread Mars himself fled down the steep,

And the moon hid behind a tawny mask
Of drifting cloud, and from the ocean’s marge
Rose the red plume, the huge and horned casque,
The seven-cubit spear, the brazen targe!
And clad in bright and burnished panoply
Athena strode across the stretch of sick and shivering sea!

To the dull sailors’ sight her loosened looks
Seemed like the jagged storm-rack, and her feet
Only the spume that floats on hidden rocks,
And, marking how the rising waters beat
Against the rolling ship, the pilot cried
To the young helmsman at the stern to luff to windward side

But he, the overbold adulterer,
A dear profaner of great mysteries,
An ardent amorous idolater,
When he beheld those grand relentless eyes
Laughed loud for joy, and crying out ‘I come’
Leapt from the lofty **** into the chill and churning foam.

Then fell from the high heaven one bright star,
One dancer left the circling galaxy,
And back to Athens on her clattering car
In all the pride of venged divinity
Pale Pallas swept with shrill and steely clank,
And a few gurgling bubbles rose where her boy lover sank.

And the mast shuddered as the gaunt owl flew
With mocking hoots after the wrathful Queen,
And the old pilot bade the trembling crew
Hoist the big sail, and told how he had seen
Close to the stern a dim and giant form,
And like a dipping swallow the stout ship dashed through the storm.

And no man dared to speak of Charmides
Deeming that he some evil thing had wrought,
And when they reached the strait Symplegades
They beached their galley on the shore, and sought
The toll-gate of the city hastily,
And in the market showed their brown and pictured pottery.
MARY, MARY, QUITE CONTRARY: A Dreadful Tale about a Dead Anglo Mother, A Dreadful, Avenging Syrian Aunt, A Stolen Baby Sister, and a Hateful, Unfaithful, Defaulting Father.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With people, people who hardly know
Your vices, your intrigue, your lies, and so,
You’ve ruined lives, and now I will show

How demonizing you are, with just your thinking
About your “slemly” self,  just linking [Nice in Arabic]
That self to your own, and not us--no one else
You belong in no company, your old-time thinking.
Adopting my sister, without any inkling
Of what it takes to challenge the motherless
And seeing we ended up, also, being fatherless.

Travesties galore made this woman happy
You won hearts, but you seemed quite daffy.      
Childhood, telling us we’d never be as good
As your Syrian daughters - such a strange brood!
This kind of “teaching” by a Syrian mom was kinda lewd.

She verily and surely became our ISIS
She thought who could ever, ever be like us
She raved for hours so very against us
To that red-headed family so she could easily best us!
Humiliating us at every stop
We really, really got a lot
From her, the decadent Queen of ISIS
No, she’d never, ever be like us!

Twenty years to a guileless young person
Is a forever herstory an eternity…
A lesson, an identity…
Carried on secretly, destroying our Syrian identity.
She stole that connection, filling it with confusion
She with cruel humor would **** our loving illusion
Stopped it in its growth,
Forever unseating that family oath.
To care - without any rejection.
It was She that was The Great Defection.

Mary, Mary how does your hatred grow
Picked on those who had no Syrian power
But you didn’t see yourself becoming lower
To the ends of the earth, heartless black flower.

In her mind she’d be our Mother
But as this poet, I did not know it
Things would be better if we like sheep
Worshipped Mary, into the deep
Quite similar to the rest of her Keep
Then mayhap we’d enjoy their fully undeserved sleep.

Taught my dear baby sister like her to hate
Would I had the power to shut up her pate
Her mouth was evil to the core
I never, never could stand more.
Her hatred entered me, made me sore.

Screaming at us to keep us out
Stupid Daddy joined her in this falling out
She, successful -as any lout.
By God I thot I must be evil
Their strange behavior was not legal.
Would that she’d accept me, that dangerous eagle.
I lost my sense of self and ‘came very sad
Would that I could be like she so glad.
‘Tis fifty years now, and I can’t stop crying.
No one ever heard this “mother” sighing.

Hell, Mary, full of Face
Recognizing only your Syrian race
Did anyone else matter? Just your primitive face?
Everyone one was hurt, except you and your nace
There’ll be no one, ever, that could take your place.
Laughing to destroy our wanted Arab destiny
Which you did, and did, successfully, with your fantasy.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
Like plants, you lined us up all in a row
One good, two bad - you did the choosing
And what did you leave?
Only us, who did the losing.
You didn’t water those two plants.
Treated us two as if we were ants.
Watered sissa so she would grow
Your dreaded deeds no one would know
Judgement is left only to God.
But you and Dad should’ve returned to your sod.
Your behavior to the motherless seems very odd.
My sister and I two tossed peas in a pod.

Deserting us suddenly knowing only this hateful group
There’s nothing to which she wouldn’t stoop
Her sick obsession to hurt the powerless
Speaks of a very worst yes, cruel foulness.

We lived at a convent school very protected
Visiting weekends this aspiring ****,
Two sisters know she made a very strong mark
She was not our blood, we couldn’t take part
Of this constant coldness on her part.

And another Aunt with two daughters, good
They were always with us, always stood
The opposite of this wicked would-be aunt
This family, Americanized and very sane
Never did play the ancient Ottoman game
These Aunts were our world - our windowpane.

Two aunts - endowing us with a Syrian heritage,
One, the bad one, with too much leverage
The good one to teach a cheerful Syrian beverage      
With balance, love, and the length of days
Not like the other, the one who dismays.

We represented that bad woman’s target
What it came from. Could it be her precious Margaret?
No, not at all her peaceful daughter
But the other, gladly joined in on the slaughter
Making serious and even much more, fodder.

We had no tools to breach this hate
I guess that it would have to be our fate.
To live our lives just disenchanted.
Our hearts broke, as if forever lancets.
With Syrians there’d be no more dances

Taking my sweet sis turning her against us
She did truly give strong heed to finally fence us.
What ever could we find for our defenses?

Dad, real Dad, inebriated dad,
Fell in with them: became this negative father
Sought their pity--likening me as a foreign daughter
He was in love with them, weakly turning
But in turn, the two of us, spurning
Back to his Syrian fold back, not farther
Unwittingly, unrepentedly, uncaringly, joining the laughter
Discarding his American daughters to a mental slaughter.

At his picnic - family there - he called us foreigners
Foreigners we were, surely, when with them
They couldn’t ever believe in us,
Dad influenced them, peeved at us.
Made us feel like little fools.
No, we never had the tools
To fight this ignorance - Change these mules?

Punishing, punishing us as wedded women
Accused of all that they gossiped about
What did they say? And this truant dad a lout
Speaking of us in downing tones
I’d feel far better had they broken my bones.

Closing his relationships to his
Two lesser liked non-Arab sisters
Would there would be a better mister
He considered us two a mere sinful blister.

We ran away from this horrible drunk
He hated his daughters and he stunk
And then we suffered the worst of any they would dunk
Uncomfortable at their Arab-speaking home
We stopped visiting long before their moan
We were “no good”  said our Syrian family
Would that we knew that we’d be anti-Family.

They had something to hate and did they do it
We had no idea we were just a joke
Their words, their disgust, far more than a poke.
Their anti-American provincial views
Made little sense - such perverted mews
All we loved, we would really lose.
There was never any right to choose.

That Family didn’t speak, avoided us
At sissa's Syrian wedding. It was all mined
That scene returns to me all of them lined  
Winding its way into my unbidden mind,
They were so, so truly unkind
We always would be to them the “Other”
Yes, us, us, us, without a mother!

We lost three mothers, our real one gone
Also our good step-mother quickly on
Add Mary to that three, glad she is gone
Perhaps Dad guilty of the first two deaths
I shan’t continue - you’d lose your breaths.
  
But Hail that Lady, she would change our world
Sending us suddenly into a whirl.
How to change the young with screaming?
She’d not change but destroy our dreaming
Waking horribly from our Syrian dream
We just didn’t fit their shady crème de la crème.

Everyone was fooled by this greedy witch
She and her daughters I’d deem as *****
What was in them, caused their making?
Taking away, taking, taking, taking.
Good cousins now, have seen an awakening
My work of writing revealed Mary’s faking.

Hail Mary full of Face
Only using her charms to erace
The sisters she wished not to embrace
With threads of lies an unrevealing face
Syrians’ acceptance of her goldarn place  
No one ever will she replace  
In every way she used her mace
A clever poison to keep her place
Successfully, she’d snidely hid her dreams
Wearing a mask to hide her themes.

She’d always hated us through and through
We didn’t know it till she did what she’d do
Her masque did work, from dusk to dawn.
Hatred of us was what she would spawn
She would definitely **** our spirits
Would that I could reveal all her lyrics.

Our Syrian sissa’s wedding put us in place
That even there we could have little space.
No other family events could we be included.
Engagements, baptisms, we would be excluded
Their intentions now were completely nuded.   deluded!

You stole our little baby entering the world
Through our Mom’s Death
You stole my Dad’s affection
He also her straw man, worshiping Mary‘s fiction
Her stand could only be that of affliction.

Hail Mary full of Face
Face that faced nothing exçept winning the Ace
Did no one ever tell you - you were a case?
Using your screams to stuff our mind
And even more shrieking to clog our mind
No other Syrian family could be so unkind.

Always filling us with her delicious food
Only to turn against us, trussing our good mood.
I’d like to regurgitate all that poisonous food
Anything about her became totally lewd.
She bragged of her daughters - were they really that good?
When we were children, told us we’d never be like them
We never wanted to be like those hurting us.
Took our Dad’s affection, he also deserting us
We never but finally saw that they were into hurting us.

She has attacked us screaming, screaming on end
Never an explanation, never to end
She took money, stole sister too, not a lend.
With this cruel treatment, we were not able to fend.
I’ve never heard such venom in any human voice
It seared through both my ears, such an odious noise
Those first twenty years were so very splendid
But later with her actions - all was ended
With her allotted time this is how she would spend it.

Sister, affections stolen, obeying by fear
Couldn’t counter - with a mere
Stand up to this fraud of a Mother Dear.

Our baby sis had became her clay
She would remake her through many a day.
She owes us much, this lying thief
No family tree would know, not even a leaf
She stole and changed our beautiful blood
Returned nothing except a bad bad flood
Of making our names into family mud.

She then gave out inimical messages
The taunting that came from her mealy mouth
From Damascus, that lousy mouse.
Couldn’t discuss, but only scream
What ever, ever, did she mean?
This Family into which father bought.
Their apathetic “reasoning” I was never taught.

Her daughters conscripted to the Mary core
Following her words, her iron ore
Inflated us with much heavy criticism
To fill our sissa with a lack of witticism

Lying, lying she always, always hated us
For twenty years, she consistently slated us
For slaughter, just like little lambs
Motherless, she took our little lamb
She won, didn’t she, in her sham?
Mary & dad really fated us with their sick flim flam!

She’d tackle anyone, anything in her path
And she did, with her oh so dreadful wrath.
What powered this extremely devilish mind?
She had never, ever, been really kind.

Our sodden father turned to her
She was Goddess, he deemed Something
While we were nothing, nothing, NOTHING!
It didn’t happen till twenty years after
From kindliness to hypocrisy
One would not believe.
Our real selves never to retrieve.

A sweet child, sissa, full of love
Knew they were cold and she let us know
After those years, sadly though
Turned into another hateful *****
Forced to be like them, else be ditched.

Dad, dad, the precious Syrian lad
Embraced the family gatherings that they had
Youngest of the Ikmuks - he was mad
Allowed them the desecration of our pad
They could say anything--made it their fad.

He wouldn’t speak to them of their travesty
Worshipped them, and ever drastically
Wanted to be Them, lest he be
On the Outs from the Family Tree
Ousted, married out of the Tribe
Hardly now, when this happened, few are alive.
He refused to tell them we both should be here.
He would never, ever, play it fair.
“Dad, if you go, I’ll never be the same.”
He would never, never take the blame.
Of his paltry stabs at being a human
Go stuff him in a jar with more rotten cumin.

Never defended us, never, never
Always took their part like a mismatched lever.
Usually a Dad with a daughter would stay beside her
But then, he gave Mary a far wider rider.

Gatherings went on, by the family Mare.
All our lives had been spent with them before
But Iron Lady with Iron Ore
Came through later and before.
She would win, so well connected to her vile kin
Change, girl, change, you’re just an Anglo fem.
Don’t, please, don’t pay much attention to them.
Sudden hate - my thoughts now were dashed.
I changed - they took all I had and then they smashed.

They brought us into their sickly Ottoman lives
But all of them acted as if we had the hives
They, centuries‘ habit, it was the mid-1950’s why so bold?
They were too much, too much very, to behold
We were stricken, treated as in days of old
We would never be part of their unhealthy mold  [Mould?]

Regular at Church. What kind of God could she worship?
You know who should have been told? The Syrian Bishop!
The She-Devil not even relishing the Church script
Eternally, she would always, rip, rip, and then grip!
Instead looked to those after Church who would serve her!
She did just this with a total fervor.
No Communion, no worship, but her only feats
To seek and add to gossip in the streets
Afterward. When-Where everyone meets.

Se enjoyed the Devil of Power over those she knew
Verily, she should have been thrown in the loo.
Few new. Only the rejected two.

Mary, Mary full of Mace
You never did achieve much grace
Wish you could have finally
Fallen on your ignorant Face
There’s really not going to be any space
To explain your bad translation of a very good race.
The Syrian families I always know very well
Would never have made this kind of hell.

The Syrian race is good, except for this “mother”
I speak from my place as the dreaded ”Other”
You are and were a terrible, mother
You’re a crude example of this Middle Eastern  race.
Very few of them did see through your face.

In that family I barely gleaned this toxicity
But, never, ever, did I witness much felicity.
They llaughed and laughed about any Other
Played well their acts as if they cared
They knew Syrian-like we would not fare
We, Dad, all sisters three - fell for her snare.

What think you, God, of these poor children
How il-ly this Family thoroughly tilled them
Two non-Arab daughters’ given bad repute
Their shocking beliefs really made us mute
All that came from her demented mind
All that encountered Mary’s “kind”
She destroyed our conception of self
This hypocrisy would make one melt.

She infiltrated us, her daughters, and my Sissa
That we were not as good as she - but she lost her mister
Had Uncle [our blood] lived, this would never have occurred.
But Auntie [not our blood] surely had demurred.
Her hooked-nose criticizing, and simple daughters,
Psychologically--against us-- they joined in on these slaughters.
Kindness for two decades to rent, later they spent
Hell on the motherless, but hiding that intent
Taught her daughters: “Don’t be involved with them”
We really do know some of what she did, or said,
This is the kind of meal that she constantly fed
Her masque nearly hiding her evil bent.
Too bad she wasn’t forced back into her Syrian tent.

Mary, Mary quite contrary, How does your world work?
You won, you won, you ignorant, piece of work
You demanded respect from all of us, treacherous,
She got it, didn’t know it, then she brought down the two of us

Sneaky, low-life, hypocrite witch
We always thought we had a niche
But lost kids like us did never snitch
We wouldn’t, didn’t open up about that *****.

We had a twenty-year comfort zone with her
Deserted at last by her flying fur
Stolen, deserted at last by Dad--that foul mister
Stolen, deserted, lastly by our pretty baby sister.

This left us changed by this She-Devil
Would that there’d be a way to counter her evil
We couldn’t - she was always far too strong
An ISIS for us - this would last too long.

After these years, I could not grow
Was I a real woman? -  I didn’t know!
Being a mother couldn’t show
That this Family created a list of woe.

When Sissa had babies & a mom to help
We did this alone - all this we felt.
Her faulted hatred never did melt.
I didn’t know how to take a stance
Nor could I find out how to advance.
We had to oppose Aunt Mary’s dance.

That Sissa could not bo
This poem represents many years of my life. It is all true.
Carol Rae Bradford, M.Ed., Author, "Mayflower Arab: A Memoir"
Thank you for accepting my poetry. April 16, 2015
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2016
for vicki who loves this poem for the best reason ever: just does...
<•>
read a thousand love stories,
pause, rest awhile,
read ten thousand more,
and then deny equality.

If you ask for no more than you can give,
you ask for not enough

love is imbalance not an equation,
with a single solution

love has both constants and variable factors

so you write of tribulations and tributes
so you write of lamentations and liftings

you think you are on the same page
perhaps
but do we not all read at different paces?

one of you is solid, one is dotted and dashed
one of you is straight, one is bent, forever curving

when you think you are
in balance
in the same place
in syncopation

perhaps you are for a moment
a calculus of one point on a trajectory

and you say I can only ask for what I give
and am given
and no more,
you have miscalculated

this flux
flummoxed
when the old terrain is flayed flat
but thru the windshield you see the
plateau ends, the geography unknown,

when you see unknown
when you seek the unknown
when you give from places you did not know
you had to give from
when you kiss a hand
for  twenty minutes more than than the one minute you intended
when you give more than is asked
when you ask for more than you can you think you can give
the imbalance that  is the only concert
the imbalance that is the the only constant

how do I know this?

what are my credentials?

you are not a teenage girl,
what matters of what you know, recall of these matters?

I am who I am
a diversity of man and manner;
I am past prime and in decline
but this I know
for having failed ten thousand poem times
you must ask for more than one can give

but that's not fair!

silly one, still wretched confused,
even after one hundred thousand poem times

you must ask of
yourself
more than you can give
and ask no less
demand no less

a body in emotion is not a body in rest
when the imbalance is too great or insufficient

then you write a poem
look in the mirror that cannot lie
and move
on
or
move off

  begin to ask
yourself
to whom may I give myself
more than is asked.
then you have finally asked
the correct solution to the
unsolvable equation
---
Ask for more than you can give
was added to HP on
Feb 8, 2014
Erika Skye Oct 2012
My dream was there
I had it tight
It wouldn't falter
I'd get it right
But I let it slip
Through weakened hands
And what happened next
I can't understand
My wishes dashed
My hopes all fled
And all the dreams I had were dead
What happened to my iron fist
That hard resolve that must exist
Why did I trip along the way
What happened on the fateful day
My dream was there
I had it tight
But lost my edge
And lost the fight
Go to sleep—though of course you will not—
to tideless waves thundering slantwise against
strong embankments, rattle and swish of spray
dashed thirty feet high, caught by the lake wind,
scattered and strewn broadcast in over the steady
car rails!  Sleep, sleep!  Gulls’ cries in a wind-gust
broken by the wind; calculating wings set above
the field of waves breaking.
Go to sleep to the lunge between foam-crests,
refuse churned in the recoil.  Food!  Food!
Offal!  Offal!  that holds them in the air, wave-white
for the one purpose, feather upon feather, the wild
chill in their eyes, the hoarseness in their voices—
sleep, sleep . . .

Gentlefooted crowds are treading out your lullaby.
Their arms nudge, they brush shoulders,
hitch this way then that, mass and surge at the crossings—
lullaby, lullaby!  The wild-fowl police whistles,
the enraged roar of the traffic, machine shrieks:
it is all to put you to sleep,
to soften your limbs in relaxed postures,
and that your head slip sidewise, and your hair loosen
and fall over your eyes and over your mouth,
brushing your lips wistfully that you may dream,
sleep and dream—

A black fungus springs out about the lonely church doors—
sleep, sleep.  The Night, coming down upon
the wet boulevard, would start you awake with his
message, to have in at your window.  Pay no
heed to him.  He storms at your sill with
cooings, with gesticulations, curses!
You will not let him in.  He would keep you from sleeping.
He would have you sit under your desk lamp
brooding, pondering; he would have you
slide out the drawer, take up the ornamented dagger
and handle it.  It is late, it is nineteen-nineteen—
go to sleep, his cries are a lullaby;
his jabbering is a sleep-well-my-baby; he is
a crackbrained messenger.

The maid waking you in the morning
when you are up and dressing,
the rustle of your clothes as you raise them—
it is the same tune.
At table the cold, greeninsh, split grapefruit, its juice
on the tongue, the clink of the spoon in
your coffee, the toast odors say it over and over.

The open street-door lets in the breath of
the morning wind from over the lake.
The bus coming to a halt grinds from its sullen brakes—
lullaby, lullaby.  The crackle of a newspaper,
the movement of the troubled coat beside you—
sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep . . .
It is the sting of snow, the burning liquor of
the moonlight, the rush of rain in the gutters packed
with dead leaves:  go to sleep, go to sleep.
And the night passes—and never passes—
Lou Costello’s
bronze semblance
dipped and danced atop
his granite pedestal
spinning miasmatic tales
of enigmatic hope and
resplendent labor

“the sweet
unbounded
expectation of
hope once
surged down
this city’s streets”
... said Lou

"I was a self made man
until someone thought up
the idea to cast a bronze
caricature of me and
bolt it to this grand rock”

nostalgia
is the boldest form
of fiction
culling from the past
the things hoped for
in the now

“growing up
here
I clipped school,
played ball,
rolled drunks
and fought
nickel ante
prize fights
to get my
daily bread,
I literally
punched my
way out
of this town”

a smith smelts a
batch of liquid bronze
pouring molds full of
a fervent wish
a madman's delusion
a priestly promise
a Pollyannaish illusion?

baskets overflowed
gushing hope, offered
at the holy altars by
honorable workers

it was said that
a morsel of labor
could feed 5000
starved families
breeding hopes as large
as a half cup of water

hope
the size of a
mustard seed sparked
recovery of 1000 sick children
dying from the Asian Flu
at St. Joe's

hope
willed an end to war’s slaughter
which ironically was bad for
Paterson's war profiteers
forcing layoffs
sparking labor actions

hope
ignited conflagrations firing
the resurrection of dead industries
lately there is a lot of hope
circling this one

miracles spring
from the pronounced
lips of trembling hearts

the hopeful amassed
slogging forth on bloodied toes
along razor thin slices
of expectation
hoping to begin again
eager to build anew

new starts sometimes
grow old fast soon
hope expires
winging back home
on broken wings of
misspent labor

hoping for the snow to stop
a lump of coal to last
the labor of a budding crocus
rewarded, breaking through
the hard crust of winters end
blooms for a day then expires

hope is a beggars wish
gods give yearnings heft
prayers earnestly chanted
willing paradigm shifts

prayers of absolution
play the angles
calculating odds
of probabilistic mathematics
a sure thing long shot
the prayers of the
righteous availeth much

we hoped for jobs
we hoped for leisure
we hoped for love
we hoped for labor
we hoped for rest
we hoped for luck
we hoped for a life
wealth health blest

laughing at our follies
crying over defeats
our city a tragic star
a comedy of schemes

our
hope and labor
is the keystone of
our self construction
cornerstone of
a grand city’s edifice
its negation our
deconstruction

tragedy and comedy
invested and spent
falling and laughing
foibles and faith

belief trumps evidence
happenstance slays surety
horror and beauty
compose a life's mural
nothing happens
by mistake

learning and ignorance
fate and chance
the risk of randomness
expiration dates arrive fast

predetermination a bold
conviction, suspicion,
intention a splendid  
kismet  

banality becomes
sublime  
laughter is ******

...the mystery is in
the loam... says WCW
...the finished product
is what I’m after...

“what the
**** are you
doing here?"
the bronzed Louis
gagged

"Hey Abbott
look at these clowns
in the yellow plastic
garbage bags!

bobbing in a sea of
midnight mist

a posse of
neon clowns
donning glad bags
on the most dismal
night of the year

twinkling under the
gloom of my playgrounds
faltering streetlamps

“twinkling targets
easily tracked,
a trained eye,
a steady hand
could pick you off
at a thousand paces
what gives?

“what the **** are
you doing here?

“what the **** am I doin
here for that matter?”

“the second question
is easy to answer,

“I’m Paterson’s
finest son....

...“Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me," and went on with the show. No one in the audience knew of the death until after the show when Bud Abbott explained the events of the day, and how the phrase "The show must go on" had been epitomized by Lou that night....

"Mr. Bacciagalupe
he use to live on
Cianci Street

“who’s on first?
what’s on second?
I don’t know is on third?
was a riddle one recited
to get into his speak

“his Ginnie Red was legendary
and no one was ever known to
die from drinking his bathtub gin”

the old world ways
are made new
by the arrival of
new old worlds
supplanting old Italiano

“where is all the goodwill capital
we invested in this place?”

successive generations
thought it best to export
the capital of the
expired generations
elsewhere

it was ferried
across the river,
crossed the
city boundaries,
leaving for Wayne
and the fairer lawns
of Wyckoff and the
greener grasses of
Franklin Lakes

all the old wise guys
died off or were sentenced
to life by their children,
some still doin time in
old age homes in
Rockaway

all the sport clubs
boarded up but their spirit
lingers like an espresso
ring on a post slurp
demitasse cup

“hell my body is buried
in Hollywood but here
I am, holding court in
Costello Park
talking with you
knuckleheads
a baseball bat
my royal scepter
a brown derby
my crown, truly a
King of Nothing,
Lord of All

“the soul of my city is
eternal,  like the comedy
of tragedy or is it
tragic comic?

“here I remain
omnipresent,
spinning about
frozen forever
in a magnificent
bronze age,
erected to my likeness
beholding me
to stand witness
to this litter strewn park
decorated with corrugated
Big Mac boxes, plastic
Big Gulp tops and discarded
rubbers bagging the ****
of this cities arrested
citizenry”

never actualized
never naturalized
citizenship denied
at the commencement
of ejaculatory flows
of joy

unfulfilled spirit
of citizenship
never to experience
the splendor
of yesterday’s
modernist
metropolis and
Lou’s stand up
routines

“look at that John
over there, that guy
wheezing like a
ruptured blacksmith’s
billow, pounding away
laboring to get off

“the poor little
******* just hopes it
will end soon

it does
**** he’s done

I” knew that guys
grandfather,
getting off
runs in the family
and remains one
of the few things
that draws the progeny back
to the old neighborhood

“you can still glimpse
snippets of the old ways
rising in new ways

“an Armenian
sports club
around the corner
is a new
incarnation of
the old Neapolitan
social clubs that
once demarcated the
neighborhoods

“these days
great grandsons
of once proud
Sons of Italy
come back to the
old neighborhoods
begging for hand-jobs
from crack ******

“welcome to my
burlesque world

“since the Gumbas
moved to Franklin Lakes
the wannabe wise guys
became ***** whipped
dumb *****
making ***** of
themselves with
their painted ****-job
Jersey Housewives

“they ***** their families
out for a bit parts on
MTV and a free lunch
at the Brownstone

“their grandfathers
labored long hours
to assure the well being
of their families in the expectant
hope of a better shot at life
but the children squandered
the hard earned bequest lovingly
bequeathed by reverent forebears

“in the wee hours
one can sometimes hear
a weeping chorus
of concrete Madonnas
musing melodious lullabies
to the sleeping
Lombard's lying
in uneasy repose at
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery

“they twist in their graves
dreaming of a last dance with the
Lady of Unending Sorrows
at weddings for unrepentant
wayward daughters and prodigal sons

“its small
recompense for a
lifetime of an
honest day’s work”

the dashed hope
of squandered labor
begets a city of ruin”

at the
parks northern corner
the Salvation Army’s
rumbling bivouac rests
in a dreamless sleep
its residents
patiently waiting to
inherit this city
abandoned by
nuevo wise guys

this tragedy
is all comedy
the comedic hope
of tragic labor
buried snoring
the millenniums away
awaiting resurrection
day

Lou was getting ******...
“get outta my park

“the artists
in the rehabbed
factories across
the street
are resting

“nothing much
going on there

“if you're hoping
to find some
homeless slogs
head over to the river
you should find some there”....

Music Selection:
Frank Sinatra, High Hopes

jbm
Oakland
3/26/13
Part 5 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  Hope and Labor is the city motto of Paterson NJ, nick named The Silk City.

— The End —