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L B Sep 2018
My friend and I talk about it
Neighborhood got decimated this year
One after another the corners of community are gone
We touch the elder memories
as one might touch a head in blessing
as loved ones pass

We linger longest over John

Found dead after ten hot days
by other-worldly hazmat crew
flanked by cruisers
with their special, yellow truck
and zipper bags

...found 'im
glasses folded neatly on the night stand
in his jammies
all tucked into bed

No one thought it strange
that strange young guy would die
already decomposing in his head
among his personal effects
his fleet of rusting cars
and half-assed projects
Deck tacked to garage
his herds of “pets”

Easy to pretend he wasn't really there
between jail stints or some imagined threat or theft
of crap
haunted by the shadows of his persecutors
caught in motion lights
and cameras' blinding evidence of
jungle-jumble and malfunctioning car alarms
going off in the wind
Everyone's out to get his stuff
We could dismiss him--


...except for times
he mowed his grass at night
or hand-built “the lunatic tower”
just for mom
from scavenged scraps and
hammered hours
through the housing codes
and horror of the neighbors...
...Such a special spectacle...

******* crazy-- John!

He was enough for one day at a time
like when

he flung that threatening bolder
on his bilco doors
for percussive effect

Get off my ******' property!”
(not using his “inside voice”)
“Next time, that'll be your head!!

He announces his intent
to not get mad, behave himself
to call the cops on me instead
While his mother screams in dread
“John is off his meds!”

My phone is set to speed dial

“How did we miss this?
How did we not miss him those quiet days?”

How we miss him now
How quiet
Every neighborhood has one,  and I do miss him.  John provided endless daily entertainment and angst.  Sometimes he was a truly friendly neighbor; sometimes, truly scary.  We had many long conversations.  My beloved cat, Bailey adored him.  I took that as a good sign.  John cried when Bailey was found dead.  I have entrusted them to each other's care in heaven.

Jesus, forgive John his failures and his torments.  I take his place dutifully as the local crazy.  :)
I envy the glass
Touching your lips
Dialing your number
Makes my heart tender

Just hearing your name
Here or there
Makes me stare
I hide your love in my eyes

They accused me of being blind
You know that I don't t mind

I want to see the world
Through your eyes
Till they morn me one day
Because of her love
he dies.
JT Nelson Jun 14
We heard the screech
Then the pop
Of metal on metal
Or metal on wood
It’s hard to tell the difference
When you’re half asleep

People were running
To it and from it
People afraid that they’d
Be sent away
Away from their babies
Others stopped them and calmed them

My thumbs wrestled
With dialing 9-1-1
But I described it best I could
As quickly as I could
And as accurately as I could
Then we waited.
Traumatic situation all around tonight in our “hood” as a mom with children jumped the curb and hit a pole or tree then took off from the scene as she was afraid that she’d be deported or put in in jail or something. One by one the emergency personnel showed up and we made our way home. Lights and voices still thick behind us. Scary.
I fell like dialing your number and hearing your voice,
But I don’t want to be that weak person, between us;
I rather will find other reasons to be weak;

I would rather breakup my sobriety
and drink up before its noon;
I would rather cryout in public
I rather quit nonsmoking tag,
I rather gulp chocolate and giveup on calorie counts
I rather text myself hearts,
and prove that I am weak;

Yes,I will not call you; I am not weak;
Rohan Press Apr 12
She'd murmur "oh" to know
I'm dialing in the rain.

Muffled receiver to project an
Opus wholly mine. Picture
the murmur, shouldered.
Picture this chord, roaring in yellow tungsten,
Littered to the formless.
off to nowhere.
Wk kortas Mar 2017
Well, why not me, I reasoned
(No surprise to friends and loved ones,
As I have always considered my time
On this spinning patch of rock
As something of a monument to the value of pragmatism)
But there were still the normal sine-wave vacillation
Between tenuous optimism and odds-driven grim reality,
Fanciful discussions of Chinese herbs and Mexican clinics
And, later still, of time frames and stock transfers,
All the while various folks attired in suits and clinic coats
Debating matters pertaining to the coda of my personal symphony
(Doing so as if yours truly wasn’t even in the room)
Until, deciding my input might be somewhat pertinent, I said
If it’s all the same to you, I would like to go home.

It was, in a sense, like getting back on an old Schwinn
(Fender dented, rubbing on the front tire just the least little bit,
The chain needing oil, grudgingly giving in
To the demands of the crank)
Sitting, unused but inordinately patient, next to the barn,
The whole notion of settling back into a pace you’d forgotten,
Like dialing back a metronome from allegro to andante
Without missing a beat or flubbing a note.
What’s more, there were the sensations you’d never made time for
While under the thumb of daily deadlines and train schedules,
Greeting you like friends you hadn’t seen for twenty years
But started gabbing with as easy as slipping on old jeans:
The scent of the lilacs, overpowering but borderline mystical,
The informal yet precise ballet of the cattails and jewelweed,
The fields of cows that, even though you know it can’t be the case,
Are populated by the same Bessie and Bossie
You taunted and pelted with watermelon as a child
(I have made it a point to proffer my apologies),
The dark, pine-choked hills,
Formidable but accessible, even comforting.
Sometimes, when I am not paying attention,
I catch myself all but tearing up,
And I say to myself, ever so softly,
As not to disturb the squirrels and the wrens,
I had almost forgotten.  Christ forgive me,
I had almost forgotten.

I’d assumed (sometimes, I can be astounded
At the full extent of my own foolishness)
That she would merely take a leave of absence;
She has, after all, an alphabet full of advanced degrees,
A rainmaker’s reputation and the billable hours to match.
Columbia and Harvard Law, after all,
But she grew up down the road just a piece in Ebensburg,
So this is all part and parcel of her as well
Hard coded in the DNA for better or worse, she’ll say,
All the while shaking her head and laughing softly.
Surely you don’t want to stay here, I’ll say,
Boorishly rational in the face of everything
Which would argue to be otherwise,
You’ve read enough Forbes and Fortune;
Altoona is dead, Johnstown is dying,
And she allows that, for a time, coming back
Was the source of some misapprehension on her part,
Until it dawned on her that on those rare occasions
It had occurred to her to glance skyward in mid-town,
She had seen faceless tiles of windows
Sufficient to sheet a Great Pyramid,
An Armageddon’s worth of angels and gargoyles in the cornices,
But she had not, even once, ever seen the stars.
Madelynn Nieves Sep 2018
Activities posted
Dialing your numbers
Blocking my own
Hanging up
Just after you answer
Long enough
To hear your voice
The memories flood
Of all the times
You’d greet me fondly
Back when you treasured
My existence
This light and energy
Which has dissipated
Since you’ve gone
Lost in the translation
Of goodbyes
The idea
That you never
Want to see me again
Not of any fault of my own
But because you’ve found another
Who makes you shine
Without trying
As oppose to someone
Who spent every minute
Exhausting options
Trying to make you smile
As I reach your door
I realize
I can’t bring my finger
To your bell
Leaving you content
Hoping someday
You see what I was worth
Call me
Without hanging up
Just to talk
What went wrong
Find the cure
To the poison that filled us
The one
That caused us to separate
Melting us into nothingness
Leaving me searching
For the pieces
To begin to repair us
Without your help
Or awareness
No permission needed
Because I am convinced
That once you see the big picture
You will come back
And thank me
For all of the effort...
If I'm getting better
Then, it's getting worse with the times

If I'm getting better
Then, it's reading between bittersweet lines
Serried and sweet

If I'm getting better
Then, it's getting better with my drowning
As I indulge in my ocean of surfing oceans
Repleting the lines and repairing the metaphors

If I'm getting better
I'm here for a good time in a badland with the metaphorical girl
In metaphysical worlds with epistles of compartments
I'm getting better, as the line keeps drowning in it's meaning
It's here and now and in the next line
Waiting for you in the extra mile in a time other than this, at least not ersatz to arson

If I'm getting better all the time
I revisit my poem again on highway sixty-nine
And write one more, in the regretful repose
Adorable and somewhat waiting for your next line
Instead of counting the faults in my words for the children falling on the earth looking for ghostless cars
Trailblazing the streets of Godly proportions, see the letter of red

Hoping they will disappear completely, but, everyone is around here
Everyone is so clear, but, so full of tears for fears sanctifying
I'm conscious of my own fears, I just hold back the glistening tears
It's a real tragedy when people are afraid of the light when darkness drives away the children of the post office pedestrians crossing the mind of my angry streets

We are in the fear of darkness, the plight is just everlasting
Pushing ourselves out of our sleep to dream of peace in our state of mind, often unconscious of what's there in immediate memory
Apologizing politely for what isn't ours to keep even though it is love, serried and sweet like our ghosts
Dead inside, because of these fears and elated harmonic motions of the spies of the motionless stars in Swedish skies dreaming of cinema, crime, and punishment for the dialing phones adding those soundtracks to their lives
Addresses, books, and phone numbers in the booth on an extra mile, waiting for a one night stand to get better knowledge about the road
Finally, we are asking strangers
The right questions, dreaming of centuries
In burnt letters and burning consciousness
Lintels and fireflies all shine in the timbre of the beating wings of flying centuries
We weren't sure of what we were doing was right, we were inventing ways to live the best part of ourselves and finding happiness in rarity
The lives in broken places, and the tears of the greater good, selling ourselves to the punishing attitudes
Optioning for realistic perceptions, and picking them from the payphone
Extra line for the ones waiting for a reception on the cell phone and the mundane conversations turn into romance
If I know love is in your house, then, I'd need the number to your street
Serried and sweet, and the pictures are enough to keep of weird fished out seeds
Love is the flower, let it grow
And these mundane conversations will turn into a passion
Talking of the romance in a time where are timeless clouds and living out our times, pursuit struggling with our free cloud
Serried and sweet

— The End —