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Patrick Austin Sep 2018
Our Backgrounds before we met...

I'm an only child born in Montana in 1983, from a divided home. Parents divorced at seven, Mom was unstable and unfaithful. Dad obtained custody of me and we moved to Oregon Coast to live with my Grandma. I had unhealthy visits and relationship with Mom thereafter. My Grandma died at 12 and at 13 my Dad remarried an alcoholic woman, I had a strained relationship with them until adulthood when she stopped drinking. I had exposure to trauma; alcoholism, mental illness, verbal abuse and juvenile troubles. I rebelled by using drugs in my late teens and early twenties, I lived on my own for a few years after high school but had little direction.

My bride is the eldest with two little brothers, parents stayed in same area of Portland during childhood with lots of family support and her parents stayed married. They had Christian values but some anger and anxiety issues at home. She was sexually assaulted at 17 and never had good closure with this. She told me her parents didn't provide her enough help with things like this growing up. Status quo was the backbone of the family dynamic, challenging emotions were discouraged. She rebelled by being reckless with herself, financially and sexually. She decided to join the Navy at 19. She lived alone briefly, but mostly with Grandparents & Parents before our marriage.

I loved how we both grew up reading Archie comics. No other girl I had ever met had that in common with me. I think we wanted a surreal life like the one in Riverdale.

2002

She and I were 19 when we first met in my home town on the coast at an arcade. We became friends and secretly liked each other. I was too nervous to ever make a move on her. We traveled together, she stayed with me, we used drugs together and drank at times. One night she drank too much and had *** with a guy I knew at a party. I was devastated by this. She was Navy bound and I didn't see a real future for us. The next morning she left and I didn't talk to her again for two years. I figured she would be gone with the Navy soon and that she must not have been interested in a relationship with me despite the time we spent together.

2003

I was depressed about this rejection. I dated an older woman who was interested in me but was no substitute. I eventually moved to the Portland area to work and live. I still had few plans and was lonely, in or out of the few brief relationships I attempted. I never found someone that I felt safe with or had a true connection, let alone true love. She ended up not following through with the Navy and continued working her way up in her job at the call center. She attended community college and dated a few guys. She dated one guy for a couple of years who was not a good match for her but stayed with him off and on despite issues. His family was wealthy and treated her well. He slept around on her as did she. At one point he gave her an STD. She also had an ongoing affair with a married man in the military that she went to high school with. He had a child and a wife with mental health issues. She was still hurting a lot at times and not always doing well.

2004

She reached out to me via email after two years of no contact. We emailed back and forth a couple times over the next few months. We talked about meeting up. We spoke on the phone and eventually met up in Portland. We had an amazing night getting to know each other again and work past the confusion of our earlier days of friendship. I realized that she did in fact like me before but since I was timid and trying to be proper and take things slowly she didn't understand my motives. She apologized for her actions at the party as well. She claimed she was in a really messed up place and was making bad choices at that time. Getting our feelings out in the open was good and she appreciated my attitude towards being slow to make moves on her when we first met. I was worried about falling for her based on our history but eventually I was determined to give it a shot. We soon after starting dating and being intimate. Our love was extremely powerful and beyond all others we had both experienced. She broke ties with other suitors and shortly after we talked about marriage and started planning a wedding for the next year.

I remember when we first held hands. We were so shakey and she was quivering on my couch as I had my arm around her. We felt so safe with each other. We could finally be ourselves and do what our hearts desired. We knew we were on to something new and so amazing. We were so patient with each other as we navigated our new love and emotional thresholds.

I remember when we saw Matisyahu in concert together. That was a once in a lifetime experience and a life-changing moment for us. I feel it set the tone for things to come in our future.

I remember how creative my proposal to her was, in the Arcade where we first met. I hid the ring in a prize container from one of those claw machines. Pretending I got the ring from inside by reaching into the machine on one knee I was so nervous and wasn't sure if I could pull it off before she caught on. She looked so shocked and surprised. I was so excited she said yes! We took pictures in the photo machine and had burgers afterwards, I'd do all of it all over again just to see her face in that moment.

2005

We found an apartment for us in Portland. I moved in while she was still living back with her parents until the wedding. She had to change her number because the married man she was previously involved with kept calling her about changing her mind about marriage and continuing their relationship. She was offered a job in Denver and we decided to move away together after our sandy wedding in Cannon Beach. I still had a very hard time and was embarrassed with my past history with her. Many of my friends knew what had happened at 19 and how much it hurt me but I was so crazy about her I think I tried to pretend it didn't happen or that it was not a big deal because we were younger. We got married and moved to Colorado soon after. We made friends at a church, I became more active as a Christian and really loved being married. We were very involved in keeping spirituality in our marriage. I began to notice her poor financial decisions and practices more. This caused conflict but we always tried to communicate and work on things.

I remember when we went down to my folks for New Year's in 2005. We sipped tea in my Datsun as we drove to the coast over the snowy mountain pass. We told them of our engagement. We were all so blissful and excited. We never knew what was to come. We didn't even know about the opportunity in Denver yet. Our story is amazing!

I remember when I wanted to go see her in Portland and the roads were iced over. I left my car at a park and ride before I caused a wreck. I took the light rail across town then rode a bus to the Eastside shopping mall. The bus to her house was not running because it wasn't safe so I walked the rest of the 4 Miles sometimes having to crawl on my hands and knees to make it up hills in the ice and then I finally made it only to just spend a couple hours with her and fall asleep on her parents couch. Her Dad drove us back the next morning to my car so I could get to work. It was all worth it just to see her for that little extra time. I would have done anything for her.

I remember when she was interviewing for the new position in Denver? I drove all over Portland trying to find little toy cars to help with her illustration about how a team is like a car having all four wheels and how they work together to accomplish a goal. I was so proud of her for giving it her all and succeeding at earning that position. Now that I think of it, that car analogy applies to our family and us. We all need each other to be better and keep on track and be a team. I am so motivated by that and our boys. I lose my way without that and I want to be her reflection and motivation as she has been that for me. I truly thought we brought out the best in each other when we were together.

I remember when we were given tickets to see Fiona Apple. That was so spontaneous and a great way to kick off our time in Denver together. We always used to watch our same movies over and over again. Like the Friends DVDs and White Christmas every winter break and The Wedding Singer. We walked everywhere and lived simply. "I wanna be the guy, who grows old with you"

I remember in our first Denver apartment when we took baths together in our claw foot tub in the big bathroom. We put a board over the top and played cards. I liked playing Uno with her in bed too. She was so funny being slightly color blind and in the dark, mixing up the greens and blues. We played Uno in Breckenridge too at that cool bed and breakfast in the fall.

2006

We had continued fun and adventure in our new home of Denver. She was doing well as a trainer for the bank and I started working in health foods. We went camping in New Mexico a couple times with friends and we both took individual trips to Oregon as well as one together for her uncle's wedding. We had marital spats on occasion but always bounced back. The issues we had seemed like part of a normal marriage and were far better than what I had grown up around. I realized that marriage was a lot of work but I was up for the task. She occasionally became aggressive throwing things at me or breaking things during conflict.  I believed I was the problem and tried to change for her in many ways. With two incomes we still had trouble making our bills at times. She had debts that I never knew about that started to catch up with us but I took care of getting them settled and we paid off her car and traded it for an older Volvo Wagon that we both loved, I even had it repainted her favorite color for a birthday gift. Overall things seemed like they were progressing in a positive way.

I remember when we saw Midnight in concert in Boulder. That was the peak of our hippy days. We were alive with pleasure in our healthy vegetarian diets and practices living in a time and place like no other. I want to be like that again. Reggae was our music. We had much in common.

2007

We really fell into our roles in our marriage and the community; church and culture, friends etc. Things seemed very balanced and appropriate for us at that time and that age (24-25). We had separate bank accounts and jobs. I had money in savings. We started the process of buying a house so we could invest in something. She became pregnant shortly after. I embraced the challenge with positive energy but we were both in for a big change. We started having more fights. I didn't have many friends and would write to old friends via social media just so I could to catch up and tell them things were going great with being married to make myself feel better than I actually did. She hated the dawn of social media and also felt isolated I'm sure. She felt I should be doing more for her and I didn't know how to do what she needed but I failed to ask a lot of the time. After one argument, she left the house. My instinct told me to look at ******* and ******* as a retaliation. I had not done this much once we were married because she always met my needs but when things were difficult between us I felt more emotionally isolated. She walked in and realized what I had been doing. She was very upset, and because she was pregnant, thought I was not attracted to her. The truth is I found her even more beautiful and in fact when I looked at ******* I tried to look at women I found less attractive than her so that I feel good about what I have. I mostly fantasized about how these women were more submissive and loving than her. That is the part I needed to feel good about and feel better about myself with because I felt very dominated and controlled. She has never forgiven me for this and I will never stop feeling sorry to her for my brokenness. During one particular argument that year she was getting close to being violent towards me again and I pushed her away on the chest with my fingertips. She got very mad and said I hurt her. I immediately felt terrible and apologized. I never let something like that happen again. I have always avoided violence towards others especially women and of course her. I was defenseless against physical and emotional abuse.

2008

Our eldest son was born at the beginning of the year, it was a traumatic birth for everyone. We wanted a natural birth with a midwife but we were transferred to a hospital and she ended up having an emergency C-section, nothing went as planned. We had a really hard time coping with the emotions of this experience. A lot of buried feelings and trauma from both of us started coming out. We moved a month later into our new home outside of town. No more walking or biking to places, we had to drive everywhere. This house was next to our friends from church. We thought this would make us feel less isolated but we didn’t really have the community with them that we had hoped for. They were upset that they didn't have a child of their own yet and being around us might have been hard for them. My wife stopped working and stayed home with our son. All these changes made for a very difficult time. I did my best to support them but this was the first time we shared a bank account and needed to follow a budget more than ever before. We had no debt at the beginning of the year with money in savings but then the hospital bills put us down about $7,000 and rising with new home and moving expenses and baby needs. My job could barely keep up. She and I had a hard time adjusting. We could not afford to travel home to Oregon and visit family as much and we felt more and more isolated. She started showing me more signs of instability, locking herself in the bathroom with kitchen knives and scraping her legs which continued off and on for years to come. Talks of divorce and suicide threats seemed to happen more than before. I felt responsible and tried to fix her ever changing issues with me.

I remember when herr ******* were full and swollen with milk. It is so beautiful the way she could feed our babies. I wanted her in every way, our bodies belonged to each other. I was there for her and our shared pleasure. I loved it when she told me that she was mine in the heat of passion. This spark could only be a bandage for so long but I didn't know that yet.

2009

I tried to promote within my company but was not selected, they were cutting budgets and employment all around me. I felt worried about our future. I had always thought the military might be a good opportunity and could move us closer to family back home. My father-in-law encouraged me to look into the Coast Guard. I felt this would be a good way to get moved closer to Oregon.  I ended up joining the Navy because we found out we were pregnant again with our second son and that was the only way I could join a military branch. She worked off and on as a nanny and later in the year at a coffee house working nights. We barely spent time together and when we did it was a lot of hard conversations or arguments about finances with making up intimately in the middle of the night between times of caring for the baby. She once scratched my neck with her fingernails during an argument. People I worked with noticed. It was a hard time and we knew change was on the horizon with jobs and moving. We did visit Oregon that summer though and had a great vacation at the beach with a borrowed 4x4 and staying at a hotel and picnicking out of a cooler as well as going to her brothers wedding. I was 26 and about to join the Navy to provide better for my family at all costs sacrificing myself for their benefit because I would have rather died than look like I didn't try my best for them.

I remember when our babies would kick and move around inside her belly. I loved laying by her and feeling her tummy. I would hum to the baby and hear them move and squirm. I loved giving our boys baths when they were babies too. We had our little bundles of our love, wrapped in a towel in our hands, so tiny and vulnerable. I miss those days and want to remember them with her, aside from this state of melancholy.

2010

The Navy recruiters would only take me if we rented out our home and had her stay with family during boot camp and training. We moved to a furnished apartment in Denver and put our things in storage. She was 5 months pregnant and our eldest was two. I shortly after was let go from my job. Our second son was born in April. I got a contract with the Navy at the last minute but didn't leave until August. We sold our beloved vehicles and lived off retirement funds for six months and moved down to Florida where her parents had just moved out of the blue for work, to stay with them until I left for boot camp. I applied for temporary work in Florida at a dozen places but had no luck in my three months there. I took care of our eldest a lot while she took care of the new baby. Being in Florida was a culture shock for us but we had our moments of romance and made the best of it. Eventually I left for boot camp in August. It was really hard and sad to be gone. She stayed in Florida and came to visit me with the baby at boot camp graduation in October. I then went to Connecticut for five months of training. It was also hard but at least I could call home every day and be in the same time zone. I visited Florida during the winter break and saw my boys and her. We went to Disney world and had a great time on her parents. We also made a romantic home movie I could enjoy while away from her. I flew back to Connecticut and tried to make the best of things. My roommate was very abusive of substances and I resisted the temptation for a long time but the threat of being submarine service bound and missing my family pushed me to drinking every weekend and getting messed up to escape before I left.

I remember when we drove to Key Largo, Florida and stopped at a crazy bird wildlife center. I remember our oldest was so amazed hearing a bird say hello back to us. It was so foreign and fun there. I am glad we all shared that experience together.

I remember our trip to the citrus grove in Florida. That was such a great day for our family. I always look back on that with really fond sentiment. I felt like I was in a beautiful family music video with them.

2011

I finished Submarine Training and got orders back to the Northwest. The plan was all coming together. I arrived first and bought a car and got our items moved from storage in Denver to our townhouse rental in Washington. She and the boys joined me a month later. I didn't report to my Sub for another month as they were at sea. She became pregnant again with our third son right after arriving. We had just bought a small car and were not planning on another child. Towards the end of the year I was working a lot and having a really hard time, being bullied and treated poorly at work plus our financial situation was still very difficult. Adjusting to the military was hard among younger men being 28. I dreaded each day in that environment but I tried to endure it for my family. I went to sea for a couple months at the end of the year stopping in Hawaii and California. During this time She reached out to her ex married affair partner after six years of no contact. She didn't tell me until later. She said she needed closure with him, we were not in counseling yet but she decided this was appropriate. I flew home early from sea and wanted to surprise her. The stress and trauma of this quick transition home after being to sea for the first time (which was also traumatic) made me want to drink and get messed up before flying. I arrived home and surprised her but I seemed off to her which I was but didn’t explain why, I have never done that since. I got to be home for two months almost work free while we celebrated the holidays and prepared for the new baby to be born. She started getting more involved with a church and building a community for us which was great. Our financial struggles almost led us to foreclosure of our home back in Colorado but by the grace of God we got it sold with a short sale just in time.

I remember when I came back from Hawaii and brought her a beaded necklace and she wore it naked with her big beautiful pregnant goddess belly and we made passionate hippy love together. I want to grow out my beard again and spend my life making hippy love and feeling free again.

2012

Our third son was born in January. It was a very positive birth experience and much less stressful than the other two. Shortly after I flew out to finish the other half of the deployment I had missed. I really focused on being positive and spiritually connected by reading my Bible at sea which was helpful. I called her when I arrived in Japan halfway through being gone. She was upset because she tested positive for an STD while trying to get on birth control. I became suspicious of her yet she was suspicious of me. We both got tested again and I was clean, she told me she had a false positive after all. This put a big strain on our trust, especially being so far away. This forced us to be honest with each other about some things such as her contact with her ex lover and my drinking to cope. We were both very upset until I returned home and we could start some counseling to work through things. Forgiveness seemed to be difficult for us. It brought up hurts of the past when we were 19. She also had severe postpartum depression that became worse after each birth. I was still having a hard time with work and the submarine environment. Our church friends tried to counsel us but it was not the most helpful. My submarine was scheduled for extended repairs and not going to sea for three years, I would be transferred before the end of that period. I used this time to bond with her and my boys. I wanted to get better involved in our community and do volunteer work and side jobs to earn extra money. Our boys were all given diagnosis's for autism which begun to fill our lives with appointments and challenges for years to come but we were a good team in dealing with all of it. It gave us something to work together on but took our focus away from working on our own personal issues and relationship with each other as much as we should have.

2013

We had new years with both sides of our family in a snowy mountain setting in Oregon. It looked like it was going to be a great year until her Grandpa passed away suddenly. It ripped our entire family apart but especially her. He kept the family grounded and she was very close to him, he really loved all of us. She and I started going on dates again because we had Navy sponsored child care. It was the beginning of a really good thing for us. Tragically one night after a date we were dancing with the boys on the patio and I tried to pick her up and I lost my balance and fell on her, breaking her collar bone severely. She needed surgery and was very mad at me for years to come. She has a scar, a metal plate and numbness in her chest. We worked through it with our community from church but she still is very mad at me. I feel more terrible about this incident than she could ever know. I would lose a finger in place of that incident if I could. I continued having a really hard time in the Navy and I didn't want to stay in but She insisted our boys needed care only the Navy could offer. She also said she would divorce me if I ever left the Navy. I took this threat seriously even though she assured me later that she would never actually do that. Against my own convictions I reenlisted because I wanted to do the best thing for my family. We moved into base housing at the end of summer and didn’t go out to do things as much anymore. The house was nice but it ****** us in, we also had less community with people around our home. I started volunteering at church more and doing work with special needs people. I felt like I was doing good things and that I had purpose all around. I think she appreciated this about me.

2014

We started seeing a professional counselor together and individually. It became a regular event. I worked on myself and she worked on herself. I had a lot of issues with my Mom and eventually broke off communication with her for my own well-being and the betterment of my family. I got past a lot of the bad feelings I had. She worked on her traumatic experiences and our relationship dynamics. Just when things were going well I got a new boss who made things hard for me and others at work and I started messing up more. I got in trouble for messing up a job at work and was given strike one on my record. She lost respect for me as a provider but I tried to stay strong showing her that I would continue to do my best.

I remember when we had an appointment in Tacoma and we had a brunch date together afterwards. She looked so beautiful that day, I took her picture and was so proud to enjoy  huevos rancheros and momosas with her. I remember going to the Tacoma Art Museum seeing the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit, we have a great time together doing new things and feeding each other's interests. I loved laughing with her too, sometimes we just bust up like nobody's around. I loved the sound of her laughter. I loved watching Portlandia with her, it is so funny to remember the funny place where we became close and be able to relate together.

2015

I kept working hard and being involved with family and appointments for my boys and her. I still maintained my volunteer work and part time side jobs. I got strike two with the Navy for messing up again... I had just gained orders to leave the sub for local shore duty. I could not get out of the extended repair situation soon enough. She was very disappointed in me and not so understanding. I worked through this situation with our counselor as did she. He always told her I am a good man and that I do a lot for her and the boys. It's true, I care more than anything about them, I made mistakes and I feel bad especially when I cause my family stress. I left for shore duty in April. It was a hard time adjusting to the new routine but eventually we seemed to make it work. That summer we took a trip to visit Texas where her parents had just moved from Florida. We spent a great night together for our 10th anniversary in a hotel in Texas and went dancing. We had a lot more time together as my work schedule was less. The more people we had in our home working with our kids on issues the less useful my input seemed. I was not included as much in making family decisions because they all seemed to happen while I was at work, despite my objections. We tried to get our budget under control but she still had anxiety discussing spending. She continued to struggle with depression and was put on medication because she had still been harming herself. She was put on Prozac daily and anti anxiety medication as needed. He family members were not very supportive of medication which upset her but I always tried to be supportive in seeking help and continued care for both of us.

2016

We had a busy routine of kids in school now and home school and preschool and appointments for all of us. She wanted to go to church less and less. I started drinking a couple beers at night almost every day. I tried to mask my stress from her mood swings. She decided not to go to church at all anymore and focused teaching the boys about Jewish traditions exclusively which was hard for me to adjust to and confusing for the boys. I loved her and wanted to be supportive. As usual I was submissive and removed myself from the Christian church and some friendships. I feel like we lost our community at that point. We searched for a good place to have a new community with Jewish people but it was like starting over. I felt like I converted to Christianity for her when we got together and now I had to convert again, either way I would have done it for her because I loved her that much. The kids were confused by this change. After trying and failing at many synagogues we finally found one that seemed right for us.

2017

We finally had some money in savings because I kept it a secret and ended up planning a trip to visit her parents in Texas but it fell through due to lack of military flights. Instead we spent three nights away in a nice hotel resort as a family in February. We had three days of pure family time. Playing Battleship and other games in our room as a family, watching movies and eating at all the different restaurants and getting room service. Going swimming everyday in the foggy pool. I love our family and how we can have a great time together doing nothing but at the same time so much. That was so peaceful and relaxing. I wanted to keep doing things like that together as a family before our boys got too old. Shortly after this vacation she wanted to go back to school, then we bought a third vehicle so she could. Shortly after this she changed her mind about school and wanted to buy another house instead. I went along with it to please her and we practically killed ourselves trying to get the move accomplished with not much help or money. We had a good year over all. We got away for a romantic anniversary together in the summer. Just before the boys were going to start public school in the fall, her parents moved back to the area. She had anxiety with this and cut off contact with her parents and brothers for a while. Her Dad called me very upset and I tried to keep the peace until they reconciled. I was doing better with work and made up for lost progress as well as making arrangements to change jobs in the Navy to something more fitting. Since the boys started public school, I planned on leaving for Navy training in my new position after the beginning of the new year when they would be at a more settled place in their routine.

I remember when we went to the Olympic Club for our anniversary and we stayed there for a night away. We drove the long way through the countryside talking about new music that she wanted to share with me and she made notes of it on my phone notepad. We brought our own cooler and picnic that included Session Lagers and chocolate. We checked in to our room and made noisy bohemian love on the edge of the creaky bed in our small European room inches from the door. Then we went to the theater downstairs and watched the late showing of a really interesting Sci-fi movie "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets". We took showers and slept sweetly together. We made love again in the morning before we had a delicious brunch outside on the patio. We took the long way home and drove around on new roads and found our way out of cell phone reception. We figured out the road less traveled to get back to our home. We loved being alone and away together, just one night can make such a difference and mean so much.

I remember going to the Forest Theater to see Tarzan with our boys. That was such a great time. I would love to get our boys into theater and go see them someday. I wanted to keep our dreams and goals together alive and not lose opportunity and fall short by losing our partnership.

I loved going camping in Seabeck. Loading the truck with all our gear and getting away. Archer got sick from the cowboy caviar and I had to clean him and the tent up in the night. I was glad we had each other to be a team in our marriage in that situation as with all the other times. These sorts of things are what escape a person's mind when they are determined to get a divorce.

2018

We had a lot less money than the year before, again buying a house took its toll on finances as did the boys school and after school activities. I stayed very involved taking the boys to appointments and sporting practices. We stopped going to synagogue but tried to practice Judaism at home as much as possible, which I was very supportive of and involved with. She was still depressed and talking about suicide at times. I encouraged her to get help as I always had. Eventually she was diagnosed as Bipolar 2 and manic depressive by a new provider. She started taking new medicine for this and was worried I would want to leave her. I assured her I would never leave her and that I always wanted to work on things with her and help her. I left for training in Mississippi February 8th. It was going to be hard but I thought it might be good to have some time apart from each other to miss one another and reflect on things as well as prepare for times when I would be away at sea. I got in trouble in Mississippi for giving junior personnel a ride and being negligent of people who might be underage and possibly drinking, this became strike three. I never thought this could happen. I became recommend for separation from the Navy shortly after and was stuck in Mississippi for six months instead of six weeks. She was supportive through most of it but seemed to fall into hopelessness. Money was spent by her that we didn't have without discussion. She quietly leased appliances and tires and purchased a vehicle as well as having a secret bank account and email address. I discovered through our insurance company that she wanted to leave our policy for divorce. I didn't know this and she had even told the boys she wanted a divorce before I even knew. I was caught off guard and confused. I kept trying to communicate and reason with her but she didn't want to talk. I refused to give up and wrote emails and a letter but it only seemed to push her away further. By the time I left Mississippi she had filed for divorce and a restraining order against me saying I was unstable and a threat. I couldn't return to my home. My whole life fell apart in just a couple months. I found out she had been talking to other men in the Navy and keeping more secrets. I assumed this was her way of taking control during a difficult situation. I really needed her support during this hard time of transition out of the military. I became homeless, jobless and without my family in a month. I prayed to God that given time things might change between us but it was of no use. Bipolar had consumed whatever was left of my bride and there was no turning back.

I felt that our love was not one to be cast away. Other people might not understand or agree but what we had was truly special. We may have surely needed some time and space to get counseling as well as reconfigure and repair our marriage but I didn't feel like our relationship was irretrievably broken. She was so important to me and I thought she was the love of my life and would always have my heart. I wanted to be her partner in love and life, watching our boys grow up and being there to support each other. Being that she is Bipolar I knew she will need a lot of help and I was more than willing to assist her in making sure she was taking care of herself and not throwing herself into harm's way, ensuring she sticks with a plan we agree to for consistency. I cared about her deeply and had much compassion for her. I didn't believe she was thinking this through or thinking about the future. I really wanted to look at the long and short game with her, neither seemed appealing to me if we progressed but here we are. Things are not going to be easier. She will still have to face her problems and deal with me on a regular basis for the rest of our lives no matter what happens. She can believe her lawyer when they promise she'll get the moon and stars out of this in the end but they only see half of the story. Above all they want our money. It would have been good for her to face me in person and tell me she wanted to divorce and we could have started talking about it with a counselor to figure out how that could even work. Instead she chose to avoid as much responsibility for her actions as possible by doing everything in my absence as if I am not a real person. I had to find out about it from our insurance company and was last to know.

Immediately after I hear the word divorce I looked into her cell usage history and find she has a new military boyfriend that she talks to 20-30 times a day. She felt she owed me no explanation for this and it was none of my business. A mature person would have let me know about this months before and I would have seen it coming but there was no sign until it was seemingly too late. She strayed down a dark path and never turned back.

Her proposed parenting plan was cruel and had no thought put into it. Two hours a week with supervision, no holidays but father's day? She said she’s not trying to keep me from the kids but this is the exact opposite of what she’s saying with the paperwork she filed. She seems very mixed up and still you continues to make rash and sudden choices. Like a completely bogus restraining order against me that contradicts so many facts she has stated herself on record during my Navy retention process. She was so bold as to want to change her identity and even put it in ink on the divorce paperwork as well to a whole new name. That is not the actions of a stable person. She has since changed her mind again on that just as quickly as everything else in her recent life choices. I can't trust that any decisions she is making right now are for the right reasons or that she is of sound mind. I have never seen her so conflicted and confused, grasping at straws and running scared from herself.

Using the legal system so carelessly and going back and forth makes me feel like she is not ready to be making big choices and changes for her and our family. It is very unfair that she can’t consider my feelings on things and what I wish for the boys as well. Very reckless behavior. She can’t anticipate that the day would come where she has to face me and talk to me like an adult. She wants to hide behind the legal system which only leaves much to be unresolved. Ghosting me is not really an option in a marriage of 13 years with children.

Having relationship conversations is too difficult for her at this time and she would rather avoid it and skip to divorce because she thinks that will somehow be easier. I suspect she knows she is making poor choices, possibly out of fear and lust for something new and less painful than the reality of things right now. Our marriage was nowhere close to divorce when I left. She was sad to see me leave and woke with me at 3:30 am to say goodbye, making me coffee and cookies for me to take with.

Our community and accountability seems to be gone due to the continued trend of isolation that she is drawn to. The God fearing loving committed wife I thought I had is gone or trapped inside a terrified shell of herself. She cut me off from her family members and I can't discuss my concerns about her with them either. She only seems to have community with those who are not going to discourage her from these destructive choices.

I understand we have had issues and struggles but we are no worse off than other couples during challenging times. I think that because we loved each other so much it just hurt more when things got hard. I can't accept or believe this is justified or the right choice based on the positive trend we were on before I left. This was the longest break we have ever had from each other and I think she just needed someone to be there more for her, no matter who it was. Time can heal all wounds and I hope that is true for our relationship as co-parents.

She still refuses to tell me about why she wanted a divorce or talk about anything beyond caring for the kids. I have fought the restraining and I can see my boys again but I am still not allowed to my home without her permission.

I have risen from the ashes in just a couple months. I rent a room from a nice couple from our old church and obtained a good paying job while I continue paying the household bills.

This is a really hard time, this difficult spell could have been a tool to better our relationship. I wanted to experience more beautiful memories with her. We had so many more beautiful memories and dreams left to create. This is what marriage looks like to me now as I lower the casket.
This is a timeline of the major events during my 13 year marriage. Amidst the reality, I injected all the lovely memories that refuse to leave my mind.
Be encouraged, don't let trouble get you down.  It may not be good to be alone, find friends to be around.
Be encouraged, you are doing great.  Don't let someone tell you otherwise; they might just be a fake.
Be encouraged, keep pressing ahead.  Continue in the right direction, as you are carefully lead.
Be encouraged, and know you will succeed.  Today you may follow, but tomorrow you may lead.
By, Author & Poet, Sandra Juanita Nailing
Ilunga Mutombo Aug 2018
Steve - Hey

Steve - Hey

Steve - Hey how are you doing?

Steve - Hey I’m just trying to get to know you.

Steve - Wow so it’s like that?

Steve - You won’t even give me a chance?

Steve - I know you see the Facebook messages.
                            
Anna - Hey sorry I don’t feel like talking. You are not worth my time or attention.

Steve - I’m good now.

Steve - I found me another lover.

Steve - All I wanted was your time and your attention, but you placed my heart in an emotional detention.

Steve - To me now you just another potential lover I could of loved and cared for. But you loved your ego more.

Anna - I’m sorry.

Anna - At the time you wanted me I was busy.

Anna - I want you now though, even though you have another lover, I envy her. Your persistence showed me you were worth my time. But my ignorance encouraged me to ignore my heart and feed my ego.

Anna -  Now it’s sad to watch you go.                                                  

Anna - I wish I knew better and did better. Now loneliness comforts my ugly mess.

Steve - I guess this is goodbye, because with persistence I also come with, love, patients and loyalty. I am glad I never gave you the best of me.

Steve - My lover truly deserves all of me. My time and my energy, my flaws and insecurities. Thank you for letting me find the best of me.

Steve - You were the light that had to shine in me for me to find the best of me. Your rejection brought out a better version of me.

Steve - Love stings like a blind bee it can kiss anyone and make them feel it slowly. For those it never kisses their hearts forever remain lonely.
Ellie Jan 2015
We live in a world where no means convince me and flirting is a green light for ***.
Where women are told, don't get ***** and men are rarely told, don't ****.
Where **** shaming is encouraged and victims are blamed.
Where speaking out about **** is a call for attention and **** victims are silenced.
We live in a world where **** culture is normal and that is **unacceptable.
RAJ NANDY Apr 2015
Dear Poet Friends, being fond of Art, I wanted to compose on
this topic for a long time in a simplified form! Egyptian Art and
Architecture influenced the Early Greeks, who in turn influenced the Romans and other civilizations! Initially Art and architecture, religion and culture, were all closely inter-related! Real distinction emerged with the Italian Renaissance. Here I have used only a portion of my personal notes. Hope you find this interesting to read! Sorry for the length! Kindly give Comments after you have managed to read the entire portion in your spare time. Thanks, -Raj

INTRODUCTION TO THE STORY
OF WESTERN ART IN VERSE:
          PART ONE
    * BY RAJ NANDY

INTRODUCTION
Art over the centuries has been variously defined,
But an all embracing definition is rather hard to find!
Ayn Rand defined Art as a recreation of reality according to
artist’s values, his view of existence, and choice;
Who recreates by a selective rearrangement of the elements
of reality, and not simply out of a void!
Study of Art History is a study of man’s creative evolution;
A progress of his wakened consciousness, and a restless
striving towards perfection!
The progress of his mind, taste and skill, which has gradually
evolved through past traditions;
Finding ultimate expression in his multi-faceted creations!
I commence this story from its earliest days, and mention those
Ancient Civilizations which influenced Art in many ways.
Art has been greatly influenced by religion, culture and history;
Therefore, knowing these aspects becomes necessary to
fully appreciate this Art Story!

PREHISTORIC STONE AGE ART:
Let us take a ride on the magic carpet of History, down
past millenniums to begin our Art Story;
Right into the ancient Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic
Eras of the Stone Age,
When early humans left their creative imprints on rock
surfaces and on walls of caves!
Long before the evolution of any proper coherent speech
or communication,
In some 350 caves of France and Spain are seen paintings
of large wild animals like horses, antelopes and bison;
Bearing witness to the story of gradual human evolution!
The cave paintings of Chauvet, Cosquer, and Lascaux, date
between 8000 and 1700 BC,
Drawn by nameless and faceless people who emerged from
an inhospitable Ice Age;
Those nomadic tribes who were hunter-gatherers living in
pre-historic caves!
The Story of Art therefore begins before recorded History,
Pieced together by scholars with the help of science and
archeology!
During the Neolithic Period beginning around 8,000BC,
Ancient man became gradually sedentary, engaging in
agriculture and animal husbandry!
With these nomads settling down in small communities,
Art became mystical and monumental in range;
As seen in the megalithic (large stone) structures of the
famous Stonehenge!
This type of post and lintel structure is also found in ancient
Egyptian architecture, and later in Greece as its special
feature!
Art History spans the entire history of mankind,
Right from the pre-historic days, up to our modern times!
Man’s everlasting quest for immortality lies etched on
rocks and raised stone edifices, defying marauding Time!

MESOPOTAMIAN ART (3500-300BC) :
Let us now travel fast forward on our magic carpet to reach
the Fertile Crescent,
Where the Tigress and the Euphrates Rivers flow, to the
Ancient Civilization of the Sumerians! (3500-2300BC)
The birth of civilization has been traced to Southern
Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians built their first cities,
As the earliest River Valley Civilization around 3500 BC!
It was a period when writing got invented in its earliest
Cuneiform form;  (around 3400 BC)
When Patriarch Abraham established the worship of a Single
God, in a revolutionary religious reform! (Judaism)
Mesopotamian Civilization as the source of our earliest
surviving Art dates back to 3500BC;
When major civilizations like the Sumerian, Akkadian,
Babylonian, Hitties, Assyrian, and the Persians, in this
chronological sequence, contributed to Art History!
Mesopotamian Art in general glorified their powerful rulers
and their connection with divinity;
Reflected on their city gates, palace complexes and ziggurats,

are scenes of both victorious wars and their prosperity!
Art was then highly functional and repetitive; depicting
love of beauty, a sense of order, and power of hierarchy,
- in their sculptures and motifs.
However, no signatures were ever found bearing the name
of the Artist!
It is interesting to note that both the potter’s wheel and the
cart wheel, made their first appearance around 3500 BC
and 3200 BC respectively;
With the Sumerians contributing to art and culture, and the
progress of Human Civilization immensely!
(Ziggurats are semi-pyramid like structures with steps, a temple complex located in the center of all ancient Sumerian cities-states! Saragon the Great of Akkad from the North, defeated the Sumerians in the South, & united entire Mesopotamia around 2300 BC, for the first time in Mesopotamian History, & they ruled for 200 years.)

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN ART :(3000 BC -500BC)
Next we travel to an isolated area of north-east Africa,
Where the White Nile flows down from Lake Victoria.
The Nile enters Upper Egypt traveling through Sudan,
Is joined by the Blue Nile at Khartoum to become one!
Continues its flow north through Egypt Lower, flowing
into the Mediterranean as the World’s longest river!
Historian Herodotus had called Egypt ‘the gift of the Nile’;
Ancient Egypt became a rich treasure trove of art and
architecture for all times!
The Nile valley area was protected by the desert on its
east and the west;
In the north by the Mediterranean, and towards the
south by a rugged mountainous terrain!
Annual flooding of the Nile along with an effective
irrigational network,
Ensured Egypt’s prosperous stability, congenial for her
many innovative architectures and art works!
Egyptian Art got shaped by her geography, mythology
and her polytheistic religion;
Also by their preoccupation with after-life and belief in  
the immortal soul’s continuation;
Thus elaborate funeral rites were performed by priests for  
the body’s preservation by mummification! *
(
’KA’= was a real astral twin or stellar double of an Individual, which continued to exist even after death, requiring the same sustenance as the humans, so food offerings were made in the coffins! ‘BA’= shaped like a human-headed bird, composed of non-physical attributes of an Individual. ‘BA’ collected the deceased’s personality after death from the mummified remains & united it with the ‘KA’, making a person complete; thereby making it possible for the person to be reborn as ‘AKH’ (Star), - in its ultimate unchanging form, to join Osiris in the ‘Happy Fields’! Since this journey to the next world was fraught with danger, magical funerary spells & rites were performed by the priests, with incantations from the ‘Book of the Dead’, inside the funeral chamber of the Pyramid!)

Art During Old, Middle, and New Kingdom Period:
Egyptian Art was concerned with ensuring continuity of the
universe, their Gods, the King and the people;
A projection into eternity a version of reality pure and free
from all earthly evil!
Therefore in ancient Egyptian society, conformity over
individuality was always encouraged;
Artists worked in groups with conservative adherence to
rules, order and form,
And all individual artistic initiatives strictly discouraged !
Their earliest pyramids the Mastaba, the Step, and the Bent
Pyramids were all prototypes;
While the Great Pyramid of Giza built for Pharaoh Kufu,
- was the first true pyramid which still survives!
Art comes down to us as ‘funerary art’ designed for the tombs,
Which was to accompany the royalty in their journey to an
afterlife, with its symbolic forms!
This symbolism is seen in their paintings, statues and architecture;
In vibrant color codes of their paintings as a special feature!
Where White was the symbol of purity, Black for death and night;
Green for vegetation or new life, Blue for water and the sky;
Red for life and victory, and Yellow like Gold as the flesh of the
Gods and also the Sun God ruling the sky!
Thanks to Jean-Francois Champollion’s translation of the Rosetta
Stone, (1822)
We are able to decipher many mysteries of the Ancient Egyptian
with the cracking of the Hieroglyphic Code!
Larger than life statues with poise and austere harmony at the
Luxor Temple complex survive;
Symbolic of the individual’s status, while creating zones of
strangeness for imagination to thrive!
(
’Matsaba’= Egyptian for ‘bench’, referred to bench shaped pyramids;
“Step Pyramids” = were like benches placed one on top of the other in
a tapering form going up vertically!)

The Old Kingdom Period covers a five hundred years span
of Ancient Egyptian History, (2686-2181BC)
Known as the ‘Age of Pyramids’, with Pharaohs from the
Third to the Sixth Dynasty!
“The World fear Time, but Time fears only the Pyramids”,
- is an Ancient Egyptian Proverb;
Whose ‘heterogeneous structure’ made it earthquake
proof, making Time to reluctantly serve! #
Here we find formalized figures with long slender bodies,
idealized proportions and large staring eyes;
Where Kufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza raises its mighty head
as the highest, on the west bank of the Nile;
And the mighty Sphinx guard the entrance to those ancient
royal tombs, though defaced, still survive!
These pyramids were like Pharaoh’s getaways to eternity,
An insurance to an afterlife of peace and prosperity!
(# Pyramids with stone blocks of different sizes & shapes made them
Earthquake resistant; & use of pink granite in the inner chambers
made them erosion resistant against Time!)

The Middle Kingdom Period (2040-1650 BC) :
Following 150 years of civil disorder Theban ruler Mentuhotep
the Second, reunified Egypt and ruled up to Nubia, (Sudan)
And began the Classical Era when Block Statues appear,
indicating political stability;
When artisans worked with bronze and copper alloys, designing
exquisite jewelry!
Kings now preferred to be buried in secret tombs, Pyramids
having lost their appeal,
And work began on the west bank of the Nile, in the Valley of
Kings!
(
Inside those rock cut ‘funerary temples’ on the East bank of the
Nile, opposite Ancient Kingdom of Thebes ; Pharaohs from the
Early and Late New Kingdom Periods were buried, including
Tutemkhamen.)

Early New Kingdom Period (1550 -1295 BC):
Between the Middle Kingdom and this Era, Art remained
static for almost a hundred years,
When the Hyksos from the Near East fought the weak Theban
Rulers!
In 1550 BC Theban Prince Ahmose reunited Egypt, and was
succeeded by able rulers, who ushered in the Golden Age!
Art works continued to maintain its basic traditional style,
With successive Kings from the 18th Dynasty consolidating
their kingdom’s wealth and power all the while!
But Egypt witnessed a change with an innovative style in Art,
When Amenhotep IV in 1353 BC became King, initiating a
fresh start!
This king changed his name to ‘Akhenaten’, the spirit of Aten,
-- ‘The disk of the Sun’;
Abandoned the pantheons of Gods with Aten as the ‘sole God’,
and a religious revolution had begun!
His new capital city of Amarna, 200 miles north of Thebes,
Got decorated with a new kind of art work to make it complete!
The statues now appear more realistic displaying emotions,
With fluidity of movement, unlike those rigid earlier creations!
The artistic talent of this Amarna Period gets best exemplified,
In the exquisite bust of Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s Great Royal Wife!
Regarded as ‘icon of international beauty’, a great archeological
find ! **
(
Discovered by a German team of Archeologists in 1912 at Amarna! This 19 inch long limestone Nefertiti statue weighs around 20 kg, now housed in Berlin Museum; comparable only to the artistic Golden Mask of Tutankhamen!)

King Tutankhamen (1336-1327 BC):
Akhenaten’s unpopular rule was short-lived, with those humiliated
Theban priests calling him the ‘Heretic King’!
A nine year old boy Tutankhamen (‘The living image of Amun’),
was next to succeed him!
King Tut restored the worship of Amun, in a back-lash against
Akhenaten;
Shifted the royal palace back to Thebes, with the religious center
at Karnak once again!
King Tut’s short ten year’s rule remained buried in 3000 year’s
of Egyptian History,
Till Howard Carter found his richly laden intact tomb, in the
Valley of the Kings! (1922)
King Tut’s priceless and exquisitely carved golden face mask,
reflected the exalted standard of art work;
Weighing ten kilos, inlaid with semi-precious stones, and eyes
made of obsidian and quarts!
With the King’s early death, the 18th Dynasty of Pharaohs came
to an abrupt end,
And the 19th and 20th Dynasties of the Late Kingdom Period
commenced!
The famous rock temple of Abu Simbel now got built, under the
warrior and builder Ramses II, one of Egypt’s greatest Kings!


Pharaoh Ramses-II of the Late Kingdom Period :
Here I sweep across centuries of Egyptian History, to mention
King Ramses-II’s contribution to our Art Story!
In Shelly’s famous poem titled “Ozymandias of Egypt” he is
immortalized; (Greeks called Ramses-II “Ozymandias”!)
And as the Pharaoh associated with Moses in the movie “The
Ten Commandments”, he is popularized!
Egyptian Art is intrinsically bound with its religion, pyramids,
hieroglyphs, and architecture;
With a concentrated focus on ‘afterlife’ as its special feature!
In 1270 BC young Ramses took over from Seti the First,
And his rule for a period of 66 long years did last!
As the third Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, he had ruled with a
firm hand;
Recovered lost territories from the Hittites and the Nubians,
- earlier captured Egyptian lands!
He enlarged the territories of Egypt ensuring prosperity and
stability;
Became renowned as the famous Warrior and Builder King
of Ancient Egyptian History!
Ramses-II had expanded most of the temples, as recorded in
the artistic motifs and hieroglyphic symbols;
Here a special mention must be made of the Temples of Luxor,
Karnak, and Abu Simbel !

Temples of Luxor and Karnak in Ancient Thebes:
Ancient Thebes was located on the eastern bank of the Nile,
where the modern City of Luxor stands;
Thebes was once the capital of the 11th and 18th Dynasties,
And the power and religious center of all Egyptian land!
Gets mentioned in the 9th Book of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ where “heaps
of precious ingots gleam, the hundred-gated Thebes”!
Excavation work began in Thebes during the late 19th century;
And the gradual unearthing of the Temples of Luxor and
Karnak, added a new dimension to Egypt’s Art Story!
It must be remembered always, that the Ancient Egyptians in
those early days,
Structured their temple architecture to the point of ‘Sacred Art’!
With their knowledge of astronomy and geometry, they
aligned their temples so perfectly,
That the light of the rising sun fell on the temple’s innermost
sanctuary! (Temple of Abu Simbel is a great example,)
Where the Egyptian priests, who were also the artists, healers,
mathematicians, astronomers and scribes;
In dimly lit incense-filled sanctuaries performed the sacred rites!
The temples symbolized the cross roads of the cosmos, where
the divine and the mortal met in perpetual harmony!
These divine scenes were integrated into the very fabric of the
Egyptian society through chants and rituals;
With cosmological symbols of magical hieroglyphs, which
priests alone could transcribe in those days!
(
Thebes began to decline rapidly after Alexander the Great
established the port-city of Alexandria as Egypt’s new Capital
around 332 BC !)

Luxor Temple built by Amenhotep-III, was dedicated to God
Amun, his wife Mut and son Khonsu, - the Theban Triad;
Tutankhamen and Ramses-II expanding the temple during the
New Kingdom Period!
Creator God Amun became assimilated with the Sun God Re;
Was worshipped in Thebes, and in the cult centers of Luxor and
Karnak, - as Amun-Re!
The walls and columns of these cult temples were decorated
with carved and painted relief,
Depicting the interaction with Gods, and military exploits of
Egyptian Pharaohs and Kings!
The sun temple of Amenhotep-III at Luxor has many columns
resembling papyrus bundles,
Symbolic of the primeval marsh from where Creation was
believed to have unfolded !
A Sphinx Alley excavated between Luxor an
Matt Feb 2015
Form is emptiness
Emptiness is form

1. Sunyata (Emptiness) is the profound meaning of the Mahayana Teaching.

Two thousand five hundred years ago, the Buddha was able to realise "emptiness" (s. sunyata). By doing so he freed himself from unsatisfactoriness (s. dukkha). From the standpoint of enlightenment, sunyata is the reality of all worldly existences (s. dharma). It is the realisation of Bodhi — Prajna. From the standpoint of liberation, sunyata is the skilful means that disentangle oneself from defilement and unsatisfactoriness. The realisation of sunyata leads one to no attachment and clinging. It is the skilful means towards enlightenment and also the fruit of enlightenment.

There are two ways for us to understand this concept of sunyata in the Mahayana context. One way is to try to understand the explanation about its true nature. The other way is the realisation through practice. What we are going to discuss now is about its true nature.

Mahayana teachings have always considered that the understanding of sunyata is an attainment which is extremely difficult and extraordinarily profound.

For example, in the Prajna Sutra it says "That which is profound, has sunyata and non-attachment as its significance. No form nor deeds, no rising nor falling, are its implications."

Again in the Dvadasanikaya Sastra (composed by Nagarjuna, translated to Chinese by Kumarajiva A.D. 408) it says: "The greatest wisdom is the so-called sunyata."

This sunyata, no creation, calmness and extinction (s. nirvana) is of a profound significance in the Mahayana teachings. Why do we see it as the most profound teaching? This is because there is no worldly knowledge, be it general studies, science or philosophy, that can lead to the attainment of the state of sunyata. The only path to its realisation is via the supreme wisdom of an impassionate and discriminating mind. It is beyond the common worldly understanding.

2. The Significance of Sunyata and Cessation

The Buddha always used the terms void, no rising and falling, calmness and extinction to explain the profound meaning of sunyata and cessation. The teachings of the Buddha that were described in words are generally common to worldly understandings. If one interprets the teachings superficially from the words and languages used, one will only gain worldly knowledge and not the deeper implication of the teachings. The teachings of the Buddha have their supra-mundane contexts that are beyond the worldly knowledge.

For example, sunyata and the state of nirvana where there is no rising nor falling, are interpreted by most people as a state of non-existence and gloom. They fail to realise that quite the opposite, sunyata is of substantial and positive significance.

The sutras often use the word "great void" to explain the significance of sunyata. In general, we understand the "great void" as something that contains absolutely nothing. However, from a Buddhist perspective, the nature of the "great void" implies something which does not obstruct other things, in which all matters perform their own functions. Materials are form, which by their nature, imply obstruction. The special characteristic of the "great void" is non-obstruction. The "great void" therefore, does not serve as an obstacle to them. Since the "great void" exhibits no obstructive tendencies, it serves as the foundation for matter to function. In other words, if there was no "great void" nor characteristic of non-obstruction, it would be impossible for the material world to exist and function.

The "great void" is not separated from the material world. The latter depends on the former. We can state that the profound significance of sunyata and the nature of sunyata in Buddhism highlights the "great void’s" non-obstructive nature.

Sunyata does not imply the "great void". Instead, it is the foundation of all phenomena (form and mind). It is the true nature of all phenomena, and it is the basic principle of all existence. In other words, if the universe’s existence was not empty nor impermanent, then all resulting phenomena could not have arisen due to the co-existence of various causes and there would be no rising nor falling. The nature of sunyata is of positive significance!

Calmness and extinction are the opposite of rising and falling. They are another way to express that there is no rising and falling. Rising and falling are the common characteristics of worldly existence. All phenomena are always in the cycle of rising and falling. However, most people concentrate on living (rising). They think that the universe and life are the reality of a continuous existence.

Buddhism on the other hand, promotes the value of a continuous cessation (falling). This cessation does not imply that it ceases to exist altogether. Instead, it is just a state in the continuous process of phenomena. In this material world, or what we may call this "state of existence", everything eventually ceases to exist. Cessation is definitely the home of all existences. Since cessation is the calm state of existence and the eventual refuge of all phenomena, it is also the foundation for all activities and functions.

The Amitabha Buddha who was, and is, revered and praised by Buddhists around the world, radiates indefinite light and life from this "state of cessation". This state is a continuous process of calmness. It will be the eventual refuge for us all. If we think carefully about the definitions of calmness and extinction, then we can deduce that they are the true natural end-points of rising and falling. The true nature of the cycle of rising and falling is calmness and extinction. Because of this nature, all chaos and conflicts in the state of rising and falling will eventually cease. This is attainable by the realisation of prajna.

3. Contemplating the Implications of Sunyata and Stillness (Nirvana) by Observing Worldly Phenomena

All existences exhibit void-nature and nirvana-nature. These natures are the reality of all existence. To realise the truth, we have to contemplate and observe our worldly existence. We cannot realise the former without observing the latter. Consider this Heart Sutra extract, "Only when Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva practised the deep course of wisdom of Prajna Paramita did he come to realise that the five skandhas (aggregates, and material and mental objects) were void."

Profound wisdom leads us to the realisation that all existences are of void-nature. The sutras demonstrate that the profound principle can be understood by contemplating and observing the five skandhas. We cannot realise the truth by seeking something beyond the material and mental world. The Buddha, using his perfect wisdom, observed worldly existence from various implications and aspects, and came to understand all existences.

In summary, there are three paths to this observation:

a) We should observe the preceding state and the current state of conditions. i.e., Observation according to the concept of time.

b) We should observe existences according to their interrelationships. i.e., Observation via the concept of space (either two or three-dimensions).

c) We should observe the true nature of all myriad beings. This is like observing the worldly existences of a point, a line and an area. Those with supreme wisdom understand the true nature of all worldly existences by observing vertically the relationships between the preceding and current conditions, and horizontally the interrelationships. Then we can understand the true meaning of void-nature and nirvana-nature.

3.1 By observing the preceding-stage and the current-stage conditions, we can verify the Law of Impermanence of all worldly existences. All existences, be they material or mental, be they the material world, or the physical or mental states of sentient beings, are subject to continuous change.

The world may have certain states of beings where they stay static or are in equilibrium on a temporary basis (for example hibernation). But when we observe them with supreme wisdom, we will find that not only do they keep changing on a yearly basis, but also that this change applies to even every briefest moment. After the current state of conditions have ceased to exist, the newly-formed state materialises. This is the state of rising and falling. The rising and falling of each small moment reveals that all existences are ever-moving and ever-changing.

Conventional scholars have a very good explanation of these ever-changing worldly conditions. However they, including the practitioners of dharma, try to make sense of the reality from the ever-changing worldly existences. That is, they are fooled by the material existences and are not able to understand the deeper truth of all existences.

Only those with the supreme wisdom of the Buddha and Mahabodhisattvas realise and understand that all existences are illusions. They understand that existences are not real from the observation of the flow of changing existences. The numerous illusionary existences may well be diverse and confusing, arising and decaying. But when we look into their true nature, we will find them void and of nirvana-nature.

On the other hand, since all existences are of nirvana-nature, they appear from the perspective of time, to be ever-changing. They never stay the same even for the briefest moment. Impermanence implies existences do not have a permanent entity. This is another implication of the nature of sunyata and stillness.

3.2 From observations of existence via inter-relationships, we can conclude that nothing is independent of the Law of Causation, and that everything is without ego. For example, the Buddha explains that the individual sentient being is composed of physical, physiological and psychological phenomena. The so called ego is a deluded illusion which does not exist in reality. Its existence depends on the combination of both physical and mental factors. It is a union of organic phenomena. Thus we call it the empirical ego. It is a mistake to cling to it as an infatuated ego.

The Indian concept of the supreme spirit implies someone who rules. The spirit is the ruler who is independent of is self-dependent and all causes. In other words, the spirit is the one who is free from all primary and secondary causes (for physical and mental aspects). The spirit is the one who has the soul of his own body and mind. This is the ego or supreme spirit that the theologists cling to. From their view point, the only way to avoid physical and mental decay is to be self-determined and self-sovereign. In this way, the supreme being can stay permanent in the cycle of reincarnation, and return to the absolute reality by liberating himself from life and death.

But from the profound contemplation and wisdom of the Buddha and Mahabodhisattvas, we know there is no such reality. Instead, egolessness (non-self) is the only path to understand the reality of the deluded life. All existences are subject to the Law of Causes and Conditions. These include the smallest particles, the relationship between the particles, the planets, and the relationship between them, up to and including the whole universe! From the smallest particles to the biggest matter, there exists no absolute independent identity.

Egolessness (non-self) implies the void characteristics of all existence. Egolessness (non-self) signifies the non-existence of permanent identity for self and existence (Dharma). Sunyata stresses the voidness characteristic of self and existence (Dharma). Sunyata and egolessness possess similar attributes. As we have discussed before, we can observe the profound significance of sunyata from the perspective of inter-dependent relationships. Considering dharma-nature and the condition of nirvana, all existences are immaterial and of a void-nature. Then we see each existence as independent of each other. But then we cannot find any material that does exist independent of everything else. So egolessness also implies void-nature!

3.3 From the observation of all existences, we can infer the theory of nirvana and the complete cessation of all phenomena. From the viewpoint of phenomena, all existences are so different from each other, that they may contradict each other. They are so chaotic. In reality, their existence is illusionary and arises from conditional causation. They seem to exist on one hand, and yet do not exist on the other. They seem to be united, but yet they are so different to one another. They seem to exist and yet they do cease! Ultimately everything will return to harmony and complete calmness. This is the nature of all existence. It is the final resting place for all. If we can understand this reality and remove our illusions, we can find this state of harmony and complete calmness.

All our contradictions, impediments and confusion will be converted to equanimity. Free from illusion, complete calmness will be the result of attaining nirvana. The Buddha emphasised the significance of this attainment and encouraged the direct and profound contemplation on void-nature. He said, "Since there is no absolute self-nature thus every existence exhibits void-nature. Because it is void, there is no rising nor falling. Since there is no rising nor falling, thus everything was originally in complete calmness. Its self-nature is nirvana."

From the viewpoint of time and space, we can surmise that all existences are impermanent, all existences have no permanent self, and nirvana is the result of the cessation of all existences - the Three Universal Characteristics. But there are not three different truths. Instead, they are the characteristics of the only absolute truth and the ultimate reality. This is the explanation of Dharma-nature and the condition of nirvana. The three characteristics are the one characteristic, and vice versa!

We may cultivate our meditation, contemplating the impersonality of all existences. This will lead us to enlightenment via the path of voidness. Contemplating nirvana and complete calmness leads to enlightenment by the path of immaterial form. Contemplating the impermanence of all existences, leads us to enlightenment by the path of inactivity (no desire).

The Three Universal Characteristics are the other implications of Dharma-nature and nirvana. The paths to enlightenment are also the same cause of absolute reality. All of them return to the Dharma-nature and the condition of nirvana. In short, the teachings of the Buddha start from the observation and contemplation of all worldly phenomena. They are like thousands of streams of water competing with each other, and flowing from the top of the mountains to the bottom. Eventually, all of them return to the ocean of voidness and nirvana.

4. Sunyata and Cessation is the Truth (Nature) of All Existences.

All existences that are recognised by worldly understanding, whether materially, spiritually or intellectually, have always been misunderstood by us. We cling to them as real, physically existing and permanent. Actually, they are only unreal names.

The more precise meaning of the term "unreal name" is "assumption" or "hypothesis". It is an empirical name. It is formed by the combination of various causes and effects. (These include the effects of mental consciousness.) It does not exist by itself. Everything exists relatively. Thus, what is the ultimate truth? If we investigate existence further, we realise that all existences are empty. This is the fundamental characteristic and reality of all existence. It is ultimate and absolute. But we should not think that empty means nothing. It implies the disentanglement from the worldly misunderstanding of the existence of self, identity, and the realisation of the absolute.

In the Sutras and Abhidharma, the worldly understandings are sometimes referred to as all phenomena (Dharma). Sunyata is referred to as "Dharma-nature", and hence there is a distinction between "phenomena" and "Dhamma-nature". However, this is only an expedient explanation that helps us to realise the truth of sunyata through the phenomena of all existences.

We should not think that "existence" and "nature"; or the "phenomena of Dharma" and "Dharma-nature" are something contradictory. They are just concepts needed to understand the implication of sunyata.

We may analyse the exp
Circa 1994 Oct 2013
Wearing clothing seems unnatural when we're together.
I'm drawn to you like a magnet.
You tell me I'm pretty
And laugh at how awful I am at accepting compliments.
I promise to leave before you wake up.
Kendall Mallon Jul 2013
Book One


Prelude:

As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


Home:

A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be ****** ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
mistress…
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.




Book Two

Oracle:**

Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
hatefrustrationpitydesperationheartache!
Towards
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to *****; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.
Cné Jan 2018
years ago
i was consumed
in the deep abyss of depression.
i had been there before
and had always managed
to dig my way out.
but this time i got lost
in a maze, each turn dragging me further
into Hell.

so many unresolved thoughts plagued
the chasm of my mind.
i wanted to die,
not to **** myself,
for i couldn't be that selfish
to hurt my family in that way.
but i prayed selfishly
to be put out of my misery.
a prayer i felt unanswered
for months on end.
i tried to hide
this darkness
from those closest to me,
isolating myself.

in a defense mechanism sarcastic tone,
i smirked to a friend
that all i really wanted
was peace.
she encouraged me to pray.
i responded honestly,
"i'm not sure prayer works for me
because i've lost faith."

as if God only answers to those with faith.
she told me
that i might need to see results to believe
but that i should
give it a shot anyway
and stick with it.
i brushed it off.

the next morning,
i woke up with my normal
(worse than normal, at that time)
negative thoughts, you're ugly, fat, unworthy ...
(that's the censored, more kind version of my thoughts)
to which i argued in my head,
be kind.
silly i know.
then my friend's words resonated
"give it a shot."
so i quickly prayed a simple prayer for peace
in my mind, body and in my soul.
of course, i didn't feel any different at the time,
but i drug my heavy laden body out of bed.
forced myself to workout and went to work.

my first client that day was new to me.
hiding behind my work mask,
i presented myself professional
with my usual introduction.
she returned the favor
with a look of odd fascination.
so i continued with
"have i worked on you before?"
hoping i hadn't absentmindedly
not recognized a former client.
she responded "no, but you are Liz, right?"
i confirmed and proceeded to my room.
after scoping out the surroundings,
she commented on one of my paintings
on the wall, of an Angel.
it's an abstract.
some people don't see it.
then she asked ...
if i was a believer.
caught off guard
i responded "excuse me?"
she said, "do you believe in Jesus?"
not accusatory or even with aggression,
but a simple question, with dancing eyes.
i said, yes, more out of fear,
with my current frame of mind, at the time.
i was fragile and trying desperately
to hold it together.

i left her to ready herself for therapy
and took the opportunity
to regain my composure,
securing my guarded mask.
when i began therapy
she sighed and said
"i felt in my heart
that you were the right therapist for me,
because i can feel your kind heart."

i asked "did someone refer you to me?"
with suspicion, and narrowed eyes.  
she responded "no. Jesus gave me your name."
she told me how she relied heavily on prayer
and that brought her to see me.
i **** you not.
i brushed off her words
as any sane
(even in depression)
person would.

she was not easy to work
as a large body
that was hard as stone.
but my thoughts began to shift,
i swallowed an emotional lump in my throat.
in that moment, i realized,
i felt privileged to be working on her,
for her to have sought me out
on a quest from Jesus, or so she believed.
a peace i'd never experienced before
washed over me, cleansed me, anointed me.
in that moment, i felt clean, light.

afterward she gave me a huge hug
with an exaggerated pause
and whispered in my ear,
that prayer was the only reason
she was alive.
it felt like no other hug i'd received before,
so tender, sweet and sincere.
so i asked myself
"was this a sign?"

from that day forward,
i found my way back.
navigating the maze.
it didn't happen all at once
but each step, each turn
lead me out of the abyss of darkness
and toward the light of harmony and peace.
and though, i still slip occasionally,
i recall that spiritual experience.
this happened. i don't consider myself and a religious person but i would say i am spiritual.  i don't share this experience often because had it not happened to me, i wouldn't believe it. i share it now in hopes that someone who is lost, isolated, hurt, in pain, and in the grips of darkness, might believe it possible to find their way out.
Nigel Morgan Oct 2012
There was a moment when he knew he had to make a decision.

He had left London that February evening on the ****** Velo Train to the South West. As the two hour journey got underway darkness had descended quickly; it was soon only his reflected face he could see in the window. He’d been rehearsing most of the afternoon so it was only now he could take out the manuscript book, its pages full of working notes on the piece he was to play the following afternoon. His I-Mind implant could have stored these but he chose to circumvent this thought-transcribing technology; there was still the physical trace on the cream-coloured paper with his mother’s propelling pencil that forever conjured up his journey from the teenage composer to the jazz musician he now was. This thought surrounded him with a certain warmth on this Friday evening train full of those returning to their country homes and distant families.

It was a difficulty he had sensed from the moment he perceived a distant gap in the flow of information streaming onto the mind page

At the outset the Mind Notation project had seemed harmless, playful in fact. He allowed himself to enter into the early experiments because he knew and trusted the research team. He got paid handsomely for his time, and later for his performance work.  It was a valuable complement to his ill-paid day-to-day work as a jazz pianist constantly touring the clubs, making occasional festival appearances with is quintet, hawking his recordings around small labels, and always ‘being available’. Mind Notation was something quite outside that traditional scene. In short periods it would have a relentless intensity about it, but it was hard to dismiss because he soon realised he had been hard-wired to different persona. Over a period of several years he was now dealing with four separate I-Mind folders, four distinct musical identities.

Tomorrow he would pull out the latest manifestation of a composer whose creative mind he had known for 10 years, playing the experimental edge of his music whilst still at college. There had been others since, but J was different, and so consistent. J never interfered; there were never decisive interventions, only an explicit confidence in his ability to interpret J’s music. There had been occasional discussion, but always loose; over coffee, a walk to a restaurant; never in the lab or at rehearsals.

In performance (and particularly when J was present) J’s own mind-thought was so rich, so wide-ranging it could have been drug-induced. Every musical inference was surrounded by such intensity and power he had had to learn to ride on it as he imagined a surfer would ride on a powerful wave. She was always there - embedded in everything J seemed to think about, everything J projected. He wondered how J could live with what seemed to him to be an obsession. Perhaps this was love, and so what he played was love like a wilderness river flowing endlessly across the mind-page.

J seemed careful when he was with her. J tried hard not to let his attentiveness, this gaze of love, allow others to enter the public folders of his I-Mind space (so full of images of her and the sounds of her light, entrancing voice). But he knew, he knew when he glanced at them together in darkened concert halls, her hand on J’s left arm stroking, gently stroking, that J’s most brilliant and affecting music flowed from this source.

He could feel the pattern of his breathing change, he shifted himself in his chair, the keyboard swam under his gaze, he was playing fast and light, playing arpeggios like falling water, a waterfall of notes, cascades of extended tonalities falling into the darkness beyond his left hand, but there it was, in twenty seconds he would have to*

It had begun quite accidentally with a lab experiment. J had for some years been researching the telematics of composing and performing by encapsulating the physical musical score onto a computer screen. The ‘moist media’ of telematics offered the performer different views of a composition, and not just the end result but the journey taken to obtain that result. From there to an interest in neuroscience had been a small step. J persuaded him to visit the lab to experience playing a duet with his own brain waves.

Wearing a sensor cap he had allowed his brainwaves to be transmitted through a BCMI to a synthesiser – as he played the piano. After a few hours he realised he could control the resultant sounds. In fact, he could control them very well. He had played with computer interaction before, but there was always a preparatory stage, hours of designing and programming, then the inevitable critical feedback of the recording or glitch in performance. He soon realised he had no patience for it and so relied on a programmer, a sonic artist as assistant, as collaborator when circumstances required it.

When J’s colleagues developed an ‘app’ for the I-Mind it meant he could receive J’s instant thoughts, but thoughts translated into virtual ‘active’ music notation, a notation that flowed across the screen of his inner eye. It was astonishing; more astonishing because J didn’t have to be physically there for it to happen: he could record I-Mind files of his thought compositions.

The reference pre-score at the top of the mind page was gradually enlarging to a point where pitches were just visible and this gap, a gap with no stave, a gap of silence, a gap with no action, a gap with repeat signs was probably 30 seconds away

In the early days (was it really just 10 years ago?) the music was delivered to him embedded in a network of experiences, locations, spiritual and philosophical ideas. J had found ways to extend the idea of the notated score to allow the performer to explore the very thoughts and techniques that made each piece – usually complete hidden from the performer. He would assemble groups of miniatures lasting no more than a couple of minutes each, each miniature carrying, as J had once told him, ‘one thought and one thought only’.  But this description only referred to the musical material because each piece was loaded with a web of associations. From the outset the music employed scales and tonalities so far away from the conventions of jazz that when he played and then extended the pieces it seemed like he was visiting a different universe; though surprisingly he had little trouble working these new and different patterns of pitches into his fingers. It was uncanny the ‘fit’.

Along with the music there was always rich, often startling images she conjured up for J’s compositions. At the beginning of their association J initiated these. He had been long been seeking ways to integrate the visual image with musical discourse. After toying with the idea of devising his own images for music he conceived the notion of computer animation of textile layers. J had discovered and then encouraged the work and vision of a young woman on the brink of what was to become recognised as a major talent. When he could he supported her artistically, revelling in the keenness of her observation of the natural world and her ability to complement what J conceived. He became her lover and she his muse; he remodelled his life and his work around her, her life and her work.

When performing the most complex of music it always seemed to him that the relative time of music and the clock time of reality met in strange conjunctions of stasis. Quite suddenly clock time became suspended and musical time enveloped reality. He found he could be thinking something quite differently from what he was playing.

Further projects followed, and as they did he realised a change had begun to occur in J’s creative rationale. He seemed to adopt different personae. Outwardly he was J. Inside his musical thought he began to invent other composers, musical avatars, complete minds with different musical and personal histories that he imagined making new work.

J had manipulated him into working on a new project that had appeared to be by a composer completely unknown to him. L was Canadian, a composer who had conceived a score that adhered to the DOGME movie production manifesto, but translated into music. The composition, the visuals, the text, the technological environment and the performance had to be conceived in realtime and in one location. A live performance meant a live ‘making’, and this meant he became involved in all aspects of the production. It became a popular and celebrated festival event with each production captured in its entirety and presented in multi-dimensional strands on the web. The viewer / listener became an editor able to move between the simultaneous creative activity, weaving his or her own ‘cut’ like some art house computer game. L never appeared in person at these ‘remakings’, but via a computer link. It was only after half a dozen performances that the thought entered his mind that L was possibly not a 24-year-old woman from Toronto complete with a lively Facebook persona.

Then, with the I-Mind, he woke up to the fact that J had already prepared musical scenarios that could take immediate advantage of this technology. A BBC Promenade Concert commission for a work for piano and orchestra provided an opportunity. J somehow persuaded Tom Service the Proms supremo to programme this new work as a collaborative composition by a team created specially for the premiere. J hid inside this team and devised a fresh persona. He also hid his new I-Mind technology from public view. The orchestra was to be self-directed but featured section leaders who, as established colleagues of J’s had already experienced his work and, sworn to secrecy, agreed to the I-Mind implant.

After the premiere there were rumours about how the extraordinary synchronicities in the play of musical sections had been achieved and there was much critical debate. J immediately withdrew the score to the BBC’s consternation. A minion in the contracts department had a most uncomfortable meeting with Mr Service and the Controller of Radio 3.

With the end of this phrase he would hit the gap  . . . what was he to do? Simply lift his hands from the keyboard? Wait for some sign from the I-Mind system to intervene? His audience might applaud thinking the piece finished? Would the immersive visuals with its  18.1 Surround Sound continue on the five screens or simply disappear?

His hands left the keyboard. The screens went white except for the two repeats signs in red facing one another. Then in the blank bar letter-by-letter this short text appeared . . .


Here Silence gathers
thoughts of you

Letters shall never
spell your grace

No melody could
describe your face

No rhythm dance
the way you move

Only Silence can
express my love

ever yours ever
yours ever yours



He then realised what the date was . . . and slowly let his hands fall to his lap.
Dorothy A May 2012
Chad looked over at his sleeping son sitting next to him in the passenger seat. This little journey from the airport to his home still seemed so strange and uneasy to him. It astounded him that Ian was now twelve years old, nearly a teenager. To be honest, he still did not fully feel sure about this arrangement, this set-up for him to have his son for the summer. Nevertheless, he tried to project confidence to everyone involved, to his family and to Ian's mom. He kept reminding himself that it did not matter how he felt.

He needed to step up to the plate.

No, Chad Brewster never envisioned himself as a father, never dreamed of it, and certainly never once desired it or would have chosen it as his path. Though some of his close friends wanted or had a family, it was never a part of his plans to ever be a dad. He did not dislike children, but he just never expected he would ever settle down and have them.

He especially never expected to be a father at the mere age of sixteen years old.

The suburbs of Las Vegas were worlds away from the suburbs of Milwaukee. Driving down the desert surrounded streets and highways, sometimes homesickness tugged at his consciousness. At times, Chad’s craved the surroundings of his old existence—the shady pine trees, and spending time at Lake Michigan—and he would gladly trade some palm trees for the some of the pines he was so accustomed to. But this was the life he now chose to have, and he thought he should have no reason to complain or be too sentimental. Many people were not so lucky to experience any refreshing change in their lives, and he was able to have it.

While on the road, Chad reminded himself to give Ian's mom, Becca, a quick call to let her know that they were on their way to his home. He pulled out his cell phone before he got distracted. Ian already texted her a few times to let her know he was alive and breathing along the way.

Becca had her reservations about sending her son off to be with his dad. He had his visiting rights, though, and she couldn't lawfully deny him them. It was a tough decision to send him off alone on the plane to meet up with his father, but Ian had good sense, and he was taking a direct flight to Vegas. He loved to text, and his mother made sure he had his very own cell phone to keep in constant contact with her. It was so hard to let him go like this, for Becca cherished Ian. He had a much harder start in life than some other kids, and she felt partly to blame for it.

Chad got a hold of Ian’s mom. "No way in Hell! You are calling me now?" she angrily accused him, her tongue sharp with criticism. "You know **** well this is his very first plane trip by himself, and I thought you'd have the decency to tell me once he got off that plane! Please! Don't try to convince me that this whole thing is a huge mistake, some major lapse in my judgment. Can you do that for me? You could have at least had the decency! Put him on the phone! Let me talk to him!"

"Look, Becca, he's asleep. It was a long day for him. He's exhausted". Chad was trying his best to hold back any displeasure or to raise his voice, but he expected his calm wouldn’t last. "Don't ***** me out for not calling you the very second you are demanding. You know I would have called in a heartbeat if I felt Ian was in danger. You know I would".

"Oh, I'm really not so sure", she replied, sarcastically. "I'm tempted to fly over there and come get him! I've been sick about it all day!"

"Such a **** drama queen, Becca! Like it or not, the world doesn't revolve around you! You don't have all the control! “ The anger rising was rising up in his tone. Her judgment of him of was so tiring.

"Oh, really Chad?" she replied. "I've got my act together a long time ago, but you...".

"Look, he is my son, too!" Chad shouted loudly. He was fed up of her ****** attitude, ready to hang up in her face.

"You could have fooled me!"

His eyes were glaring as he drove down the arid Nevada highway, just as if Becca stood there right before him, her finger wagging in his face, her other hand on her hip. He pictured her now as if time and everything in it had stood still, and she was before his motionless car and in his face, still in step with time and letting him have it.

This little display was so typical of her. Only Becca Morgan thought she ever had any common sense when it came to their parental abilities. Sure, she was the one who really raised their son, but she never would have pulled it off without the huge intervention of her mother.

Without a doubt, Ian had to admit to himself that he had been avoidant and immature in the past, but Becca did not have the patent on good parenting or on maturity. In her eyes, Chad was never going to be a proper father, even if he proved it.

Chad vowed that he wasn't going to pay forever for his mistakes of being an absent father, far more absent than present in his young son's life.

He looked over at his son sitting beside him. Ian was sound asleep—thank God—for he heard his parents squabble about him far more than he should have. In fact, he never saw his parents talking in a friendly manner. No matter how they began talking to each other, their conversations always ended up with angry words.

Ian must have been dead tired to sleep through it all. He hardly stirred since he fell asleep. If Chad wasn’t driving, he would be studying his slumbering son in peculiar wonder, sitting there for quite some time and thinking how on earth he ever was able to produce such a child, a seemingly healthy and well-rounded boy. It was as if his child was an UFO alien, or something—someone to be discovered for who he really was, and someone to be fathomed with fear.  He felt that uncomfortable about being placed into the role of a father.

It gave Chad's stomach a funny, odd feeling to think he wasn't too much older than Ian when Becca—his loving girlfriend at the time—came up to him and told him the shocking news. It would be the news that would forever change his life, and hers.

She was pregnant. Chad was definitely the father.

It wasn't that Becca did not know what to do about her condition, for she knew what she wanted from almost the very start, and she had settled it in her mind without much inner conflict. There was no helplessness or hopelessness in her, not like some pregnant teenage girls that found themselves in such a predicament. She wanted to have her baby and keep it to raise as her very own, and not for a future adoption—with or without Chad's approval. She did love Chad, but in the long run, she did not care what he thought if he did not agree with her.

As far as she was concerned, this baby was hers.

Chad, on the other hand, was terrified, simply terrified. He did not want to believe the news, hoping that Becca would turn around and tell him it was a huge joke. He would be quite ticked at her if she did such a thing, but also very relieved. He would gladly kiss the ground for it not to be true.

If only it was a joke. Becca was quite serious, playing  no such prank on him, Next, she planned to tell her mother next about her unborn baby. But the first person she wanted to tell was her boyfriend, and she expected that he would be on her side—or at least be won over eventually.

As a dumbfounded Chad stared at her in disbelief and shock—like the classic deer in the headlights—Becca insisted that she was telling the truth, that she was even beginning to show. She could prove it.  Her periods had stopped, and three home pregnancy tests confirmed her suspicions.  Gently, she took Chad’s hand to place over her stomach. Freaked out of his mind, he ****** his hand away as quickly as it touched her belly. His knee **** reaction would always stick in Becca's mind of how Chad really felt about her. It was almost like she had a disease.

She suddenly felt dejected. It looked like Chad would not be on her side, after all.

Maybe it wasn't his? Chad knew that Becca would hate him if he ever implied such a thing. She was crazy about him. Chad knew that. But she had an equal amount of passion to go the other way if he betrayed her. The doubt on his face, and the hesitancy in his voice, did betray him and Becca’s heart slowly sank. She wanted Chad to care, to understand, certainly not to view her as the guilty partner who was ready to ruin his life.

Instead, it looked like the beginning of the end for them.

No way was Chad willing to break the news to his parents, especially his dad, Ed Brewster. He’d rather put a gun to his head than say anything about it. Chad really never saw eye to eye with his father.  Unlike his two older brothers, Michael and David, Chad always felt like he could never please the man. His mother, Nancy, had forever seen Chad as the role that life had given him—the baby of the family. He seemed to have more leeway with her, but not so much as an inch with his father.

Ed, a veteran police officer, wanted all three of his sons to do well in life, better than he had achieved. And as Michael and David were dreaming of such careers as doctors and lawyers, all Chad ever dreamed of was to be a drummer in a rock band. Playing the drums was fine for a hobby, but Chad's father wanted his son to see the garage band he played in as something temporary, something to grow out of.  His son saw otherwise, never seeing himself ever retiring his drumsticks for some job he was bored to death with, or that he hated. He didn’t care if he would never end up earning a dime from it, not playing the drums would be like not having arms or legs. Chad would never give up on his musical aspirations.

One of the first photos that his mother took of her youngest son was him as a baby, sitting on the floor in the kitchen and banging a ladle on the bottom of a pan. At that age, he would much rather play with kitchen utensils, using them like a drum, than any shiny, fascinating toy in his possession. His mom simply thought it was adorable. His father wasn't so impressed, especially since the racket he made was only the beginning in his musical journey of too much noise surfacing from the basement.  There would be plenty of times when Ed would warn his son to give the drums a rest, or he would throw them in the garbage, for Chad could practice for hours on end.

It seemed that music flowed in Chad's blood, was natural to him, but no one in the family had any such musical talents or ambitions.  While his father just didn't get it, his mother supported him with any help she could. When he was six, he was in his glory when his she bought him a child's drum set to bang on. When he turned eleven, she bought him a real set of drums, and encouraged his participation in school band. His brothers' interests were far more typical. They were heavy into sports, and they always had their father's blessings. When Chad kept on doing what he loved, he was seen by his dad as almost a delinquent.

Now that he was an adult, his love of music was paying off. Resettling in Vegas provided many opportunities, plenty of musical venues. With all the entertainment in Sin City, Chad could find enough work playing the drums. There has been a good flow of steady work for him to work in the casinos, and he also played in a local band that did such gigs as weddings, birthday parties and bar mitzvahs. They were a group of six talented musicians that got together to form their own band, and play just about anything—rock, rap, blues, jazz, country and swing. They soon voted with each other on what to call themselves. A good name had a lot to do with if someone got hired for gigs, and nothing they could think up sounded any good.  It seemed like all the great names were already taken, nothing new under the sun. The Sonic Waves sounded the coolest, but since that name was already used, Chad played around with the idea and suggested they call themselves Sonic Stream. That had good potential, and the others agreed with it. He was glad and honored to make such a contribution to his band.        

Chad could honestly say he was happy out here in Nevada. His mother felt like he was trying his best to distance himself from the reality of his problems, especially his strained relationship with his father. Chad disagreed. He just wanted to feel like he could accomplish something in his life, not proving anything to anybody—but to himself.

Would Ian be happy out here with him? It would only be for the summer, but would Chad make a good impression on him in his life out here? Ian glanced over at his son who still slept almost like a baby, seemingly wiped out, though the day was still young.

Several minutes later, Ian called out, "What time is it?"

Somehow awakened, he was rubbing his eyes, disoriented by the fact that he was in a different time zone and in an unfamiliar place. Chad smiled at him, trying to reassure the boy that he was glad to have him here.

“Almost two thirty", Chad returned. Ian moaned and tried to sit up straight, squinting from the glare of the strong Nevada sun. Quite groggy, his internal clock was not sure what time it was.

Your mom called”, Chad told Ian. “You know your mom, bud. She does worry about you”.

“I texted Mom. I said I made it OK”, he replied.

“But did you actually talk to her?” Chad asked. “You know how she is. Unless she talked to you herself, I am sure she was convinced some madman took control of your cell phone and pretended to be you”.

Chad laughed and Ian tried not to act like what he said was that funny, but he shyly grinned and tried to cover his mouth to conceal it. He did have a special bond with his mother, but he knew his dad was right. His mom worried way too much.

“I talked to her just before the plane took off”, Ian admitted.

They drove in silence for a while. Chad had to admit to himself that Ian was looking more and more like him the more he grew up, and Chad seemed to favor his mother's looks—of which he was grateful—for he never wanted to resemble his dad.  Lots of times, Chad and Ian were mistaken for brothers, Ian a much younger brother, but surely not imagined to be his son. Chad felt that Ian was already looking like a teenager, maturing fast for his age, and Chad often was perceived as younger than his twenty-eight years. Ian was growing up so much more than his father could envision, and Chad knew why. It wasn't like he saw his son so frequently that the change was not obvious. Every time he saw him, a big gap had been gapped by growth and change, and Chad was guilty of missing much of those experiences.

Was it that Chad did not really want to grow up? Becca surely accused him of that. His father did, too. Performing gigs in a local band seemed far from a man's job to Chad's father. When he still lived in Wisconsin, he knew he had better learn to have other work to fall back on, for band work did not always pay the bills in those days. That is why he trained to be an x-ray technician. It wasn't the job of his dreams, but it helped keep him afloat when making money from music did not meet his financial requirements. Even though Chad did achieve a fairly decent and respectable job, it did not seem to matter to his critical father.

At the mere age of sixteen, Chad had nothing to back him up against the anger his father would have towards him. He knew he would be knocked down for sure when his parents found out about Becca's pregnancy.

The words his furious father told him stung pretty harshly. "You don't have the sense to be a father! You don't seem lately to have the sense to be anything! You'd ruin that kid’s life, for sure!"

His father had to always play the street-smart cop, even at home, and Chad was fed up as looking like a criminal in his eyes. He almost wanted to cry, but refused to show his father any such weakness. Instead, he gave him the best stone cold, unemotional response that he could muster up. Replying in a monotone manner, though he really feared his father's anger, was the best way to stick it back to him.

"Sure, you're right. I take after you. Bad fathering runs in the family", he said back.

Ed looked like he wanted to punch his son, though he never laid a hand on any of his sons in such a way. Trying to repress his own sense of hurt, and remain with his anger, he replied, "If you were eighteen, I'd throw your *** out right now! Don't push your luck!"

Chad always aspire
Dorothy A Jun 2012
With great recollection, there were a few things in life that Ivy Jankauskas would always remember—always.

She would never forget where she was when 9/11 happened; she was in her algebra class, doodling a picture on a piece of notebook paper of her dog, Zoey—bored out of her mind by Mr. Zabbo’s lecture—when she first heard the shocking news. Certainly, she could remember when she first properly fell in love; she was fresh into college when she knew that she loved Trevor Littlefield—the day after they agreed to get back together, right after the day they decided to split up—after she finally realized that she really loved him, much more than she ever, really, consciously thought. She would forever remember when her parents first took her to Disneyland; she was seven and got her picture taken with Snow White and Mickey Mouse, and she instantly decided that she wanted to become a professional Tinkerbelle when she grew up.

And, like it or not, she could remember her very first kiss. She had just turned five, and it was at her birthday party. How could she ever forget those silly paper hats, and all her little playmates wearing them? They were a good sized group of children, mostly from the neighborhood and her kindergarten class, which watched her open present after present. Ivy remembered her cherry cake, with white frosting, and the stain she had when she dropped a piece on her pretty, new dress that her mother had bought her just for the occasion.  

It was later that day, behind her garage, that Gordon Zachary Durand, the Third, a boy her same age, planted one on her. It was a strange sensation, she recalled—icky, wet and sloppy, and Gordon nearly missed her mouth. Not expecting it, Ivy made a face, puckering up her lips—but not for another kiss—as if she had just ****** on a spoiled lemon. Ever since then, it was the beginning of the dislike she had for Gordon Zachary Durand, the Third. She didn’t exactly know why—there was just something about him that bugged her from then on.

There grew to be several reasons why Ivy knew that Gordon was a ****, something she first sensed at her birthday party behind the garage. Since about third grade, children picked on Ivy’s name, teasing her by calling her “Poison Ivy”.  And the one who seemed to be the loudest and most obnoxious of the name callers, chiming in with the other bullies, was Gordon Zachary Durand, the Third.  Ivy was proud of her name up until then, but the taunts made her self conscious. Her mother told her to be proud of her name, for it was unique and different, as she was unique and an individual. Still, Ivy felt uncomfortable with her name for quite a while. Only in adulthood, did she feel somewhat better about it.

A bit of a tomboy back then in school, she would have loved to punch Gordon right in the nose. If only she could get away with it! What a joke! Who would name their child Gordon anyway? She had thought it was far worse than hers.

So to counter his verbal assaults to her name, Ivy called Gordon, “Flash Gordon”, after the science fiction hero from TV and the comics. But Gordon was no hero to her. He was more of a villain, creepy, vile, and just plain mean!

Soon, new name of him caught on, and other kids were joining her. She had a smug sense of satisfaction that Gordon grew furious of the title, for it stuck to him like glue.

Gordon’s family lived right around the block, just minutes away from where Ivy lived. Ivy’s mom, Gail, and Gordon’s mom, Lucy, both went to the same Lithuanian club, and both encouraged their children to take up Lithuanian folk dancing. Ivy remembered she was eight-years-old when she began dancing. It was three years of Hell, she had thought, wearing those costumes, with long, flowery skirts, frilly blouses, aprons, caps and laced vests, and performing for all the parents and families in attendance. Worst of all, she often had to dance with Gordon, and he was one of only three boys that was dragged into taking up folk dancing by their mothers. Probably all of those boys went into it kicking and screaming, so Ivy had thought.

Many years have came and gone since those days. Ivy was now a lovely, young woman, tall and dark blonde, and with a Master’s degree in sociology, working as a social worker in the prison system. Ivy’s parents would never have imagined that she would work in a field, in such places, but she found it quite rewarding, helping those who often wished for or were in need of redemption.    

When Ivy came over to visit her mom one day, her mother had told her some news. “Gordon Durand’s mother passed away”, Gail announced. It was quite disturbing.

“What? When?” Ivy replied, her face full of shock.

“Well, it must have been a few days ago. I saw the obituary in the paper, and a couple of people from the Lithuanian club called me to tell me. The funeral will be Friday. Why, I didn’t even know she was sick! She must have hid from just about everyone. If only I knew, I would have gone to see her and make sure she know I cared”.

It had been a long time since Ivy saw Gordon, ever since high school. Now, they were both twenty-six-years-old. It never occurred to her to ever think of Gordon, to have him fixed in her mind like a fond memory from the past.

“Could of, would of, should of—don’t beat yourself up, Mom” Ivy told her "I guess I should go pay my respects”. But Ivy was not sure if she really should do it, or really if she wanted to do it. “Mrs. Durand was a nice lady. Sometimes, it is the nice ones that die young. What did she die of anyway?”

Ivy’s mom was pouring herself and her daughter a cup of coffee. “I believe it was leukemia. In the obituary, it asks for donations to be made to the Leukemia Society of America”.

Ivy shook her head in disbelief.  As she was sitting down with her mother at the kitchen table, drinking her coffee, her mom shocked her even more. Gail said, “Only twenty-six, same as you, and now Gordon has no mother or father! How tragic to lose your parents at such a young age! It breaks my heart to think of him without his parents, even though he is a grown up man now!”

“What?!” Ivy shouted in disbelief. “When did Gordon’s dad die?!”

Gail sipped on her coffee mug. “Oh, a few years ago, I believe. Time sure flies, so maybe it was longer than I think”. Gail had a far away look on her face like she was earnestly calculating the time in her mind.

“He died? You never told me that! How come you never told me?”

Under normal circumstances, the thought of Gordon Zachary Durand, the Third, would almost want to make Ivy cringe. But now Ivy was feeling very sad for him.  

“I did!” Gail defended herself. “You just don’t remember, or you weren’t listening. I am sure I told you!”

Gail was a round faced woman, with light, crystal blue eyes that always seemed warm in spite of their icy color. Ivy was quite close to her mother, her parents’ only child. She was grateful that her dad, Max, was still around, too, unlike the thought of Gordon’s dad dying. She felt that she could not have asked for better parents. They loved her and built her up to be who she was, and she felt that they could be proud of how she turned out, not the stereotypically spoiled, only child, not entitled to have everything, but one who was willing to do her share in life.  

“I would have remembered, Mom!” Ivy insisted. “I would remember a thing like that! What happened to him? Did you go to the funeral home?”

“I think he had a heart attack”, Gail replied, tapping her finger on her temple to indicate that she remembered. “I did go…oh, wait a minute. You were in Europe with your friends. It was the year after you graduated from high school, I believe. You couldn’t possibly have gone to the funeral home at that time”.

Since Gail did not want to go to Daytona Beach, in Florida, for her senior trip, her parents saved up the money for her to go to Germany and Italy. Ivy wasn’t into being a bikini clad sun goddess, nor was she thrilled by the rowdy behavior of crowds of *** craved teens—a choice that her parents were quite grateful that she chose, level headed as she was.

Since she was a little girl, Ivy dreamed of going to Europe. Her parents, both grandchildren of Lithuanian immigrants, would have loved for her to go to Lithuania, but Ivy and two of her friends had found a safe, escorted trip to go elsewhere,  on to where Ivy always dreamed of going—to see the Sistine Chapel and to visit her pen pal of eleven years, Ursula Friedrich, in Munich.  

Now, Ivy was available to visit the funeral home for Gordon’s mother, and she had decided to go with her mother. Not seeing Gordon in years, Ivy had her misgivings, not knowing what to expect when encountering him. Perhaps, he would be different now, but maybe he would prove to be quite the ****.

As she came, she noticed Gordon’s sister, Deirdre, and she gave her a hug. “I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. She was so nice”, Ivy told Deirdre. She felt uncomfortable talking to Deirdre, for she did not know what to say other than the usual, I am sorry for your loss. It was “sympathy card” talk, and Ivy felt like she was quoting something contrived from a Hallmark store.    

Deirdre was two years older than Gordon. She slightly smiled at Ivy and sighed. She must have said just about the same thing all day long, “It is good of you to come. Thank you for your kind support. Mom would appreciate it”.

Ivy looked around the room. There were many flowers, in vases and baskets, and people surrounding the casket. Ivy could not see Mrs. Durand in the coffin, for people were in the way, her mother included. She was glad she couldn’t see the body from her view.

Funeral homes gave her the creeps, ever since she was thirteen years old and her grandmother died, her father’s mother, and she had to stay at the funeral home all day long. Even a whiff of some, certain flowers was not pleasant to smell. They reminded her of being at a place like this, certainly not evoking thoughts of joy.          

Ivy looked around the room. “Where is Gordon?” she asked Deirdre.

Deirdre sighed again. “Gordon cannot handle death very well”, she admitted. “Go outside and look. He has been hanging around the building outside, getting some fresh air and insisting he needs a big break from all this.”

Ivy shook her head and smirked. “That sounds like Gordon, I must say”  

“Yeah”, Deirdre agreed, as she looked like Gordon’s help to her was a lost cause. “And he’s leaving me to do all the important work—talking to people who come in while he goes away and escapes from reality”.

Ivy went outside to search for Gordon. Sure enough, she found him by the side of the building, under a broad, shady tree. He was having a cigarette, standing all by himself, when he saw her approach.

Gordon looked the same—wavy brown hair and freckles, but much more grown up and sophisticated, his suit jacked off and his tie loosened up. Ivy knew that he always hated wearing ties. She knew that when both her mom and his mom convinced them to go out with each other—a huge twist of their arms—to the Fall Fest Dance in ninth grade and in junior high school. Gordon’s mom bribed him to go with her by promising to double his allowance for the month, and Ivy actually had a silly crush on Gordon’s cousin, Ben, hoping that she might get to talk to him if she went with Gordon to the dance.

Ivy glanced at Gordon’s cigarette, and he noticed. “Been trying to quit”, Gordon told her as she approached. He dropped it on the sidewalk and stepped on it to put it out. His face was somber as he added without any emotion, as if parroting his own voice, “Ivy Jankauskas—how the hell have you been?” It sounded like he had just seen her in a matter of months instead of years.

Well, at least he had no problem identifying her or remembering her name. She must not have changed that drastically—and hopefully for the better.

Ivy stood there before him, as he looked her down from head to toe. Same old Gordon! She thought he was probably giving her “the inspection”. She thought he almost looked handsome in his brown suit vest and pants—almost—with a sharp look of sophistication that Gordon probably wasn’t accustomed to. Surely, Ivy had no real respect for him.

“I’m well”, she responded. “But the question is more like…how are you doing?” Ivy studied Gordon’s blank expression. “No—really. I’d like to know how you are coping”.

Gordon stood there looking at the ground, his hands in his pants pockets, like he never heard her. “Come on. Let’s go for a walk”

“Here? Now?”

“Just a short work, around the block”, he told her. He already started walking, and Ivy contemplated what to do before she decided to follow up with him to join him.

They walked together in silence for a while. From anyone passing by, they surely would have looked like a couple, a well-paired couple that truly enjoyed each other’s company. Ivy could not believe she was actually walking with him. Gordon Zachary Durand, the Third? Of all people!

“You haven’t answered my question”, Ivy said. “How are you coping? You know I really liked your mom a lot. She always was pleasant to me”.

She wanted to add, “Unlike you”, but it certainly was not the right time or the right place. She felt a twinge of guilt for thinking such a thing. Under more pleasant circumstances, she would have jabbed him a little. That was just how they always communicated, not necessarily in a mean-spirited way, but in a brotherly and sisterly way that involved plenty of teasing.

Gordon thought a moment before he answered. “Yeah, it’s hard. But what can I do? I lost my dad. I lost my mom. Period. End of discussion. I’m too old to be an orphan…but I kind of feel like one anyhow. That’s my answer, in a nutshell”.

“And I wish I knew about your dad”, Ivy said, with a great tone of remorse. “I was in Europe at the time, and I couldn’t have possibly gone to the funeral”.

“Europe? Wow! Aren’t you the jet setter? Who else gets to do that kind of stuff but you, Ivy?”

Now that was the Gordon she always knew! It did not take long for the true Gordon to come forth and show himself.

“No! I don’t have all kinds of money!” she quickly defended herself. “I actually helped pay for some of that trip by working all summer after we graduated from high school. Plus, it was the trip of a lifetime. I may never get the chance to go again on a trip like that again”.  

Ivy was a bit perturbed that Gordon seemed to imply that she was pampered by her parents. He accused her of that before, just because she was an only child.

Autumn was approaching, but summer was still in the air. It was Ivy’s favorite time of year, with the late summer and early autumn, all at the same time.  The trees were just starting to turn colors, but the sun felt nice and warm upon her as Ivy walked along. It was surely an Indian summer day, one that wouldn’t last forever. She wore a light sweater over her sleeveless, cotton dress, and took it off to experience more of the sun.

“It has been ages since I’ve seen you”, Gordon admitted. “Since high school. So what became of you? Did you ever go to college?”

“I did and I work as a social worker…I work in various prisons”

Gordon laughed out loud, and Ivy gave him a stern look. “What’s so funny?” she demanded.

“I just can’t picture you going in the slammer, even if you aren’t wearing an orange suit”, he said in between laughing. He looked at Ivy, and she had quite a frown on her face. He changed his tune. “I was only joking, Ivy. I think you’d probably do good work at your job”.  

“And where do you work?” she asked, a devilish expression on her face. “At the circus?”

Ivy caught herself becoming snarky to Gordon. It did not take long. She opened her mouth to apologize, but Gordon, sensing her need to be sorry, stopped her.

Laughing even more, he said, “Good one! You are sharp and fast on your feet! You always have been! I work for an insurance agency. I work for Triple A”.

“Oh, really? Do you like your job?” Ivy asked. Her interest was genuine.

“It pays the bills. But, hey! I am going back to college in January. I just have an Associate’s degree right now. I am not sure what I want to take up, but I want to go back and at least get a Bachelor’s”.

“That’s great!” Ivy exclaimed. “I think you should keep on learning and keep on moving forward. That is a great goa
Renae Apr 2014
Nothing quite makes sense
Try defining this
Why calculators
are only encouraged
after high school
So "they" can say
In America
we know trigonometry, calculus
Or algebra
all in order to
pump gas
work at Lowe's,
Walmart or a restaurant
Charlie Chirico Feb 2013
It starts to happen when the bad days outnumber the good days. At least that's what I'm told. Or maybe I have told myself that.

I've had this peculiar tick since I was a child. I rub my hands. It has become more prominent as I've gotten older. I'm sure it goes unnoticed, but I'm also sure that I'm not sure of much these days. On the good days I don't think of my hands. On the bad days I seem to be on the verge of clapping. If only enthusiasm came from this anxiety driven mannerism. On the really bad days I know that rubbing my hands together is keeping me from pulling my hair out. The really bad days are the days I get my headaches.

"If you're going to excessively ask questions I'll need a new server," Dante stated, purposefully avoiding eye contact. You don't make eye contact with the help, he was once told.

The shades are covering the windows of the restaurant, and the sun that gleams through the oil stains looks fresh. The coffee I ordered smells burnt. It may or may not be the fault of the server. But seeing as how I received two creamers when I specifically asked for three certainly leaves me to be speculative. A bell jingles at the entrance, I turn my head, nod to my friend, and pour my two creamers into my coffee. Two should suffice, although I did ask for three. It's the principle.

Being introspective and witty, and being objective and authentic was once seen as a form of normalcy. To clarify: if the latter is factual, it will usually coincide with the former. We are a parasite to information. Our senses are forces. We are forced to see, to hear, to taste, smell, feel. No matter how we perceive our sense, we are forced to experience it. How do you satisfy yourself, when one, there is too much to consume --mentally omnipotent, perhaps, considering our infinite curiosity regarding research in the field of neuroscience (Over the top sarcasm). And two, when the ability to retain information is slowly escaping our grasp; or becoming obsolete due to the convenience of technology. Narrow thinking. Black and white. Left or Right. Right or wrong. Our sense is our higher power. Maybe, just maybe, that feeling of being watched, the possible "sixth sense," is why we seek solace. Answers evade us, and we become irritable rather than theoretical. Is there a God? Is religion formidable? Are we God's children; are we the abandoned children of a martyr that is still seeking resurrection and resolution? Maybe our specie is the homeless man looking for sanctuary resting atop the church steps. Kneel at the altar. Seek Christ. Stare at the cross. An everlasting reminder that we have failed as a whole. We look for a sign, while we craft them to gain attention, or recognition. Are we the homeless man? Or are we the worker that pays to sin? What are we now? Where are we?

What are we now? Where are we?

Ignore the cracks in the sidewalk. To Hell with the sidewalk. To Hell with the path of righteousness.

Our days are borrowed.

Wednesday is lent to us. Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.

{MW} exhaled in annoyance. "Where's all this coming from, man? I get having an opinion or being bias, but c'mon. Some things you shouldn't bring up in conversation. You know people say there are certain topics that are never good to bring up, and I'm sure religion is in the top three."

"Don't you send weekly emails to politicians?" Dante asks passively.

"What are you getting at?"

"Nothing, forget it," Dante says, trying to pull himself out of the hole that is already dug.

"No no, continue with your point. Unless you need time to conjure one up."

"I don't need time. I believe I have everything well thought out. But you...better to instigate than participate."

"Get to the point." {MW} says.

"Okay, listen. What I am saying is that being blunt is now regarded as being closed-minded. If you say or write anything that conflicts with a person's morals you're going to be seen negatively. Sent right down the ******' river. People are sensitive. And we're conditioned to be this way. Our governments need order, as do we, so we set our own codes to coincide with black and white moral issues. As for religion, the only concept I can agree with is The Ten Commandments."

Our server walks by our table. Our eyes follow.

"That's it?" {MW} asks.

"What do you mean that's it?" Dante asks in return.

"Mr. ******' opinion and you give the most vague answer."

"Thank you peanut gallery."

*You become close with a person over time, now speaking first hand, we can sometimes adapt to their nature.

That is what I saw her doing with me for a long time. Simple as repeating things I've said in conversation. Her drink taste, until she evolved into this retroactive aristocrat. There were a lot of things that I had seen. I am guilty as well. I became interested in her reading habits. So, I started to read books she liked, little things like that. And so it goes. I would excel in social situations, and she would inadvertently expose me to a lot of great literature. I was always attracted to her books, and to her features, I suppose. And after time invested, concerning our friendship, it seems like in this situation there is a connection. Now, I know we just handle our relationship differently. And that's how I know we are different. There is a difference between not being empathetic, and being apathetic. I'm content. She's in a gray area.

This is far too complicated for me to speak verbatim. As bad as that sounds, I think after I explain myself you might be more sympathetic toward me.
Shaurya Pal Jan 2014
As I scarpered away, I could hear the voices,
echoing through the steel walls.
The cries, the vociferations, catching up to me,
couldn't fathom the escape, with a plan full of flaws.

Turning left, bending right,
running in circles, an endless plight.
The drug they induced,
pumping through my veins,
blocking my vision, severing the mains.
Don't know for how long,
I can put up this fight.

The sentinels advanced,
as fast and agile as they ever could be.
The alarm had rung more than once,
red lights poured all over the scene.

Needle in hand, dipped in ataractic,
who were they fooling, with that mild sedative?
I raced with every semblance of life I had,
couldn't survive this hell-hole.
Another day here would've driven me mad.

As the unexpected turn came,
I banged the door with the unknown name.
Fell face first, the momentum it carried me,
Scraped through the floor, stomach felt queasy.
Warm liquid oozed out of my nose,
dripping tardily as I rose,
the environment all but blurry.


Insanity Prevailed


As I blacked out,
I recalled how I came to be,
this house of horrors, delivered to me.
'Magnolia', home of the mentally challenged,
avowed 'care for the community'.

The head-shrink had advised,
you be safe, a feeling I imbibed.
A wry smile and that was it,
'Magnolia' She exclaimed,' would deem you fit.'

Believing in every word of hers,
I opened the door, welcomed
by the smell of fresh carcass,
the shabby floor with spots of dirt,
and people, oh lord the great unwashed,
like walking zombies, feelings inert.
They looked at me, some smiled and some laughed,
others cried, rest merely coughed.
So this is it, the house of the harebrained,
this was going to be my life,
Living among the insane.

I harbored no ill will,
But I couldn't absolve,
this feeling, inside me,
no friends no family, nothing normal.
Lasting with the un-dead,
my new destiny.

They filed me,
Gave a number, names were difficult to process,
66 it was, perfect, contributed  distress.
Admitted to my room, solitary for the neophyte,
'Morning' they said,' begins a new life.'

With a wicked smile they left me alone,
I was meek enough to cry, stiff enough to moan.
I wailed the whole night, the walls resonated,
the shrill of metal, the demons it encouraged.
The lights polished off, staring at the darkness,
all the monsters , the behemoth, dancing around me,
an invitation to their everlasting music.


Insanity Persisted


A specter bobbed up from the tiled floor,
gazed at me and pointed to the door.
'Rise, Awaken, my soul',
and the door opened with a loud crack,
'You must hurry, the guards will be back'.
I sat bolt upright, the apparition never lied.

Nose still bleeding, I took flight with haste,
looked back, they had dropped the chase.
It felt safe after a long time,
The world must know, of their wicked little crime.
They had to be stopped, the Doctor, the Nurse,
all of which were part of the crust,
which protected the whacko who experimented on us.

End of the hall, I noticed the Blue door,
It had to be the one, which will take me off-shore.
Head still paining, the doses that drained,
the vigor and strength, I couldn't sustain.
One last time, I had to draft
my will my power, from within.
To conjure up all my might,
before the shadows cave in.

As I drew nearer, towards the blue threshold.
I knew there was no looking back,  
nothing left to unfold.
I slowed down, one step at a time,
I could taste freedom, a taste so sublime.
My hand reached the door,
and gently turned the ****,
I pushed open the exit
and stared at the waiting mob.

Before I could assimilate,
with my failure and disappointment.
Someone jabbed a needle,
covering my mouth, crackling my vent.
Pushing me again, down the memory lane.


Insanity Pursued


The days were bad,
the nights equally worse.
A thin line existed between illusion and insanity,
indistinguishable they became, virtual and reality.
One could hear screams, begging for mercy,
Which the henchmen showed no sign of,
and continued to treat the already cured.

Those who betrayed, yearning exemption,
were treated with immense brutality.
Straightjackets, shackles and all sorts of gear,
were enough to put a man in psychotic fear.
The staff comprised barbarians and sadists.
Who lacked the basic sense of morality.

Shock therapy, voltage to its max,
bound and gagged, glued to the sacks.
The jolt of the lightning hitting them hard,
enough to churn up the flesh into lard.
They drugged the sufferer, the dupe would tranquil,
the fallout was horrible, it would make them frenzied.

For those beyond cure,
who lived for mere existence,
earned their own private, privileged experiment.
A special space, a hidden chamber,
well beyond, beneath the ground.
Defecated walls, layered flesh and blood,
****** fluids scattered,
in abundance, constituting a flood.
Human torture, vicious and cruel.

In a place so dark even the demons would fear,
how could I survive? This life to me was dear.
And the patients, the patients wouldn't help,
for them it was a game, live a day, reward for the next.
Some were quiet, lost in their own world,
speaking, whispering and talking to themselves.
Some looked sane, but stuck in paranoia,
for them the universe could any day cease to exist,
pertaining to their biggest phobia.
some were smart, they indulged in theories,
the real world mattered less to them.
And then there were the trigger-happy.
The truly maddened ones, violent with rage.
Every day was a battle, they fought within the cage.
They couldn't help me, for I wasn't crazy,
Just your usual guy, a victim of fate.

Magnolia was a place, where people ****** away their souls,
I wasn't ready to sell mine.
I had to escape, make an elaborate design.
There were no doctors at night, just the cruel handy-men,
had all the time in the world to formulate a plan,
question was, to execute when?

One night the attendant came,
wearing  a strange jumpsuit,
pen in breast-pocket,
woke me up and proclaimed, 'Get up you imbecile,
it's your turn in the lab today.
Stand up now, I ain't got all day!'
'HAH! You could try young man, to put me down,
but I ain't going to your lousy town'.
To this he smacked at my retort,
and laughed with a disgusting little snort.
'One more time you test my good nature,
and I swear to God I'll ruin your caricature.'
'Go ahead then give it your best shot,
You want me dead, do you not?'.
His laughter, this time, deafened the silence all around.
'You're dead fool! If it were up to me I'd skin you flesh and bone,
The amount of ruckus you create, the annoyance you hone,
But the good doctor has plans and once he's done with you..'
His unfinished sentence struck a nerve so strong,
my eyes rolled over,
what could possibly go wrong?

So the man with the strange jumpsuit,
dragged me all the way to the office.
The dimly lit room, ornamented a large crucifix.
Dear lord, you see how they mock?
Came back the degenerate with a big round lock.
'Oh yes, this is for you my friend,
chains aren't enough, straightjacket I will get.
Sit still you half-wit, else you'd regret'.
And I smiled and waited.
He returned as promised, with the piece of vestiary,
a twisted sense of humor, whoever built this monstrosity.

He stared where I looked, into his breast pocket.
'What's missing pal?' I asked in amusement.
He stopped everything and looked around.
With a motion so fast, it could only fly by,
gripping the pen, I poked him in the eye.
Ink exuded instead of blood,
the large man fell, loud with a thud.
The immense pain had him in shock,
now was the time for me to run amok.
But I kept focus, and ran for the door,
promised myself never to look back anymore.
Eloped with the only chance I foxed.


Insanity Reigned


The source of light was so strong,
I twitched a lot, just to see what's going on.
Caged in a room, no wait, a theatre!
****! I was so close to getting out.
The staff, I assume, were prepared all along.
Hatched a sinister plot, to show where I belong.
They had me now, tied to a work bench,
metal clasps around my wrist,
belted to the maximum limit.
For some odd reason they had me gagged,
the tape tasted foul, hygiene they lacked.
I wrestled my wrists with the wrought metal clamp.
But they were tight, wouldn't budge,
getting them off needed more than a nudge.

Alas the doctor came, with a frown upon his face,
With great ruefulness, he peeled off the tape.
'You caused us a great deal of trouble today.
None of our methods have impacted on you, what do you have to say?'
'Serves you right, you junk-less freak!' I was happy he was disappointed,
'That's not a very nice thing to say' responded the doctor, almost agitated.

He picked up an instrument,
a big long nail, the pointed end was so sharp,
I could feel it piercing through my brain.
Next he lifted a mallet,
which shone so bright it reflected upon my face.
To what devilish purpose could they serve?
The doctor took his time, and allowed me to observe.
He wore his mask, the mask of a surgeon,
at this time of the night? Surely he wasn't
planning to operate on me.
'Leave me alone, what are you doing?
Surely you know I'm not to be blamed, I don't belong here.
This is insane!'
'Wrong again 66, the society would never accept you.
You killed your wife and children, ******'s on you.'
It was at this moment the specter re-appeared, right behind the doctor.
Calling me, my name,
'They're all lying, you didn't **** anyone, they're framing you.'
'LIAR!' I spat at the doctor, 'You know she's is alive and waiting for me at the doorstep,
As always' I said.
'Yes she is waiting, but only at her death bed.'
'LIAR! You know my kids are sleeping peacefully at home!'
'Yes they are, but the sleep is eternal.'
'LIES! I can't **** a person,not even a fly!'
'And yet you poked my assistant right in the eye!'

The specter now appeared closer,
in a calming tone almost a whisper,
'Do not believe a word they said.
You're not a killer, just a victim of fate.'
Exactly, that's precisely what I meant.

With all the strength my voice box could muster,
I cried so hard the doctors ears could rupture.
' LIES! LIES! ALL LIES! You won't get away with this, the truth will come out.
Why would I ever **** them for crying out loud?'

'You're right, the truth shall come out, but not in this form, not from you.
66 has to die, a fact you always knew.'

No one dies today

'Hold him still.' The good doctor ordered.
A pair of hands inclined my head south,
Another pair, taped away my mouth.
I could hear music, a soft hum.
It had calmed me down ,that bass drum.
It kept beating at regular intervals.
The specter now, beside me,
placing her hand on my shoulders.
I looked up towards the sky, a light bulb
glowed right above my nose.
The doctor raised the nail,
a dot replaced the light source.
As the blot grew in size,
the light dimmed, luminance was minimized.
The music almost placid,
it made me smile, a smile so gentle.
The doctor enounced,
'This will only hurt a little.'
And as he struck, the spirit vanished,
the music stopped.


Insanity Triumphed
Part 2 of The 'Karma' trilogy
Sam Conrad Dec 2013
So I've got this story...
And it goes a little something like this-

There's a girl that I hurt really bad on way too many occasions that I love more than anything. Pretty much everything I write on here is about her. She became the love of my life, and I told myself she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. Except I was a ****. She was going somewhere to an event that lasted 2 weeks and was really important to her and let's just say I ****** it all up really really bad. She made a lot of friends there and it was a great experience for her, kind of like camp is for some people, how boy/girl scouts are for some people, and she learned a lot there, and had lots of fun too. I was so horrible to do what I did.

At least we're young though, and there's still time to grow...right? I'm only 18, she's almost 18, and we both have lives to live ahead of us. I feel like I need her though. She treated me perfectly in our relationship. I mean, looking back, there's nothing I can fault her for, at all. I just got ****** at stupid crap that doesn't even matter.

Except, she's into somebody else now and probably thinks I'm no good for her. She doesn't talk to me anymore. Anyway, I'm rambling, I haven't gone to bed, I took a bunch of pills, am getting sick, and it's 7 AM...so here goes. This story is somewhat censored, though.

_________________­___________
"The Worst Weeks of Our Lives"

I met this girl and she became the love of my life. She took me places I'd never gone before and her and I fell in love like some people wouldn't believe. Ask my friends. Ask her friends. No, her friends probably wouldn't admit to it anymore. But I choose to remember the things they said. Kids were like totally rooting for us all day every day. We were so perfect. It was great.

So with a few mistakes here and there, (mostly me...all me, really) we realized we weren't perfect. But it didn't hamper out love. Nobody is perfect, right? We realized that. Overcame.

But then, we went too far. Her parents drew lines we weren't supposed to cross. Oopsies. Her mom really put me in my place. I'll just leave it at that. Asked me when my 18th birthday was, so she could mark her calendar as the "day she could touch me". Told me I was a liar. Husband in the background drunk and screaming, as usual. Except screaming "that ***** ain't sorry. He ain't ******* sorry, ******* ******* marking up my ******* daughter I can show him how to be ******* sorry"

Lots more. I'll go crazy if I speak the rest. It was a hickey on her neck. We didn't do much more.

I got really scared. I mean, they were brutal. I wasn't used to that kind of brutal. Psychotic levels of brutal. All of the sudden I became numb. I stopped being so intimate with my girlfriend. They told me not to come around their house anymore. I started doubting myself. If I was any good for her. She cried and cried. Told me how sorry she was. For getting us in trouble, and for what her parents did. But it wasn't her fault. After all, I am the vampire that bit her neck.

After a few weeks, her parents dropped it completely. I didn't though. I was so traumatized. I'd been getting flashbacks. Nightmares. So scared, I was. I kept avoiding her, not only her parents. I mean, I didn't have a car anyways, so the only place I could go to see her was at her house. She reassured me I was allowed. But with no contact with her parents since the phone call that changed my life I was reluctant.

This was around 2 months before she was going to go to a 2 week event. A special event to her. One I'd even wished I'd gotten involved in. Really, I did wish. I just missed the application deadline. Throughout the next two months, we grew more and more distant. I was harsh on her. I hurt her. I'd get mad at her and then call her and talk to her until 3 in the morning. I made her hate herself, and then she felt bad about me feeling sorry too. "You always force yourself to be nice to me just so I feel better, but I'm ****, I'm trash, I'm nothing, I'm so sorry" she would say. Most of the time, she didn't even do anything wrong. One of my best friends died at the same time her parents killed me inside, I spent all my days sleeping and crying and when I wasn't doing that, I was getting angry at her (and quickly regretting it), manufacturing conflicts that were completely unnecessary. Not to mention I'd had health issues, and my parents kicked me out of my house a few months beforehand.

In the time before she left to her special event, I really tore her up. I said the dumbest things I've ever said to someone in my life. I'd never even said such dumb things to even an object, or myself. Why I would say them to a girl who saved me from suicide (I was very unstable and depressed when coming out of a bad relationship, and getting kicked out of home) and why I said it all to someone I wanted to spend my life with I'll never know.

The dumbest things I'll ever say to anything that breathes in my lifetime. I told her one night that the "only reason I was still with her was because if I left she'd hurt herself" (she had a history of self harm, even though she's the sweetest girl I've ever met) and another night I told her "If only she were going somewhere important I'd understand" and lots of other insensitive and selfish things that I can't even believe came out of my mouth. I mean, the whole basis of it was that her and I hadn't spent much time together (really because of my own selfish fears) and I was going all *** on her testosterone-fueled-rage style for days over and over and over.

Don't I sound like a horrible person? I was. I was horrible to her. As much as I hate to say it, I'll probably make similar mistakes again someday - It's like relapsing - but I'll make every effort I can to learn from my horrible past and never be that person again.

So when she went to the event, I was with my grandparents out of state and I downloaded my favorite sad playlist (Staind, great band) to listen to on the trip.

Yes, seriously. I told her that stuff and called her event unimportant and then I went away too. How stupid I was for what I said. I should have been slapped or something.

A day or two after I'd left, I realized how stupid it was of me. For the whole thing. That whole time. That whole span, those two months where I not only neglected her, but emotionally ****** her.

There's a song called "Tangled Up In You" that has the most wonderful and intimate lyrics and I listened to it and sung to it over and over and over late into the morning (I'm talking 3-4 in the morning) every night for like 10 days and along with a song called "Right Here" by the same band. I cried myself to sleep so extremely ashamed of what I'd just done to her.

I knew I was wrong, but what I didn't know was that she was crying her eyes out wrapped up in (someone else)'s arms at that event...
I didn't know she was getting all kinds of love and support.
I had no idea...not that it was bad, it was good because she needed it.

But it got her to thinking about me, what kind of person I was.
When we both got back, I started making more of an effort to spend time with her and go out of my way to talk to her, make her happy, and basically, stop being such a ****.
Except she just got confused and conflicted because she was numb and falling out of love, because I was nothing that anyone should love, to her, over that prior time.

Her mom broke us up about a month later, after some...you know what, I'll just leave that bit out...
I told you how the first phone call went. The phone calls I got from her and her husband in the end were just so much worse. I don't even want to think about them. I went into convulsions and kept dropping the phone.

I went back to these two songs to help keep my sanity and I belted out "Tangled Up In You" every day in my car... so loud I was losing my voice.

I'd had some communication with her, surprised her at her work one night, bought her flowers, wrote her my true feelings on some napkins, showed up when she got out of school one day, when she was deathly afraid, and surprised her with a smile and drew a heart on her hand...

Her and I were on the same page. She still loved me. She was just hurt. I still loved her. I was just trying to make up for the compromised mental state I spent so much time in. I had compromised hers too. I needed to get her out of it. She told me she would wait for me. That we were in a speed bump, that it would all be okay.

So some weeks passed, a month, and she still had my back. As strong as ever. Her parents found out I bought the flowers. They found out I'd been talking to her. But...

Knowing she still had my back, that she still loved me, and that she would wait for me...she called what her mom did (in breaking us up, in our break) a "speed bump"...I was okay with it. I mean, I really wanted to be a part of her life, but man, her parents HATED ME! (In retrospect, probably with good reason. Shame on me for the things I did to her. Really.)

We had some major issues (mostly due to my inability to shut my stupid mouth) and I decided that maybe some time to ourselves to focus on ourselves and think was a good thing. She could focus on loving herself again and I could focus on becoming a better person.

I mean, when her parents found out her and I were still talking to each other after they broke us up, they blocked my number on her phone, went to my church and made up extra stories to my pastor, (told him I'd came and banged on their door at one in the morning one night), when I called to apologize to them they didn't pick up, called me back later to cuss me out and hang up on me, logged into their daughters facebook account and blocked me, then told their daughter that I had called them when she was sleeping and cussed them both out, and that she was to have nothing to do with me again. They threatened legal action against me, too. Tried to make my life hell. They didn't want me around their daughter, ever again. A blind rage that went on for a very long time until every communication route was blocked.

She went to school and told her friends the false stories her parents told her, and her friends already didn't like me...I mean just look at what I had done before...it wasn't good. Not for me, anyway. Also her. She felt duped. Used. By her parents. She didn't know who to trust or what was real. Everyone was telling her how horrible I was.

I got a chance to talk to her one day. We talked for hours, face to face. Sat in the cold and talked. It was an amazing talk. We caught each other up completely on our lives. We talked about our love. Our past. Our emotions. All of them. Good and bad. But we told each other we'd always love each other. She stuck by me, and also reassured me that she always would. I left that conversation feeling so secure. The most I'd felt since way before I'd become a total **** to her. When her and I were so deep in love.

She's always wanted to go far away from college. She told me stories of her past and what her parents did to her, what she did to herself that were not good. Not good at all. She wanted to get away from her parents.

Meanwhile I was so caught up in the feelings she gave me when I was in her arms, I almost couldn't handle the fact that she wanted to leave. I pleaded for her to stay, in a time that her and I were both unstable and it was already taboo that we were even on the same property. But still, she said "she wanted to stay" because her and I work so well together...when we work together, that is, and I and her were both determined to work together. I told her I would do anything for her. In all of it though, I told her that the decision was in her hands and I would still love her the same if she left, and that I would wait for her. Because I loved her more than anything.

After that talk, things got quiet. I guess, too quiet. I was legally bound to stay away from her. I talked to someone she worked with and asked them to tell her hello for me. I thought though, we were on good terms following the talk, I thought she'd be elated to hear from me.

She never responded.

One day, a couple weeks later, she told me I really needed to get over her. That she didn't love me like that anymore. She told me she'd been falling out of love since the summer, and she'd gone crazy and needed space. She said she wanted to be friends, but no relationship. No relationship anymore. She said she couldn't handle it. She said she couldn't handle a relationship in general.

She made that message a bit accusatory. I'd been talking to two friends, one who I'd known for years and a new one I'd just made. Both overlapping friends with hers. Those two helped keep me sane.

She started that message with "I heard you've been messaging my friends, and to be honest, I haven't had the heart to message you back." She repeated multiple times that I needed to get over her. She told me that it wasn't anyone else's influence too. She even listed people. People who'd separated us. Hurt me. Hurt her, in a way, but encouraged her in others.

At the same time, she blocked me on facebook again. She had unblocked me when she found out her parents did it for her. Odd though...I thought she wanted to be friends. I mean, it was like the only way I was able to have her in my life at all. To read her facebook posts and her read mine. To have discussions with friends. We have a lot of overlapping friends.

Man, she killed me. One second I thought she was my soul mate and the next I was in the bathroom puking my guts out because she was telling me we'd never be together again.


So fast forward to today...I still love her. And she's basically in a relationship with someone else. She's also either on the fence about her sexuality, or decided she doesn't like boys anymore. I feel bad about that too. Its like I ruined male relationships for her. It's only been a few weeks since she told me I needed to get over her. She doesn't talk to me anymore. I go to high school events even though I graduated last year just to see her. When I don't approach her, she ignores me. I'm just another person in the room. When I do approach her, she has such a scared look on her face. She doesn't want to talk to me, but she can't be mean to me. She's falling in love with someone else and she's getting happier. She doesn't need me showing up everywhere just to depress her.

Yet I keep bothering her. Because I'm a sucker for her. I can't help it. I love her. I want her to be my future. But at this point I'm grasping at straws. So hard. I shouldn't be trying anymore. But I'll end up trying until the day I die. And only then will I stop believing in her and I. I know it's a pipe dream. But I'll hold onto it. Because it's the only thing I have left of myself now.

Last night, (I mean, right before I wrote this around 5 AM, it is now 8 AM) I played those two songs again. I forgot they were at the end of my playlist and I started shivering and crying my eyes out. I got chills. I got so cold. The tears just ran. They ran down my face faster than I've cried in a long, long time.

I'm only okay right now because I took a bunch of pills. Pills that have this kind of effect on me. They make me kind of numb. Kind of happy. Upper and downer both.

That's pretty much, my sad ending to a sad story.
I'm living the kind of life that only people like Shane Koyczan know how to explain to people.

Ironically, she loves Shane Koyczan.
I do too.
We grew up in broken homes and lived broken lives until we found each other.
Then we broke each other.

But she's falling for someone else, because I wasn't what I should have been to her, and she knows
But she doesn't believe in me anymore, the way I believe in her...because I wasn't what I should have been to her, and she can't hold onto me when I'm a 50/50 chance, of bringing her down again.
If only she would let me hug her again, kiss her one more time...I could die happy, knowing I poured all my heart and soul out into that last kiss.
But I'm a gamble. And she can't put her heart out on the line for someone who wasn't always good to her. She used to call me her "sweet boy" and she still tells me I'll always be her "sweet boy", but the fact of the matter is, it doesn't cut it to only be sweet s
I needed to write this. I've been going crazy. I told her I needed to talk to her but she's been avoiding me. If she reads this, I know its hard for her. There are more explanations I need to give her, I hope she will let me speak to her someday. I've found out a lot about myself in just the last few weeks. Stuff I don't talk about in this story. To you, my dear...if you read this, I'm sorry. I know it's tough. Its very tough. But look at the positive, dear. I'll keep living. Maybe I'll be okay someday. Your happiness is what matters to me. If you're happy, I'll keep myself going. I'm going to go to sleep now. Finally, I have some peace.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
A story in three movements after the painting by Mary Elwell*
 
 I

She’s out. Changed her frock, left me a list and her letters on the hall table. I heard the door bang. She was in a hurry. Wednesday afternoon she’s often in a hurry. I don’t know where she goes, but she’s usually back about 9.0, and Mr Fred has his tea by himself. I come in here when she’s out and I’ve done the necessary. It’s a big house and apart from Janet and Elsie in the mornings I look after the place, and her when necessary. She’ll call me into her bedroom to tell me what she wants done with her laundry. She’s fussy, but she can afford to be. She has two wardrobes, what I call her Mrs Fred clothes and her ‘Mrs Knight’ clothes. They’re quite different; like she’s two different people. When she paints she’s someone I don’t know at all – she looks like a *****. She doesn’t belong in this room anyway when she paints. She has her studio in the attic and doesn’t even let Mr Fred in there. I don’t go in there. I’ve never got further than the door. She doesn’t want anyone to see what goes on in there. Oh, I see the pictures when they’re finished. She places them on Mr Fred’s easel in the drawing room and spends hours pacing up and down looking at them. She pulls up a chair and sits there. She doesn’t like being interrupted when she’s doing that. I like to come in here when she’s out. It’s a lady’s bedroom. I don’t think Mr Fred comes in here very often. She likes to go to him when she does, which isn’t often. When I first came here they were always in each other’s bedrooms, but she keeps herself to herself now except when Mrs Knight comes.
 
II
 
 When I was a young man I often used to look up from Walkergate at the windows of this room. You can’t miss them really as you walk towards the Bar. I coveted this house you know. Marrying Mary suddenly made that a possibility. When Holmes died and left her his fortune it came on the market and I said lightly one afternoon – she was in my studio in London – I see Bar House is up for sale. Yes, she said, we could buy it. I think she knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere in London, and she wanted to go back to Yorkshire.  She was from the first going to be her own person having been Holmes’ for ten years – an older man, dull and old. She felt by marrying me, an artist, her desire to be solitary, self-absorbed, would be understood. I don’t often come in here. She comes to me, usually to talk at the end of the day. She doesn’t sleep well, never has. We don’t, well you know, it was all about friendship, companion-ship I suppose, and money. She had it. I didn’t. You know the light in this room is so wonderful in the afternoon – like honey. I like to sit on her bed and think of the days when I would wake in this room. There were two beds here then. She’d be sitting at her writing table in her blue gown. She liked to get up with the dawn and write long letters to her friends, mainly Laura of course. After that first sitting she began writing to me, all about her love of painting and how Alfred had never encouraged her, and would I help her, advise her? She wanted to go to Paris and be in some Impressionist’s atelier. I soon realised in Paris I was never going to be a great artist or a modern painter. There’s one picture from that time . . . only one; that girl from the theatre, Amelie. I’d seen Degas and thought . . . no matter, I could never match her letters. I was always a disappointment. I still am. I would sit down at my desk with one of her letters  - she wrote to me almost every day - and think ‘I’ll just deal with that enquiry from Alsop’s’, and then I’d find another pressing letter, or I’ll look at my accounts, and all my good intentions would be as nothing. If I’d really loved her I would have written I’m sure. It takes time to write, to think what to say. It’s time I always felt I couldn’t allow myself. Painting was more than enough, and more important than letters to Mary. She wanted to talk to me, and wanted me to talk back. So she talks to Laura now, who returns her ‘talk’ with equally long letters – with sketches and caricatures of people she’s met or ‘observed’. Occasionally, I catch sight of one of these illustrated letters on the sitting room sofa, placed inside a book she is reading. I have a box of Mary’s letters, and when she’s away I look at them and read her quiet words – what she’s seen, what she’s read, what she hoped  we might become.
 
 III

I often stand at the door, even today when I’m in a rush, to gaze at my room before going out and leaving it to itself. I love it so in the afternoons when the sun takes hold of it, illuminates it. You know each item of furniture has its own story; my mother’s quilt on my bed, the long mirror from Alfred’s house; my writing box given to me by my Godmother on my 21st; the little blue vase by my wash stand – that back street shop in Venice, my first visit. I stand at the door and think, well, just what do I think? Perhaps I just rest for a moment at the sight of myself reflected in these ‘things’, my possessions, my chosen decoration, the colours and tones and shapes and positions of objects that surround my daily life. My precious pictures; some important gifts, others all about remembrance, a few from my childhood, my first marriage – Alfred was very generous. The silver vase on my writing table glows with delphiniums from the garden – and a single rose from Laura. And today we will meet, as we do on alternate Wednesdays, to drink tea in the Station Hotel, arriving on our different trains from our different lives. This friendship sustains me, and more than she will ever know. She is so resolute, so gifted as an artist. She is a painter. She has imagination, whereas as I just see and record. She puts images together that carry stories. That RA **** – that’s Laura you know – and the painter is me – and wearing a hat for goodness sake! Me paint in a hat! I remember her going through my wardrobe to dress me for that picture. Why the hat? I kept asking. But she made me look as I’ve always wanted to look in a picture – as though I was a real artist and not a wealthy woman who ‘plays’ at painting. Fred’s portraits say nothing to me, whereas Laura’s make me feel weak inside. I remember her trying out that pose in front of my long mirror. ‘Will this do?, she would say, ‘Or this? All I could look at were her long, long fingers, imagining her touch on my arm when she kissed me goodbye.
Jackie Mead Sep 2017
The Frog and The Bee lived merrily on a log, in a bog in the middle of two Rivers, the River Louse and the River Wry.

They were best friends with the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and the Elf with one ear and the Fly with one eye who lived on the River Wry.

One day the Frog, on the log in the middle of the bog, said to his dear friend the Bee, it's about time that you and I, the Mouse with the house on the River Louse, Elf and Fly had another adventure.
The Bee buzzed excitedly and said 'what did you have in mind?'
"Well" said the Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog on the River Louse, where the Mouse had his house “I was thinking that you and I and the Fly with one eye could get together with the Mouse, who has a house on the River Louse,and the Elf with one ear and set out for the town of Cry which is on the River Wry”.
” I've heard” said the Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog on the River Louse, where the Mouse had his house “that there is a horse living by the course of the River who because he is getting older needs some help getting his master and friend round the very long bend.”
“I thought you and I and the Fly with one eye and Elf with one ear and the Mouse with a house on the River Louse could come up with a plan to get the barge, the horse, his master and friend around the River bend at the town of Cry on the River Wry”.
“What a great idea” said the Bee to the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle
of a bog, let's go summons our friends, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and help the master and his horse round the River course”.

So the Frog and Bee set out to find the Mouse with the house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and explain to them that there was a horse who needed their help to get a barge and his master and friend around the River bend.
The Mouse with the house on the River Louse and the Fly with one eye and The Elf with one hear were easy to persuade, they all agreed to let Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, to take the lead.
Frog said to the Elf with one ear “we need to you to be the eyes for the Fly with one eye and help him find his way to the town of Cry on the River Wry”.  
To the Fly with one Eye, Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog said “we need you to help the Elf with one ear and be his ears, working together to find your way to the town of Cry on the River Wry”

The friends set out on their way to the town of Cry on the River Wry, Frog, who, lived on a log in the middle of the bog, croaked very nosily as he hopped from lily pad to lily pad from River Louse, where the Mouse with the house lived, to River Wry and their destination the town of Cry.

The Bee buzzed happily on the shoulder of the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, and accepted the ride with his friend to the River bend at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear set out together, the Elf with his perfect eye sight led the way to the town of Cry on the River Wry.  The Fly with his perfect hearing kept the Elf safe from harm and alerted him to any creature that may be nearing.

It was a beautiful afternoon and the friends would get to the town of Cry on the River Wry soon, the Frog and the Bee, the Fly and the Elf and the Mouse with the house on the River Louse, would help their friend the horse and his master get around the very long course of the River at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

After several hours, the friends all agreed it wouldn’t be long now until their friend the horse would be in sight and they would use all of their skills and all of their might to help their friend navigate around the bend of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The Frog croaked to the Bee, look our friend is in front of you and me, the horse is close to the River bend and he will soon need all his friends to help him round the bend close to the town of Cry on the River Wry.

The horse was pleased to see his friends, the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Bee and the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse, the Fly with one eye and Elf with one ear, he began to neigh and cheer, at last he would have some help from his friends to get him, the barge and his master and friend around the river bend.

The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, asked the horse “how can we assist you and your master?”.  The horse replied ” of course I need good eyes and ears and lots of noise to guide the master, the barge and me, the horse, of course, around the river bend.”
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of a bog, replied “I have an idea, the Elf with one ear has perfect eyes and the Fly with one eye has perfect ears, myself the Bee and the Mouse with a house on the river louse can all make lots of noise, together we will all work to assist your master and you, the horse, around the river course".
The horse did neigh as if to obey and went to find his master.  With a collar around his neck attached to the barge he lowered his head and began to walk.
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of a bog and the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and the Bee made as much noise as a trio of three could possibly.
The Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, did croak, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse, did squeak and the Bee did buzz and together they made an awful lot of fuss, and the horse did neigh as if to say, he heard them all just fine.

The horse continued to walk and the Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear did appear, and encouraged the horse to walk on, the Fly with its perfect ears did listen to his friends, The Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Mouse who had a house on the River Louse and The Bee, and talked the horse around the river bend.  
The Elf with one ear and its perfects eyes did talk to the horse and describe the course of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.

In no time at all the horse, the barge and the master, his friend had gotten all the way around the large bend of the river at the town of Cry on the River Wry.
The horse did neigh as if to say "Thank You" to his friends, the Frog who lived on a log in the middle of the bog, the Bee, the Mouse with a house on the River Louse, The Fly with one eye and the Elf with one ear and invited them to stay for tea.  
The Master was so pleased that he fell to his knees and said to the creatures big and small "thank you for your help today it is fair to say that without your noise, your perfect sight and perfect talk the horse would not have made the walk around the river bend".
"Now" said the master to the new set of friends "lets set up camp past the river bend and have a cup of tea", "thank you" said the Frog, who lived on a log in the middle of the bog and the Bee, "we’d love a cup of tea".

So this very odd group of friends sat around and made mend with a cup of tea and a fire to keep them warm as they swapped stories for the night and tomorrow the friends would make their way home.

The Frog, who lived on the log in the middle of the bog, turned to his special friend the Bee and said “thank you for believing in me”
Another story based poem, it's a bit epic, thank you to anyone who takes the time to read it.
Umi Apr 2018
Whereabout of the heart, where might it be ?
When fury is a feeling which engages your senses, your mind and your soul in a raging outburst of negativity expressed in adrenaline,
Everything seems to be one sided, a loop which only fuels your anger with thoughts of unpleasant, disturbing annoyances, making it harder
Harder to resist, until alike a super nova, you explode in a viscious rampage with knows no escape, so, where is the heart ? Where is it?
A tantrum might be encouraged to grow in size if it's revenge you seek, desire, want to live for to make it expire, with violent passion,
Mercy or compassion, forgiveness and simpathy may be forgotten, within the depths of your burning soul, lit ablaze solely by hatred,
You may lose your mind, oh beauty of a living existence, becoming alike a lily of murderous intent, spiteful, yet elegant and wonderful,
A shivering star, ready to take its opponent down with itself while destroying what used to be so precious, unique and simply sweet,
Blemishing the unconscious without thinking of patience or the chance to calm this nuclear meltdown, unfolding in tragedy for us,
The pure light of your praying palms might help in this regard,
Because his remembrance is what makes furious hearts become calm.

~ Umi
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2018
.i might have been an *******, on many occasions and with many instances of it being true... but attempting to take someone's life? even i couldn't be such a ******* in the worst of probable instances; no, i'm pretty sure we were doing the "sleeper game", and like i once asked myself cognitively, 'what will be the last song i'll ever hear?' well... it wasn't good morning, or godless, or muhammad... it was... sleep... from the 13 tales of urban bohemia album; befitting, don't you think?

there's no point investing in
the current narrative,
given, that, the moderns
do not entertain the notion
of a dialectics...
    personally i don't see
the point...
or a, point...
          how can there be
debate "concerning",
a, "freedom" of speech,
when one side speaks,
the other side listens,
and then exercises authority
over the former side,
that abolishes their,
"freedom" to continue discourse?
that's not a, "freedom"...
that's... taunting
for the sake of taunting
and subsequent obliteration...
this?
  this particular piece?
i'm not talking...
    i have a cat sleeping
in my bed, in a fetal
position like an alien embryo,
and i'm taking?
who's talking?!
hearing voices in your head?
oh don't worry...
whoever is in charge
will gravitate to moving on
the one politicized medical
condition, schizophrenia,
as an excuse to cage you...
i know... i was also uneasy
when it came to making
a protest...
and guess what...
i made the right accusations...
but i hear of no law suit...
kinda figures, if i'm not being
sued, "merely" labelled
mentally ill...
  hence the... perpetual silence
surrounding my claim...
i can eve give you the details...
he said it was Salvia...
  a south american hallucinogenic...
and he said he hallucinated
riding an elephant,
in India...
         and he also encouraged
the driver of the car to smoke
**** which included almost
veering of the road...
and prior to that fateful day,
we went to a party,
and he made marijuana brownies...
and i donned a cowboy hat
and posed for a picture
like some Buddha with slit
eyes...
         and his friend encouraged
me to do a, "sleeper" while listening
to some Dandy Warhols',
song?
coin toss:
either Muhammad,
  Good Morning...
                    or Godless...
  "sleeper"?
when you get high,
lie down...
  and have two speakers on each side
of your head
blasting music...
a gimmick, a revision of
the concept of headphones...
where?
Canterbury... with a good view
of the cathedral...
the next day...
   spring frost... lovely tinge on
the cathedral from the sunrise...
also went to a bookshop
in Canterbury...
lovely atypical market / cathedral
town narrow streets...
what book did i buy?
inevitable revolutions:
the united states in central america,
by walter lafeber...
so i guess i must be mad...
given that i remember so many details...
regarding the day
i experienced a psychotropic
poisoning,
experienced a brain hemorrhage...
with my face...
melting on the...
here's a problem...
was it the left hemisphere or the right?
i'm not sure...
left?
or right?
   but the sensation of being ingested
by the sofa, and having
difficulty breathing...
with his friend...
as i drowned...
    imitating riding a
Lego-land choo-choo train...
and the fear in his eyes,
the eyes of: someone who failed
to ****** someone
but at the same time fearful
of the intended act?
      i should be dead for...
oh... 21... i'm 32 now...
11 years...
         i might be an alcoholic,
but i have a memory like an elephant...
and i'd believe all the crap
i've heard over the past years...
but if they only drove me to
the hospital...
   out of a simple human empathy...
instead, i was driven home...
i'm surprised they didn't smother me
after witnessing me get up,
and get 4 shots to the head
of my consciousness retracting
from the hemorrhage...
as they recalled back to me,
i said: i'm looking for the 4 other Matthews.
but i'm not a rat...
i am waiting for karma...
i played happy birthday on
the guitar on one of his birthdays...
and i'm guessing...
my sweet sweet love...
Ilona, that russian *****...
hey... she proposed,
she chose the engagement ring,
and then she broke it off!
is behind all of this,
i'm guessing, thanks to social media,
they ****** and she complained
how she was planning to enslave
me by becoming pregnant...
baby... i was so going to propose
you donning a latex **** suit
to extend on the ******...
and he being a Muslim...
and all things quasi-Irish
with regards to my advice to her,
poor thing, only 19...
hey... get an abortion...
   was the Mullah in a bright
white turban, ready to save a damsel...
but i thought that abortion
was legal in England?
oh hell.. pro life and ****...
but a 19 year old?
so why didn't she move to London
with me?
  i had a job here... there was no
prospect for me back in Edinburgh!
   ah... two flats in St. Petersburg...
but i guess that's how law & justice works
in England...
i'm a ruined drunk,
he's a son of a radiologist
             and a mother working
in the perfume avenues of a John Lewis...
my father is a respect industrial
roofer,
   my mother is a housewife...
i guess... i guess me being a boorish
drunk and he becoming an esteemed
corporate lawyer is karma...
   i wish him all the best...
but his children?
   what my parents experienced when
the circus came to town...
all the possible misery,
in the whole, entire, world.

but coming back to current affairs...
there's no point,
absolutely none,
in expressing a, "freedom" of speech,
since expressing such
a "freedom",
is not met with an engagement
in dialectics...
none!
   so why bother...
let's join the four horsemen,
with ***** on either side of our
eye-sockets...
and just charge forward
like a hurricane might,
mindless and in perpetuation
of complete, and utter,
destruction...

i'm up for that explanation
with regards to an exit
policy,

mind you,
happiness could savor
a peace of mind...
but sarcastic humor,
once upon a time...
also could;
as it does...
dutiful to expecting
the final closure
of relying
on the uttermost,
relief.
Londis Carpenter Sep 2010
NOTE:  This is a short story; not a poem.  (author)

(Sometimes when you don’t know something can’t be done, you discover a way to do it.)

High at the top of a tree in Forest Park, Parker Squirrel lived in a nest that his mother had built from a hollowed out place inside the trunk of an old oak.   A large branch forked away from the main trunk and a hole in the bark conveniently served as a doorway to the outside world.  On one particular morning, Parker poked his head out from the doorway of his home and looked around very carefully at his surroundings.  It wasn’t the first time in his young life that he had peeked at the outside world from his mother’s nest, but this time he was more alert and cautious than he had ever been before.  Today he was orphaned and all alone.  Sometime in the dark of night, while he was hiding deep inside the nest, he was forced to watch in terror when a large owl came and took away his mother.  So today, feeling very timid and afraid, Parker made every effort to look in each direction before leaving his cozy home to explore and search for food.

Just ahead of him he saw that the rustic ranger station stood like a monument, to welcomed visitors to the state park.   On his left he could see the foothills of the purple mountain range.  He knew that these foothills and their woodlands were all part of the place called Forest Park.  Off to his right a dancing brook bubbled along the edge of a grassy meadow.  In its tall grasses he saw a white-tail doe playing with her newborn fawn. There seemed to be no danger in that direction, so Parker stretched his neck upward and watched as white, cotton-ball clouds floated across the azure blue sky.  Finally he looked down at the ground far below just in time to see a large toad quickly hop under the cover of some wild mushrooms.  Still, he sensed no danger.

Unfortunately, in order to see the forest behind him, it was necessary for Parker to leave his nest and climb around to the other side of his oak tree. And that was a problem for Parker, because the little squirrel was still much too timid to take such a chance.  Instead he stretched as far as he could to look around the wide tree trunk and into the woods.

Glancing back into the forest, Parker saw more tall oak trees with their strong, stately trunks.  He saw a scattering of white flowers that revealed the presence of dogwood trees.  A stand of sugar maples displayed their graceful branches and delicate leaves.  He also noticed some early spring flowers and wild mustard plants splashing bright yellow hues against the fresh green Indian grasses where a tiny meadow carpeted the outer edge of the forest floor.

There were no owls!

Even if they were hiding where he couldn’t see them, Parker would know they were there.  He would be able to smell their unmistakable odor.  To nearly all rodents, the owls have a peculiar stench that is putrid and foul.  And even a young squirrel like Parker would recognize it at once.

The young squirrel was fascinated by all he saw.  His furry skin tingled in the warm glow of the bright, noonday sunshine, almost making him forget the tragedy of the previous night.  Parker had only arrived into the world about six weeks ago, but in squirrel time that meant he would soon be approaching young adulthood.  He had always been cozy and comfortable, cradled in the nest his mother had built in the tall oak tree.  He had always enjoyed foraging with her for seeds and nuts.  The pantry was partly filled, even now, with acorns and hickory nuts, which emitted a woodsy aroma that reminded him of his mother.   He loved the wonderful world he saw from his perch and his heart was so happy that he began to chatter a new springtime song, which he seemed to hear playing all by itself inside his head.

Parker was so enthralled by all the new sights and smells filling his senses that he nearly outstretched the length of his body as he leaned outside the doorway to his mother’s cozy nest and suddenly he fell and tumbled onto the forest floor beneath him.  He landed with a horrible thud!  The little squirrel landed on his back into a clump of moss that grew beneath the tall oak, which only moments before had been his citadel.

  “Ouch!” chattered Parker as he recovered his breath.  The fall had knocked the wind from his lungs but as soon as he discovered he could breath again he checked himself all over to make sure he wasn’t seriously hurt.  Then he began to explore the forest floor.

The little squirrel was so excited, as he ran from one discovery to another, that he completely lost track of time.  Before he knew it, he was a long way from his mother’s tree and it was growing dark.   The little squirrel ran from tree to tree looking for his home and finally he stopped at a very tall oak.  Parker was certain that this was the same tree from which he had fallen, so as fast as he could scurry, he climbed up the trunk, searching among its branches for his mother’s nest.  When he failed to find his home in the trunk of the tree, Parker finally realized that he was lost. The young squirrel had exhausted all of his strength running through the woods.

Afraid and suddenly very lonely, Parker was also very sleepy and hungry.   Since he had no food and didn’t know what else he could do, Parker curled up into a ball at the crook of a branch and fell asleep.  Next morning Parker searched the tree again for his home.  To his surprise he stumbled upon a strange nest made up of branches and twigs of oak built close to the trunk of the tree.  This nest seemed substantial and well built.  The interior of the nesting cup was about eight inches across and five inches deep.  Although the nest looked crude from the outside, its bowl was delicately and warmly lined with a combination of moss, feathers and leaves. It was about seventy-five feet from the ground and two fledgling crows were sleeping inside.

An older squirrel might have killed the baby crows for food and driven off the adult birds when they returned, but Parker just climbed inside the nest, curled up beside the sleeping pair, and fell asleep to dream about where he would find his next meal.

Parker’s sleep was interrupted by the noise of the two young birds’ loud clamoring for food.  Their incessant calls were being tended to by the mamma crow, which had returned to the nest and was now busy stuffing their hungry mouths with an assortment of seeds and worms.  As strange as it seems and much to Parker’s surprise, the mother crow also began stuffing his mouth with food just the same as if she was feeding her own children.  Although he didn’t like the earthy taste of the worms, Parker was very hungry and he swallowed every bite.  He found that he was actually quite satisfied with the meal.

Parker soon learned that there had originally been six baby birds occupying the crow nest, but sadly four had recently been taken by the owls in nighttime raids.  Perhaps the loss of her own children was the reason the Mother Crow decided to adopt the baby squirrel and began feeding it along with her own young.  In nature there are many mysteries and not all of them have easy answers.  But, whatever her reason, one thing is very certain.  Parker Squirrel had been officially adopted into the Crow family and he now had a new mother and a new home, complete with a brother and a sister.

Parker’s new siblings were very close to his own age, which meant they soon would begin standing on the edge of the nest and even leave to nearby branches of the tree when they were being fed.  In the course of another week they would be leaving the nest and taking their initial flight while being watched, tended to, and protected by their adult parents.  So Parker had a great surprise awaiting him. He didn’t know it yet, but in just a few days Mamma Crow would be expecting him to learn to fly.  Of course, squirrels, by nature, are curious and quite acrobatic and no one had ever yet told Parker that he couldn’t fly like a bird.   So when the time came for Parker and his siblings to make their initial test flights, he spread his arms and began to flap them hard, as though they were wings, as he leaped from the nest.  Naturally the little squirrel tumbled down once again onto the forest floor with another thud.

Encouraged and nudged along by Mamma Crow and by taunts from his new brother and sister, Parker tried again and again to fly.  Each time he tried flapping his little arms like wings and each time he fell to earth with a thud.  Soon his whole body ached with painful bruises from his many falls.  But even more than the motivation and prodding from his new family, Parker wanted to fly.  There was something inside Parker that made him want to keep trying.  Parker really did want to fly.

Immediately after being adopted, Parker had begun foraging for his own food by pure instinct.  When he found acorns and seeds he brought them by mouthfuls back to the Crow family’s nest.  But now the urge to fly was almost as strong inside him as his urge to scour the forest floor for acorns and nuts.

At night Parker dreamed about flying.  As a younger squirrel he had often dreamed about being a “super squirrel” that flew around the forest, from tree to tree, doing good deeds and fighting off the evil owls with his super powers.  But the urge he felt now to soar through the air was different from the wishful thinking of a childhood fantasy.  Parker felt that he had to fly.  He just had to.

He thought about why he wanted to fly so badly.  It was more than the fact that his new brother and sister could fly.  There was some important reason deep inside him that made him yearn to soar from tree to tree.  As time passed Parker met other squirrels in the forest and he knew very well by now that he was not a crow, so why couldn’t he just be content to be like the other squirrels and forget all about this nonsense of flying after all.  He thought that perhaps it was because he remembered what the owls had done to his mother and what they had done to those siblings from his new family that were taken before he even had a chance to meet them.  Perhaps now, he thought, he was just afraid and only wanted to fly so he could escape the danger of the owls.  Maybe he was just a coward.

The next night when Parker went to sleep he dreamed again of flying.  But there was something different about this dream.  In his dream Parker was not flying like the crows fly.  He didn’t flap his arms up and down like wings.  Instead he just glided and soared with no effort at all.  In this dream he could actually feel the wind flowing over his body as he glided from one tree to another.  When the sun came out and awakened him from his sleep, Parker couldn’t wait to try again.  This time when he jumped from the nest he would not flap his arms because, after all, arms aren’t wings are they?

Before anyone could stop him, Parker leaped from the nest.  He began to fall straight down, but instead of flapping his arms up and down, he stretched his arms and legs out as far as they would reach.  Then, suddenly something happened.  Instead of dropping to the ground with a painful thud, Parker started gliding.  He didn’t fly far enough to reach another tree, but he was able to glide to another branch on his own tree.  After recovering from his own surprise, he looked back to the nest and he saw his mother and brother and sister all standing on the edge of the nest with looks of amazement on their faces.  They were all calling out to him to try it again. This time, having learned what to expect, Parker glided all the way to the next tree.  After a few more tries, Mother Crow was flying right beside him.

One day Mamma Crow told him to follow her.  “Come with me,” she said.  “I want to show you something.”   And he followed her, gliding from tree to tree.  She led him to a new place, deeper into the woods than he had ever been.  Soon they arrived at a place in the forest that almost seemed enchanted.  He was very surprised to see that were lots of other squirrels gliding from tree to tree just like Parker.

“This is your new home,” said Mother Crow to Parker.  “You’re not just an ordinary squirrel, you know, you are a flying squirrel.”

Then she told him, “From the day I first adopted you I knew that you were special. But you had to discover by yourself who you really are.  Here in this place you can be safe and make friends of your own kind.”  After saying goodbye and wishing him well, she waved at him and, looking back one more time, she flew away.

Well, that is how Parker learned to fly and how he discovered who he really was.  After that he continued to live a very happy life with his new friends.  The owls never seemed to trouble him in this part of the woods.  But he never, ever, forgot about Mother Crow and the family that adopted him. Even to this day, Parker often stops by the nest with a mouthful of acorns and nuts.
copyright by Londis Carpenter
Word count: 2414 Views: 29
ANANDO SEN Dec 2009
Thirty feet tall Madonna, is one of the things-

My ultra-stylish city that grew up,

Rave, raunchy catwalks beneath those chandeliers-

The Toyota drives by the Manhattan Beach, amidst bikini wardrobe.

When I read those Taxi-dance barbettes-

I wish I could lost in their growling gowns,

All my wishes fulfilled one day and flew me down there-

My boasting finance job and some pals were African browns!

It was that ultimate visa down the Fashion Avenue-

Most of their lipstick glosses were supported by Chelsea revenue.

I could not breathe the invisible virus against my immunity,

The enigmatic pleasures that lived inside the skyscraper community-

I had no qualms while cherishing the barbeque restaurants poisoning,

My fascinations without imaginations had no logical reasoning-

Many of us at Saint Clair’s ward#3, NYC, were at once there fugitive-

Now moaning like chickens to be butchered, we are all *** positive!


Did you know that…

Pop diva Madonna is a gay icon and the gay community has embraced her as a pop culture icon. She was introduced to the gay community while still a teenager. It was her ballet teacher, Christopher Flynn, a gay man, who first told Madonna that she was beautiful. He introduced her to the local gay community of Detroit, Michigan, often taking her to the local gay bars. Flynn encouraged Madonna to walk away from her full scholarship to the University of Michigan and to move to Manhattan.



The disease of AIDS…
Was first uncovered in homosexual men
From Manhattan


Synopsis

What happens when your dreams turn into reality? It’s a paradigm that you celebrate, live life to the fullest. There is however, life that exists beyond this celebration, sometimes good and sometimes not so good like you expected. And when it becomes not so good like you expected, you spat with bitterness and associate the term bad. Anything against your wish and will is then bad and one day you might fall into live with this bad. All I can say is that they are individual retrospection.

This is what Manhattan Dreams exactly captures. The first half can successfully open the door of fascinations that a college teenager in search of a lucrative career and living might jump into- “Style, fashion, exuberance, beaches, skyscrapers, stardom and what not!” Everything is colorful about Manhattan, even the way it is spelt and pronounced. A financial job inside a long cherished skyscraper, international friends, restaurants, pubs, smoking, the kind of gay evenings are not only meant for Hollywood films but can happen to someone like you. And then one day, the world economy complains your presence there as a fugitive, you are fired from your job and your world crashes to a clinic or a hospital confirming you *** positive. What will you do then?

That is what you are getting from the second half of the poem. As if the drama has reached a ****** like after the interval in a film. There seems a sudden pause in life from where there leads the road to uncertainty, disappointment and delusion. This is where the poem ends, because this is where the human mind stops thinking often. A never before kind of bitterness cataracts the dreamy visions and the object of your dream becomes an excuse of your current defeat.

Manhattan Dreams is not a criticism of the gay culture. Neither it attempts to de-criminalize the society nor does it pollute the appeal of Manhattan at all. It is the victim’s individual retrospection in the other side of his celebrated life which is no more a celebration now. The stylish Manhattan is both a dream and a reality. It has nothing to do with your personal glory or agony. Depending upon the situation in your life it might serve as your forefront or background.
howard brace Oct 2012
A nervous shiver rippled briefly across his shoulders as Dunstan peered over the balcony, it was a long way down from his penthouse suite he guessed, shrinking back from the handrail... at a rough guess somewhere between the upper observation deck, Eiffel-Tower, Paris, France and lower basement mezzanine at Miss Selfridge, London, England... and Dunstan was terrified if heights.
  
     It scarcely seemed anytime at all really since he'd relocated to his new and upwardly situated des-res, yet for all that he could hardly recall living anywhere else, once you'd seen one, well... you got the idea,  after a while they all looked pretty much the same, you just had to be able to haggle, but for now at least he was obviously safe enough where he was, sunning himself on the balcony watching the world go by as he scribbled down a shopping list... but lunchtime was almost upon him and then all hell was sure to break loose.

     Having finally determined to put down roots and raise children of her own, his mother Elvera, finding herself in the family-way had wasted no time at all in tearing several well thumbed pages out of her mother's book, then taken both Dunstan's father and his gene-pool straight to the cleaners, just to keep them, so page three informed her firmly in the family... so Dunstan grew up knowing a great deal about laundry and dry-cleaning, but very little about his father, just the occasional anecdote cast to the wind like so much bird seed, about their early courting days and how they'd both wanted him to grow into a strong, healthy lad and do well at school, climbing the corporate ladder, so-to-speak and go to Boy-Scouts every Tuesday evening just like his father had done before him... and learn all about knots, but Dunstan had vertigo and couldn't tie knots for toffee.
                                    
     All hell was certainly dead set on breaking loose that lunchtime, or rather Houdini were they to continue and remain on first name terms... and there was nothing Dunstan loved more than a captive audience.   Reflecting deeply and never wanting a repeat of the previous week he studied the hastily bound swaddling, perhaps the odd tweak here and there just to be on the safe side should ensure the safety of his dinner guest for the remainder of the afternoon.   As Dunstan snipped the final thread he considered that simply nothing was too much trouble where todays 'entree was concerned, he now sat before Houdini smacking his lips in anticipation, quivering in the front parlour waiting for the dinner gong to sound, the Sunday lunch however, now in a mounting state of frenzied agitation continued bouncing around on the embroidered tablespread.  

     Dunstan could never understand what the fuss was all about... I mean, it wasn't as though his dinner guest hadn't been invited, he argued and that for the umpteenth time, as he reached for the carving knife and steel, he simply wasn't going to take no for an answer, leaving his dinner guest still bouncing about, insisting that he'd merely dropped in for directions... and that he, The Great Houdini, currently billed at The London Hippodrome for the remainder of the season had a far more pressing dinner engagement elsewhere, with a diary for the foreseeable future distinctly at odds with those of his host... leaving Dunstan so he hoped, far behind and in no uncertain doubt that not only had he been left hanging in stickier corners than this one, but had every intention of extracting himself from being principal dish of the day before third curtain call... and having done so, wish Dunstan a very good day and remit his professional fee by return of post.

    Meanwhile, insisting that his guest needn't feel obliged to dine elsewhere when they could both enjoy a really splendid one right here, chewing over happier times together, although should Houdini wish, then Dunstan felt confident that his dinner guest was more than capable of punching his way out of as many wet paper bags as he liked... and just what were the Marquis of Queensberry Rules anyway... so encouraged, Dunstan continued sharpening the knife. 

     "Well really", thought Dunstan... 'and without so much as a by-your-leave' carefully examining the damage to his new lace tablecloth, torn in Houdini's haste to depart, he really must be careful as he rummaged for his darning needle, not to fall through.  It had been the shortest dinner party in living memory, Dunstan sighed, it simply would not do, what would all his neighbour's think, he'd never hear the last of it, his reputation they would whisper, well... it would all end in ruins, mark their words it would.  Dunstan's tummy rumbled, he'd been filled with nothing but anticipation that day and very little else, but other than a torn tablecloth and superfluous items of Houdini, shrugged of in his bid for freedom, no one would be any the wiser... having said that, Dunstan would have to make do with a cold repast for luncheon instead, hanging quite still in the larder.

                                                        ­     ­ ...    ...   ...**

A work in progress.                                                        ­                                                               831
And after the last Galactic War, those from the stars came and gods became. They indulged in the pleasures of the Earth. They created and mated. Over time they got bored and got innovative. They created hybrids to work for them and adore them. This hybrid had a confused consciousness. Once this hybrid was one (whole) but because he was too god-like and powerful, he had to be separated. Male and female were born. Because this separation caused a void in each and a longing for freedom, laws were made and temples built. And the world as we'd have it would be As It Is In Heaven. There were different civilizations of lords and they contended with each other as to what the best way to rule man was. So each sect had its belief system. However this didn't build a bridge to close the gap between male and female. These laws of Conduct and Engagement became integrated into what is called the Game. If you were a man you had to court a woman in order to have her company but because of intense ****** activity and interbreeding you had to marry before having ****** *******. The women were encouraged to make the men trail, suffer and earn to have ***. This was effective to the lords for man would concentrate on the illusion of the game rather than the divine art, mystery, sophistication and connective power of ***. So *** outside of marriage was ridiculed, the participants scorned.

There were brawls and arguments about who had the right to court which woman. The highest honour was laying with a goddess or god; as it gave you all knowledge and ability - This was forbidden by other gods as it would amplify the mobility and authority of man. It was decided then that those of the genetic line of the dominant gods of the time or the empire with the largest influence had a birth-right to marry the fairest women. It was at this point that kingship was born, the MacGods of pure blood. They would then be the intermediary between man and the gods. They would see that the game is carried out  as well as other affairs. This new style of relationship conduct caused much conflict, hate and intolerance. And as the ages went with man defending himself with passive oppression; as division was succeeding with language, culture and tribes... Those who were in resistance sought to restore or imprint the liberty of humankind; they were known as the Rebellious Liberals. In those days if a man fornicated without being married he was hanged. These acts of tyranny and Authoritarian dictatorship led to man hating the gods; yes man hated his selfish parents. So the wars against the gods began. And the kings sought to protect the dynasty of the gods. The gods that were conquered hid in the underground, others fled into other galaxies and planets and colonized there. The beauty of love had endured a grotesque wound. Man helpless continued to submit to the rules of the game. As the world fell from 4-D to 3-D man was taught that he would communicate with his ancestors in the afterlife for guidance, as well as when asleep and in trance states.

However the game survived under kings, although peoples separated and new tribes were formed; men held on to rituals and believed it was the will of a god or another. This consciousness tore the heart of the Earth and the insecurities of self expanded, an incessant feeling of fear and an imbalance of self-love. This led to many looking to and aspiring to kings... Over the ages the glamorous have had an upper hand to court and lay fairladies. The indoctrinating dogma that is religion sprout patriarchal homes.

This bred insubordination and woman became the place of weeping. The ages passed and men grew arrogant, women bitter and helpless. The institutions of the game, marriage and religion were now attacking the love they claimed to protect. The world grew careless and bitter, male and female drifting so far apart as though they were never one. Consequent to this there were poets and liberals, there were also charlatans who were lackeys for the game. The male charlatans giving advice to men, the female charlatans giving advice to women. So psychotic ideologies were passed from father to son, mother to daughter - father to daughter, mother to son. A new age sprung with the evolution of man, or rather devolution of man as mystics would have it, this was the age of Banking. Not that there weren't enough troubles. Now money grew itself an ego, an ego to be protected, protected by the very descendants of the gods-MacGods, they were the gatekeepers. It was expected that bank-robbers would be heroes and the new face of man. All this in effort to uplift a self long wounded. It wouldn't be long that gangsters would be overthrown and police the new heroes... But a crazy world it was as both faces would grow to be corrupt with no one investigating the source.

The source now devised Feminism, this would bring justice to women on the face of it but rather vengeance to men. Men would wear a new garment of infants and senseless idiots. What happened to the justice? There was no justice.

Women would replace the face of old obnoxious, selfish and abusive men. With better jobs, equal opportunities, better insurance; the sky was the limit for women. Men faced a new threat either than themselves or the threatening boundaries of the game (which leave you a public fool if you don't follow, a player if you do) - and players were cool - the threat was the wounded vengeful woman who was now given the power to run the game. Judicial systems protected woman, Education systems, Banking Systems, Insurance Systems and Media and Industry; all protected woman. The game promised self-esteem if its rules were followed but it only led to folly, sorrow and despair. As women have wide coffers, power they can bear and power was given to her by the source. Justice became vengeance, impatience became resentment, being broke meant loneliness. Institutions of poetry, art, fiction and even the white magical arts were under attack. The new god was money and everyone would be made to bow, his guitar would be love, esteem, health, cognition and consciousness; and masterfully play he did.

It was now up to the few descendants of the liberals to uplift the consciousness of the world once more... That there be love, peace, harmony, hope, equality and human liberty. The 144000 Pleiadian Warriors led by the General Immanuel who fought for humanity promised to return in a burning, blinding and stormy white cloud. Hovering in a ship of space (spaceship). And the liberals and poets of old from the ashes would rise and the Game of the Lords meet its demise. One again we shall be, whole and eternal.
Various sources or references inspired this story... In effect love is its destined glory
Call yourself a friend of mine,
Forcing me to “neck” beer and wine?
Lovingly mixed with ***** and gin,
And dash of ketchup added in,
Wasabi for that extra kick -
The whole thing just makes me sick!
It’s not fun or cool or clever,
But a study in peer pressure,
Present in the world we live in,
Where for a guy or girl to “give in”,
Is expected for their reputation.
But what kind of expectation,
Is encouraged sado-masochism?
A concept likely to cause a schism,
For those who didn’t use their head,
And unsurprisingly now are dead.
I am sure as you will surely see,
And the poet Dylan would agree,
That as long as you ignore
The deaths of one, two three and four
How many, many, many more,
Are needed til we scream and cry?
“We caused too many youths to die!”
And for what cause? Acceptance.
Whose loss is needed for our repentance?
It’s all well acting free and wild,
But each of us is someone’s child -
Whose loss would surely cause sadness,
Hurt and pain and grief and madness?
And stomaching death is much harder
Than soap or dirt or grease or lard or
Whatever miscellaneous things
This activity inevitably brings.
Just saying “no” might make you quiver
But trust me; it’s better for your liver -
And living x years sans hurt or maim
Is worth > than 15 minutes of fame.
So do the maths before you do it -
Or else I bet you’ll likely rue it!
Peace is acceptance and understanding of ones place in the world
Which is why it's so rare
We can't see to the end of our own noses
So how can we think we can care?

Hope is a broken promise that naïveté allows to breathe
How can we hope when it's just hard to believe?
When you can't see the bottom
What could you plan to retrieve?

Trust is the brother of honesty but no one treats them as such
They invite Trust to tell secrets but shun his brother instead
So Trust listens to the rumors
But the brother won't bother as the bitterness spreads.

If peace, hope, and trust lose their way in our lives
Can we ever believe that we would recognize
Those who need help or those to be encouraged
Those needing a word or to be showed how to endure it

See life without these is less of a life that we live
But it's a life that we survive with more take than of give.
Remember the problems you face and know that others do to
When you keep that in mind we walk a mile in their shoes.
(The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages
      — is a small group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E.
      coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced
      to rhyme with assuages. Groaner: a whistling buoy.)

I

I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, unpropitiated
By worshippers of the machine, but waiting, watching and waiting.
His rhythm was present in the nursery bedroom,
In the rank ailanthus of the April dooryard,
In the smell of grapes on the autumn table,
And the evening circle in the winter gaslight.

The river is within us, the sea is all about us;
The sea is the land’s edge also, the granite
Into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
Its hints of earlier and other creation:
The starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale’s backbone;
The pools where it offers to our curiosity
The more delicate algae and the sea anemone.
It tosses up our losses, the torn seine,
The shattered lobsterpot, the broken oar
And the gear of foreign dead men. The sea has many voices,
Many gods and many voices.
                                       The salt is on the briar rose,
The fog is in the fir trees.
                                       The sea howl
And the sea yelp, are different voices
Often together heard: the whine in the rigging,
The menace and caress of wave that breaks on water,
The distant rote in the granite teeth,
And the wailing warning from the approaching headland
Are all sea voices, and the heaving groaner
Rounded homewards, and the seagull:
And under the oppression of the silent fog
The tolling bell
Measures time not our time, rung by the unhurried
Ground swell, a time
Older than the time of chronometers, older
Than time counted by anxious worried women
Lying awake, calculating the future,
Trying to unweave, unwind, unravel
And piece together the past and the future,
Between midnight and dawn, when the past is all deception,
The future futureless, before the morning watch
When time stops and time is never ending;
And the ground swell, that is and was from the beginning,
Clangs
The bell.

II

Where is there an end of it, the soundless wailing,
The silent withering of autumn flowers
Dropping their petals and remaining motionless;
Where is there and end to the drifting wreckage,
The prayer of the bone on the beach, the unprayable
Prayer at the calamitous annunciation?

There is no end, but addition: the trailing
Consequence of further days and hours,
While emotion takes to itself the emotionless
Years of living among the breakage
Of what was believed in as the most reliable—
And therefore the fittest for renunciation.

There is the final addition, the failing
Pride or resentment at failing powers,
The unattached devotion which might pass for devotionless,
In a drifting boat with a slow leakage,
The silent listening to the undeniable
Clamour of the bell of the last annunciation.

Where is the end of them, the fishermen sailing
Into the wind’s tail, where the fog cowers?
We cannot think of a time that is oceanless
Or of an ocean not littered with wastage
Or of a future that is not liable
Like the past, to have no destination.

We have to think of them as forever bailing,
Setting and hauling, while the North East lowers
Over shallow banks unchanging and erosionless
Or drawing their money, drying sails at dockage;
Not as making a trip that will be unpayable
For a haul that will not bear examination.

There is no end of it, the voiceless wailing,
No end to the withering of withered flowers,
To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,
To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage,
The bone’s prayer to Death its God. Only the hardly, barely prayable
Prayer of the one Annunciation.

It seems, as one becomes older,
That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence—
Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy
Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution,
Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past.
The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being,
Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection,
Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination—
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness. I have said before
That the past experience revived in the meaning
Is not the experience of one life only
But of many generations—not forgetting
Something that is probably quite ineffable:
The backward look behind the assurance
Of recorded history, the backward half-look
Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror.
Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony
(Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding,
Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things,
Is not in question) are likewise permanent
With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better
In the agony of others, nearly experienced,
Involving ourselves, than in our own.
For our own past is covered by the currents of action,
But the torment of others remains an experience
Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.
People change, and smile: but the agony abides.
Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.
And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by: but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

III

I sometimes wonder if that is what Krishna meant—
Among other things—or one way of putting the same thing:
That the future is a faded song, a Royal Rose or a lavender spray
Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret,
Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened.
And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back.
You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
When the train starts, and the passengers are settled
To fruit, periodicals and business letters
(And those who saw them off have left the platform)
Their faces relax from grief into relief,
To the sleepy rhythm of a hundred hours.
Fare forward, travellers! not escaping from the past
Into different lives, or into any future;
You are not the same people who left that station
Or who will arrive at any terminus,
While the narrowing rails slide together behind you;
And on the deck of the drumming liner
Watching the furrow that widens behind you,
You shall not think ‘the past is finished’
Or ‘the future is before us’.
At nightfall, in the rigging and the aerial,
Is a voice descanting (though not to the ear,
The murmuring shell of time, and not in any language)
‘Fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging;
You are not those who saw the harbour
Receding, or those who will disembark.
Here between the hither and the farther shore
While time is withdrawn, consider the future
And the past with an equal mind.
At the moment which is not of action or inaction
You can receive this: “on whatever sphere of being
The mind of a man may be intent
At the time of death”—that is the one action
(And the time of death is every moment)
Which shall fructify in the lives of others:
And do not think of the fruit of action.
Fare forward.
                      O voyagers, O ******,
You who came to port, and you whose bodies
Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea,
Or whatever event, this is your real destination.’
So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna
On the field of battle.
                                  Not fare well,
But fare forward, voyagers.

IV

Lady, whose shrine stands on the promontory,
Pray for all those who are in ships, those
Whose business has to do with fish, and
Those concerned with every lawful traffic
And those who conduct them.

Repeat a prayer also on behalf of
Women who have seen their sons or husbands
Setting forth, and not returning:
Figlia del tuo figlio,
Queen of Heaven.

Also pray for those who were in ships, and
Ended their voyage on the sand, in the sea’s lips
Or in the dark throat which will not reject them
Or wherever cannot reach them the sound of the sea bell’s
Perpetual angelus.

V

To communicate with Mars, converse with spirits,
To report the behaviour of the sea monster,
Describe the horoscope, haruspicate or scry,
Observe disease in signatures, evoke
Biography from the wrinkles of the palm
And tragedy from fingers; release omens
By sortilege, or tea leaves, riddle the inevitable
With playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
Or barbituric acids, or dissect
The recurrent image into pre-conscious terrors—
To explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams; all these are usual
Pastimes and drugs, and features of the press:
And always will be, some of them especially
When there is distress of nations and perplexity
Whether on the shores of Asia, or in the Edgware Road.
Men’s curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime’s death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by dæmonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.
judy smith Aug 2016
TO PUT the art and talent of Mindanaoan fashion design into the spotlight, Kagay’anon fashion designers put their hands together to organize the 5th Mindanao Fashion Summit at the Limketkai Center Rotunda from August 4 to 6, every 4 p.m.

“Being a core event of the Higalaay festival, the opening salvo, the Mindanao Fashion Summit can really highlight fashion designers here in Cagayan de Oro and also in different points of Mindanao to let everyone see what they can do in the world of fashion design especially now that there are only so few opportunities for these designers to show off their works to the public. This is why we have the Mindanao fashion Summit because Kagay-anon designers believe that even if they join national fashion shows like the Philippine Fashion week, most of them still aren't getting the right encouragement as a fashion designer.” said Robbie Pamisa, the overall organizer of the event.

The Fashion Summit is a three-day event composed of seven sub-categories such as the Mindanaoan collection, the Menswear collection, and the Ororama orange collection for the first day, the Guest Designers’ collection, the Fashion Institute of the Philippines collection and the Loop Lifestyle Fashion Show for the second day, and the Holiday Grand collection for the third day which will serve as the culmination of the fashion event.

Mindanaoan Fashion designers from Cagayan de Oro as well as Davao, Butuan, Iligan, and Bukidnon have come to showcase their talents. Some of the fashion geniuses of the event include Alma Mae Roa, Angela Soriano, Ann Semblante, Benjie Manuel, Boogie Musni Rivera, Gil Macaibay III, John Mark Magellan’s, Joshua Guibone, Juniel Doring, Kiko Domo, Mark Christopher Yaranon, and Mavy Cooper de Leon.

One of the highlights of the event is the Oro Fashion Designers’ Guild and the Designers Assembly featuring a collection of clothes using Mindanao material such as the Mindanao silk. Sponsors such as Ororama and The Loop Towers will also be showcasing their products in the fashion event.

“Even student fashion designers from the Fashion Institute of the Philippines have been encouraged to participate so that they will be able to experience how a fashion show works. This is also a way for us to fulfill our mission to be another avenue for fashion designers to show what they have,” Paisa said.Read more at:http://www.marieaustralia.com/short-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/long-formal-dresses
tell me what words are there
to articulate this savage parade
not here, not in all the Lebanons
whose crystal castles sparkle
like broken glass
on the dark horizons
at the jagged edges of the world
from which cultured minds have receded
and all humanity has been relinquished
to the barbarity of the frenzied flavours of fools
who will speak for this wild parade
without impediment to mythical protagonists
tell me where are the energised arguments
against sophisticated yet false laments
where testament is torn through
weeping cedar trees
producing the unpredictable accidental quality
that memorialises phantom caresses
that have neither been invented nor encouraged
the hallow that inaugurates
the distinctive features of
destructive energies that are both
exuberant and hard to comprehend
this parade where there is
a savage sensibility
capable of apprehending
contradictory ethical imperatives
that vouch for a mocking stream of
tragic political consequence
displayed vividly in the inextricability
of civil order and political violence
that defies exclusive claim
by casting itself as freedom warrior
in disguise as militaristic humanism
and burns the temple tree
and where human identity
becomes an elusive possession
owned by a few
who in the inevitability of ignorance
refuse to recognise their tragic error
and the world does not mount
a strenuous protest
at this headlong dash for Ephesus
where antagonistic language and
neutral expression of thought converge
and here the value of valulessness
repudiates, even in a single poetic moment
i Mar 2014
'come on, ellie, just breathe.' he said to her.
'but, finn i c-'
'stop talking and listen to me for once.' he demanded.
'but, sometimes even to breathe hurts. i can not do it.' she whispered, stating the truth.
'do you love me?'
'of course,'
'then do it for me, ellie. breathe for me. be free.' he encouraged her.
i can't do it, finn.'
'sure you can, i love you.'
'okay, then.' she gave in.
*and then, she let out her first and last breath.
Andrew Rueter Jul 2017
How can we attain the perspective of the introspective
When detectives aren't respected
By crowds drawn by clowns
Made vicious by the wishes
Of Hades with rabies

In order for humanity to progress
We must all consider our place in society
Emotional disclosure accelerates our human race
Until externalizations halt our momentum
We begin to drift
Discourse drifts toward absurdity
Absurdity drifts toward reality
Reality drifts toward Hell
And accepting reality
Means accepting the bullet's laughter
while it drifts through the innocent
Then we must accept where our souls have drifted
So our minds drift into fantasy
We wrap our abandon ties around our neck
And go to work

We live in a society
Where not giving a **** about what others think
Is actually encouraged
Yes, exchanging ideas can hurt
That's whiplash as we stop drifting and jolt in each other's direction
But communication
Takes detours to dead ends
As honesty and compassion
Elude us
In a self-perpetuating cycle
When education's only purpose
Is learning ******* each other
Before we know too much
Our species drifts toward extinction
Can be found in my self published poetry book “Icy”.
https://www.amazon.com/Icy-Andrew-Rueter-ebook/dp/B07VDLZT9Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Icy+Andrew+Rueter&qid=1572980151&sr=8-1
Now when they came to the ford of the full-flowing river Xanthus,
begotten of immortal Jove, Achilles cut their forces in two: one
half he chased over the plain towards the city by the same way that
the Achaeans had taken when flying panic-stricken on the preceding day
with Hector in full triumph; this way did they fly pell-mell, and Juno
sent down a thick mist in front of them to stay them. The other half
were hemmed in by the deep silver-eddying stream, and fell into it
with a great uproar. The waters resounded, and the banks rang again,
as they swam hither and thither with loud cries amid the whirling
eddies. As locusts flying to a river before the blast of a grass fire-
the flame comes on and on till at last it overtakes them and they
huddle into the water—even so was the eddying stream of Xanthus
filled with the uproar of men and horses, all struggling in
confusion before Achilles.
  Forthwith the hero left his spear upon the bank, leaning it
against a tamarisk bush, and plunged into the river like a god,
armed with his sword only. Fell was his purpose as he hewed the
Trojans down on every side. Their dying groans rose hideous as the
sword smote them, and the river ran red with blood. As when fish fly
scared before a huge dolphin, and fill every nook and corner of some
fair haven—for he is sure to eat all he can catch—even so did the
Trojans cower under the banks of the mighty river, and when
Achilles’ arms grew weary with killing them, he drew twelve youths
alive out of the water, to sacrifice in revenge for Patroclus son of
Menoetius. He drew them out like dazed fawns, bound their hands behind
them with the girdles of their own shirts, and gave them over to his
men to take back to the ships. Then he sprang into the river,
thirsting for still further blood.
  There he found Lycaon, son of Priam seed of Dardanus, as he was
escaping out of the water; he it was whom he had once taken prisoner
when he was in his father’s vineyard, having set upon him by night, as
he was cutting young shoots from a wild fig-tree to make the wicker
sides of a chariot. Achilles then caught him to his sorrow unawares,
and sent him by sea to Lemnos, where the son of Jason bought him.
But a guest-friend, Eetion of Imbros, freed him with a great sum,
and sent him to Arisbe, whence he had escaped and returned to his
father’s house. He had spent eleven days happily with his friends
after he had come from Lemnos, but on the twelfth heaven again
delivered him into the hands of Achilles, who was to send him to the
house of Hades sorely against his will. He was unarmed when Achilles
caught sight of him, and had neither helmet nor shield; nor yet had he
any spear, for he had thrown all his armour from him on to the bank,
and was sweating with his struggles to get out of the river, so that
his strength was now failing him.
  Then Achilles said to himself in his surprise, “What marvel do I see
here? If this man can come back alive after having been sold over into
Lemnos, I shall have the Trojans also whom I have slain rising from
the world below. Could not even the waters of the grey sea imprison
him, as they do many another whether he will or no? This time let
him ******* spear, that I may know for certain whether mother earth
who can keep even a strong man down, will be able to hold him, or
whether thence too he will return.”
  Thus did he pause and ponder. But Lycaon came up to him dazed and
trying hard to embrace his knees, for he would fain live, not die.
Achilles ****** at him with his spear, meaning to **** him, but Lycaon
ran crouching up to him and caught his knees, whereby the spear passed
over his back, and stuck in the ground, hungering though it was for
blood. With one hand he caught Achilles’ knees as he besought him, and
with the other he clutched the spear and would not let it go. Then
he said, “Achilles, have mercy upon me and spare me, for I am your
suppliant. It was in your tents that I first broke bread on the day
when you took me prisoner in the vineyard; after which you sold away
to Lemnos far from my father and my friends, and I brought you the
price of a hundred oxen. I have paid three times as much to gain my
freedom; it is but twelve days that I have come to Ilius after much
suffering, and now cruel fate has again thrown me into your hands.
Surely father Jove must hate me, that he has given me over to you a
second time. Short of life indeed did my mother Laothoe bear me,
daughter of aged Altes—of Altes who reigns over the warlike Lelegae
and holds steep Pedasus on the river Satnioeis. Priam married his
daughter along with many other women and two sons were born of her,
both of whom you will have slain. Your spear slew noble Polydorus as
he was fighting in the front ranks, and now evil will here befall
me, for I fear that I shall not escape you since heaven has delivered
me over to you. Furthermore I say, and lay my saying to your heart,
spare me, for I am not of the same womb as Hector who slew your
brave and noble comrade.”
  With such words did the princely son of Priam beseech Achilles;
but Achilles answered him sternly. “Idiot,” said he, “talk not to me
of ransom. Until Patroclus fell I preferred to give the Trojans
quarter, and sold beyond the sea many of those whom I had taken alive;
but now not a man shall live of those whom heaven delivers into my
hands before the city of Ilius—and of all Trojans it shall fare
hardest with the sons of Priam. Therefore, my friend, you too shall
die. Why should you whine in this way? Patroclus fell, and he was a
better man than you are. I too—see you not how I am great and goodly?
I am son to a noble father, and have a goddess for my mother, but
the hands of doom and death overshadow me all as surely. The day
will come, either at dawn or dark, or at the noontide, when one
shall take my life also in battle, either with his spear, or with an
arrow sped from his bow.”
  Thus did he speak, and Lycaon’s heart sank within him. He loosed his
hold of the spear, and held out both hands before him; but Achilles
drew his keen blade, and struck him by the collar-bone on his neck; he
plunged his two-edged sword into him to the very hilt, whereon he
lay at full length on the ground, with the dark blood welling from him
till the earth was soaked. Then Achilles caught him by the foot and
flung him into the river to go down stream, vaunting over him the
while, and saying, “Lie there among the fishes, who will lick the
blood from your wound and gloat over it; your mother shall not lay you
on any bier to mourn you, but the eddies of Scamander shall bear you
into the broad ***** of the sea. There shall the fishes feed on the
fat of Lycaon as they dart under the dark ripple of the waters—so
perish all of you till we reach the citadel of strong Ilius—you in
flight, and I following after to destroy you. The river with its broad
silver stream shall serve you in no stead, for all the bulls you
offered him and all the horses that you flung living into his
waters. None the less miserably shall you perish till there is not a
man of you but has paid in full for the death of Patroclus and the
havoc you wrought among the Achaeans whom you have slain while I
held aloof from battle.”
  So spoke Achilles, but the river grew more and more angry, and
pondered within himself how he should stay the hand of Achilles and
save the Trojans from disaster. Meanwhile the son of Peleus, spear
in hand, sprang upon Asteropaeus son of Pelegon to **** him. He was
son to the broad river Axius and Periboea eldest daughter of
Acessamenus; for the river had lain with her. Asteropaeus stood up out
of the water to face him with a spear in either hand, and Xanthus
filled him with courage, being angry for the death of the youths
whom Achilles was slaying ruthlessly within his waters. When they were
close up with one another Achilles was first to speak. “Who and whence
are you,” said he, “who dare to face me? Woe to the parents whose
son stands up against me.” And the son of Pelegon answered, “Great son
of Peleus, why should you ask my lineage. I am from the fertile land
of far Paeonia, captain of the Paeonians, and it is now eleven days
that I am at Ilius. I am of the blood of the river Axius—of Axius
that is the fairest of all rivers that run. He begot the famed warrior
Pelegon, whose son men call me. Let us now fight, Achilles.”
  Thus did he defy him, and Achilles raised his spear of Pelian ash.
Asteropaeus failed with both his spears, for he could use both hands
alike; with the one spear he struck Achilles’ shield, but did not
pierce it, for the layer of gold, gift of the god, stayed the point;
with the other spear he grazed the elbow of Achilles! right arm
drawing dark blood, but the spear itself went by him and fixed
itself in the ground, foiled of its ****** banquet. Then Achilles,
fain to **** him, hurled his spear at Asteropaeus, but failed to hit
him and struck the steep bank of the river, driving the spear half its
length into the earth. The son of Peleus then drew his sword and
sprang furiously upon him. Asteropaeus vainly tried to draw
Achilles’ spear out of the bank by main force; thrice did he tug at
it, trying with all his might to draw it out, and thrice he had to
leave off trying; the fourth time he tried to bend and break it, but
ere he could do so Achilles smote him with his sword and killed him.
He struck him in the belly near the navel, so that all his bowels came
gushing out on to the ground, and the darkness of death came over
him as he lay gasping. Then Achilles set his foot on his chest and
spoiled him of his armour, vaunting over him and saying, “Lie there-
begotten of a river though you be, it is hard for you to strive with
the offspring of Saturn’s son. You declare yourself sprung from the
blood of a broad river, but I am of the seed of mighty Jove. My father
is Peleus, son of Aeacus ruler over the many Myrmidons, and Aeacus was
the son of Jove. Therefore as Jove is mightier than any river that
flows into the sea, so are his children stronger than those of any
river whatsoever. Moreover you have a great river hard by if he can be
of any use to you, but there is no fighting against Jove the son of
Saturn, with whom not even King Achelous can compare, nor the mighty
stream of deep-flowing Oceanus, from whom all rivers and seas with all
springs and deep wells proceed; even Oceanus fears the lightnings of
great Jove, and his thunder that comes crashing out of heaven.”
  With this he drew his bronze spear out of the bank, and now that
he had killed Asteropaeus, he let him lie where he was on the sand,
with the dark water flowing over him and the eels and fishes busy
nibbling and gnawing the fat that was about his kidneys. Then he
went in chase of the Paeonians, who were flying along the bank of
the river in panic when they saw their leader slain by the hands of
the son of Peleus. Therein he slew Thersilochus, Mydon, Astypylus,
Mnesus, Thrasius, Oeneus, and Ophelestes, and he would have slain
yet others, had not the river in anger taken human form, and spoken to
him from out the deep waters saying, “Achilles, if you excel all in
strength, so do you also in wickedness, for the gods are ever with you
to protect you: if, then, the son of Saturn has vouchsafed it to you
to destroy all the Trojans, at any rate drive them out of my stream,
and do your grim work on land. My fair waters are now filled with
corpses, nor can I find any channel by which I may pour myself into
the sea for I am choked with dead, and yet you go on mercilessly
slaying. I am in despair, therefore, O captain of your host, trouble
me no further.”
  Achilles answered, “So be it, Scamander, Jove-descended; but I
will never cease dealing out death among the Trojans, till I have pent
them up in their city, and made trial of Hector face to face, that I
may learn whether he is to vanquish me, or I him.”
  As he spoke he set upon the Trojans with a fury like that of the
gods. But the river said to Apollo, “Surely, son of Jove, lord of
the silver bow, you are not obeying the commands of Jove who charged
you straitly that you should stand by the Trojans and defend them,
till twilight fades, and darkness is over an the earth.”
  Meanwhile Achilles sprang from the bank into mid-stream, whereon the
river raised a high wave and attacked him. He swelled his stream
into a torrent, and swept away the many dead whom Achilles had slain
and left within his waters. These he cast out on to the land,
bellowing like a bull the while, but the living he saved alive, hiding
them in his mighty eddies. The great and terrible wave gathered
about Achilles, falling upon him and beating on his shield, so that he
could not keep his feet; he caught hold of a great elm-tree, but it
came up by the roots, and tore away the bank, damming the stream
with its thick branches and bridging it all across; whereby Achilles
struggled out of the stream, and fled full speed over the plain, for
he was afraid.
  But the mighty god ceased not in his pursuit, and sprang upon him
with a dark-crested wave, to stay his hands and save the Trojans
from destruction. The son of Peleus darted away a spear’s throw from
him; swift as the swoop of a black hunter-eagle which is the strongest
and fleetest of all birds, even so did he spring forward, and the
armour rang loudly about his breast. He fled on in front, but the
river with a loud roar came tearing after. As one who would water
his garden leads a stream from some fountain over his plants, and
all his ground-***** in hand he clears away the dams to free the
channels, and the little stones run rolling round and round with the
water as it goes merrily down the bank faster than the man can follow-
even so did the river keep catching up with Achilles albeit he was a
fleet runner, for the gods are stronger than men. As often as he would
strive to stand his ground, and see whether or no all the gods in
heaven were in league against him, so often would the mighty wave come
beating down upon his shoulders, and be would have to keep flying on
and on in great dismay; for the angry flood was tiring him out as it
flowed past him and ate the ground from under his feet.
  Then the son of Peleus lifted up his voice to heaven saying, “Father
Jove, is there none of the gods who will take pity upon me, and save
me from the river? I do not care what may happen to me afterwards. I
blame none of the other dwellers on Olympus so severely as I do my
dear mother, who has beguiled and tricked me. She told me I was to
fall under the walls of Troy by the flying arrows of Apollo; would
that Hector, the best man among the Trojans, might there slay me; then
should I fall a hero by the hand of a hero; whereas now it seems
that I shall come to a most pitiable end, trapped in this river as
though I were some swineherd’s boy, who gets carried down a torrent
while trying to cross it during a storm.”
  As soon as he had spoken thus, Neptune and Minerva came up to him in
the likeness of two men, and took him by the hand to reassure him.
Neptune spoke first. “Son of Peleus,” said he, “be not so exceeding
fearful; we are two gods, come with Jove’s sanction to assist you,
I, and Pallas Minerva. It is not your fate to perish in this river; he
will abate presently as you will see; moreover we strongly advise you,
if you will be guided by us, not to stay your hand from fighting
till you have pent the Trojan host within the famed walls of Ilius—as
many of them as may escape. Then **** Hector and go back to the ships,
for we will vouchsafe you a triumph over him.”
  When they had so said they went back to the other immortals, but
Achilles strove onward over the plain, encouraged by the charge the
gods had laid upon him. All was now covered with the flood of
waters, and much goodly armour of the youths that had been slain was
rifting about, as also many corpses, but he forced his way against the
stream, speeding right onwards, nor could the broad waters stay him,
for Minerva had endowed him with great strength. Nevertheless
Scamander did not slacken in his pursuit, but was still more furious
with the son of Peleus. He lifted his waters into a high crest and
cried aloud to Simois saying, “Dear br
Blood Word Mar 2012
I once struck a man in anger, with a small statuette.
I dropped it to the floor as he fell, too, and watched the blood flow from his head.
Though as I gazed at the pool of crimson and began to realize what I had done,
I felt a snap and saw a vision:

I saw every drop of his blood.
It was inside his body, flowing, coursing, full of life and giving life.
He grew to raise a family, love his wife, and love his kids.
He helped his coworkers and encouraged them.
He donated to charities, and those charities helped many.
Some of those many improved their lives and helped many more.
As his sons, daughters, wife, and coworkers also were given life by him and gave life,
I saw his blood flow into their veins and spread, infecting countless others with love.
Houses filled with light and laughter
Streets were peopled by happy beings.
A woman comforted a girl in the loss of a friend, holding the sobbing face to her caring chest.
A poor man gave his only coat to a cold orphan boy on the curb, smiling through weathered lips.
I saw all this life,
And it was an ocean.

A flash of light and sound, and I saw another vision:

I saw every drop of his blood.
It was outside his body, flowing, coursing, void of life and stealing life.
As it touched me, I joined it as blood, boiling and bubbling with hate.
As our blood ran down the busy metropolis street of life, it would touch people it came across.
When it did so, they would melt also into a mass of red, splashing outward, and infecting others.
Everyone touched would gasp and turn to scarlet, turning the shop-lined street into a river of blood.
Countless lives were consumed in this manner.
At one point, I finally pooled at the bottom of the street, and stared back from where I came.
The street was now dark and desolate, the bustling life gone.
The shops empty, the skies grey, the ground littered.
A finch plucked strands from a red-stained straw hat, to make a bed of death.
A mangy alley dog lapped up the blood that still coated the street, becoming only more hideous.
And all was quiet, and I was utterly alone, but for the screams of their blood in my ears.
I saw all this death,
And it was an ocean.

A jolt, and I opened my eyes.
I found myself staring at the blood running from the man’s head in front of me.
A few seconds later and I realized again what I had done.
But I realized something else as well.
I tore my shirt and tightly wrapped his head in the cloth.
I lifted him up and took him to the hospital.
There I sat and awaited my punishment.
And took joy in life.
I finished part 2 before the first part, so I'm posting it now. Part 1 is still in the works.

This poem was written March 15, 2012.
For male children,
strength is emphasized;
aloofness modeled;
athleticism encouraged;
blue, the preferred color.

We, the privileged,
are taught up front
precisely what to like
to avoid ostracism.

Very early we learn
not to show our emotions,
to suffer silently,
wearing personas as masks.

Chin up, chest out, soldier.
Feelings are gay, but hey,
as long as sports are involved
a little grab-*** is
okay.

Men have hobbies because
hobbies are an impersonal way
to show love and care
and they become the bridge
to connect with other men emotionally,
indirectly.

There is no other way.

This is desperation
born of the isolation
of our indoctrination.
I am genderqueer.
I have never been male,
but I had no other options.
Categorization by default
is garbage.
Lianette Reyes Aug 2014
Hello, indignantly ignorant and in-dubious ****.
Have you ever thought that maybe some people prefer black
partners because they tend to be blessed down under, if
you know what I'm saying?
Have you ever thought that maybe all this hate leaking from
your shipwrecked **** mind is product of some... innate jealousy?
Have you ever thought that maybe some women aren't particularly
attracted to you, whether it be because of your shade or because
of your prejudices against other colors, or poly-chromatic
flags?
You claim 'black' is the stuff of nightmare, but there are many
who appreciate the deep intensity of a night sky, or the depth
and soul at the center of another's eyes as much as I do
Black is not 'ugly', black is not 'stupid', it is not
a name, it is a shade, it is a COLOR
it is a badge of honor in the presence of pretentious *** holes
such as your self, it is a PRIVILEGE to strut in pride,
in confidence of their sentient humanity among
tool shed minds, to be of convenient use to anyone but themselves,
unless of course you're a '****** lover'
have you ever thought, that maybe a '****** lover' is only
just more capable of seeing the artist, not the canvas,
the priest or priestess of his or her temple,
this skin should not be a wall to ward off friends, but elastic,
to keep us all together
have you ever thought perhaps they're more evolved and
are most likely independent thinkers who choose not to live
up to pre-set standards encouraged by family and societal
stereotypes that thunder like stereo but make not music, but noise
and becoming a reincarnate of but another generation of hate
you aren't a drop of water in the ocean, you are a tall
glass of poison to me
you shrivel my mercy and make me want to drown you in yourself
through me
you make me want to be as bigoted and disgusting as you are,
to ride by your neighbor hood in a mask and shoot you,
only I wouldn't wear a mask, or shoot you, because I'd like to
look you in the eyes as you see what seems to be a reflection
of yourself, a talking mirror, cutting into you with my teeth
my sharp words, my uncensored lips, my steely resemblance
and also because well, wearing masks is ***** ****.
have you ever thought maybe those '****** lovers' are happy
with who they're loving, who they're *******, and are not
concerned about your 'opinion' until your 'opinion' becomes
tearing a soul away from his or her loved one and body,
you are a ****** reaper,
you defile the sacred, and take a life because they're nothing
more but a slab of meat to you, you objectify them and decide
they aren't palatable to your sight
humans are not chapters, they aren't mathematical theories,
they are not animate criminal records,
they CAN NOT be color coded, they are not yours to color code
how dare you even CALL yourself human when you can't even tell
a person from your own property
or someone's happiness from your ******* business
I'm sure you've never thought, but have merely recycled
the polluted beliefs of your 'patriotic' culture and
inherited your families porcelain skin, they probably taught you
it was a weapon, a plastic bag to suffocate others in
skin is NOT a sin, it isn't natural selection,
when will you see if your own inherent mental failure proves
the fault in our evolution?
And I mean, how can you shame a race that's believed to have
pre-dated us all, to have been us all?
I'm sure this thought has probably never crossed your mind, but
know this.... tomorrow I'm going to **** the life out of my
black boyfriend. Hard. Like yin and yang we are going to
roll around with inevitable and fulfilling love,
and boy, is he black.
Matt Feb 2015
1 million Afghans and 15,000 Soviet conscripts died
Fought with American guns

Foreign nations had tried for centuries to conquer Afghanistan
In the 1970's it became a focus for the superpowers

To Moscow, a friendly Afghanistan was important

Afghanistan's new leader looked to the Soviet Union for support
The Soviet Union sent advisors to advance socialism

Land was taken from large owners
And handed to the peasants who worked it

Women were encouraged to stop wearing veils
And were put into literacy classes with men

The reforms were seen to threaten ancient customs
And the authority of the Mullahs

The Mullah says,
"God has decided who is rich and who is poor,
It can't be changed by communists."

Opponents of the reforms
Burned down schools and universities
Resistant grew throughout the country

Iranians joined in
Calling for a Jihad
Against the communists

The U.S. thought
That the Soviets might use the Afghan crisis
To move south
And seize the oil of the Persian Gulf

Meanwhile the Shah of Iran was overthrown
The U.S. lost its most important ally in the region
The U.S. considered the possibility of a Soviet controlled Iran

Carter sent the Mujahideen equipment,
Mostly communication equipment
They were mostly peasants

Recruits for the Jihad walked for days
Across the mountains to reach the fighting

Soviet trained Afghan army
Thousands of men deserted
Kabul requested Soviet troops

Afghan president met with Soviet leader

The Soviets feared the spread of Islamic fundamentalism
Into Afghanistan from Iran
The Soviets felt they had to send troops to stabilize the region
Moscow hoped they could complete their mission in weeks

Moscow had Amin assassinated
They didn't like him talking with the Americans

At the United Nations
The invasion of the Soviet Union was condemned

The Soviets began with large sweeps
Their approach was a disaster
Mujahideen remained in the villages
Guerilla fighters remained in the mountains

Reagan stepped up aid to the Mujahideen

The Mujahideen were spilt along tribal lines
They sometimes fought each other

A war fought with our gold
And their blood
According to CIA man

The U.S. viewed the conflict in Afghanistan as an internal
Cold War struggle
The U.S. provided assistance to anti-Soviet forces
Through the Pakistani intelligent services

The Red Army changed tactics
And took to the air
Soviet commandos
Dropped in by helicopters

Soviet aircraft bombing indiscriminantly
Village after village pummeled into oblivion
Then overrun by Soviet troops
The village men who refused to join the Afghan army were murdered

Thousands of civilians killed in Soviet atrocities

The mujahideen attacked Soviet convoys
2,000 Soviets died each year
The war seemed pointless to the Soviet soldiers

The mujahideen favored sabotage operations and assassinations
The Stinger missiles were effective for them as well

Reagan said,
"To watch the courageous Afghan freedom fighters
Battle modern arsenals with simple hand-held weapons is an inspiration to those who love freedom."

The war lasted almost a decade
The early foundations of al-Qaeda
Were allegedly built on relationships
And weaponry that came from billions
Of dollars in U.S. support for the Mujahideen

Scholars have argued that Bin laden was outside
Of CIA eyesight
And that there is no support for the claim
That the CIA funded Bin Laden
www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3m95FosmTw
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_war_in_Afghanistan
A wind blows like a wilderness of wolves

A vendetta, an apocalyptic vendetta

In its unpredictable, accidental quality

That swerves images of realization into tragedy

Neglecting all with swift intent upon a fallen fortress

In complected interests of caresses

Neither invited nor encouraged yet displayed

Displayed vividly with exclusive claim to that oppression

That howls by casting itself as a consequence of transgression

Upon a conventional expectation that claims a privileged sense

That persuades without an orator grotesquely amputated shapes

Extending extraordinary artifice as its priceless wealth

But who, yes who, has envy of so rich a nothing
Emily Jones Sep 2012
His fist scarred, beat-red fistful of intention
Rugged, crass unchiseled wonder wrapped in a gentle smile
A bear of a man, broad shouldered hulking bent
Stuffed-fluff heart tattooed with the echo of love
The times he grappled in sweaty- slick tangle of arms and drew blood blooming bright-crisp-apple-red upon white mat.

Beat, Beat, Beat, down
Tap, Tap, Tap, out
White knuckle-grasp uppercut
Full mount, disengage
Joint locked, feet hooked, Triangle hold
Submission.

The times he brought grown men to their knees, and humbled himself on his own
The times he never gave up and the times he gave in
To the fight
To the system
To the sweet draw of relief
The times he fought not for the thrill but to make it by
Rage hot-red facing the injustice of poverty
His steel spine riddled with the rust of life, the rust of reality
The corrosive sludge of hate, and words left unspoken.

Busted well-worn hands held soft smooth skin
Grooved fingers and velvet mouth
The scratch of bearded stubble, red-lined skin prickled with goose flesh, slick coated in sweat
A new fight, wrapped knuckles cushioned with the promise of forgiveness
Of acceptance a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

Broken hand, dreams stunted, depressed-mind-numbing
Lost in his own thought, out of the fight
Desperate to be back in the game mind and body
Envy-red, drawn to the fight of others
Soft smooth hands, short-small-painted nails calm bristled hair
Growling bear, baring teeth in silent-wounded pride
The time she bandaged pride, and encouraged humility
The times she scalded his senses the raw-red liquid fire of love
His shade in the heat of a red-blistered sun
Cooling, and igniting inspiration
The time she became a fight worth winning.
A Thomas Hawkins Jul 2010
Riddles and rhymes
are all very fine
but sometimes they're a pain in the ***

They get in the way
of what you're trying to say
Like the fog inside of the glass

So if you've something to say just spill it
to my face don't sneak up from behind
Cos I'm not very smart in affairs of the heart
I'm not just short sighted I'm blind

— The End —