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He was nothing if not successful,
Grant Overman with his pen,
Everything that he seemed to write
Was well received back then,
The publishers fought for his stories,
And women swooned at his tales,
The only negative feeling then
Was coming from jealous males.

Was coming from jealous writers,
Who never quite got it right,
Their work returned from the publishers
To give it a ‘second sight.’
‘I don’t see how he can churn them out
So fast, with never a flaw,’
Said Ernest Benn to his leaky pen
While blotting his tale once more.

‘I think he’s in league with the devil,
He’s scribbled a pact in blood,
Or how could he twist my heartstrings so,
My tears come in a flood.’
His wife had sniffled through seven books
Of the hated Overman,
But never wailed at her husband’s tales,
He’d not yet published one.

‘I have to discover his secret,
There’s something we just don’t know,
If only you can get close to him
To see how his stories flow.
He needs a helper to clean his house,
Apply for the job, and then,
Rummage around what can be found
And watch him, using his pen.’

She used her charm at the interview
And was taken on to sweep,
To wash the dishes and scour the pans
To clean, three days a week,
While Grant would sit in his study there
And sit, bowed over his desk,
Then fall asleep in his padded chair
While he thought of tales burlesque.

Marie came back on the second day
And she said, ‘I think I know,
The thing he’s got and that you have not
That makes his stories flow.
He keeps it locked in a bureau drawer
Till he starts to write, and then,
It dances over the page, I swear,
He slept through chapter ten!’

‘You say the pen does the writing?
I see,’ said Ernest Benn,
His eyes aglow, ‘so at last we know,
He has a Magic Pen!
We need to get it away from him
So that I can find success,
The chances of getting caught are slim
If we do this with finesse.’

Marie left open the kitchen door
On an afternoon in June,
While Ernest, unobtrusively
Sneaked in, and hid in the gloom.
Though Grant was falling asleep, his hand
Had begun to race again,
So Ernest battered him from behind
While Marie took hold of the pen.

But Grant sat up, and he tried to rise,
He cried a hollow note,
Marie hung onto the pen, and then
She stabbed him in the throat,
And blood was suddenly everywhere
The desk, the floor, their shoes,
Said Ernest, ‘better get out of here
Before we make the News!’

After he’d washed and filled the pen
With a nice new brand of ink.
He held it over the paper, said
‘Do I even have to think?’
The pen began on its sudden scrawl
But was making quite a mess
By writing a line in blood, not ink,
‘I, Ernest Benn, confess!’

David Lewis Paget
aar505n Jan 2015
It was at the party that you would see,
the nonconformist spirit of Ernest Hokum was alive and well.
He would not strive for mademoiselles
Since that would be dishonest, and Ernest was a honest man.
Not Iago honest for his desires did not lay doggo.
However, Hokum was known to succumb to a glass of ***
resulting in Hokum to become squiffy.
And any iffy encounters, he would shake them of with his usual aplomb
remaining so calm they thought he was just bored. Or dead.
And then they would leave poor Hokum to his horde of  ***.
"Lord, old chum, thank you for this ***!" Hokum proclaimed.
And he drank til he was famed for his *** drinking.
Thinking they saw him and thought "That's Hokum for you!"
Hokum knew this to be wishful thinking,
and listen to some blues.
Full of innuendos and nonsense.
Hokum's favourite combinations.
He ignored his conscience and allowed the blues to occupy his mind
Dwelling on such twaddle until he finds another distraction.
Probable ***, if he was being honest, which, as previously stated he is.
Hokum didn't take life too serious
for that would be to make life into work
Any work is tedious at best, so why be so serious?
Hokum enjoyed the simple pleasures of strong alcohol and humorous inappropriate songs,
And such that was the hundum life of Ernest Hokum.
A man with a charming smile that spoke blarney with such conviction
turning fiction into facts you would believe it, just for a little while.
Why wouldn't you? That's Hokum for you, afterall.
I like to think we all have a little Hokum in us
Mateuš Conrad Aug 2016

my writing is truly one thing, my life another - not
that's a statement clouded in excuses and guilt:
just the claustrophobic macabre -
and so it happens, that every few days i reach
the limit with wrestling the Minotaur -
the time comes when the liver k.o.s the brain
and the brain then starts punching the liver -
it usually stars in the afternoon, e.g. yesterday,
at 3 in the afternoon, a burrowed sense of guilt
comes over, cigarettes are rolled and chain-smoked...
a promise of not painting the front of
the house is the overpowering weight on the heart -
as is an ably bodied father: who, i might
as the source of my writing capacity: the silence -
but the day flows through... the excess nicotine
adds to the shakes, the detox period begins
with a big meal: chinese pork belly in five spice
and other additives, peppers, spring onions
until a thick goo sauce is cooked slowly to thicken...
served with 'it's called egg fly lice, you plick!'
(Uncle Benny, lethal weapon 4) -
the meal is ate as if a ****** ****** - this is
really the point of critically approaching the
concentrated detox - binge of television,
drinking orange squash and smoking -
playing some stupid video game between watching
an even worse movie - before the saga of
x files begins... at 5 a.m. with the most annoying
feline opera by the most annoying ginger cat
begins... the shades are drawn and the hours between
5 a.m. are spent in a quasi somatic state -
the pain in the brain is too strong to allow you
a kipper without the sedative being dragged from
the body: taking sleeping is avoided -
the blinds in the room don't have blackout plastic,
by 6 a.m. a t-shirt is rolled up and put against
the eyes, the eyes adjust to the light until 7 a.m.,
the body gets up and goes downstairs for more
orange squash, but this time breakfast is stomached,
yesterday's leftover rice, fresh eggs scrambled
and mixed with spring onion -
                                                     cigarette, and a daytime
news channel - Victoria Derbyshire -
the main topic of concerns? only 12% of Paraolympic
Rio tickets have been sold, a charity having raised
about £25,000 wants to sponsor Rio's children
to join in the fun... housing shortages in England,
Redbridge council buying social housing in
Canterbury (once a military base) - 7 people living
in one room (the Romanian standard is
14... you have to remember night shifts) -
oh i seen houses like that, i remember one Jew renting
out his house to 20 / 30 Poles before the Union
expanded... paid of his mortgage... no new reality
here for me... the major misdiagnosis of heart attacks
in women on the N.H.S.: a woman ate a curry,
thought it was only a heartburn... boom, two days
later drops in agony... in between the real
results of the detox... sitting...
not ******* out whiskey yellow ***** when there
are barely any toxins in the body... diarrhoea...
up to about 8 times on the toilet - more orange squash,
more cigarettes... then onto the piece the resistance...
the x files... which last up to about the twilight zone
hour of having reached the 24 hour mark of being
awake... one last **** and then shower, and
then doing the laundry (on a sunny day like this,
it would be a shame not to)...
                                                   at noon
tinned mackerel in sunflower oil... brown bread,
all the oil drank... but by the twilight zone hour
a realisation: ****! my headphones are broken!
i've been walking around these streets with those
very depressing sounds of vrroom vrroom...
i know how the old complain about the youth
and their headphones... yes, but you probably
grew with about 10 cars per hour passing your
house back in the day... and too the birds could
be beautiful, and the sound of children's games
and golden laughter... but all the other sounds...
so off to the shop for a very respectable £1.50 pair...
and then the moment when all the sights
on the streets are no longer synchronised with
what i'm hearing, my eyes sharpen and i dance
past the cars and people never bothering to press
the crossing lights on streets: ease the traffic,
ease the traffic... then into the supermarket and
the detox ends... i can go back to sleeping a decent
night... a bottle of Stella... the only thing sexier
on a hot summer's day on the street... good old,
good cold Stella Artois...
then up to another shop for two more beers and
                        after that? magic...
as the title suggests: on a park bench with Ernie -
something more grand than Beckett's waiting
for Godot
... i.e. something resembling a scene from
Patriarch's Ponds, an encounter with
Mikhail Alexandrovich Berlioz (editor of a highbrow
literary magazine, abbreviated MASSOLIT)
and a young poet Ivan Nikolayich Poniryov -
a few clues to the less knowledgeable parties:
Behemoth ***** and chess, a book that makes
sense of the world interrupted by Herr Woland's
wonderful delights (among many), such
as the notable pandemonium at Ivan Savelyevich
Varenukha's Variety Theatre -
yes very much akin to Hector B.'s:
symphonie fantastique: dream of a witches' sabbath.


sincerest apologies... the sedative hasn't been bought
yet, and a patient father's invoice for work
done on the construction must be written in tangible
English - in ref. to the uttermost sincerity -
Polski nadal w mej duszy dudni,
                            taki ogrom organów i
                                         bębnów twki -
           że strach pomyślec - czy to wir zamkniętej
historii ludu: czy poczatek gorszych prwad o świecie?
   bo co o zamkniętej historii (skrawku) ludu?
      to przeciez moj dziad'ek w Partii uslugi dawal!
      a kraj podziekowal - i co Prawda to Walesa
   na Florydzie z lwa w zlota rybke sie zamienil.
   (comp. diacritic
                                                       ­                                 pending)


as i knew, i should have finished this poem on
the principle of ensō - all in one piece -
thus i would have staged what happened on the bench
with Ernest -
                        but after walking to the supermarket
minding my own business and the jokes ensued
about how no one notices, how they know my name
as it's their mascot -
                                   after walking into a world
i found chaos; indeed if i wrote the poem on principle
of ensō, i would have included the phantasmagorical
details of something so simple you could almost cry at it...
the simplicity of it, the fluidity of almost 2 hours
spent in conversation... about what? i'm not telling,
and how was it spoken? i'm not telling either -
let's just they laughed at Ernest's bike, because
it was proper oldie...
                                     i mean, i won't mention the odd
details, but the essence? forget it man!
after writing my father's invoice, and how cut money
on the construction site, blame it Romanians but only
have themselves to blame with their model
of profiteering and that ****** fetish they have
Che's socialism of guerrilla warfare...
                            and the comments in the supermarket,
it just stuck with me about Ernie's bike,
nothing in comparison to the Tour de France's racers
doing up to 50kmh...
                                      it just made me happy to make
a clean bed... and prevent 36 hours awake threshold
glitches of abstraction: black strings and random
square objects popping out of nothing with me in a
variation of nervous startles... Ernest's bike?
an antique, a 1950s Raleigh...
- hard leather seat beneath that modern overcoat?
- yes; no one would even take it if i left it
  outside a shop, they'd probably sell it for parts.
- well, unless someone is smart enough to notice
  a vintage, and tries to restore it,
  buy the vintage green paint and cover the rusty bits.
oh **** it, i can't keep my own company to suit
being happy by saying: ooh, doesn't know a joke,
the happiest he felt after walking out with a stone heart
was making a bed... but to be honest?
psst... i haven't made it in over a month... last night i
was getting cold-heat shivers in the idea of it being *****
enough though i shower everyday... ok, every other day
sometimes, my socks have holes in them, and my
shoes are ripped.
but there's more to this... the bicycle is a pun
of a Heidegger maxim: man is born as many men...
but dies as a single man... imagine how many
influences are entombed in us, the education reformers
to begin with, motherhood tips, cot deaths...
but we die as individual men... so when Ernest said
about the bicycle being only worth spare parts,
i said what Heidegger meant: but i'd take the whole thing
as one.
- how many gears?
- three at the back, one at the front; you see this thing?
- the long tube beneath the seat?
- yeah, when charged it would power up the front
   and back lights.
- oh, i'm used to seeing that thingy-madgit that you'd
   press against the front tire and the principle would be
   the same.
- a dynamo.
- yeah, a dynamo, forgot the name of it.
it started so innocently, i just sat on the bench with my
earphones and two beers and started rolling a cigarette.
- may i invade the bench?
                                               (earphones out of the ears)
- sure.
                and we just sat there, i asking if he minded me
- i used to, loved it, esp. after dinner, gave it up 15 years ago.
  then conversations about dogs, family,
                                         and children's games,
          i said
- i'm finding it hard to find people of my generation with
even friendly dynamic of the body: eye contact is gone!
- it's all the fidgeting on those ****** tablets and phones,
when we were kids we used to play marbles,
conkers, hopscotch, so many...
- and we used to draw a racing maze, fill bottle caps
with plasticine and flick them through the maze
(i can't remember if we threw dice to see how many
moves we could make).
  by the time we started talking about the dogs we liked,
and compared them to the dog walkers passing us
   we already forgot who died today: it was Gene Wilder...
the world is mourning him, and we sat there
and the best i could come up with was Richard Pryor.
- dumb animal luck...
- you know how i managed to train my dog to run
  around the park, but come back to me? i used a whistle
  to get the dog to come back and i'd give it a treat.
  until it got the hang of it, i sometimes wouldn't give it
  a treat... other times i would, the point being was
  to teach it both obedience when nothing was given
  and double obedience when something was.
- ever heard of Pavlov? he basically did the same thing,
  but your experiment had coordinates, it was three-dimensional,
  Pavlov's was just two-dimensional, instead of a whistle
  he used a bell... just to stimulate two senses
  as coordinated, the sound of a bell created saliva
  in the dog's mouth, poor dog received treats
  but in the end Pavlov put him in a car with closed
  windows in the middle of summer outside
  of Parliament square; obviously the dog died.
- German shepherd though... i had a friend, naturally
- could walk a German shepherd through Manhattan
  without a leash.
- exactly, not even half a metre away, and when the
  master stops, the dog stops.
(i started thinking, what a great way to invert theology,
in this way from dogs to gods.)
well... i guess there was more, but if i write more
about it, when i'll reflect upon this chance meeting of
complete strangers as more insightful than it
already was...
                         he managed to climb back on his bike
with a slight problem after his hip-replacement
operation... at 74 such things break... and he rode off
and i sat there trying to think about what the hell
i was thinking after watching the x files to find
something insightful...
                                        well, i got one thing,
i mentioned it before... i could never have believed
that adults created the most nightmarish version
of hide (negate) & seek (doubt) -
                   i thought it was just as bad as
  truth & dare with religion - with that motto:
          the Koran: this is the truth, and the only truth...
so truth or dare? i dare you to deny it!
                    can i just doubt it? you know, not be
a definite unbeliever, but an indefinite quasi-believer?
well doubt in the stated quasi-believer is wavering,
isn't it? the two of the most beautiful games of
innocence, morphed into these gargantuan abominations.
“Set wide the window. Let me drink the day.”
― Edith Wharton, Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verses

Matapang, sino ang tunay na matapang?
Yung siga ba sa kanto?
O yung pulis na marami nang na-tokhang?
Hindi kaya ang senador ng oposisyon
Na laging bumabanat sa administrasyon?
O baka naman yung mamang komentarista
Sa radyo at telebisyon?

Saludo ako sa mga sundalo’t pulis na
Nakipaglaban doon sa Marawi. Walang
Sindak ang mga bombero na sumusugod
Sa nagngangalit na dila ng apoy.
Hindi matatawaran ang kagitingin ng
Mga nagpapakasakit para sa kalayaan
At kapakanan ng inang bansa.

Pero may ibang anyo ang katapangan
Na mas malalim at kahanga-hanga.
Ang katatagan ng puso at isipan sa gitna
Ng dusa at malagim na paghihirap.
Ang hindi pagsuko ng kaluluwang hindi
Kayang ibilanggo ng takot at banta ng paghihirap.

Si William Ernest Henley ang bayani ng
Katapangan na tinutukoy ko s’ya ay di nalupig
Kailanman. Hindi s’ya sumuko sa siphayo ng kapalaran
Hanggang sa huling sandali.

Pagnilayan natin ang kanyang Invictus:

“Mula sa gabing bumabalot sa akin,”

May mga kawawang nilalang na walang umaga
Ang kanilang buhay puro gabing madilim
ang laging umiiral. Walang liwanag, walang bukang-liwayway.
Mula pagkabata hanggang pagtanda puro hinagpis at pait
Ang kanilang laging sinasapit.

“Kasingdilim ng hukay na malalim,”

Maraming bangin sa buhay ng mga kapos palad
Na nakabaon sa dusa at hilahil. Hindi nila ito ginusto
Hindi kailanman pinangarap kaya’t hindi nila ito
Kailanman matatanggap.

“Sa mga diyos, ako’y nagpapasalamat”

Ang mga kawawang mahihirap at mga mangmang
Sa kaalaman na laging salat sa mabuting paliwanag
Ay laging nagpapasalamat sa diyos. Salamat sa diyos……
Hahaha….. walang diyos mga hangal. Kung may diyos
Wala sanang kahirapan at kaapihan na umiiral.

“Sa kaluluwa kong hindi natitinag.”

Katawang lupa lang ang sumusuko
Ang kaluluwa at pusong matatag
Kailanman ay hindi ito magagapi.

“Nahuli man ng pangil ng kapalaran,”

Ang pangil ng malupit na kapalaran
Ay laging nakabaon sa leeg ng mga hampas-lupa
At mga walang makain sa araw-araw.
Pero hindi nito kayang sakmalin ang mayayaman at
Ang mga burgis. Bahag ang kanyang buntot
Sa harap ng mga panginoon.

“Kailanma’y di nangiwi o sumigaw.”

Kahit sumigaw ka at ngumawa nang husto
Walang tutulong sa’yo, walang makikinig
Dahil bingi ang mundo at bulag ang mata
Ng panginoong mapagpala.

“Sa mga pagkakataong ako’y binugbog,”

Paos ang tinig ng mga inang mapapait kung humikbi
Mga pinanawan ng pag-asa at ulirat dahil sa pag-iyak
Walang saysay ang sumigaw – nakaka-uhaw ang
Pag-iyak magmumukha ka lang uwak.

“Ulo ko’y duguan, ngunit ‘di yumukod.”

Bakit ka naman yuyukod sa putang-inang kapalaran
Na walang alam gawin kundi ang mang-dusta at mang-api.
‘Wag mo’ng sambahin ang isang bathalang walang-silbi,
Lumaban ka at ‘hwag magpadaig.

“Sa gitna ng poot at hinagpis”

Galit at lungkot ito ang kapiling lagi
Ng mga sawimpalad. Malayo sa masarap
Na kalagayan ng mga pinagpalang sagana
Sa karangyaan at kapangyarihan.

“At sa nangingilabot na lagim,”

Nagmistulang horror house ang buhay ng marami
Walang araw na hindi sakbibi ng lagim, walang oras
Na hindi gumagapang ang takot. Takot sa gutom, sakit,
At pagdarahop.

“Mga banta ng panahong darating,”

Bakit ang mga walang pera ang paboritong
Dalawin ng katakot-takot na kamalasan sa buhay?
Ganyan ba ang itinadhana ng diyos na mapagmahal
At maunawain? Nakakatawa diba?
Pero ito ang katotohanan ng buhay.

“Walang takot ang makikita sa ‘kin.”

Tama si Henley bakit mo kakatakutan ang lagim
Na hindi mo naman matatakasan? Mas mabuti
Kung harapin mo ito ng buong tapang at kalma.

“Kipot ng buhay, hindi na mahalaga,”

Para sa isang lugmok sa pagdurusa wala nang halaga
Ang anomang pag-uusig at kahatulan na nag-aantay.
Impeyerno? Putang ina sino’ng tinakot n’yo mga ulol.

“O ang dami ng naitalang parusa.”

Parusa, ang buong buhay ko ay isang parusa.
Ano pa ang aking kakatakutan na parusa?
Hindi naging maligaya ang buhay ko ano pa
Ang mas malalang parusa na gusto mo’ng ibigay?

“Panginoon ako ng aking tadhana,”

Oo ako lang ang diyos na gaganap sa aking
Malungkot na buhay. Walang bathala akong
Tatawagin at kikilalanin ‘pagkat wala silang pakialam sa’kin.

“Ang kapitan ng aking kaluluwa.”

Walang iba na magpapasya sa aking tadhana
Ako lang hanggang sa wakas ng aking hininga
Ang dapat na umiral.

Si Henley ang tunay na matapang dahil kahit
Pinutol na ang kanyang mga paa, sa gitna ng sakit
At matinding dusa hindi s’ya sumuko. Ang kanyang
Kaluluwa ay nanatiling nakatayo.
Third Mate Third Aug 2014
A lot of people think they can write or paint or draw or sing or make movies or what-have-you, but having an artistic temperament doth not make one an artist.

Even the great writers of our time have tried and failed and failed some more. Vladimir Nabokov received a harsh rejection letter from Knopf upon submitting ******, which would later go on to sell fifty million copies. Sylvia Plath’s first rejection letter for The Bell Jar read, “There certainly isn’t enough genuine talent for us to take notice.” Gertrude Stein received a cruel rejection letter that mocked her style. Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way earned him a sprawling rejection letter regarding the reasons he should simply give up writing all together. Tim Burton’s first illustrated book, The Giant Zlig, got the thumbs down from Walt Disney Productions, and even Jack Kerouac’s perennial On the Road received a particularly blunt rejection letter that simply read, “I don’t dig this one at all.”

So even if you’re an utterly fantastic writer who will be remembered for decades forthcoming, you’ll still most likely receive a large dollop of criticism, rejection, and perhaps even mockery before you get there. Having been through it all these great writers offer some writing tips without pulling punches. After all, if a publishing house is going to tear into your manuscript you might as well be prepared.

1. The first draft of everything is ****. -Ernest Hemingway
2. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ***. -David Ogilvy
3. If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker
4. Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home. -Paul Theroux
5. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee
6. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London
7. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell
8. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham
9. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King
10. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman
11. Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die. – Anne Enright
12. If writing seems hard, it’s because it is hard. It’s one of the hardest things people do. – William Zinsser
13. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. – Kurt Vonnegut
14. Prose is architecture, not interior decoration. – Ernest Hemingway
15. Write drunk, edit sober. – Ernest Hemingway
16. Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, ****, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. – Joshua Wolf Shenk
17. Substitute ‘****’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. – Mark Twain
18. Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you. ― Neil Gaiman
19. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative. – Oscar Wilde
20. You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ― Ray Bradbury
21. Don’t take anyone’s writing advice too seriously. – Lev Grossman
image – christine zenino
Taken from the Internet
Mateuš Conrad Dec 2015

title - author - (read / unread)

songs of war
and peace -
afghan women's poetry
                                              edited by sayd bahodine majrouh
the cantos of
ezra pound
                                              ezra pound

th­e unbearable
lightness of being      
                                               milan kundera
                                               (yes, albeit
                                                given to someone)

the man in the
high castle
                                                philip k. ****
                                                (yes, "
                                                          " " ")

do androids dream
of electric sheep                            

men­ without women
                                                 ernest hemingway

a moveable feast
                                                  ernest   ­      "

for whom the bell tolls
                                                  ernest   ­       "
                                                  (parti­ally, university

a passage to india
                                                   e. m. forster
                                                   (no, i prefer the actual cuisine,
                                                    dash­ of cinnamon, cumin
                                                    cloves, cardamon and i just
                                                    read: a short-cut to india)

the outsider
                                                    albert camus
                                                    (yes, lost the book somewhere)

                                                    mary shelley

aesop­'s fables
                                                     (yes, good enough
                                                      for zeno to
                                                      paradox achilles
                                                      with the turtle, i.e.
                                                      aesop'­s fables
                                                      were primarily based
                                                      on the behaviour of animals)

dr. jeckyl & mr. hyde
                                                      r. l. stevenson
                                                      (­no, a literary
                                                       version of the beatles'
                                                       yesterday, conjuring
                                                       for money anyway)

iron in the soul
                                                        jean­-paul sartre
                                                        (t­he other two titles
                                                         of the human comedy
                                                         i don't remember;
                                                       ­  i have all respect for
                                                         sartre the novelist -
                                                         but none as a philosopher)

treasure island
                                                          r. l. stevenson
                                                       ­   (yes)

i'm the king of the castle
                                                          ­susan hill

jane eyre
                                                           charlotte brontë
                                                          ­ (yes)

on the road
                                                           jack kerouac
                                                         ­  (yes)

the bell jar
                                                           sylvia plath

fiesta: the sun also rises
                                                           ernest hemingway

the ordeal of gilbert pinfold
                                                           evelyn waugh

five plays
                                                           (stuck to shakespeare
                                                            and russian
                                                            existential macabre)

the existential imagination
                                                            edited by frederick
                                                            r. karl & leo hamalian
                                                            (yes, esp. the extract
                                                             about socrates)
guy scutellaro Oct 2019
The rain ****** through a darkening sky.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles. Softly, he whispers, " Man, you're the biggest, whitest, what hell are you anyway?"

The pup sits up and Jack Delleto caresses her neck, but much to the mutt's chagrin the man stands up and walks away.

Jack has his hand on the door about to go into the bar. The pup issues an interrogatory, "Woof?"

The rain turns to snow.

The man's eyes grow bright and he smiles, "My grandma used to say that when it snows the angels are sweeping heaven. I'll be back for you, Snowflake."

Jack shivers. His smile fading, the night jumps back into his eyes.

Snowflake chuffs once, twice.

The man is gone.

The room would have been a cold ,dark place except the bodies who sit on the barstools or stand on the ***** linoleum floor produce heat. The cigarette smoke burns his eyes. Jack Delleto looks down the length of the bar to the boarded shut fire place and although the faces are shadows, he knows them all.

The old man who always sits at the second barstool from the dart board is sitting at the second bar stool. His fist clenched tightly around the beer mug, he stares at his own reflection in the mirror.

The aging barmaid, who often weeps from her apartment window on a hot summer night or a cold winter evening, is coming on to a man half her age. She is going to slip her arm around his bicep at any moment.

"Yeah," Jack smiles, "there she goes."

Jack Delleto knows where the regulars sit night after night clutching the bar with desperation, the wood rail is worn smooth.

In the mirror that runs the length of the bar Jack Delleto sees himself with clarity. Brown hair and brown eyes. Just an ordinary 29 year old man.

"Old Fred is right," he thinks to himself, "If you stare at shadows long enough, they stare back." Jack smiles and the red head returns his smile crossing her long legs that protrude beneath a too short skirt.

The bartender recognizes the man smiling at the redhead.

"Well,  Jack Delleto, Dell, I heard you were dead. " The six foot, two hundred pound bartender tells him as Dell is walking over to the bar.

"Who told you that?"

"Crazy George, while he was swinging from the wagon wheel lamp." Bob O'Malley says as he points to the wagon wheel lamp hanging from the ceiling.

"George, I heard, HE was dead."

The bartender reaches over the bar resting the palms of his big hands on the edge of the bar and flashes a smile of white, uneven teeth. Bob extends his hand. "Where the hell have you been?"

They shake hands.

Dell looks up at the Irishman. "I ve been at Harry's Bar in Venice drinking ****** Marys with Elvis and Ernest."

Bob O'Malley grins, puts two shot glasses on the bar, and reaches under the bar to grab a bottle of bourbon. After filling the glasses with Wild Turkey, he hands one glass to Dell. They touch glasses and throw down the shots.

"Gobble, gobble," O Malley smiles.

The front door of the bar swings open and a cold wind drifts through the bar. Paul Keater takes off his Giants baseball cap and with the back of his hand wipes the snow off of his face.

"Keater," Bob O'Malley calls to the Blackman standing in the doorway.

Keater freezes, his eyes moving side to side in short, quick movements. He points a long slim finger at O'Malley, "I don't owe you any money," Paul Keater shouts.

The people sitting the barstools do not turn to look.

"You're always pulling that **** on me." Keater rushes to the bar, "I PPPAID YOU."

As Delleto watches Keater arguing with O'Malley, the anger grows into the loathing Dell feels for Keater. The sauve, sophisticated Paul Keater living in a room above the bar. The man is disgusting. His belly hangs pregnant over his belt. His jeans have fallen exposing the crack of his ***, and Keater just doesn't give a ****. And that ragged, faded, baseball cap, ****, he never takes it off.

When Keater glances down, he realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto. Usually, Paul Keater would have at least considered punching Delleto in his face. "The **** wasn't any good," Paul feining anger tells O'Malley. "Everybody said it was, ****."

The bartender finishes rinsing a glass in the soapy sink water and then places it on a towel. "*******."

Keater slides the Giant baseball cap back and forth across his flat forehead. "**** it," he turns and storms out of the bar.

"Can I get a beer?" Dell asks but O"Malley is already reaching into the beer box. Twisting the cap off, he puts it on the bar. "It's not that Keater owes me a few bucks, "he tells Dell, "if I didn't cut him off he'd do the stuff until he died." Bob grabs a towel and dries his hands.

"But the smartest rats always get out of the maze first," Jack tells Bob.

Cigarette butts, candy wrappers, and losing lottery tickets litter the linoleum floor. Jack Delleto grabs the bottle of beer off the bar and crosses the specter of unfilled wishes.

In the adjacent room he sits at a table next to the pinball machine to watch a disfigured man with an anorexic women shoot pool. Sometimes he listens to them talk, whisper, laugh. Sometimes he just stares at the wall.

"We have a winner, "the pinball machine announces, "come ride the ferris wheel."

"I'm part Indian. "

Jack looks up from his beer. The Indian has straight black hair that hangs a few inches above her shoulders, a thin face, a cigarette dangling from her too red lips.

"My Mom was one third Souix, " the drunken women tells Jack Delleto.

The Indian exhales smoke from her petite nose waiting for a come on from the man with the sad face. And he just stares, stares at the wall.

Her bushy eyebrows come together forming a delicate frown.

Jack turns to watch a brunette shoot pool. The woman leans over the pool table about to shoot the nine ball into the side pocket. It is an easy shot.

The brunette looks across the pool table at Jack Delleto, "What the **** are you starin at?" She jams the pool stick and miscues. The cue ball runs along the rail and taps the eight ball into the corner pocket. "AH ****," she says.

And Jack smiles.

The Indian thinks Jack is smiling at her, so she sits down.

"In the shadows I couldn't see your eyes," he tells her, "but when you leaned forward to light that cigarette, you have the prettiest green eyes."

She smiles.

" I'm Kathleen," her eyes sparkling like broken glass in an alley.

Delleto tries to speak.

"I don't want to know your name," she tells Jack Delleto, the smile disappearing from her face. "I just want to talk for a few minutes like we're friends," she takes a drag off the cigarette, exhales the smoke across the room.

Jack recognizes the look on her face. Bad dreams.

"I'll be your friend," he tells her.

"We're not going to have ***." The Indian slowly grinds out the cigarette into the ashtray, looks up at the man with the sad face.

I met my older sister in Baltimore yesterday. Hadn't seen her since I was nine, since Mom died. I wanted to know why Dad put me in foster homes. Why? I had so many questions and you know what?
I didn't ask one."

Jack is finishing his beer.

"Maybe if you knew the reasons, now, it wouldn't matter anyway."

The man with the black eye just doesn't get it. She lived with them long enough. Long enough to love them.

She stands up, stares at Jack Delleto.

And walks away.

It's the fat blondes turn to shoot pool. She leans her great body ever so gently across the green felt of the pool table, shoots and misses. When she tries to raise herself up off the pool table, the tip of the pool cue hits the Miller Lite sign above the pool table sending the lamb rocking violently back and forth. In flashes of light like the frames from and old Chaplin movie the sad and grotesque appear and disappear.

"What the **** are you starin at?" The skinny brunette asks.

Jack pretends to think for a moment. "An unhappy childhood."

Suddenly, she stands up, looking like death wearing a Harley Davidson T-shirt.

"Dove sta amore," Jack Delleto asks.

Death is angry, steps closer.

"Must be that time of the month, huh," Jack grins.

With her two tiny fists clenched tightly at her side, the brunette stares down into Delleto's eyes. Suddenly, she punches Jack in the eye.

Jack stands up bringing his forearm up to protect his face. At the same time Death steps closer. His forearm catches her under the chin. The bony ***** goes down.

Women rush from the shadows. They pull Jack to the ***** floor, punch and kick him.

In the blinking of the Miller Light Jack Delleto exclaims," I'm being smother by fat lesbians in soft satin pants."  But then someone is pulling the women off of him.

The Miller Lite gently rocks and then it stops.

Jack stands up, shakes his head and smiles.

"Nice punch Dell," Bob O' Malley says, "I saw from the bar."

Jack hits the dust off of his pants, grabs the beer bottle off of the table, takes a swallow. Smiling, he says, "I box a little."

"I can tell by your black eye." O'Malley puts his hand on his friends shoulder. "Come on I'll buy you a shot. What caused this spontaneous expression of love?"

"They thought I was a ******."

2 a.m.

Jack Delleto walks out the door of the bar into the wind swept gloom. The gray desolation of boarded shut downtown is gone.

The rain has finally turn to snow.

His eyes follow the blue rope from the parking meter pole to its frayed end in the plowed hill of snow at the corner of Cookman Avenue.

The dog, Snowflake, dead, Jack thinks.

The snow covers everything. It covers the abandon cars and the abandon buildings, the sidewalk and its cracks. The city, Delleto imagines, is and adjectiveless word, a book of white pages. He steps off the curb into the gutter and the street is empty for as far as he can see. He starts walking.

Jack disappears into empty pages.

Chapter 2

Paul Keater has a room above Wagon Wheel Bar where the loud rock music shakes the rats in the walls til 2a.m. The vibrations travel through the concrete floor, up the bed posts, and into the matress.

Slowly Paul's eyes open. Who the hell is he fooling. Even without the loud music, he would not be able to sleep, anyway.

Soft red neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks into his room.

Paul Keater sits up, sighs, resigns himself to another sleepless night, swings his legs off the bed. His x-wife. He thinks about her frequently. He went to a phycologist because he loved her.

Dump the *****, the doctor said.

"I paid him eighty bucks and all he had to say was dump the *****." He laughs, shakes his head.

Paul thinks about *******, looks around the tiny room, and spots a clear plastic case containing the baseball cards he had collected when he was a boy.

He walks to the dresser and puts on his Giant's baseball cap. Paul sits down on the wooden chair by the sink. Turns on the lamp. The card on top is ***** Mays. Holding it in his hand, it is perfect. The edges are not worn like the other cards.

It was his tenth birthday and his dad had taken to his first baseball game and his father had bought the card from a dealer.

Oblivious to the loud rock music filtering into his room, he stares at the card.

Fondly, he remembers.



It arrives unobtrusively. His heart begins to race faster.
Jack Delleto rolls away from the cracked wall. He sits up and drops his legs off the bed.

Jack Delleto thinks about mountains.

When he cannot sleep he thinks about climbing up through the fog that makes the day obscure, passing where the stunted spruce and fir tees are twisted by the wind, into cold brilliant light. Once as he climbed through the fog he saw his shadow stretching a half a mile across a cloud and the world was small. Far down to the east laid cliffs and gullies, glaciated mountains and to the west were the plains and cities of everyday life.

The army coat is draped over the back of the chair. In the pocket is his notebook. Jack stands and takes the notebook from the pocket. When he sits in the wooden chair he opens the book and slides the pen from the binder.

When he finishes his story he makes the end into the beginning.

                                           Chapter 3

"I want a captain in a truck." The 10 year old boy with the brown hair tells his mom. "I want it NOW."

His blonde haired mom wearing the gold diamond bracelet nods her head at Jack Delleto. Jack looks up at the clock on the wall. It is only 9a.m. After four years of college Jack has a part time job at K.B. Toy store. "We're all out of them," he tells her for the second time.

"Honey," Blondie tells the boy, they're all out of them."


"How about a sargeant in a jeep?

"OK, but I want a missile firing truck , too."

Delleto turns to the display case behind the counter. Briefly, he studies his black eye in the display case mirror and then begins searching the four shelves and twenty rows of 3 inch plastic toys. He finds the truck. His head is aching. He finds the truck and puts it on the counter in front of the boy.

"Sorry, we're all out of the sargeant," Jack tells the pretty lady. The aching in his head just won't go away.


Jack Delleto leans over the counter resting his elbows on the glass top. The boy is staring at the man with the black eye, at his bruised unshaven face.

"Well, we haven't got any, GODDAMED TANKS. How about a , KICKINTHE ***."

Finally the boy and his mother are quiet.

"My husband will have you fired."

She grabs the boy by the hand. Turns to rush out of the store.

Jack mutters something.

"MMOOOMEEE,  what does..."

"Oh, shut the hell up," the pretty lady tells her son


The assistant manager takes a deep drag on her cigarette, exhales, and crosses her arms to hold the cigarette in front of her. Susan looks down at Jack sitting on the stool behind the counter. He stands up. "Did you tell some lady to blow you?" She crushes the cigarette out in the ashtray on the shelf below the counter. "Maybe you don't need this job but I do."

"Sue, there's no smoking in the mall."

"Jack, you look tired," the cubby teenager tells him, "and your eye. Another black eye."

"I was attacked by five women."

'Oh, I see, in your dreams maybe. I see, it's one of those male fantasies I'm always reading about in Cosmo. You re not boxing again, are you Dell?" Sue likes to call him Dell.

"I go down to the gym to work out. Felix says I've got something."

"Yeah, a black eye." Susan laughs, opens the big vanilla envelope, and hands Jack his check.

She turns and takes a pair of sunglasses from the display stand. "You 're scaring the children, Dell ." Susan steps closer looks into Dell's brown eyes and the slips the sunglasses on his face. "Why don't you go to lunch."


It's noon and the mall is crowded at the food court area. Jack gets a 20oz cup of coffee, finds a table and sits down.

"Go over and talk to him. " Susan says. Jack turns his head , looks back, sees the Indian walking towards his table.

"Hello, Kathrine," says Jack Delleto.

"My names not Kathrine, it's Kathleen."

Jack pulls the chair away from the table, "Have a seat Kate."

Her eyebrows form that delicate frown. "My names Kathleen." As soon as she sits down she takes a cigarette from the pack sticking out of her pocketbook. "I had to leave. I told the baby sitter I'd only be gone an hour. Anyway you weren't much help."

"So why did you come over to talk to me?"

"You were alone, always alone."

"You've seen me there before?"

"Yeah, sitting by the pin ball machine staring at the wall, and sometimes, you'd take out your little blue note pad and write in it.
"What are you writing? Are you goin to write about me..."

"How many kids do you have?"

"Just one. A boy, and believe me one is enough. He'll be four in June," Kathleen smiles but then she remembers and abruptly the smile disappears from her face. "Sometimes I see Anthony's father in the mall and I ask him if he'd like to meet his son, but he doesn't.

Kathleen draws the cigarette smoke deep into her lungs, tilts her head back, and blows the smoke towards the skylight. Suddenly caught in the sunlight the smoke becomes a gray cloud. " I didn't want to marry him anyway, I don't know why he thought that."

She hears the scars as Delleto talks, something sad about the man, something like old newspapers blowing across a deserted street. She hears the scars and knows never, never ask where the scars came from.


As Jack walks towards the bank to cash his check, he glances out the front entrance to the mall. It is a bright, cold day and the snowplows are finishing up the parking lot plowing the snow into big white hills. That is the fate of the big white pup plowed to the corner of Cookman and Main buried deep in ***** snow. At that street corner when the school is over the children will play on the hill never realizing what lay beneath there feet.

The snow must melt; spring is inevitable.

His pup will be back.

                                           Chapter 4

The 19 year old light heavyweight leans his muscular body forward to rest his gloved hands on the tope rope of the ring. He bows his head waiting to regain his breath as his lungs fight to force air deep into his chest. Bill Wain has finished boxing 4 rounds with Red.

Harry the trainer, gently pulls the untied boxing gloves from Red's hands. "Good fight, he says, patting Red on the back as the fighter climbs through the ropes and heads to the showers. Harry hands the sweat soaked gloves to Felix who puts one glove under his arm while he loosens the laces on the other 12ounce glove. He makes the sleeve wider.

"Do you want the head gear?" Felix asks.

Jack Delleto shakes his head and pushes his taped hand deep into the glove.

The old man takes the other glove from under his arm, pulls the laces out, and holds it open. Without turning his head to look at him, Felix tells Harry, "Make sure Bill doesn't cool down. Tell him to shadow box. Harry walks over to Bill and Bill starts shadow boxing.

Jack pushes his hand into the glove. "Make a fist." Jack does. Felix pulls the laces and ties it into a bow.

Felix looks intently into Delleto's eyes. "How does that feel?"

"About right."

"You look tired."

"I am a little."

"Are you sick or is it a woman."

"I'm not sick."

A big smile forms across the face of the former welterweight champion of Nevada. The face of the 68 year old Blackman is lined and cracked like the old boxing gloves that Jack is wearing but his tall body is youthful and athletic in appearance. Above Felix's eyebrows Jack sees the effect of 20 years as a professional fighter. He sees the thick scar tissue and the thin white lines where the old man's skin has been stitched and restitched many times. As he gives instructions to Jack, Felix's brown eyes seem to be staring at something distant and jack wonders if Felix has chased around the ring one time too often his dream.

"And get off first. Don't stop punching until he goes down. You've got it kid and not every fighter does."

Jack and Felix start walking over to the ring.

"What is it I've got?" Jack Deletto wonders.

"Felix puts his foot on the fourth strand of the rings rope and with his hand pulls up the top strand and as Jack steps into the ring, "You've got HEART."

In the opposite corner Bill Wain waits.

"Will he be alright?" Harry asks.

"Bill's tired, " Felix replies, then he tries to explain. "It's not about money. I'm almost 70 and I want to go out a winner." Felix pauses and the offers, he can hit hard with either hand."

"Yeah, but at best he's a small middleweight and he only moves in one direction, straight ahead."

"Harry, I love the guy," Felix puts his hand on Harry's shoulder, he's like Tyson at the end of his career. He'd fight you to the death but he's not fighting to win anymore."

Harry puts his hands in his pocket and stares at the floor. "Do you want me to tell him to go easy." Harry looks up at Felix waiting for an answer.

"I'm tired of sweeping dirt from behind the boxes of wax beans and tuna fish. I'm sick of collecting shopping carts in the rain. A half way decent white heavyweight can make a lot of money. It's stupid for a fighter to practice holding back. Bill's a winner. Jack'll be alright."

Felix hands the pocket watch to Harry so he can time the rounds.

Bill Wain comes out of his corner circling left.

Jack rushes straight ahead.

Felix winks at Jack Delleto and whispers, "The Jack of hearts."

                                           Chapter 5

The front door of the Wagon Wheel bar explodes open to Ziggy Pop's, "YOU'VE GOT A LUST FOR LIFE." Jack Delleto steps over the curb and vanishes into the dark doorway.

"HEY, JACK, JACK DELLETO," The lanky bartender shouts over the din.

Delleto makes his way through the crowd over to bar. How the hell have you been Snake?" Jack asks.

"Just great," says Snake. "You're lookin pretty ****** good for a dead man."

"Who told you that? Crazy George?"

The bartender points across the room to where a man in a pin stripe suit is swinging to and fro from a wagon wheel lamp attached to the ceiling.

"Yeah, I thought so. Haven't seen Crazy George in a year and he's been telling everyone I'm dead. I'm gonna have to have a long talk with that man."

Snake hands Jack a shot of tequila. The men touch glasses and throw down the shots.

How's the other George? Dell asks.


"How's Tommy? You see him anymore?"


"What about Robbie?"

Snake refills the glasses. "He's livin in a nudist colony in Florida, he has two wives and 6 children."

Jack looks across the room and sees Bob O'Malley trying to adjust the rose in the lapel of his tuxedo. Satisfied it won't fall out O'Malley looks up at the man swinging from the lamp. "Quick, name man's three greatest inventions."

"Alcohol, tobacco, and the wheel," Crazy George shoots back.

O'Malley smiles and then jumps up on the top of the bar and although he is over six feet and weighs two hundred pounds, he has the dexterity and grace of a ballerina as he pirouttes around and jumps over the shot glasses and beer bottles that litter the bar.

Wedding guests lean back in their chairs as strangers fearful of his gyrations ****** their drinks off the bar. Bob fakes a slip as he prances along but he is always in control and never falters. Forty three year old Bob O'Malley is Jim Brown who dodges danger to score the winning touch down.

When is reaches the end of the bar he jumps to the floor, pulls two aluminum lids from the beer box, and with one in each hand he smacks them together like cymbals.

Some guests clap. The bemused just stare.

In the back of the room sitting at the wedding table the father of the bride leans over, whispers into the ear of his crying wife, "If I had a gun I'd shoot Bob."

The bride raises a glass of champagne into the smoke filled air and Bob takes a bow but then heads towards the kitchen at the other end of the room.

" Hey, Bob," Jack Delleto shouts to the groom.

O'Malley stops under the wagon wheel lamp and turns as Delleto steps into the  circle of light cast onto the floor.

"Congratulations, I know Theresa and you are goin to be happy. I mean that." Delleto offers his hand and they shake hands.

"Thanks, Mr. Cool."

Jack takes off the sunglasses.

"TWO black eyes. Your nose is bleeding. What happened?"

Dell takes the handkerchief from his back pocket, wipes the blood dripping down his face. "It's broken."

"What happened?" O'Malley asks again.

"Bill Wain."

"He turned pro."

"Yeah, but he's nothing special. Hell, he couldn't even knock me down."

O'Malley shakes his head. "Put the sunglasses back on, you look like a friggin raccoon."

Dell smiles. The blood running down his lips."Thersa's beautiful, Bob, you're a lucky guy."

"Thanks Dell." O'Malley puts his hand on Dell's shoulder and sqeezes affectionately. Bob looks across the room at Teresa. "Yeah, she is beautiful." Theresa mother has stopped crying. Her father just stares at the wall.

O'Malley looks away from his bride and passed the archway that divides the poolroom from the bar and into the corner. With the lamp light above his head gleaming in his eyes Bob seems to see a ghost fleeting in the far distant, dark corner. Slowly, a peculiar half smile forms uneven, white, tombstone teeth.  A pensive smile.

Curious, Dell turns his head to look into the darkness of the poolroom, too.

At night in July the moths were everywhere. When Dell was a boy he would sit on his porch and try to count them. The moths appeared as faint splashes of whiteness scattered throughout the night, odd circles of white that moved haphazardly, forward and then sideways, sometimes up and down.

Sometimes the patches of moths flew higher and higher and Dell imagined the lights those creatures were seeking were the stars themselves; Orion, the Big Dipper and even the milky hue of the Milkyway.

One night as the moths pursued starlight he saw shadows dropping one by one from the tops of the trees. The swallows were soundless and when he caught a glimpse of sudden darkness, blacker than the night, the shadows erased the dreamer and its dream.

His imagination gave definition to form. There was a sound to the shadows of the swallows in his thoughts, the melody and the song played over and over. Perhaps he saw his reflection in the night. Perhaps there are shadows where nothing exists to cast them.

"Do you hear them, Bob?"

"Hear what?" Bob asks.

"All of them."

"All of what?"

"Nothin," Delleto tells his friend, "Nothin."

O'Malley doesn't understand but it does not matter. The two men have shared the same corner of darkness.

Bob calls to Paul Keater. Keater smiles broadly, slides the brim of his Giant baseball cap to the side of his forehead. The two men disappear through the swinging kitchen door.

                                          Chapter 6

"Hello Kate." Jack Delleto says and sits down. She has a blue bow in her hair and make up on.

"My names Kathleen."

She fondles the whiskey glass in her slim fingers. "Hello, Dell, Sue thinks Dell is such a **** name. Kathleen takes a last drag on her cigarette, rubs it out in the ashtray, looks up at him, "What should I call you?"

"How about, Darlin?"

"Hello, Jack, DARLIN," her soft, deep voice whispers. Kathleen crosses her legs and the black dress rides up to the middle of her thigh.

Jack glances at the milky white flesh between the blue ***** hose and the hem of her dress. Kate is drunk and Dell does not care. He leans closer, "Do you wanna dance?"

"But no one else is dancing."

"Well, we can go down to the beach, take a walk along the sand."

"It's twenty degrees out there."

"I'll keep you warm."

"All right, lets dance."

Jack stands up takes her by the hand. As Kathleen rises Jack draws her close to him. Her ******* flatten against his chest. He feels her heart thumping.

The Elvis impersonator that almost played Las Vegas; the hairdresser that wanted to be a race car driver; the insurance salesman with a Porche and a wife.  Her men talked about what they owned or what they could do.

Kathleen had never meant anyone quite like Dell.

She rests her head on his shoulder. "What do you what more than anything? What do you dream about at night?"


"Come on," she says," what do you want more than anything? Tell me your dreams."

Jack smiles, "Just to make it through another day."  He smiles that sad smile that she saw the first time they met. "Tell me what you want."

Kate lifts her head off of his shoulder and looks into his eyes."I don't want to be on welfare the rest of my life and I want to be able to send my son to college." She rests her cheek against his, "I've lived in foster homes all my life and every time I knew one day I'd have to leave, what I want most is a home. Do you know the difference between a house and a home?"


Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear, "LOVE."

The song comes to an end and they leave the circle of light and sit down. Kate takes a cigarette from the pack.

Dell strikes a match. The flame flickering in her eyes. "Maybe someday you'll have your home."

"Do you want me to?"


Kate blows out the match.


"Can you take me home?" Kate asks slurring her words.

Kathleen and Jack walk over to where the bride and groom are standing near the big glass refrigerator door with Paul Keater. When Paul realizes he is standing next to Jack Delleto he rocks back and forth on the heals of his worn shoes, slides his Giants baseball cap back and forth  across his forehead and walks away.

O'Malley bends down and kisses Kathleen on the cheek and turns to shake hands with Dell. "Good luck," says Dell. Kathleen embraces the bride.

Outside the bar the sun is setting behind the boarded shut Delleto store.

"That was my Dad's store, " Jack tells Kate and then Jack whispers to to himself as he reads the graffiti spray painted on the front wall.

                                         Chapter 7

An old man comes shuffling down the street, "Hello Mr. Martin, " Jack says, "How are you?"

"I'm an old man Jack, how could I be," and then he smiles, "ah, I can't complain. How are you?"

"Still alive and well."

"Who is this pretty young lady?"

"This Kate."

Joesph Martin takes Kathleen by the arm and  gently squeezes, "Hello Kate, such a pretty women, ah if I was only sixty," and the old man smiles.

Kathleen forces a smile.

The thick eyeglasses that Mr. Martin wears magnifys his eyes as he looks from Kathleen to Jack, "Have fun now because when you are dead you are going to be dead a long, long time."

"How long?  Delleto inquires.

The old man smirks and waves as he continues up the street to the door leading to the rooms above the bar. He turns to face the door. The small window is broken and the shards of glass catch the twilight.

Joesph Martin turns back looking at the man and young woman who are about to get into the car. He is not certain what he wants to say to them. Perhaps he wants to tell them that it ***** being an old man and the upstairs hallway always smells of ****.

Joesph Martin wants to tell someone that although Anna died seven years ago his love endures and he misses her everyday. Joesph recalls that Plato in Tamaeus believed that the soul is a stranger to the Earth and has fallen into matter because of sin.

A faint smile appears on the wrinkled face of the old man as he heeds the resignation he hears in his own thoughts.

Jack waves to Mr. Martin.  Joesph waves back. The mustang drives off.

Earth, O island Earth.

                                               Chapter 8

Joseph pushes open the door and goes into the hallway. The fragments of glass scattered across the foyer crunch and clink under his shoes. The cold wind blowing through the broken window touches his warm neck. He shivers and walks up the stairs. There is only enough light to see the wall and his own warm breathing. There is just enough light like when he has awaken from a  bad dream, enough to remember who he is and to separate the horror of what is real from the horror of what is dreamt.

The old man continues climbing the stairs following the familiar shadow of the wall cast onto the stairs. If he crosses the vague line of shadow and light he will disappear like a brown trout in the deepest hole in a creek.

By the time he reaches the second floor he is out of breath. Joseph pauses and with the handkerchief he has taken from his back pocket he wipes the fog from the lenses of his eyeglasses and the sweat from his forehead.

A couple of doors are standing open and the old man looks cautiously into each room as he hurries passed. One forty watt bulb hangs from a frayed wire in the center of the hallway. The wiring is old and the bulb in the white porcelain socket flickers like the blinking of an eye or the fearful beating of the heart of an old man.

When he opens the door to his room it sags on ruined hinges.

Joesph searches with his hand for the light switch.  Several seconds linger. Can't find it.

Finds it and quickly pushes the door shut. He sits down on the bed, doesn't take his coat off, reaches for the radio. It is gone

Joseph looks around the room. A small dresser, the sink with a mirror above it. He takes off his coat and above the mirror hangs the coat on the nail he has put there.

Hard soled boots echo hollowly off the hallway walls. The echoes are overlapping and he can not determine if the footsteps are leaving or approaching. Joseph grabs the crow bar he keeps under his pillow. Holds it until there is silence.

He lays back on the bed. Another night without sleep. Joseph rolls onto his side and faces the wall.

Earth, O island Earth.

                                           Chapter 9

Tangled in the tree tops a rising moon hangs above the roofs of identical Cape Cod houses.

Jack pulls the red mustang behind a station wagon. Kathleen is looking at Dell. His face is a faint shadow on the other side of the car. "Do you want to come up?" she asks.

Kathleen steps out of the car, breathes the cold air deep into her lungs. It is fresh and sweet. Jack comes around the side of the car just as she knew he would. He takes her into his arms and kisses her and they walk beneath the old oak tree and the roots have raised and crack the sidewalk and in the spring tiny blue flowers will bloom. The flowers remind Jack of the columbines that bloom in high mountain meadows above treeline heralding a brief season of sun and warmth.

"Did you win?" Kathleen asks as she fits the key into the upstairs apartment door. The door swings open into the kitchen.

Dell, standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts. "It doesn't matter."

"You lost?"


Crossing the room she takes off her coat and places it on the back of the kitchen chair. When Kate leans across the kitchen table to turn on the radio the mini dress rides up her thigh, tugs tightly around her buttocks.

The radio plays softly.

Jack stands and as Kathleen turns he slips his arms around her waist and she is staring into his eyes like a cat into a fire. His body gently presses against the table and when he lifts her onto the table her legs wrap around his waist.

Kathleen sighs.

Jack kisses her. Her lips are cold like the rain. His hand reaches. There is a faint click. The room slips into darkness. It is Eddie Money on the radio, now, with Ronnie Spectre singing the back up vocals. Eddie belts out, "TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT, I WON"T LET YOU LEAVE TIL..."

When Jack withdraws from the kiss her eyes are shining like diamonds in moonlight.

The buttons of her dress are unfastened.  Her arms circle his neck and pull him to her *******. "Don't Jack. You mustn't. I just want a friend." His hands slide up her thighs. "I'll be your friend, " says Jack.

"*** always ruins every thing," Her voice is a roaring whisper in his ear. He pulls her to the edge of the table as Ronnie sings, "O DARLIN, O MY DARLIN, WON'T YOU BE MY LITTLE BAABBBY NOOWWW."

They are sitting on a couch in the room that atone time had been a sun porch.

Now that they have gotten *** out of the way, maybe they can talk. Sliding her hands around his face she pulls him closer.

"Jack, what do you dream about? You know what I mean, tell your dreams to me."

"How did you get those little round scars on your arm," Jack wonders. "Up and down, hear and there."

"Do you really want to know?" There is anger in her voice and Jack does not understand.

"Why, yeah."

"My foster mom always wanted me to be clean and if I didn't I got hit with the belt. I tried to keep my face clean but it didn't do any good.

He was the worst, though, dad. He'd burn me with his cigarette. That's how I got these ****** scars. And when I knew he was coming home I'd get sick to my stomach and when I heard his key in the door, I'd wet myself.

But that wasn't the worst of it.

When they didn't beat me or burn me they ignored me, like I didn't exist, like I wasn't even there."

                                             Chapter 10

All the windows in the apartment are open. The cool breeze flows through her brown hair. "You're getting too serious, Jack, and I don't want to need you."

"That's because I care for you."

The rain pounds the roof.

Jack Delleto sits down on the bed, caresses her shoulder. "I hate the rain. Come on, give me a smile. "Kathleen pulls away and faces the wall.

"Well I don't need anyone."

"People need people."

There is silence, then, "I only care about my son and Father Anthony."

"What is it with you and the priest?" You named your son Anthony is that because he's the father."

"Your an *******. Get out of here. I don't love you." And then, "I've been hurt by people and you'll get over it."

The lingering silence. Jack gets up from the bed, stares at her dark form facing the wall. "Isn't this how it always ends for you?"

The room is quiet and grows hot. When the silence numbs his racing heart, he goes into the kitchen, opens the front door and walks down the steps into the cold rain.

"Anthony," Kathleen calls to her son to come to her from the other bedroom and he climbs into the bed and she holds him close. The ghost of relationships past haunt her and although they are all sad, she has she clings to them.

On the sidewalk below the apartment window Jack stops. He thinks he hears his name being called but whatever he has heard is carried off by the wind. He continues up the  dark street to his Harley.

High in reachless branches of the old oak tree a mockingbird is singing. The leaves twist in the wind and  the singing goes on and on.


The ringing phone.

"Who the hell is this?" The clock on the dresser says 5a.m.

"Jack, I'm scared."


"Someone broke into my apartment."

"Is he still there?"

"No, He ran out the door when I screamed."

"I'll be right over."


"How hot is it?" Kathleen asks.

The bar is empty except for O'Malley, Keater, a man and a woman.

"98.6,"Says Jack. The sweat rolls down his cheeks.

"Let's go to the boardwalk."

"When it's hot like this, it's hot all over."

"We could go on the rides."

"I've got the next pool game, then we'll go."

"It's my birthday."

"I bought you flowers."

"Yeah, carnations."

Laughing, Paul Keater slides the brim of his baseball cap back and forth across his forehead.

Jack starts for Keater, Katheen steps in front of Jack, puts her hands on his shoulders. She looks into his eyes.

"What is it with you , two? But as always you'll say nothing, nothing." As Jack tries to speak she walks over to the bar and sits on the barstool.

"It's my birthday," she tells O'Malley.

When Bob turns from the horse races on he T.V., he notices her long legs and the short skirt. "Hey, happy birthday, Kate, Jack Daniels?"


Filling the glasses O'Malley hands one to Kathleen, "You look great," he tells her.

"Jack doesn't think so. Thanks, at least someone thinks so."

"Hope Jack won't mind," and he leans over the bar and kisses her.

Kathleen looks over her shoulder at Delleto. Jack is playing pool with a woman wearing a black tight halter top. The woman comes over to Jack, stands close, smiles, and Jack smiles back.

The boyfriend stares angrily at Jack.

When Kathleen turns back O'Malley is filling her shot glass.

Jack wins that game, too.

                                                 Chapter 12

"Daddy,"the little girl her hands folded in her lap is looking up at her father. "When will the ride stop? I want to go on."

"Soon, Darling, "her father assures her.

"I don't think it will ever stop."

"The ride always stops, Sweetie." Daddy takes her by the hand, gently squeezes.

When the carousel begins to slow down but has not quite stopped Kathleen steps onto the platform , grabs the brass support pole. The momentum of the machine grabs her with a **** onto the ride, into a white horse with big blue eyes. Dropping her cigarette she takes hold of the pole that goes through the center of the horse. She struggles to put her foot in the stirrup, finds it, and throws her leg over the horse. The carousel music begins to play. With a tremble and a jolt, the ride starts.

Sitting on the pony has made her skirt ride well up her legs. The ticket man is staring at her but she is too drunk to care. She hands him the ticket, gives him the finger.

The ticket man goes over to the little girl and her father who are sitting in a golden chariot pulled by to black horses.

"Ooooh, Daddy, I love this."

"So do I," The father smiles and strokes his daughters hair.

The heat makes the dizziness grow and as the ride picks up speed she sees two of everything. There are two rows of pin ball machines, eight flashing signs, six prize machines. All the red, blue and green lights from the ride blend together like when a car drives at night down a rain soaked street.

Kathleen feels the impulse to *****.

"Can we go on again?" The little girl asks.

"But the ride isn't over, yet."

Kathleen concentrates on the rain soaked street and the dizziness and nausea lessens. She perceives the images as a montage like the elements that make up a painting or a life. She has become accustom to the machine and its movement. The circling ride creates a cooling breeze that becomes a tranquil, flowing waterfall.

The ponies in front are always becoming the ponies in the back and the ponies in back are becoming the ponies in the front. Around and around. All the ponies galloping. Settling back into the saddle she rides the pony into the ever present waterfall.

You can lose all sense of the clock staring into the waterfall of blue, red and green. Kathleen leans forward to embrace the ride for a long as it lasts.

Just as suddenly as it started, the ride starts slowy, the music stops playing.

Coming down off the pony she does not wait for the ride to stop, stumbles off the platform and out the  Casino amusement park door."****, *******," she yells careening into the railing almost falling into Wesley Lake.

She staggers a few steps, sits down on the grass by the curb, hears the carousel music playing and knows the ride is beginning again, and all the her dreams crawls into her like a dying animal from its hidden place.

And it all comes up from her throat taking her breath away. A distant yet familiar wind so she lies down on the grass facing the  street of broken buildings filled with broken people. From the empting lot of scattered thoughts the mockingbird is singing and the images shoot off into a darkening landscape, exploding, illuminating for a brief moment, only to grow dimmer, light and warmth fading into cold and darkness.


"Your girlfriend is flirting with me," Jack Delleto tells the man. "It's my game."

The man stands up, takes a pool stick from the rack, as he comes towards Jack Delleto the man turns the pool stick around holding the heavy part with two hands.

There is an explosion of light inside his head, Delleto sees two spinning lizards playing trumpets, 3 dwarfs with purple hair running to and fro, intuitively he knows he has to get up off the floor, and when he does he catches the bigger man with a left hook, throws the overhand right. The man stumbles back.

His girlfriend in the tight  black halter top is jumping up and down, screaming at, screaming at Jack Delleto to stop, but Jack does not. Stepping forward, a left hook to the midsection, hook to the head, spins right, throws the overhand right.

The man does down.

Jack wins.

                                                  CHAPTE­R 13

"It's too much," and Jack looks up from the two lines of white powder at Bob O'Malley. "I'll never be able to fall asleep and I hate not being able to sleep."

" Here," Bob takes a big white pill from his shirt pocket.

Jack drops the pill into his shirt pocket and says, "No more." He hands the rolled up dollar bill to Bob who bends over the powder.

"Tom sold the house so you're upstairs? O Malley asks, and like a magician the two lines of white powder disappear. Straightening up, he looks at Dell, "I know you 're hurting Dell , I'm sorry, I'm sad about Kate, too."

Jack becomes quiet, walks through the darkened room over to the bar. Leaning over the bar he grabs two shot glasses and a bottle of Wild Turkey, walks back into the poolroom. He puts the shot glasses on top of the pin ball machine. "We have a winner, "the pin ball machine announces. Dell fills the glasses.

"Felix came in the other day, he's taken it hard. Bill Wain knock down four times in the sixth round, lost consciousness in the dressing room, and died at the hospital."

"What's the longest you went without sleep? Jack asks.

"Oooohhh, five, six days, who knows, after awhile you loose all track of the clock."

They take the shots and throw them down.

"I wonder if animals dream," Jack wants to know. "I wonder if dogs dream."

"Sure they do, " O'Malley asures him, nodding his head up and down, "dogs, cats, squirrels, birds."

"Probably not insects."

"Why not? Sure they do, june bugs, fleas, even moths, it's all biochemical, dreams are biochemical, mix the right combination of certain chemicals, electric impulses, and you'll produce love and dreams."


Jack Delleto goes into the room, studies it. The light from the unshaded lamp on the night stand casts a huge shadow of him onto the adjacent wall. Not much to the room, a sink with a mirror above it next to a dresser, a bed against the wall, a wooden chair in front of a narrow window.

The rain pounds the roof.

The apprehension grows. The panic turns into anger. Jack rushes the white wall, meets his shadow, explodes with a left hook. He throws the right uppercut, the over hand right, three left hooks. He punches the wall and his knucles bleed. He punches and kicks the blood stained wall.

At last he is exhausted, collapses into the chair in front of the open window. Fist sized holes in the plaster revel the bones of the building. The room has been punched and kicked without mercy.

The austere room has won.

The yellow note pad, he needs the yellow note pad, finds it, takes the pencil from the binder but no words will come so he writes, "insomnia, the absence of dream." He reaches for the lamp on the night stand, finds it, and turns off the light. Red and blue, blue and red, the neon from the Wagon Wheel Bar sign blinks soft neon into his room. The sign seems to pulsate to the cadence of the rock music coming from the bar.

Taking the big white pill from his shirt pocket, he swallows it, leans back into the chair watching the shadows of rain bleed down the wall. The darkness intensifys. Jack slides into the night.

                                           Chapter 14

The rain turns to snow.

With each step he takes the pain throbs in his arm and shoulder socket. His raw throat aches from the drafts of cold air he is ******* through his gaping mouth and although his legs ache he does not turn to look back. Jack must keep punching holes with his ice axe, probing the snow to avoid a fall into an abyss.

The pole of the ice axe falls effortlessly into the snow, "**** it, another one."

Moonlight coats the glacier in an irridecent glow and the mountain looms over him. It is four in the mourning and Jack knows he needs to be high on the mountain before the  mourning sun softens the snow. He moves carefully, quietly, humbly to avoid a fall into a crevasse. When he reaches the top of the couloir the wind begins to howl.


Jack thinks the song is in his head but the electric guitar notes float down through the huge blocks of ice that litter the glacier and there standing on the arête is Jimi, his long dexterous fingers flying over the guitar strings at 741 mph.

"Wait a minute, " Jack wonders, stopping dead in his tracks. The sun is hitting the distant wind blown peaks. "Ah, what the hell," and Jack jumps in strumming his ice axe like an air guitar, singing, shouting, "LATELY THINGS DON'T SEEM THE SAME, IS THIS A DREAM,  WHATEVER IT IS THAT GIRL PUT A SPELL ON MEEEE, PURRPPLLE HAZZEEE."


Slowly the door moans open.

"Jack, are you awake?" her voice startles him.

"Yeah, I'm awake."

"What's the matter, can't sleep?"

Jack sifts position on the chair. "Oh, I can sleep all right." He recognizes the voice of the shadow. "I want to climb to a high mountain through ice and snow and never be found."

"A heart that's empty hurts, I miss you Jack Delleto."

"I'm glad someone does, I miss you ,too."

There is silence for several minutes and the voice comes out of the darkness again.

"Jack, you forgot something that night."

"What?" The dark shape moves towards him. When it is in front of him, Jack stands, slips his arms around her waist.

"You didn't kiss me goodbye."

Her lips are soft and warm. Her arms tighten around his neck and the warmth of her body comes to him through the cold night.

"Jack, what's the matter?" She raises her head to look at him, "Why, you're crying."

"Yeah, I'm crying."

"Don't cry Darlin," her lips are soft against his ear. "I can't bare to see you unhappy, if you love me, tell me you love me."

"I love you, I do," he whispers softly.

"Hold me, Jack, hold me tighter."

"I'll never let you go." He tries to hug the shadow.


The dread grows into an explosion of consciousness. Suddenly, he sits up ******* in the cold drafts of air coming into the room from the open window. Jack Delleto gets up off the chair and walks over to the sink. He turns on the cold water and bending forward splashes water onto his face. Water dripping, he leans against the sink, staring into the mirror, into his eyes that lately seem alien to him.

                                            Chapter 15

Someone approaches, Jacks turns, looks out the open door, sees Joesph Martin go shuffling by wearing a faded bathrobe and one red slipper. Jack hears Martin 's door slam shut and the for thirty seconds the old man screams, "AAHHH, AAAHHH, AAAHH."
Then the building is silent and Jack listens to his own labored breathing.

A glance at the clock. It is a few minutes to 7 a.m. Jack hurries from his room into the hallway.  They pass each other on the stairs. The big man is coming up the stairs and Jack is going down to see O'Malley.

Jack has committed a trespass.

When the big man reaches the top of the stairs, the red exit light flickers like a votive candle above his head. The man slides the brim of his Giants baseball cap back and forth across his forehead, he turns and looks down, "Hello, Jack, brother. Dad loved you, too, you know." An instant later the sound of a door closing echoes down the hallway steps.

Jack Delleto is standing in the doorway at the bottom of the steps looking out onto the wet, bright street.

"Hey, Jack, man it's good to see you, glad to see you're still alive."

Jack turns, looks over his shoulder, "Felix, how the hell are you."
The two men shake hands, then embrace momentarily.

"Ah, things don't get any better and they don't get any worse," shrugs the old man and then he smiles but his brown eyes are dull and Jack can smell the cheap wine on the breath of the old boxer. "When are comin back? Man, you've got something, Kid, and we're going places."

"Yeah, Felix, I'll be coming back."  Jack extends his hand. The old fighter smiles and they shake hands. Suddenly, Felix takes off down Main Street towards Foodtown as if he has some important place to go.

Jack is curious. He sees the rope when he starts walking towards the Wagon Wheel Bar. One end of the rope is tied around the parking meter pole. The rest of the rope extends across the sidewalk disappearing into the entrance to the bar. The rattling of a chain catches his attention and when the huge white head of the dog pops out of the doorway Jack is  startled. He stops dead in his tracks and as he spins around to run, he slips falling to the wet pavement.

The big, white mutt growls, woofs once and comes charging down the sidewalk at him. The rope is quickly growing shorter, stretches till it meets it end, tightens, and then snaps. Now, unimpeded by the tension of the rope the mutt comes charging down the sidewalk at Delleto. Jack's body grows tense anticipating the attack. He tries to stand up, makes it to his knees just as the dog bowls into him knocking him to the cement. The dog has him pinned down, goes for his face.

And begins licking him.

Jack Delleto struggles to his knees, hugs her tightly to him. Looking over her shoulder, across Main Street to the graffiti painted on the boarded shut Delleto Market...

                               FANTASY WILL SET YOU FREE

                                                 The End

To Tommy, Crazy George and Snake, we all enjoyed a little madness for awhile.

"Conversations With a Dead Dog..."
Mary Elizabeth May 2014
There was paint on your arms when you were spinning 'round and 'round.

Droplets splattered everywhere and colored the ground.

So now when I look around, all I can see is you.

You've touched every area of my life, you've painted me "Ernest" through and through.
Like he's gone but he ain't ever really gone 'cause he touched too much
Nicole Alyse Nov 2013
Ernest, *you  are the embodiment
of every melancholic song,
playing in the rooms of aching souls
with broken hearts.

You are the dark sky
that the sun has abandoned;
the wrinkled and weathered body
that youth forgot.

Despondently, you sit,
in that beige, aged lounge chair--
(which just like you, has seen better days)
rising from the dead,
only to scowl
about the ways in which your body has
failed you.

"Six months to live."
"Six months to live."
"Six months to live."

Six months to live*
but you're already gone
and I
Dawn Bunker Jul 2018
In his new khaki pants
with his white boarding pass,
Ernest looked forward
to flying first class.
From Denver to Vegas
he'd waited so long
if you travel in style,
you cannot go wrong.

Greeted by stewerdesses
flashing sweet smiles,
he awaited the privelage
of saved flyer miles.
Not a cloud in the sky
as the plane took descent
Ernest quite comfortable,
pleased and content.

He chatted away,
with the woman behind him
when something she said,
seemed to remind him
of a love he once had
so young and so sweet!
She was just like eye candy,
indeed.... what a treat!

But Suzanne was not comfortable,
and so scared of flying.
She admitted to Ernest,
she really was trying!
It had taken such courage
to step on this plane,
she was two steps away
from taking the train.

They talked like old friends,
conversation came easy
when suddenly Ernest
began to feel queasy.
The moment had come,
he was living his dream
his trip of all trips,
his wonderful scheme.

He must take his eyes
from this beautiful face.
Remember his plans,
remember his place.
"Excuse me, dear lady, I'm not feeling well,"
he reached in his pocket
and felt for his cell.

He turned one more time
just to look in her eyes
for a moment just wishing,
to prolong the surprise.
In his mind he debated
just calling it quits
as his thumb slowly pushed,
and he blew them to bits.

Incipit prohemium tercii libri.

O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere  
Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!
O sonnes lief, O Ioves doughter dere,
Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire!  
O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;
As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree  
Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.
God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;
And in this world no lyves creature,
With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.

Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade,  
Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,
Comeveden, and amorous him made
On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye
Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;
And in a thousand formes doun him sente  
For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,
And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resigne;  
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;
The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;
Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also;  
Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee
Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,
Whan they can not construe how it may io,
She loveth him, or why he loveth here;
As why this fish, and nought that, comth to were.  

Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,
And this knowe I by hem that loveres be,
That who-so stryveth with yow hath the werse:
Now, lady bright, for thy benignitee,
At reverence of hem that serven thee,  
Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse
Som Ioye of that is felt in thy servyse.

Ye in my naked herte sentement
Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse. --
Caliope, thy vois be now present,  
For now is nede; sestow not my destresse,
How I mot telle anon-right the gladnesse
Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?
To which gladnes, who nede hath, god him bringe!

Explicit prohemium Tercii Libri.

Incipit Liber Tercius.

Lay al this mene whyle Troilus,  
Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,
'Ma fey!' thought he, 'Thus wole I seye and thus;
Thus wole I pleyne unto my lady dere;
That word is good, and this shal be my chere;
This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.'  
God leve him werken as he can devyse!

And, lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,
Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke!
And Pandarus, that ledde hir by the lappe,
Com ner, and gan in at the curtin pyke,  
And seyde, 'God do bote on alle syke!
See, who is here yow comen to visyte;
Lo, here is she that is your deeth to wyte.'

Ther-with it semed as he wepte almost;
'A ha,' quod Troilus so rewfully,  
'Wher me be wo, O mighty god, thow wost!
Who is al there? I se nought trewely.'
'Sire,' quod Criseyde, 'it is Pandare and I.'
'Ye, swete herte? Allas, I may nought ryse
To knele, and do yow honour in som wyse.'  

And dressede him upward, and she right tho
Gan bothe here hondes softe upon him leye,
'O, for the love of god, do ye not so
To me,' quod she, 'Ey! What is this to seye?
Sire, come am I to yow for causes tweye;  
First, yow to thonke, and of your lordshipe eke
Continuance I wolde yow biseke.'

This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne deed,
Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye,  
Al-though men sholde smyten of his heed.
But lord, so he wex sodeinliche reed,
And sire, his lesson, that he wende conne,
To preyen hir, is thurgh his wit y-ronne.

Cryseyde al this aspyede wel y-nough,  
For she was wys, and lovede him never-the-lasse,
Al nere he malapert, or made it tough,
Or was to bold, to singe a fool a masse.
But whan his shame gan somwhat to passe,
His resons, as I may my rymes holde,  
I yow wole telle, as techen bokes olde.

In chaunged vois, right for his verray drede,
Which vois eek quook, and ther-to his manere
Goodly abayst, and now his hewes rede,
Now pale, un-to Criseyde, his lady dere,  
With look doun cast and humble yolden chere,
Lo, the alderfirste word that him asterte
Was, twyes, 'Mercy, mercy, swete herte!'

And stinte a whyl, and whan he mighte out-bringe,
The nexte word was, 'God wot, for I have,  
As feyfully as I have had konninge,
Ben youres, also god so my sowle save;
And shal til that I, woful wight, be grave.
And though I dar ne can un-to yow pleyne,
Y-wis, I suffre nought the lasse peyne.  

'Thus muche as now, O wommanliche wyf,
I may out-bringe, and if this yow displese,
That shal I wreke upon myn owne lyf
Right sone, I trowe, and doon your herte an ese,
If with my deeth your herte I may apese.  
But sin that ye han herd me som-what seye,
Now recche I never how sone that I deye.'

Ther-with his manly sorwe to biholde,
It mighte han maad an herte of stoon to rewe;
And Pandare weep as he to watre wolde,  
And poked ever his nece newe and newe,
And seyde, 'Wo bigon ben hertes trewe!
For love of god, make of this thing an ende,
Or slee us bothe at ones, er that ye wende.'

'I? What?' quod she, 'By god and by my trouthe,  
I noot nought what ye wilne that I seye.'
'I? What?' quod he, 'That ye han on him routhe,
For goddes love, and doth him nought to deye.'
'Now thanne thus,' quod she, 'I wolde him preye
To telle me the fyn of his entente;  
Yet wist I never wel what that he mente.'

'What that I mene, O swete herte dere?'
Quod Troilus, 'O goodly, fresshe free!
That, with the stremes of your eyen clere,
Ye wolde som-tyme freendly on me see,  
And thanne agreen that I may ben he,
With-oute braunche of vyce on any wyse,
In trouthe alwey to doon yow my servyse,

'As to my lady right and chief resort,
With al my wit and al my diligence,  
And I to han, right as yow list, comfort,
Under your yerde, egal to myn offence,
As deeth, if that I breke your defence;
And that ye deigne me so muche honoure,
Me to comaunden ought in any houre.  

'And I to ben your verray humble trewe,
Secret, and in my paynes pacient,
And ever-mo desire freshly newe,
To serven, and been y-lyke ay diligent,
And, with good herte, al holly your talent  
Receyven wel, how sore that me smerte,
Lo, this mene I, myn owene swete herte.'

Quod Pandarus, 'Lo, here an hard request,
And resonable, a lady for to werne!
Now, nece myn, by natal Ioves fest,  
Were I a god, ye sholde sterve as yerne,
That heren wel, this man wol no-thing yerne
But your honour, and seen him almost sterve,
And been so looth to suffren him yow serve.'

With that she gan hir eyen on him caste  
Ful esily, and ful debonairly,
Avysing hir, and hyed not to faste
With never a word, but seyde him softely,
'Myn honour sauf, I wol wel trewely,
And in swich forme as he can now devyse,  
Receyven him fully to my servyse,

'Biseching him, for goddes love, that he
Wolde, in honour of trouthe and gentilesse,
As I wel mene, eek mene wel to me,
And myn honour, with wit and besinesse  
Ay kepe; and if I may don him gladnesse,
From hennes-forth, y-wis, I nil not feyne:
Now beeth al hool; no lenger ye ne pleyne.

'But nathelees, this warne I yow,' quod she,
'A kinges sone al-though ye be, y-wis,  
Ye shal na-more have soverainetee
Of me in love, than right in that cas is;
Ne I nil forbere, if that ye doon a-mis,
To wrathen yow; and whyl that ye me serve,
Cherycen yow right after ye deserve.  

'And shortly, dere herte and al my knight,
Beth glad, and draweth yow to lustinesse,
And I shal trewely, with al my might,
Your bittre tornen al in-to swetenesse.
If I be she that may yow do gladnesse,  
For every wo ye shal recovere a blisse';
And him in armes took, and gan him kisse.

Fil Pandarus on knees, and up his eyen
To hevene threw, and held his hondes hye,
'Immortal god!' quod he, 'That mayst nought dyen,  
Cupide I mene, of this mayst glorifye;
And Venus, thou mayst maken melodye;
With-outen hond, me semeth that in the towne,
For this merveyle, I here ech belle sowne.

'But **! No more as now of this matere,  
For-why this folk wol comen up anoon,
That han the lettre red; lo, I hem here.
But I coniure thee, Criseyde, and oon,
And two, thou Troilus, whan thow mayst goon,
That at myn hous ye been at my warninge,  
For I ful wel shal shape youre cominge;

'And eseth ther your hertes right y-nough;
And lat see which of yow shal bere the belle
To speke of love a-right!' ther-with he lough,
'For ther have ye a layser for to telle.'  
Quod Troilus, 'How longe shal I dwelle
Er this be doon?' Quod he, 'Whan thou mayst ryse,
This thing shal be right as I yow devyse.'

With that Eleyne and also Deiphebus
Tho comen upward, right at the steyres ende;  
And Lord, so than gan grone Troilus,
His brother and his suster for to blende.
Quod Pandarus, 'It tyme is that we wende;
Tak, nece myn, your leve at alle three,
And lat hem speke, and cometh forth with me.'  

She took hir leve at hem ful thriftily,
As she wel coude, and they hir reverence
Un-to the fulle diden hardely,
And speken wonder wel, in hir absence,
Of hir, in preysing of hir excellence,  
Hir governaunce, hir wit; and hir manere
Commendeden, it Ioye was to here.

Now lat hir wende un-to hir owne place,
And torne we to Troilus a-yein,
That gan ful lightly of the lettre passe  
That Deiphebus hadde in the gardin seyn.
And of Eleyne and him he wolde fayn
Delivered been, and seyde that him leste
To slepe, and after tales have reste.

Eleyne him kiste, and took hir leve blyve,  
Deiphebus eek, and hoom wente every wight;
And Pandarus, as faste as he may dryve,
To Troilus tho com, as lyne right;
And on a paillet, al that glade night,
By Troilus he lay, with mery chere,  
To tale; and wel was hem they were y-fere.

Whan every wight was voided but they two,
And alle the dores were faste y-shette,
To telle in short, with-oute wordes mo,
This Pandarus, with-outen any lette,  
Up roos, and on his beddes syde him sette,
And gan to speken in a sobre wyse
To Troilus, as I shal yow devyse:

'Myn alderlevest lord, and brother dere,
God woot, and thou, that it sat me so sore,  
When I thee saw so languisshing to-yere,
For love, of which thy wo wex alwey more;
That I, with al my might and al my lore,
Have ever sithen doon my bisinesse
To bringe thee to Ioye out of distresse,  

'And have it brought to swich plyt as thou wost,
So that, thorugh me, thow stondest now in weye
To fare wel, I seye it for no bost,
And wostow which? For shame it is to seye,
For thee have I bigonne a gamen pleye  
Which that I never doon shal eft for other,
Al-though he were a thousand fold my brother.

'That is to seye, for thee am I bicomen,
Bitwixen game and ernest, swich a mene
As maken wommen un-to men to comen;  
Al sey I nought, thou wost wel what I mene.
For thee have I my nece, of vyces clene,
So fully maad thy gentilesse triste,
That al shal been right as thy-selve liste.

'But god, that al wot, take I to witnesse,  
That never I this for coveityse wroughte,
But only for to abregge that distresse,
For which wel nygh thou deydest, as me thoughte.
But, gode brother, do now as thee oughte,
For goddes love, and kep hir out of blame,  
Sin thou art wys, and save alwey hir name.

'For wel thou wost, the name as yet of here
Among the peple, as who seyth, halwed is;
For that man is unbore, I dar wel swere,
That ever wiste that she dide amis.  
But wo is me, that I, that cause al this,
May thenken that she is my nece dere,
And I hir eem, and trattor eek y-fere!

'And were it wist that I, through myn engyn,
Hadde in my nece y-put this fantasye,  
To do thy lust, and hoolly to be thyn,
Why, al the world up-on it wolde crye,
And seye, that I the worste trecherye
Dide in this cas, that ever was bigonne,
And she for-lost, and thou right nought y-wonne.  

'Wher-fore, er I wol ferther goon a pas,
Yet eft I thee biseche and fully seye,
That privetee go with us in this cas;
That is to seye, that thou us never wreye;
And be nought wrooth, though I thee ofte preye  
To holden secree swich an heigh matere;
For skilful is, thow wost wel, my preyere.

'And thenk what wo ther hath bitid er this,
For makinge of avantes, as men rede;
And what mischaunce in this world yet ther is,  
Fro day to day, right for that wikked dede;
For which these wyse clerkes that ben dede
Han ever yet proverbed to us yonge,
That "Firste vertu is to kepe tonge."

'And, nere it that I wilne as now tabregge  
Diffusioun of speche, I coude almost
A thousand olde stories thee alegge
Of wommen lost, thorugh fals and foles bost;
Proverbes canst thy-self y-nowe, and wost,
Ayeins that vyce, for to been a labbe,  
Al seyde men sooth as often as they gabbe.

'O tonge, allas! So often here-biforn
Hastow made many a lady bright of hewe
Seyd, "Welawey! The day that I was born!"
And many a maydes sorwes for to newe;  
And, for the more part, al is untrewe
That men of yelpe, and it were brought to preve;
Of kinde non avauntour is to leve.

'Avauntour and a lyere, al is on;
As thus: I pose, a womman graunte me  
Hir love, and seyth that other wol she non,
And I am sworn to holden it secree,
And after I go telle it two or three;
Y-wis, I am avauntour at the leste,
And lyere, for I breke my biheste.  

'Now loke thanne, if they be nought to blame,
Swich maner folk; what shal I clepe hem, what,
That hem avaunte of wommen, and by name,
That never yet bihighte hem this ne that,
Ne knewe hem more than myn olde hat?  
No wonder is, so god me sende hele,
Though wommen drede with us men to dele.

'I sey not this for no mistrust of yow,
Ne for no wys man, but for foles nyce,
And for the harm that in the world is now,  
As wel for foly ofte as for malyce;
For wel wot I, in wyse folk, that vyce
No womman drat, if she be wel avysed;
For wyse ben by foles harm chastysed.

'But now to purpos; leve brother dere,  
Have al this thing that I have seyd in minde,
And keep thee clos, and be now of good chere,
For at thy day thou shalt me trewe finde.
I shal thy proces sette in swich a kinde,
And god to-forn, that it shall thee suffyse,  
For it shal been right as thou wolt devyse.

'For wel I woot, thou menest wel, parde;
Therfore I dar this fully undertake.
Thou wost eek what thy lady graunted thee,
And day is set, the chartres up to make.  
Have now good night, I may no lenger wake;
And bid for me, sin thou art now in blisse,
That god me sende deeth or sone lisse.'

Who mighte telle half the Ioye or feste
Which that the sowle of Troilus tho felte,  
Heringe theffect of Pandarus biheste?
His olde wo, that made his herte swelte,
Gan tho for Ioye wasten and to-melte,
And al the richesse of his sykes sore
At ones fledde, he felte of hem no more.  

But right so as these holtes and these hayes,
That han in winter dede been and dreye,
Revesten hem in grene, whan that May is,
Whan every ***** lyketh best to pleye;
Right in that selve wyse, sooth to seye,  
Wax sodeynliche his herte ful of Ioye,
That gladder was ther never man in Troye.

And gan his look on Pandarus up caste
Ful sobrely, and frendly for to see,
And seyde, 'Freend, in Aprille the laste,  
As wel thou wost, if it remembre thee,
How neigh the deeth for wo thou founde me;
And how thou didest al thy bisinesse
To knowe of me the cause of my distresse.

'Thou wost how longe I it for-bar to seye  
To thee, that art the man that I best triste;
And peril was it noon to thee by-wreye,
That wiste I wel; but tel me, if thee liste,
Sith I so looth was that thy-self it wiste,
How dorst I mo tellen of this matere,  
That quake now, and no wight may us here?

'But natheles, by that god I thee swere,
That, as him list, may al this world governe,
And, if I lye, Achilles with his spere
Myn herte cleve, al were my lyf eterne,  
As I am mortal, if I late or yerne
Wolde it b
Stick with me, friend.
I’d like to make a distinction:
I revere writers but do not deify them.
My heroes and role models must be grounded,
Must have so-called feet of clay.
And there’s always something more in my craw,
Whenever I see scribblers carved in marble,
Glorified to the point of divinity and magic.
Because in my heart of hearts,
Reverence for writers,
Is an odyssey of disillusionment and

I fancy myself a man of letters,
Although “Humanoid of Keystrokes,”
Might be more apt; an appellation,
Digitally au courant.
I am a man on verbal fire,
Perhaps, I am of a Lost Generation myself.
And don’t you dare tell me to sit down, to calm down.
You stand up when you tell a story.
Even Hemingway--even when he was sitting down--knew that.
Let us go then you and I.
Moving our moveable feast to Paris,
To France, European Union, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy.
(Stick with me, Babaloo!)
Why not join Papa at a tiny table at Les Deux Magots,
Savoring the portugaises,
Working off the buzz of a good Pouilly-Fuisse
At 10:30 in the morning.
The writing: going fast and well.

Why not join that pompous windbag ******* artist?
As he tries to convince Ava Gardner,
That writers tienen cajones grandes, tambien—
Have big ***** too—just like Bullfighters,
Living their lives all the way up.
That writing requires a torero’s finesse and fearlessness.
That to be a writer is to be a real man.
Papa is self-important at being Ernest,
(**** me: some lines cannot be resisted.)
Ava’s **** is on fire.
She can just make him out,
Can just picture him through her libidinous haze,
Leaping the corrida wall,
Setting her up for photos ops with Luis Miguel Dominguín,
And Antonio Ordóñez, his brother-in-law rival,
During that most dangerous summer of 1959.
Or, her chance to set up a *******,
With Manolete and El Cordobés,
While a really *******,
Completely defeated & destroyed 2,000-pound bull,
Bleeds out on the arena sand.

Although I revere writers,
I refuse to deify them.
A famous writer must be brought down to earth--
Forcibly if necessary--
Chained to a rock in the Caucasus,
Their liver noshed on by an eagle.
In short: the abject humiliation of mortality.
Punished, ridiculed and laughed at.
Laughing himself silly,
******* on one’s self-indulgent, egocentric universe.
If not, what hope do any of us have?

Writing for Ernie may have been a divine gift,
His daily spiritual communion and routine,
A mere sacramental taking of dictation from God,
But for most of us writing is just ******* self-torture.
The Hemingway Hero:
Whatever happened to him on the Italian-Austrian front in 1918
May have been painful but was hardly heroic.
The ******* was an ambulance driver for Christ’s sake.
Distributing chocolate and cigarettes to Italian soldiers,
In the trenches behind the front lines,
A far cry from actual combat.
Besides, he was only on the job for two weeks,
Before he ****** up somehow,
Driving his meat-wagon over a live artillery shell.
That BB-sized shrapnel in his legs,
Turned out to be his million-dollar wound,
A gift that kept on giving,
Putting him in line for a fortunate series of biographic details, to wit:
Time at an Italian convalescent hospital in Milano,
Staffed by ***** English nurses,
Who liked to give the teenage soldiers slurpy BJs,
Delirious ******* in the middle of the night,
Sent to Paris as a Toronto Star reporter,
******* up to that big **** Gertrude Stein,
Sweet-talking Sylvia Beach,
At Shakespeare & Company bookstore,
Hitting her up for small loans,
Manipulating and conning Scott Fitzgerald—
The Hark the Herald Jazz Age Angel—
Exploiting F. Scott’s contacts at Scribners,
To get The Sun Also Rises published.
Fitzgerald acted as his literary agent and advocate,
Even performing some crucial editing on the manuscript.
Hemingway got payback for this friendship years later,
By telling the world in A Moveable Feast,
That Zelda convinced Scott he had a small ****--
Yeah, all of it stems from those bumps & bruises,
Scrapes & scratches he got near Schio,
Along the Piave River on July 8, 1918.
Slap on an Italian Silver Medal of Valor—
An ostentatious decoration of dubious Napoleonic lineage—
40,000 of which were liberally dispensed during WWI—
And Ernie was on his way.

Was there ever a more arrogant, world-class scumbag;
A more graceless-under-pressure,
Sorry excuse of a machismo show-horse?
Look: I think Hemingway was a great writer,
But he was a gigantic gasbag,
A self-indulgent *****,
And a mean-spirited bully—
That bogus facade he put on as this writer/slash/bullfighter,
Kilimanjaro, great white hunter,
Big game Bwana,
Sport fishing, hard drinking,
Swinging-****, womanizing,
*** I-******-Ava-Gardner bragging rights—all of it—
Just made him a bigger, poorer excuse for a human being,
When the chips were finally down,
When the truth finally caught up with him,
In the early morning hours,
Of July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho.
I can’t think of a more pathetic writer’s life than
Hemingway’s last few years.
Sixty electric shock treatments,
And the ******* still killed himself.

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So why am I still mesmerized by,
The whole Hemingway hero thing?
That stoicism, the grace under pressure,
That real men don’t eat quiche,
A la Norman Mailer crap?
I guess I can relate to both Hemingway the Matador,
And Hemingway the Pompous *******,
Not to mention Mailer who stabbed his second of six wives,
And threw his fourth out of a third-floor window.
One thing’s for sure: I’m living life all the way up,
Thanks to a steady supply of medical cannabis,
And some freaky chocolate chip cookies
From the Area 51--Our Products are Out of this World—Bakery
(“In compliance with CA prop 215 SE 420, Section 11362.5,
And 11362.7 of CA H.S.C. Do not drive,
Or operate heavy equipment,
While under the influence.
Keep out of reach of children,
And comedian Aziz Ansari.”)

So getting back to Hemingway,
I return to Cuba to work on my book.
During the day--usually in the early morning hours--
When “the characters drive me up there,”
I climb to my tower room,
Stand up at my typewriter in the upstairs alcove.
I stand up to tell my story because last night,
Everyone got drunk and threw all the ******* furniture in the pool.
By the way, I’m putting together my Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
I can’t decide between:
“I may be defeated but I’ll never be destroyed,” or
“You can destroy me but you’ll never defeat me.”
The kind of artistic doublespeak they love in Sweden.
Maybe: “Night falls and day breaks, but no one gets hurt.”
God help me.
I need to come up with a bunch of real pithy crap soon.
Maybe I’ll just smoke a joint before the speech and,
Start riffing off the cuff about literary good taste:

“In my novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, for example, I had Maria tell Pilar that the earth moved, but left out the parts about Robert Jordan’s ******* and the tube of Astroglide.”

Stockholm’s only a month away,
So I’m under a lot of pressure.
Where’s Princess Grace under Pressure when I need her?
I used to work for the Kansas City Star,
Working with newspaper people who advocated:
Short sentences.
Short paragraphs.
Active verbs.
Those were the only rules I ever learned,
For the business of writing,
But my prose tended to be a bit clipped, to wit:
A simple series,
Of simple declarative sentences,
For simpletons.
I’m told my stuff is real popular with Special-Ed kids,
And those ******* that run
The International Imitation Hemingway Competition,
AKA: The Bad Hemingway Contest.
The truth is: I always wanted to get a bit more flowery,
Especially after I found out I got paid by the word.
That’s when the *** and **** proved mighty useful.
I live at La Finca Vigia:
My house in San Francisco de Paula,
A Havana suburb.
My other place is in town,
Room #511 at the Hotel Ambos Mundos,
Where on a regular basis I _
(Insert simple declarative Anglo-Saxon expletive)
My guantanmera on a regular basis.
But La Finca’s the real party pad.
Fidel and Che and the rest of the Granma (aka “The Minnow”) crew
Come down from the mountains,
To use my shower and refresh themselves,
On an irregular basis.
At night we drink mojitos, daiquiris or,
The *** & coke some people call Cuba Libre.
We drink the *** and plan strategy,
Make plans for taking out Fulgencio Batista,
And his Mafia cronies,
Using the small arms and hand grenades,
We got from Allen Dulles.

Of course, after the Bay of Pigs debacle,
You had to go, Ernesto.
Kennedy had the CIA stage your suicide,
And that was all she wrote.
And all you wrote.
Never having had a chance,
To tell the 1960s Baby Boomers about class warfare in America.
Poor pathetic Papa Hemingway.
Lenin and Stalin may have ruined Marxism,
But Marx was no dummy.
Not in your book.
Or mine.
spysgrandson Apr 2012
will I hear a fly buzz
when I…?
will my hands
be too weak to…?
thunderous pink anvils,
house builders
unholy home wreckers
woeful word weavers
plan writers…
helpless and flaccid
hiding under hospice wool
shame covered by a thin green veil
on my antique grey chest
my heart-beating
my eyes
catching lonely light
missing even the fly
who is now
in another room
another world
buzzing in another’s ear
the hearing a fly buzz is an allusion to Emily Dickinson, and Ernest Becker was the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the monumental work on the human condition, "The Denial of Death"
Natalie Martinez Nov 2013
[Lost Animals]
Cats probably aren’t even lost
Dogs are trying to find the way back to you
And then there’s butterflies and wild geese that can fly
thousands of miles and back every year and just know
The way home  

[Photographs of Abandoned Places]
Empty rooms filled with flotsam and jetsam
once colorful but now faded and dusty
what draws us here?
The emptiness, the mystery of why we would leave
our dwellings and go elsewhere

[“Don't Lost" Sign]
Our faces were cold and it was windy
we smiled and laughed anyway
warm from the dim lights and food we’d left behind
Don’t lost what? Don’t get lost? Don’t lose yourself?
Cryptic commands posed by an unknown painter with bad grammar  

Isn’t it strange that we make a game out of getting lost?
Ariadne Gave Theseus golden thread to solve the Labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur
Cathedrals have them too, so we can meditate and walk through them
But what minotaur lies at the center of our labyrinth?
More importantly, can we defeat it?  

[Cultural Appropriation]
A clinical term for the simple act
of erasure, of losing.
A people, a nation a culture, a shared memory
who are we without these things?
Such power in taking them away and reducing the people to shadows.  

[Photographs of Chernobyl]
An eerie empty city of ghosts
The pictures show that nature will take us all back one day
there are trees in living rooms and schools  
The photos of howling, pain, mutation are a warning that we shouldn’t seek to have
So much power.

[Losing People]
Stoics say that when someone has died you have ‘returned’ them
This sounds better than losing I suppose
because they aren’t lost
they are gone. And they’re never coming back
No matter where or how long we look we won’t find them  

[Guiding Stars]
The palest of light that seeps into our atmosphere
we are under the same stars as everyone else wherever we are on this lonely planet
that ought to give some comfort, when I look up at night that I see the same stars
as you. I want to brush them into the palm of my hand and offer their light
to you so you could maybe see your words are what is painted on the inside of my soul.  

[Feeling at a Loss]
My tongue is tied and I can’t even think of words because I can’t breathe
around this knot in my chest that forms when I think of you and how I lied and why I let
myself lose you and so for a long while my heart cried oceans and I begged it to stop
So I wouldn’t have to think about the words that I didn’t say and the light I lost,
the brightest that came from your heart.    

[At a Loss for Words]
When someone says something you’re not even sure you heard right, you’re stunned
because you can’t even think of a response while the blood rushes to your face and
pounds in your ears like waves on the beach will you sit silent, stoic
not wanting to give away heat you feel just under the skin.  

[Losing My Religion]
How can you lose your beliefs? Unless someone stole them
Or the disgust with hypocrisy built on good intentions breaks in you until you lose sight
of what you believe to be real and all you can do is renounce it.
What happens if you never knew what to believe in the first place?
A crisis of faith is averted? But at what price?

[Lost Clothes]
The left sock, left glove, that ugly winter jacket you had as a kid.
Where do they go? Why do they just disappear? You just never find them. What do you
Do with the extras? What happens to the lost ones? Is there a land for lost socks? Are
they lonely, trying to find their other half?  

[Missing Person Posters]
Can you lose a person? No, surely not. How can let someone fade from you so far away
that they go missing? Maybe they let themselves fade. Pulled away.
Of course, they could be stolen, or forget who they are, but that is almost less disturbing
than thinking of than people running away or being lost by people
who are supposed to care.

[Lost Cause]
Maybe not so much a cause going nowhere as one that people tired of
too much work with no end in sight. So they left and let the tenacious ones
the true believers take over, to finish the ***** work and clean up the mess
is that how this grace thing works? Holding your tongue while someone else chases
glory only to abandon it when it is too difficult and they leave you to see it through?

[Lost My Mind]
My mind is currently wandering through some forested path on a mountain almost
on the way to touching the sky or lying on the bottom of a the clearest blue ocean
looking up through the kelp leaves and shimmering fish. Or between words of a book.
So forgive me, I missed what you were saying. I’m sure it was important. I was just
trying to follow my mind to those places. And be somewhere else.        

[Lost Souls]
The kind of thing you say talking about a girl with empty sad eyes raccooned by liner.
Or a boy who is always angry or in an altered state of consciousness,
so he can face his everyday. It is reminiscent of ghosts, who wander, not sure where to
go, or who to trust so they hold their despair and fear tightly against their chests.    

[Lost Time]
A euphemism for fainting. Or maybe used by historians for a time with no records.
It sounds more mysterious, Where can time go, except forwards? How can there be a
lost part of time? it sounds as though time has a private life, that it won’t share.
Unless asked politely. Which is what we do when we investigate the past isn’t it,
Looking for the lives of others.  

[The Lost Generation]
“Don’t wanna be an American Idiot” said Scott, and Ernest, and Gertrude.
So they sent each other invitations to their chic Parisian salons on creamy white paper
and said ‘darling let’s make it a holiday!’ and had a divine time with the French
so they wrote novels of despair and disdain and the pain of being human.
and drowned the pain in champagne and beautiful women and men.  

[Lost in Translation]
Some words that cannot be translated in English especially
ones that are raw and tender and romantic
ones that are universal feelings with no name that everyone understands
but the meaning is changed to make it something no one understands in English
So something universal becomes something ungraspable to all.   

[Lost and Found]
The one who crawled out the cave
out of the dark into the pure light so they were blind
Gave so much to come back for the others out of love?
Or a sense of duty? Or maybe they were just returning, as we all do
as we all will do someday.
M Sep 2014
what does it take to ruin someone and for them to ruin you?
I can look in your eyes and see what is true, I can
break into your motives and see why you do it, I can
take a flame to the glacier and melt your ice down, but
in my ears beating my burning heart sounds like a thunderous
cry, etching your name on my soul, when you leave there can be nothing,
I can never be whole, my mind is a solver, I crawl into blank spaces
and find underneath them the hidden, dark mazes- without the problem
there can be no solution, only when you are there can I have absolution-
you are a lock to my key that will melt- constantly forming-
into something I've lost. Every day has a morning- but the night destroys
day and the dark is afraid- I am only for you, now, forever and always
(at least til the next, when I fall in the hallways)
my heart is not open, it is a strong focused beam-
to bring light to your days, and bring hope to your dreams.
i dislike exact rhyme... this one's bad
O trees of life, oh, what when winter comes?
We are not of one mind. Are not like birds
in unison migrating. And overtaken,
overdue, we ****** ourselves into the wind
and fall to earth into indifferent ponds.
Blossoming and withering we comprehend as one.
And somewhere lions roam, quite unaware,
in their magnificence, of any weaknesss.

But we, while wholly concentrating on one thing,
already feel the pressure of another.
Hatred is our first response. And lovers,
are they not forever invading one another's
boundaries? -although they promised space,
hunting and homeland. Then, for a sketch
drawn at a moment's impulse, a ground of contrast
is prepared, painfully, so that we may see.
For they are most exact with us. We do not know
the contours of our feelings. We only know
what shapes them from the outside.

Who has not sat, afraid, before his own heart's
curtain? It lifted and displayed the scenery
of departure. Easy to understand. The well-known
garden swaying just a little. Then came the dancer.
Not he! Enough! However lightly he pretends to move:
he is just disguised, costumed, an ordinary man
who enters through the kitchen when coming home.
I will not have these half-filled human masks;
better the puppet. It at least is full.
I will endure this well-stuffed doll, the wire,
the face that is nothing but appearance. Here out front
I wait. Even if the lights go down and I am told:
"There's nothing more to come," -even if
the grayish drafts of emptiness come drifting down
from the deserted stage -even if not one
of my now silent forebears sist beside me
any longer, not a woman, not even a boy-
he with the brown and squinting eyes-:
I'll still remain. For one can always watch.

Am I not right? You, to whom life would taste
so bitter, Father, after you - for my sake -
slipped of mine, that first muddy infusion
of my necessity. You kept on tasting, Father,
as I kept on growing, troubled by the aftertaste
of my so strange a future as you kept searching
my unfocused gaze -you who, so often since
you died, have been afraid for my well-being,
within my deepest hope, relinquishing that calmness,
the realms of equanimity such as the dead possess
for my so small fate -Am I not right?

And you, my parents, am I not right? You who loved me
for that small beginning of my love for you
from which I always shyly turned away, because
the distance in your features grew, changed,
even while I loved it, into cosmic space
where you no longer were...: and when I feel
inclined to wait before the puppet stage, no,
rather to stare at is so intensely that in the end
to counter-balance my searching gaze, an angel
has to come as an actor, and begin manipulating
the lifeless bodies of the puppets to perform.
Angel and puppet! Now at last there is a play!
Then what we seperate can come together by our
very presence. And only then the entire cycle
of our own life-seasons is revealed and set in motion.
Above, beyond us, the angel plays. Look:
must not the dying notice how unreal, how full
of pretense is all that we accomplish here, where
nothing is to be itself. O hours of childhood,
when behind each shape more that the past lay hidden,
when that which lay before us was not the future.

We grew, of course, and sometimes were impatient
in growing up, half for the sake of pleasing those
with nothing left but their own grown-upness.
Yet, when alone, we entertained ourselves
with what alone endures, we would stand there
in the infinite space that spans the world and toys,
upon a place, which from the first beginnniing
had been prepared to serve a pure event.

Who shows a child just as it stands? Who places him
within his constellation, with the measuring-rod
of distance in his hand. Who makes his death
from gray bread that grows hard, -or leaves
it there inside his rounded mouth, jagged as the core
of a sweet apple?.......The minds of murderers
are easily comprehended. But this: to contain death,
the whole of death, even before life has begun,
to hold it all so gently within oneself,
and not be angry: that is indescribable.

Translated by Albert Ernest Flemming
Kam Yuks Jan 2013
Sometimes, I want to write so bad - but all I see is evidence to deter this disaster...

Stay on the couch bud. Let those thoughts run around your head, you need to exercise anyways. Your badge is so shiny, like a gleaming night sky clustered by stars and reflected on and off a still pond in isolated beauty.

Polish that which you hold so dear to your heart and take it in because the private hours and emptiness are not too far away on any day.

For clarity, it is issued to those who are [no good] less then, devoid of purpose, defunct of satisfaction.  These individuals often debate the mystery, are self blasphemous, and forgettable.  

Many are identified by narcissistic behavior, self-deprecation, self-perpetuated enslavement to ignorance, and lack of gratitude. Sad isolated entities who surpass other earthly levels of achievement by those who are merely existentially anxious and victim to the propagated melee of marketing, *****, and celebrity.

I have cautioned others in the past to stay away from the badged ones. They feel so low and hopeless that he or she finds identity in what has been most consistent. Pain and misery are worn as a badge of honor. Here the fragile psyche finds something to grab onto for survival and self-preservation.

Read and find the answers that explain how changing the way you think about your situation can create a new reality aside from what you know of the emptiness that cannot be filled and the haunting thoughts that keep you awake at night.

Choose your reality, I truly believe. I have been exceptionally effective at creating my reality, it just isn't the reality I want.

How do I fight what I continuously experience. This may be considered delusional or even psychotic to some extent. You choose the difference between a positive and negative experience.

If the subject of that difference is for me to decide - well nothing that I can do is any different than the rest; I'm confident that others can provide the same experience in a healthier and more honest way.

You see I am literally disgusted by my view of this world; the dry plywood planks for doors, the corner of the concrete path where the leaves and dried up dead grass settles to become a dark black soggy paste with pine needles added after it rains, bad breath, and toenail fungus, hair collected in a brush, the warm toilet seat that was used recently, and the sweat under my fat gut fold set me to retching.
Steve Page Nov 2018
This isn't about front lines and deep mud,
it's not about sacrifice and bands of brotherhood.

It's not calling for silence or for national pride,
it's not about cenotaphs and those left behind.

No, this a thank you to one Ernest Page,
Gunner Sergeant, Royal Field Artillery, 182nd Brigade.

Thank you for ducking, thank you for dodging,
thank you for lasting, thank you for living.

Thanks for returning back home to Brockley.
Thanks for asking Gran and building a family.

Thank you for dad and for little Aunt Betty,
for Pam and for Pete and for cousins aplenty.

Thanks for Rose Cottage, for trips round the lake,
thanks for loud laughter and sleepy eyed late

mugs of hot chocolate and medeira cake slabs.
Thanks for my sisters, thanks again for my dad.

Thank you for surviving, and all that implies.
I owe you it all, I owe you this life.
I have my grandad's WW1 French English 'conversation book'. I have his stirrups too. He died when i was in my teens. I remember his cigars and his smile.
Lucanna Aug 2012
could I be your hadley richardson?
your delicious pear
you cut into
owning green flesh
cat, soak in my sweet nectar

could I be your bumby?
your Ezra Pound
bashing of heads
against the lead of pencil
Draft..still working on it
RhettlvScarlett Oct 2018
A repost:
A Roman poem written before The birth of Christ, inspired the title Gone With The wind
with Scarlett and Rhett Butler

But here you see only old
confessions of a man's true love for his beloved who is all gone
(Or a woman's true love for
her beloved runner wishing she could have chased.)
Last night yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! Thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
  Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
  When I awoke and found the dawn was grey:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
  Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! The night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
  Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

By:Ernest Dowson
to honor Karijinbba
in her great loss and healing
of her memory chip.
Copy Rights.
Ernest Dowson (1867-1900) died of alcoholism at the age of 32. His downward spiral began at age 23 when he fell for an 11 year old girl who would spurn him at 14 when he proposed marriage.
The following year, in 1894 his father died from an overdose. Dowson's mother
hanged herself within a year of her husband's death.

Soon after this dual tragedy Dowson left for France before returning back to England in 1897. Curiously he lived with the family of his unrequited love. Penniless, heartbroken and filling the empty voids in his life with alcohol, Dowson would spend the last six weeks of his life in the cottage of the Oscar Wilde biographer Robert Sherard who had found him
drunk in a bar.

Speaking of Oscar Wilde, he wrote after Dowson's death of a,"Poor wounded wonderful fellow that he was, a tragic reproduction of all tragic poetry, like a symbol, or a scene.

I hope bay leaves will be laid on his tomb and rue and myrtle too for he knew what true love
unrequieted love was."
Rhett Buttler might have married other women but he never stopped loving Scarlett his true twin soul.
Mateuš Conrad Mar 2016
i only started collecting a library, because, would you believe it, my local library was a pauper in rags and tatters; apologies for omitting necessary diacritic marks, the whiskey was ******* on icecubes to a shrivel.*

ernest hemingway, e.m. forster, mary shelley,
aesop, r. l. stevenson, jean-paul sartre,
jack kerouac, sylvia plath, evelyn waugh,
chekhov, cortazar, freud, virginia woolf,
philip k. ****, dostoyevsky, aleksandr solzhenitsyn,
oscar wilde, malcolm x, kafka, nabokov,
bukowski, sacher-masoch, thomas a kempis,
yevgeny zamyatin, alexandre dumas,
will self, j. r. r. tolkien, richard b. bentall,
james joyce, william burroughs, truman capote,
herman hesse, thomas mann, j. d. salinger,
nikos kazantzakis, george orwell,
philip roth, joseph roth, bulgakov, huxley,
marquis de sade, john milton, samuel beckett,
huysmans, michel de montaigne, walter benjamin,
sienkiewicz, rilke, lipton, harold norse,
alfred jarry, miguel de cervantes, von krafft-ebing,
kierkegaard, julian jaynes, bynum porter & shephred,
r. d. laing, c. g. jung, spinoza, hegel, kant, artistotle,
plato, josephus, korner, la rochefoucauld, stendhal,
nietzsche, bertrand russell, irwin edman,
faucault, anwicenna, descartes, voltaire, rousseau,
popper,  heidegger, tatarkiewicz, kolakowski,
seneca, cycero, milan kundera, g. j. warnock,
stefan zweig, the pre-socratics, julian tuwim,
ezra pound, gregory corso, ted hughes,
guiseppe gioacchino belli, dante, peshwari women,
e. e. cummings, ginsberg, will alexander, max jacob,
schwob, william blake, comte de lautreamont,
jack spicer, zbigniew herbert, frank o'hara,
richard brautigan, miroslav holub, al purdy,
tzara, ted berrigan, fady joudah, nikolai leskov,
anna kavan, jean genet, albert camus, gunter grass,
susan hill, katherine dunn, gil scott-heron,
kleist, irvine welsh, clarice lispector, hunter thompson,
machado de assisi, reymont, tolstoy, jim bradbury,
norman davies, shakespeare, balzac, dickens,
jasienica, mary fulbrook, stuart t. miller,
walter la feber, jan wimmer, terry jones & alan ereira,
kenneth clark, edward robinson, heinrich harrer,
gombrowicz, a. krawczuk, andrzej stasiuk, ivan bunin,
joseph heller, goethe, mcmurry, atkins & de paula,
bernard shaw, horace, ovid, virgil, aeschyles,
rumi, omar khayyam, humbert wolfe, e. h. bickersteth,
asnyk, witkacy, mickiewicz, slowacki, lesmian,
lechon, lep szarzynski, victor alexandrov, gogol,
william styron, krasznahorkai, robert graves,
defoe, tim burton, antoine de saint-exupery,
christiane f., salman rushdie, hazlitt, marcus aurelius,
nick hornby, emily bronte, walt whitman,
aryeh kaplan, rolf g. renner, j. p. hodin, tim hilton... etc.
Poemasabi Jun 2013
In a sunny spot resides a new bench.
It would be a perfect place to sit among the flowers
with children sitting at your feet
teaching them all that you know
about animals
about the great outdoors
from a time when they were experienced in person
not on the Discovery Channel
not on TV

You could read a book to them there too
like Wild Animals I Have Known
by Ernest Thompson Seaton
the naturalist.

You could sit quietly in the sunshine
and nurse an unfortunate animal back to health
like a Gecko
or turtle
or opossum

You could just sit
your Dunkin Doughnuts iced coffee in your hand
and take it all in
or let it all out
your choice.

But you never will do any of these things
on this bench in the sunny spot
among the plants
and flowers
and smooth river rocks painted in your honor
by the children to whom you are missed
because the bench is dedicated
with your name on it
in memory of you.
Firefly Sep 2014
“Discipline allows magic. To be a writer is to be the very best of assassins. You do not sit down and write every day to force the Muse to show up. You get into the habit of writing every day so that when she shows up, you have the maximum chance of catching her, bashing her on the head, and squeezing every last drop out of that *****.”
― Lili St. Crow

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou

“Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.” — Neil Gaiman

“Meggie Folchart: Having writer's block? Maybe I can help.
Fenoglio: Oh yes, that's right. You want to be a writer, don't you?
Meggie Folchart: You say that as if it's a bad thing.
Fenoglio: Oh no, it's just a lonely thing. Sometimes the world you create on the page seems more friendly and alive than the world you actually live in.”
― David Lindsay-Abaire

“Now, what I’m thinking of is, people always saying “Well, what do we do about a sudden blockage in your writing? What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it?” Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, don’t you? In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: “No, that’s it.” Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a **** for.” You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: ‘Am I being joyful?’ And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.” — Ray Bradbury at The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, 2001

“writing about a writer's block is better than not writing at all”
― Charles Bukowski, The Last Night of the Earth Poems

Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
"Fool!" said my muse to me, "look in thy heart, and write.”
― Philip Sidney, Astrophel and Stella

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat.’ And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’” — Maya Angelou

“Suggestions? Put it aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.” — Neil Gaiman

“I encourage my students at times like these to get one page of anything written, three hundred words of memories or dreams or stream of consciousness on how much they hate writing — just for the hell of it, just to keep their fingers from becoming too arthritic, just because they have made a commitment to try to write three hundred words every day. Then, on bad days and weeks, let things go at that… Your unconscious can’t work when you are breathing down its neck. You’ll sit there going, ‘Are you done in there yet, are you done in there yet?’ But it is trying to tell you nicely, ‘Shut up and go away.'” — Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

“Now, what I’m thinking of is, people always saying “Well, what do we do about a sudden blockage in your writing? What if you have a blockage and you don’t know what to do about it?” Well, it’s obvious you’re doing the wrong thing, don’t you? In the middle of writing something you go blank and your mind says: “No, that’s it.” Ok. You’re being warned, aren’t you? Your subconscious is saying “I don’t like you anymore. You’re writing about things I don’t give a **** for.” You’re being political, or you’re being socially aware. You’re writing things that will benefit the world. To hell with that! I don’t write things to benefit the world. If it happens that they do, swell. I didn’t set out to do that. I set out to have a hell of a lot of fun.

I’ve never worked a day in my life. I’ve never worked a day in my life. The joy of writing has propelled me from day to day and year to year. I want you to envy me, my joy. Get out of here tonight and say: ‘Am I being joyful?’ And if you’ve got a writer’s block, you can cure it this evening by stopping whatever you’re writing and doing something else. You picked the wrong subject.” — Ray Bradbury at The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea, 2001

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day … you will never be stuck. Always stop while you are going good and don’t think about it or worry about it until you start to write the next day. That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will **** it and your brain will be tired before you start.” — Ernest Hemingway

“Many years ago, I met John Steinbeck at a party in Sag Harbor, and told him that I had writer’s block. And he said something which I’ve always remembered, and which works. He said, “Pretend that you’re writing not to your editor or to an audience or to a readership, but to someone close, like your sister, or your mother, or someone that you like.” And at the time I was enamored of Jean Seberg, the actress, and I had to write an article about taking Marianne Moore to a baseball game, and I started it off, “Dear Jean . . . ,” and wrote this piece with some ease, I must say. And to my astonishment that’s the way it appeared in Harper’s Magazine. “Dear Jean . . .” Which surprised her, I think, and me, and very likely Marianne Moore.” — John Steinbeck by way of George Plimpton

“Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.” — Norman Mailer in The Spooky Art: Some Thoughts on Writing

“[When] the thoughts rise heavily and pass gummous through my pen… I never stand conferring with pen and ink one moment; for if a pinch of ***** or a stride or two across the room will not do the business for me — … I take a razor at once; and have tried the edge of it upon the palm of my hand, without further ceremony, except that of first lathering my beard, I shave it off, taking care that if I do leave hair, that it not be a grey one: this done, I change my shirt — put on a better coat — send for my last wig — put my topaz ring upon my finger; and in a word, dress myself from one end to the other of me, after my best fashion.” — Laurence Sterne

“I learned to produce whether I wanted to or not. It would be easy to say oh, I have writer’s block, oh, I have to wait for my muse. I don’t. Chain that muse to your desk and get the job done.” — Barbara Kingsolver

“Writer’s block…a lot of howling nonsense would be avoided if, in every sentence containing the word WRITER, that word was taken out and the word PLUMBER substituted; and the result examined for the sense it makes. Do plumbers get plumber’s block? What would you think of a plumber who used that as an excuse not to do any work that day?

The fact is that writing is hard work, and sometimes you don’t want to do it, and you can’t think of what to write next, and you’re fed up with the whole **** business. Do you think plumbers don’t feel like that about their work from time to time? Of course there will be days when the stuff is not flowing freely. What you do then is MAKE IT UP. I like the reply of the composer Shostakovich to a student who complained that he couldn’t find a theme for his second movement. “Never mind the theme! Just write the movement!” he said.

Writer’s block is a condition that affects amateurs and people who aren’t serious about writing. So is the opposite, namely inspiration, which amateurs are also very fond of. Putting it another way: a professional writer is someone who writes just as well when they’re not inspired as when they are.” — Philip Pullman
Really stop waiting for your muse. These quotes came from various sources,thus including:Books Taking Up Space In The Bookshelf,Journals, and of course The Internet.
Days gone without writing: 9
Poemasabi Jul 2013
I think of mom often.
Like when I read anything by Jack London
or Ernest Thompson Seton.

Her memory swirls around me when I see a dead opossum by the roadside
it reminds me of the one we had as kids.
Yes, we had an opossum.
It wasn't a pet as much as it was a wounded soldier,
convalescing in a field hospital close to the front and cared for by Florence Nightingale,
except the field hospital was our carport under a suspended Old Towne wood canoe,
the battle, with a Ford or Chevrolet, on the main road near our house in Connecticut.
Florence was Mom.

She peeks at me around corners in the kitchen when I make fish,
or soup,
because I hated fish as a child.
She made us eat it because it was healthy and the blocks of frozen Turbot were cheap
and she was a single mom at forty two with three hungry mouths to feed.
She tried to make me think it was exotic because it came from Iceland.
I thought Turbot was Icelandic for "more bones in your mouth than you ever thought possible".
Mom was, however, an accomplished homemade souper.

She's by my side as I explain wild things
to other little wild things which hang on my every word.
Words put into my head which make it seem,
to the under four foot set,
that I know everything.
Knowledge put there by her in our yard,
by the lakes of New York, the mountains of West Virginia or deserts of California.
She is in every frog that jumps, whippoorwill that calls or each stalk of Jewel ****,
which is a cure for poison ivy by the way,
that grows near a stream in the woods.

But then today
as my daughter opened the overhead sunglass holder in her car for the first time,
the Subaru she inherited from Mom over a year ago,
and Grandma's sunglasses fell out,
there were no thoughts of lessons learned
or knowledge imparted.
I just thought of her.
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
the best metaphor ever:
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;

—William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7[1]
for Ernest L. Gonzales,
an overdue uncommissioned tribute

mined the meta data,
mined the meta world,
for the meta~for,
the truth serum ether
that gives me a breather,
turns out Willie's
spot on, the boy's dotty

no longer my eyes see
your eye test chart lettered reality,
tears of alpha~poetry all I got,
cloudy visionary
with wordy meatballs reigning,
charting a schooner's course,
on a Texas-sized ocean of poetic reality

police took away my licenses.

illegal for me have both,
they, city~proclamation proclaimed,
driving and poetry~striving simultaneously,
dangerous for life and limb,
claiming I drove like
I was in a poetry slam video game,
had to explain I was trapped
in the world of poetic-reality

where the alpha~words
afloating in the atmosphere,
imagery balloons preventing
crystalline vision,
so one or the other,
this world of mine,
the world of poetic reality,
is my baggage carried
and a foot in both
worlds  be word dangerous for global health

ticketed for doing 85+
in the left poetry fast lane,
judge disallowed my only excuse,
mentally composing multiple haikus,
and needed my fingers and toes to do
syllable counting

now you know why
I write poetry on the bus

no, the kid kids you not,
the only arrest on record for
poetry-composing intoxication
under the influence,
while operating an
auto~mobile ma~chine

Went to the bodega
for some late night vanilla swirl,
the immigrant behind the counter,
at 2:00 am, gave me my change
in tales from Bangladesh

late for work,
took me a fat taxi,
the driver, a city life comber~climber,
asked credit or cash,
and I said kind sir,
you do me great credit,
if a poem in Urdu
you would recite in lieu of payment

now you know why
I write poetry on the bus

So, my dear Ernest,
life is our poetic reality,
you are the best ever metaphor,
the one poets keep stealing from
each other,
at the intersection
of our eyes crossing

in fact,
ole Willie stole the world's most famous
metaphor's inspiration above,
when me and he,
once pub crawling,
we disagreed if a certain door
was the pub entrance or the exit,
and the next day
in a burst of
Poetic Reality,
he composed-stoked stole them words,
in a hangover haze

*so the poet point be this:
we may live in and of this world gritty,
but the only show
we ever know'd
was turning life
into the poetic one
Read the poetry of

A man who turned life's grit
into the best poems ever.
Jude kyrie Mar 2016
Father’s advice to son
(Sorry Mr. Hemingway)

Never trust a lawyer
Or a money lender too
Read fine print in every contract
Never buy it used but only new
Don’t sign up for the army
Only marry one good wife
Never write on Facebook
It will come back and ruin your life
Always despise the latest war
Only seek out  sweet girls with a smile.
Never buy or rent a *****
Never trust a gambler
He will steal your very last cent
Your landlord will evict you
Cos you can’t the rent.
So lead a good and wholesome life
And outlive all and every friend
See them all in the great beyond
When you’re prosperous old life will end.
Based on Ernest Hemingway poem
Advice to a son

— The End —