Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
by God, I don't know what to
do.
they're so nice to have around.
they have a way of playing with
the *****
and looking at the **** very
seriously
turning it
tweeking it
examining each part
as their long hair falls on
your belly.
it's not the ******* and *******
alone that reaches into a man
and softens him, it's the extras,
it's all the extras.
now it's raining tonight
and there's nobody
they are elsewhere
examining things
in new bedrooms
in new moods
or maybe in old
bedrooms.
anyhow, it's raining tonight,
on hell of a dashing, pouring
rain....
very little to do.
I've read the newspaper
paid the gas bill
the electric co.
the phone bill.
it keeps raining.
they soften a man
and then let him swim
in his own juice.
I need an old-fashioned *****
at the door tonight
closing her green umbrella,
drops her green umbrella,
drops of moonlit rain on her
purse, saying "****, man,
can't you get better music
than that on your radio?
and turn up the heat..."
it's always when a man's swollen
with love and everything
else
that keeps raining
splattering
flooding
rain
good for the trees and the
grass and the air...
good for things that
live alone.
I would give anything
for a female's hand on me
tonight.
they soften a man and
then leave him
listening to the rain.
Kate Apr 2014
When i was 13 I thought that gay and straight were things that other people were
People that weren't raised christian
People that didn't have dads
People that were abused
People that i should pray for but not get close to

when i was 14 my best friend came out as gay
i didn't see it coming but i probably should have
she wore ties every day
and plaid shirts with the sleeves rolled up
and cut her hair short as soon as she could
but i didn’t see it because gay was other people

when i was 14 i watched as the news spread like wildfire
“did you hear? that girl is gay.”
I watched as people slowly backed away from her
people that knew her all her life
that is, the people that didn’t cut her off instantly

I watched as the youth group we had both attended asked her to leave
I watched as her drama group kicked her out because they were afraid of the yearly camp we went to
that somehow knowing that she was gay made her more likely to attack the other girls in their beds than the year before

I watched.
I didn’t do anything.

what changed my mind wasn’t a change of perspective on queer people
it still took me a year to decide being gay wasn’t wrong
but i decided that my best friend was someone i would stick with
because i loved her

I quietly stayed.
didn’t make a fuss, didn’t call people out when they called her names behind her back.
I should have.
but i didn’t.
I didn’t join in, but i didn’t defend her
i didn’t say to these people
*******
that girl is beautiful and amazing
and if you can’t see through your hatred then i don’t want to be your friend either
but i didn’t .
I didn’t go through what she did.
I didn’t get kicked out of anything, i didn’t lose friends

When i was 15, i got fed up
I left that drama group.
I stopped going to that church.
I stepped away from those friends and even though i never said why
the look on my face when i ran into them and they asked, “how’s she doing?”
answered that question for them.

I spent 24 hours examining my bible
trying to find the verses that say being gay is wrong
there were barely any
and they were right next to verses that said eating pork was wrong
or planting crops next to each other
or wearing two different fabrics

there was my answer.

this isn't a story of my journey.
This isn't me building myself up
“hey, I wasn't as bad as those other people
I’m good now”

this is a story of how one person can change your life forever

if i didn't have a gay best friend
what a way to start a story, huh?
if i didn't have a gay best friend then I would still be there
quietly praying for the sins of others, but not trying to understand
so don’t look at all Christians and say
they’re awful
they’re bigoted
they’re judgmental
because we are
but often it’s because we don’t know any better
teaching us kindly works
leading by example.
So, this is the first poem I've ever actually finished. I had a emotional night, and wrote three things at about 2AM, so this is the first one.
Swells Jul 2018
the bones were hard to give up,
they pushed out like daisies
caressed under the hounding
heart of a copper sun.
unbridled and undried they bore
zealous arrogance of themselves,
petals dripping ****** convictions
and vibrating like awful angels.

under cruel devices they tried to
soften my bones and mold thick skull
constructed of lackluster candles
on their last flame.
days passed like doctors and white nurses
examining old wires that pray tell
the routines, the stools, the teeth.
i am their Jesus, their Lazarus.

my hearse, my sheep keeper,
my pretty things,
i become the acrobat at the
finale, the last supper,
supplementing at the **** of my
recovery. i lay my skin down for all
of you to see:  here is my breast!
my toad belly!  my glass feet!
*** trafficking – the trafficking and debasement of souls; Drug trafficking – the trafficking of substances that debase the body.  Here compared you will find the prevalence, impact, and rehabilitation processes associated with *** and shrug trafficking.  Respective clientele, demographics, and locales that these types of trafficking touch will be revealed in order enlighten you to their world-wide prevalence. The physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological impact of lifestyles that result from these two types of trafficking will be detailed to etch vividly an image of just how far-reaching the impact of these two activities is. Light will be shed upon the rehab processes that lead to recovery from each.
                 According to UnoDC.org, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the use of illicit drugs has remained in a stable trend, with approximately the same number of people using illicit drugs each year. This trend has continued for a number of years. Upon examining the world drug report, written by UnoDC.org, production of several drugs exhibit particularly interesting trends. ***** production for example fell and spiked in a somewhat predictable patter from 1990 until 2010. When this data is graphed a reasonable medium appears for all the years, revealing that ***** production has stayed around an average production of roughly 200,000 hectares annually. Likewise, coca cultivation pictures an interesting trend. From 1990 to 2010 coca production appeared to be almost identical each year, and with little to no rise or fall in production, there is a similar trend in its being trafficked.  
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls is a documentary that was released in 2012 by Exodus Cry Its producers and researchers saw firsthand the atrocities of the *** trafficking industry. The film crew interviewed former pimps and prostitutes, spoke to traffickers, the families of the trafficked and to individuals still actively engaged in three sides of the *** trade referring to currently employed pimps and prostitutes as well as those who purchased ***. The researchers and producers interviewed eastern European gang members and took a trip to Amsterdam’s red-light district – home of legal prostitution. They journeyed to Los Angeles and saw the glamorized side of the dark issue of *** trade.
According to Nefarious, the number of humans trafficked for the purpose of providing ****** services is on a shockingly steep rise. In a matter of a few years, *** trafficking rose from the third largest criminal enterprise to the second. It is second only to drug trafficking and is vying for the position as top criminal enterprise in the world. It is encroaching upon that position far more speedily than any authority or decent human being would care to acknowledge.  A survey taken in 2010 by DART (the drug awareness resistance training program) revealed that 21.8 million people aged 12 and older had taken an illicit drug in the previous month. In 2010 it was estimated that between 153 and 300 million people had used an illicit drug at least once in the previous year. These statistics fail to take into account the impact that this usage has on the lives of the families of drug users. Neither do these statistics reveal the extent to which drug users lifestyles are impacted by drugs. However, nearly  every single human trafficked for ****** purposes is completely and utterly enveloped in the lifestyle of prostitution and the violent world of being prostituted. In Nefarious a shocking statistic is revealed. Approximately ten percent of the entire human population of earth has been trafficked. Both human and drug trafficking are prevalent across the globe. Human trafficking occurs in 161 of 192 countries. Illicit drugs are trafficked in every country that has laws that deem substances unlawful. There are little to no race, religion, ethnicity, or age restrictions on who can and is trafficked for use of ***, but drugs are far more limited by age and ethnicity in their use.
Drug trafficking, though similar to *** trafficking in many ways, is in no way as substantial a damaging force to the mind, soul, and spirit as the world of *** trafficking  is in terms of the critical and dangerous force it exhibits in the emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual  impact it has on young girls. Both drugs and *** trafficking have some influence in all of these respective areas. The primary area in which people are affected by drug use is the physical. Drug users’ health declines, they become physically or psychologically dependent, and they may develop diseases from sharing of needles or lack of inhibitions that lead to *** with an infected individual. Drugs may, in some rare cases, lead to psychoses and mental disorders. They may cause brain damage, which is both physically and mentally damaging. Drugs may even set one’s heart and soul in a place that they are more susceptible to lies or truth. They alter spiritual state for some individuals, but only mildly. However, *** trafficking victims are impacted majorly and in their entirety as a person. In all aspects of the physical, mental, and spiritual, *** trafficking victims are consumed by *** trafficking. In Nefarious it is revealed that In order to “break” *** trafficking victims they are profusely beaten, and are psychologically toyed with to create a twisted trust and dependence on their various handlers. They are repeatedly *****, and are examined like cattle by those who wish to buy women. They are imprisoned in dark rooms and not allowed to leave unless told to do so. They are bedridden and forced to ******* themselves. After being broken in ways described above and sold to a ****, girls are forced every day to meet certain quotas of customers and cash flow. If they do not meet these they are beaten even more. They lay in bed sometimes a week at a time to recover physically enough to usefully return to their “job”.  Through this hellish ordeal, their soul, self-worth and identity are being attacked by circumstances that devalue them. They become like animals.
*** trafficking victims become dependent on their environment for normalcy. This is so true for some individuals that even though they have been rescued from the lifestyle, they return.  This is not because the *** trafficking victims enjoys the lifestyle of prostitution, and it is not because they want to. Instead, it is because they think they can be nothing more than a *******. The *** trafficking victim, in this case, believes that they need to settle into the numb and thoughtless mind state that they develop when broken. Returning to prostitution does not evidence an addiction. In contrast, it is the cry of a soul that is desperately trying to cope. They do this in order to feel as if they can survive.  
The rehab processes for *** and drug trafficking differ greatly in commitment and length, but are similar in that they both require physical and psychological rehabilitation.  Drug rehabilitation programs typically consist of twelve-step programs or something similar. They last a number of months, or occasionally a few years. They allow individuals counsel and encouragement, and they attempt to, by abstinence, exorcise an addicted individual’s addiction. *** trafficking rehabilitation requires the re-creation of an individual. Self-worth must be reconstructed. The spirit must be healed in order to allow for psychological healing. Prostitutes are not addicted to prostitution, but prostitution produces dependence in that the prostituted crave normalcy. This dependence must be killed. Successfully rehabilitating women from this forced lifestyle requires lifelong commitment and endless resources. It requires passionate fanatics, people who will pour their life into changing the lives of others, because only the incurable fanatic can wreak havoc on the tragedy of human trafficking. Any short-term effort to rehabilitate a *** trafficking victim is doomed to failure. The degree to which the brokenness of *** trafficking victims becomes ingrained in them is so extreme that it takes a lifetime to reshape their lives.
While researching *** trafficking in order to accurately produce Nefarious, the researchers and producers of Nefarious became convicted by facts that they collected. The evidence they collected speaks to the fact that *** trafficking does not just attack the body; it attacks the entire being, and in far worse ways than drugs ever could. Varied races and ages are prostituted and / or consume drugs. The impact of both of *** and drug trafficking is severe, but much more so severe in the case of human trafficking. The rehab process for human trafficking is much more in depth and is testament to the horror and degree of psychological, mental, and emotional disfigurement, as well as acclimation to a horrible situation to the point that horror becomes normal – a new definition of addiction. Human trafficking is an atrocity that is far more horrendous and prevalent than imaginable. It is far more destructive than drug trafficking. Drug trafficking is one of the most destructive forces in this generation.  Surely consuming drugs is one of the most horrid things we can do to our bodies, but what about consuming souls? *** trafficking consumes souls, hearts, minds and bodies. It splits, fragments, debases, brutalizes, obliterates, murders, rapes, molests, destroys, and dehumanizes the prostituted.  Drug trafficking attacks the body the soul, and sometimes the mind, but in much milder ways.
Emma Shinn May 2014
the world needs a lesson in self esteem

we can start by re-examining exactly what each part of that term means

self (hyphen): "to, with, toward, for, on, in oneself"
esteem: "favorable opinion or judgement; respect or regard"
self esteem: to hold a favorable opinion or judgement, respect or regard, to, with, toward, for, on, or in oneself

the world needs this lesson because our children do not know what this term means
because the reason they do not know is because their parents did not know
because the reason their parents did not know is because every generation before them passed along
a belief that you had to fit into every box, had to blend in to every crowd, had to meet every bullet point on the checklist
in order to be considered a person of worth

because the great secret that they never told is that people were not made
to fit into boxes, or be marked on a checklist

because my mother married a man who did not deserve her
because she thought that she wouldn't be able to do any better
because that man looked at his beautiful new stepdaughter
and told her she was worthless, and that her mother knew it too

because that girl was cursed with the hips and the **** and the waist of her great grandmother
and when she went to school with her stepfather's words in her head
a boy in her second grade class said the same **** things, and worse

because i was that girl and i was never the girl who got to walk behind me in the hallways
and laugh at the way that my shirt was too tight, and my thighs were too big, and laugh even harder when i cried
because my best friend in high school was always "the hot one"
and because i cried myself to sleep every time one of our guy friends talked to me about how much he wanted to **** her

because i craved objectification before i'd even finished ninth grade
because i wished that i could sink my hands into my own flesh and rip pieces away and be left with something "beautiful"
because i looked in the mirror every day of my life and pointed out every small detail of what was wrong with my reflection
because i hoped that would help me pretend it didn't hurt when other people pointed out the imperfections

because even after satisfying girlfriend boyfriend girlfriend boyfriend, i still did not feel good about my own body
because it took finding the woman that i want to spend the rest of my life with to make me want to turn the lights on when we ****
because she is the most beautiful woman that i have ever seen
but before me, she'd always wanted to leave the lights off too
because we are grateful to each other for the confidence we have gained
and because we both wish we hadn't needed the other to find something that should have been found within ourselves

the world needs a lesson in self-esteem
and i know this because
i had to write this poem
This is actually a transcript of what should really be heard recited as a slam poem. I do like how it works on paper though, so I thought I'd upload it without audio anyway.
Keith Stillman Oct 2014
Examining the acorn,

As it falls from greener heights,

Plink as it hits the ground,

And it bounces high once more,

Then returns to plink and rolls,

And thus it is the acorn,

Its life begun dangling,

And then falls and hits the ground,

And bounces but does not break,

For its shell has been prepared,

And a bed of leaves lay there,

Mother tree’s protection from that bitter earth,

Where it will lie in wait,

Bury itself into the dirt,

And sprout anew beside mother’s girth,

So in the acorn do I see,

A certain thought to mirror me,

As it prepares for its final rush,

As it breaks away towards life anew,

And will hit the ground and bounce quite harsh,

And crack it may, but break it resists,

If faith it has in Mother’s best,

The acorn and I, ready to face

That falling and not knowing but having faith,

And putting all we know at stake,

That when we meet the ground we bounce, not break.
Bouazizi’s heavy eyelids parted as the Muezzin recited the final call for the first Adhan of the day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aameen tossed him the lighter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A henchman overturned Bouazizi’s cart, scatter
Three years ago today Muhammad Bouazizi set himself on fire igniting the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab Spring Uprisings of 2011.
Months of stale, cigarette smoke
and spilt **** water pleasantly
offset the stench of cheap cologne
and ratty, abused furniture.
    
Fictitious stories occupy this tiny, dim
apartment, birthed on the lips of
rebellious juveniles whose tongues
pierce the ears of our elders.

In a forsaken corner, Jeremy lounges
awkwardly on a grubby-plaid sofa that
suitably complements his button-down shirt.  
I join him.

Behind his right ear rests a lonely cigarette, while
another sits snug between his lips, set ablaze
by the 1968 Slim Model Zippo he inherited from
his beloved grandfather.

His transparent sense of self-worth emanates
from his grubby, grease-stained hands, scuffed boots,
blotchy-checkered flannels, and faded blue jeans
that are completely obliterated with holes.

I look into his pale blue eyes, the depth of which
often goes unrecognized.  Jeremy is a soft-hearted,
pudgy youngster with the kind of chunky cheeks
that all grandparents love to torture.  

But his marred, acne-ridden face betrays the transition
that has been forced upon him.  Slowly, his trademark
grin appears across his face – subtle, mischievous, and
typically without reason.  But this time it appears justified.

Jeremy takes a moment’s break from his cigarette to drop two
hits of acid.  A new drug for him, he hopes to find relief from
his seething anxiety, evidenced now by the wide expansion of his
chest as he takes another, more lengthy and powerful pull from his cigarette.

The mundane chatter that fills the room continues, a seeming
necessity to offset any potential awkward silence. I feel as if
this noise is closing in around us.  But just as suddenly as I
feel overwhelmed by this sensation, the noise stops.

I look around, noticing everyone’s eyes staring in my
direction.  Jeremy is still next to me, now giggling
like a little school girl.
I begin to feel sick.

Jeremy swiftly leans forward, giving his
cigarette a premature but honorable
death, eliminating its glow as he smashes
the cherry into tiny bits against the ashtray.

As he sits back against the couch, I can see that
his eyes are now indifferent. Foreign.  With a perplexed
and fascinated stare, he watches the pearly-white smoke
slowly slither upwards towards the ceiling.

There’s no question in my mind that his
soul has fled. Jeremy sinks further into the
couch, turning his vacant eyes in my direction.
I want to *****.

His high-pitched giggle has now subsided into a
low whimper.  Gradually extending his left arm into
the air, he tilts it from side-to-side, examining it as if
an infant discovering his genitals for the first time.  

Bike wheels appear in the corners of the room.
Entertained, his eyes rapidly zigzag from the
corners of the walls to his hands. He asks me
if I can see the wheels. I don’t respond.

Intervals of psychotic emotion begin to cycle. Jeremy’s eyes
fill with tears as he tries to understand the hallucinations
engulfing him.  The expression on his face betrays the reality that
he has stepped onto the never-ending theme-park ride from hell.  

Together we leave and walk to the bus station, Jeremy
walking slowly and whimsically. The bus arrives,
and I hand him a few crumpled, single-dollar
bills as I attempt to instruct him where to get off.  

All I can envision is his mother’s first reaction to her son’s arrival.  
Would she collapse at her son’s knees, crying like a mother whose boy
has come home from war?  Would he forever be an awkward guest
at the dinner table? Would she disown him?  Would he become a feral child?






I no longer know what day it is. I am surrounded by lockers
and students, trapped in a tunnel of shadowy walls.  As I stand
alone, I find myself entranced by the blinding, January sunlight
that floods through the double doors a mile away.

My vision is unexpectedly blocked by a figure
standing in front of me. Clothed in little but jeans
and a bright, white t-shirt, Jeremy stares at me, his eyes
mirroring the emptiness I now feel.  

“Do you have a lighter?”  My hands pointlessly search my pockets for
what I already know is not there. “No, man. Sorry.” A look of confusion
spreads over his face, and I suddenly cannot help but notice the sick irony
of the scene in front of me - Jeremy flooded in light as if born again.  

My thoughts linger here too long, and just as swiftly as Jeremy
appeared, he is a mile away sauntering out through those double
doors. Estranged, I continue to stand here, hoping with
futility that this isn’t the last time I have looked upon him.
Year: 1995
Matthew Aug 2014
Nobody was born today
But you picked up a cake anyway
for five dollars fifty plus tax

Now you're watching
Criminal Minds on a couch made for three
and eating it with your hands

It vaguely occurs to you that
you should be sharing it with someone
or at least put on some **** candles

You're not even hungry
you don't even need to fill a void
you did good today

You hardly even miss her anymore.
You haven't thought about it in weeks.
If you just slept you'd be fine in the morning.

You consider it all
examining the red velvet
stuck under your thumbnail

Maybe you're looking for
a file or a prison shank
sunk beneath the frosting

Or maybe you just need
to make this a Night
The Night of the Cake

It'll blend in
with the others
in a matter of time

But for a few weeks
you'll look back
and remember

you are a member
of those romanticized ranks
those plastic or terracotta statues

Tomorrow you will feed the dog.
And after work you will pick up groceries.
And after groceries you will pay your bills.

But tonight is the Night of Cake.
Tonight
you become a stereotype

An unforgiving consumer
with chocolate-stained hands.
howard brace Oct 2012
A nervous shiver rippled briefly across his shoulders as Dunstan peered over the balcony, it was a long way down from his penthouse suite he guessed, shrinking back from the handrail... at a rough guess somewhere between the upper observation deck, Eiffel-Tower, Paris, France and lower basement mezzanine at Miss Selfridge, London, England... and Dunstan was terrified if heights.
  
     It scarcely seemed anytime at all really since he'd relocated to his new and upwardly situated des-res, yet for all that he could hardly recall living anywhere else, once you'd seen one, well... you got the idea,  after a while they all looked pretty much the same, you just had to be able to haggle, but for now at least he was obviously safe enough where he was, sunning himself on the balcony watching the world go by as he scribbled down a shopping list... but lunchtime was almost upon him and then all hell was sure to break loose.

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

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

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

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

                                                        ­     ­ ...    ...   ...**

A work in progress.                                                        ­                                                               831
SassyJ Jul 2018
I though he carried the light
where words would illuminate
driving me to a euphoric ******
a man without a face or a trace
unhindered in a double live and lies
a bubble of psychotic psychic surety
his passion was an addiction
my reservations moved a notch
addicted to a body of ideology
the stances of philosophical terms
uncovering ancient possibilities
the unfelt mysteries of history
veiled in icicles of pretence and lies
as if a Marxist, a closet bourgeoise
The stoicism of present bargains
questioning Socrates and morality reasons
a fatal dose ,examining the unexamined
as colourful as his mind blew my inner glow
he was lost in sad and low dialogues
afraid to face the earthly shallow shadows
yet his spirits moved deep within mine
and it paralysed and fed on my energy
and his delusion became my seduction
but he woke my inner poetic tongue
letting it caress all his inner wounds
A shadow hiding behind Frankenstein’s
a sly monster who lied to my eyes
ghosting in with the a pen that weakens
romancing with letters of a fiery doom
a penpal whom I met within my lowest
but whose words lay in a deep unending quarry
his warmth I could never ever tell
his kiss only a draft on the dewy grass
Andrew Rueter Jun 2017
I peruse exhibits through the modern art museum
Nails hammered into wood
And trash strewn on the floor
I couldn't help thinking
What the **** is this ****?
These can't be the champions of modern art
Moonlight and Arrival morphed my empathy and perspective
The theater is fine
Music is there for those inclined to discover it
So what about visual art?
I know a few things for certain
Nails hammered into wood never changed my perspective
Nor does seeing a garbage can in a museum affect my empathy
Trash is not art
Trash is trash
Waste meant to be thrown in the proper receptacles
So as not to obstruct our view of true beauty

I will concede that
Beauty can be found in everything
Depending on analyzation variation
But those that live an examined life
Constantly see silver linings and sour grapes
Experiencing comfort in tundras to the point of banality
Those visions are much more interesting
in their organic state anyway
As opposed to an interpersonal expression of the seemingly obvious

So what to hang in an art gallery?
I have my own opinions
At this point in time
No visuals elicit more emotions
Than dank memes

When I'm consuming art
Questions are innate in my consumption
Is this a vessel for empathy?
Is this examining the human condition?
Dank memes meet those criteria
Satirizing the powerful
Highlighting emotions and virtues in ourselves
That we're either proud or ashamed of
Memes share a common thread with poetry
In the sense that everybody can create memes
Or be a poet
I get the impression that
Universality of art diminishes it's importance
In the minds of patrons
There's an element of truth to that
But what makes art special is quality
And what makes art truly special is high quality
And that's what belongs in museums
Juhlhaus May 2019
Midway upon the journey of life I found myself
Riding zigzag through dark streets,
For there was no straight way
From Point A to Point B in the urban grid
And a ride share was only minutes away.
Thus I ventured deeper into the night,
While rosary beads swung hypnotic
At the mirror reflecting revenant eyes
Of one raised by an invisible hand
From salt water rocks where
As a boy, he said, he should have died.
Deftly navigating changing lights
Of amber, red, and green,
He humbly inquired after my beliefs
And the state of my soul.
As to this, I could not precisely say.
So I drew it out and held it gingerly
By the rough edges examining,
The best I might in that dim backseat,
Its creases, wrinkles, and scars.
In the rearview he saw all these clearly,
And with gentle resonance spoke
Of things impossible to know,
Less difficult to believe,
And blessed me so
That on passing out the door
I found my soul again soft and warm.
It was the most profound Uber ride I have ever experienced.
Tommy Johnson Mar 2014
We are all human beings
We all have our own lives
And different ways we live them
But each one of us is a writer
And this poem is for all of you

All of you who have virtues and use them in your writing
Those who use flashbacks and revisit mental photo albums

Beginning the story from the middle for that’s usually where you mind is at
Looking back then looking forward
Studying the past so you can be ready for what is to come

Recording catastrophes with a number two pencil

Tales and blurbs of tragedy
Caused by love or the lack there of

Rewards and punishment
Self-reliance and self-fulfillment

We are mere narrators
Humble, maybe unreliable
Equipped with numerous devices
Ironic Paradoxes
Red herrings
Fortuitous plot twists
Metaphors
Allegoric hyperboles
Analogies
Oxymorons and onomatopoeias

We sling Chekhov’s gun like bandits of literacy

We’re visionary revolutionaries
Revolution of the mind, body and soul

Changing ourselves and examining who and what we are
To become what we are destined to be
The best

Rejecting convention
Building our own paths
That lead to cliffhangers

Romantic lust
Comedic affairs
Dark massacres
Spiritual healing

Religious speculation
And the questioning of the way we, the people are being governed

We use the tools we are giving to sculpt new art that the world can stand in awe of

Personification
Symbolic imagery

Practicing pastiche with respect
Dionysian imitatio

Surreal reality
Defying mortality

Reiteration and retort

Using nature to express emotion and thought

Doubts and fear

Opposites
Morals and ethics

Satisfying curiosity

Parodying what we see
Embellishing just a little

We us word play to dive deep into the topic of conscious, subconscious and unconscious thought

Using satire to poke fun at the human condition,  its senses and perception of the universe to get readers thinking

Expressing our anger, our boundless joys
Desiring unknown pleasures

Seeing past the fallacies put before us

We write with great candor about war, personal conflicts, and self-abuse

With hinting undertones to give these ideas a second thought

We write of the supernatural, metaphysical mysteries
Outlandish, obscure mind boggling theories

As the clock ticks too fast for us and the characters we’ve created

Demolishing the fourth wall with a sledge hammer of defamiliarization

Epiphanies in a parking lot
Speaking in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd person

Using fun things like anagrams and palindromes
Candy for the lovers of such things

Spontaneity is an understatement
Nonsense is an insulting overstatement
Absurdity seems to fit just right

We are chameleons
We can write in various forms
Streams of gratifying consciousness
Brilliant prose
Beautiful poetry

And chose to use or merely acknowledge the ways to achieve these forms
Rhetoric, rhythm  and rhyme
Meter and mora
Conceit and consonance
Assonance
Intonation
Working with phonaesthetics  

And accenting aesthetics

A poem can or could not be organized as such
If we want to get technical about it

We have a poem
With a number of verses
And in those verses
Are lines
And those lines might rhyme
And have a meter or rhythm
Stressed or unstressed syllables

In contrast to that we may write
Without all of that and use emotion
Feeling and structure our work with what we feel is the best way
Line breaks
Pauses and puns
Silly similes
Ambiguous antonyms  
Intonation, linguistics
Fight against the fascists of grammar and conservative correctness

So, in the end we are writers of a rainbow kaleidoscope forms, devices, ways and ideas

But we alone are the ones who make the world think
Make it move
Revolt
Renew
Learn
Look back
Remember
Cry
Smile
Forget
Ease

Write my friends write until your mind explodes and your fingers bleed

Read, read and become inspired
Even if what you’re reading is bad cheese

Forget getting published it’s the writing that matters
Disregard the off-putting, critical chatter

And if you think no one reads
Than be the seed and sprout a tree of astounding artistry
And let’s begin a new movement composed of ideals that will hold true forever
I might be preaching to the choir but it must be said that poetry; literature isn’t dead
Spenser Bennett Mar 2017
Tell me why God looks
just like me. Same hair, same eyes,
same ******' ennui
DJ Thomas May 2010
Hi, below I copy a humorous hiabun, which I shared as an exercise to mentor enquiring and inspired poets to learn, so they might adopt and try different techniques and then give critique together with awesome comments... Yes, I used the words ***, ****** and **** for context the rest was left to an individual imagination as in good poetry!

It included reflective commentary encompasses innocent classification terminology used in the critique, reading, examining, appreciating, understanding and writing of poetry for example: POETIC DEVICES (enjambement, duality, keriji, images, collocation, semantic, oxymoron, repetition, listing etc.), STORY (personification, characterisation, subject, context, voice etc.), IMAGERY (synaesthesia), STRUCTURE ( lineation, breaks, syntactic etc.), SOUNDS (syllables, rhyme, alliteration, pace, musicality, phrasing, beat, assonance, onomatopoeia, mouthed rhythms, patterned) and WORDS (preposition, determiner, verbs, adverbs, lexical, nouns, adjectives) used by poets, critics and academics...

And here it is :

****** tongue-in-cheek haibun - a reflective commentary on writing a popular tanka

Eye lashes flicker
a shared urgent interest
parting - dancing smile


My first inspiration was ***, passionate life squeezing screaming ***, the thumping wall musicality of ***, exhaustingly inventive sweaty and wet.

I wanted to make it a senryu but for duality the female characterisation demanded two more lines each extending to seven syllables.  

Arousing images captured her moaning splashing loneliness in unusual collocation.

I was first excited by the placement of a hovering extended enjambement to give life to my final line, whilst also considering the satisfaction in using noisy mouthed rhythms.  

I believe I easily hid the wet aroused context with a watery semantic field, that suggested she would choke and drown.

So in my last line I had ‘pleasures’ as a cutting keriji to make clear the dominating ****** context, having previously used a preposition and determiner to maintain duality!


Exhausted shivers
in windowed naked currents
unfolding sinking
then surfing vital wavelets
drowning screams - pleasures wet bite




copyright©[email protected] 2010
Ming D Liu Apr 2014
#4
You can fall in love
with the way
someone pours milk
into their cereal,
listening to the things they speak about
when they sleep talk
at three in the morning,
and by watching them untangle
earphones, which somehow
seems to be their biggest challenge
of the day.

You can fall in love
examining the face they make
when they try to hold back laughter,
if they put their head or their arms
through a sweater first,
and the way they shiver
when it is 23 degrees outside
and they are only wearing
a leather jacket
while drowning in a
thick red scarf.

You can fall in love.
You can fall in love.
You can fall in love.

And you will fall in love
with all of that.
jonchius Sep 2015
resuming textual trip
testing experimental procedures
visualizing model tsunami
augmenting facetious environment
catching abstract architecture
noticing rhythmic exchange
projecting subtextual database
airhorning reggae royalty
adding atypical party
resolving twitter question
noticing emotional mission
awaiting emotional dialect
installing metaphorical experiment
intensifying animated trip
displaying dynamic victory
programming abstract development
releasing emotional exchange
deriving fata morgana
glorifying referential sequence
intensifying facetious map
noticing harmonic trip
observing radical ratio
compiling nomadic message
predating google rebranding
reticulating facetious panda
using hyperreal feedback
exploring virtual panda
speculating graphic gallery
throwing mundane exception
targeting graphic experiment
replenishing emotional trap
localizing asemic animal
dropping rhythmic trip
propagating immortal experiment
displaying lowercase database
invading orange bubbles
crashing animated trip
running conceptual topography
remembering collapsed buildings
crashing hyperreal coverage
propagating hyperreal stipulation
finishing western library
envisioning neon tessellation
reciprocating network likes
processing animated device
releasing haptic quality
examining building seven
awaiting rhapsodical ratio
sampling death sauce
sensing lowercase clone
examining symbolic tour
processing potential development
encapsulating spatial lottery
displaying digital paragraph
reticulating theoretical source
perpetuating western paragraph
transmitting monochromatic structure
anticipating ambient quality
transmitting asemic environment
intensifying atomic quality
remastering history poem
keeping future light
hypothesizing eternal game
using future library
rearranging masonic language
transmitting masonic development
continuing ceremonial ritual
questioning party's legitimacy
deferring western coverage
finishing asemic hypertext
mollifying ostentatious presence
synthesizing allegorical icon
forming categorical unions
sketching app wireframe
programming immortal repository
second week of September 2015
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
We’d been to concert at the Town Hall. It was a Saturday night and still early for a Saturday Night Out. So many people on the streets. The girls barely dressed, the boys bouncing around in t-shirts. Older people threaded along the pavements walking purposefully, but ‘properly’ dressed, and now making their way, as we were, for the station.

I know He noticed her because He stopped, momentarily. We were holding hands. He loves to hold my hand. That evening I remember squeezing his hand firmly as if to say how pleased I was He was here and I was not walking to the station alone. I have done this, walking to the station alone, so often. It is good to have someone close at such times, someone to talk to about the performance, the music, what is going on around us. We walked right past them.

I noticed the man first and then the child. He was very tall, very dark, wearing a black leather jacket I think. He was not scruffy so much as untidy, dark and untidy, with curly hair that did not know a comb. He was busking. He sang an incomprehensible song in a language I didn’t recognize, playing an electric guitar plugged into a small amplifier by his feat. He turned from side to side as he sang as though looking for an audience. I remember his trainers and the soft guitar case open on the pavement with a smattering of coins. Then, this child.

Over the last two days I’ve examined the scene in my memory. I’ve sought to recall as much as I can about this little girl. She was not that little I think for her age, perhaps seven or eight. Stocky. Thick golden brown hair. A sensible skirt covering her knees, a fawn jumper with some sparkly decoration. Tights or long socks perhaps. Proper shoes. I keep examining my mind’s photo. What I recall most vividly was her large smiling eyes and her expression. This is my daddy, it said. He’s singing and I’m here looking after him. I’m his smiley girl here on the city street. It’s late. Other children back home would be in bed, but I’m here smiling at the people passing.

Yesterday we talked about this couple, the little girl mostly. He brought the subject up. He’d been thinking about her too. He’d been puzzling over the two of them. As a pair they seemed so physically different, hardly father and daughter. It was the (possible) daughter’s gaze, her twinkling eyes that had spoken to him - as they had spoken to me. This is my daddy, those eyes and that smiley face had said. And she was holding a bear.

Why did I not mention the bear until now? Of course, she was holding her bear. She had both arms around her bear. She was hugging her bear to herself. It was a mild evening for March – she wore no coat. He looked a good bear, not too old or small, not the kind of bear she’d been given in infancy, perhaps recently acquired but well-loved, well-hugged. A bear that seemed entirely right for her age, for her slightly old fashioned clothes. The sort of clothes I might have worn as a child. I think of a photo of me at that age dressed in a Cloth-Kits dress, with an Alice band, with glasses and lots of curly hair.  

He said ‘I’ve been wondering about the two of them. Did they have a home? Where would they go to when it became late?’ Was there a mother? Was she working somewhere on that Saturday night and the father had to take the girl. Was she wearing her best clothes? She looked OK. A glowing, healthy face, a face that reflected the bright, coloured lights of the city street.’

Suddenly, I realised there were tears in his eyes. I thought, He is imagining a story. He is imagining a story of this seven year old who should have been tucked up in bed with her bear, like my little boy with his blue blanket. He was imagining her life., her past in some Eastern European town, where she went to school, where she had friends and relatives, where she had been born and brought up, and been loved. And now the girl was here in this not so distant city. Perhaps illegally, without the papers, smuggled in as so many are. Her father, swarthy, even a tinge of the Roma perhaps, but she so different. It was the golden brown hair. Thick hair, a ribbon tied in it. A pink ribbon.

He had thought of his little girl, now fifteen, only when she was that age, seven. Oddly similar in some ways, the thick hair, the smiley face, a different but ever present bear, an infant’s bear, not a bear she’d take with her except in a bag. A bear not to be seen with at seven, but loved.

‘I’ll call her Katya,’ He said. The girl, not the bear.

And later He did. Every few days He would mention her – just in passing. ‘Do you think Katya’s  at school today?’ ‘I was in the city this afternoon, but I didn’t see Katya.’

He wrote about her and her father. A little story. I haven’t read it. He just told me He’d written it; He’d thought of following them in his imagination. He was a little embarrassed telling me this, and He didn’t offer to show me the story, which is unusual because when He mentions He’s written something He usually does. And so I wonder. I wonder how long this memory will stay with him and whether He will follow this couple (and her bear) into the future, create a story for them to live in.

Perhaps it will bring him the peace He does not have. The peace I try to give him when He is with me at home and we sit in my little house, at my table eating toast with Marmite after I’ve been out late whilst He’s sat on my settee and read – in peace at being in my home. I know He feels cast adrift from his family and He can’t be part of mine, yet a while. Perhaps it’s like being in another country. Perhaps He thinks, at least that busker had his child with him, his shining star, his ever-smiley girl.

Yet He is thinking of his smiley girl, smiley still at fifteen, still loving her dad despite what He’s done, despite the fact that she sees him so seldom. Despite the fact that He is only occasionally with her, and she knowing I, his lover, his young woman, his companion and friend, has captured his heart and thoughts.

I think of Katya too. I think of my older girl, so loved and circled about with love and admiration by her respective families and our friends. She is so special and so beautiful, as I was special at eleven, as I think I was beautiful at eleven, just on the brink of that transformation that will take her towards becoming a teenager – and the rest.  

We were lying in bed the Saturday morning before seeing Katya and I was telling him about my childhood. He’d asked me about zebra finches. Walking in his nearby park He had admired their bright red beaks in the park’s newly-restored aviary. I told him about a parrot in a park close to my childhood home, a parrot I passed as I went to school. I described for him my walk to school, meeting up with my friends, passing the parrot. I know how happy it made him to hear me talk about such things. He said so later, embracing me in the kitchen. ’I so love to hear you talk about your childhood.’ I could feel he was moved to say this. It was important. I realised then just how deeply he loved me. That it was important. That he imagined me as a child. That He wanted to know that part of me. He’s rarely asked about the stuff in between. Of my former lovers I’ve said a little. He has said a little about his past liaisons and affaires, but knows I am uncomfortable when he does. So we leave this. But childhood, That’s so different, because it is that precious, precious time of shelter and care: when we begin to discover who we are and who and what we love.

Where is Katya now? In a messy room she shares with her parents in a house shared with economic migrants, where she has a few belongings in three plastic bags. In one, her best clothes she wears to stand on the city street on a Saturday night with her daddy. In another a jumble of not so clean clothes she rotates each day. She has her sleeping bag, her bear, her warm coat and gloves. There’s a few magazines she’s found about the house. English is puzzling. She learnt a little at school back home, and from the TV of course, those American soaps. If she was here in my house I would stand her in the shower, wash her thick hair, put her clothes in the machine, sit her on my bed in my daughter’s clothes with some picture books, introduce her to my cats, we would bake some buns. I would give her a small gift of my love to take away with her and she would look on me with her smiley face, her sparkling eyes and let me hold her bear.

And later when I saw him I would tell him that Katya had been with me for a little, and tears would fall, mine and his, knowing that only in our dreams could we make this so.
Joshua Adam Jul 2015
Fooling yourself with alluring transitory pleasures, this world leads you astray.....


Examining love from all different angles, one can come to appreciate the connection
how it is so often used as the vehicle, by which we share with others our deepest affection
and this love no matter how much we have, never do we seem able to get enough
yet had we been forced to live without it, we would find living in starvation just too tough

This constant need to possess a measure of love in our life, must be part of that divine plan
enabling us to maintain our emotional health, and affording us a way to become a better man
perhaps an additional reason might also be, to share a little of our love with those in need
we can become so lost in our materialistic world, easily forgetting to pursue this noble deed

The greatness of man’s creation exists from within, and lies dormant for us to find
accepting the fact that we are spiritual beings, and the most unique of our kind
innate potential to reach the highest of heights, in the service of our Creator
choosing wisely to do good, while rejecting evil, and thus becoming even greater

Fooling yourself with alluring transitory pleasures, this world leads you astray
fleeting momentary happiness, causes you to believe you are here to stay
furthest from the truth you could never be, because ultimately all will see
when the end of that long road arrives, you too, will be just another deportee

Only with constant toil and unremitting effort, could we think it possible to overcome
to successfully subdue evil that is now a part of you, would be nothing short of awesome
better to consider the end, when your immortal soul will be in need of an abode of its own
what a tremendous loss it would be indeed, for your soul to be left in the dark and all alone
A short poem that discusses focusing on what this world is really about, and how this constant need to possess a measure of love in our life must be part of that divine plan
ryn Sep 2014
I have come humble to seek your knowledge
With exhausted feet and weighing burden, I bear my heart
I have travelled far to arrive at the world's edge
Ready to receive what wisdom you will impart

I'll set myself cross-legged on the opposite of you
I see you peering, examining my physical entirety
With one good eye, you gaze right through
Makes me uncomfortable, if I may... But I'll hold steady

I notice you muttering but no words could be heard
Your hands hovering over a glassy globe with an ominous glow
You turn to the left, as if conversing with an invisible third
Whispering secrets that I will never learn to know

Shifting your gaze now into the crystal orb
What do you see, Wise One, in that ball of yours
You shudder upon it's touch as though it's power you absorb
Tell me, Soothsayer... What lies for me in this course?

You swiftly pull your hands behind your back
I flinch with a start at your sudden display
You bring back your hands revealing cards out of a stack
You tremble in spasms, dropping the rest leaving one for play

The card you place face down, right in front of me
You motion for me to pick it up and flip it round
I see the card bore inscriptions and ancient runes, quizzically
You ****** the card and begin chanting in odd sounds

Reciting your incantations, in a tongue I do not understand
They sound like curses rather than the answers I seek
It all ends almost as soon as it started... I can't comprehend
You then place your warm palms gently touching my cheeks

Your features softened as you stared into my sullen eyes
A connection like eternity trapped within seconds never going astray
Then you turn away to fetch a bundle roped in knots and ties
You hand it to me hastily before ushering me on my way

I am now perplexed much... What does it show?
What did you see, what does my future hold?
Please enlighten me what you've come to know
From all of that, what could you have foretold?

Bundle in hand I turn to leave your rundown shanty
As I leave, you speak in your voice, different from before
Soft yet raspy you say, "Do not open till the end of journey"
"Open only when in house, behind closed door"


Moon is up illuminating, as I make my way up north
Armed in hand a strange, scented, ******* bundle
Leaving with the same questions with no answers, I amble forth
Wondering if in the bundle I may find the missing pieces of the puzzle...
If you like this, check out 'Dear Seeker'
JOY ... weaving two violet petals for a coat lapel ... painting on a slab of night sky a Christ face ... slipping new brass keys into rusty iron locks and shouldering till at last the door gives and we are in a new room ... forever and ever violet petals, slabs, the Christ face, brass keys and new rooms.
  
are we near or far?... is there anything else?... who comes back?... and why does love ask nothing and give all? and why is love rare as a tailed comet shaking guesses out of men at telescopes ten feet long? why does the mystery sit with its chin on the lean forearm of women in gray eyes and women in hazel eyes?
  
are any of these less proud, less important, than a cross-examining lawyer? are any of these less perfect than the front page of a morning newspaper?
  
the answers are not computed and attested in the back of an arithmetic for the verifications of the lazy
  
there is no authority in the phone book for us to call and ask the why, the wherefore, and the howbeit it's ... a riddle ... by God.
Nigel Morgan Jan 2014
Today has been a difficult day he thought, as there on his desk, finally, lay some evidence of his struggle with the music he was writing. Since early this morning he’d been backtracking, remembering the steps that had enabled him to write the entirely successful first movement. He was going over the traces, examining the clues that were there (somewhere) in his sketches and diary jottings. They always seem so disorganised these marks and words and graphics, but eventually a little clarity was revealed and he could hear and see the music for what it was. But what was it to become? He had a firm idea, but he didn’t know how to go about getting it onto the page. The second slow movement seemed as elusive today as ever it had been.

There was something intrinsically difficult about slow music, particularly slow music for strings. The instruments’ ability to sustain and make pitches and chords flow seamlessly into one another magnified every inconsistency of his part-writing technique and harmonic justification. Faster music, music that constantly moved and changed, was just so much easier. The errors disappeared before the ear could catch them.

Writing music that was slow in tempo, whose harmonic rhythm was measured and took its time, required a level of sustained thought that only silence and intense concentration made properly possible. His studio was far from silent (outside the traffic spat and roared) and today his concentration seemed at a particularly low ebb. He was modelling this music on a Vivaldi Concerto, No.6 from L’Estro Armonico. That collective title meant Harmonic Inspiration, and inspiring this collection of 12 concerti for strings certainly was. Bach reworked six of these concertos in a variety of ways.

He could imagine the affect of this music from that magical city of the sea, Venice, La Serenissima, appearing as a warm but fresh wind of harmony and invention across those early, usually handwritten scores. Bach’s predecessors, Schutz and Schein had travelled to Venice and studied under the Gabrielis and later the maestro himself, Claudio Monteverdi. But for Bach the limitations of his situation, without such patronage enjoyed by earlier generations, made such journeying impossible. At twenty he did travel on foot from Arnstadt to Lubeck, some 250 miles, to experience the ***** improvisations of Dietriche Buxtehude, and stayed some three months to copy Buxtehude’s scores, managing to avoid the temptation of his daughter who, it was said, ‘went with the post’ on the Kapelmeister’s retirement. Handel’s visit to Buxtehude lasted twenty-four hours. To go to Italy? No. For Bach it was not to be.

But for this present day composer he had been to Italy, and his piece was to be his memory of Venice in the dark, sea-damp days of November when the acqua alta pursued its inhabitants (and all those tourists) about the city calles. No matter if the weather had been bad, it had been an arresting experience, and he enjoyed recovering the differing qualities of it in unguarded moments, usually when walking, because in Venice one walked, because that was how the city revealed itself despite the advice of John Ruskin and later Jan Morris who reckoned you had to have your own boat to properly experience this almost floating city.

As he chipped away at this unforgiving rock of a second movement he suddenly recalled that today was the first day of Epiphany, and in Venice the peculiar festival of La Befana. A strange tale this, where according to the legend, the night before the Wise Men arrived at the manger they stopped at the shack of an old woman to ask directions. They invited her to come along but she replied that she was too busy. Then a shepherd asked her to join him but again she refused. Later that night, she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the Wise Men and the shepherd bearing gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger. Now La Befana flies around on her broomstick each year on the 11th night, bringing gifts to children in hopes that she might find the Baby Jesus. Children hang their stockings on the evening of January 5 awaiting the visit of La Befana. Hmm, he thought, and today the gondoliers take part in a race dressed as old women, and with a broomstick stuck vertically as a mast from each boat. Ah, L’Epiphania.

Here in this English Cathedral city where our composer lived Epiphany was celebrated only by the presence of a crib of contemporary sculptured forms that for many years had never ceased to beguile him, had made him stop and wonder. And this morning on his way out from Morning Office he had stopped and knelt by the figures he had so often meditated upon, and noticed three gifts, a golden box, a glass dish of incense and a tiny carved cabinet of myrrh,  laid in front of the Christ Child.

Yes, he would think of his second movement as ‘L’Epiphania’. It would be full of quiet  and slow wonder, but like the tale of La Befana a searching piece with no conclusion except a seque into the final fast and spirited conclusion to the piece. His second movement would be a night piece, an interlude that spoke of the mystery of the Incarnation, of God becoming Man. That seemed rather ambitious, but he felt it was a worthy ambition nevertheless.
Mitchell Duran May 2011
She yelled from the bottom of the stairs

"What the **** are you DOING!?"

My neighbor, Mr. Monroe with the mustache, ring on every finger and a parrot that talked, pressed his face to the glass to look down at her.

"What the **** are YOU looking at?"

Mr. Monroe quickly went back to his day time soap operas and corn flakes. He never left the house because he believed their was going to be a grand earthquake where everyone that was outside getting food, shopping or at the beach, would die. He told me he believed that his house was a fortress and that God or mother nature or what have you could never touch him if he just stayed holed up in his room with his corn flakes and bath robes and old Sunday newspapers.

"HEY GUY, LET'S GO!"

I gingerly stepped out of my place. I stared up at the sky which was blue spattered with white clouds that were inching slowly toward the ocean. It was a beautiful day.

"******* FINALLY. What were you DOING?"

"Just getting myself a little more ready then usual."

"WHY?"

"I'm nervous or something."

We were headed to a dinner with my parents. I was going to introduce them to Alice and wanted to make sure all my pampering was in order, my mother could always tell if I forgot to comb my hair or use deodorant, my father didn't care. I walked cooly and lightly down the stairs.

"Well you smell like a laundry mat people have been drinking and ******* in."

"Thank you baby."

I kissed her on the cheek, waved up to Mr. Monroe who had gently re-placed his face upon his living room window, and headed to my car.

---

"So what you are you gonna' say to them about me?"

"I'll tell them we have a lot of *** and like movies."

"Really?"

"I don't know. Why not?"

"Seems strange."

"Were strange."

"What if we get married and they say that at our wedding and its awkward and my parents get mad."

"I'm not thinking that far off."

"Well you ******* SHOULD!"

Alice opened the window and stared out at the ocean which passed by with blinking blue reflective lights, beach combers and sand dune cops. There were many surfers wading in the light blue water waiting for the NEXT BIG ONE. I thought it was funny how they could sit out there for so long, not doing anything, and call it some kind of religion. I liked the idea of doing nothing and it saving you, I wanted to join but I was afraid of sharks.

"Do you want to get married to me?"

"No."

"I wouldn't either."

We drove down the highway but hit a big block of heavy traffic. We were gonna be late.

---

By an instinct I acquired either by fate, magic or the hand of the GOOD LORD, I ordered a hamburger with curly fries. The waiter was a young kid fresh out of college with a messy head of hair and a slight limp stuck on his right leg, he said it came from a biking accident but the kid looked like a scrapper.

My mother was alone on the other side of the table while Alice intensely examined the menu. There were clouds in her eye not of insecurity but of determination for my mother to accept her and pull no punches, when she wanted something she got it, like me.

"To start I am so sorry about your father not being here. He didn't come home last night and I haven't heard from him all morning so I suspect he forgot and slept at the office to get an early start on this Friday morning."

"It's fine Mrs. Kindle. I just feel so BAD for you."

"No worries. It is sweet of you to say though."

"Very sweet Alice. Yeah, I'm sorry Mom. Dad's an *** like that sometimes."

"Yes he is."

The water was warm when the waiter brought it. I hadn't looked at the menu but everyone was ready to order. I was thinking about my father all holed up in his on-site construction office, sweating over blue print over blue print, re-examining every last comma, every last note until it was "perfect". He had tried to get me into the business but I always hated a path that had already been trampled and organized upon, I didn't see the point.

"So how did you guys meet?"

"We actually met at one of Joe and Abe's parties."

We actually had met at a hot bar with loud music and cheap drinks with the wind ripping men and women to pieces outside and the bar man said we looked like we would make a good couple but we had never even looked or talked to each other but because this one little bartender in this one little hot tiny bar gave us the idea that maybe, just maybe, we would be good for each other I bought Alice a drink and then, thinking it would be funny and how she hates cliches, she bought me a drink and we got very drunk within the dark heated bar with the people swinging back and forth with the loud quick hipster electronica madness that spun all around us invisible in the smoke and the liquor and the cigarette smoke and there, in that dark steamy bar, we talked and talked and talked until I got a little drunker then her and she took me home, which we laughed about in the morning after we had drank a couple glasses of wine and tried to have *** but were both to drunk to talk or have *** or even kiss for that matter, we fell asleep on top of each other's faces and both of our necks were twisted and hurting in the morning.

"We call it "Our Spontaneous Romance".

"Very funny."

"Alice, do you know what you want yet?"

Alice, keeping her eyes down on the menu not looking up for a second.

"Not quite."

My mother shifted in her seat, she was getting anxious because she wanted to eat and she was worried about my dad. He'd been "busy" with many "things" that he "didn't like to talk about" or was "too tired to talk about" and it made my mom shift and silently sigh after every conversation either about the subject or related too.

"I'm going to have the soup and the sandwich"

"Turkey sandwich and salad for me."

"Healthy."

"Have to be."

"One sec..."

"OK."

"No rush."

"Mashed potatoes and gravy and ribs, that's what I want."

"Very nice..."

"Very nice."

"Thank you."

Alice was nervous. She ate mass amounts of food when she was either nervous or in tight confined places where she needed to converse but had absolutely nothing to say, the large order was her scapegoat and she would later blame it on *******, anxiety and depression, half of which was probably my fault. Alice didn't want to meet the parents, she thought it pointless, a waste of time and pushing towards something that may not even actually happen. She believed being invisible in a phenomenal world was the only way to go through life and in some respects, I agreed with her but also, I knew deep down, she was a little crazy, as was I.

---

"Thank you for meeting Alice and I for lunch Mom."

"Not a worry at all, I'm sorry about your father."

"I'll talk to him later."

"It was very very nice meeting you, very nice."

Alice and my mother shook hands cooly and suspiciously underneath the 3 o'clock sun. They hadn't talked much at lunch and I honestly didn't know how it went at all, they spoke about their food and that was it. Perhaps they neither hated or liked each other, maybe they were simply indifferent towards each other's presence and what they meant to me at all. They smiled, Alice waved as did I as my mom drove away down the hot black top. Alice, still waving said.

"Horrible, that was just horrible."

"I thought it went right as it went, neither here nor there."

"We didn't talk about anything but the food."

"Maybe that's all there was to talk about, some people meet and have absolutely nothing to say to each other, happens more then you think."

"Sounds right must be right."

"Let's go."

We both walked to my car which was boiling hot inside, the kind of hot when you enter when one wishes they couldn't breathe. We quickly opened the window turning on the radio listening to an old blues station for a second. I but the gears in reverse and slowly backed out of the restaurant parking lot as Alice neatly put on her dark sunglasses and rubbed sun tan lotion on her face, leaving a small patch on the tip of her nose. I paused the car before entering onto the main road.

"Let's get married Alice."

"I was about to say the same thing."

I pulled onto the main road home, nearly getting in an accident with a road biker who shook their fist violently toward my gleaming fender. I lightly smiled, embarrassingly laughed to myself, merging on. We were off.
Sad Girl Mar 2016
She's a beautiful being
much like a flower,
from which I could learn,
examining for hours.
I admire her smell
and how she speaks of me,
the knowledge she carries
makes one feel less lonely.

From her crown to her toes
she is lovely and free,
a companion that was placed here
for irrational me.

She speaks like the wind
knowing I am delicate,
drops petal-like compliments
that I consider reverant.
She seems like a sea
in which I could drown,
a pure contribution
on this heavenless mound.

I know her as I know myself;
or any book from any shelf.
Open it up and read just a sliver,
ask your questions-
she'll surely deliver.

She knows when to play and when to relax,
she understands my being-
reads through the cracks.
She understands the importance
of an honest, open heart.
She shares my love of music
and creates striking art.

At times she makes me feel
as though I am the advisor,
but I have read a few pages
from her and feel wiser.

I've never quite finished
any book that I've read,
so I'll put the books down and
read into her instead.
~*kd
Emily Katherine Mar 2015
"you are so strong"

my eyes stared into nothing,
burning with the absence of tears.
i knew there would be a point
where i could not cry anymore.

what was everyone seeing?
because all i felt was weakness,
pain,
emptiness.

my exterior was bruised and beaten
but only inside could i feel the effects.
i was not strong
i was fragile,
scared,
and vulnerable.

frustrated by words of praise
i sank deeper into my delusions,
and perfected my 'brave face'.
i was not strong
i was struggling.

listening to the vital carts
wheel in and out,
my door never a separation
but a portal to demons
wielding gurneys,
needles,
charts and machines.
i was restless in my immobility.
i was not strong
i was numb.

calling for my mother at 4:00 am
she carried my weight,
she held my hand,
she washed my hair,
she changed my clothes,
she slept, barely,
at my feet.
i was not strong
my mother was.

days piled on;
hours lost in isolation
maddening my mind
and diminishing my willpower.
with every test,
measurement,
and procedure
i felt helplessness
swallow the living light in me.
still, i complied,
i waited,
i did what was asked.
i was not strong
i was a quiet fire.

looking at my damaged body,
examining my inflamed veins.
my face was swollen,
my hair matted.
i shook in my skin
disassociating my identity.
i was not my condition
i was not my self disgust.

i can not say that i feel better
just different,
which is neither positive or negative.
reflecting on 10 days as a ghost
getting acquainted with myself,
filling in the blanks.
i was not strong
i was surviving.
Nigel Morgan Dec 2012
When the engine rattled itself to a stop he opened the driver’s door letting the damp afternoon displace the snug of travel. He was home after a long day watching the half hours pass and his students come and go. And now they had gone until next year leaving cards and little gifts.
 
The cats appeared. The pigeons flapped woodenly. A dog barked down the lane. The post van passed.
 
The house from the yard was gaunt and cold in its terracotta red. Only the adjacent cottage with its backdoor, bottles filling the window ledges, and tiled roof, seemed to invite him in. It was not his house, but temporarily his home. He loved to wander into the garden and approach the house from the front, purposefully. He would then take in the disordered flowerbeds and the encroaching apple trees where his cats played tag falling in spectacular fashion through the branches. He liked to stand back from the house and see it entire, its fine chimneys, the 16C brickwork, the grey-shuttered living room, and his bedroom studio from whose window he could stretch out and touch the elderberries.
 
Inside, the storage heaters giving out a provisional warmth, he left the lights be and placed the kettle on the stove, laid out on the scrubbed table a tea ***, milk jug, a china mug, a cake tin, On the wall, above the vast fireplace, hung a painting of the fields beyond the house dusty in a harvest sunset, the stubble crackling under foot, under his sockless sandals, walking, walking as he so often felt compelled to do, criss-crossing the unploughed fields of the chalk escarpment.
 
Now a week before St Lucy’s Day he sat in Tim’s chair and watched the night unmask itself, the twilight owl glimmer past the window, a cat on his knee, a cat on the window ledge, porcelain-still.
 
He let his thoughts steal themselves across the table to an empty chair, imagining her holding a mug in both hands, her long graceful legs crossed under her flowing skirt. When she lay in bed she crossed her legs, lying on her back like the pre-Raphaelite model she had shown him once, Ruskin’s ****** wife, Effie. ‘I was in a pub with some friends and I looked out of the window and there he was, painting the church walls’, she said musingly, ‘I knew I would marry him’. He was older of course; with a warm voice that brought forth a childhood in the 1930s spent at a private schools, a wartime naval career (still in his teens), then Oxford and the Slade. He owned nothing except a bag of necessary clothes, his paints of course and an ever-present portfolio of sketches. Tim lived simply and could (and did) work anywhere. Then there was Alison, then a passion that nearly drowned him before her Quaker family took him to themselves, adoring his quiet grace, his love of music, his ability to cook, to make and mend, to garden like a God.
 
Sitting in her husband’s chair he constantly replayed his first meeting with her. Out in the yard, they had arrived together, it was Palm Sunday and returning from Mass he gave her his palm as a greeting. He loved her smile, her awkwardness, her passion for the violin, and her beautiful children. He felt he had always known her, known her in another life . . . then she had touched his hand as he ascended the kitchen stairs in her London home, and he was lost in guilt.
 
Tonight he would eat mackerel with vicious mustard and a colcannon of vegetables. He would imagine he was Tim alone after a day in his studio, take himself upstairs to his bedroom space where on his drawing board lay this work for solo violin, his Tapisserie, seven studies and Chaconne. For her of course; of the previous summer in Pembrokeshire; of a moment in the early morning sailing gently across Dale sound, the water glass-like and the reflections, the intense mirroring of light on water  . . . so these studies became mirrors too, palindromes in fact.
 
The cats slept on his sagging quilted bed where he knew she had often slept, where he often felt her presence as he woke in the early hours to sit at his desk with tea to drag his music little by little into sense and reason.
 
When Jenny came she slept fitfully, in this bed, in his arms, always worried by her fear of rejection, always hoping he would never let her go, envelope her with love she had never had, leave his music be, be with her totally, rest with her, own her, take her outside into the night and make love to her under the apple trees. She had suggested it once and he had looked at her curiously, as though he couldn’t fathom why bed was not sufficient unto itself, why the gentleness he always felt with her had to become hurt and discomfort.
 
He had acquired a drawing board because Elizabeth Lutyens had one in her studio, a very large one, at which she stood to compose. He liked pushing sketches and manuscript paper around into different configurations. He would write the same passage in different rhythmical values, different transpositions, and compare and contrast. After a few hours his hearing became so acute that he rarely had to go downstairs to check a phrase at the piano.
 
Later, when he was too tired to stand he would go into the cold sitting room, light some candles, wrap himself in a blanket and read. He would make coffee and write to Jenny, telling her the minutiae of the place she loved to come to but didn’t understand. She loved the natural world of this remote corner of Essex. Even in winter he would find her walking the field paths in skirt and t-shirt insensible of the cold, in sandals, even bare feet, oblivious of the mud. He would guide her home and wash her with a gentleness that first would arouse her, then send her to sleep. He knew she was still repairing herself.
 
One evening, after a concert he had conducted, Jenny and Alison found themselves at the same table in the bar. Jenny had grasped his hand, drawing it onto her lap, suddenly knowing that in Alison’s presence he was not hers. And that night, after phoning her sister to say she would not be home, she had pulled herself to him, her mass of chestnut hair flowing across her shoulders and down his chest as she kissed his hands and his arms, those moving appendages she had watched as he had stood in front of this student orchestra playing the score she had played, once, before this passion had taken hold. At those first rehearsals she had blushed deeply whenever he spoke to her, always encouraging, gentle with her, wondering at her gauche but wondrous beauty, her pear-shaped green eyes, her small hands.
 
He threw the cats out into the chill December air. He closed the door, extinguished the lights and climbed the stairs to his bedroom. In bed, in the sheer darkness of this Ember night, the house creaked like an old sailing ship moored in a tide race. For a few moments he lay examining the soundscape, listening for anything new and different. With the nearest occupied house a good mile away there had been scares, heart-thumping moments when at three in the morning a knock at the door and people in the yard shouting. He carried Tim’s shotgun downstairs turning on every light he could find on the way, shouting bravely ‘Who’s there?’. Flinging open the door, there was nothing, no one. A disorientated blackbird sang from the lower garden . . .

He turned his head into the pillow and settled into mind-images of an afternoon in Dr Marling’s house in Booth Bay. In his little bedroom he had listened to the bell buoy clanging too and fro out in the sea mist, the steady swish, swash of the tide turning above the mussled beach.
Jade M Matelski Nov 2013
I was in a psychiatric hospital when I was 17, I swallowed a bottle of pills
I get there, I realize, i'm the least ****** up one
I'm the loser, at the mental hospital
          (Or are we all equally ******? Do we have the same manifestation, the same disease?)

Destruction's the name of the game, and here, we all seem to be winning

Beth cries all day because she thinks her mothers dead
     although she calls her every morning and before bed
Destiny kicked her mom unconscious, she's only ten
      who knows what her destiny will become
Ryan is eight, he crashed the car, broke the windows, lit a match

And Ariel is only fourteen, but this is the fifth time she's been in here!
  She swallowed a bottle of pills, five times.
      Her liver, is it stable?
        (She got out three days after me, overdosed again. This time it was fatal.)

And Alex took a gun to his head. Almost pulled the trigger.
       Jenna cooked a little too much, shot the needle to far in her dying vein

It seems like suicides the latest trend
Everyone wants a taste
Of the crazy, the ******; the broken

We're like animals in a zoo, the doctors stop and stare
          Examining our behavior, researching warped minds

But we're not animals, your pills cannot cure us!
      Mother, why don't you hold my hand anymore? Are you afraid i'll grasp too tight?
  Afraid you'll let go too soon?

I have borderline personality disorder. My doctor told me. I take pills
They **** me up, I don't know who I was before them
But I wish i could meet her
         Wish i could see the things she sees, know once again what it's like to feel overwhelmed
With happiness. sadness. Anything really would be nice.

         When my grandmother died, I didn't cry.
I didn't have sorrow.
I don't have the same empathy I used to
       But all my parents see is that I don't have the same pain I used to
They think i'm better
I'm not better i'm just numb!

All the pills in the world couldn't heal my yearn for destruction
Of anything really, preferably myself

I am attracted to cigarettes. Drugs. *****, bones. ***.
   Flowers don't suit my needs, unless they can be crushed and snorted
Butterfly's are ******, they don't even bleed red!
     And my medication can't make me happy, if it doesn't make me high!

My head has become hell a razor the only release.
   It helps me feel. Helps me know I'm real.

I know it's all in my head.
I know this thirst for danger is artificial
  Because when I faced death, I saw his face.
I looked him in the eyes
And i called for my mother told her I've done something terrible!

    I backed down to what I've always wanted and that's how I know
My pain  is not real
Asma Shatwan Dec 2015
I speak in two tongues and they both hiss at each other like snakes.
Tripping over my own words as my mouth becomes a battle ground.
I stand on the side-lines looking in. Waiting for the opportunity to announce my presence.
A foreigner in my motherland and a foreigner in a sea of white faces,
And I do not fit the colour scheme.

I’m a stranger, an alien, something to be prodded and poked at and made to squirm.
A minority not to be distinguished from a sea of cloth draped women.
An epitome of the strange lands of deserts and spice.
And hung above my head is a dark cloud of stereotypes and misconceptions.

The Western woman wants to fight for the freedom of the daughters of Eve,
Not understanding that her view of liberation tastes different on my tongue.
So I’m left helpless to the hot iron lens of the media, examining me like a specimen on a petri dish.

My identity, a crumbling church still worthy of all the worship.
I memorized my history books then forgot all the verses.
I grew up haunted by my ancestor’s curses.
I’ve shed so many layers of my skin attempting to fit in, now I no longer recognize myself.
I gaze into the mirror and my reflection looks away, too afraid to make eye contact with a stranger.

I am a human split in two by borders that require passports and stamps of approval.
One half of my bleeds in red, white and blue, and the other the ashes of a burning nation.
I soak up every atom in my body with a culture that isn’t mine,
And speak words that feel heavy on my mother’s broken tongue.

Embedded in the arms of parents who are too afraid to let me go, because the world is cruel to women who don’t belong.
I am like glass that has been shattered into a million pieces, and then painstakingly put back together again.
Delicate to the touch, quivering beneath broken knuckles and clenched fists.

In the back of my mind lie vague recollections of the hot marble floors of a childhood home,
Of crevices etched into unfamiliar smiling faces,
And a country which my roots have been uplifted from.

I am a kaleidoscope. A kaleidoscope of clashing colours but you, you only view me in black and shades of grey.
I question how to belong without jumping into a skin suit that’s too baggy at the sleeves, because one size does not fit all.
I don’t want to lose my morals, values and system of beliefs.
A whirlwind of obstacles surrounding me, closing in on all sides…it’s hard to breathe.

But even after multiple blows I’m still holding onto this thread of hope…and pulling.
Unravelling what’s beneath.
And when I raise my firm hands to the sky I pray,
That my wandering soul finds a place to call home one day.
www.mypoeticcatharsis.wordpress.com
samasati Sep 2012
whenever I feel the tremble start to ooze its way
from my compact mind to the tips of my fingers,
I immediately anticipate the fate
that I have always been able to foresee
whenever that familiar first jolt of an anxiety attack sails its way,
like a vessel in a storm
throughout my entire body

heart pounds an intolerable caution
lungs wheeze frigid determination with a rough friction
that lightly scrapes my core with a ticklish flutter
shoulders lift up into a hunch; absolutely automatic
the top tray of teeth lock clenched into the bottom tray’s hold
a fleet of air hisses in and out of two nostrils like a monk’s meditation
capacious eyes flicker from
the lid to the lash to the iris to the pupil to see everything

everyone is staring
everything is too intimidating to look at for longer than two seconds
then, the tunnel
the clearest, acute vision waters into a soft edged frame,
into a pixel mud of a picture, into a black peripheral,
black corners rounding in – a narrow and petty circle
I use it and follow it to wherever my
deepened impulse decides to take me

silently contemplating,
silently speculating,
silently examining
the fears I let my feeble self
get swallowed up in.
S A Knight May 2010
Now
If my eyes are loaded guns than
I have to be very careful
who I look at
Destruction
is a luxury
I can afford

I will live forever
because I die everyday
I want it like that

Examining,
yielding to breaking
it means
ju Jan 2012
No men.
But when the
conversation starts, they dominate.
Worm their way into every sentence, every silence.
Every caught breath, exhaled pause.
Names, nice-to-meet-yous, passed round with sandwiches and tea.
Hole-riddled autobiographies, wadded out with circumstance and need.
Explaining themselves, defending their actions. In turn. And I?
Have never felt so young.
To my left, and working clockwise: Affair-with-the-boss, Heart-condition, High-risk-of-genetic-defects,
In-the-middle-of-a-divorce-not-sure-why-she-slept-with-him, Grown-up-children-can’t-bear-to-go-through-that-again,
and back to me. (Boyfriend-has-two-kids-wants-no-more)
He noticed that I’m pregnant.
Was pregnant.
Was.
We chew our way through sandwiches. Different coloured fillings, no flavour- choked down with lukewarm tea.
We know it’s a test.
We have to talk, smile, eat, drink, laugh (not manically)
if we're to go home.
I can’t do it.
I want to cry. But I’ve been told off for that already (curled up on a trolley, examining bloodied fingers)
I drift, I think.
Jump out of my skin when she speaks to me.
You must eat she says.
You must eat.
I search for myself in their eyes,
re-make myself from fragments and reflections I find there (Four parts child, one part *****)
It’s OK, I tell her. It’s OK.
On my way home I’ll get a Happy Meal.
I’m collecting the toys.
Tony Luxton Jan 2016
Visitors pass from empty bed
to empty bed, like Royals,
silently soaking up the dread
atmosphere with remote respect.

Examining clipboard histories,
rehearsing their medical soaps.
Volunteers answer questions,
the front line troops in trying
to raise our war dead back to life.

Have a care John Willie was not
just a private, not a number,
nor a diagnosis. He was
a person and a brave soldier.

Old photos frame soldiers' pains,
they're wearing posterity masks,
hiding feelings and memories
that lurch back again and again.

— The End —