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Ashley Chapman Nov 2018
In a playful vision sent
Your ****** homologue
Of amber shins and pale phalanges
Weaves four-leaved clovers.

In response,
***** spurs
And protean winged descent
To float into your kaleidoscopic star:
Gliding,
Freely falling,
To rest in lace extremities.

There in our bed of sensual feet,
Sunflowers breath,
Whose burnished rotating petals
Gather me in wisps,
Each spiral frond,
Gyring
Before death's voids
Is drawn in purls.

And in pleasures held,
Cossetted in latticed limbs,
A ***** lustrous rich embrace;
Denuded and alive!
And with abandon kissed:

    Bony toes
    Tendons
    Deep arches
    Shins
    Ankles,
    Sweetmeats,
    Light and delicate.

As here between pretty shins
And fleshy silken feet
Our ascent begins
Rising,
From low regions,
To scale new heights
And crown our night.

This lovers' leap into prismatic
reproduction
In the empty Cosmic wastes
     In a web is caught!
Where feet and toes inspire
Continuity for pointed stars.

As material possibilities collide
The **** for life
Is born in non-existence:
So in our nest of feet,
Mating in the game
With heads thrown back,
Of **** drink deeply we.
A friend sent a mesmerising image taken from a kaleidoscope. In that image so many ideas came together that I was able to put this down. It tells of what I know, the line between life and death, or more succinctly put, between our conscious and the great unconscious. In mind, to love is indeed sublime as it removes us from ourselves and plunges us to meet our heart's desire. Out in the wastes of time and space we also see ourselves writ large where whole galaxies collide and in so doing, the resultant chaos, new stars are born. So I take solas in such thoughts, even if my soul does at times yearn to shuffle off this mortal coil and be at peace and know Truth at last.
Danny Wolf Mar 2015
Warm breath lingers under sheets,
hugs gentle
and whispers,
"I'm sorry."
I lay here now
within the fine line boundaries of this love
and a piece of me must mourn for what may never be.
But I have found there is more truth to this holding
as it speaks for all the words that have gone unspoken,
all the unanswered questions.
I breathed you in deep,
awake to remember your skin.
Intertwined in ways more than just the extremities of our Earlthy bodies,
my soul is at ease knowing a piece of you
will always be held within a piece of me.
Adrian Joseph Dec 2018
Fire inhabits those atoms which animate our being
Character shines brightest in the crucible
No true faith has ever been spared the extremities of the fireplace  
Gold mainly reveals its glory in the furnace

That holy baptism which flames out all meaning
Primeval essence of any great passion

Fire colors the sun
Shares its light with the firefly’s lamp
It is not our place to call ****’s fire from below
Or summon Heaven’s thunderbolt from above

Kindness is that celestial match which burns pride to ash
Brightened hope of all continents
Spark in bonfire hearts

Fire is useful because it gives men their purpose
Harness the heat of ire
Channel flint into nobler desire

While words cannot wield flames of their own
Paper kindles torches for the unknown

If man wishes to calm the raging fire within
He must become its opposite element
FIRST DAY

1.
Who wanted me
to go to Chicago
on January 6th?
I did!

The night before,
20 below zero
Fahrenheit
with the wind chill;
as the blizzard of 99
lay in mountains
of blackening snow.

I packed two coats,
two suits,
three sweaters,
multiple sets of long johns
and heavy white socks
for a two-day stay.

I left from Newark.
**** the denseness,
it confounds!

The 2nd City to whom?
2nd ain’t bad.
It’s pretty good.
If you consider
Peking and Prague,
Tokyo and Togo,
Manchester and Moscow,
Port Au Prince and Paris,
Athens and Amsterdam,
Buenos Aries and Johannesburg;
that’s pretty good.

What’s going on here today?
It’s friggin frozen.
To the bone!

But Chi Town is still cool.
Buddy Guy’s is open.
Bartenders mixing drinks,
cabbies jamming on their breaks,
honey dew waitresses serving sugar,
buildings swerving,
fire tongued preachers are preaching
and the farmers are measuring the moon.

The lake,
unlike Ontario
is in the midst of freezing.
Bones of ice
threaten to gel
into a solid mass
over the expanse
of the Michigan Lake.
If this keeps up,
you can walk
clear to Toronto
on a silver carpet.

Along the shore
the ice is permanent.
It’s the first big frost
of winter
after a long
Indian Summer.

Thank God
I caught a cab.
Outside I hear
The Hawk
nippin hard.
It’ll get your ear,
finger or toe.
Bite you on the nose too
if you ain’t careful.

Thank God,
I’m not walking
the Wabash tonight;
but if you do cover up,
wear layers.

Chicago,
could this be
Sandburg’s City?

I’m overwhelmed
and this is my tenth time here.

It’s almost better,
sometimes it is better,
a lot of times it is better
and denser then New York.

Ask any Bull’s fan.
I’m a Knickerbocker.
Yes Nueva York,
a city that has placed last
in the standings
for many years.
Except the last two.
Yanks are # 1!

But Chicago
is a dynasty,
as big as
Sammy Sosa’s heart,
rich and wide
as Michael Jordan’s grin.

Middle of a country,
center of a continent,
smack dab in the mean
of a hemisphere,
vortex to a world,
Chicago!

Kansas City,
Nashville,
St. Louis,
Detroit,
Cleveland,
Pittsburgh,
Denver,
New Orleans,
Dallas,
Cairo,
Singapore,
Auckland,
Baghdad,
Mexico City
and Montreal
salute her.



2.
Cities,
A collection of vanities?
Engineered complex utilitarianism?
The need for community a social necessity?
Ego one with the mass?
Civilization’s latest *******?
Chicago is more then that.

Jefferson’s yeoman farmer
is long gone
but this capitol
of the Great Plains
is still democratic.

The citizen’s of this city
would vote daily,
if they could.

Chicago,
Sandburg’s Chicago,
Could it be?

The namesake river
segments the city,
canals of commerce,
all perpendicular,
is rife throughout,
still guiding barges
to the Mississippi
and St. Laurence.

Now also
tourist attractions
for a cafe society.

Chicago is really jazzy,
swanky clubs,
big steaks,
juices and drinks.

You get the best
coffee from Seattle
and the finest teas
from China.

Great restaurants
serve liquid jazz
al la carte.

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they serve is Jazz
Rock me steady
Keep the beat
Keep it flowin
Feel the heat!

Jazz Jazz Jazz
All they is, is Jazz
Fast cars will take ya
To the show
Round bout midnight
Where’d the time go?

Flows into the Mississippi,
the mother of America’s rivers,
an empires aorta.

Great Lakes wonder of water.
Niagara Falls
still her heart gushes forth.

Buffalo connected to this holy heart.
Finger Lakes and Adirondacks
are part of this watershed,
all the way down to the
Delaware and Chesapeake.

Sandburg’s Chicago?
Oh my my,
the wonder of him.
Who captured the imagination
of the wonders of rivers.

Down stream other holy cities
from the Mississippi delta
all mapped by him.

Its mouth our Dixie Trumpet
guarded by righteous Cajun brethren.

Midwest?
Midwest from where?
It’s north of Caracas and Los Angeles,
east of Fairbanks,
west of Dublin
and south of not much.

Him,
who spoke of honest men
and loving women.
Working men and mothers
bearing citizens to build a nation.
The New World’s
precocious adolescent
caught in a stream
of endless and exciting change,
much pain and sacrifice,
dedication and loss,
pride and tribulations.

From him we know
all the people’s faces.
All their stories are told.
Never defeating the
idea of Chicago.

Sandburg had the courage to say
what was in the heart of the people, who:

Defeated the Indians,
Mapped the terrain,
Aided slavers,
Fought a terrible civil war,
Hoisted the barges,
Grew the food,
Whacked the wheat,
Sang the songs,
Fought many wars of conquest,
Cleared the land,
Erected the bridges,
Trapped the game,
Netted the fish,
Mined the coal,
Forged the steel,
Laid the tracks,
Fired the tenders,
Cut the stone,
Mixed the mortar,
Plumbed the line,
And laid the bricks
Of this nation of cities!

Pardon the Marlboro Man shtick.
It’s a poor expostulation of
crass commercial symbolism.

Like I said, I’m a
Devil Fan from Jersey
and Madison Avenue
has done its work on me.

It’s a strange alchemy
that changes
a proud Nation of Blackhawks
into a merchandising bonanza
of hometown hockey shirts,
making the native seem alien,
and the interloper at home chillin out,
warming his feet atop a block of ice,
guzzling Old Style
with clicker in hand.

Give him his beer
and other diversions.
If he bowls with his buddy’s
on Tuesday night
I hope he bowls
a perfect game.

He’s earned it.
He works hard.
Hard work and faith
built this city.

And it’s not just the faith
that fills the cities
thousand churches,
temples and
mosques on the Sabbath.

3.
There is faith in everything in Chicago!

An alcoholic broker named Bill
lives the Twelve Steps
to banish fear and loathing
for one more day.
Bill believes in sobriety.

A tug captain named Moe
waits for the spring thaw
so he can get the barges up to Duluth.
Moe believes in the seasons.

A farmer named Tom
hopes he has reaped the last
of many bitter harvests.
Tom believes in a new start.

A homeless man named Earl
wills himself a cot and a hot
at the local shelter.
Earl believes in deliverance.

A Pullman porter
named George
works overtime
to get his first born
through medical school.
George believes in opportunity.

A folk singer named Woody
sings about his
countrymen inheritance
and implores them to take it.
Woody believes in people.

A Wobbly named Joe
organizes fellow steelworkers
to fight for a workers paradise
here on earth.
Joe believes in ideals.

A bookkeeper named Edith
is certain she’ll see the Cubs
win the World Series
in her lifetime.
Edith believes in miracles.

An electrician named ****
saves money
to bring his family over from Gdansk.
**** believes in America.

A banker named Leah
knows Ditka will return
and lead the Bears
to another Super Bowl.
Leah believes in nostalgia.

A cantor named Samuel
prays for another 20 years
so he can properly train
his Temple’s replacement.

Samuel believes in tradition.
A high school girl named Sally
refuses to get an abortion.
She knows she carries
something special within her.
Sally believes in life.

A city worker named Mazie
ceaselessly prays
for her incarcerated son
doing 10 years at Cook.
Mazie believes in redemption.

A jazzer named Bix
helps to invent a new art form
out of the mist.
Bix believes in creativity.

An architect named Frank
restores the Rookery.
Frank believes in space.

A soldier named Ike
fights wars for democracy.
Ike believes in peace.

A Rabbi named Jesse
sermonizes on Moses.
Jesse believes in liberation.

Somewhere in Chicago
a kid still believes in Shoeless Joe.
The kid believes in
the integrity of the game.

An Imam named Louis
is busy building a nation
within a nation.
Louis believes in
self-determination.

A teacher named Heidi
gives all she has to her students.
She has great expectations for them all.
Heidi believes in the future.

4.
Does Chicago have a future?

This city,
full of cowboys
and wildcatters
is predicated
on a future!

Bang, bang
Shoot em up
Stake the claim
It’s your terrain
Drill the hole
Strike it rich
Top it off
You’re the boss
Take a chance
Watch it wane
Try again
Heavenly gains

Chicago
city of futures
is a Holy Mecca
to all day traders.

Their skin is gray,
hair disheveled,
loud ties and
funny coats,
thumb through
slips of paper
held by nail
chewed hands.
Selling promises
with no derivative value
for out of the money calls
and in the money puts.
Strike is not a labor action
in this city of unionists,
but a speculators mark,
a capitalist wish,
a hedgers bet,
a public debt
and a farmers
fair return.

Indexes for everything.
Quantitative models
that could burst a kazoo.

You know the measure
of everything in Chicago.
But is it truly objective?
Have mathematics banished
subjective intentions,
routing it in fair practice
of market efficiencies,
a kind of scientific absolution?

I heard that there
is a dispute brewing
over the amount of snowfall
that fell on the 1st.

The mayor’s office,
using the official city ruler
measured 22”
of snow on the ground.

The National Weather Service
says it cannot detect more
then 17” of snow.

The mayor thinks
he’ll catch less heat
for the trains that don’t run
the buses that don’t arrive
and the schools that stand empty
with the addition of 5”.

The analysts say
it’s all about capturing liquidity.

Liquidity,
can you place a great lake
into an eyedropper?

Its 20 below
and all liquid things
are solid masses
or a gooey viscosity at best.

Water is frozen everywhere.
But Chi town is still liquid,
flowing faster
then the digital blips
flashing on the walls
of the CBOT.

Dreams
are never frozen in Chicago.
The exchanges trade
without missing a beat.

Trading wet dreams,
the crystallized vapor
of an IPO
pledging a billion points
of Internet access
or raiding the public treasuries
of a central bank’s
huge stores of gold
with currency swaps.

Using the tools
of butterfly spreads
and candlesticks
to achieve the goal.

Short the Russell
or buy the Dow,
go long the
CAC and DAX.
Are you trading in euro’s?
You better be
or soon will.
I know
you’re Chicago,
you’ll trade anything.
WEBS,
Spiders,
and Leaps
are traded here,
along with sweet crude,
North Sea Brent,
plywood and T-Bill futures;
and most importantly
the commodities,
the loam
that formed this city
of broad shoulders.

What about our wheat?
Still whacking and
breadbasket to the world.

Oil,
an important fossil fuel
denominated in
good ole greenbacks.

Porkbellies,
not just hogwash
on the Wabash,
but bacon, eggs
and flapjacks
are on the menu
of every diner in Jersey
as the “All American.”

Cotton,
our contribution
to the Golden Triangle,
once the global currency
used to enrich a
gentlemen class
of cultured
southern slavers,
now Tommy Hilfiger’s
preferred fabric.

I think he sends it
to Bangkok where
child slaves
spin it into
gold lame'.

Sorghum,
I think its hardy.

Soybeans,
the new age substitute
for hamburger
goes great with tofu lasagna.

Corn,
ADM creates ethanol,
they want us to drive cleaner cars.

Cattle,
once driven into this city’s
bloodhouses for slaughter,
now ground into
a billion Big Macs
every year.

When does a seed
become a commodity?
When does a commodity
become a future?
When does a future expire?

You can find the answers
to these questions in Chicago
and find a fortune in a hole in the floor.

Look down into the pits.
Hear the screams of anguish
and profitable delights.

Frenzied men
swarming like a mass
of epileptic ants
atop the worlds largest sugar cube
auger the worlds free markets.

The scene is
more chaotic then
100 Haymarket Square Riots
multiplied by 100
1968 Democratic Conventions.

Amidst inverted anthills,
they scurry forth and to
in distinguished
black and red coats.

Fighting each other
as counterparties
to a life and death transaction.

This is an efficient market
that crosses the globe.

Oil from the Sultan of Brunei,
Yen from the land of Hitachi,
Long Bonds from the Fed,
nickel from Quebec,
platinum and palladium
from Siberia,
FTSE’s from London
and crewel cane from Havana
circle these pits.

Tijuana,
Shanghai
and Istanbul's
best traders
are only half as good
as the average trader in Chicago.

Chicago,
this hog butcher to the world,
specializes in packaging and distribution.

Men in blood soaked smocks,
still count the heads
entering the gates of the city.

Their handiwork
is sent out on barges
and rail lines as frozen packages
of futures
waiting for delivery
to an anonymous counterparty
half a world away.

This nation’s hub
has grown into the
premier purveyor
to the world;
along all the rivers,
highways,
railways
and estuaries
it’s tentacles reach.

5.
Sandburg’s Chicago,
is a city of the world’s people.

Many striver rows compose
its many neighborhoods.

Nordic stoicism,
Eastern European orthodoxy
and Afro-American
calypso vibrations
are three of many cords
strumming the strings
of Chicago.

Sandburg’s Chicago,
if you wrote forever
you would only scratch its surface.

People wait for trains
to enter the city from O’Hare.
Frozen tears
lock their eyes
onto distant skyscrapers,
solid chunks
of snot blocks their nose
and green icicles of slime
crust mustaches.
They fight to breathe.

Sandburg’s Chicago
is The Land of Lincoln,
Savior of the Union,
protector of the Republic.
Sent armies
of sons and daughters,
barges, boxcars,
gunboats, foodstuffs,
cannon and shot
to raze the south
and stamp out succession.

Old Abe’s biography
are still unknown volumes to me.
I must see and read the great words.
You can never learn enough;
but I’ve been to Washington
and seen the man’s memorial.
The Free World’s 8th wonder,
guarded by General Grant,
who still keeps an eye on Richmond
and a hand on his sword.

Through this American winter
Abe ponders.
The vista he surveys is dire and tragic.

Our sitting President
impeached
for lying about a *******.

Party partisans
in the senate are sworn and seated.
Our Chief Justice,
adorned with golden bars
will adjudicate the proceedings.
It is the perfect counterpoint
to an ageless Abe thinking
with malice toward none
and charity towards all,
will heal the wounds
of the nation.

Abe our granite angel,
Chicago goes on,
The Union is strong!


SECOND DAY

1.
Out my window
the sun has risen.

According to
the local forecast
its minus 9
going up to
6 today.

The lake,
a golden pillow of clouds
is frozen in time.

I marvel
at the ancients ones
resourcefulness
and how
they mastered
these extreme elements.

Past, present and future
has no meaning
in the Citadel
of the Prairie today.

I set my watch
to Central Standard Time.

Stepping into
the hotel lobby
the concierge
with oil smooth hair,
perfect tie
and English lilt
impeccably asks,
“Do you know where you are going Sir?
Can I give you a map?”

He hands me one of Chicago.
I see he recently had his nails done.
He paints a green line
along Whacker Drive and says,
“turn on Jackson, LaSalle, Wabash or Madison
and you’ll get to where you want to go.”
A walk of 14 or 15 blocks from Streeterville-
(I start at The Chicago White House.
They call it that because Hillary Rodham
stays here when she’s in town.
Its’ also alleged that Stedman
eats his breakfast here
but Opra
has never been seen
on the premises.
I wonder how I gained entry
into this place of elite’s?)
-down into the center of The Loop.

Stepping out of the hotel,
The Doorman
sporting the epaulets of a colonel
on his corporate winter coat
and furry Cossack hat
swaddling his round black face
accosts me.

The skin of his face
is flaking from
the subzero windburn.

He asks me
with a gapped toothy grin,
“Can I get you a cab?”
“No I think I’ll walk,” I answer.
“Good woolen hat,
thick gloves you should be alright.”
He winks and lets me pass.

I step outside.
The Windy City
flings stabbing cold spears
flying on wings of 30-mph gusts.
My outside hardens.
I can feel the freeze
deepen
into my internalness.
I can’t be sure
but inside
my heart still feels warm.
For how long
I cannot say.

I commence
my walk
among the spires
of this great city,
the vertical leaps
that anchor the great lake,
holding its place
against the historic
frigid assault.

The buildings’ sway,
modulating to the blows
of natures wicked blasts.

It’s a hard imposition
on a city and its people.

The gloves,
skullcap,
long underwear,
sweater,
jacket
and overcoat
not enough
to keep the cold
from penetrating
the person.

Like discerning
the layers of this city,
even many layers,
still not enough
to understand
the depth of meaning
of the heart
of this heartland city.

Sandburg knew the city well.
Set amidst groves of suburbs
that extend outward in every direction.
Concentric circles
surround the city.
After the burbs come farms,
Great Plains, and mountains.
Appalachians and Rockies
are but mere molehills
in the city’s back yard.
It’s terra firma
stops only at the sea.
Pt. Barrow to the Horn,
many capes extended.

On the periphery
its appendages,
its extremities,
its outward extremes.
All connected by the idea,
blown by the incessant wind
of this great nation.
The Windy City’s message
is sent to the world’s four corners.
It is a message of power.
English the worlds
common language
is spoken here,
along with Ebonics,
Espanol,
Mandarin,
Czech,
Russian,
Korean,
Arabic,
Hindi­,
German,
French,
electronics,
steel,
cars,
cartoons,
rap,
sports­,
movies,
capital,
wheat
and more.

Always more.
Much much more
in Chicago.

2.
Sandburg
spoke all the dialects.

He heard them all,
he understood
with great precision
to the finest tolerances
of a lathe workers micrometer.

Sandburg understood
what it meant to laugh
and be happy.

He understood
the working mans day,
the learned treatises
of university chairs,
the endless tomes
of the city’s
great libraries,
the lost languages
of the ancient ones,
the secret codes
of abstract art,
the impact of architecture,
the street dialects and idioms
of everymans expression of life.

All fighting for life,
trying to build a life,
a new life
in this modern world.

Walking across
the Michigan Avenue Bridge
I see the Wrigley Building
is neatly carved,
catty cornered on the plaza.

I wonder if Old Man Wrigley
watched his barges
loaded with spearmint
and double-mint
move out onto the lake
from one of those Gothic windows
perched high above the street.

Would he open a window
and shout to the men below
to quit slaking and work harder
or would he
between the snapping sound
he made with his mouth
full of his chewing gum
offer them tickets
to a ballgame at Wrigley Field
that afternoon?

Would the men below
be able to understand
the man communing
from such a great height?

I listen to a man
and woman conversing.
They are one step behind me
as we meander along Wacker Drive.

"You are in Chicago now.”
The man states with profundity.
“If I let you go
you will soon find your level
in this city.
Do you know what I mean?”

No I don’t.
I think to myself.
What level are you I wonder?
Are you perched atop
the transmission spire
of the Hancock Tower?

I wouldn’t think so
or your ears would melt
from the windburn.

I’m thinking.
Is she a kept woman?
She is majestically clothed
in fur hat and coat.
In animal pelts
not trapped like her,
but slaughtered
from farms
I’m sure.

What level
is he speaking of?

Many levels
are evident in this city;
many layers of cobbled stone,
Pennsylvania iron,
Hoosier Granite
and vertical drops.

I wonder
if I detect
condensation
in his voice?

What is
his intention?
Is it a warning
of a broken affair?
A pending pink slip?
Advise to an addict
refusing to adhere
to a recovery regimen?

What is his level anyway?
Is he so high and mighty,
Higher and mightier
then this great city
which we are all a part of,
which we all helped to build,
which we all need
in order to keep this nation
the thriving democratic
empire it is?

This seditious talk!

3.
The Loop’s El
still courses through
the main thoroughfares of the city.

People are transported
above the din of the street,
looking down
on the common pedestrians
like me.

Super CEO’s
populating the upper floors
of Romanesque,
Greek Revivalist,
New Bauhaus,
Art Deco
and Post Nouveau
Neo-Modern
Avant-Garde towers
are too far up
to see me
shivering on the street.

The cars, busses,
trains and trucks
are all covered
with the film
of rock salt.

Salt covers
my bootless feet
and smudges
my cloths as well.

The salt,
the primal element
of the earth
covers everything
in Chicago.

It is the true level
of this city.

The layer
beneath
all layers,
on which
everything
rests,
is built,
grows,
thrives
then dies.
To be
returned again
to the lower
layers
where it can
take root
again
and grow
out onto
the great plains.

Splashing
the nation,
anointing
its people
with its
blessing.

A blessing,
Chicago?

All rivers
come here.

All things
found its way here
through the canals
and back bays
of the world’s
greatest lakes.

All roads,
rails and
air routes
begin and
end here.

Mrs. O’Leary’s cow
got a *** rap.
It did not start the fire,
we did.

We lit the torch
that flamed
the city to cinders.
From a pile of ash
Chicago rose again.

Forever Chicago!
Forever the lamp
that burns bright
on a Great Lake’s
western shore!

Chicago
the beacon
sends the
message to the world
with its windy blasts,
on chugging barges,
clapping trains,
flying tandems,
T1 circuits
and roaring jets.

Sandburg knew
a Chicago
I will never know.

He knew
the rhythm of life
the people walked to.
The tools they used,
the dreams they dreamed
the songs they sang,
the things they built,
the things they loved,
the pains that hurt,
the motives that grew,
the actions that destroyed
the prayers they prayed,
the food they ate
their moments of death.

Sandburg knew
the layers of the city
to the depths
and windy heights
I cannot fathom.

The Blues
came to this city,
on the wing
of a chirping bird,
on the taps
of a rickety train,
on the blast
of an angry sax
rushing on the wind,
on the Westend blitz
of Pop's brash coronet,
on the tink of
a twinkling piano
on a paddle-wheel boat
and on the strings
of a lonely man’s guitar.

Walk into the clubs,
tenements,
row houses,
speakeasies
and you’ll hear the Blues
whispered like
a quiet prayer.

Tidewater Blues
from Virginia,
Delta Blues
from the lower
Mississippi,
Boogie Woogie
from Appalachia,
Texas Blues
from some Lone Star,
Big Band Blues
from Kansas City,
Blues from
Beal Street,
Jelly Roll’s Blues
from the Latin Quarter.

**** even Chicago
got its own brand
of Blues.

Its all here.
It ended up here
and was sent away
on the winds of westerly blows
to the ear of an eager world
on strong jet streams
of simple melodies
and hard truths.

A broad
shouldered woman,
a single mother stands
on the street
with three crying babes.
Their cloths
are covered
in salt.
She pleads
for a break,
praying
for a new start.
Poor and
under-clothed
against the torrent
of frigid weather
she begs for help.
Her blond hair
and ****** features
suggests her
Scandinavian heritage.
I wonder if
she is related to Sandburg
as I walk past
her on the street.
Her feet
are bleeding
through her
canvass sneakers.
Her babes mouths
are zipped shut
with frozen drivel
and mucous.

The Blues live
on in Chicago.

The Blues
will forever live in her.
As I turn the corner
to walk the Miracle Mile
I see her engulfed
in a funnel cloud of salt,
snow and bits
of white paper,
swirling around her
and her children
in an angry
unforgiving
maelstrom.

The family
begins to
dissolve
like a snail
sprinkled with salt;
and a mother
and her children
just disappear
into the pavement
at the corner
of Dearborn,
in Chicago.

Music:

Robert Johnson
Sweet Home Chicago


jbm
Chicago
1/7/99
Added today to commemorate the birthday of Carl Sandburg
God
If one had a desire to define the word god where would he begin?  Why would he assign the traits he did to the word?  Would he want to assimilate traits that he perceived to be godlike?   Would he obtain a clearer vision in a realization of the futility of aspiration, or would pragmatism and adamant tenaciousness afford him a better route?  Perhaps we all could benefit by a reassessment of our affinity with god.
  
The metaphysical extremities of human nature provide man with a multifaceted image of the possible psychic states of God. Objectivity has led man away from the true nature of his need many times at this point.  Any retrospective analysis of man’s personifications of deity most often leaves one lost in the quandaries of the psychic quagmire.  The weaknesses created by man’s lack of a universally acceptable id conclusion have elevated many philosophical or theocratic hypotheses to the level of demagoguery.

One method which has been used by theologians in attempting to induct a sumerial derivation from the vast warehouse of human religious extrapolation is the concept that perhaps basic truths can be affirmed through the theory of sufficient constancy of conjunction. Which is to say that reasonably analogous conjectures can be found in the depths of religious pervasion.  But this is not strictly true.
  
The ancient Babylonians, like the Indians, were polytheistic. They worshiped gods of nature, tribal union, fertility.  Deifications created from allusion to natural analogies, yet often imbued with a euphemistic optimism.  Where as the pantheon of Grecian deities often seems an almost banal personification of psychological metaphors from the darker side of life.  Zeus a fallibly omnipotent being who pompously subverts all beneath him to his will.  Who along with Apollo and others roam the countryside ****** and adulterating the women of their choice.  And Ares the formidable God of war who’s natural **** for violence leads him and his cohorts to vicarious involvement with mankind’s altercations.

Egyptian theology seems to have been an amendable and progressive state that began with sun worship and gods of nature, and moved on to attempted assimilation of godlike traits through a natural alignment with the perceived nature of God.  There were in depth studies of the nature of time, and life, and notions of existential transcendentalism.  The momentum of this progression led them to the ultimate grandiose delusion in which the Pharaoh was worshiped as the universal supreme being, omniscient and omnipotent ruler of the ultimate utopian society. 
 
The Jews worshiped a God who was at once both a part of them  and an exogenous force believed to have created them in its own image. A God that deliberately instilled an understanding of it’s intended wisdom by instructing them of the laws they were to live by.  These divine revelations were often considered as the unadulterated word of God.  This God was jealous and demanded the adoration due him as the supreme essence.  His worship became the underlying force in their social conjecture as they attempted to inspire his continued grace and benevolence.  A seemingly irrational solution to the quandary of idealism.  An allegiance who’s impetus was unquestionable.  It seems by me to be improperly rooted on a personal level in that it overemphasizes the need or expectation of divine inspiration.

The ancient Chinese social wisdom was by me commendably rational.  Unlike the Jews they do not seem to have overemphasized the expectation of divine inspiration.  Instead they, like the Egyptians emphasized an alignment with the perceived nature of God on a personal level as the way to strength.  They of course had a conception of the possible natures of deity, but considered wisdom to be an honorably truthful self orientation.

Another realm of intellectual extrapolation from which one might hope to surmise a depthfully pervasive generality would be man’s philosophical treatises on the possible natures of God. Unfortunately due to the myriad nature of possibility this again appears paradoxically difficult.  To me this seems to be a product of the nonempirical nature of these conjectures.  Humans experience a reality which does not necessarily  have any relative effect on the transcendence of their conception of the possible nature of God. Although many have attempted to empiricise their conjectures through rational logic they are most often refuted by the possibility of ultimate transcendence or quandrified by the actuality of paradoxical argument.
  
Some good examples of these points are perhaps the arguments of Lucretius who attempted to empiricise that God can not revoke mathematical truths.  But what is the relative reality of those truths to the transcended essence of ultimate beingness.  They are refuted by irrelevance.  Another example might be the statement that God has aseity.  That is if he exists his existence is not caused.  This statement seems easy to refute for the supreme being could be all of the things possible for him except this and have evolved out of eons of cosmic continuum into natural omniscience and or through assimilation of the forces innate to the cosmos have achieved relative omnipotence.
  
One generally accepted statement that is refuted by these arguments is “the cosmos does not have infinite existence and is therefore not the supreme being.”  For if this supreme being has not yet evolved if it’s transcendental form could be said to have become out of cosmic continuum then the cosmos will indeed have achieved infiniteness.  But this already seems intuitively necessary to the ultimate cosmic essence regardless of a lack of self consciousness or even a physical form.  Perhaps what is possible and eons of void are the root of all force and matter, and perhaps this as yet unfulfilled sequence cycles on to nirvana.  Then again perhaps the supreme being does in fact preempt all as a self conscious entity.  This also would seem to be intuitively necessary to the essence of totality which of course has always existed and is in fact the supreme being in at that at that although not necessarily the true form of it’s transcendental being.
  
On this lofty note I would like to reiterate my thesis.  Perhaps we all could benefit from a reassessment of our affinity with God.

A man can accomplish many things with his concept of God. What is extraneous?  Perhaps the question would better be put what is expedient, but that becomes subjective.   You have to define your goals.  Where in lies wisdom?  Can man truly aspire to godhead or is this personally nonproductive?  Man seems to perceive a sort of manifest destiny for himself.  An intrinsic affinity with infiniteness that just must be dealt with.   Perhaps our beliefs in life after death are a grandiose delusion in which we hedonistically waste our time pampering our egos. Which brings me to my third and final argument.

Perhaps conscious regimentation and an affiliation with earth bound logic would bring us closer to our affinity with God.
One of the ideas presented by my philosophical references was that many of mankind’s inspirations to define his affinity with God grew inadvertently out of social realism and the powers assumed. Although often the subjective truths of these understandings went unmentioned out of a desire for objectivity.  For example what God must be if God is to be God.  Perhaps one would do better to relate personally to his affinity with God.

I think this is true.  Although we seem to lack omnipotence we are all individually speaking a preternatural corporeal state.  Perhaps we all should assert our godliness instead of hiding our talents in the sand.  Perhaps then we could construct a contractual reality.  An aspiration to the perfection of the human social mechanic.  I salute this concept.  In fact I firmly believe that by conscribing unalienable rights to our beings we have already performed the rights of the human social mechanic.  Our aspiration to godhead is complete in it’s conjecture.  All that is left is to obtain expedience and accuracy in our amendment toward continued obtainment of the majority goal.
Pantheism's orthogenesis overtures
Lexie Mar 1
Touching is not a sin
Within these pillars
The temple of my body, I call home.
There are no prayers to be found
Between the dryness of my lips
And where you left me
With the wetness of my eyes
Still singing its hymn to the martyrs before

Their hands have gone cold
While, in the silence of all my secrets
These martyrs knock their bones together
As if trying to make fire
Could turn back time
As if their ivory stamina
Could voice its plea
There is blood on the walls in their temples

I hear the foolish cry out
With a voice that has never known lack
That condemned buildings are only meant to be torn down
That the bricks of my house were only meant to return to dust
Buried in the mortar of my memories and blown in the wind
Unbuilt with no remorse
Leaving mortar scars in the earth

If the walls of my temple could speak
If her concrete lips would part
Revealing her timber teeth
If her tongue was not sewn shut with shame
She would begin with a whisper
For she has never brought her voice up from the basement before

When her breath, still stumbling over the threshold found its footing
A guttural cry made its way forth
A voice that blew the doors off its hinges
A voice that only does cosmetic damage
Even as it attempts to touch your heart where it has never been reached

Then the cornerstones
Also begin to talk
It is too late for them now and too dark
The sky was almost crying
Why am I always on the verge of tears
Stone

It is too late
I came undone
Because you can't tether fingers
As much as I wanted to tie ropes
To the nerve endings of my extremities and pull with all my strength
Pull them back to my heart
So they could be safe
So I would feel safe
I will carry to the grave the words I could not whisper to you in the dark

What prayers could I offer
To a temple torn down in anger
What words would I give
To the grave of my being
Whose hymns still ring out
Into the night, crying
Dust to dust
And ashes to ashes
THE CONSTELLATION OF THE GIRL FROM WALLA-WALLA

I lick her lifeline
"Oh I can see you are
going to have a wet wet life!"

she watches the tip of
my tongue crawl along her heart line
"You will have many many kisses!"

she sips her fine wine
laughs...munches
sweet onions

all I say
comes true right away
guess I got it right

cute girl from
Walla-Wall sleeping
just up against the Pacific Ocean

"Shhhh..!" says the Pacific Ocean
as it watches over
her sleep

I place DayGlo stars
on all her extremities
she becomes her own constellation

the constellation of
the Girl From Walla-Walla
being looked after by a specific Ocean

"Walla-Walla!"
the waves call to her
but she's lost inside a dream

"Are you really a real Walla-Wallan?"
I ask of her
"Yep!" she grins "I'm the real thing!"

"The only Walla-Wallan
I knew before I knew you
was a girl in a book!"

I turn the snow-dome
up-side d-own
watch it snow forever

I remember her
letter telling me
of a snowstorm she once knew

"I took a little of the snowstorm
put it in the fridge so
it could melt in July."

"The snow storm had never met
a July before
so this was its big chance!"

"When the left-over snowstorm
finally got to meet its July
it cried itself into oblivion!"

"...here. . ." her letter
pauses for ever
outside snow falls now
TBDutton Jan 19
Step on the shores of the sea
wade into the water
come swim with me

Let the water pass your extremities
into the depths allow your face to be

Here we need not breath
and movement is fluid as your hand will see

So join the journey
Sara Kellie Jan 14
With our extremities entwined
two pairs of digits, ****** in kind.
One pair, painted.
The other, dirt.
One of us delicate.
The other, dirt.

A soft and fragrant anticipation
succumbs to an accrid and earthy
magnetic like hold. . .
Hold. . .
Hold. . .
Thankyou Sweetheart,
you were great.
I'm going,
are you *******?

Poetry by Kaydee.
Work, ***, supper, bed
Ari Mar 2018
i wish i could have that sweet 16 kind of romance.

kisses that are ardent and chaste
not forced, feeling like a mouthful of nails

hugs that are comforting and soft
instead of repulsive, a cage i violently try to break free of

hands that are holding mine, a loving reminder and consistent warmth
not calloused extremities stealing me by the wrist towards my demise

words that are gentle and sincere (beautiful, talented, queen),
instead of ones described only as ***** (***-****, *****, *****)

intimacy that arrives only if and when i'm ready, youthful and gentle
not ****** onto me years before sweet 16, hardly intimate but instead bluntly illicit

bodies (especially mine) that are unscarred, untainted, unused
not the opposite, crusted in an inscrutable filth impossible to remove

love that is fun and bright, something I can boast to all my friends
not a sickening attraction shrouded in the depths of my mind, only to see the light through poetry written in the early hours...

i wish, i wish, i wish.

i wish i could have that sweet 16 kind of romance!

but i don't.
wishes are just flimsy desires; a tear-soaked plead to the void of night, words on a poem no one may care to read, something i say as i blow out the candles. hopeful and yet, hopeless.

so, i'm still 16. and at least my favorite dessert is sweet. but the romance? ha! my romance is dead; burnt to ashes, like a delicate rose bathed in kerosene and set alight by the burning match of a devil's ****.
acacia Nov 2018
you heard me sitting, singing with gods name flowing from my lips.
stones and daisies, hear my song from north and the south;
blessing the moonlight to give them extra special powers.
days and nights of listening, you begin
to hum my tunes during your showers, during the cleansing and oiling of your feet. while your day-man slipped from your thoughts, my song — it filled your ears.

maybe you needed a way to me;
a way god wouldn’t see, wouldn’t notice.
hidden in plain sight, hidden by the moonlight.
hidden in ******, hidden by your humanness.
yes, it worked! oh, yes, yes, it worked.
i saw you as clear as your skin! my music
seemed to fall down to you as the soapy suds fell from you.
pretending not to acknowledge (me),
i stopped hiding it.
bending over the ledge, with your men out of sight, with my men out of sight, with my god right in view, i ogled at the bareness of your hide.
moistened lips, blood rushing to my extremities and him, if only you could see the blush on my face.
Megan Jones Apr 12
I've been running down this
Snow-covered road
For fourteen miles
With arrowheads
Pierced through
The bridges of my feet

Extremities turning blue, then black
You can't turn back now, face it-
"Twelve inches overnight", they said
We reap what we sew, echoing...

A whisper ran beside me
Running off the road - into the woods
I followed-
Until we reached the lake

Frozen almost to the center
I laid down, began making snow angels
Looking up at old light and dancing trees
I hope the ice cracks reach me-
Before they do
God
If one had a desire to define the word god where would he begin?  Why would he assign the traits he did to the word?  Would he want to assimilate traits that he perceived to be godlike?   Would he obtain a clearer vision in a realization of the futility of aspiration, or would pragmatism and adamant tenaciousness afford him a better route?  Perhaps we all could benefit by a reassessment of our affinity with god.
  
The metaphysical extremities of human nature provide man with a multifaceted image of the possible psychic states of God. Objectivity has led man away from the true nature of his need many times at this point.  Any retrospective analysis of man’s personifications of deity most often leaves one lost in the quandaries of the psychic quagmire.  The weaknesses created by man’s lack of a universally acceptable id conclusion have elevated many philosophical or theocratic hypotheses to the level of demagoguery.

One method which has been used by theologians in attempting to induct a summerial derivation from the vast warehouse of human religious extrapolation is the concept that perhaps basic truths can be affirmed through the theory of sufficient constancy of conjunction. Which is to say that reasonably analogous conjectures can be found in the depths of religious pervasion.  But this is not strictly true.
  
The ancient Babylonians, like the Indians, were polytheistic. They worshiped gods of nature, tribal union, fertility.  Deifications created from allusion to natural analogies, yet often imbued with a euphemistic optimism.  Where as the pantheon of Grecian deities often seems an almost banal personification of psychological metaphors from the darker side of life.  Zeus a fallibly omnipotent being who pompously subverts all beneath him to his will.  Who along with Apollo and others roam the countryside ****** and adulterating the women of their choice.  And Ares the formidable God of war who’s natural **** for violence leads him and his cohorts to vicarious involvement with mankind’s altercations.

Egyptian theology seems to have been an amendable and progressive state that began with sun worship and gods of nature, and moved on to attempted assimilation of godlike traits through a natural alignment with the perceived nature of God.  There were in depth studies of the nature of time, and life, and notions of existential transcendentalism.  The momentum of this progression led them to the ultimate grandiose delusion in which the Pharaoh was worshiped as the universal supreme being, omniscient and omnipotent ruler of the ultimate utopian society.

The Jews worshiped a God who was at once both a part of them  and an exogenous force believed to have created them in its own image. A God that deliberately instilled an understanding of it’s intended wisdom by instructing them of the laws they were to live by.  These divine revelations were often considered as the unadulterated word of God.  This God was jealous and demanded the adoration due him as the supreme essence.  His worship became the underlying force in their social conjecture as they attempted to inspire his continued grace and benevolence.  A seemingly irrational solution to the quandary of idealism.  An allegiance who’s impetus was unquestionable.  It seems by me to be improperly rooted on a personal level in that it overemphasizes the need or expectation of divine inspiration.

The ancient Chinese social wisdom was by me commendably rational.  Unlike the Jews they do not seem to have overemphasized the expectation of divine inspiration.  Instead they, like the Egyptians emphasized an alignment with the perceived nature of God on a personal level as the way to strength.  They of course had a conception of the possible natures of deity, but considered wisdom to be an honorably truthful self orientation.

Another realm of intellectual extrapolation from which one might hope to surmise a depthfully pervasive generality would be man’s philosophical treatises on the possible natures of God. Unfortunately due to the myriad nature of possibility this again appears paradoxically difficult.  To me this seems to be a product of the nonempirical nature of these conjectures.  Humans experience a reality which does not necessarily  have any relative effect on the transcendence of their conception of the possible nature of God. Although many have attempted to empiricise their conjectures through rational logic they are most often refuted by the possibility of ultimate transcendence or quandrified by the actuality of paradoxical argument.
  
Some good examples of these points are perhaps the arguments of Lucretius who attempted to empiricise that God can not revoke mathematical truths.  But what is the relative reality of those truths to the transcended essence of ultimate beingness.  They are refuted by irrelevance.  Another example might be the statement that God has aseity.  That is if he exists his existence is not caused.  This statement seems easy to refute for the supreme being could be all of the things possible for him except this and have evolved out of eons of cosmic continuum into natural omniscience and or through assimilation of the forces innate to the cosmos have achieved relative omnipotence.
  
One generally accepted statement that is refuted by these arguments is “the cosmos does not have infinite existence and is therefore not the supreme being.”  For if this supreme being has not yet evolved if it’s transcendental form could be said to have become out of cosmic continuum then the cosmos will indeed have achieved infiniteness.  But this already seems intuitively necessary to the ultimate cosmic essence regardless of a lack of self consciousness or even a physical form.  Perhaps what is possible and eons of void are the root of all force and matter, and perhaps this as yet unfulfilled sequence cycles on to nirvana.  Then again perhaps the supreme being does in fact preempt all as a self conscious entity.  This also would seem to be intuitively necessary to the essence of totality which of course has always existed and is in fact the supreme being in at that at that although not necessarily the true form of it’s transcendental being.
  
On this lofty note I would like to reiterate my thesis.  Perhaps we all could benefit from a reassessment of our affinity with God.

A man can accomplish many things with his concept of God. What is extraneous?  Perhaps the question would better be put what is expedient, but that becomes subjective.   You have to define your goals.  Where in lies wisdom?  Can man truly aspire to godhead or is this personally nonproductive?  Man seems to perceive a sort of manifest destiny for himself.  An intrinsic affinity with infiniteness that just must be dealt with.   Perhaps our beliefs in life after death are a grandiose delusion in which we hedonistically waste our time pampering our egos. Which brings me to my third and final argument.

Perhaps conscious regimentation and an affiliation with earth bound logic would bring us closer to our affinity with God.
One of the ideas presented by my philosophical references was that many of mankind’s inspirations to define his affinity with God grew inadvertently out of social realism and the powers assumed. Although often the subjective truths of these understandings went unmentioned out of a desire for objectivity.  For example what God must be if God is to be God.  Perhaps one would do better to relate personally to his affinity with God.

I think this is true.  Although we seem to lack omnipotence we are all individually speaking a preternatural corporeal state.  Perhaps we all should assert our godliness instead of hiding our talents in the sand.  Perhaps then we could construct a contractual reality.  An aspiration to the perfection of the human social mechanic.  I salute this concept.  In fact I firmly believe that by conscribing unalienable rights to our beings we have already performed the rights of the human social mechanic.  Our aspiration to godhead is complete in it’s conjecture.  All that is left is to obtain expedience and accuracy in our amendment toward continued obtainment of the majority goal.
Pantheism's orthogenesis overtures
Victor D López Dec 2018
You were born five years before the Spanish Civil War that would see your father exiled.
Language came later to you than your little brother Manuel. And you stuttered for a time.
Unlike those who speak incessantly with nothing to say, you were quiet and reserved.
Your mother mistook shyness for dimness, a tragic mistake that scarred you for life.

When your brother Manuel died at the age of three from meningitis, you heard your mom
Exclaim: “God took my bright boy and left me the dull one.” You were four or five.
You never forgot those words. How could you? Yet you loved your mom with all your heart.
But you also withdrew further into a shell, solitude your companion and best friend.

You were, in fact, an exceptional child. Stuttering went away at five or so never to return,
And by the time you were in middle school, your teacher called your mom in for a rare
Conference and told her that yours was a gifted mind, and that you should be prepared
For university study in the sciences, particularly engineering.

She wrote your father exiled in Argentina to tell him the good news, that your teachers
Believed you would easily gain entrance to the (then and now) highly selective public university
Where seats were few, prized and very difficult to attain based on merit-based competitive
Exams. Your father’s response? “Buy him a couple of oxen and let him plow the fields.”

That reply from a highly respected man who was a big fish in a tiny pond in his native Oleiros
Of the time is beyond comprehension. He had apparently opted to preserve his own self-
Interest in having his son continue his family business and also work the family lands in his
Absence. That scar too was added to those that would never heal in your pure, huge heart.

Left with no support for living expenses for college (all it would have required), you moved on,
Disappointed and hurt, but not angry or bitter; you would simply find another way.
You took the competitive exams for the two local military training schools that would provide
An excellent vocational education and pay you a small salary in exchange for military service.

Of hundreds of applicants for the prized few seats in each of the two institutions, you
Scored first for the toughest of the two and thirteenth for the second. You had your pick.
You chose Fabrica de Armas, the lesser of the two, so that a classmate who had scored just
Below the cut-off at the better school could be admitted. That was you. Always and forever.

At the military school, you were finally in your element. You were to become a world-class
Machinist there—a profession that would have gotten you well paid work anywhere on earth
For as long as you wanted it. You were truly a mechanical genius who years later would add
Electronics, auto mechanics and specialized welding to his toolkit through formal training.

Given a well-stocked machine shop, you could reverse engineer every machine without
Blueprints and build a duplicate machine shop. You became a gifted master mechanic
And worked in line and supervisory positions at a handful of companies throughout your life in
Argentina and in the U.S., including Westinghouse, Warner-Lambert, and Pepsi Co.

You loved learning, especially in your fields (electronics, mechanics, welding) and expected
Perfection in everything you did. Every difficult job at work was given to you everywhere you
Worked. You would not sleep at night when a problem needed solving. You’d sketch
And calculate and re-sketch solutions and worked even in your dreams with singular passion.

You were more than a match for the academic and physical rigors of military school,
But life was difficult for you in the Franco era when some instructors would
Deprecatingly refer to you as “Roxo”—Galician for “red”-- reflecting your father’s
Support for the failed Republic. Eventually, the abuse was too much for you to bear.

Once while standing at attention in a corridor with the other cadets waiting for
Roll call, you were repeatedly poked in the back surreptitiously. Moving would cause
Demerits and demerits could cause loss of points on your final grade and arrest for
Successive weekends. You took it awhile, then lost your temper.

You turned to the cadet behind you and in a fluid motion grabbed him by his buttoned jacket
And one-handedly hung him up on a hook above a window where you were standing in line.
He thrashed about, hanging by the back of his jacket, until he was brought down by irate Military instructors.
You got weekend arrest for many weeks and a 10% final grade reduction.

A similar fate befell a co-worker a few years later in Buenos Aires who called you a
*******. You lifted him one handed by his throat and held him there until
Your co-workers intervened, forcibly persuading you to put him down.
That lesson was learned by all in no uncertain terms: Leave Felipe’s mom alone.

You were incredibly strong, especially in your youth—no doubt in part because of rigorous farm
Work, military school training and competitive sports. As a teenager, you once unwisely bent
Down to pick something up in view of a ram, presenting the animal an irresistible target.
It butted you and sent you flying into a haystack. It, too, quickly learned its lesson.

You dusted yourself off, charged the ram, grabbed it by the horns and twirled it around once,
Throwing it atop the same haystack as it had you. The animal was unhurt, but learned to
Give you a wide berth from that day forward. Overall, you were very slow to anger absent
Head-butting, repeated pokings, or disrespectful references to your mom by anyone.    

I seldom saw you angry and it was mom, not you, who was the disciplinarian, slipper in hand.
There were very few slaps from you for me. Mom would smack my behind with a slipper often
When I was little, mostly because I could be a real pain, wanting to know/try/do everything
Completely oblivious to the meaning of the word “no” or of my own limitations.

Mom would sometimes insist you give me a proper beating. On one such occasion for a
Forgotten transgression when I was nine, you  took me to your bedroom, took off your belt, sat
Me next to you and whipped your own arm and hand a few times, whispering to me “cry”,
Which I was happy to do unbidden. “Don’t tell mom.” I did not. No doubt she knew.

The prospect of serving in a military that considered you a traitor by blood became harder and
Harder to bear, and in the third year of school, one year prior to graduation, you left to join
Your exiled father in Argentina, to start a new life. You left behind a mother and two sisters you
Dearly loved to try your fortune in a new land. Your dog thereafter refused food, dying of grief.

You arrived in Buenos Aires to see a father you had not seen for ten years at the age of 17.
You were too young to work legally, but looked older than your years (a shared trait),
So you lied about your age and immediately found work as a Machinist/Mechanic first grade.
That was unheard of and brought you some jealousy and complaints in the union shop.

The union complained to the general manager about your top-salary and rank. He answered,
“I’ll give the same rank and salary to anyone in the company who can do what Felipe can do.”
No doubt the jealousy and grumblings continued by some for a time. But there were no takers.
And you soon won the group over, becoming their protected “baby-brother” mascot.

Your dad left for Spain within a year or so of your arrival when Franco issued a general pardon
To all dissidents who had not spilt blood (e.g., non combatants). He wanted you to return to
Help him reclaim the family business taken over by your mom in his absence with your help.
But you refused to give up the high salary, respect and independence denied you at home.

You were perhaps 18 and alone, living in a single room by a schoolhouse you had shared with Your dad.
But you had also found a new loving family in your uncle José, one of your father’s Brothers, and his family. José, and one of his daughters, Nieves and her
Husband, Emilio, and
Their children, Susana, Oscar (Ruben Gordé), and Osvaldo, became your new nuclear family.

You married mom in 1955 and had two failed business ventures in the quickly fading
Post-WW II Argentina of the late 1950s and early 1960s.The first, a machine shop, left
You with a small fortune in unpaid government contract work.  The second, a grocery store,
Also failed due to hyperinflation and credit extended too easily to needy customers.

Throughout this, you continued earning an exceptionally good salary. But in the mid 1960’s,
Nearly all of it went to pay back creditors of the failed grocery store. We had some really hard
Times. Someday I’ll write about that in some detail. Mom went to work as a maid, including for
Wealthy friends, and you left home at 4:00 a.m. to return long after dark to pay the bills.


The only luxury you and mom retained was my Catholic school tuition. There was no other
Extravagance. Not paying bills was never an option for you or mom. It never entered your
Minds. It was not a matter of law or pride, but a matter of honor. There were at least three very
Lean years where you and mom worked hard, earned well but we were truly poor.

You and mom took great pains to hide this from me—and suffered great privations to insulate
Me as best you could from the fallout of a shattered economy and your refusal to cut your loses
Had done to your life savings and to our once-comfortable middle-class life.
We came to the U.S. in the late 1960s after waiting for more than three years for visas—to a new land of hope.

Your sister and brother-in-law, Marisa and Manuel, made their own sacrifices to help bring us
Here. You had about $1,000 from the down payment on our tiny down-sized house, And
Mom’s pawned jewelry. (Hyperinflation and expenses ate up the remaining mortgage payments
Due). Other prized possessions were left in a trunk until you could reclaim them. You never did.

Even the airline tickets were paid for by Marisa and Manuel. You insisted upon arriving on
Written terms for repayment including interest. You were hired on the spot on your first
Interview as a mechanic, First Grade, despite not speaking a word of English. Two months later,
The debt was repaid, mom was working too and we moved into our first apartment.

You worked long hours, including Saturdays and daily overtime, to remake a nest egg.
Declining health forced you to retire at 63 and shortly thereafter you and mom moved out of
Queens into Orange County. You bought a townhouse two hours from my permanent residence
Upstate NY and for the next decade were happy, traveling with friends and visiting us often.

Then things started to change. Heart issues (two pacemakers), colon cancer, melanoma,
Liver and kidney disease caused by your many medications, high blood pressure, gout,
Gall bladder surgery, diabetes . . . . And still you moved forward, like the Energizer Bunny,
Patched up, battered, scarred, bruised but unstoppable and unflappable.

Then mom started to show signs of memory loss along with her other health issues. She was
Good at hiding her own ailments, and we noticed much later than we should have that there
Was a serious problem. Two years ago, her dementia worsening but still functional, she had
Gall bladder surgery with complications that required four separate surgeries in three months.

She never recovered and had to be placed in a nursing home. Several, in fact, as at first she
Refused food and you and I refused to simply let her waste away, which might have been
Kinder, but for the fact that “mientras hay vida, hay esperanza” as Spaniards say.
(While there is Life there is hope.) There is nothing beyond the power of God. Miracles do happen.

For two years you lived alone, refusing outside help, engendering numerous arguments about
Having someone go by a few times a week to help clean, cook, do chores. You were nothing if
Not stubborn (yet another shared trait). The last argument on the subject about two weeks ago
Ended in your crying. You’d accept no outside help until mom returned home. Period.

You were in great pain because of bulging discs in your spine and walked with one of those
Rolling seats with handlebars that mom and I picked out for you some years ago. You’d sit
As needed when the pain was too much, then continue with very little by way of complaints.
Ten days ago you finally agreed that you needed to get to the hospital to drain abdominal fluid.

Your failing liver produced it and it swelled your abdomen and lower extremities to the point
Where putting on shoes or clothing was very difficult, as was breathing. You called me from a
Local store crying that you could not find pants that would fit you. We talked, long distance,
And I calmed you down, as always, not allowing you to wallow in self pity but trying to help.

You went home and found a new pair of stretch pants Alice and I had bought you and you were
Happy. You had two changes of clothes that still fit to take to the hospital. No sweat, all was
Well. The procedure was not dangerous and you’d undergone it several times in recent years.
It would require a couple of days at the hospital and I’d see you again on the weekend.

I could not be with you on Monday, February 22 when you had to go to the hospital, as I nearly
Always had, because of work. You were supposed to be admitted the previous Friday, but
Doctors have days off too, and yours could not see you until Monday when I could not get off
Work. But you were not concerned; this was just routine. You’d be fine. I’d see you in just days.

We’d go see mom Friday, when you’d be much lighter and feel much better. Perhaps we’d go
Shopping for clothes if the procedure still left you too bloated for your usual clothes.
You drove to your doctor and then transported by ambulette. I was concerned, but not too Worried.
You called me sometime between five or six p.m. to tell me you were fine, resting.

“Don’t worry. I’m safe here and well cared for.” We talked for a little while about the usual
Things, with my assuring you I’d see you Friday or Saturday. You were tired and wanted to sleep
And I told you to call me if you woke up later that night or I’d speak to you the following day.
Around 10:00 p.m. I got a call from your cell and answered in the usual upbeat manner.

“Hey, Papi.” On the other side was a nurse telling me my dad had fallen. I assured her she was
Mistaken, as my dad was there for a routine procedure to drain abdominal fluid. “You don’t
Understand. He fell from his bed and struck his head on a nightstand or something
And his heart has stopped. We’re working on him for 20 minutes and it does not look good.”

“Can you get here?” I could not. I had had two or three glasses of wine shortly before the call
With dinner. I could not drive the three hours to Middletown. I cried. I prayed.
Fifteen minutes Later I got the call that you were gone. Lost in grief, not knowing what to do, I called my wife.
Shortly thereafter came a call from the coroner. An autopsy was required. I could not see you.

Four days later your body was finally released to the funeral director I had selected for his
Experience with the process of interment in Spain. I saw you for the last time to identify
Your body. I kissed my fingers and touched your mangled brow. I could not even have the
Comfort of an open casket viewing. You wanted cremation. You body awaits it as I write this.

You were alone, even in death alone. In the hospital as strangers worked on you. In the medical
Examiner’s office as you awaited the autopsy. In the autopsy table as they poked and prodded
And further rent your flesh looking for irrelevant clues that would change nothing and benefit
No one, least of all you. I could not be with you for days, and then only for a painful moment.

We will have a memorial service next Friday with your ashes and a mass on Saturday. I will
Never again see you in this life. Alice and I will take you home to your home town, to the
Cemetery in Oleiros, La Coruña, Spain this summer. There you will await the love of your life.
Who will join you in the fullness of time. She could not understand my tears or your passing.

There is one blessing to dementia. She asks for her mom, and says she is worried because she
Has not come to visit in some time. She is coming, she assures me whenever I see her.
You visited her every day except when health absolutely prevented it. You spent this February 10
Apart, your 61st wedding anniversary, too sick to visit her. Nor was I there. First time.

I hope you did not realize you were apart on the 10th but doubt it to be the case. I
Did not mention it, hoping you’d forgotten, and neither did you. You were my link to mom.
She cannot dial or answer a phone, so you would put your cell phone to her ear whenever I
Was not in class or meetings and could speak to her. She always recognized me by phone.

I am three hours from her. I could visit at most once or twice a month. Now even that phone
Lifeline is severed. Mom is completely alone, afraid, confused, and I cannot in the short term at
Least do much about that. You were not supposed to die first. It was my greatest fear, and
Yours, but as with so many things that we cannot change I put it in the back of my mind.

It kept me up many nights, but, like you, I still believed—and believe—in miracles.
I would speak every night with my you, often for an hour, on the way home from work late at
Night during my hour-long commute, or from home on days I worked from home as I cooked
Dinner. I mostly let you talk, trying to give you what comfort and social outlet I could.

You were lonely, sad, stuck in an endless cycle of emotional and physical pain.
Lately you were especially reticent to get off the phone. When mom was home and still
Relatively well, I’d call every day too but usually spoke to you only a few minutes and you’d
Transfer the phone to mom, with whom I usually chatted much longer.

For months, you’d had difficulty hanging up. I knew you did not want to go back to the couch,
To a meaningless TV program, or to writing more bills. You’d say good-bye, or “enough for
Today” and immediately begin a new thread, then repeat the cycle, sometimes five or six times.
You even told me, at least once crying recently, “Just hang up on me or I’ll just keep talking.”

I loved you, dad, with all my heart. We argued, and I’d often scream at you in frustration,
Knowing you would never take it to heart and would usually just ignore me and do as
You pleased. I knew how desperately you needed me, and I tried to be as patient as I could.
But there were days when I was just too tired, too frustrated, too full of other problems.

There were days when I got frustrated with you just staying on the phone for an hour when I
Needed to call Alice, to eat my cold dinner, or even to watch a favorite program. I felt guilty
And very seldom cut a conversation short, but I was frustrated nonetheless even knowing
How much you needed me and also how much I needed you, and how little you asked of me.  

How I would love to hear your voice again, even if you wanted to complain about the same old
Things or tell me in minutest detail some unimportant aspect of your day. I thought I would
Have you at least a little longer. A year? Two? God only knew, and I could hope. There would be
Time. I had so much more to share with you, so much more to learn when life eased up a bit.

You taught me to fish (it did not take) and to hunt (that took even less) and much of what I
Know about mechanics, and electronics. We worked on our cars together for years—from brake
Jobs, to mufflers, to real tune-ups in the days when points, condensers, and timing lights had Meaning, to rebuilding carburetors and fixing rust and dents, and power windows and more.

We were friends, good friends, who went on Sunday drives to favorite restaurants or shopping
For tools when I was single and lived at home. You taught me everything in life that I need to
Know about all the things that matter. The rest is meaningless paper and window dressing.
I knew all your few faults and your many colossal strengths and knew you to be the better man.

Not even close. I could never do what you did. I could never excel in my fields as you did in
Yours.  You were the real deal in every way, from every angle, throughout your life. I did not
Always treat you that way. But I loved you very deeply as anyone who knew us knows.
More importantly, you knew it. I told you often, unembarrassed in the telling. I love you, Dad.

The world was enriched by your journey. You do not leave behind wealth, or a body or work to
Outlive you. You never had your fifteen minutes in the sun. But you mattered. God knows your
Virtue, your absolute integrity, and the purity of your heart. I will never know a better man.
I will love you and miss you and carry you in my heart every day of my life. God bless you, dad.
Lucas Jul 2018
I want to live like Starfish
simply giving my right arm
and noticing after I make the sand-angel
yet still resembling a furious nuclear planet 93,000,000 miles away
to forget a piece of myself and live as if it was always lost

to stick up my nose at lost extremities
'cause that's gotta hurt worse than heartbreak
bleeding nothing but the air I breath
like the currents and jetsam and shores
I am but a system of the sea

I wish to chase the tide
to make my worries be of the moment
letting seawater be my blood
ebbing and reviving as the brine tickles my insides
every roll of wave my heartbeat

yet blustery winds blow; rattling the depths with tempestuous intent
finding hidden fury concealed underneath my cracking skeleton
maybe these things are stored in a lost limb
and can satisfy some gull roosting in the cliffside above
eating my feelings for me

I wish my potential
were undiscovered depths
where seaweed grows like ivy across shipwrecks
turning former "value" into a house for the stars
maybe a couple with only four legs
5 stanzas
5 arms
well 4 if you don't count the one in the gull's mouth
Lawrence Hall Jan 13
Whose breaths these are, oh, yes, I know
And on the laptop they will show
With lines and graphs so all can cheer
Each breath of mine I huff and blow

My little dog must think it *****
To sleep with a machine so near
Sighing all night without a break
Every evening throughout the year

She gives her collar bell a shake
To ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound’s the beep
Of mechanical air intake

Breathing is lovely, counting sheep
And I have life to love and keep
And hours and hours of healing sleep
And hours and hours of healing sleep








All honor to Robert Frost, to the scientists and medicos who invented CPAP and BIPAP machines, to the makers of those little life savers, and to all medical workers.

In the cartoons and in family lore snoring is amusing; in reality snoring indicates a lack of oxygen to the brain and the body’s struggle to make it good.  Snoring = oxygen deprivation, which leads to ****** and / or mental issues, and a too-soon death.

A sleep study involves no needles or indignities, only a night’s sleep with some flat little electrodes taped to one’s chest and extremities. Early in the morning the nice technician will bring you a cup of fresh coffee.  Now that’s my kind of medical care!
m Aug 2018
my lower extremities
are coated lightly with
minute shards of glass,
my upper body loose from
chardonnay and sun beams

the water between is only angry because distance is disdain is
disbelief; a family finds solace
in the crashes of sad summer skies
and squinty eyes

i am not happy i am not sad
i am only breathing in the ocean’s
cries for calm, for quiet,
for familiar drunken fights
for love

my sunburn buried deep
solemn claims of reality;
direction is only a force
the stars have put in motion
moons pull me in opposites
but i remain

— The End —