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Richard Riddle Jul 2016
(Composed by Billy Liebert; Recorded by John Wayne -1973)

Face the Flag of stars and bars,
Of red and white and blue,
A flag that guarantees the rights
For men like me and you.
Face the Flag, son! Read what's written there--
The history, the progress and the heritage we share.
Our flag relects the past, son, but stands for so much more,
And in this Age of Aquarius, it still flies in the fore.
It leads the forward movement, shared by all mankind,
To learn...to love...to live with peace of mind;
To learn the mysteries of space, as well as those of earth;
To love each man for what he is, regardless of his birth;
To live without the fear of reprisal for belief;
To ease the tensions of a world that cries out for relief.
Face the Flag of stars and bars,
Of red and white and blue,
A flag that guarantees the rights
For men like me and you.
Face the Flag, son! Take a good long look.
What you're seeing now can't be found in a history book.
It's the present and the future, son. It's being written now,
And you're the one to write it, but the flag can show you how.
Do you know what it stands for? What its makers meant?
To think...to speak...the privilege of dissent;
To think our leaders might be wrong...to stand and tell them so.
These are the things that other men under other flags will never know.
But responsibility...that's the cross that free men must bear,
And if you don't accept that, the freedom isn't there.
Face the Flag of stars and bars,
Of red and white and blue,
A flag that guarantees the rights
For men like me and you.
Face the Flag, son, and face reality.
Our strengths and our freedoms are based in unity.
The flag is but a symbol, son, of the world's greatest nation,
And as long as it keeps flying, there's cause for celebration.
So do what you've got to do, but always keep in mind,
A lot of people believe in peace...but there are the other kind.
If we want to keep these freedoms, we may have to fight again.
God forbid, but if we do, let's always fight to win,
For the fate of a loser is futile and it's bare:
No love, no peace...just misery and despair.
Joshua Haines May 2017
CHANNEL 3 AT 7:


We are at the scene, now;
an awesome showing of
                    brute force.
What some are calling the
greatest moment in U.S.
                          history
and, some, "An example
of jingoistic propaganda
masquerading as self-
-liberation."

Whatever it is, Tom,
one thing is certain:
we will be here,
covering every second
of this gigantic American
                          moment.

"And we thank you for your fine
reporting, Lisa. Boy, I tell you,
the President is making a huge
mistake with this act."

You have got that right, Tom.
We, as Americans, cannot
allow this to happen. We have
to ask these people if they want
this to happen -- and, then, we
need to enforce, what we consider
progressive and better for their
well-being, to them. These people
are like lost puppies, Tom.
It is our responsibility to make sure
that they do not respect their religion,
their culture, or prehistoric way of life
they have become accustomed to.
If we ignore the issue, of their
third-world existence and third-world
values, then we will have lost as
human beings; and the United States
cannot lose whenever it comes to this.

"Lisa, bathe me in your words,
because nothing has ever felt so
clean and right. You're absolutely,
100% correct: we need to guide
these poor, helpless people and
show them what is right, when
it comes to culture, identity,
among other things."

Agreed, Tom. And thank you.
To make things simple for
the viewer at home, you wouldn't
buy a puppy and expect it to
**** anywhere it wanted?
You have to show it where to ****.
Heck, you have to show it what to
eat, so the **** can be a good ****.
To sum things up, these people have
been pooping incorrectly, for a long time,
and it is our responsibility to show them
the **** inside of us, and how we aren't
going to mix with them, but, instead,
show them how they can get a nice,
firm ******* that we all but
take for granted.

"Couldn't agree more, Lisa.
It is our duty, as Americans,
to help these people who have
been de-humanized, and show
them how to handle this and
the world, especially during
a time like this for them.
And let us not forget,
this is their moment."



MAD MIKE IN THE MORNING:

Hello folks, and welcome
to the Heat Zone; a place
where snowflakes melt
and where liberals sweat.
I, of course, am your man,
Mad Mike O'Leary and
boy, do we have some
serious stuff to talk about.

Our fabulous leader,
whom we shall respect,
has made our nation great,
as 195 countries --
excluding our's, of course --
citizens now have American flags
drilled into their skulls.
As an act of kindness,  
Our fabulous leader,
has given each of these citizens
the choice of keeping or removing
the flags. Of course, if one were
to try to remove the flag,
a tiny explosive would detonate,
as one can never be too sure
if a citizen would use the flag
as a weapon -- and, of course,
there is no promise that the flag
wouldn't touch the ground,
so Our fabulous leader explained
that flag burning would be an
acceptable method of removing the
flag from this plane of existence.

Here, today, we have political pundit --
or political genius; you decide --
Ryan Tomlinson to discuss this radical
new way of life, we unfortunately have
to endure. Ryan, what are your thoughts
on the controversial method of discarding
the flag: a symbol of our strength, love,
                                          and freedom?

"Well, I'll tell you Mike: you think you're
the mad one, you should ask my wife
about my reaction when I learned about
this atrocious tiny explosive destroying --
yes, destroying -- our great and mighty flag!"

Haha, is that right, Ryan? I bet Nancy got
the Rowdy Ryan I've met on Nickle Shot Night.
What were her thoughts on your reaction --
better, yet, what was your reaction, Ryan?

"Well, I can't tell you exactly how she
reacted to my reaction, because I wasn't
really listening. But, I tell you, ever since
He Who Shall Not Be Named left the office,
Our fabulous leader has had to adopt some of
his wild and, frankly, immoral methods --
which would include the burning of our flag."

You got that right, Ryan. It reminds me of
when my oldest left for college, leaving behind
some beers that little Matthew ended up drinking.
My point is,  He Who Shall Not Be Named
has left some stains that still need to be cleaned up,
but I am confident that Our fabulous leader will
scrub those right up; if Matthew can do it, so can he.
To move on, here's an issue I have
that no one is really talking about, Ryan:
Not only are you detonating this flag -- a
flag that millions of men, God Bless Them,
have fought and died for -- but you're also
covering this symbol of freedom in the
blood and gore and scalp and guts of
these dangerous people who would love
nothing more than to see our symbol destroyed.

"You hit the nail right on the head, Mike!
These people don't understand what it is
like to be an American; to deal with their
oppression and policing of our values.
They already have succeeded in dividing us
when it comes to this whole flag removal
method. You can't reason with these, people.
You can try to offer them a Benjamin;
you can try to give them tickets to Transformers,
but these people will never respect us or our
way of life. And these liberals are right behind them!
I'm not sure what the liberals plans are, right now,
but you can be sure they'll use this whole flag thing
to exploit something. Hell, they're already talking
about how we should teach these people to **** --
what if they get to them, first, and teach them to
**** on the GD flag?! The liberals are helping divide us!
That's what they do!"

You are so, so right, Ryan. This country is full of
the wrong ****; and is going down the toilet.
Well, unfortunately,
we have to go to commercial, but you can bet
your keister that we'll continue this important
discussion that involves your liberty,
your job, and your soldiers.
Mad Mike in the Morning, with special guest,
Ryan Tomlinson -- be right back.
Don't go away.
jeffrey conyers Jul 2019
Happy 4th of July America.
You are pointed out for more wrong than good.
Except, the good outweighs the bad.

Like any marriage someone in?
There perspectives in our past that distract.
But the goal of marriage is to create happiness.

But what one flag?
Stands out at strength.
We still the country others turns to when ruled by dictators.

Sure,  we far from perfect under this one flag with the whites stars and three colors.
And achieving more notoriety by the border.

We aware no other one flag get cut down constantly.
Everyone has an opinion seated on the sideline on what this country should be?
Yes, even me.

We have love.
We have kindness.
We have rights.
We have some independence.
More than other countries on earth.

And they have one flag.
Ruled religiously by males rulers.
Under their one flag, women are a tool.
Abused more their but they don't have a corner on that.

Yes, even in America.
We see men trying to dictate governing females rights to do.
Then many with power always end up abusing authority too.

Our one flag outrank others here.
If you fly Confederate flags.
There's no power there.
We operate under the strength of one flag.

If you fly an Islamic flag?
Or the Cuban flag?
That just heritage pride.

Cause when it comes to court justice?
It's under one flag.
And that's the American flag.

Even when justice goes wrong?
What other countries?
Gives you the rights to fight on?
Today I put a little flag
Down, beside a stone
Where grass and weeds were rampant
And the plot was overgrown

I knew not where he came from
I did not know his name
But, today I left a flag for him
As I'm sure he'd do the same

Today I put a little flag
Beside a soldiers lonely plot
Just to show we thank you
And that nobody forgot

A little flag beside a stone
For one who gave his all
A little flag beside a stone
For answering the call

Today I put a little flag
It waves there in the cold
For a soldier lies beneath the earth
Never ever growing old

A simple little gesture
For a soldier long since dead
I cleaned away the grass and growth
So his story could be read

Today I put a little flag
And I hope you'll do the same
Just to show that you were there
Though you do not know their name

Maybe leave a poppy there
It may blow to someone's door
With a thousand other poppies
From those who came before

Today I put a little flag
Beside a stone, so hard and white
For a soldier who gave all he had
Doing what he thought was right

Today I put a little flag
Beside a stone and then I cried
Remembering how young he was
We won't forget just why he died

Today...I put a little flag
Coyote Apr 2013
Flag of my fathers

When will the winds of equality
lift you from your languid prison?

When will your 12,000,000
illegals be given shelter
beneath your furled stars?

Flag of my fathers

When will you be worthy
of your returning veterans?

I'm tired of them washing
my windows for spare change
beneath the overpass

Flag of my fathers

When will your gays and lesbians
be more than fodder for bible
thumping patriots?

I was a bible thumping patriot
once but I never hated the gays

I'm tired and broke Flag of my fathers

The bank wants my house
and the Chinaman wants my job

He's welcome to it if he can get
the Indian to give it up

The doctor wants my money
but it's all been squandered
on promises and broken dreams

I call for equality Flag of my fathers
and they call me a communist

I'm not a communist but if communists
believe in equality, was Jefferson
a communist?

Flag of my fathers

They tell me to leave if I don't like
the way things are but where will I go?
Mexico's crowded and Canada's cold

The government tells me 'get a job'
but the corporation says 'get an education'
The University hands me a bill
and when I can't pay
they tell me 'get a job'

It's all ****** up Flag of my fathers

It doesn't make any sense

I've got a headache, leave me
alone

I'm so tired

Watching shadows crawl across
the wall is dull even for a slow
witted fool like me

Flag of my fathers

Why are we at war?
Why are we closing our museums
and demolishing our libraries?
Why are we feeding our military
and starving our vets?

It's too much to take
Flag of my fathers

It's too **** much to take...
Captain Crash Jan 2013
Flag of my fathers

When will the winds of equality
lift you from your languid prison?

When will your 12,000,000
immigrants get a fair shake
beneath your furled stars?

Flag of my fathers

When will you be worthy
of your returning veterans?

I'm tired of them washing
my windows for spare change
beneath the overpass

Flag of my fathers

When will your gays and lesbians
be more than fodder for bible
thumping patriots?

I was a bible thumping patriot
once but I never hated the gays

I'm tired and broke Flag of my fathers

The bank wants my house
and the Chinaman wants my job

He's welcome to it if he can get
the Indian to give it up

The doctor wants my money
but it's all been squandered
on promises and broken dreams

I call for equality Flag of my fathers
and they call me a communist

I'm not a communist but if communists
believe in equality, was Jefferson
a communist?

Flag of my fathers

They tell me to leave if I don't like
the way things are but where will I go?
Mexico's crowded and Canada's cold

The righties tell me 'get a job'
but the jobies say 'get an education'
The Universities hand me a bill
and when I can't pay
they tell me 'get a job'

It's all ****** up Flag of my fathers
and doesn't make any sense

I've got a headache, leave me
alone

I'm so tired

Watching shadows crawl across
the walls is dull even for a slow
witted fool like me

Flag of my fathers

Why are we at war?
Why are we closing our museums
and demolishing our libraries?
Why are we feeding our military
and starving our vets?

It's too much to take
Flag of my fathers

It's too **** much to take...
There's a flag hangs over my threshold, whose folds are more dear to me
Than the blood that thrills in my ***** its earnest of liberty;
And dear are the stars it harbors in its sunny field of blue
As the hope of a further heaven that lights all our dim lives through.

But now should my guests be merry, the house is in holiday guise,
Looking out, through its burnished windows like a score of welcoming eyes.
Come hither, my brothers who wander in saintliness and in sin!
Come hither, ye pilgrims of Nature! my heart doth invite you in.

My win is not of the choicest, yet bears it an honest brand;
And the bread that I bid you lighten I break with no sparing hand;
But pause, ere you pass to taste it, one act must accomplished be:
Salute the flag in its virtue, before ye sit down with me.

The flag of our stately battles, not struggles of wrath and greed:
Its stripes were a holy lesson, its spangles a deathless creed;
'Twas red with the blood of freemen, and white with the fear of the foe,
And the stars that fight in their courses 'gainst tyrants its symbols know.

Come hither, thou son of my mother! we were reared in the selfsame arms;
Thou hast many a pleasant gesture, thy mind hath its fights and charms,
But my heart is as stern to question as mine eyes are of sorrows full:
Salute the flag in its virtue, or pass on where others rule.

Thou lord of a thousand acres, with heaps of uncounted gold,
The steeds of thy stall are haughty, thy lackeys cunning and bold:
I envy no jot of thy splendor, I rail at thy follies none:
Salute the flag in its virtue, or leave my poor house alone.

Fair lady with silken trappings, high waving thy stainless plume,
We welcome thee to our numbers, a flower of costliest bloom:
Let a hundred maids live widowed to furnish thy bridal bed;
But pause where the flag doth question, and bend thy triumphant head.

Take down now your flaunting banner, for a scout comes breathless and pale,
With the terror death upon him; of failure is all his tale:
'They have fled while the flag waved o'er them! they have turned to the foe their back!
They are scattered, pursued, and slaughtered! the fields are all rout and wrack!'

Pass hence, then, the friends I gathered, a goodly company!
All ye that have manhood in you, go, perish for Liberty!
But I and the babes God gave me will wait with uplifted hearts,
With the firm smile ready to kindle, and the will to perform our parts.

When the last true heart lies bloodless, when the fierce and the false have won,
I'll press in turn to my ***** each daughter and either son;
Bid them loose the flag from its bearings, and we'll lay us down to rest
With the glory of home about us, and its freedom locked in our breast.
Mark Lecuona Jul 2015
They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to Bull Connor
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I saw fire hoses and dogs
I thought it was a television show
I hoped it wasn’t true

They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to Martin Luther King, Jr.
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I saw a man pointing from a balcony
Another man lay dead
I hoped it wasn’t true

They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to George Wallace
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I saw a man standing in a doorway
He wouldn’t let another man in
I hoped it wasn’t true

They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to Cassius Clay
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I saw a man win a medal
I saw him throw it into a river
I hoped it wasn’t true

They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to a Grand Wizard
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I saw a man wearing a robe
He lit a cross on fire
I hoped it wasn’t true

They showed me a flag when I was a child
I was standing next to a black Panther
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I thought I should wait

I heard a man say something
“Teach people to stop being inhuman”
I thought maybe it was true

They showed me a flag when I was a Dad
I was standing next to my son
He looked at me
But I said nothing
I wondered if I should wait

I thought he should have his own opinion
It was time that I give him mine
I finally knew what was true

They showed me a flag when I was a sinner
I was standing next to a cross
It stood silently as I looked
This time I said something
I knew I could no longer wait

What man can judge another?
When a flag reminds them of their dead brothers
I need to tell everyone what was true
Pearson Bolt Sep 2015
a black flag is suspended
above the garden in
my front lawn
it flexes in dawn's sweet  
breeze and ***** in the
mid-morning sun then snaps
in afternoon gusts
before weathering the storms of
early dusk and ultimately subsiding
into the relative serenity of an
uncertain twilight

a black flag prepared to
face the elements once more
at a moment's notice

even now i hear it slapping and cracking
as if it were possessed by
the manifestation of the people's will
an outcry indignant at the indignities
humankind and this good earth have suffered
at the hands of faceless men and
women who succumb to
the illusion of dominance

i take that black flag down
whenever i go out my front door
i fold it up into a tiny handkerchief
tuck it neatly in my breast-pocket
where it rests mere millimeters
from my heart as i do what i can
to teach my students to live
with such vibrant tenacity
that their very existence is
an act of rebellion

i wear the black flag around my neck
every time i go to shows it
soars behind me and i
feel superhuman as i stand and
sing in tandem with a myriad of
friends in the throes of some
melodious cadence harmonizing with
down-tuned guitars and pile-driving percussion
the rest of the galaxy and i lose track of
space and time adrift  
in the rhythms of resistance

i tie the black flag around my head
to keep back the sweat beading about my
brow every time i bend down and
break my back once more for my
corporate overlords who can no longer
see the forest for the trees let alone
be somehow appeased by the simple joy
of sharing books with random strangers
their eyes are glazed green with envy
and i wonder when they sold their
souls to the devils on capitol hill

i wave the black flag at protests
as we occupy the streets and
feed the homeless and cheer
wildly for complete liberty
in time with the beat of drums
our footsteps aiding in a
procession that shakes the houses of
decadence capitalists lurk within and
causes the corrupt to tremble
with trepidation as they turn to one
rich white neighbor after the other
and ask one another
what have we done

like no flag before it and no banner since
the black flag waves all humanity away
from the precipice upon which we lean
so perilously teetering over the edge
flirting with death inches away from
a bottomless abyss

its blackness stands in stark contrast
from the blue hues that evoke oceanic
divides or the red streaks symbolizing
bloodshed or the white blotches that elicit
some tacit implication
of supremacy and exceptionalism

it is black
whole and uniform
indicative not of segregation and
national barriers but of unity
universal fraternity that comes not
from conformity but out of a genuine
desire to recognize the inherent dignity
of all humanity—even those with whom
we might vehemently disagree

there is not a shred of
cowardice in the black flag
it means no surrender
it recognizes no authority
it is not subservient to a titular country
but predicated on the principle that
freedom equality and responsibility
are not trigger words for
selling successful political campaigns
but are the natural and inherent virtues
that make us sentient human beings

the black flag defies
the oligarchic minority and
returns once more to the wellspring
of individuality and community and in
doing so produces a space where
originality is the centripetal force

power to the people now
invert the stars and stripes before
turning them to fuel for the fires
in our chests like Prometheus we wrest
divinity from the gods masquerading above
us in the halls of congress and the senate
white houses are not temples of worship
we have it in us to create a community
where we don't need representation
where we determine our own future

revolution is a lived concept

a black flag is suspended
above the garden in
my front lawn
it flexes in dawn's sweet  
breeze and ***** in the
mid-morning sun then snaps
in afternoon gusts
before weathering the storms of
early dusk and ultimately subsiding
into the relative serenity of an
uncertain twilight
Imanuel Baca Nov 2018
A damaged broken flag is fluttering in the wind
It clings lichen like to wood melted by time
You can not not see it tear and rip
As entropy begins to take its pleasures
And rain soaks and mold consumes
Still the flag bravely flutters flapping
The flag has long been sun bleached white
As though to say it has surrendered
But you can see it's tenacity
A white dove soars above tenderly
The flag fights on against the wind
It's mighty reaching as though to say:
I long to soar above this sorry world
And through will and destiny ever so rarely align
A great Storm rolls down the mountain
The flag cries out in full mast, full form
It's wooden anchor holding fast
But the the wood gives a gentle sigh and groan
“Old friend I can fight no more. Let me rest and you have you day of flight.”
And with a cracking moan, the old wood bid the flag goodnight
And then that single white flag did fly
As the Storm broke upon the sky
And sunlight rays pierced through
Turning, up world ravaged lands so blue
And then the birds all took flight.
And the flag flew proud
Though rip battered rotten and torn
The flag was see by all with the message to which it was born
“We can all be free if we really fight and endure, However briefly that is.”
What do you think the metaphorical symbolism of flags is?
Pip Jun 2018
From the top of the highest peak
Stands the lone flag of victory
They say it's been there
Since the start of the war
For as long as human eyes can see

It's made of colors
Never used in war
Never bloodstained once
Like all others before

The lone flag of victory
Never tasted defeat
Which is funny
Considering
Victory's not its feat

It's a proclomation
A demostration
A flag of sight and flight
Every victory that crept in
Under the flag's pearly gates
Never paid with blood

The people of the world
Consider it humane
The ways a war can be won

Bloodshed is a price
The slaves are willing to pay
But the rich ponder the terms
In which they can make escape

Only smart individuals
Know what that flag means
It's a crack just along the nape
The flag knows no bloodshed and sorrow
Maybe it'll come down today
Or maybe tomorrow

We can't be sure
Why God sat that flag up so high
Resulting in the calling
Of many to come and die

The flag of purple and white and red
The flag of millions of long forgotten dead
The golden emblem that rivals the sun
Years upon years ago
The fight had just begun
Eh this isn't that good
Test Ting Won To Tree
By
Charles Fleischer







Rifleman decal water is to Tiny basket liners as Strained yo-yo string is to?
Dark wool glowing is to Oldest lost oddity as First genetic engine is to?
Black quail taint is to Nut curdled paint as Hemp biscuit dominoes are to?
Steam traced paper is to Lemon ash vapor as Digital ****** wig is to?
Eccentric brine mimes are to Electric silk slacks as Spark formed lava is to?
Sunchoked black hornets are to as Rescued orphan doves as Retold cat jokes are to?
Hand traced videos are to Braided rubber spines as Opal rain dancers are to?
Halogen anchor gong is to Annoying bread portraits as Soft bracelet lockers are to?
Old troll bios are to Select cherub echoes as Broken matchstick parasols are to?
Dome nine chariots are to Frayed lunar remnants as Fuming honey flasks are to?
Bluing assault operas is to Beading fluted flowers as Magnetic lawn tweezers are to?
Converted flea sponges are to Floating dog murals as Frozen Archie comics are to?
Molded road pads are to Crusty gumdrop thread as Straw ribbed pelicans are to?
Inflatable diamond vowel is to Single gender raffle as Groovy desert coffee is to?
Temporary solution radiation is to Idiotic witness mumble as Motorized marshmallow kit is to?
Panoramic utopian paranoia is to Aggravated **** silhouettes as Unhinged gun sellers are to?
Homesick ghost pajamas is to Virtuous fly fungus as Royal sandpaper gloves are to?
Gangster hayride tickets are to Deer milk Oreos as Turnip fairy maps are to?
Glue gun **** is to Nocturnal cabin mice as Cab fare corn is to?
Speckled fish nickels are to Under water bric-a-brac as Epic snakeskin paisley is to?
******* bungalow pranks are to Drowsy vapid oafs as Quantized cavern fish are to?
Raunchy snail kimono is to Coiled time dice as Smeared equator malt is to?
Metallic centaur franchise is to Transparent cheese chess as Spotted glacial remnants is to?
Sky fused pong is to Rustic mothers brattle as Granulated canister ointment is to?
Overgrown maze mule is to Mated smugglers hugging as Floating thesaurus exam is to?
Sliding coed sprinkler is to Soapy whitefish rebate as Precious lamb diaper is to?
Mushy acorn luster is to Lilac protein rings as Slapstick wrestler dialect is to?
Freaky plankton bells is to Rolling horse divorce as Morphing morphine lips are to?
Sticky razor sparkle is to Emerald muscle spasm as Glaring cat cipher is to?
Peppy unisex mustache is to Pelican fighter syndrome as Clumping night grumble is to?
Scanning paired pearls are to Ruby rubbed roaches as Satanic sailor flotsam  are to?
Glowing asteroid solder is to Ideal shark data as Failed frail doilies are to?
Numb nuts boredom is to Fantastic icy phantoms as Sporadic silk creations is to?
Crooks crow chow is to Loading spackled bonder as Gargled snowdrop blasters are to?
Outdid myself today is to Outside myself again as Outlived myself controls is to?
Venting shuttlecock upset is to Texting badminton kitten as Settler tested motels are to?
Prepare paired vents is to Prefer paid events as Pretender predicts fiction is to
Crunchy mental fender is to Catching mentor menace as Poorly seasoned lettuce is to?
Outside sidewalk inside is to Seaside outcast input as Sideways landslide victory is to?  
Compile fake password is to Compost world poo as Compose village anthem is to?
Crooked crotch blunder is to Loud crowd thunder as Divine vine finder is to?
Chucks’ wooden truck is to Bucks good luck as Sticky ducks tucked is to?  
Overhaul underway overseas is to Overturned downsized pickup as Underground onramp overloaded is to?
I’ll bite there is to Aisle byte their as Isle bight there is to?
Gnat gnawed wrist is to ***** show beans as See through putty is to?
Flapping floppy guppies are to Buzzing zipped dozers as Muddy ****** strippers are to?
Dark diagonal dialogue is to Diabolical dihedral die as Interesting circadian exposition is to?
Experimental flossing expectations are to Waxed dental traps as Permanent impermanence resolution is to?  
Outran ringside intrigue is to Sidetracked onboard boatload as Loaded firearm topside is to?
Phony ****** phone is to Chewy ego honey as Yogi Mama’s dada is to?
Nimble teardrop squiggle is to Humble cage curtains as Loyal truckstop morals are to?
Torching curled elastic is to Sonic neighbor clamor as Golden droplet integers are to?
Duplex pupil scanners are to Nacreous cloud clocks as Shrouded flute shops are to?
Lawn rocket tendrils are to Finding surreal borders as Sheep monarchs children is to?
Gloating ungloved squires are to Busting double doubters as Pushing woeful doctors are to?
Tricking snowbelt firedogs is to Panmixing blackened haywires as Unclothed shameful leaders are to?
Malicious ranch ritual is to Internal puppet bubble as Ornate underworld masquerade is to?
Rustic debonair Eskimos are to Mindless sassy elves as Gorgeous somber acrobats are to?
Learned earthy pimps are to Fearless sneaky Queens as Somber gentle vagrants are to?
Shocking horse wear is to Glossy sled fluid as Damaged chipmunk tongue is to?
Traditional agony chart is to Damp voodoo motel as Backwoods museum quote is to?
Magical cat cabin is to Dapper porpoise humor as Malicious graveyard foam is to?
Therapeutic gazelle cushion is to Stored alibi equipment as Stunning tempo light is to?
Fantastic rascal art is to Wasted prune dust as Jupiter’s ****** law is to?
Little nut razor is to Gigantic hyena shield as Hourglass pillow fever is to?
Coiled rain clouds are to Dizzy tycoon clowns as Lime eating cowards are to?
Possessive epicurean demonstrators are to Faded eavesdropping giants as Determined swanky drunks are to?
Aquatic preview pocket is to Soggy judicial topiary as Finicky hamster fabric is to?
Enlarged fruit cuff is to Obedient mumbling orchestra as Dark tenant tariff is to?
Recycled flash thermometer is to Botched temptation probe as Pet glider grid is to?
Seriously shy idols are to Costly driving perfumes as Ferryboat chapel wine is to?
Winged jalopy details are to Faithful spectral fathers as Sprinkled mint rainbows are to?
Spelling unneeded words is to Sprouting donut ***** as Blaming mellow mallrats are to?
Eroding loom keepsake is to Magnificent accordion canoe as ***** bongo fumes are to?
Souring violet ink is to Juvenile insult park as Periodic ferret envy is to?
Obedient boyfriend aroma is to Sanitized fat lozenges as Dramatic jailer garb is to?
Mysterious patrol group is to Dynamic maiden discharge as Captured hurricane ratio is to?
Lackadaisical bigot bingo is to Oblong care merchant as Expensive swamp shampoo is to?
Petite orifice worship is to Atomic barge pet as Plucked hair exhibit is to?
Elite officer wallop is to Automatic yard rake as Healing ****** glitter is to?
Needless swan costume is to Giant jungle goat as Organic picnic napkin is to?
Leaky jet steam is to Innovative fascist whistle as Enchanting idol evidence is to?
Plastic mascara seduction is to Greasy thermal ointment as Attractive muskrat crease is to?
Lucky camel pills are to White coral Torah as Eternal stage clutter is to?
Roasted oat **** is to Sloppy *** glue as Nylon table debt is to?
Steep nook catastrophe is to Empty dome damage as Pulsing breeze powder is to?
Empty sack power is to Hitched buck stroke as Red claw warning is to?
Ultra brief slogan is to Yummy lab mutant as Pathetic ball armor is to?
Nauseating fish splatter is to Obstinate ****** twitch as Strained ***** coffee is to?
Mezzanine intermission fossil is to Proven **** apathy as Golden duck shroud is to?
Civil tutors torment is to Thor’s posted theory as Yellow melon rain is to?
Immense olive raft is to Exploding kangaroo buffet as Ethereal witness index is to?  
Marching dark speeders are to Searing scribble fighters as **** tripping sinners are to?
Seeping viral angst is to Aged hermit tea as Murky bowl nibble is to?
Condensed blister guzzle is to Pink dorsal pie as Lavish speckled runt is to?
Needy insult poet is to Sedated acorn trader as Dry honey zoo is to?
Veiled trust flicker is to Deranged poser fashion as Flat sizzle tangent is to?
Purified diet spray is to Nebulous wishing target as Thrilling screen dope is to?
Majestic ribbon astronomy is to Bizarre formation sector as Rebel bell gimmick is to?
Sealed dart whisper is to Green silk draft as Cold vacuum varnish is to?
Clumsy raven power is to Insect island circus as Minted mink drapes are to?
Curved map ruler is to Tiny lethal radio as Blue fused metal is to?
Inverted laser invasion is to Damp sheep dump as Puffy gown smoke is to?
Saucy Channel blazer is to Leather goat filament as Starched locomotive hat is to?
Broken jumper leads are to Disgraced mini exorcists as Designer shamrock caulk is to?
Tweaked poachers smokes are to Assorted sulfur pathways as Collected bedlamp trickle is to?
******* bungalow pranks are to Drowsy vapid oafs as Quantized cavern fish are to?
Crawling battle worms are to Vibrating metal pedals as Mentholated matrix wax is to?
Missing meshed rafts are to Liquid rock pipes as Crinkled bean bikinis are to?
Tithing **** joggers are to Perforated buck fronds as Leather zither picks are to?
Fearing truthful cowards is to Rambling preachers mumble as Gazebo ambulance gasoline is to?
Shelving elder’s whiskers is to Poaching goalies pesto as Radical tricycle angst is to?
Mucky gunboat polymer is to Primeval maypole flameout as Cathedral greenhouse intercom is to?
Diaphanous safety prize is to Unleashed saucer lion as Dorky blonde ropewalker is to?
Tapered spring meter is to Silver silo mythology as Misguided judges medallions are to?
Alligator x-ray money is to Cherry unicorn water as Coyote cactus toy is to?
Cowardly dorm scrooge is to Atomized pewter script as Flattened spore smoothies are to?
Trash can yodel is to Flashing wired spam as Exploding chocolate pudding is to?
Sonar blasted bushings are to Threading ruined wheels as Forty shifting boxes are to?
Tiny balloon rebellion is to Softened square cleanser as Iconic soul sucker is to?
Harmony night light is to Spanish nitrogen desire as Squirrel cavern iodine is to?

Lazy winter secret is to Slow airport widget as Silly mustard binder is to?
Elephants raising raisins are to Microscopic lamb planet as Purple hay puppets are to?
Caribou venom vaccine is to Electronic lemonade choir as Demonic princess massage is to?
Beet coated bridge is to Fattened needle point as Mylar monkey spine is to?
Ashy ink dust is to Youngest rabbi planet as Orange cartoon geometry is to?
Cold green chalk is to Cobalt ladder farce as ***** river filters are to?
Sublime sheep master is to Sleeping past rapture as Subliminal bliss jelly is to?
Ocean crust slippers are to Twigged germ radar as Popping sharpie scope is to?
Zen wrapped beep is to Oak foamed code as Wicked flashing sizzle is to?
Dew eyed sleigh is to Say I do as Act as me is to?
Humpback on hammock is to Ham hocking hummer as Hunchback with knapsack is to?
Corned flag jelly is to Draped wing chewers as Tripping swan acid is to?
Futuristic Rembrandt chant is to Almond likened meadows as Asian timber blue is to?
Nap in sack is to Flap on Jack as Ducks dig crack is to?
Flowing flavored lava is to Gleaming optic layers as Enhanced goose gibberish is to?      
Flag tied pajamas are to Saline checker choir as Speed reading quotas is to?
Whipped spam spasms are to Misted shaman scripture as Testing pitched bells is to?
Cave aged eggs are to Crowded tiger cages as ****** wagon pegs are to?
Pigeon towed car is to a Man toad art as Wolf whisker wish is to?
Second hand clothes are to Minute hand gestures as Final hour prayer is to?
Slick wicked shavers are to Tricky watch boxes as Sprouting pine tattoos are to?
Waxed stick ravens are to Match stick foxes as Narrowed thermal towers are to?
Ice cave rice is to Laced face lice as Gourmet pet **** is to?
Diamond lane anniversary is to Space age appropriate as Time travel agency is to?
Lime bark violin is to Lemon twig guitar as Lunar sky waffles are to?
Fake rat **** is to Smart cake batter as Rugged fur tax is to?
Tarred raft fluff is to Flaked rafter dust as Lined liquor flask is to?
Flakes will fall is to Take Bills call as Broken maze compass is to?
First faked voter is to Entombed cartoon honey as Smallest aching smurf is to?
Fancy bared ******* are to Flaky fairy treats as Kings amp filter is to?
Bone window folio is to Whittled fake pillow as Little fitted jackets are to?
Nine nuts brittle is to Ate pear pie as Six packed poppers are to?
Incandescent playground pencil is to Elastic hand worm as Perfumed piano ink is to?
Opal shifting anode is to a Windup lion decoy as Pale paisley trolley is to?
Stacked black boxes are to Old packed tracks as a Throwing micron hammers is to?
Apricot bark furnace is to Merry Orchid Choir as an Ivory rinsing funnel is to?  
Narcotic honey nuts are to Slick flag toffees as Silk fig sugar is to?
Orange coin raisins are to Low note candies as Smelling balled roses is to?
Pocket packed monotints are to Tragic ladder hayracks as Ravishing speed traders are to?
Crayon spider resin is to Coral squirrel forceps as Wolf tumbled loaf is to?  
Silver wheat flies are to Width shifting wheels as Golden blister blankets are to?
Really tiny hippopotamus is to Masked fat podiatrist as a Sad sack psychiatrist is to?
Miniature Mesopotamian monuments are to Apple minted elephants as Raising wise ravens is to?
Lathered nymph nacre is to Sonic ion constellations as Concealed iron craft is to?  
Epic gene toy is to Ladies bubble sled as Jagged data bowl is to?
Bugged dagger bag is to Pop sliced meld as Atom bending moonlight to?  
Rural madam’s deed is to Dyed dew dipper as Eight sprayed dukes are to?
Jiffy grand puffer is to Floating altar myth as Vintage dark mirth is to?
Undercover overnight underwear is to Overpaid undertaker overdosing as Overheard understudy freebasing is to?

Black grape crackle is to Red cactus ruffle as Installing padded pets are to?
Snide snobs sniffing are to Sneaky snails snoring as Snared snipes sneezing are to?
Exploring explosive exits is to Explaining expansive exports as Expecting expert exchange is to?
Shrewd logic ledger is to Puppets dropping cupcakes as Placated topaz octopi are to?
Door roof tools are to Cool wool boots as Wood cooked root is to?
Bright fight light is to Night flight fright as Mites bite site is to?
Floor flood fluid is to Wooden door Druid as Nasty **** broom is to?
Accurate police photography is to Intelligent microbe geography as Condensed aerosol biography is to?
Cowardly cowboy grime is to Corpulent corporate crime as Bosnian dwarf necromancer is to?
Jell-O clearing shaker is to Brillo cleaning shiner as Cheerios bowling shields are to?
Mumbled mindless hokey is to Fumbled found money as Humming kinder bunny is to?
Daisy’s clock setter is to Lilly’s boxer toxin as Poodles rose paddle is to?
Watch Bozo Copernicus is to Hire Clarabelle Newton as Find ***-wee Einstein is to?
Amethyst thistle whistles is to Lapis pistol whip as Diamond bomb scar is to?
Dandelion seahorse rescue is to Crabapple dogwood farm as Faux foxglove lover is to?    
Optical poppy stopper is to Polar halo lens as Day-Glo rainbow sticker is to?
Savanna leopard spotted is to Eskimo lassos kisses as Alligator lemonade standard is to?
Bill of Rights is to Will of left as Thrill of night is to?
Baptize floozies quickly is to Useless outsized nozzles as Puzzled wizard wanders is to?        
Chaps wearing chaps are to Chaps contesting contests as Consoling concealed consoles is to?
Quiet squirming squirrels are to Aeon beauty queens as Queasy greasy luaus is to?
Knew new gnu is to Sense scents cents as We’ll wheal wheel is to?
Blazing zingers ringing are to Wheezing singers flinging as Freezing finger number are to?
Lamb tomb jogger is to Dumb numb **** as Thumbed crumb bug is to?

Blue accordion casket is to Jaded scholar ***** as German mushroom circus is to?
President George Flintstone is to Funny Fred Washington as Abraham Jetson’s dog is to?
Google Desmond Tutu is to Kalamazoo Zoo Park as Zodiac actors Guru is to?
Swamp cradled whisperer is to Cherished drawbridge cello as Bludgeoned prankster outlaws are to?
Dukes pink mittens are to Smeared nest carava
Dieorfree Dec 2012
I will raise my white flag,

It not represents any weak

Or surrender, it not represent any ******* thing

Just my soul, my dream, hope, fear, heart, mind

Just

Blink

Like that cold white flag

So you can see it from every where

And not approach, not try to help me from hell

Not try to do anything

Just leave me

With the flag… I do not need your ship

Mind, thought, all I need

A lighter to burn my used up dream

Burn the far away smile

Burn the old love story

Burn the empty space’s between my finger’s because it make me remember how I miss her  

Burn the sand that makes feel soft, and the sea water that make feel free

Burn all the stars when im alone to make just one wish

My flag will feel my heart beat

Will wave me as the wind talk to me

And tell me more secret’s

So when you see my flag, my white flag

Know that

Im

Ok.
Charles Sturies Jan 2018
I say it's tarnished because it's been through the ugliness of the sixties, what with the divisiveness the Vietnam War caused.

I have an acquaintance who has a t-shirt that says "these colors don't bleed" and then shows the American flag.

I say they're bleeding now because of the unnecessary blood shed by our boys in Vietnam mixing perhaps with the red blood of America as symbolized by the red stripes on the flag. All because there were these chicken-**** draft dodgers, at least in my own opinion, who with their squawking about serving seemed to egg the war on and on and the unnecessary bloodshed it caused.

I do respect the symbolic nature of the beauty of the American flag and can recall when I was still rather patriotic suggesting to my father, a retired West Point combat army colonel, to get a flag pole in our front yard at one of the houses we lived in the Champaign-Urbana area and fly the flag every day long before it was done even in other parts of the country.

I could be wrong there. Anyway there was an article in the local paper about it that near as I can remember implied that or else it was at least a first for Champaign-Urbana according to what they said.

I think I'm getting patriotic enough again to definitely want the flag to not be burned, etc.

Yeah, me and the flag these days
Charles Sturies
Ron Tranmer Nov 2011
The flag of our nation, a flag under God.
To our flag we will always be true.
Stand proud, stand tall with hand over heart,
as we honor the red, white, and blue.

A symbol of freedom. A banner for all
who reside underneath it’s proud wave.
Though battered and torn, shattered and worn,
It flies, o’er the home of the brave.

Stand proud, stand tall, with hand over heart,
with respect for this flag we so love.
May this land always be, strong and free,
and protected by God from above.

We are a proud nation. One under God.
It was He who gave us this land.
Free we remain, to praise His great name.
Rise up, and for God make a stand.

Our flag has flown high over battlefields.
Covered caskets of daughters and sons.
Great is the cost, through lives that are lost.
We we’ll gratefully remember each one.

Stand proud, stand tall, with hand over heart,
with respect for this flag that we love.
May this land always be, strong and free,
and protected by God from above.
Mark Lecuona Apr 2012
She sees the parade for you
The honor and the respect
But it only makes her cry
What could anyone expect?

It’s as if they want you to die
So they can hand her a folded flag
And walk the fields of glory
As your soul wears a dog tag

She married you soldier
Not the flag
She didn’t marry the war
She didn’t marry the sound
Of battle in her dreams
She married you soldier
Not the flag

She doesn’t want to feel proud
She just wants you to come home
You spend your life in everyone's prayers
While she sits silent with fears that roam

We feel safe because they walk the wall
But the wife of a soldier waits for the news
The news that the hero was her man
The news that her fears freedom would choose

She married you soldier
Not the flag
She didn’t marry the war
She didn’t marry the sound
Of battle in her dreams
She married you soldier
Not the flag
Cass was the youngest and most beautiful of 5 sisters. Cass was the most beautiful girl
in town. 1/2 Indian with a supple and strange body, a snake-like and fiery body with eyes
to go with it. Cass was fluid moving fire. She was like a spirit stuck into a form that
would not hold her. Her hair was black and long and silken and whirled about as did her
body. Her spirit was either very high or very low. There was no in between for Cass. Some
said she was crazy. The dull ones said that. The dull ones would never understand Cass. To
the men she was simply a *** machine and they didn't care whether she was crazy or not.
And Cass danced and flirted, kissed the men, but except for an instance or two, when it
came time to make it with Cass, Cass had somehow slipped away, eluded the men.
Her sisters accused her of misusing her beauty, of not using her mind enough, but Cass
had mind and spirit; she painted, she danced, she sang, she made things of clay, and when
people were hurt either in the spirit or the flesh, Cass felt a deep grieving for them.
Her mind was simply different; her mind was simply not practical. Her sisters were jealous
of her because she attracted their men, and they were angry because they felt she didn't
make the best use of them. She had a habit of being kind to the uglier ones; the so-called
handsome men revolted her- "No guts," she said, "no zap. They are riding on
their perfect little earlobes and well- shaped nostrils...all surface and no
insides..." She had a temper that came close to insanity, she had a temper that some
call insanity. Her father had died of alcohol and her mother had run off leaving the
girls alone. The girls went to a relative who placed them in a convent. The convent had
been an unhappy place, more for Cass than the sisters. The girls were jealous of Cass and
Cass fought most of them. She had razor marks all along her left arm from defending
herself in two fights. There was also a permanent scar along the left cheek but the scar
rather than lessening her beauty only seemed to highlight it. I met her at the West End
Bar several nights after her release from the convent. Being youngest, she was the last of
the sisters to be released. She simply came in and sat next to me. I was probably the
ugliest man in town and this might have had something to do with it.
"Drink?" I asked.
"Sure, why not?"
I don't suppose there was anything unusual in our conversation that night, it was
simply in the feeling Cass gave. She had chosen me and it was as simple as that. No
pressure. She liked her drinks and had a great number of them. She didn't seem quite of
age but they served he anyhow. Perhaps she had forged i.d., I don't know. Anyhow, each
time she came back from the restroom and sat down next to me, I did feel some pride. She
was not only the most beautiful woman in town but also one of the most beautiful I had
ever seen. I placed my arm about her waist and kissed her once.
"Do you think I'm pretty?" she asked.
"Yes, of course, but there's something else... there's more than your
looks..."
"People are always accusing me of being pretty. Do you really think I'm
pretty?"
"Pretty isn't the word, it hardly does you fair."
Cass reached into her handbag. I thought she was reaching for her handkerchief. She
came out with a long hatpin. Before I could stop her she had run this long hatpin through
her nose, sideways, just above the nostrils. I felt disgust and horror. She looked at me
and laughed, "Now do you think me pretty? What do you think now, man?" I pulled
the hatpin out and held my handkerchief over the bleeding. Several people, including the
bartender, had seen the act. The bartender came down:
"Look," he said to Cass, "you act up again and you're out. We don't need
your dramatics here."
"Oh, *******, man!" she said.
"Better keep her straight," the bartender said to me.
"She'll be all right," I said.
"It's my nose, I can do what I want with my nose."
"No," I said, "it hurts me."
"You mean it hurts you when I stick a pin in my nose?"
"Yes, it does, I mean it."
"All right, I won't do it again. Cheer up."
She kissed me, rather grinning through the kiss and holding the handkerchief to her
nose. We left for my place at closing time. I had some beer and we sat there talking. It
was then that I got the perception of her as a person full of kindness and caring. She
gave herself away without knowing it. At the same time she would leap back into areas of
wildness and incoherence. Schitzi. A beautiful and spiritual schitzi. Perhaps some man,
something, would ruin her forever. I hoped that it wouldn't be me. We went to bed and
after I turned out the lights Cass asked me,
"When do you want it? Now or in the morning?"
"In the morning," I said and turned my back.
In the morning I got up and made a couple of coffees, brought her one in bed. She
laughed.
"You're the first man who has turned it down at night."
"It's o.k.," I said, "we needn't do it at all."
"No, wait, I want to now. Let me freshen up a bit."
Cass went into the bathroom. She came out shortly, looking quite wonderful, her long
black hair glistening, her eyes and lips glistening, her glistening... She displayed her
body calmly, as a good thing. She got under the sheet.
"Come on, lover man."
I got in. She kissed with abandon but without haste. I let my hands run over her body,
through her hair. I mounted. It was hot, and tight. I began to stroke slowly, wanting to
make it last. Her eyes looked directly into mine.
"What's your name?" I asked.
"What the hell difference does it make?" she asked.
I laughed and went on ahead. Afterwards she dressed and I drove her back to the bar but
she was difficult to forget. I wasn't working and I slept until 2 p.m. then got up and
read the paper. I was in the bathtub when she came in with a large leaf- an elephant ear.
"I knew you'd be in the bathtub," she said, "so I brought you something
to cover that thing with, nature boy."
She threw the elephant leaf down on me in the bathtub.
"How did you know I'd be in the tub?"
"I knew."
Almost every day Cass arrived when I was in the tub. The times were different but she
seldom missed, and there was the elephant leaf. And then we'd make love. One or two nights
she phoned and I had to bail her out of jail for drunkenness and fighting.
"These sons of *******," she said, "just because they buy you a few
drinks they think they can get into your pants."
"Once you accept a drink you create your own trouble."
"I thought they were interested in me, not just my body."
"I'm interested in you and your body. I doubt, though, that most men can see
beyond your body."
I left town for 6 months, bummed around, came back. I had never forgotten Cass, but
we'd had some type of argument and I felt like moving anyhow, and when I got back i
figured she'd be gone, but I had been sitting in the West End Bar about 30 minutes when
she walked in and sat down next to me.
"Well, *******, I see you've come back."
I ordered her a drink. Then I looked at her. She had on a high- necked dress. I had
never seen her in one of those. And under each eye, driven in, were 2 pins with glass
heads. All you could see were the heads of the pins, but the pins were driven down into
her face.
"******* you, still trying to destroy your beauty, eh?"
"No, it's the fad, you fool."
"You're crazy."
"I've missed you," she said.
"Is there anybody else?"
"No there isn't anybody else. Just you. But I'm hustling. It costs ten bucks. But
you get it free."
"Pull those pins out."
"No, it's the fad."
"It's making me very unhappy."
"Are you sure?"
"Hell yes, I'm sure."
Cass slowly pulled the pins out and put them back in her purse.
"Why do you haggle your beauty?" I asked. "Why don't you just live with
it?"
"Because people think it's all I have. Beauty is nothing, beauty won't stay. You
don't know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you you know it's for
something else."
"O.k.," I said, "I'm lucky."
"I don't mean you're ugly. People just think you're ugly. You have a fascinating
face."
"Thanks."
We had another drink.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
"Nothing. I can't get on to anything. No interest."
"Me neither. If you were a woman you could hustle."
"I don't think I could ever make contact with that many strangers, it's
wearing."
"You're right, it's wearing, everything is wearing."
We left together. People still stared at Cass on the streets. She was a beautiful
woman, perhaps more beautiful than ever. We made it to my place and I opened a bottle of
wine and we talked. With Cass and I, it always came easy. She talked a while and I would
listen and then i would talk. Our conversation simply went along without strain. We seemed
to discover secrets together. When we discovered a good one Cass would laugh that laugh-
only the way she could. It was like joy out of fire. Through the talking we kissed and
moved closer together. We became quite heated and decided to go to bed. It was then that
Cass took off her high -necked dress and I saw it- the ugly jagged scar across her throat.
It was large and thick.
"******* you, woman," I said from the bed, "******* you, what have you
done?
"I tried it with a broken bottle one night. Don't you like me any more? Am I still
beautiful?"
I pulled her down on the bed and kissed her. She pushed away and laughed, "Some
men pay me ten and I undress and they don't want to do it. I keep the ten. It's very
funny."
"Yes," I said, "I can't stop laughing... Cass, *****, I love you...stop
destroying yourself; you're the most alive woman I've ever met."
We kissed again. Cass was crying without sound. I could feel the tears. The long black
hair lay beside me like a flag of death. We enjoined and made slow and somber and
wonderful love. In the morning Cass was up making breakfast. She seemed quite calm and
happy. She was singing. I stayed in bed and enjoyed her happiness. Finally she came over
and shook me,
"Up, *******! Throw some cold water on your face and pecker and come enjoy the
feast!"
I drove her to the beach that day. It was a weekday and not yet summer so things were
splendidly deserted. Beach bums in rags slept on the lawns above the sand. Others sat on
stone benches sharing a lone bottle. The gulls whirled about, mindless yet distracted. Old
ladies in their 70's and 80's sat on the benches and discussed selling real estate left
behind by husbands long ago killed by the pace and stupidity of survival. For it all,
there was peace in the air and we walked about and stretched on the lawns and didn't say
much. It simply felt good being together. I bought a couple of sandwiches, some chips and
drinks and we sat on the sand eating. Then I held Cass and we slept together about an
hour. It was somehow better than *******. There was flowing together without tension.
When we awakened we drove back to my place and I cooked a dinner. After dinner I suggested
to Cass that we shack together. She waited a long time, looking at me, then she slowly
said, "No." I drove her back to the bar, bought her a drink and walked out. I
found a job as a parker in a factory the next day and the rest of the week went to
working. I was too tired to get about much but that Friday night I did get to the West End
Bar. I sat and waited for Cass. Hours went by . After I was fairly drunk the bartender
said to me, "I'm sorry about your girlfriend."
"What is it?" I asked.
"I'm sorry, didn't you know?"
"No."
"Suicide. She was buried yesterday."
"Buried?" I asked. It seemed as though she would walk through the doorway at
any moment. How could she be gone?
"Her sisters buried her."
"A suicide? Mind telling me how?"
"She cut her throat."
"I see. Give me another drink."
I drank until closing time. Cass was the most beautiful of 5 sisters, the most
beautiful in town. I managed to drive to my place and I kept thinking, I should have
insisted she stay with me instead of accepting that "no." Everything about her
had indicated that she had cared. I simply had been too offhand about it, lazy, too
unconcerned. I deserved my death and hers. I was a dog. No, why blame the dogs? I got up
and found a bottle of wine and drank from it heavily. Cass the most beautiful girl in town
was dead at 20. Outside somebody honked their automobile horn. They were very loud and
persistent. I sat the bottle down and screamed out: "******* YOU, YOU *******
,SHUT UP!" The night kept coming and there was nothing I could do.
wordvango Sep 2017
Mike Marshall  Patriotism

The politicians have been milking the patriotism cow for some time, at the same time they want to ignore veterans' needs. As soon as some citizen on the street or representative in Congress or the white house starts espousing patriotism, a big red flag goes up in my mind. "Patriotism" is the first refuge of carpetbaggers, and it trips my gag reflex.

True patriots are not shouting their esprit from the rooftops or in front of microphones. True patriots are quietly doing patriotic things and they ask for no recognition for doing what seems natural and necessary.

Our alleged leaders get us into wars that are unnecessary and often detrimental to our own best interests. Our soldiers, sailors, and airmen do their bidding, right or wrong. They do so without asking for anything from us except support. And we can support the soldiers without necessarily condoning the leaders who put them in harm’s way, and often forget about them when they come home, unless it's election time. Then these same self-gratifying idiots bring out the flags and thump their chests.

Let's remember the flag is merely a cloth with a design on it that represents some very great and lofty goals, including the right to express our opinions, our dreams, and our dissent. We cannot lessen the worthiness of those goals by burning a red white and blue piece of fabric or kneeling during the playing of our national anthem. But we can damage those aspirations and the symbolism of our flag and anthem by denying our fellow humans the right to express them.

Let's focus instead on upholding those things we believe in. Let's buy a meal for a homeless person. Let's make sure our neighbor does not have to choose between eating and buying needed medicine or health care. Let's ensure children don't have to go hungry. Let's endeavor to provide an affordable education to all of our children because that secures their future and the future of this country. The thing I have the least time to consider is whether or not some human is burning a flag or taking a knee somewhere. And standing for the anthem doesn't make you a patriot any more than wearing a cowboy hat makes you a cowboy.

Each verse of The Star-Spangled Banner ends with "O'er the land of the free." Both the flag and the anthem symbolize the freedoms our forefathers gave their lives for. Why? Because they valued those principles (freedom of speech, etc.) so highly. Freedom of expression is freedom of speech. That was decided hundreds of years ago. I would defend anyone's right to freely express themselves. That means they can stand, kneel, squat, sit, lay down, or stand on their heads. But I will never defend any person's right to suppress the very rights that our flag and anthem symbolize.
I reject the divisiveness of Trump and every other small mind that does not understand or appreciate how freedom of speech actually works and is actually represented by our flag and anthem.
The ultimate disrespect to our country, to our flag, to our national anthem, to our founding fathers, and to the soldiers who suffered for us to protect our right to take a knee is to deny the absolute freedom of speech embodied in our Constitution.
So well said in a comment I had to share it!  Bravo
Mike Marshall
mark john junor Nov 2016
burning a flag is also a symbol, a symbol of freedom in the face of tyranny, a symbol of protest against a nation whos people have come to believe no longer represents their interests, or openly try to curtail their freedoms (like burning the flag)...it is a symbol to our military personnel that they have gone out to fight for freedom, so that we here in america can have the right to express ourselves without fear of reprisal. the flag is the personal symbol of every american's right to speak and be heard, and if burning the flag is the only thing that tyrants and their willing followers will hear, then i am a proud american who will burn an american flag to protest this tyranny
Staff Sgt. Joseph D'Augustine
a proud Jersey son
whom Thou hast blessed
laid in St. Luke’s ground
for his heavenly rest
April 4, 2012

1.

in a far off province of
God forsaken Helmand,
our dear son Joey
met his untimely end

an explosive crack
a most terrible sound
felled a beloved Jersey son
to the cold cruel ground

working the live wires
of a well placed IED
a deathly burst killed him
it was awful to see  

Staff Sgt. Joseph D’Augustine
in solemn duty fell
fellow brothers in arms
will forever reverently tell

of courage and character
of a dear fallen friend
and how the valiant warrior
met with death at his end

for he was always faithful
to his beloved corps
comrades couldn't ask
a valiant marine for more


2.

details of his death
are not the real story
selflessness and bravery
are but part of his glory

is it brash to
question why he fell?
in a useless bitter war
an embroiled senseless hell

a generation mustered
to fight in the war on terror
serving four tours of duty
in a lost decade of errors

two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq
could a nation ask a man for more?
for he was always faithful to the call
upholding pledges he hath sworn

3.

the burden of war
to a  few confined
it rarely crosses
an American’s mind

incessant war machine
drones on apace
the horror of conflict
so cleverly displaced

with afternoon baseball
and super bowl parties
big disco paychecks
and other selfish priorities

pay hollow tribute
to dear weary troops
when valor is mentioned
we gather in groups

we’ll raise the flag
sing stirring anthems
than its back to the party
pay it no more attention

self styled patriots
wave handfuls of flags
but ask them to contribute
the zeal soon lags

its left to the few
to shoulder burdens of many
fairness is lost
its a democratic calamity

four tours in a decade
an inhumane task
burdens require sharing
its only fair to ask

Joey was always faithful
to the task at hand
willing to step forward
to serve his homeland


4.

in the wake of 9/11
a nation deeply shaken
young patriots stirred
liberty’s call not forsaken

a call to serve answered
to quell the rise of terror
a clear clarion alarm
marks the nature of the era

Joey boldly came forward
to train and learn
the art of warriors
his bright patriotism burned

deployed to Afghanistan
to capture Osama
routing the Taliban
without much problem

but a pacified Afghan
not enough for Bush
he invaded Iraq
another military push

we rolled into Baghdad
adorned with victors garlands
Saddam’s statue toppled
our troops were honored

deposing a dictators
soon turned to occupation
a ****** mission transformed
to build the Iraqi and Afghan nations

once honored liberators
now a conquering force
bestriding broken nations
on a civil war course

military industrialists
stood to profit most
sweet protracted conflict
record earnings to boast

lives bartered for lucre
a region held hostage
the conflict deepened
hostilities hardened

America dipped into
a great recession
the war machine
bled money and
kept on ticking

scooping up contracts
rewarding investors
the dividends of war
heaven sent treasure

continuation of hostilities
preys on a nation's youth
as casualties mount
ill portents forsoothed

a fraction of citizens
bare heartaches of war
gulping measures of despair
to guard a nations door

a nation always faithful
to the holy pursuit of profit
a highest citizens calling
put money into your pocket


5.

our beloved Jersey son
gave a full measure of devotion
in dress blues they shipped him
back across the ocean

on the Dover tarmac
they received his remains
for a last ride northward
to his hometown terrain

repatriated body
bereft of soul saluted
solemn escort knelt
hearts trembled, tears muted

a hearse for a gallant man
flanked by state troop cruisers
to escort the funeral train
assure an honored movement

one last trip up
old thunder road
the storied highway
Joey often trod

the last detail legged up 17
reverent firefighters saluted  
from overpasses
to honor  the woeful scene

as the motorcade passed
the Garden State Malls
frenzied consumers
failed to notice at all

busy window shoppers
didn't to turn an eye
as Joey rolled home
to the sweet by and by

vets interred at the
Old Paramus Church
gently stirred in their graves
reasons for war they search

Channel 12 Chopper
circled its eye in the sky
televised the sad parade
captured many teary eyes

the early spring blooms
colorful petals displayed
maples and forsythias
a royal carpet laid

spring remains always faithful
as the new season turns
offer sunshine and glory
as our sinking hearts burn

6.

motorcycle escort
northbound lane clear
rolling homeward
Waldwick was near

leaves exploding
green shoots budding
****** white maple blooms
natures accolades stunning

the oaks yet bare
just waking from slumber
winters death passing
a sad day put asunder

the motorcade passed
Joey’s home on Prospect Ave
few  envision lifes endings
this woefully sad

red chevy pickup idles
in hoop crowned driveway
never to drain jumpers again
departed children can’t play

the eye in the sky
framed neighbors in mourning
welcoming back a fallen hero
unsettled emotions dawning

neighbors waved Old Glory
from painted stoops and curbs
unsure how this tragedy
visits this blessed suburb

green grass of home
always flush with spirit
tears welled in the eyes
most difficult to bear it

last cruise of the town
sad neighbors stand witness
paying final due respects
and ponder from a distance

what purpose is served
by this man’s passing?
the dead cannot speak
rationale is for the living

the terrible herse
death circles our town
moves through our day
hope of spring drowned

murderer of sunshine
killer of young flowers
budding trees breaking
our hearts an ashen pallor

we remember the beauty
of Joey’s stout face
as it looked on your finest day
exuding pure honor and grace

old vets gather
donning caps and pins
boasting semper fi jackets
jutting tear dripping chins

shaking hands, giving hugs
bearing tattered banners
the hearse ambles onward
we head home in solemn manner

good folks are always faithful
where beloved ones grew
the death of our children
we sadly cannot undo


7.

the bells of St. Lukes
called out from the sky
platoons of limping vets
marched in with pride

pomp and circumstance
requisite dress blues
family, friends, townsfolk
overflowed the pews

doleful bells resound
tolling a mournful reckon
the cost of war mounts
a family’s loss beckons

the casualties of war
falls upon a nation's youth
a seasons page not  turned
a flowing wound not soothed

the wistful cornet calling
floats on the fluted air
the bereaved ***** gently sounds
a congregations somber despair

an unsettling dirge
the parish grows uneasy
nationalist bravado wanes
in the forlorn sanctuary

both church and flag
draped in colors of war
mock stain glass windows
communicants adore

is it a betrayal of the flag
to offer enemies
psalms of reconciliation?
where does true loyalty lay
with God or a warring nation?

afterall this is a sanctuary
where peace and harmony reigns
are we not called to beat swords
into ploughshares as the highest
calling of our Lord?

we are always faithful
to the pathways to war
when the practice of peace
is what we should adore

8.

coughing and whispers
incessant low murmur
a baby cries out
we sit and remember

the crucifers process
in solemnity to greet
subtle ***** notes salute
a coffin draped in Old Glory sheets

the beloved child welcomed
to his eternal repose
priests splash holy water
within the sacred dome

an amazing grace revealed
lifted by marine pallbearers
dearly departed body presented
gently placed at the altar

a grief struck sister
lovingly eulogizes
recalls tonka trucks,
GI Joe’s and cool transformers

a punch in the nose
an approaching wedding
beckoning Eastertide
vacation plans left begging

my second grade class sent
Christmas cookies and cards
to dear Joey and warrior friends
he said it warmed stark winter hearts

he was raised in this church
taught trust and reconciliation
the comfort of the Lords peace
may it surely go with him

for he was always faithful
to sisters, family and faith
his resurrection service
imbues sacredness
to this space

9.

sharp in dress blues
Eddie T USMC Gunny
big 50 caliber smile
offers his eulogy

Bada Bing Jersey Humvee
we called him Joey Calzones
good mood, loved sausages
he tickled the funny bone

always willing to sacrifice
loved the Patriots Tom Brady
a women dominated household
gave him a way with the ladies

his calling explosive ordinances
he said he was livin the dream
March 6th last time we met
knocking frost off cold ones
man whatta scream

a gallant marine,
beloved brother,
a sure friend
he was always faithful
I’m deeply wounded
by his untimely end


10.

the gospel read
the homily offered
Ecclesiastes wisdom
a time for everything
proffered

God never turns
an eye from the beloved
though seasons change
we are not forsaken
never unloved

as loss arrives
surely grief grows
turn away not
wisdom knows

in resignation
love lay dead
diligent intention
banishes dread

our rekindled hope
we rend and sow
our beloved Joey
knew this was so

our favorite son’s
example taught us
now rises on eagle’s wings
to claim his divine justice

Jesus faithfully tramped
the path to an awful death
Joey too fought the good fight
a warrior now gratefully at rest

The Lord holds him close
to the ***** of sure love
a cantors beatific voice incants
Joey’s spirit that forever enchants

The Lord is always faithful
to the bereaved and  beloved
no one ever forsaken
all unconditionally loved

11.

the Holy Eucharistic cup
affirms everlasting giving
tasted to nourish evermore
a libation for the living

singing the Beatitudes
praising peace makers
mercy filled voice and song  
pallbearers lift Joey’s coffin

off to seek his final peace
an earthly occupation ended
he’ll suffer worldly hate no more
down the aisle his coffin wended

the family closely followed
a mother haltingly sobbing
faithful marines came forth
to steady her wobbling

there is no sudden waking
from this terrible dream
the pungent incense rose
to the chapels sacred beams

the stained glass murals depict
the passion of Jesus’s story
illuming a consuming sorrow
in all its grace filled glory

the ***** of death slinks on again
we search for consolation
the recompense of honor blest
leaves a hollow heart wanting
no answers offered to quell the dark
of these terrible life’s moments
only the desperate need to hold onto
beleaguered treasure that sustains us

for we are always faithful
to the things we know
always faithful to the
things we refuse to let go

12.

the color guard and funeral detail
assembled in front of St. Luke’s
the cemetery right next door
the procession a short troop

the living will stumble through
the darkness of separation
seeking elusive answers
of poignant uncertainty;
all gave some, Joey gave all
nothing more required for his
journey through eternity

Joey will always be with us
his stories forever retold
as long as the machinery of
great nations engage
the gears of wasteful war

Joey’s spirit lives
in a peoples desire
for freedom, only if
our hope of peace
is greater than the
need for conflict

Joey’s lifes work
is sure to bear fruit
if those remaining
fight the good fight
by taking up the
task to protect and
expand the values
of liberty we
hold most dear

like our good
friend Jesus
Joey wears a crown
bejeweled with
a ring of thorns
hoisted on a
terrible cross
the sweet
incense of you
meets our nose
we inhale your
earthly presence
beholding beautifully
adorned crucifix,
a reminder of
unjust persecution
and a perfect
resurrection
yet this wretched
coffin remains

pledging allegiance
we rationalize our
stories, articulating
our small parts
in  heroic sagas,
reciting myths of
ourselves, recording
the grim history of
a young marine
surrounded by
a smart color guard,
feasting on todays
eucharist, this
days sweet taste
of  the daily bread
of human sorrow

The priest finishes
his graveside
commendation
of Joey D

Taps conclude
a wind rises
crows take flight
winging over
a stand of budding
Sugar Maples
exploding in white
blooms, reveling
in the glorious
sunshine of this
magnificent day

St. Luke’s stairway to
God Country and Home
smiling portrait of you
forever young

we surround your grave
to bless the earth
you've returned home
to your place of birth

our flowing pride
and salty tears bless
the anointed ground
that you loved best

a proud Jersey son
whom Thou hast blest
laid in St. Luke’s ground
for his heavenly rest

for he was always faithful
to the blessed land
forever at peace
in the soils sure hands

Charles Ives
The Unanswered Question

Oakland
11/10/13
jbm
The Confederate battle flag is associated with pride in a historical commemoration of the American Civil War, as you can see;
It's also associated with pride in states' rights and in a Southern heritage and I'm speaking truthfully.

The Confederate battle flag never represents hate;
The Confederate battle flag really looks great.

Since the Confederate battle flag never represents hate, then the racist whites are idiots for picking that flag;
The racist whites are total scumbags.

I grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard, which is a show on TV;
A 1969 Dodge vehicle that's nicknamed The General Lee is an iconic symbol of that show and always will be.

A Confederate battle flag is painted on the roof of The General Lee;
The General Lee looks awesome and I'm sure you'll agree.

I think that the Confederate battle flag is okay;
I could care less if a lot of people hate it and that's all I have to say.
Francie Lynch Jun 2014
I want a flag,
A serious flag is required.
Banners, ribbons and semaphore
Are the poems.
I want the flag
With red for alerting distractions,
With all rainbows,
All.
And though it will flap
With some fearsomeness,
The ******* double cross
Circled with olympian rings.
And a white flag emerges.
Eye white.
Naturally I hoist it,
And surrender.
Under interrogation
I spill my guts.
On a bogus hill, a man stood
in self defence and shot himself,
clean through the heart of the white
flag that hung breezily around his
neck, like a neckerchief in situ

A calm reverence, self awareness,
had positioned itself, 'enough' shone
in the deaf hours before daylight begs,
dislodging sad meanings from
ungrateful dictionaries.

You bought words, they lead you,  
rocked a changed lullaby....au revoir,
checking the white flag of departure,
arrival of metal, red bled wounds,
flag swaying, stained under surrender
Keith J Collard Jun 2013
The Quest for the Damsel Fish  by Keith Collard

Author's  Atmosphere

On the bow of the boat, with the cold cloud of the dismal day brushing your back conjuring goose bumped flesh you hold an anchor.  For the first time, you can pick this silver anchor up with only one hand and hold it over your head. It resembles the Morning Star, a brutal medieval weapon that bludgeons and impales its victims.  Drop it into the dark world beyond the security of your boat--watch the anchor descend.
        Watch this silver anchor--this Morning Star--descend away from the boat and you, it becomes swarmed over with darkness.  It forms a ******-metallic grin at first as it sinks, then the sinking silver anchor takes its last shape at its last visible glimpse.  It is so small now as if it could be hung from a necklace.  It is a silver sword.  
Peering over the side of the boat, the depths collectively look like the mouth of a Cannibalistic Crab, throwing the shadows of its mandibles over everything that sinks down into it--black mandibles that have joints with the same angle of a Reaper's Scythe.  

I am scared looking at this sinking phantasm.  I see something from my youth down there in this dark cold Atlantic.  I see the silver Morning Star again, now in golden armor.  I remember a magnificent kingdom, in a saltwater fish tank I had once and never had again.  A tropical paradise that I see again as I stare down into the depths.  This fish tank was so beautiful with the most beautiful inhabitants who I miss.  Before I could lift the silver anchor--the Morning Star--over my head with only one hand, turning gold in that morning sun-- I was a boy who sat indian style, cross legged--peering into this brilliant spectacle of light I thought awesome.  I thought all the darkness of home and the world was kept at bay by this kingdom of light...

Chapter  1 Begins the Story

The Grey Skies of Mass is the Name of This Chapter.

                                                      ­­                        
    
 Air, in bubbles--it was a world beauty of darkness revealed in slashes of light from dashing fluorescent bulbs overhead this fish tank.
Silver swords of fluorescent energy daring to the bottom, every slash revealing every color of the zodiac--from the Gold of Scorpio to the purple of Libra combining into the jade of the Gemini. 
In the center, like a dark Stonehenge were rocks. The exterior rocks had tropical colors like that of cotton candy, but the interior shadows of the rocks that was the Stonehenge, did not possess one photon of light. The silver messengers of the florescent energy from above would tire and die at their base.  The shadows of the Stonehenge rocks would stand over them as they died.

 
          When the boy named Sake climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, he did so in fear of making noise, as if to not wake each step.
   Until he could see the glowing aura of his fish tank then he would start down that eerie hall, With pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked down that rickety hallway of this towering old colonial home.  He hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
                    The faint gurgling, bubbling of the saltwater tank became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to  his room.   He only looked to his bright tank as soon as he entered the hallway from the creaky wooden steps.  Then he proceeded to sit in front of this great tropical fish tank in Indian style with his legs folded over one another as children so often would sit.
  The sun was setting.  The reflections from the tank were beginning to send ripples down the dark walls. Increasing  wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.  He thought they to be seagulls flapping into the darkness until they were overcome as he was listening to the bubbling water of his tank.
                " Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello  Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab...even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks.  The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence.  All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious.  Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank which was a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
                The crab was in its routine,  motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday.  For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was.  He did not know how to use two hands to rid the crab in the future by trapping and destroying the Cannibal Crab ;  his father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the bright world of the saltwater tank, which Sake quickly regretted.  His father promised him that the Crab would not be able to catch any of the fish he said " ...***** only eat anything that has fallen to the bottom or each other..."

         A scream from the living room downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy.  His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay curled up on the couch.  If she was not screaming for Sake, she was talking as loud as screams on the phone with her girlfriends.  The decibels from her laugh was torture for all in the silent house.   A haughty laugh in a gossipy conversation, that overpowered the sound of the bright tropical fish tank in Sake's room that was above and far opposite her in the living room.
               " Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her.  He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason.  He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a new thought:  someday her appearance will match her voice.  

              Upon reaching his tank,  Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always.  Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket.  The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake’s aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did.  The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny under not so skinny.’

               The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick.  He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water.  Next was the aggressive Clown fish, the boy thought she was always aggresive because she didn't have an anemone to sleep on.  The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was built like a tigress.
  Sake thought something tragic about the body if the  orange Clown and the three silver traces that clawed her body as decoration -they reminded him of the incandescent orange glow of a street lamp being viewed through the rainy back windshield of a car.   The Clown fish was a distraction that craved attention.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. 
                 Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple and golden jade.  Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.

                    Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank.  She has royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah.  Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy’s opinion, she is the most lady like, the Hoomah and the Queen Angel come to her defence if she is chased around by the Clown.  Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away.  

                      Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of another type of Clown donning a hat with orange partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth there was ghost white paint) and it  had two tears coming down from its right eye.  The Clown painting was given to him by his mother, it seems he could not be rid of them, but Sake at first was taken in by the brightness of the Clown, and the smooth salacious wet look of the painting. it looked dripping, or submerged, like another alternate reality.  The wet surreal glaze of the painting seemed a portal, especially the orange glow of the Clown's skin without make-up.  .  If he tried to remember of times  before the Clown painting that preceded the Clown fish, he thought of the orange saffron twilight of sunset, and watching it from the high window from his room in the towering house.  How that light changed everything that it touched, from the tree tops and the clouds, to even the dark hallway leading up to his room.  The painting and the Clown fish did not feel the same as those distant memories of sunset, especially the summer sunset when his mother would put him to bed long before the sun had set.  
Sake did not voice opposition to the Clown.
Then he was once again trapped by the Clown.  
            The boy was extremely afraid of this painting that replaced the sunsets , being confined alone with it by all those early bedtimes.
Sake once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No."  That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of eight arms.  He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung.  Night made him fear the Clown painting more;  that ghost white make-up decorating around the eyes and mouth seeming to form another painting in entirety.  He could only look at the painting after a while when the lights were on, and the wet looking painting was mostly orange from the skin, neck, and forearms of the hat wearing clown.  But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.  

                Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed.  The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel.  The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over.   She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze.  She is the only fish to change colors.  When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.

                 He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm.  After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance.  The boy, thought that extraordinary.

                     Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room.  The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging  like a distant underwater register.  The tank’s nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.

                      Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth.  Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers.  His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays.  The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
                  On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper.  He delivered to the same house three times.  Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky.   Leaves were falling from the trees—butterfly like—he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone’s whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before.  He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword.  He could slither between snow flakes, almost like a fish nimbly avoiding small flakes.  
                  After he finished his paper-route , he went to his usual spot under an oak tree to fence with falling leaves.  As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall.  The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him.  He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe.  The brown white speckled scenery, were all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector’s helmet from the Illiad—donned over his eyes.
“ Whatchya doing Sake?” asked a young girl named Summer.  Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there.  And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company.  He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees.  It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."

“ Damgf” he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly.  His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
             He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge.  He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall.  Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall.  He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight.  He walked past the tank to look out the w
jeffrey conyers Jun 2015
Should we?
Or shouldn't we?
Remove the confederate flag that holds pride for whites legacy.
Or so some say.

Ask a politician?
Especially a white male.
They show stupidity just within their answers.
Cause remember they kissing any_to get elected.

We should leave it to the people of that state.
****!, if that were the case we still have legally accepted segregation.
Not that it faded from those good old days in any way.

Southern pride, holds strength too many.
Besides it a losing symbol that's flying high.
A rebellious symbol of folks that lost to the Union soldiers.

It wasn't Grant that surrender.
It was Robert E. Lee that surrender.
Folks just tries to eradicate this from theirs memories.

Invokes hate, in some that see the confederate flag.
While others could care less.
But politicians always been weaklings when standing up to a cause.

Which isn't something to be so proud about.
When history has shown its links to roguish thugs.
Who so insecure that being linked to a hate group makes them someone?

Except this is America and we have constitutional rights.
To fly any flag we chose, even if some dislike it.
Which includes the confederate flag that holds apart of our history.
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
Claire Waters Aug 2013
so i sit here
with a hole in my foot
with a hole in my head
with a hole in this book
with the hole in her eyes
when she gave me that look
with the hole in my face
when i saw what he took
the hole in my heart
i still don't know the crook
paper is just too easy to tear
and you think i'm easy
when you see i've been shook
i think i need a hook

now there's a hole in my stomach
and it's feeling tight and queezy as she ties
me up in knots of my poor esophagus
her knuckles white from squeezing
i breathing like a snake trying to shed
the desert sun is hot so
please lift this mask up off my head
i try to offer a white flag
but she kills me instead
cause she doesn't like the things
that she can't understand

and so she holds her fists like
they have holes in them
holds me like there are holes in me
cavities of ample opportunity
for punishment and further tearing, no tears,
none of this teething willful jeer
i'll split and rewire, i don't need old fears

i am only tired at best
the pieces did not defy gravity
they fell right out of my ****** chest
but landing is a skill you see
tear me apart for free and be my guest
ripping down the wallpaper
wrestling with the messes of stresses
no one will unremember
looking for the emotions
you desperately want to render
but while i'm still soft
i'm no longer tender
so remember when you enter that
no matter what the temper of the sender
or persuasion of the vendor
i will not surrender
to all these social mind benders

there is a hole in my flag
my blood is an involuntary badge
no more flags, white stains
too easily
Santiago May 2015
Dido

I know you think that I shouldn't still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn't say it, well I'd still have felt it
where's the sense in that?

I promise I'm not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we were

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

I know I left too much mess and
destruction to come back again
And I caused nothing but trouble
I understand if you can't talk to me again
And if you live by the rules of "it's over"
then I'm sure that that makes sense

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

And when we meet
Which I'm sure we will
All that was there
Will be there still
I'll let it pass
And hold my tongue
And you will think
That I've moved on....

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be

I will go down with this ship
And I won't put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I'm in love and always will be
I Felt The Same Way Back Then, & Still Feel The Same Today :,(
Sean Kassab Jul 2012
It was in the earlier part of November, 2005 when I was called to the garrison HQ to receive an emergency Red Cross message informing me that my grandfather had passed away. I was in my third year of service as a direct contractor to the Army and my duty station was in Iraq. More specifically, I was at Tallil AFB near the city of An Nasiriyah. I was granted an emergency leave so that I could go back to the US to be with my family so I stowed my gear, packed my duffel and made the long trip home. This was the first time I would make this trip, but I’m getting ahead of myself so let me back up a bit. You see, my grandfather had served in the Second World War, actually both of them had. They were brothers. PFC Eddie Kassab, the one I’m speaking about here, had survived WWII through some pretty tough odds, including being on the third wave of the Normandy invasion at D-Day where thousands had died during the beach head assault. His brother, SFC Joseph Kassab, who married my grandmother, was killed in that war, He was a bombardier and his plane was shot down during the Guadalcanal campaign. It wasn’t until 27 years later that the wreckage of the aircraft and remains were found and recovered. When Joseph died leaving behind his young wife and new born son, Eddie began looking after her, sending home money for her and the boy, my father. They wrote back and forth to eachother after the dissappearance of Joseph and when he returned to the US after the war they courted and were eventually married. Joseph was laid to rest with the rest of his flight crew in Arlington with full military honors. Eddie, who died much later in life, was also afforded a military service there. That was my first time being in Arlington National Cemetery, a place reserved for men and women who had served their country in a military capacity. It is difficult to describe just how immense and powerful that place is, the impact you have on your life just from standing on those grounds is indescribable. If I had to try I would say it’s a mixed feeling of Honor, pride, sorrow, and a profound sense of loneliness. There are row upon row of white marble markers spanning miles of emerald green grass and broad shade trees. The markers themselves are simple, nothing fancy, but the respect they command is beyond contestation. There are also wall vaults for those who were cremated, one of these would become Eddie’s final resting place. The US Army's honor guard performed his service, while a trumpeter played “Taps” and his flag was folded and presented on behalf of a grateful nation to my father who Eddie raised as his own son. In the distance a 21 gun salute was given by seven riflemen firing three shots each. It would be the only time in my life that I saw my father cry. We took the time after Eddie’s service to walk to Joseph’s grave marker as well, passing thousands of other markers and I found myself wondering how many of these people were forgotten by the years. How many of them left behind young children. Were they killed in combat? How many of them were laid to rest with a grave full of unfulfilled dreams? The sacrifices they made weighed heavily upon me. It was a feeling I would carry with me long after I had left that place.
Years had passed and I found myself still working in Iraq for the US Army, I was stationed at Camp Taji this time, on the edge of Sadr City, a real dust bowl. I was in my eighth year of service when I was again called to Garrison HQ, another emergency Red Cross message had come through informing me that my Father had passed away. It was December 29th 2010. For hours afterward it felt as if I had been punched in the gut. I called my Mom as soon as I could to make sure she was ok and to see if there was anything she needed before making arrangements for yet another emergency leave. I again stowed my gear, packed my duffel and headed out. Now, it’s only fair to give you an idea of whom I’m talking about here, my Father, Jan, had been a Navy man and had been stationed on submarines as well as destroyer class ships during the Vietnam War. He signed up for service when he was just 18 years old and when he left the Navy he went directly into the Maitland Fire Department in central Florida and stayed there for many years. Eventually he expanded his training becoming the 80th paramedic in the state as well as a certified rescue diver and instructor. More importantly, he was a great father who raised two boys as a father should and later in life, he was a pretty good drinking buddy. His teachings and advice have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. It was because of his prior military service that he was also awarded full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. There was a waiting list of about 8 weeks at the time because of the high volume of casualties from the wars in the Middle East so it wasn’t until February of 2011 that he was finally laid to rest. This time it was the US Navy’s honor guard who performed his service. I remember it well; they stood in their dress whites throughout the ceremony in the biting cold as the wind whipped by mercilessly.  The honor and discipline in these men was no less than awe inspiring and through my sadness I couldn’t help but feel an amazing sense of pride for who my father was during his life. We all stood as a trumpeter again played “Taps” to the folding of my Father’s flag which was presented to my Mom on behalf of a grateful nation after a 21 gun salute was ordered in the distance. My Father’s remains were also placed in a wall vault that became his final resting place; his marker being only about 20 feet from Eddie’s marker in the adjacent wall and even though it was freezing that day, we took a little extra time to visit Eddie and Joseph again. Walking the grounds of that place again awakened all the feelings I had felt the first time, probably even more so. Again, I have to tell you that words couldn’t accurately describe how that place makes you feel. The grass had turned brown by now but was still immaculately manicured, and the precision placement of the grave markers was flawless. There were thousands of names that dated all the way back to the American Civil War. I went also with my brother to pay my respects at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an impressive mausoleum that is guarded twenty four hours a day by the US Army’s horror guard.  After it was all said and done and we had left Arlington and met as a family, my Mom, my Brother and his family, myself and my family and some close friends to remember him for a while over some food and drinks, and though nobody seemed to really have any appetite we still stayed there for hours. That was the first time in eight years that I had seen my Brother and would be the last time I saw him alive, but that part comes later. Eventually we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, each having a very long way to travel back home and I had to get ready to go back to Iraq, heavy hearted or not.
I had only been back in theater (that means deployment) for a few months when I was reassigned to Al Asad AB as my permanent duty station. It was a place in the middle of nowhere and was originally a Marine base but transferred to Army and Air Force some time in 2010. I had made some good friends there, settled in and finally started coming back to myself when I received a message from my brother’s wife asking me to call her, said it was important. Thinking back on it now, I remember feeling a little angry that she wouldn’t tell me on email. Internet I had in my room, but a phone…well I’m no general and I had already settled in for the night. It was about 21:30 hrs. (9:30 p.m.) on a night in late July so I got dressed and made the quarter mile walk to my office where I could use the phone, cursing under my breath the whole time. It took me about 20 minutes just to find my phone card in my cluttered desk drawer, but when  I finally did amongst more unsavory mutterings I made the call. She answered quickly enough but her voice sounded strained so I calmed down and asked her what was going on, I figured something wasn’t right so she didn’t need me jumping her case on top of it. It was then that she told me my Brother’s body had been found in his home in Whiteville NC. He had been having a hard time with depression since our Father passed as well as marital problems and he had made the decision to take his own life at the age of 36 leaving behind his Wife, Stepson and Daughter who was only 5 at the time. I was blindsided to say the least, no one saw this coming, and he left no real reason as to why so there still is no closure, no understanding. I was angry… no, I was furious! But I’m getting ahead of myself again. She had called me not only to inform me of what had happened, but also to ask if I had Mom’s phone number because she didn’t have it and didn’t know how to get in touch with her to tell her. I told her not to worry about it and that I’d take that on my shoulders and get back to her. It had only been five months since we laid our Father to rest and to say I dreaded making that phone call was a ridiculous understatement. It was easily one of the toughest things I ever had to do, but it had to be done all the same so I dug Mom’s number out of my wallet…and stared at it…I don’t know how long but it felt like a long time. What else could I do? What could I say? It’s not like I had an instruction booklet for delivering bad news and this was as bad as it gets. After a few deep breaths I dialed her number and decided to take the direct approach. She answered the phone and we exchanged hellos, and I asked her what she was doing. She was out shopping with Robbie at the Tractor Supply Co. He was a longtime family friend and all around good guy. I told her that I had some pretty bad news and asked if she could find a place to sit down there, but she told me it was ok to just tell her what happened so I did exactly that. I gave her all the information I had at the time, I didn’t know how to sugar coat it so I didn’t. She took it pretty well up front, not breaking down until later that evening. My Brother, SPC Troy Kassab, had enlisted in the US Army with our Father’s permission when he was only 17 years old. He was a combat medic assigned to Ft. Carson in Colorado before transferring to the 82nd Airborne Division in Ft Brag NC. He deployed to Cuba among other deployments overseas before being attached to a Ranger Unit as their medic and doing other deployments that he never would talk about much. After the army he lived in NC where he worked in restaurants while attending school on the G.I bill and volunteering on the Hickory Rescue Squad as an EMT. He eventually completed school in Winston Salem NC where he got his PA degree in general practice. Troy was a self-educated, brilliant man who wasn’t perfect but who is? He saved lives in the Army, and then continued to do so in the civilian world until his death in July of 2011. He was a husband and a father, a brother and a friend. He was important to us. It was because of his past in the Army that he also was awarded full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. This time the wait was much longer and his funeral wasn’t held until November 15th of 2011. I remember that day and the days leading up to it like it was yesterday. I had ended my deployment in Iraq on November 3rd, making it back to the US on November 6th. From the time of his death I had stayed in contact with Mom and his wife Andi to make sure they were ok and help in any way I could with the affairs and expenses. When I finally did get home I pulled my truck out of storage had it inspected, fueled and ready to go. It was unfortunate, but my wife was in college and had work at the time so she couldn’t come with us so my daughter and I made the long trip from Houston TX to Hickory NC to see Troy’s wife and kids. While I was there I also picked up a close family friend of ours who needed a ride and made the long drive to Arlington VA...again. The US Army’s honor guard met us there to perform his service and again the attention to detail, the respect given to the deceased, and the discipline shown was flawless. There were more friends this time than family in attendance but I was there with Mom, Robbie, my daughter, and some very close family friends, some going all the way back to our childhood. The ceremony was the same, every time the same. I remember thinking I hated the way “Taps” sounded as they folded the flag and I was angry and hurt when I stepped forward to claim my Brother’s remains and walk them to the wall vault that would become his final resting place. I have to say though, that through my grief and anger, I was a little bit pleased to see that he was placed so close to my Father and Grandfather. I left a pair of my own dog tags in his vault, it made me feel better that he wouldn’t be alone in there. I guess it doesn’t make a lot of sense now but at the time it did.  I stood over his marker and said a silent prayer before heading out to see Dad, Eddie and Joe’s markers and pay some respects. The grass was that brilliant emerald green again, and the sense that I stood in a place of honor reserved for our nations fallen still struck me through the heart.  After that we just kind of faded away from that place making our way home. Troy’s wife Andi had decided not to come, she was angry, she felt betrayed and abandoned, so on my way home I stopped back in Hickory NC, dropped off Michelle and made the drive to Andi’s house to present her with Troy’s flag as it had been presented to me. I remember hoping that her decision wouldn’t leave her with later regrets, but it was too late to change it now. The drive home was a long one, one that rekindled so many unanswered questions. Three generations of my family laid to rest leaving me as the only surviving male member of my family; something that still weighs upon my heart today.
But this is their story, and though it seems a sad one, that is not its intent. This story was written so that you the reader could understand that there is a place where over a hundred thousand Josephs and Eddies, and Jans and Troys are resting.  Each one of those stone crosses and stars have a face, a name, a history, and they made a sacrifice for you and for me. They were people who gave up their futures so that we could have one. They were people who had dreams, families, and who put all of that aside for what they believed in. They weren’t perfect people, but they deserve to be remembered. If you do nothing else after reading this, at least take the time to think about the freedoms that you have, freedoms that have cost us so much…
There are those who came before us, who paved the way for the lives we now live, their voices whisper to us through our freedoms and we are a greatful nation. Listen and remember...
The headline told a lie, hiding the scratches of a failed government
We crave for redemption yet we are the sin committed
A suffocating truth carved against our egos and pride
Awoken from the slumber we are forced to dine in, to seek a light
Before you raise your flag in the street
Not a wish nor a prayer but a request that
Flashes of unattended promises from the manifesto blinds your path
Capitalized lies which stood the taste of corruption and laundering caress your choice
Millions of death pools stealing our guts, leaving us with sealed lips tend our wounds
Do you still want to raise it?
Before you raise your flag in the street
Not a question but a simple reminder that
The pay you received stole your pride
Taxes climbed the mountains touching the helm of hunger
You sit with unanswered questions begging for sleep
Void fills your heart, hope is lost
You made the choice
Rethink do you still have a truth?
Before you raise your flag in the street
Hang tight with the answers you gave your mind
Kisses of impotent words will slap your  cheeks
Promises will pat your back and money will grace your pocket
Instead of dining with the moment to impoverish the future
Do not raise your flag
But before you raise your flag in the street
Death never tastes good until it is felt
Another needs to live.
The media isn't helping us attain the country everyone hopes for. Everyone has a conscience to which he/she wouldn't want to sell. Before you support that political dreams I hope you still have tomorrow in mind. A true society can be attained if we don't impoverish the future  in accomplishing the interest of today.
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Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.
There is a flag that hangs on my wall
This is a beautiful and bright flag
This flag is red, white and blue
The colors on this flag, will never run
Don't ever touch my flag
I don't allow that to happen
Harold r Hunt Sr Jul 2015
I Am a flag
I am a flag , I hate No one
I am a flag of heritage.
I stand for no hate groups or race haters.
I fly where ever someone puts me with no questions.
I was a part of a war that was fought between father and sons. Brothers against brother.
I am a flag a piece of cloth. But sign of southern love.
I fly for my heritage maybe right maybe wrong.
But I fly for those that died under me.
So please leave Me alone.
Breanna Riddle Dec 2016
On our flag
Three colors show
With thirteen stripes
And 50 stars as white as snow
Each color is special
And each makes a stand
For our country it waves
In our brave soldiers hands
White is for the purity
Of each loving soldiers loyalty
And Red is for the blood they see
And the blood that they have shed for me
Blue is for the aching hearts
Of the soldiers who lives soon fell apart
Our flag is a symbol
For a soldiers life
A life so very precious
And as beautiful  as a stary night
So look at our flag
And remember the story
And please hold them high
In a commemorating glory

— The End —