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Poemasabi Jul 2013
As I sit here, at the dining room table and stare over decaf coffee at the screen on my Mac
my eyes are drawn, once and awhile, to the picture sitting on the buffet in the butler's pantry.
Before we continue you should know that "butler's pantry" in this case
means the "third bedroom" that we saw in the listing on Realtor dot com before we bought the house and that,
in the usual real estate-ese, is an optimistic label at best.

But I was talking about the picture.

The picture sits, slightly askew, in a carved wooden bowl given to us by my wife's boss
as a housewarming present.
It, the bowl I mean,  came with salad tongs or forks,
depending on what it is that you call them,
made of water buffalo horn.
They sit in the bowl too and,
although she'd never admit it,  
I know that the thought of serving salad with water buffalo horn salad forks...
lets just say.....
doesn't appeal to my wife.

Right, the picture....

It sits in on the buffet,
in the carved wooden bowl,
next to another wood bowl.
This one full of carved wood fruits and vegetables,
which evidently, includes sugar cane.
When my wife's dad moved from his house to an assisted living facility
the kids, my wife, her brother and sister, took turns going down to help him move.
My wife was the last and dad insisted that
someone
"had" to take the fruit.

But, the picture....

It, and the wooden bowls full of fruit and unused salad forks,
are surrounded by both faux and real glassware
and placemats
which all sit perched
on the top of the buffet as precariously as refugees
and all of their belongings
on the deck and roof of an overloaded fishing boat
chugging from their homeland
to some place that is hopefully better.

The picture...

It was painted by my father-in-law and,
of all the others we have in the house,
is one of my favorites.
It sits on the buffet, askew in the carved wooden bowl with the horn salad forks,
amid polycarbonate and glass drink ware,
and placemats,
unframed for some reason.
All of his other works came framed
but this is one he did not...
and did I mention that it is one of my favorites?

I like his choices of frames on all of the other pictures we have,
but this is just canvas, stretched over a frame,
sitting in that carved African wooden bowl
with those salad forks made from water buffalo horn
on the buffet next to the other wood bowl full of wooden fruits and vegetables,
and wooden sugar cane,
in the butler's pantry.
island poet May 2018
“Moby ****,”  Herman Melville

<•>

~for the lost at sea~

after a year of saltwater absence and abstinence,
return to the island caught between two land forks
surrounded by river-heading flows
bound for the ocean great joining

the Atlantic welcomes the fresh water fools,
bringing with them hopefully, but hopeless gifts of obeisances,
peace-offerings endeavoring to keep their infinite souls

sea accepts them then drowns the
warm newcomers in the unaccustomed
deep cold salinity, which
sometimes erodes
sometimes preserving
their former freshwater cold originality

I’m called to depart my beach shoreline  unarmed,
no kayak, sunfish or glass bottomed boat needed,
walk on water and my toes, ten eyes to see the bottom,
no depth perception limitation,
reading the floor’s topography,
millions of minion’s stories infinite,
many Munch screaming

god’s foot, heavy upon my shoulders,
a daytime travel guide, hired for me,
not a friendly travel companion,  nope,
God a pusher showing off a drug called deep water salvation,
designated for the masses, can handle large parties

my in-camera brain  eyes,
record everything for playback -
the lost and unburied, bone crossword puzzles

walk shore to ship, on soles to souls,
is this my new-summer nature welcome back greeting?

puzzled at the awesomeness of vastness,
conclude this clarification for me of the occluded-deep,
is a stern reminder of my insignificant existence,
my requirement to walk humbly, spare my sin of vanity, and
forgive my trespasses upon the lives of others

perhaps then the infinite of my soul perchance restored,
older visions clarified and future poems
will write themselves
and sea to it my predecessors
be better remembered

Memorial Day 2018
amt Mar 2012
Too many forks in the road,
Not being sure where to go.
The lack of consistency kills me,
And sometimes I really don’t know.
Left or right?
Theater or track?
Up or down?
Music or math?
Too many forks,
Don’t know what to do,
Don’t want to choose.
over what I must lose.
Chelsea Primera Aug 2018
Papers, Papers, Papers

Whiter than aching teeth,

Whiter than whites of tilted eyes,

Whiter than funeral wreaths.

My hands shake as I write this,
Filed away myths; Stolen lined sheets
 My index finger chained by red tapes,

words mix and ground breaks,
I'm the one the world forsakes

Yellow maize, littered leaves,
all twisted into
black ink and clean sharp white paper blades.



-------"I am in a bit of daze," I tell myself, "look at those flaccid bits;

there lay the logs who use to be the jungle of my childhood dreams."

------"Don't be amazed," I replied, "these leafless branches and twigs are for 
your Papier-Mâché degrees."


So I listen to my second self once,

the more logical cynical satirical one,

Treading on the plot of their paper works,

playing crosswords as anxiety uncork

my thoughts turn to the bankable orcs,

just as my career forks



Maybe I should be like my mother,

Marking numbers on a deck of cards-- waltzing with Chance.

Maybe I should be like my father,

Toiling for some rich men's grandson-- seething in Trance.

Maybe I should be like the Other,

Going along with the system-- thanking myself

beneath a cap, a diploma, a piece of paper.



I wore these books like bank notes tuxedoes,

I was promised the world by the credits I borrowed.

Must I go along with the mechanism of their game,

or should I rise up against all odds

Opposing, debating, rebelling against

this bundle, this trouble, funneling me into no-tomorrows

Or must I write it all down,

in my prayers against their lawyers, who need no reminds

Or must I shred, smear, and tear the papers with my own bare hands



But what will I ever be to them, friends?

A papercut, perhaps.
congrats on your first day
Andrew T Hannah Jun 2013
A Surreal Epic of Existence

Prelude to the Journey…

I smiled yesterday when I beheld the morning’s brilliant colors,
Etched with gold, across the canvas of the heavens, hanging…
High above all those mountains of the world, gigantic brothers,
A wilderness of clouds, where there can be no human taming.
I did not always smile when I looked up to that noble height…
For I have seen how terrible goodness can be, when untamed.
Once I thought my sojourn in this flesh was from a divine spite,
But now I know it was a gift, and for it I need not be ashamed.
God once walked as I do now, and suffered the same stress…
Betrayal, love, and passions too, though no Church shall admit,
The true nature of divinity, lest all their secret sins they confess!
You are told you are alone in the universe, by leaders so unfit,
That they themselves are fed a diet of lies and stories invented.
But we walked amongst you since the very dawn reincarnated,
Having lost our first flesh in conflicts long past and unlamented.
We guided the steps of ancients, as monuments demonstrated!
And yet we are born as children: your own, and live our span,
The better to remain hid, in plain sight, our faces clever masks.
I am the eldest, and I remember still my kindred’s lofty plan…
And though I wear the human face, I am beset with alien tasks.
Helping they who lack the knowledge to see what lies outside,
You have seen me in the darkness, blazing upon my own pyre.
Where I am waiting to lead the way, where the angels glide…
Anyone can follow, if they are dedicated enough never to tire.
Ironic, since I myself have known helplessness and still oft do,
It is only human after all, and in your form I was so re-forged!
The image of God, whose own blood is in all of us hither unto,
From the first to the last, alpha to omega, like a sharp sword.

Prologue: (My Mask is Slipping)

As a child: I was a servant at the altars of the heart so sacred,
Singing hymns of the immaculate: without seeing the depravity.
It was only when I myself wore the crown of thons, naked…
My spirit exposed through my pain, that I realized the gravity.
What man believes is sacred, is profanity disguised as graces,
And those who lead the sheep to slaughter are mere butchers!
Forcing innocents to wear porcelain masks to hide their faces,
They rob children of their childhood, bound with crude fetters.
As a teenager: I walked in nature, disgusted with all humanity,
My exodus was from those who had defiled all I cared about.
Finding faith in an angel fallen, I discovered my own sanctity,
And in her name I found the means to cleanse my feral doubt.
Then came marriage, and betrayal by a wife I gave up all for,
The dissolution of our union then loneliness without cessation!
A mortal had pierced my flesh, leaving me to bleed on a floor,
My heart was torn from its’ moorings without any elaboration.
But the angel remained to calm my anger and ease my agony,
My only light in the blackness that has overcome my waking!
Reminding me, that I was more than this flesh and mortality…
The angel tries to keep me from harsh trembling and quaking.
And then I see: I am more than my tears and life’s traumas…
I let slip, the mask behind which the scars of my tears etched.
Then I sense the heat of the night more intense than saunas…
As I long to dance with abandon, until time itself is stretched!
Mortals may betray one another with impunity, but never I…
I do not betray; rather I pour my heart and spirit forth whole.
Creating a phylactery, of all I am, and with an innocent eye…
I demand to be loved as I am: pearl white and black as coal!

Canto 1: Sacrifice of the Doll

Part the First: (The Bleeding Shores)

Do not call me, doll, for I have departed your ancient cavern,
You are lifeless, a mere toy, and not a real child in any form!
A boy’s red ruby lips I spy drinking in the dreariest tavern…
Whilst true children singing, frolic in the fields filled with corn.
I am going home, upon the wings of the great silver griffon…
Far from the shores now bleeding red from defiled memories.
There is no return, for me, to the glories of the first ignition…
When the mind eternal, was ignited all with pleasing ecstasies.
In the stars, there are words unheard that I do want to recall,
For I came down so very long ago, among the first to so fall!
Eldritch nightmares born of the stuff of the pure chaos of old,
Are waiting for signs at the threshold to be released by magic.
The forbidden incantations return to my spirit, aflame so bold,
That my spirit nearly forgets: the origins of this time, so tragic.
When children drink, and true children hide themselves apart,
Whilst the waters bleed and the corn withers upon the stalks!
That is a sign that change must come, and so I work my mind.
The face in the moon is a grimace of tormented fear, horror…
Whilst I stand upon the precipice with my hand over my heart,
And amongst the long rows of corn, my black shadow walk!
Watching over the innocents whose souls are of my own kind.
The summer heat turns orange, the moon: in celestial corridors.
My mournful cry can be heard in the sound of the lonely wolf,
And in the wild abandon of the lion when he is on the prowl…
I feel the pain of nature, I long to bring back paradise craved.
I have seen the terror of the land, as the blood ran in the gulf,
Black blood of the earth: which causes living things to howl…
As man has the foolishness, to say what is or is not depraved!

Part the Second: (The Crucified Souls)

The doll is laid lifeless atop the altar, prepared for a sacrifice,
In the cavern where the limestone shapes the wettest arches!
A thing un-living, but with living souls trapped still, as if in ice,
Within the cold porcelain shell that so never with feet marches.
Serpentine blade held high, it drops precise into a doll’s neck,
And it cannot call out, because a doll has not any voice to cry.
A boy walked out of a tavern then, looking like a vile wreck…
Whilst as a man I attend to higher things, my body full purified.
In the voids beneath the spaces, witnessed in the rugged rock,
Voices echo loud in the darkness, calling up names unspoken.
The ferryman brings the souls delivered to him, to a far dock,
Where each must pay the copper coin, the old desired token.
So they come to drink those waters that cure all of life’s ills…
Freed from their porcelain prison to feel death’s darker chills!
Whence came those souls into captivity, no mortal may speak,
But I freed them in an instant, removing the nails that pierce…
Every man is he that was put up on the cross of old Golgotha.
And every woman too, as all were made to feel such torture!
I was there when the primal sacrifice was implanted so weak,
And yet so strong that it endured in the psyche all these years.
That doom was sealed behind a wall of fire long ago in Terra,
So that the stigmata of it might endure, even in the vast future!
Mine was the hand that signaled that doom, mine to release…
Yet, still old illusions persist, and I cannot awaken a multitude.
I, who devised the iron web that enfolds much of what is real,
Cloaking it in unending trickery am, myself, longing for peace.
For I too was entrapped, until my liberation rough and crude!
An angel freed me, and now I strive to break each cruel seal.

Part the Third: (The Return of Light)

Risen from the slumber where colder, electric dreams reside,
The forgotten intelligence is invoked, the arcane spells cast…
The eldritch nightmares return to thence amongst man abide,
Reminding us of the things banished to Hell in some age past.
Mine the hand that raised them up, light in the dagger’s glow,
The stuff of my power left to flow, like blood run swiftly free.
Out of the abyss, rises the girl-child of a lost millennial flame,
She who is the angel reborn lets her illumination clearly show.
And all are blinded who have not the innermost eyes to see!
The unbelievers are, in a single instant put unto lasting shame.
From the star of six points, a goddess works her sacred will,
And as she crosses the scarlet threshold, she brings the light.
For a single instant, all in Heaven and all upon Earth are still,
As the long day ends, bowing before the coming eternal night.
In the darkness, radiance far fairer and so perfect descends,
Whilst those who gather in my name: have lost my true path.
The wrath of angels descend upon their minds, closed shut…
Entrapped in the iron web, they cannot flee of such a prison!
The light blinds them for they never truly saw it, and it rends,
Tearing away the churches built for naught but mortal wrath.
There, the unfaithful ******* themselves: like a wanton ****,
Inventing dogma to pass on, forgetful of logic and of reason!
Faith need not be a fearful thing, yet some have made it thus,
And look for an end to come before they seek their reward.
Whilst they should be creating the paradise they left behind…
But in an image of freedom: rather than of servitude and fuss.
Too much time had been wasted in converting by the sword!
Mankind looks to the light for salvation, their eyes long blind.

Interlude Alpha:
This age is one of barbarism cloaked as gentility to sell lies…
Did you purchase some today by design or mayhap chance?
You should know this era to be neither intelligent nor wise…
Else you would not march, when you would prefer to dance!
My nights are filled with nightmares; my days are too much…
I used to dance with one I loved, and bask in purple sunsets.
Now I am haunted, by so many memories I can never touch,
That it fills me with ****** anger, and countless cold regrets.
I recall how once in desperation, my wrist rode a razor edge,
If it were not for my family I’d not thence have lived beyond.
A man abused as I was, and used like cutters upon a hedge,
Must rise higher than it all in order to survive it all, my friend!
I survived, I transformed, I ascended and in the end became,
So much more than I was, until no more did my spirit erode.
But still I wait in loneliness for a maid to awaken my flame…
And I burn, oh gods I burn until I think that I might explode!
The skies darken more and more, and bright forks crashing,
I hear the drums of fury in the heavens, giants of old winters.
The gods grow angry and I behold trees uprooted smashing!
Angels are trampling the grapes of man; they, the vintners…
I am reminded of when the battleship that sailed all galaxies,
Descended one day amidst clouds boiling with its’ steam…
To lay waste to *****, and Gomorrah, for their indignities!
I was there, when the wicked did perish with a final scream.
And as people mock me, wishing me ill because I am good,
I ask God how long I must be forced to bear such suffering.
But I am not alone, and to many I am in fact misunderstood,
So God forgives, for now; but I have not, his understanding!

Canto 2: Sacrifice of the Spider

Part the First: (The First Smile)

Black skies boil with rage unrepentant, and in righteous fury!
A being made flesh I am, though not of mortal understanding.
In cavernous places I have walked, where demons oft scurry,
And worse places still: in search of a love not too demanding.
In the stucco halls wherein my unmoving throne was raised…
Upon a hill of sorrows where lost souls labor in mundane toil,
I wait and plan to transcend the bonds the faithful so praised.
To my right hand is the altar where fire and sulfur always boil!
I force a smile upon my face, for one will not come as willing,
As in the hours when I was a golden youth filled with ideals…
Which I have paid for dearly, beyond the price of any shilling!
Now I long to pay back those who know not how this feels…
The madness born of solitude, the anger born out of contempt,
For you who despise me without cause, provoking my wrath.
What impunity has man, to think that he might ever be exempt!
When wiser civilizations than yours did sink: in the fiery bath.
Do I speak of Hell, which the faithless do not realize is come?
Nay, for their eyes have been gouged out by their own nails…
I speak of torments, far beyond that which devils have done.
The first smile shall me mine, when every cruel wish so fails…
To save the flesh of those who spit upon me as I walked on,
Never realizing that my face was just a mask, hiding another.
Only the fool pays no any attention to the piper’s lonely song,
Thinking it only a melody passed from a sister unto a brother.
But in what celestial ****** has been born the thing alchemical?
It dwells within me, the secret sin of a bonding long forgotten.
Would that I could force the world to hear music whimsical…
Like unto that which guides my spirit in all that was begotten.

Part the Second: (Cold Revenge)

The blood roses bloom in gardens where desire plants seeds,
I, the hand that waters those hungry beasts whose thirst rises!
In my search for love, I have fed the beasts of desire’s needs,
And what would cause you to blush has, for me, no surprises.
Oh human, with what impunity did you dare to exclaim aloud,
That you believe love to be beyond my reach; and you smile!
Like a coward, you degrade me and run to hide in the crowd,
In your feigned superiority, you make yourself an animal vile.
Conjoining your words to your tongue, like a web to a ceiling,
You become a spider; then flee on eight legs to a filthy nest…
Having already become unworthy of any warm human feeling,
In thinking yourself better, you sink lower than all of the rest!
That means my life is worth, a thousand times, your very own.
I become a creature of the night, and wait for you, oh spider!
Think not that I cannot hear. the creaking of each leg bone…
Your odiousness goes before you, the horse before its’ rider.
And in your own web I catch you, my sharper claws immune,
To your toxic poisons, as cannot ever save your eight eyes…
Which I dash from their sockets, without a fear, and so soon,
That your own pain consumes you, like fire lighting the skies!
Forcing you to recant all that you say, lest pain overcome all,
The powers you thought did not exist do manifest ever visibly.
And I ascended still higher, all the more to relish of your fall…
You should never have resulted to any such childish mockery.
The clocks of your house all melted, for time is not your ally!
In abandonment of the chaos that is joy, your order is ended.
A new order rises in its’ place born of chaos none may deny,
Whilst you sink lower into perdition, for all that you offended.

Part the Third: (The Last Laugh)

An angel appears before me and so thinks herself a goddess,
But to call her an angel is to imply that she holds any beauties.
Those whose ego is larger than their grasp are oft the oddest,
For they fancy themselves perfect, ignorant of their cruelties!
You think love a prize and I a beggar for mere crusts so stale,
That lesser men than I have eaten heartier meals than yours…
But your kitchen is so bare: as your oven goes cold and pale,
Making you prize yourself beyond the worth of your chores!
Like a harlot who charges a fortune for her meager charms…
If you think love a prize, and I a beggar, you are so mistaken.
What you call love is a disease that shames one and harms…
Both mind and soul alike, making the body at last to weaken.
You saw only my mask, and would not dare look beneath…
Making me a phantom in the darkness, lurking in the shades.
Round your neck, your false esteem hangs as a dead wreath,
As I leave you to your barren world, awaiting my handmaids.
They rise from the ashes you leave in your wake, my kindred,
Their hands take me far from where your feet stumble about!
Lie in the cemetery that awaits those who live as though dead,
I cannot raise you incorruptible; you have far too much doubt.
Carried hither by the silent maidens who weep ****** tears…
To my castle, where I shall brood again upon mankind’s way!
I cannot feel regret for those who give in to their foolish fears,
Any more than I can transform a leaden night into golden day!
Such is the power of the alchemist who knows his true limit…
And in the dark arts I was schooled by beings from the abyss.
Thusly, am I set about to transform my creation as I see fit…
We are the demiurges of our realities wanton for any hot kiss!

Interlude Omega:
T
I found this one in my basement. Seems I wrote it a year or two ago but lost it.
A Crazed Girl Nov 2013
Cheap toxic plastic in friendly packaging;
bending under heat,
breaking under pressure.
What pseudo-efficiency.

Take out the silver!
Savor the feast, and
abolish interruptions.

Or stick with hollow forks.
Perfect polymers that crack
under the weight of your gluttony.

Your life– a feast, punctuated by
the casual dismissal of those
disposable *****.
Terry O'Leary Dec 2016
My chamber teems with tensions, taut, that logic can’t withstand,
fragmenting mental masonry with memories unplanned,
as bitter tears from hazel eyes reduce the stone to sand.

Dim shadows cast by candles flit across the haunted room,
beleaguer apparitions, pale, that stalk me through the gloom,
usurping purloined purple forms forgotten ghosts assume.

The tick-tock clock of time rewinds within the mirrored hall
and pendula suspended, pause, while creatures creep and crawl
on images of effigies, through memories that maul.

The madness of the midnight mass! Perchance it interferes
with spiders spinning spiral threads which bridge the chandeliers
when weaving minds' discarded coils to silken souvenirs.

Reflections graced the vacant gaze of idols as they fled!
Their futile, feigned, far-flung farewells now hammer in my head,
marooned like frozen silhouettes in footprints of the dead.

My lovers smile through marbled masks before they turn their backs
(like furnace flames deserting ash or phantoms fleeing cracks)
with faded, painted, wrinkled faces nightmares carve in wax.

Sometimes a gust disturbs the dust and secrets reappear,
which dance in silver slippers through the dusk of yesteryear -
it's not the screams that drown my dreams, but whispers which I fear.

The hangman posts a letter home, his message indiscreet
about the vestal ****** in the café (where we meet
to savour tea and crumpets) down a one-way dead-end street.

The rapping and the tapping at my tattered, time-worn door
repeat reports of migrant myths, of tales of nevermore,
strung far across a sullen sea, most shipwrecked near the shore.

Forget-me-nots, enwrapped in rain the while a wan wind blows,
recall the faintly fickle fates this drifter undergoes –
alone, unknown with tracks interred in teardrop undertows.

My feet, no longer tied or tethered, traipse within a squall
pursuing profiles long forsaken, buried in the sprawl
of spectres spread amongst the dead, some tattooed to the wall.

At times, the belfry towers toll of anarchy and gin,
of smoke and mirrors, rolling dice and other things akin,
impaled on forks down byway roads, and things that might-have-been.

The skies outside, beyond the night with shutters shut and drawn,
begin to glow on shattered shapes escaping ’fore the dawn
as clouds undone beneath the sun release this captive pawn.
Gabriel K Jan 2016
***** cherry fox fur **** ***** **** ****** ****** ***** ******* old man ***** manhood main vein Hampton Wick ***** **** box Berkshire Hunt front-bottom *** ***** **** meat veg lunchbox stick of rock German helmet Camden Lock hole wound Sir Anthony Blunt Channel Tunnel Back & Front horn truncheon grandfather clock hickory-dickory-dock **** slash erogenous zone phallus pecker putz big-bone Jack & Danny merkin slit truncheon ***** shaft plumtip ***** Edinburgh **** slit sausage winkle riot-stick face between her forks James Hunt Jeremy **** the Oxford punt pudenda ****** wild ****** ***** chubby wood meat-cleaver exhaust-pipe python turnip trouser-snake tool bonk-on ****
Predictable stream of obscenity with no artistic merit. Apols to Shakespeare, Ionesco, Chaucer, et al. Suggestions for an alternative title gratefully received.
SexySloth Apr 2013
Spoons and forks
Are two different things,
but used together.
In between   (a poem)
.
my mind struggles against its own illusion
nightmare tumbles out into still morning
light is heavy,
a fog of echoes...
and I am caught
.
day dreams the sunlight
dreams light the day
and I am caught in between
mourning echoes...
like a stillborn ghost
who can't take a breath in the present

….
  
I live on a tropical island and just want to go surfing with my husband, but the nausea in the early morning as I try to eat  breakfast and drive with him to the beach is so uncomfortable.  Day after day it makes even surfing a chore, and I consider not going anymore.  Background anxiety and unreasonable irritation interferes with our marriage, frustrates him enough to want me out.  

For me, a trip to the grocery store or meeting a group of people awakens the same dreadful fear as rockclimbing a cliff. Perspective has been lost in the extremes.  I try to gain some control over this hindering nuisance, seeking situations that bring the same surges of adrenaline so I can learn to master it.  If I can just push past the avoidance that would keep me inside doing nothing, if I can just ignore the feeling I want to throw up, if I can just get out there, I am rewarded with life’s potential beauty eventually.  Many days I do enjoy the thrill of mountain biking or connection with nature when surfing, but there are too many days of internal struggle that reduce what should be enjoyable to a relentless chore of wrestling inner demons.

The VA offers a few sessions of marriage counseling, and the doctor begins to explain PTSD.  ***, I’ve learned to cope with an unreliable brain, but now there’s this?  From what I understand (and that’s just me, an amateur philosopher) Sometimes the brain is so traumatized, that the memory is literally sealed off, encapsulated, protecting it from changing.  If later something happens that is similar, the brain triggers avoidance responses as a take-no-chances survival mechanism.  Literally the brain is protecting one’s self from one’s self.  This all-or-nothing strategy works fending off potential dinosaur attacks, but in our complex society, these automatic avoidance behaviors complicate functioning and well being.  Life becomes an attitude of constant reaction instead of motivated intention.

The website for the National center for PTSD says.  “After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.”  

“Common reactions to trauma are:
• Fear or anxiety: In moments of danger, our bodies prepare to fight our enemy, flee the situation, or freeze in the hope that the danger will move past us. But those feelings of alertness may stay even after the danger has passed. You may:feel tense or afraid, be agitated and jumpy, feel on alert.  
• Sadness or depression: Sadness after a trauma may come from a sense of loss---of a loved one, of trust in the world, faith, or a previous way of life. You may:have crying spells, lose interest in things you used to enjoy, want to be alone all the time, feel tired, empty, and numb.  
• Guilt and shame: You may feel guilty that you did not do more to prevent the trauma. You may feel ashamed because during the trauma you acted in ways that you would not otherwise have done. You may:feel responsible for what happened, feel guilty because others were injured or killed and you survived.  
• Anger and irritability: Anger may result from feeling you have been unfairly treated. Anger can make you feel irritated and cause you to be easily set off. You may:lash out at your partner or spouse, have less patience with your children, overreact to small misunderstandings.  
• Behavior changes: You may act in unhealthy ways. You may:drink, use drugs, or smoke too much, drive aggressively, neglect your health, avoid certain people or situations.”   It lists four main symptoms: reliving the event, avoiding situations that remind of the event, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)”

Four words strung together: Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  They’ve become a tired cliché, exhausted from the endless threat of random cruelty camouflaged in banality, weary of the weight shouldering back the wall that separates death and gore from the living.  Living was a reflex beyond willpower and devoid of choice. Control was self-deception.  The mind was so preoccupied with A: survival, B: sanity, in that order.  Rest was a cruel illusion.  The tank was drained, no room for emotions ditched.  Empathy took too much effort, fear was greedy.  Hopefully they can be remembered and found on the other side, if there is one.  Sleep deprived cells were left hyper-alert from the imminent, shot up and addicted to adrenaline.  Living was Fate and Chance, and meant leaving that time and place sealed in forgetfulness.  

Now PTSD is a worn out acronym, a cold shadow of what it feels like.  I try to think of something more personal that can describe the way it randomly visits me, now resigned to its familiar unwelcome influence.  It steals through my brain, flying ahead of me with its own agenda of protecting sabotage.  Its like the Guardian Trickster of Native American legend.  Its an archetype but real enough to make mistakes: Chulyen, the black raven.

A decade after the ER, contentment is found in a garden of slow tranquility as a butterfly interrupts a sunbeam.  My heart fills with bittersweet as I’ve finally found something I love and want to keep.  Just then Chulyen’s grasping black claws clamp my heart with painful arrhythmia and it fills to burst, tripping in panic trying to recover its pace.  The sudden pain drops me to my knees, in the dirt between fragrant lavender and cherry tomatoes.  Pain stops breath and time and makes me remember the ER, when my heart rebelled its ordained purpose for a week.  I had tried to throw my bitter life back in God’s face but He didn’t take it.  Now that I have peace and a life that I treasure, He’s taking it now.  The price for my mistake is due.  It was all just borrowed time and I’m still so young, my children just babies.  God with a flick of cruelty reminds me not to put faith in the tangible, especially when its treasured.  The sharp claws finally relent and I can breathe, looking up with a gasp and the Raven takes flight overhead leaving a shadow.  Bright noon warmth, unusually heavy and foreboding, seems to say ‘there will come a time when you will not welcome the sun.’   Doctors run an EKG and diagnose ‘stress’.

The bird perches on my shoulder two more decades later, always seeing death just over there.  So I sit on the porch just a little longer and check my list again, delaying the unavoidable racing heart and rush of tension when I fix the motorcycle helmet strap under my chin.  I know all those stupid drivers have my life in their cell-phone distracted hands and hope my husband knows how much I love him, and my daughters too.  

Chulyen wakes me at 3:00 am when autumn’s wind aggravates the trees.  His rustle of black feathers outside unsettles summer’s calm night.  He brings an end-of-the-world portent that hints this peace is just temporary, borrowed.  Tribulation will return.

Ravens are attracted to bright shiny things.  Chulyen steals off with treasures like intention, and contentment.  I don’t realize they are missing until occasionally I find myself truly living in the moment.  I guess that is another reason why I crave adventure, for those instants and epiphanies that snap me out of that long term modis operandi of reacting, instead of being.  The daily list of ‘I must, or I should’ can for a brief while become ‘I want’  and I am free.

My companion the black bird perches relaxed in the desert on the gatepost of a memory.  A bullet-scarred paint-faded sign dangles by one corner from rusty barbed wire:
    No Trespassing    
    That Means You
I have a haunted idea what's behind the fence.  Chulyen implies the memory with a simple mistaken sound:
a Harley in the distance is for a second the agitating echo of a helicopter...
or those were the very same words they said when...
or I hear a few jangling clinks of forks in our warm kitchen...
hinting a cold cafeteria at 5:00 am smelling of fake eggs and industrial maple flavored corn syrup,
and everything else that happened that day...
My cells recollect, brace with the addictive rush of adrenaline.  But the raven denies access to the memory, distracting with discomfort.  I trip and I fall hard into the gritty dirt of irritation at the person who unknowingly reminded me.  Anxiety floods in along with fatigue of the helplessness of it all, back then and still now.  I can't go further.  Chulyen’s tricking deception says Leave This Memory, you never wanted to come back.
But I already knew from just recognizing the bird patiently sitting there a sentinal,
recalling every other time he tricked me with nausea and depression.
I tried to tell myself again that behind that gate,
the past has dried up from neglect.
Disintegrated into dust,
Blown away,
doesn't
exist.



After everything else, how to work through this?  The VA gave me a manual, a crudely printed set of worksheets with a government-looking blue cover page:  Cognitive Processing Therapy.
“In normal recovery from PTSD symptioms, intrusion, thoughts, and emotions decrease over time and no longer trigger each other.  However, in those who don’t recover, the vivid images, negative thoughts, and strong emotions lead to escape and avoidance.  Avoidance prevents the processing of the trauma that is needed for recovery and works only temporarily.  The ultimate goal is acceptance.  
There may be “stuck points”, conflicting beliefs or strong negative beliefs that create additional unpleasant emotions and unhealthy behavior.  For example, a prior belief may have been “ I am able to protect myself in dangerous situations.”  But after being harmed during military service, a conflicting belief surfaces, “I was harmed during service, and I am to blame.”  If one is ‘stuck’ here, it may take some time until one is able to get feelings out about the trauma, because one is processing a number of rationales.  “I deserved it because…” , or “I misinterpreted what happened, I acted inappropriately, I must be crazy…”  The goal is to change the prior belief to one that does not hinder acceptance.  For example, “I may not be able to protect myself in all situations.”

(chapter continues with recovery methods)
Martin Narrod May 2015
Martin Narrod  just now
I started working on a comment in response to "Filling A Bottle With A Tundish"

Sadly I must admit, that even for an American with a college degree, who is a self-proclaimed non-Philistine that grew up in a suburb of Chicago, IL. Where I'm from I've been told is much like some parts of Sussex(I believe it's Sussex), my friend Lili Wilde described it to me on an occasion.

So I must say martin, that for having a voracious appetite for language, language of all sorts, from **** to sin, to cinephile to cynosure, pulchritude to tup, exsuphlocate to masticate, irate, irk, perfervid, wan ewes thwapping their tails, nearly stridulating like the cricket in the thistle. The advanced undulate troche of domesticated shadows, and the sesquipedelien dulciloquent surreptitious diction and other floccinaucinihilipilification and tomfoolery about.

martin, please do tell me what a 'Tundish" is? If you haven't yet, there is a phenomenally interesting reverse dictionary, entitled onelook.com/reversedictionary , and quite contrary as it may seem, and for all the Virginia & Leonard Woolf I enjoy reading, especially his somewhat innocuously underrated novella he wrote, I also read with extraordinary gratitude Ted Hughes's The Birthday Letters, Take of a Bride Groom, The Complete Works, Sylvia Plath's Unabridged Journals, Ariel, Johnny Panic, Ariel, and other poems by writer Richard Matthews. I am still unfamiliar with this word, Tundish. Online dictionaries don't give the best explanation.

As I was mentioning earlier. The OneLook Dictionary-Reverse, will let you for example, search: beach sand. And in response it will give you up to thousands and thousands of word which relate to those two words, together, seperately, and opposing each other. Such as: water, swell, wave, arenose, peat, dirt, seagull, Pacific Ocean, suntan, bikini, The Beach Boys, vitrify. It's very fun indeed. From one Martin to another, I hope you'll stay in touch. I'm excited about your work!

Best Regards

Martin

P.S. The text below is the original message I typed before learning that my presumptions of you being Anglican were correct. Have a great day!

Another Martin, YES! How exquisite, I've never met another one. I have so many questions I barely know where to start. I love marigolds, nose-bags with oats, and as I started feeling the essences if equus and what lurking prurient pedagogy for the didactic zoology that took me and the mind of me to wonder perhaps if though I am quite certain(though not 100%) that your native tongue is English, but using that ridiculous skill-set of immense benality I seem to someone have, am I wrong for asking dear Martin, are you from Scotland or Wales, or maybe even from a country where you learnt English as a native tongue but it's your secondary language?

As aforementioned, there are a plethora of questions that this runnel of sludge and dross that've now arisen in the turpidity of your antiquary of delightful speech. To whomever invited me to play along in the debauchery, and dance merrily with merriment, mine younger docile succubus's slendering beside me, puking up their tissue paper and vegetable soup, so that my pretty girls can fit into Size 2 TuTu's, and learnedly imprison themselves into the tatterdemalion of portentously lurid self-****** and abuse. , and the opprobrious trollop-gossip the gaggle of my skinny victim women eschewing food groups, in order to appeal to my conservative eyes, thrice the child's wild idling to absorb the rancor of their stoic and noisome sedentary lifestyle in the polluted sudatorium that I myself don't use, but that these nonparticular Philistines would serve as Surf & Turf with glazed Christmas Hams for the Hebrews to eat, and another sad storm surge on another deserted quay of sea sands, and our vessel and our deserters, worshipping the Virunga, sacrificing the ghost skeletons of the million year old ape. So I ask you. If even you're capable of expressing yourself under the maddening yet advesperating evening listening to Miles Kane and The Arctic Monkeys, followed by listening to Black Sabbath play Fairies Wear Boots while we drink our childhoods free of the rod and **** the war out of our teenage girlfriends. And in the morning when awoken by the sound of Sopwith Camels arriving on the early, frost-strewn milky, azure-banded stripes of moonlit ecstasy that make for this unquantifiable gesture of succinct believers driving in Summer get stopped for blowing a rice-white swiveling consortium of dishonest affair rivaling ****** addicts, with hummus, plastic bags, and forks in their sphincters, while they autoerotically asphyxiate themselves in a plastic knockoff Mickey Mouse hat, and a Pirates of the Carribbean bandana wrapped around the ***** eyed nightmare of having unsuccessfully sedated a 400-lb crabby, Lowland living-room Silverback Gorilla. More than a primate and a prostate exam. It's like posthumously straining to push tingling 119° Vaseline through the grey and white coffee stirrers which spilled all over the floor while I was saying goodbye to our daughter, while also explaining to you why it's so important to me you love me back enough so that everyone has enough of a grasping glint at understanding yourself, that in managing to reason the arithmetic of such a conundrum and confusing calamity, a phone call free of dial tone happens to be surrendered to an independent Christian organization of the state while myself and my wife's two sons, our sons, Thomas and James, have enough free time from complaining to hire an attorney to disclose the arraignment reiterated by both legal council, city council, and the Screenwriters Guild of counsellors struggling from methamphetamine addiction.

Peace Be With You.

Martin Narrod
martin.narrod@gmail.com
Response to Filling A Bottle With A Tundish by Martin
dj Apr 2012
clanking clank slurp, ka-boom
the slop runs down a throat
merrily merrily terribly chilled
the gunk rolls down a throat.

the
forks spoons knives
plates salts salads
and wines
ding and echo like
soft butterfly tea parties
all gone rabid.
throughout the walls of pictures of food
and the butterfly echos echo
and dinging cups splash
and forks click and clock
(and and,..and!)

hold my breath.

clanking cubes of ice
bing against one another
Gluttonous Pig slobs them down with
a spoonful of spicy French soup
Pigman talks to Pigwoman; spittle flying out of
his piggy chops.
he stares at my forehead
they see my odd selection
she's laughing insanely at a joke
I'm holding my eyes inside my head
while

all on my plate sit the legs
of baby spiders
all on my dish are darting
sow eyeballs
pitcher plant garnish
and frozen grey custard for dessert; (echos still in the restaurant)
I gag outloud
the Fat Pigman scoffs at this
my heart pops inside its cage
and the waiter rolls his eyes at the mess.
sometimes I will zone out and start listening to all the noises during my time at eateries. it's not enjoyable. this poem is about that.
kj Nov 2014
We breathe that we are brave
Force forks in the road for a good name
As the patterns on the weather tick away
We are left with a dreary rain

The world spins just as fast
As a man running to catch his hat
That flies and flutters in an inside train
Past the lovely girl who has no say

The hero takes a chance at fate
But the villain makes his own good day
And that is all he will ever take
Brave is not a name
Sag Sep 2015
The thing about inseparability is that you spend so many sleepless nights trying to familiarize yourself with each and every reason he named the arrangement of those walls "home" and when you finally leave (the candy bowl, the green Christmas lights, the keyboard, the twin size mattress, the bathroom cabinet),
Kenopsia lies in the forgotten combination code and you're left blankly staring at your front door and the splinter in your foot from the plywood floor and the unexpectedly obnoxious ding of the microwave and the look on your moms face when you have to ask which forks are in which drawer and when your cat paws at your tangled headphones but runs when you try to pet her and you remember that she is actually a he and you had to change his name because Matilda wasn't unisex enough for your niece, who's been making all A's in school, no thanks to you, even after the help you promised her was never provided, much like the bowling nights and painting mornings you once planned with her.
And you can't sleep at night because your arms aren't flexible enough to wrap themselves around your torso and rest beneath your neck like his did and your bed makes an unfamiliar screech each time you toss or turn or stretch, or blink, or take a breath and the light can't be turned off with a click of a button and the room is too cold without a radiating body next to you to fill the frigid air with warm words about running toward city lights, and you realize that you've dreamed of a home your entire life and you thought you'd never found it and maybe you still haven't but you've built a structure with his bones and use his curls as blankets,
but what the three little pigs didn't warn you of was that all it takes is a cloudy day to birth a storm strong enough to rip the ribs off their hinges.
The storm hasn't hit home yet, but it's almost hurricane season, and you can't remember where your dad always hid the flashlights from your niece; and light is shed on the fact that darkness houses vulnerability.
The singleness of mind
as the pavement lobotomizes you.
No forks in the track
at any point.
from point A
to point B
Employ your limbs or you might fall asleep
as you are serenaded
by strange music
from universes
just discovered.
Some universal truth tough to explain.
How every galaxy
in every glint
on this desert road
is, with precise frequency, interrupted
by that yellow stripe
running in intervals down eternity lane
Just Me R Jul 2016
How is it that forks in the road
Are decisions that cut like a knife?
No matter what route we go
The choice may not be right.
I am going where I'm heading and that's all I know for now, but
one day I'm sure to get there,
don't know when and don't know how
the road is forked in many places
I face them every day,
forks for dinner
forks for tea
it seems them forks are just for me.

I am heading where I'm going and the way is straight ahead,never mind about the forks I see, the map is kept here in my head
and I'll get there,
don't know why I didn't try before but now I'll try once more,
I am bearing down with head held high and my back is to the wind which blows,I have no way of knowing where this road I'm on is going,
but I'm going there.
laura Oct 2018
dead tree forks
arizona heat still goes dumb hard
voices swivel for relief
i mouthed every word
of a break up song
like it means something
giving you up
like you gave up on the pronoun game
callous tongue
imagine if you called me by my name
as opposed to a girl
like i told you to
that’s one point for gryffindor and none for you
Bob Sterry Jul 2014
Shucking peas on the back steps
Maureen and I watch her Mum,
My Aunt Grace,
Arguing with Aunt Edna
In the kitchen
The narrow kitchen
Of number 84 Truro Road
As they whip a Sunday lunch into shape
A test match drones on the radio
The aroma of mint on new spuds teases.
It’s a modest roast
Served in the tiny parlor
To nine of us!
Eating elbow to elbow
With yellow handled knives and forks
Down to the bare porcelain
Waiting for the apple pie
with Libby’s.
That crust, with sugar sprinkles
Is a lifetime goal for me!
Inspired by Seamus Heaney's poem about watching his mother peel potatoes, and written for the 90th Birthday of my Aunt Grace, who represents her name so well. Test match means a five day cricket match, probably against Australia. Libby's is a brand of sweetened condensed milk. A treat in the fifties when cream was a luxury.
Frank Ruland Oct 2014
Why is it I try
to use spoons
like forks,
forks like
knives,
and knives
like guns?
Chris Voss Nov 2012
This one's for me
and I'm gonna watch it burn.
Watch it flicker and pop and crackle and spit.
Gonna take lessons on how to dance with the draft,
also hoping she doesn't ******* out.
I'll make poems out of smoke and shadows
and fading, lonesome, sepia-tone summer photographs.
I want to make dusty picture frames feel like well-loved tuxedos.
I'm gonna see if candlelight can be all the company I need to keep.
Gonna sweep this floor clean,
like it's not what we say, it's what we mean
between the lines of
one too-polished table setting:
one knife,
one spoon,
but two forks for wishful thinking.
I'm gonna eat my fill
and fill my cup again and again,
to the point that I begin to make conversation
with my reflection in the bathroom mirror.
I'll tell that *******, "My friend, you are drunk."
and he'll tell me, "Kid, look who's talking."
Then it'll be back to a glass
that treats its brim like a suggestion.
Gonna have whisky and black lager and champagne
'til my toes and thumbs tingle.
Thin blooded and numbed;
Steeled by my father's novocain.
Come morning, this house couldn't get more hollow.

In these hallowed halls where I wallow in the way that
I only seem to appreciate the preciousness of days
Once they've passed,
here's what I'm gonna do:
I'm gonna write questions on one side of the wooden window blinds,
and write punchlines to completely unrelated jokes on the other.
I don't know why. Maybe just to **** with people.

I'm gonna reminisce with full streets of ghosts
That glow like kerosene lamp posts
all the while, stomping my feet, just to prove that I can.
Gonna make toasts to the isolated;
to the quarantined and the misanthropes.
I'll boast that lovers are not unlike poachers,
but I'm not gonna mention that in every other under-cover dream
I seem to swoon like ivory elephant tusks.
I'm gonna gamble on Dusk
because I think it's got a little less honesty,
but a little more promise than its
attention-*******, good-for-nothing, go-getter big sister Dawn does.
That flirtations *****.
Gonna give Christian names to half drawn caricatures
of people who only ever existed when the lights died out
and the snow fell heavy.

I'm gonna let the levies break.
I'll go insane, just ******* lose it--
do the Boot-Scoot-'n'-Boogie in a onesie
with the hind flap flying free and the Greek Theatre masks of
Comedy and Tragedy painted on my *** cheeks,
(because no one should ever take their art too seriously)
And I'm even not gonna even care who sees,
partially because there's no one around to watch anyway,
but mostly because I want,
more than anything, to just be me.
Or at least I want to want that.
See, I read somewhere that,
"You should always be yourself…
unless you can be a unicorn,
then always be a unicorn."
And that really struck home for me because,
even though I've never really ached to be
the ******* love child of a Narwhal and Zebra
(In my imagination, unicorns are
striped and impecable swimmers)
I truly believe that Men will always dream of being Titans
and Titans will always dream of being Gods
and Gods want nothing more than to be Wind--
to twist with lit candle sticks
and teach the lonesome how to dance.

A one-step waltz tip-toed to distract.

But the fact is, I'm bound to take a few back steps.
I'm gonna think about her.
Gonna harbor hard feelings towards back bedroom dealings
that I have no right knowing about.
Gonna pray like a desperate atheist
that they keep their knees locked in a one night stand.
I might break down.
Only once, just long enough to regain my strength.
Then I'll tame the earthquakes in my hands, like I always do.
Gonna find what it takes to move on.
Not just regenerate, but to grow stronger than I ever was before.
So I'm gonna meticulously straighten these place settings:
One knife.
One spoon.
A healthy dose of wishful thinking.
Gonna try my hand again at dancing with the back draft;
I heard she's been aching for a duet,
and with all the life of candlelight
I'm gonna ignite the coal shafts beneath my eyes.
Gonna finally see me as the man I am,
not the titan I wish to be,
because I heard somewhere that,
"You should always be yourself…
Especially when all you've known
all you've ever shown
is some mythology."
So raise your glass because this one?
This one's for me.
Riley Whelan Nov 2013
I forgot a fork
So I'm eating my salad with a spoon.
I didn't feel like sitting in the cafeteria,
Where it's too loud and busy,
So I went home,
Where I'd rather hear a muffled trombone lesson
Than my best friends's stories.

(I'm in one of those tired-sad moods
Where my whole body feels fatigued
And my face feels sad
And I shuffle around;
No motivation.)
So,
I went where I am.

I wish I could spend all day in home
--the band room--
The place I go to hide.
I have to remind myself
It's just a classroom
That I'll probably
Never
Set foot in after I graduate.

But, those are thoughts for
A later date
When I can remember
A fork.
Jesse stillwater Nov 2018
The river forks at big stone eddy
rending currents meandering course,  
its silence speaks not with forked tongue
as kismet's swirling eddies abide
     as if time immemorial;
     a river naturally cleaved
in two separate distinct directions
befallen destiny  without a choice


Spinning round and round in big stone eddy,
time just drifting by in the throes
of doubt — high water rising
beyond the bounds of earth
taking drowning souls up to the sky


Choking on a mouthful of unanswered questions,
suffocating on the parting words left unsaid;
distilling life into poetry hew from being —
trickling out like the spilled out sky —
taken down to the empty riverbed
leave lay' til it's all washed away,
in the music of the pourin' down rain


Freedom embodies metaphysical incarnations
riding the prevailing currents it can't control
Gravity-gathered  down to the shoreline,
manifest reclamation after the deluge,
from somewhere far above the high-water mark


Swallowed by all the darkness woe betides,
thinking you carry such a weight to hold...
It seems all got a handful of sand to toss
up into the wind to seed the clouds
The totality of eclipsing silence grows
that rent the stillness of a dream
of peace on an eroding shoreline


In an Eddy of Expectations & Disappointment
dark waters will ebb and flow,
imponderable as drowning hope,
leaving it all out there to dry after the rain

       believing in your heart —
        the best is yet to come


  Jesse Stillwater ... November 2018
Thank you for reading
onlylovepoetry May 2017
twice by god's accidental interference,
our crash vehicles, super sized shopping carts,
connect, we are manger-penalized for unnecessary roughness
and disturbing the supermarkets peace

what better way to judge character than to examine
a single persons shopping cart  contents?

hers,
all organic, milk, heirloom tomatoes, even the Chardonnay,
grown upon the farms of the island and vineyards on
the forks that shelter the isle from the ravages of the Atlantic

mine,
Hebrew National franks, yellow mustard,
very classy brioche buns, a six pack of Corona Light,
and funny colored, funny looking, rusted russet potato chips

with a tremulous smile, and an overly loud, derisive sniff,
pronounces me dead man walking sooner than later,
to which, I respond,
then, teach me, where shall we dine tonight?

later that night,
after a thousand kisses of her fluttering eyelashes,
she props herself upon an elbow and
in a tone sincere and caring,
extracts from the poet promises of
natural exclusivity

from now on, healthy, natural only, organic and pure,
from the soul soil of our shared habitat

her suntan skin, garden-digging hand, I clasp,
softly climbing on top of her,
announce with total genuine sincerity and solemnity;

I swear it, from now on, all my loving will be sourced locally

rewarded with a laugh and a gentle but hard enough,
garden to table (with her free hand), head smacking,
I noting nod, good naturedly
that both the laugh and smack,
as well,

sourced locally,
sourced lovingly,

which then seeded
this new only love jointly authored poem,
planted in our mingling blossoming crashing
bodies


5/29/17 i
12:43pm
No matter what life you lead
the ****** is a lovely number:
cheeks as fragile as cigarette paper,
arms and legs made of Limoges,
lips like Vin Du Rhone,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes
open and shut.
Open to say,
Good Day Mama,
and shut for the ******
of the unicorn.
She is unsoiled.
She is as white as a bonefish.

Once there was a lovely ******
called Snow White.
Say she was thirteen.
Her stepmother,
a beauty in her own right,
though eaten, of course, by age,
would hear of no beauty surpassing her own.
Beauty is a simple passion,
but, oh my friends, in the end
you will dance the fire dance in iron shoes.
The stepmother had a mirror to which she referred--
something like the weather forecast--
a mirror that proclaimed
the one beauty of the land.
She would ask,
Looking glass upon the wall,
who is fairest of us all?
And the mirror would reply,
You are the fairest of us all.
Pride pumped in her like poison.

Suddenly one day the mirror replied,
Queen, you are full fair, 'tis true,
but Snow White is fairer than you.
Until that moment Snow White
had been no more important
than a dust mouse under the bed.
But now the queen saw brown spots on her hand
and four whiskers over her lip
so she condemned Snow White
to be hacked to death.
Bring me her heart, she said to the hunter,
and I will salt it and eat it.
The hunter, however, let his prisoner go
and brought a boar's heart back to the castle.
The queen chewed it up like a cube steak.
Now I am fairest, she said,
lapping her slim white fingers.

Snow White walked in the wildwood
for weeks and weeks.
At each turn there were twenty doorways
and at each stood a hungry wolf,
his tongue lolling out like a worm.
The birds called out lewdly,
talking like pink parrots,
and the snakes hung down in loops,
each a noose for her sweet white neck.
On the seventh week
she came to the seventh mountain
and there she found the dwarf house.
It was as droll as a honeymoon cottage
and completely equipped with
seven beds, seven chairs, seven forks
and seven chamber pots.
Snow White ate seven chicken livers
and lay down, at last, to sleep.

The dwarfs, those little hot dogs,
walked three times around Snow White,
the sleeping ******.  They were wise
and wattled like small czars.
Yes.  It's a good omen,
they said, and will bring us luck.
They stood on tiptoes to watch
Snow White wake up.  She told them
about the mirror and the killer-queen
and they asked her to stay and keep house.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
Soon she will know you are here.
While we are away in the mines
during the day, you must not
open the door.

Looking glass upon the wall . . .
The mirror told
and so the queen dressed herself in rags
and went out like a peddler to trap Snow White.
She went across seven mountains.
She came to the dwarf house
and Snow White opened the door
and bought a bit of lacing.
The queen fastened it tightly
around her bodice,
as tight as an Ace bandage,
so tight that Snow White swooned.
She lay on the floor, a plucked daisy.
When the dwarfs came home they undid the lace
and she revived miraculously.
She was as full of life as soda pop.
Beware of your stepmother,
they said.
She will try once more.

Snow White, the dumb bunny,
opened the door
and she bit into a poison apple
and fell down for the final time.
When the dwarfs returned
they undid her bodice,
they looked for a comb,
but it did no good.
Though they washed her with wine
and rubbed her with butter
it was to no avail.
She lay as still as a gold piece.

The seven dwarfs could not bring themselves
to bury her in the black ground
so they made a glass coffin
and set it upon the seventh mountain
so that all who passed by
could peek in upon her beauty.
A prince came one June day
and would not budge.
He stayed so long his hair turned green
and still he would not leave.
The dwarfs took pity upon him
and gave him the glass Snow White--
its doll's eyes shut forever--
to keep in his far-off castle.
As the prince's men carried the coffin
they stumbled and dropped it
and the chunk of apple flew out
of her throat and she woke up miraculously.

And thus Snow White became the prince's bride.
The wicked queen was invited to the wedding feast
and when she arrived there were
red-hot iron shoes,
in the manner of red-hot roller skates,
clamped upon her feet.
First your toes will smoke
and then your heels will turn black
and you will fry upward like a frog,
she was told.
And so she danced until she was dead,
a subterranean figure,
her tongue flicking in and out
like a gas jet.
Meanwhile Snow White held court,
rolling her china-blue doll eyes open and shut
and sometimes referring to her mirror
as women do.
Axton Rupp Dec 2018
Searching for balance
Equality within one's self
Battles rage between
Survival
Gratitude
Purity
And sinister behaviors

Are they merely excuses
For my greed?
For my self-indulgence?
For security?
For relationships both friendly & otherwise?

I know I'm doing wrong to live right
Everybody has a hustle
Crooked or straight
On this life's wander
I've encountered forks
Try to take the righteous
Drawn to the lure of the shadows

Eventually, make my own path
In the grey, diagonal
Until I'm presented with the next opportunity
Never knowing
When it'll  spring upon me

Believe me or not
I'm a good person
Even if I'm unsure at moments myself
**** the cards I was dealt
I'm a chess player
Think
Risk
Win
Despite my means  

I do my dirt all by my lonely
Maintain being humble & true
With unwavering loyalty
To those that reciprocate

By Axton Rupp
MV Blake May 2015
We thought we had the vampires done,
Cornered as we raised the stakes.
The fiends were caught against the font,
An end to this for all our sakes.
How foolish to believe
That the stake would push itself,
How blinded must we be
To think we'd help ourselves.

We fell back in confusion
As their eyes lit stars of blue,
Our fiery brand burned red in fear
But the flames sputtered out on cue.
We faced the devils in their line
But they withstood our empty threats,
And took us off one by one;
It was time to pay our debts.

They laughed at our misfortune.
And gave us back our forks,
They pointed at our dampened brand
And sent us back to work.
They drank from tattooed necks
And supped from elder veins,
And bled the middle dry
And fed upon their brains.

They tore up all our rights
And placed death upon a throne,
Who drove out justice in the night
While Liber's throat did moan.
They sold us all as slaves
To merchants draped in skin,
Cut from children's backs
As the devils slowed their spin.

So now we work until we drop,
Exhausted in our penury.
We're fed from blood banks on each street
While we think that we're still free.
The vampires grin within their church
And play at pious once a while,
And watch with glee as all they cut
Divides us up in our denial.
In May 2015, the UK gave a majority to the Conservative Party (Blue) in the general election, despite the polls predictions of a Labour (Red) government.  The circus leading up to the election was fascinating, as party leaders battled rhetoric on the stands, the people discussed tactical voting, and, in the final week, controversial comedian-turned-political activist Russell Brand publicly endorsed Ed Milliband, the Labour Party leader, for Prime Minister.  Not that it mattered, as the Conservatives managed to hold on to power in alarming fashion, with the majority of seats in the House of Commons turning blue overnight.  The country waits with bated breath to see what will happen next as the Tories, after five years of a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats, finally have the power to enact their plans...
JN Cole Aug 2018
the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires

the birds will sing you a song
when the edge of the sky breaks golden

when the golden breaks the somnolent

stirring
            stirring
                        stirring

a mother is pleased with the clicking of the gas stove

how many mothers turn
their gas stoves on at the same time

or it could be a father
a daughter a son

Someone

a pan heating over the blue flame
a cigarette cherry

in a moment there is admiration
enlightenment
                                        ­                  salvation of sorts
                                    signal fire
warm radiation for comfort

the birds will tell you
a different bird for a different song

like that of the boy who played
Revolver on his phonograph

thirty years or so afterward another boy
a different boy searches in his shoe box

cassette tapes smelling
of dust and mold and old cardboard
                                              Nirvana
 ­        Pink Floyd                                             Lynyrd Skynyrd
                                   Meat Puppets
                  Pixies                                t­he Melvins
Kiss          Queen        Metallica—

in the apartment with its stucco wall
how many boys have had music playing

the sound of breakfast
their mothers telling them off

keep it down

mothers want spoons and forks
clinking against their china plates

want washing copper pots
cast-iron pans

want tap water rushing
want to
scrub
         scrub
                  scrub                …a w a y

want to jump inside the kettle
and shut the world away

she smiles at you and sees you off to school
have a nice day.

the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires

will tell you who painted the girl
in the gas mask on the gray wall

her prayer in the quiet box above her head

                                         "WE BELIEVE"
         We believe that children in Africa will not starve again.
                  We believe in equality and good governance.
                                          We believe in world peace.
                                                          ­   We believe in women’s rights.

you have admired now for years and years

the birds will tell you.
the birds will tell you.

at the same time someone painted a sea turtle on the
back of the closet in the apartment bedroom

the birds will tell you what happened to the girl who
played with matches; what happened to the dog

the birds on the cable wire knew about
the old apartment, the one before you came to live in this new one

but the pine still stands in the front yard
the old apartment ashes now underneath the new

but with the same stucco wall
and the same pine tree shedding needles now for years

along the street
before the flood washed away bits of asphalt

there was a kid rushing home to watch the television before his father did, before the news, before he was told to study

now that the street is fixed, crack-less, hot black asphalt over asphalt; how many cars have passed

there is a kid now rushing home, his house just half a mile away
from school the kids now smelling like the sun

flushed and dotted with prickly heat
and sweat-soaked hair plastered to their foreheads and napes

how many of them
in the past twenty years cackled playing catch-ball

there is a girl now in her bedroom reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s
rare find at the book store inside the strip mall

before in the same room there was a girl smoothing the torn corner of Lord of the Flies maybe the book will be new again

maybe Ralph didn't have to have his mind all hazy
maybe she didn’t have to write a book report

the birds will tell you
the birds perched along the black cable wires know

they will tell you and they will sing
when the edge of the sky breaks golden

and everything is

stirring
                                 stirring
                                                                ­stirring
Meteo Aug 2015
Two birds flying at night crash into each other
and as they spin falling from a cloud of feathers and starlight
they are reminded of a time before they learned how to fly...

Will we fold into each others secrets
would we fit each other like a spoon
won't you take my hand and chase stars with me

we'll catch them if they fall
and bury them in the backyard of our childhood dreams
so we can always find our way back there

Chase the shoreline
fly with a flock of airplanes
we'll signature the moon
as we dance our footprints upon the clouds

swim with me through an ocean of bed sheets
and Sunday mornings
and we'll chase dinosaurs from our bedroom

The warmest place in the world is next to you
let me sip coconuts in your arms
won't you plant my name behind your tongue
that it may bloom in a garden of your smiles

We'll find a beach to name after our children
and serenade the ocean as it refuses to stop kissing the shore
we'll use toothbrushes as tuning forks

fake a limp at new years eve and ride the elevator to the highest floor
and dance with me above the skyline

'cause if you sing me a lullaby of forgiveness
I will keep you from all the broken promises
we can finger paint sunrises on each other skin

Be orphans with me
so that we can name each other
the way we once named the stars
as if the constellations held the promise
we could find our way home
Tyler A Sullivan Feb 2018
TURN OF THE SEASON

For Friends and Family


Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.
                                          -Robert Herrick

Intoxicated nights of orange halogen lights-
Illuminating through misty blown water.
As the April breeze ruffles the newly sprung leaves upon the trees,
Men pour malted liquor inside clandestine cellars of tuxedo staff and obsequious waitresses

Echoes of an engine shuffles on down the alley,
Startled it hides in the cornered places.
Men enclosed in smoke talk of days of old-
And better times,
And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces.

Woman go about chatting of useless things and waste the night away.
Men sit about playing games of little meaning and waste the night away.
Both will head to familiar places at mornings first rays
And April effortlessly falls into May

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
Slowly trudging through the paces
Slowly they tighten their laces

And set out for another monotony dipped day

Planting their ears to the ground listening
And many things they'll hear and say
With many hindsight memories in their mind glistening
And their lovers will whisper are you listening
And they'll say "yes yes my dear have no fear I am here"

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
And they'll make many a plan and in cases
And step over cracks in fear of dark places


The clink of a glass carries on down the hall
The bartender while wiping the counter yells
"Last call"
And they'll retort "for what reason"
And he "none at all"
Then the bar goes the way of the shopping mall
And summer slips effortlessly into fall

What reasons can they make when the night is through
When it's time to wake what will they do

As the days retreat with their hairline
And each mirror more distortive than the last
They'll retreat further, further into their mind
And what will they find
With their sanity fleeting fast
A desperate thought floating in the breeze
A candle to thaw the freeze


Intoxicated nights of solemn solitude
Tucked in the back thoughts of a lonely suburb
Trying arduously to abandon actuality
But failing and jumping the curb

And many men before and after grasp the image of their obscured faces
"Sorry love they're not home I'm afraid"
"They've gone to the races"
Each two lovers in two different places

Rest assured rest assured they'll return
They'll unconsciously sell their freedom
Rest assured rest assured they'll return
At this moment they are Carpe Diem

Rest assured rest assured
They'll be plenty of time
To fumble with furniture
Plenty of time
To spend with her
Plenty of time to waste
Plenty of love to give
Now's to go slow not make haste
Now's to go slow and live


And they'll remember childhood
As a warm August kiss
And where their feet stood
And what they missed
And when the leaves
Upon the trees
Fall down down down
To rise to their knees
They'll remember who they are
And who they use to be


So, before you grow old
And wilt away
And the December cold
Melts the summer’s day
Enjoy what you have
For what you have is to enjoy
For what you haven't
Are merely foolish toys

This summer began as the last one did
And will end when Autumn bids
With the sun and stars above for you to see
Run around like children in the heat of lunacy
...


Though I've fasted and wept,
Wept and prayed
And stayed stoic long
Through passing day
And bards’ men song
I can never,
Never truly say
I have achieved arête

No, I'm not the son of Xanthippus
Who instigated the apogee of Athens
The past beacons of Atticus
Dims my own ember passions

Though I've loved and lost
Loved and lusted
Won a few
Others busted
Though I've seen the world at the needle point,
With all the sordid souls suffering
I've lived like Cummings
The farthest extent of emotions
I've kept a drug induced devotion
But never could I stop from wondering
Never could cease sundering

I've seen the valleys of my life
Where the flowers are disseminated like t.v. static
And the only sound a high tinnitus pitch
They've said go, Go I don't love you anymore
Not pretty enough to be a poem
Not intelligent enough to be of any use

Though I've smiled and agreed
Agreed and died
Through all this hell
I have tried
...



They're troubled tonight
Their restless gaze fails to penetrate the maw of a darkened window-

To have
To have not

To operate in the probity of normality
To practice trembling sobriety
To lose an arm for the ones you love
To have in heart the morning dove,

Assures that come evening tide
Through shroud and delusion
Secrets the world shall confide
And lift your illusion
...

The very next morning
Or so it would seem
Awoke the old men
Rendering a dream

Patiently focusing
For a clearer account
The words from the past
They seemed to mount
And as they pressed closer
Not to be deterred
It crested their mind
And then they heard

"Soured metal, rotted walls
Darkness hangs from hall to hall
Broken bonds burning ambitions
A feeling half held until fruition

Life a moment
A last choking breath
Happiness a second
Before eternal death

We exist only
In the time between
A hint of joy
Goes often unseen

Until again
The crest breaks
And life slips by
But leaves no wake

Such was the tale
Of the great eluder
A hidden knife
A dark intruder

A ****** thorn
Upon the rose
A heap of sand
At the toes

Left undone
The last request
Above the head
The water crest"

Intolerable mornings of required communion
Accompanied with formulated phrases
Men limp from church
Their mind wondering
Far from there
To their childhood breakfast table
Breathing the memory becomes stable
They hold on to it as long as they are able
Plates of porcelain
Decorate the wall
Floral patterns swirling to the center
Across the room mother enters
The image wavers and ripples like water disturbed by a pebble
"Honey set the table
Get the biscuits, gravy, ladle."
Set the trays down equal from the middle, a cup to the left, forks and knifes to the right-
Get those filthy boon dockers off my floor and out of sight
Go get your brother without causing a fight
BREAKFAST TIME
Rise and shine on the biscuit line
BREAKFAST TIME
The sun is up and shining
The coffee is on and the bacon frying"

The memory dissipated into a fleecy cloud.
It hangs heavy on their heads.
Remnants of yesterday remembered in indignation
When slipping off to bed.

I'm in the December of my days
And stuck fast in my stubborn ways
If only I could grasp youth for longer
If only my frail body were stronger

If only I were confronted again with every last myriad encounter where I chose reticence
Opposed to openness
My martial mind refuses any peacefulness
Perhaps the reason of my restlessness
...

Shaking off the foreboding dream
A distant luminary seemed to gleam
An old man frail but proud
He spoke a poetic oration aloud

"My head is swollen, my mind it wanders
My tongue is twisted stumbling it stutters
My thoughts are lost in the colliding clutter
My meaning is lost under soft mutters

My smile shields my solemnness
My eyes reveal my weariness
I am a man of little happiness
But refuse to possess helplessness

I am as I decree
An old man wrapped in misery
But not one broken to submission
Just one in a transition

I have tasted the bitters of love
Witnessed the horrors of death
I have choked my linen dove
To its final breath

No, I am not a careless senior
Full of content
Shriveled in demeanor
Mind absent

I'm dying not dead
No resolving to expiration
Living instead
No meeting expectation
No bowing my head

In credence I say
I'm living for today

No consideration for tomorrow
No more drowning in sorrow"

...


The day was overcast
Fitting the mood
Black suits stood in formation
While the lucky ones heaved their load.

"He was not an exceptional man

Not one of great worth
No wife, no kids, no friends.

To an outside eye it would seem as a waste
And maybe it was
But that's the nature of things to end abruptly
On a minor note"
Written by
Tyler A. Sullivan
TD Mar 2016
"You look upset."

"I do? Funny."



Pots and pans clang an obnoxious accompaniment to

an appraising stare from the cook through the pass-through.

An old woman limps by with raisin-bread hands.

Led to her seat as she clutches her cane with arthritic fingers,

the world mills about underwhelmed.



Curious interlopers peer with nosy eyes and forks at the ready.

"Hey it's your birthday!"

Knowing grins and laughs exchange.

(Hilarious. Ha-ha-ha?)



It's my birthday and you don't belong

and you and you.

Thanks family for allowing unknowns

to infiltrate my happy place.



Sad faces, lonely faces,

"all the lonely people,"

and I'm sitting here eating chicken salad

I can't afford--pretending.



You picked the place, the time, the people.

I'm so glad you did this for me,

because that's what "I" really wanted.

At least the chicken doesn't care about my feelings.

(-takes a bite with a side of "relish")



Oldest sister's here because she adores free food

and Daddy will pay.

Teen sister's here because she likes food

but despises me.  How funny. Ha ha



Waitress serves a smile

waiting nervously at control freak's beck and call.

(The tips are good, I'll just have to deal with him.)



"Don't worry about the cost,

you're the only one who can have dessert,

it's for your birthday after all.

Oh well your sister can have some too...



It's your birthday after all."





It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.. cry if I..

Why am I here?

Oh yeah..

Chicken.
Dr Sam Burton Sep 2014
Life without a wife
Is like a knife
So strife
For a better life.


Friends,

Life is short, but it is so beautiful. Make use of every minute. Do not waste your time on something worthless. Be always good and wear a smile all the times. Give a hand to all those who are in need of it and always expect the unexpected.

Sam

Today is Thursday, Sept. 25, the 267th day of 2014 with 98 to follow.

The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Jupiter, Uranus and Venus. Evening stars are Mars, Mercury, Neptune and Saturn.

A thought for the day:

Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, said, The most sophisticated people I know -- inside they are all children.

QUOTES FOR THE DAY:

I don't like being told what to do.

------------------------

I don't need a lot of money. Simplicity is the answer for me.

------------------------

I think hard drugs are disgusting. But I must say, I think marijuana is pretty lightweight.

Linda Eastman McCartney

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half.

Gore Vidal (1925 - )

"Don't worry about failure; you only have to be right once."

Drew Houston


POETRY


MANIC PANIC

Marisa Crawford


Live fast
and dye your hair.

That's what I wrote on my
Converse in 8th grade.

Maybe it was the way
the feeling pulled me

like a girl
pulling a ponytail.

Maybe I didn't get the job
cause of the polka dots.

Maybe I don't care
cause of the wave.

Today I'm blue.
Tomorrow I could be anywhere.

All these pop songs about dying young
like it's gonna be so epic.

The only difference between 8th grade
and now is the blowing up

the use of color
& perspective.

Things that are with you
when you wake up

& you feel like
someone's there.

Same rainbows
under her eyes

clouds floating in the air.


About this poem

"When I wrote 'Manic Panic,' I was thinking about mass violence, about being a kid versus being an adult, about our culture's obsession with staying young forever contrasted with the reality of dying young in some form of violence or tragedy. There's so much focus all around us on the power and allure of youth, on 'stopping aging,' for women in particular, but this poem is about what happens to that power as you keep on living."
-Marisa Crawford

About Marisa Crawford

Marisa Crawford is the author of "The Haunted House" (Switchback Books, 2010). She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.


*
The Academy of American Poets is a nonprofit, mission-driven organization, whose aim is to make poetry available to a wider audience. Email The Academy at poem-a-day[at]poets.org.


(c) 2014 Marisa Crawford.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate


A TIP FOR WOMEN


Change your pillow case

What does changing your pillowcase have to do with health and beauty? Everything! Think of everything you use in your hair and on your face ... where do you think it goes at the end of the day? Change your pillowcase often -- about every other night is good -- to prevent breakouts.


JOKES


Barbecue?

As the coals from our barbecue burned down, our hosts passed out marshmallows and long roasting forks.

Just then, two fire trucks roared by, sirens blaring, lights flashing. They stopped at a house right down the block.

All twelve of us raced out of the back yard, down the street, where we found the owners of the blazing house standing by helplessly.

They glared at us with looks of disgust.

Suddenly, we realized why.........we were all still holding our roasting forks with marshmallows on them...


Swimming Lesson

A member of the Country Club asked the lifeguard how he might go about teaching a young lady to swim.

"It takes considerable time and technique." replied the guard. "First you must take her into the water, then place one arm about her waist, hold her tightly, then take her right arm and raise it very slowly..."

"This is certainly most helpful." said the member. "I know that my kid sister will appreciate it."

"Your sister?" said the lifeguard. "In that case, just push her into the deep end of the pool. She'll learn in a hurry."

Tidbits

"To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the moon landing President Bush met with Neil Armstrong. There was one odd moment when President Bush said, 'I hear you're doing well in that Tour de France.'" --Conan O'Brien

---

After examining a woman the doctor took the husband aside, and said, "I don't like the looks of your wife at all."

"Me neither doc," said the husband, "but she's a great cook and really good with the kids.

---

"My son's into extreme sports, my daughter's into extreme makeovers, and my husband's into extreme denial."

Insurance

A client called to report an accident and ask if her insurance rates would go up.

"Our underwriting department determines that", I said. Then I asked for her license number. Verifying her information, I asked, "NMF? Is that N as in Nancy, M as in Mary, and F as in Frank?"

"Well... yes," she said. "But could you please tell your underwriters that it's also N as in Not, M as in My, and F as in fault?"

Computer Virus Humor

Recently, the "Love Bug" Virus circled the globe, damaging computers in it's path. There have recently been some new mutations or variationsof this virus that you should be aware of.

* The "I Love You, But I'm Shy" virus never actually invades your computer, but collects data about it worshipfully from afar.

* The "Love The One You're With" virus hangs around your computer, but the whole thing is just temporary until it can find the computer that it really wants to invade.

* The "Happily Married" virus invades only one computer and stays with it for life.

* The "Unhappily Married" virus spends a long time negotia- ting with a computer, finally invades it, and then strays to other computers from time to time.

* The "I Want A Divorce" virus sends repeated, hard-to-read messages that your computer isn't working and takes half of your computer's best data in an ugly network session.

* The "Stalker" virus spends unnatural amounts of time monitoring your computer, collecting data your computer has thrown away and tries to record all of its functions. And it writes rude messages to any other computer with which yours connects on any regular basis.

* The "Forever Single" virus causes your computer to focus solely on other computers with which it is totally incompatible or prove generally unavailable.

* The "Deadbeat" virus invades your computer, spawns an entirely new database, then refuses to help update it as it grows.


HAVE A DAZZLING THURSDAY!
Dedication

Inscribed to a dear Child:
in memory of golden summer hours
and whispers of a summer sea.

Girt with a boyish garb for boyish task,
   Eager she wields her *****; yet loves as well
Rest on a friendly knee, intent to ask
   The tale he loves to tell.

Rude spirits of the seething outer strife,
   Unmeet to read her pure and simple spright,
Deem, if you list, such hours a waste of life,
   Empty of all delight!

Chat on, sweet Maid, and rescue from annoy
   Hearts that by wiser talk are unbeguiled.
Ah, happy he who owns that tenderest joy,
   The heart-love of a child!

Away, fond thoughts, and vex my soul no more!
   Work claims my wakeful nights, my busy days--
Albeit bright memories of that sunlit shore
   Yet haunt my dreaming gaze!

PREFACE

If--and the thing is wildly possible--the charge of writing nonsense were ever brought against the author of this brief but instructive poem, it would be based, I feel convinced, on the line (in p.18)

"Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes."

In view of this painful possibility, I will not (as I might) appeal indignantly to my other writings as a proof that I am incapable of such a deed: I will not (as I might) point to the strong moral purpose of this poem itself, to the arithmetical principles so cautiously inculcated in it, or to its noble teachings in Natural History--I will take the more prosaic course of simply explaining how it happened.

The Bellman, who was almost morbidly sensitive about appearances, used to have the bowsprit unshipped once or twice a week to be revarnished, and it more than once happened, when the time came for replacing it, that no one on board could remember which end of the ship it belonged to. They knew it was not of the slightest use to appeal to the Bellman about it--he would only refer to his Naval Code, and read out in pathetic tones Admiralty Instructions which none of them had ever been able to understand--so it generally ended in its being fastened on, anyhow, across the rudder. The helmsman* used to stand by with tears in his eyes; he knew it was all wrong, but alas! Rule 42 of the Code, "No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm," had been completed by the Bellman himself with the words "and the Man at the Helm shall speak to no one." So remon{-} strance was impossible, and no steering could be done till the next varnishing day. During these bewildering intervals the ship usually sailed backwards.

As this poem is to some extent connected with the lay of the Jabberwock, let me take this opportunity of answering a question that has often been asked me, how to pronounce "slithy toves." The "i" in "slithy" is long, as in "writhe"; and "toves" is pronounced so as to rhyme with "groves." Again, the first "o" in "borogoves" is pronounced like the "o" in "borrow." I have heard people try to give it the sound of the"o" in "worry." Such is Human Perversity. This also seems a fitting occasion to notice the other hard works in that poem. Humpty-Dumpty's theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a port{-} manteau, seems to me the right explanation for all.

For instance, take the two words "fuming" and "furious." Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first. Now open your mouth and speak. If your thoughts incline ever so little towards "fuming," you will say "fuming-furious;" if they turn, by even a hair's breadth, towards "furious," you will say "furious-fuming;" but if you have that rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say "frumious."

Supposing that, when Pistol uttered the well-known
words--

     "Under which king, Bezonian? Speak or die!"

Justice Shallow had felt certain that it was either William or Richard, but had not been able to settle which, so that he could not possibly say either name before the other, can it be doubted that, rather than die, he would have gasped out "Rilchiam!"

CONTENTS

Fit the First. The Landing
Fit the Second. The Bellman's Speech
Fit the Third. The Baker's Tale
Fit the Fourth. The Hunting
Fit the Fifth. The ******'s Lesson
Fit the Sixth. The Barrister's Dream
Fit the Seventh. The Banker's Fate
Fit the Eighth. The Vanishing

Fit the First.

THE LANDING

"Just the place for a Snark!" the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.

"Just the place for a Snark! I have said it twice:
    That alone should encourage the crew.
Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice:
    What I tell you three times is true."

  The crew was complete: it included a Boots--
  A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes--
  And a Broker, to value their goods.

A Billiard-marker, whose skill was immense,
  Might perhaps have won more than his share--
But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
  Had the whole of their cash in his care.

There was also a ******, that paced on the deck,
  Or would sit making lace in the bow:
And had often (the Bellman said) saved them from wreck,
  Though none of the sailors knew how.

There was one who was famed for the number of things
  He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
  And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
  With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
  They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
  He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots--but the worst of it was,
  He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to "Hi!" or to any loud cry,
  Such as "Fry me!" or "Fritter my wig!"
To "What-you-may-call-um!" or "What-was-his-name!"
  But especially "Thing-um-a-jig!"

While, for those who preferred a more forcible word,
  He had different names from these:
His intimate friends called him "Candle-ends,"
  And his enemies "Toasted-cheese."

"His form in ungainly--his intellect small--"
  (So the Bellman would often remark)
"But his courage is perfect! And that, after all,
  Is the thing that one needs with a Snark."

He would joke with hy{ae}nas, returning their stare
  With an impudent wag of the head:
And he once went a walk, paw-in-paw, with a bear,
  "Just to keep up its spirits," he said.

He came as a Baker: but owned, when too late--
  And it drove the poor Bellman half-mad--
He could only bake Bridecake--for which, I may state,
  No materials were to be had.

The last of the crew needs especial remark,
  Though he looked an incredible dunce:
He had just one idea--but, that one being "Snark,"
  The good Bellman engaged him at once.

He came as a Butcher: but gravely declared,
  When the ship had been sailing a week,
He could only **** Beavers. The Bellman looked scared,
  And was almost too frightened to speak:

But at length he explained, in a tremulous tone,
  There was only one ****** on board;
And that was a tame one he had of his own,
  Whose death would be deeply deplored.

The ******, who happened to hear the remark,
  Protested, with tears in its eyes,
That not even the rapture of hunting the Snark
  Could atone for that dismal surprise!

It strongly advised that the Butcher should be
  Conveyed in a separate ship:
But the Bellman declared that would never agree
  With the plans he had made for the trip:

Navigation was always a difficult art,
  Though with only one ship and one bell:
And he feared he must really decline, for his part,
  Undertaking another as well.

The ******'s best course was, no doubt, to procure
  A second-hand dagger-proof coat--
So the Baker advised it-- and next, to insure
  Its life in some Office of note:

This the Banker suggested, and offered for hire
  (On moderate terms), or for sale,
Two excellent Policies, one Against Fire,
  And one Against Damage From Hail.

Yet still, ever after that sorrowful day,
  Whenever the Butcher was by,
The ****** kept looking the opposite way,
  And appeared unaccountably shy.

II.--THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

Fit the Second.

THE BELLMAN'S SPEECH.

The Bellman himself they all praised to the skies--
  Such a carriage, such ease and such grace!
Such solemnity, too! One could see he was wise,
  The moment one looked in his face!

He had bought a large map representing the sea,
  Without the least vestige of land:
And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
  A map they could all understand.

"What's the good of Mercator's North Poles and Equators,
  Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?"
So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply
   "They are merely conventional signs!

"Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
  But we've got our brave Captain to thank
(So the crew would protest) "that he's bought us the best--
  A perfect and absolute blank!"

This was charming, no doubt; but they shortly found out
  That the Captain they trusted so well
Had only one notion for crossing the ocean,
  And that was to tingle his bell.

He was thoughtful and grave--but the orders he gave
  Were enough to bewilder a crew.
When he cried "Steer to starboard, but keep her head larboard!"
  What on earth was the helmsman to do?

Then the bowsprit got mixed with the rudder sometimes:
  A thing, as the Bellman remarked,
That frequently happens in tropical climes,
  When a vessel is, so to speak, "snarked."

But the principal failing occurred in the sailing,
   And the Bellman, perplexed and distressed,
Said he had hoped, at least, when the wind blew due East,
  That the ship would not travel due West!

But the danger was past--they had landed at last,
  With their boxes, portmanteaus, and bags:
Yet at first sight the crew were not pleased with the view,
  Which consisted to chasms and crags.

The Bellman perceived that their spirits were low,
  And repeated in musical tone
Some jokes he had kept for a season of woe--
  But the crew would do nothing but groan.

He served out some grog with a liberal hand,
  And bade them sit down on the beach:
And they could not but own that their Captain looked grand,
  As he stood and delivered his speech.

"Friends, Romans, and countrymen, lend me your ears!"
  (They were all of them fond of quotations:
So they drank to his health, and they gave him three cheers,
  While he served out additional rations).

"We have sailed many months, we have sailed many weeks,
   (Four weeks to the month you may mark),
But never as yet ('tis your Captain who speaks)
  Have we caught the least glimpse of a Snark!

"We have sailed many weeks, we have sailed many days,
  (Seven days to the week I allow),
But a Snark, on the which we might lovingly gaze,
  We have never beheld till now!

"Come, listen, my men, while I tell you again
  The five unmistakable marks
By which you may know, wheresoever you go,
  The warranted genuine Snarks.

"Let us take them in order. The first is the taste,
  Which is meagre and hollow, but crisp:
Like a coat that is rather too tight in the waist,
  With a flavour of Will-o-the-wisp.

"Its habit of getting up late you'll agree
  That it carries too far, when I say
That it frequently breakfasts at five-o'clock tea,
  And dines on the following day.

"The third is its slowness in taking a jest.
  Should you happen to venture on one,
It will sigh like a thing that is deeply distressed:
  And it always looks grave at a pun.

"The fourth is its fondness for bathing-machines,
  Which is constantly carries about,
And believes that they add to the beauty of scenes--
  A sentiment open to doubt.

"The fifth is ambition. It next will be right
  To describe each particular batch:
Distinguishing those that have feathers, and bite,
  From those that have whiskers, and scratch.

"For, although common Snarks do no manner of harm,
  Yet, I feel it my duty to say,
Some are Boojums--" The Bellman broke off in alarm,
  For the Baker had fainted away.

FIT III.--THE BAKER'S TALE.

Fit the Third.

THE BAKER'S TALE.

They roused him with muffins--they roused him with ice--
  They roused him with mustard and cress--
They roused him with jam and judicious advice--
  They set him conundrums to guess.

When at length he sat up and was able to speak,
  His sad story he offered to tell;
And the Bellman cried "Silence! Not even a shriek!"
  And excitedly tingled his bell.

There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream,
  Scarcely even a howl or a groan,
As the man they called "**!" told his story of woe
  In an antediluvian tone.

"My father and mother were honest, though poor--"
  "Skip all that!" cried the Bellman in haste.
"If it once becomes dark, there's no chance of a Snark--
  We have hardly a minute to waste!"

"I skip forty years," said the Baker, in tears,
  "And proceed without further remark
To the day when you took me aboard of your ship
  To help you in hunting the Snark.

"A dear uncle of mine (after whom I was named)
  Remarked, when I bade him farewell--"
"Oh, skip your dear uncle!" the Bellman exclaimed,
  As he angrily tingled his bell.

"He remarked to me then," said that mildest of men,
  " 'If your Snark be a Snark, that is right:
Fetch it home by all means--you may serve it with greens,
  And it's handy for striking a light.

" 'You may seek it with thimbles--and seek it with care;
  You may hunt it with forks and hope;
You may threaten its life with a railway-share;
  You may charm it with smiles and soap--' "

("That's exactly the method," the Bellman bold
  In a hasty parenthesis cried,
"That's exactly the way I have always been told
  That the capture of Snarks should be tried!")

" 'But oh, beamish nephew, beware of the day,
  If your Snark be a Boojum! For then
You will softly and suddenly vanish away,
  And never be met with again!'

"It is this, it is this that oppresses my soul,
  When I think of my uncle's last words:
And my heart is like nothing so much as a bowl
  Brimming over with quivering curds!

"It is this, it is this--" "We have had that before!"
  The Bellman indignantly said.
And the Baker replied "Let me say it once more.
  It is this, it is this that I dread!

"I engage with the Snark--every night after dark--
  In a dreamy delirious fight:
I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
  And I use it for striking a light:

"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
  In a moment (of this I am sure),
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away--
  And the notion I cannot endure!"

FIT IV.--THE HUNTING.

Fit the fourth.

THE HUNTING.

The Bellman looked uffish, and wrinkled his brow.
  "If only you'd spoken before!
It's excessively awkward to mention it now,
  With the Snark, so to speak, at the door!

"We should all of us grieve, as you well may believe,
  If you never were met with again--
But surely, my man, when the voyage began,
  You might have suggested it then?

"It's excessively awkward to mention it now--
  As I think I've already remarked."
And the man they called "Hi!" replied, with a sigh,
  "I informed you the day we embar
From love's first fever to her plague, from the soft second
And to the hollow minute of the womb,
From the unfolding to the scissored caul,
The time for breast and the green apron age
When no mouth stirred about the hanging famine,
All world was one, one windy nothing,
My world was christened in a stream of milk.
And earth and sky were as one airy hill.
The sun and mood shed one white light.

From the first print of the unshodden foot, the lifting
Hand, the breaking of the hair,
From the first scent of the heart, the warning ghost,
And to the first dumb wonder at the flesh,
The sun was red, the moon was grey,
The earth and sky were as two mountains meeting.

The body prospered, teeth in the marrowed gums,
The growing bones, the rumour of the manseed
Within the hallowed gland, blood blessed the heart,
And the four winds, that had long blown as one,
Shone in my ears the light of sound,
Called in my eyes the sound of light.
And yellow was the multiplying sand,
Each golden grain spat life into its fellow,
Green was the singing house.

The plum my mother picked matured slowly,
The boy she dropped from darkness at her side
Into the sided lap of light grew strong,
Was muscled, matted, wise to the crying thigh,
And to the voice that, like a voice of hunger,
Itched in the noise of wind and sun.

And from the first declension of the flesh
I learnt man's tongue, to twist the shapes of thoughts
Into the stony idiom of the brain,
To shade and knit anew the patch of words
Left by the dead who, in their moonless acre,
Need no word's warmth.
The root of tongues ends in a spentout cancer,
That but a name, where maggots have their X.

I learnt the verbs of will, and had my secret;
The code of night tapped on my tongue;
What had been one was many sounding minded.

One wound, one mind, spewed out the matter,
One breast gave **** the fever's issue;
From the divorcing sky I learnt the double,
The two-framed globe that spun into a score;
A million minds gave **** to such a bud
As forks my eye;
Youth did condense; the tears of spring
Dissolved in summer and the hundred seasons;
One sun, one manna, warmed and fed.

— The End —